Following My LDS Surrogate Experience and More!


Following my LDS Surrogate Experience and More! I hope to share my experience and perspective with you. My adventures starts back in September of 2011, and I hope you can follow along and be a part of my journey! I follow one successful and one unsuccessful attempt at gestational surrogacy. Also, make sure to visit my Intended Mother's blogs (with a link to the right) The purpose of my blog is to educate people all over the world about gestational surrogacy and a little about the LDS Church's position regarding surrogacy. If you are somewhere in the process, whether you are an intended parent, a surrogate, or you plan to become one soon, I hope my blog can help put some perspective in your life. Please feel free to leave comments. I have the opportunity to be involved with such a unique and special experience. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I also plan to express my love for the Gospel throughout my scribblings. Thank You for visiting!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spencer Meeting Dr. Foulk :)

Hope and I went to visit our favorite fertility clinic! We were so lucky that everyone was there :)

These were the two nurses that we dealt with throughout the process... They are so wonderful. 

I love the smiles on all their faces :) 

They were looking at the pictures we brought into them. We gave them one of Spencer in the basket, and another of our "surrogacy shot" :)

And there's the man that made it all happen! Dr. Foulk had a smile from ear to ear :) it was so much fun to see everyone and share our adventures!

All of us together by the wall of fame :) 

Hope started to thank everyone. She has been working with this clinic for so long, and they've been there through all her ups and downs. Everyone that made this possible was standing in the room together, and everyone teared up. It was a tender and wonderful moment :)

A big thank you to Dr. Foulk and all our friends at the Utah Fertility Clinic! Thank you for being a part of our Miracle :)

Our Special Surro Picture!

Here it is! Our surro shot :) Our before & Afters! 

I'm very happy with how they turned out :)  -I didn't realize how hard it was to mimic the same shot weeks apart...

The 1st picture was taken June 30th (the day before Spencer was born) and the second was taken on July 17th. (He was 2 weeks and 3 days old :)

& some Extra pictures...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Financial Arrangements, Negatives, and a Beautiful Video

Hope has the most beautiful video on her blog. Her husband put it all together. I am speechless. He did the most amazing job. My husband sent me a text this morning before I was even awake, telling me I would want a box of tissues by my side before visiting her blog. Well I didn't follow his advice, I just sat down at the computer. I of course bawled my eyes out, giggling at Hope's girls throughout the video, but I still cried the entire time. I want to make sure everyone see's the video, but I want to keep that special for their blog. So here's the link to Hope's Blog.

Hope has another post giving some perspective to this whole post baby part of things. She asked me to think of the most negative aspects of this journey and write about them, to be a resource for others looking into gestational surrogacy. 

my wheels are turning, but I'm having a hard time finding any biggies. I feel like I mentioned things throughout my blog this last year that were more negative than others, but a lot of that was probably me being more negative than the situation actually was. 

so negative aspects of all this.
Obviously the pregnancy was my hardest, not because it was a surrogacy pregnancy, but because it was my fourth. I still haven't recovered from my carpal tunnel. I'm really hoping it will be resolved by my 6 week check-up. I can't feel my fingertips as I type this. The delivery was also my most painful, but that was just because my water broke at home and I never got the epidural. I can't complain too much, baby was out in one push. I guess none of those negative aspects had to do with surrogacy per say. And since this is meant to be a resource for people looking into surrogacy, those first few thoughts don't help anyone much.

Here are some thoughts on the actual surrogacy part of it. 
The shots are tough in the beginning. It's hard to wrap your mind around sticking yourself with a needle. I got used to it just fine. And I was sore for quite a long time with the deep tissue shots in my rear end. It didn't last too long, but it was something you really have to be okay with if you're gonna pursue this. 
In the beginning, I had to ween my 11 month old off of nursing at a moments notice. I had less than a week to have her completely on a bottle, because I had to start my medications. That was tough. I loved nursing, and I wasn't ready to be done. But she had also had a good 11 months, and it wasn't the end of the world. Weening almost completely cold turkey was rough. I had engorged of course, but I was really glad I was on top of it. Nursing would have set us back in this whole process.
Which kind of leads into the engorging at the end. My milk came in 4 days after I delivered baby spencer. They don't give you medication anymore to stop the milk, so I was on my own with it. cabbage leaves and wrapping tight didn't do anything. Being engorged just lasts a couple days, so it's not a huge deal. I've still got milk now, and I leak constantly, but I'm not in any pain. Just something to think about. The bummer part is that nursing helps shrink your uterus, and it burns calories. I don't have that luxury this time around.
REmember a few posts back, I told you how a friend and I were discussing the losing baby weight part of having a baby. She made an off the hand comment about how I wouldn't be carrying around a newborn, but i would be walking around with a jelly belly. (forgive me, i can't stand that word, but it is what it is.) Well my friend could not have been more right. I have never been more self aware. We have had an insanely busy week, and i have ran more errands than i could count. My belly is an after baby belly, and I can't do much to hide it right now. I've never paid much attention to the belly after a baby before, and I think it's because when i'm packing around a newborn, people don't seem to think twice about the belly. They think, "Oh look, she's got a brand new little one," and the baby gets the attention. Even I have to admit, when I'm out and I see a new baby, I don't think twice about the mommy's belly. But when I'm out and someone's gut is hanging out, and they don't seem to have much of an excuse, I just think, "suck it in. That shirt doesn't flatter you girlfriend." I know that's not very christ-like, and i'm probably so self aware because it's payback for having those thoughts about other people. Now I think to myself, "i wonder if she's just delivered a baby. Probably bot, but I would like someone to give me the benefit of the doubt." Anyways, that's probably been the hardest part. I'm very uncomfortable in my own skin. Hope and her husband were so wonderful. After the baby was born, they gave me a membership to a local gym as a gift. it was seriously the best gift ever. I will start going as soon as I get clearance. I am of course in that 6 week -you can't do anything- stage. No baths, no swimming, no tampons, nothing. I'm sorry, but pads are the worst part of having any baby. Period. 
So when I get the go ahead, I plan to take full advantage of my gym membership :)

