Their Lovin, My Oven

My Journey as a Gestational Surrogate

A Very Special Transfer-Versary September 15, 2013

One year ago today I was in a sterile room surrounded by two nurses, an amazing RE and M&T. We waited, not so patiently, for the embryologist to bring in their sweet little previously frozen embie aka Little Tot. We watched in awe as LT wiggled around in the petri dish before being transferred to Hotel de Surro. We cried, smiled, hoped and prayed that LT would spend the next 9 months growing big and strong with Auntie Danielle. 41 weeks later I delivered LT into his Mommy and Daddy’s arms (quite literally as they were able to actually help deliver him) and a family was born. Tonight, on our transfer-versary, I am blessed and honored to share with you part one of our birth story. I hope you enjoy ❤ **Note: This is a no holds barred story – If you aren’t comfortable with hearing about contractions, nipple stimulation, etc, you might want to skip this post**

38 Weeks through Laboring at Home

M&T arrived at our house just after I hit 38 weeks pregnant. We weren’t sure when I would deliver based on my history, as well as their own slightly early arrivals – Genetics on their part, genetics on my part, my own labor history – What would dictate when their sweet baby would arrive? T continued to work so M&T spent the week staying with great friends in LA and the weekends with us. One week passed… We attended a local baseball game with a fireworks show… Would the fireworks scare LT out? Nope! Another week passed… We hit our due date! LT, we’re all waiting… No need to be fashionably late… We knew that once we hit 41 weeks, my OB would push for an induction based on EDD alone and that was something that none of us were comfortable with. We had big plans for an all natural, non-medicated delivery and induction wasn’t what we were looking for…. 40+3 and I had a non-stress test. Unfortunately LT “failed” the NST and the OB decided I needed to go to L&D for a biophysical profile. (Queue memories of the EXACT same thing happening with the twins.) LT passed his BPP and additional monitoring with flying colors. However, the doctors were outside of their comfort zone and required us to schedule an induction. Our nurse was great and pushed it as far as she could – To the day we would hit 41 weeks. We were 4th on the list which meant that when a bed was available, they would call the Mom in slot #1, then slot #2, etc. They could call as early as 6am. We joked that I would just happen to have my phone on silent should they call and “accidentally” miss their call. I know that M&T were so anxious for the arrival of their sweet son but we all agreed that waiting until at least 41 weeks to see if he would decide on his own birthday would be best. The next 4 days were lazy days… Waiting… Waiting… Fielding well meaning texts, calls, Facebook messages – Everyone cared and we all appreciated it but I was beginning to feel like a watched pot. Though I knew it wasn’t the case, emotionally I felt like I was holding M&Ts son captive from them… I knew that I wanted him to come more than ever – I wanted to see him in THEIR arms instead of in my tummy but I wanted desperately for him to make that decision when he was ready. I didn’t want to force him out…

Apparently the threat of induction made LT decide to get his sweet little tushy into gear… On the morning of 41 weeks at about 2am, I started having contractions. I let them go on until about 4:30am to see if they were going to stick around and get stronger or if we were still in the practice zone. From 4:30am on, I could no longer sleep through them. They were consistently 7-8 minutes apart and I was having to concentrate on breathing through them. About 6:00am I called my doula – We spoke on the phone through a few contractions and she told me she thought this was the real deal. She asked if anyone else was awake and I told her no – I was TERRIFIED that if I woke anyone up, the contractions would magically go away and I would be pregnant forever. (Yes, I realize that isn’t at all logical but I was being100% emotional at that point and logic was out the window.) Shannon suggested I take a shower to get some relief but told me that I had to wake someone up if I was going to do that. I decided to go ahead and wake up my husband. He quietly got up in case anything happened while I was in the shower. I enjoyed letting the water hit my back but after a short time, focusing on standing in the shower and working through the contractions just became too much. Our other doula Christy headed down from Tehachapi (about an hour drive) and went to breakfast with Shannon so they were both close. It was about 8:30-9:00am when I softly knocked on M&Ts door (they were staying in our guestroom.) They were already awake so I asked them what they thought about today (6/9) being the day they met their son. They readily agreed that it was a good idea! 😉 I let them know to take their time getting ready… That I didn’t think we needed Christy or Shannon quite yet but that I would call my best friend, our photographer so she could head over. I tried to stay very relaxed and not get too wrapped up in the excitement because I was still worried that if we got too excited, LT would halt all labor and stick around. I sent Christin (BFF/Photographer) a text and said “Hey, do you want to take some pictures today?” She immediately called my husband freaking out, wanting to know why I had waited so long to let her know LOL. I went ahead and finished blow drying and straightening my hair… Might as well stay busy! It was about 12pm when Christin arrived – With Starbucks for everyone! We figured Jake and M&T might need the caffeine LOL. Shortly after that, Christy decided to head on over.

Just before Christy arrived, I had gone into our bedroom to lay in bed. Everyone was being great but I just felt like I needed some super quiet alone time to work through contractions. Christy came in and we discussed my contraction pattern thus far and how I was doing. At that point I still felt like I was handling the contractions pretty well but they did require focus and I was getting scared. This was something completely new to me – Sure, I had brought 4 babies into the world before this but never like this. Never without an epidural and monitors and tons of people giving instructions and making recommendations for interventions. I so needed Christy’s calm talk. She reminded me that this was all normal, all wonderful and that we were finally going to meet M&Ts sweet baby.

A calming talk with my awesome doula Christy

A calming talk with my awesome doula Christy

I felt a lot more relaxed mentally after our talk and the timing couldn’t have been better because the contractions started to pick up. At this point I was still in early labor but the contractions were starting to be slightly closer together and more painful – A sign we were moving in the right direction (FINALLY!) It was really a full team effort to work through the contractions – M, T, Jake, Christy and our other doula Shannon all played a VITAL part in keeping me comfortable, calm and focused. There were several times that I said “I can’t do this” and my favorite phrase of the day was Christy – “You ARE doing this.” Those words had such an instant calming effect that I don