Now that i've started getting to know ladies from this surrogacy group that found me, i've started to realize just how different every surrogacy situation is. So many arrangements turn out so much different than ours did. SOme families don't want to stay in contact with the surrogate. Some surrogates want nothing to do with baby. So many arrangements are set up as business transactions and nothing more. I can't even wrap my mind around any of that. I don't think i could ever have gone through all of this to never again have any kind of a relationship with my intended family. I just couldn't. I also could never comprehend never wanting to be a part of their lives, even if it is just a small part. If I myself decided to use a surrogate to carry my baby, I would want to know that I could trust her completely. I would want a friendship. Throughout this entire journey, I made sure I treated every moment the way I would want it if I was on the other end. I treated the pregnancy just the same as I would my own pregnancy. I would certainly want my surrogate to do the same. 

dealing with the insurances and the lawyers was a nightmare. And I don't even have room to complain, because hope dealt with most of it all. THe small portion i did have to deal with was such a pain. Like i said before, or lawyer never got us our pre-birth order, so now we have to jump through a bunch of hoops to sort it all out. Hope went into more detail about what kinds of things we went through, but a lot of it had to do with an unreliable lawyer. I would probably have a lot more to say on the subject if I had been in Hope's shoes.

Lastly, I wanted to address something that I would say was probably my biggest negative. As you know, there was a financial arrangement between both families. Neither of us have ever really discussed the actual amount of compensation we received for the surrogacy. I considered it a few times. I even wrote a whole blog at one point diving into what I'm about to say, but then I decided against it and erased the entire thing. To be honest, I was pretty bent out of shape about this at the time, and I vented in my blog, so it was pretty negative. I erased it because I didn't want to put those vibes "out into the universe" if you will. So anyways, I'll try to briefly explain what was most negative for clark and i. 

Going into this, we knew there was compensation involved, although that wasn't our biggest motivator. First and foremost, we wanted to have this experience and we wanted to help a family bring a baby into this world. When we met hope and her husband for the first time, they asked us what we intended to do with the money we would be getting. We told them that our plan was to get out of debt and get a reliable vehicle. to us, the compensation was more than enough, but it wasn't as much as you hear about if you were to go through an agency or if you've been a carrier before. We all agreed in the very beginning that we were so happy with the arrangement. We were helping them have a baby, they were helping us get a little more stable in life. 

I don't think Getting out of debt and getting a reliable vehicle is too extravagant. Clark and I had a tremendous amount of medical debt that we wanted to have out from under us (around $1,500) We still owed my lawyer quite  a bit of money from a nasty custody battle that I had gone through before Clark and I were ever married. (around $4,000) We owed family some money from when they helped us out the first year Clark and I were married. (around $2,000) We owed 2 colleges money for tuition and financial aid (around $3,000) No credit card debt, no car payments, no mortgage, no loans. Just unfortunate debt from circumstances outside of our control. Then we were planning on putting about $10,000 towards a reliable vehicle. The two vehicles we have now break down on us every other month. We don't even like taking them more than an hour away from home. It's a nightmare. So that was our plan. Debt free and mobile. We were feeling real good about our plan. Unfortunately, sometimes heavenly father has his own plan. Things don't always work out the way you think they're going to. 

The first thing you have to understand is this. We weren't just getting some huge lump sum of money all at once. Our surrogacy installments came a little at a time. At first, we would get $5oo. THen we would get $1,000. The second thing you have to understand is that nowadays, money doesn't stretch as far as it used to. 

We started chipping away at our debt. That was our first priority. We would send $400 to the lawyer, fill our tank with gas, buy a box of diapers, and get a few groceries. There was the first $500. When we had $1,000, we would send $800 to the college, get the brakes fixed on the car, and have an extra $50 bucks to order pizza and take the kids swimming. Life stinks like that sometimes. There is always something that needs fixed. At one point my husband needed an emergency route canal. Every so often, we needed to buy my son a plane ticket in order for us to exercise our out of state visitation. it was always something. Shortly after we started the whole surrogacy journey, my husband was laid off from his job, and he was out of work for a solid 4 months. From January to April we were using our surrogacy installments to supplement his income. At this point our installments were around $2,000 a month. That wasn't even a whole paycheck. We paid rent, paid our bills, and still had those unfortunate life circumstances that popped up. OUr installments did not stretch very far at all, not in this day and age. We quickly realized that if we had to rely on the surrogacy money to survive, there was no way we would also have enough to get completely out of debt and get a vehicle. We still did our very best to chip away at our debt. We were just getting by...

So here we were. Just Getting by. so very grateful to have the surrogacy money to fall back on at all. We had no idea what we would be doing if Clark had been laid off and we had no way to supplement our income. I can't even imagine what kind of situation we would have been in. 

While all of this was going on, people started coming out of the woodwork. For some reason, people just assumed that we had come into a ton of money. They never stopped to think that we were trying to be responsible with our money. They never thought that we had plans. IT was like we had won the lottery, and had half a million dollars just chillin' in the bank. Family that we owed money to  suddenly began putting  pressure on us to get them paid. Friends I hadn't talked to in years showed up saying, "Hey, remember that one time I bought you lunch? YOu owe me..." A nanny that we had hired to watch our girls came to us out of nowhere and told us that she felt like we were obligated to pay her more money than what we had originally agreed to because apparently, she thought we were rich. That one in particular was the most sickening one of all. We were great friends, and she had started acting funny. I told my husband I had a bad feeling. A day or two later, she finally said to me, "I don't understand why you aren't  paying me more money." She felt some sort of entitlement, and even when i explained to her that our budget was still the same because all our money was going towards debt and other things. After that our friendship and nanny arrangement ended, and i took it really hard. 

I didn't understand any of it. Yes we were being compensated for our time and "sacrifices" (although i don't like to call it that.) But not only were we not getting our money all at once in some huge lump sum, we were trying to be responsible with it and do things that benefited our family and our stability. Then Clark was laid off and we had to solely live on the money. An incredible blessing. But we weren't rollin' on 20's. People treated us different. It was like we could feel their thoughts. Nobody ever really came out and said anything negative to us (other than our nanny) but you could tell that people were judging how we were spending our money. Like it's any of their business at all. Even if we decided we were going to take a cruise to Mexico, and blow all our money on heaven knows what, isn't that our business?

The part that really got to me is that we were treated as if we had won the lottery, and that because you were associated to us in some way, you were entitled to something. yet i hadn't won some huge sum, i was working hard to earn it!! I was putting myself through injections, i couldn't sit, i was throwing up, it got too hard to work a 4:00am job, i was miserable and pregnant, with every stupid symptom in the book, acid reflux, carpal tunnel, sleepless nights, restless legs, hemorrhoids, you name it. I was working hard for that money that was getting us out of debt and paying our rent. It wasn't just handed to me, and nobody was entitled to it. It was hard to swallow the fact that after the whole journey, we really don't have anything to show for it. OUr car is broke down and it is getting repaired tomorrow. That money is coming out of rent, the surrogacy money is gone. No new reliable car. We are in fact almost completely debt free, and that is the silver lining that we keep reminding ourselves of. At least we have that. We didn't go into this journey worried about our compensation, it just would have been nice to come out on the other end with some stability. 

When i originally blogged, I was pretty upset at family, friends and nannies who made us feel a certain way. I'm glad i never posted what I wrote so many months ago. At this point, i just want to illustrate to anyone looking into surrogacy of the potential problems with being compensated for your time. Money makes people do funny things. It changes people. I never expected the people in my life to behave that way. Don't think the people in your life are above it either. It's pretty sad. 

That was probably the most negative part of this experience. I don't want to end my blog on that note, so watch for before and after pictures and a post from Clark :)

And make sure you watch that video!! IT's amazing!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More Pictures!

Alright, we finally got the last of the pictures from our exciting weekend! The are all out of order at this point. I love Hope's commentary on these pictures, so I'll reuse some of her words! :)

At Texas Roadhouse just 11 hours before we headed to the hospital. All of us joking, "Now that we are all here and ready, baby won't come!"  :)

He really is the most amazing, supportive and attentive husband ever.  He's my best friend <3

Holding my little buddy for the first time :)

I was utterly exhausted, and it hurt my arms to hold him for very long. I remember thinking, I pray my arms don't do this with my babies. I wouldn't be able to hold and snuggle and take care of them!

The classic surro shot right! My favorite is still mommy bawling her eyes out. Like I said before... that's what made it all worth it :)

The #1 thing I craved while I was prego was ice! I bought gravel ice by the bag loads... i went through probably 3 huge bags a week. I still eat it... I love ice!

Hope calls this a photo shoot... I call it snapping crappy pictures with my camera in automatic. The actual photo shoot consisted of much better pictures of baby spencer and mommy! :)

Look at baby compared to daddy's arm!

Sweet girls meeting their baby brother <3

Going home :)

Visiting on monday, the very next day! I felt better than i looked... the stupid percoset had once again kicked in, and left me dizzy and seeing double. 

One more time...  how cute is that baby boy!?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Big Sisters meeting Baby Spencer!

I was finally able to upload the video from the hospital! It only took 5 hours to upload this afternoon...  I can't help but smile the whole time I watch it :) 

Emotions and Resolutions

I have had a couple short visits with Hope and baby Spencer this last week. I seriously can’t get enough. I stinkin’ love the little guy. He really is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen. No exaggeration. I’ve been asked how I’m doing with the whole thing. Even Hope asked me yesterday if it’s weird being around him.

Here’s where I’m at on the whole thing…

I knew from the very beginning I wouldn’t get attached to the baby I was carrying. I knew that it wasn’t my baby, etc etc. We all know that part. But while I knew that’s how I would feel, I was still very careful throughout this whole thing. People still made me feel like I wouldn’t be able to help it, so I had conflicting feelings on the whole thing throughout the entire pregnancy. I think I kept my guard up just as an added measure of protection, just in case. I was careful, but I think I was safer than people thought. Nevertheless, while I was pregnant, it was just a lot of dealing with pregnancy things, and not anticipating having my own new baby. I think “not anticipating” having a new baby was helpful in the “not getting attached” department. If that even makes sense.

While I was pregnant however, I did develop a wonderful relationship with Hope and her family. Better than a casual friendship, more intimate than a regular friendship, not the same as a family relationship, I don’t know if I could ever quite describe it. But it’s pretty great, however you want to look at it.

When it came to Hope’s girls though, they were just that. Hope’s little girls. Cute as heck, fun to be around, always playing with my girls, but at the end of the day, they were my friend’s girls. And the baby boy I was carrying was just an extension of that… Hope’s little boy. I didn’t think of him any different than the girls. Which reassured me that I wouldn’t have any kind of a problem -or attachment.

Hope said people would ask her if she was worried I would have some attachment to her baby, or if I would want to keep her baby. She told me that her reaction was always, “Not even one little drop was she ever worried.”

So now the baby is here. And I could go on and on about how stinkin’ cute he is! And I love holding him and looking at him. I sure do enjoy him a lot more on the outside than I did the inside ;) I can’t get enough. So I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I am attached to the little guy. But not in the way everyone was worried about. I guess I feel a sense of pride when I see him. Although pride doesn’t seem like the right word. I have something special with him, which is why it’s a different feeling than with Hope’s girls. But it’s more like some special Auntie bond than anything maternal or dangerous. Whatever the feeling is, it makes me happy and it makes me smile. And if I was struggling with anything at all, I probably wouldn’t feel happy. I figure I would probably struggle with not being around him. I dunno...
Whatever it is, it’s the perfect feeling, and I figure this is what it should feel like to be a surrogate when you have a healthy relationship with baby’s family.

I was holding my little buddy the other day, and I was just jabbering to him without really thinking, and I said something about “Uncle Clark.” It felt so natural to say, that I didn’t really think about it before I said it, and I was instantly worried that I should have talked with Hope before making a comment like that. She never said anything, she never seemed upset by it, but it is something we will probably hash out when I visit in the future. Like I said, it just felt natural to say. It feels right to think of myself as Auntie Vanessa. I don’t have too, and if that were to bother Hope and her husband, I would certainly be okay with not doing so, but that’s where I’m at.

One thing is certain though. Baby Spencer is my Little Buddy :)

I’m sad to not be a part of something bigger anymore. I always knew the baby would be here in less than a year, and it would all be over soon. A big chapter in my life is over, and while I’m glad things will be settling back to normal, I will also miss being a part of something so special. I’m glad to know that my friendship/relationship with Hope’s family will continue on, because if it didn’t, I would probably feel a sense of loss. (when I say loss, I mean the loss of being a part of something special) But a relationship that continues on makes it special in it’s own way. 
I was contacted last night by a member of a “surrogacy support group” that is located here in Utah. They found me through my blog, and one of the members found me on facebook. We visited for a while, and she told me that she was a lot more emotionally invested in her surrogacy than her intended family, and that they treated it more like a business transaction, which I can only imagine left her feeling a little more unsure of things once it was all over. She didn’t go into detail, but it made me so grateful for the relationship Hope and I have had. I really do think a surrogacy arrangement like ours was one in a million.

So this “surrogacy support group.” Certainly interests me, but at first I was like, “I don’t need a support group. I’m not struggling with anything, I don’t need help getting through this…” but as I’ve looked over the group, I’ve realized that nobody is necessarily looking at me like I need help. Instead, I can be there to help other’s who are struggling with things. I read about a woman who doesn’t have any support from her family. I saw a woman who wanted clarification on the medical side. It looks like a lot of women are looking for clarification on the Church’s position regarding surrogacy, which is how they found me. These women get together and have dinner. They have all become good friends. They share something special, and they are a small group of woman who have been in similar situations as me. I say similar because not every surrogacy is the same. But we’ve all been there nonetheless. I’m excited to get to know these ladies. Maybe it’s a new chapter I can look forward too :)

Hope and I took pictures together the day before Spencer was born. When I’ve had a chance to recover and settle in, we are going to be taking another picture with the baby. I’ll have them posted here on my blog as soon as they are finished. I’m excited to see how they all turn out :)

There are still more pictures to come. Hope’s hubby has more on his camera, and I’ll post them when I get them.
Clark said he wanted to share a final blog post with everyone. Keep an eye out for that :)

This has been an incredible journey. A life changing experience. I am so glad Clark and I went ahead with this whole thing. I’m so glad I came across an add one day on Craigslist that said, “Please carry our baby. Looking for an LDS Surrogate.” Craigslist of all places. Hope said that people would ask her where she found me, and when she told them craigslist, they gave her that, “well good luck. Hope the craigslist surro doesn’t keep your baby” look. We always laugh about it, cuz it seems just as crazy to us. The Lord works in mysterious ways though.

Thank you for sharing this experience with us. With me

I’ll be in touch <3

Baby Born on I-15? I THINK NOT

This is going to be a long and detailed blog, but it is more for me than anyone else. I want to write down every moment, every feeling, every thought, before I forget. It was an insane night. A total roller coaster

Hope and her hubby both got into town late Friday night. I hadn’t felt anything going on down low, but I was also restricting myself to the couch, with the exception of going potty. I wanted to make sure this baby didn’t come while Hope was stuck on a train somewhere in Wyoming. So I rested, which was hard for me to do, and it made my restless legs a lot worse. I called her around 11pm and told her to rest easy, nothing exciting to report. The next day, Clark and I went out to lunch with Hope and her hubby. Texas Roadhouse folks… AMAZING. We had a great time like always, visiting and snapping pictures. Later that day, Hope and I dressed up and went out to do the first half of our photo shoot. I was lucky enough to have a friend willing to take the pictures, and we had a good time. I was relieved to have that done before the baby came. I could check it off my to-do list.

I went home, and took it easy the rest of the evening. Clark and I started talking about what we had going on, and we kept saying, “It would be really nice if the baby came…. like… tonight.”  He started his new job Monday, so it would really stink to go into labor late Sunday night. Hope’s husband had to head back to Illinois on Wednesday, so it would also really stink if the baby came the very next day and he missed it, after spending hundreds of dollars on an emergency flight out here… all for nothing. It would also really stink to go into labor on Friday or Saturday of next weekend, cuz that’s when we are scheduled to move. No time was convenient, except for right now. Dangit… my body was already 4 cm and 90%. It didn’t seem like it should take much to just get us going. So I did a few jumping jacks… I bounced on my bed for a few minutes… and nothing. So Clark went back to his online golf game. The girls were down for bed, our bags were all packed and waiting at the front door (just in case) and I just kept thinking, tonight would be really great.

I jumped on the computer and Googled “stripping your membranes.” Everything I found said after 37 weeks, if your body was already progressing, you could easily do this yourself at home to try to start contractions. Midwives seem to encourage it quite often. The process of stripping your membranes sounded a little gruesome. But my husband is a trooper and was willing to give it a shot. Around 8:30pm he washed his hands, put on sterile gloves, and gave it a shot. Ultimately he felt like he couldn’t feel what he was supposed to be feeling for, and he didn’t feel like it was working, so we quickly retired our efforts and didn’t think much more of it. I went to bed feeling a little discouraged about all the inconvenient times this baby could possibly be born. I fell asleep around 9pm, and started feeling things working down low somewhere in my sleep between 9pm and 11pm. I was aware of the contractions that were going on, but they were similar to what I was used to, and I ignored them, knowing they were just gonna get me excited for no reason. Between the hour of 11pm and midnight however, they were getting painful and strong and I considered timing them. I was trying to convince myself to get up and shake off the sleep, when I thought I heard (or felt, not sure which) a little tiny pop. I thought for sure it was in my head, but I needed to go potty, so I got up. Walked to the bathroom, went potty, and the water continued to trickle. I remember my legs being shaky. I knew my water was broke, without a doubt, I didn’t even need to consider it. It was midnight exactly. 12:00am. I grabbed my phone, stuffed a towel down my pants, and was calling for Clark (who had fallen asleep watching tv in the front room.) I barked at him a few times before getting his attention, and when I finally had it, I made it clear there was no time to be groggy or confused. “We have to GO NOW.” He was great. Threw shorts on, started throwing bags in the car, and I dialed Hope’s number. She answered right away, and I said, “My water’s broke, we need to move fast.” This baby was gonna be here within the hour, there was no question in my mind. We had to make a split second decision. Timpanogos Hospital was 10 minutes down the road, Jordan Valley (the hospital we needed to go to) was 25 miles down the freeway. We all agreed. Hurry the heck up and get to Jordan Valley. It was midnight, traffic wasn’t gonna be an issue, we would fly. However, there was no chance we would have time to round the girls up outta bed, and get them dropped off with a babysitter in the middle of rushing to the hospital. No chance at all. I ran up the stairs to my neighbor’s apartment and knocked on her door. I asked Brooke if she could come sit in my house with my girls until we figured out permanent arrangements. She was more than wonderful and got comfy on our couch. We scrambled to find keys, and managed to be in the car heading towards the freeway by 12:11am. I had Hope on the phone; they were in route as well. My wonderful mother-in-law was also in route, and gracious enough to be willing to take pictures at the hospital for us, no matter what time it was. We flew. I called the hospital telling them we were on our way. I made it very clear that everything needed to move fast as soon as we got there. I wanted to have an anesthesiologist waiting and ready to go as soon as I walked through those doors. I knew there was a very good chance I could miss an epidural altogether, but a girl can hope. 85mph the whole way to the hospital, I wasn’t worried about getting pulled over. I wasn’t going to have this baby on I-15.

Here’s my favorite part of the entire night.
THE EXIT WE NEEDED TO TAKE, TO GET TO THE HOSPITAL, WAS BARRICADED AND CLOSED. No warning signs or detour suggestions leading up to the exit. NOPE. Freakin’ closed.
I yelled at Clark to take the exit anyway. I had just taken the exit the day before! There was no way the road was all torn apart. I didn’t know of another way to get to the hospital. I wanted him to take the exit anyway! In the heat of the moment, he bellowed, “Are you insane! I can’t take the exit!” and he blew right past it. I went straight into panic mode. We had no idea how to get to the hospital now. No GPS, nothing. We jumped off at the next exit, and got lost through some stupid residential neighborhood. I called 911. I wasn’t screwing around at that point, I needed someone to get us in the right direction. My contractions were unbearable. I couldn’t talk through them. The 911 operator was no help at all. “Ma’am, you should pull over and I’ll have the paramedics come to you.” That’s all she could say. UM- NO! I was 3 minutes from the hospital! The paramedics would take too long. I wasn’t having this baby in an ambulance or on the side of the road. Just get me to the hospital! Not once did the operator give me directions or say anything helpful. I told her I was hanging up now, and she insisted I absolutely had to stay on the phone with her ‘til I was inside the ER. I could hardly talk, I was annoyed. My husband was Captain Awesome. He whipped through some neighborhood, blew through stop signs, and I never would have thought those little blue signs with a big H and an arrow would ever be so beautiful. 

“Follow the arrows!” I screamed. I thought I might have seen a cop on the side of the road at one point. I now had dispatch on the line telling me to just keep going. “If you see a cop flip his lights on, just keep going. All the officers in the area know you’re in emergency route to the hospital.” We flew around cars puttin’ along… we flew into the parking lot of Jordan Valley Medical Center. I was starting to feel pressure down low. That couldn’t be good… we pulled up to the doors and I threw the phone at Clark. I was sick of talking to the idiots on the line who were no help whatsoever. I was in the middle of a strong contraction. I couldn’t get outta the car. When it finally passed, I jumped out, ran in the doors, bypassed the elevator, and booked it up the stairs. I wasn’t about to wait for an elevator to go up one story. We got to labor and delivery, they wheeled me straight back, threw me in a bed, water still trickling everywhere, barely had time to get my pants off, the nurse is ready to check me. I was at 9cm. I had a nurse shoving an IV in my arm, a nurse trying to get the monitor around my tummy, and several others whirling around me. In runs Hope. My mother-in-law was there, Clark was running in and out.


I had never been in so much pain in all my life. I wanted to tear down the hospital bed. I was ready to climb through the ceiling. I was only half aware of Clark or Hope standing next to me. I couldn’t focus on any one thing that was going on around me. I was so thirsty I couldn’t swallow. I could hardly focus on chewing ice chips. I had to vomit. The contractions were so painful. The pressure I was feeling to push was painful in an entirely different way. Do you have any idea how painful it is to vomit over the side of the bed DURING contractions?! I thought I was dying. I was ready to push. I could feel it. The nurse insisted that I shouldn’t push yet. The doctor wasn’t there yet. Every time a new contraction hit, I screamed and begged her to let me push. I knew that I could have that baby out in no time and I wouldn’t have to suffer anymore. Hope was next to me. The nurse finally gave in and got my legs up and ready. I remember feeling the pressure from the baby, and thinking there was no way I would ever get it out with as much pain as I was in. It was time to push. I heard Hope call over to her husband. I started to push, I remember only one thing going through my mind.

“There is no way in Hell I am pushing twice. I won’t - I refuse, to relax after this contraction and push again a second time. He had to come out now. He had to come out in ONE push.”

I'm not gonna lie, this picture makes me laugh. How cute are the guys standing off to the side :) I probably don't wanna know what's so funny...

And I pushed with everything I had. I felt his little body come out. Holy Crap. I felt like I was being torn apart as he came out, but as soon as he was out, there was instant relief. I was still in so much pain, I was oblivious to what was going on around me. I didn’t even care what was going on. Somewhere in the pain I heard a baby crying, and I knew he was fine. I knew there were plenty of people taking care of him. Clark was at my side. The doctor walked in. The doctor that I wasn’t too fond of decided it was necessary to ream on my stomach and start the pain up all over again. I yelled at him to stop. He said there was a lot of blood. I remember thinking, “Well yes, isn’t that normal?” The way you’re wrenching on my stomach is NOT normal.” I had to push again and deliver the placenta. That still hurt like hell. I wanted it to all be over. My mother-in-law was snapping pictures (as requested) and the doctor snapped at her. Clark kissed my forehead. I could hear the baby crying. I could see everyone huddled around the baby. I was so glad the pain was over and he was okay. The nurses got me cleaned up, and they told me the baby was 6 lbs and 4oz. I couldn’t believe it. Brynlee (my 3rd baby) was 6 lbs 3 oz, but she was born a lot closer to her due date. He was easily 3 weeks early & 6lbs 4oz. He was born at 1:06am. I couldn’t believe that either. Well I kinda could… but it was incredible. My water broke at 12:00, phone calls made, sitter in the house, loaded car, keys found and we hit the freeway all by 12:11. Flying to West Jordan, our exit was closed, panic, getting lost off the next exit, calling 911, no help at all, painful contractions, beautiful blue signs with an H, running up stairs, at a 9, ice chips, vomit, hulking out ready to break the bed, no doctor, begging to push, and finally being allowed to push, not willing to push twice, giving it everything I had, and pushing once, baby was born at 1:06. 

These pictures of hope make me cry. This is what made it all worth it

You remember how I said I would love to experience the whole “just like the movies, honey it’s time! thing?” Well I did. And I’ve gotta say, I much prefer my happy little scheduled induction with my epidural and my nap before I have some pressure and push once, hardly feeling anything at all, everyone snapping cute pictures, watching them take care of the baby, all the excitement easily enjoyed.

And I’m sorry, but the women out there who choose to have a baby au natural, you’re just a bunch of adjectives that will probably-most likely offend. And I can’t imagine having babies in the days of no drugs. And I can’t wrap my mind around the poor women that have to push for anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours! Although if you chose to go natural, then I don’t feel bad for you… unless you learned your lesson of course. Whenever I think about the labor and delivery, I choke back tears. I never want to go through that again as long as I live. I am convinced that Clark did more than he thought when he attempted to strip my membranes. I don’t regret doing so at all, because we were all so relieved that it happened when it did. It made the emergency trips up from Illinois worth it. And I had the week to recover before our big move tomorrow. Saturday night was just the best night to have a baby, and I’m glad we got things moving. I told Clark that with our next baby, if I hit 37 weeks, 38 weeks, or even 39 weeks and we are just so anxious and we want to get things moving on our own, because we just can’t wait another minute to meet our newest baby, he has permission to shoot me in the foot if I suggest moving things along on our own. Especially stripping the membranes. Although in the future, I won’t be a half hour from my hospital… so in all fairness it might not end up playing out quite the same. If my hospital is just up the road, and my water breaks, I could still very well have a chance at that epidural. Who knows…
That whole ordeal that night was far more chaotic and dramatic than any movie. 

After all the excitement, once I was all cleaned up, we all sat and visited in the delivery room. I was shaking real bad, but it was such a trip to sit and hash out what had just happened. It was hilarious to hear it all from everyone else’s point of view. I was told that during the hardcore contractions when I wasn’t being allowed to push, my mother-in-law leaned over to Hope’s husband and said, “She sure is swearing A LOT…” and his response was, “She can say WHATEVER she wants.” :) It hurt to laugh as hard as I did when I heard that. Clark updated my facebook status to:
Lord please forgive Vanessa for her profanity on the Sabbath.
Everyone had a good laugh at that too…

Hashing out the excitement was fun. The last time Hope had heard from me, I told her the exit was closed! But immediately after I told her, I called 911. Well while I was on an emergency call, she couldn’t get through to me. My phone kept going straight to voicemail. In all the excitement, Clark forgot his phone altogether. She thought for sure that the only reason I had my phone off is because I was on the side of the road somewhere delivering her baby! I heard that and instantly put myself in her shoes. I would have been freaking out had I been in her shoes. Not being able to get through to me. What a nightmare. And of course I was so focused on getting to the hospital and dealing with moronic 911 operators, I hadn’t thought about the fact no one could get ahold of me.

We couldn’t believe how fast the baby had come. How fast it all happened. Although I’ve said from the very beginning, once my water is broke, my babies usually come within 30 minutes to an hour. And I was right on the money. The baby would have been there even sooner if they had let me push when I first needed to push. Hope said she missed it. SHe didn't see the baby come out. She had called over to her husband to tell him that she could see baby's head about the size of a golf ball, and when she looked back down, the baby was out. She missed it. He came that fast.

When it was time to take baby to the nursery, and me to my room, my mother-in-law headed back to my house to stay the rest of the night with my girls. Clark and I got settled in our room. He ran out to the car to get all our bags. We rearranged our furniture so our beds could be right next to each other. It was around 3 in the morning, and we were so incredibly exhausted. I couldn’t fall asleep for the life of me though. I just sat there in the dark and thought about everything that had happened in such a short time. I kept going over it again and again in my head. And every time I looked over at Clark, I started to cry my eyes out. Obviously I had a truck load of hormones and emotions pumping through me, but every time I looked at my husband, I was overwhelmed by how much I love him and how happy my life made me. Here he was, by my side. Just like he was every step of this journey. I thought about how beautiful my life was, and how happy I was that I could be apart of Hope and her husband’s happiness.

I didn’t finally fall asleep until 4:30 that morning. And of course the nurse was bugging me by 6:30, which was all the sleep I got that first day. Clark and I ate breakfast, and Hope and the baby came over to visit with us.

Baby Spencer Tate
Born at 1:06am
Sunday, July 1st, 2012
6lbs 4oz, 18 ½ inches
The cutest little thing you ever did see :)

We visited, and I held my new little buddy until Hope’s husband showed up with their girls. We were all so excited to finally see those big sisters meet their little brother :) I videotaped them coming in, and then I snapped pictures like crazy. It was all so much fun. Even Hope’s mom came to visit. Such a wonderful experience.

My ALL TIME favorite picture- Mommy & Daddy holding baby Spencer <3

I look terrible... but i guess that's to be expected right?

After we visited some more, Clark was wonderful enough to go get me the thing I was craving most. The bread served at The Cheesecake Factory! That’s all I wanted for lunch. It was amazing. While he was out, I started blogging. Of course you all know how long it takes me, which is why you are getting the blog a week and 2 days later ;)

The Percocet hit me hard after lunch, and I had a love/hate relationship with it ever since. When I woke up from a solid nap, it was time to eat dinner and say our goodbyes. The doctor had called and said he was fine with me going home that evening. I hadn’t even been in the hospital for 18 hours, although it felt like a week had passed.

My new favorite doctor came to visit me. I was actually pleased with his demeanor this time around. 3rd time’s a charm of course. We talked mostly about me having another baby. The thought of being pregnant again makes me wanna jump off a bridge, but as much as I don’t want to be pregnant again, I really want to finish having my family even more. And I don’t want to wait around to have more, I would just be prolonging the inevitable misery of being pregnant. I want to have my body back permanently. The sooner the better. Which means I need to finish having my family. So we talked about starting my prenatal vitamins up again. We talked about exercising as soon as I had clearance, and getting my body physically where it needed to be if I was going to have two pregnancies back to back. It’s been a week and two days now since the delivery, and my arms are as bad as ever. After our visit, I was free to go. Clark and I packed up and said our goodbyes. We went to pick up our girls from Grandma’s. Family was visiting from out of town, and everyone was shocked to see us out of the hospital so soon. We visited for a bit, and then Clark and I were on a mission to find a pharmacy open on a Sunday evening. We finally found one at the other end of the county before we made our way home and settled in for the night. Longest day of my life, which was followed by the longest week of my life.

The short version: Had baby Spencer in the early morning hours on Sunday, home Sunday night, Clark started his new job Monday morning, I was on my own with the girls every day following the delivery. Tuesday afternoon, (just two and a half days after delivering) I had my first infant photo shoot with my new little buddy and his mommy :) I had so much fun! I stopped taking my pain meds for the shoot so I could see clearly through the viewfinder on my camera, but it was totally worth it. I was so happy with how the pictures turned out, considering it was my very first infant shoot! Wednesday and Thursday and Friday were spent getting the last of our house ready to move. My days started at 6 am and I didn’t slow down until midnight every night. Thursday morning I met Hope at her doctor’s office to sign paperwork for little Spencer to be circumcised. One of the people on the birth certificate had to be present, and since Hope’s husband had to head back to Illinois the day before, I was the back up. (Explanation on that whole mess to follow) Did the walk through and signed the lease for our apartment on Friday, starting moving in that night. Saturday morning our moving party was here to help. Clark and I spent all day Saturday and Sunday moving in to the new apartment, unpacking, and moving out of the old apartment. Monday morning I spent the whole day running errands, including a trip to Salt Lake and back to pick up my son from the airport! Monday night we celebrated his birthday. It is now Tuesday, and I am trying to finish this blog post so that I can finish putting my apartment together! I figure I will start the official “recovery process” this weekend. Hopefully. Truly the longest and hardest week of my entire life. Clark and I are so excited for our lives to be put back together and back to normal. 

I love how these turned out :)

The last one here is my all time favorite picture
He is just perfect

Our incompetent lawyer, (I’m sorry but I would never ever recommend her) was supposed to have a Pre-Birth order to us months ago. I don’t know the details, but basically a pre-birth order is the legal paperwork that makes the baby Hope’s and her husbands from the moment he’s born. But since she never felt the need to get us a pre-birth order, we had a mess on our hands at the hospital. I was now on the birth certificate with daddy, and I had to fill out and sign a ton of paperwork stating I was taking full financial responsibility of the baby, that I was not married during the time of birth, and a whole bunch of other nonsense that would technically have to get sorted out in court. Grumble Grumble....
We have a court date set for July 16th to sort everything out. I blame the lawyer. It is seriously a sticky annoying mess that was easily avoidable if she had just done her job months ago.

My carpal tunnel has only gotten worse since the delivery. I could go on and on about how much pain my arms, hands and fingers are in, but you would never really understand. We thought it would fix itself right away, but we were wrong. I guess carpal tunnel is when your nerves swell, and I guess there is plenty of swelling that takes place after the baby is born. It’s not too hard to wrap my mind around, it just really sucks. It’s been a week and two days, but to be fair, I really haven’t had any chance to recover at all, which might be why the carpal tunnel hasn’t resolved itself. That doesn’t change the fact that a part of me is worried that the situation won’t resolve itself. It’s a small surgery to relieve the carpal tunnel, otherwise I could possibly lose all feeling in my hands and fingers altogether. It’s a scary thought. I’m not freaking out yet. I will probably freak out in 6 weeks if the pain and numbness don’t go away and I have in fact had that chance to recover. Here’s hopin’. Other than the carpal tunnel, I engorged 4 days after I delivered. We knew that would probably happen. Doesn’t make it fun. I wrapped up tight, but it never helped at all. I was a mess. I had the week from hell, my ankles were swollen, my arms were both in a brace, I couldn’t sit on my butt because of all the pain from having a baby, and I was wrapped so tight I couldn’t breath. I seriously felt claustrophobic. I couldn’t handle it. I got to a point where I stayed unwrapped, since it wasn’t helping anyway. I have been engorged for 5 days or so… but I’m on the downhill side. My biggest complaint is still my arms. And the hemorrhoids. I’ll spare you the details.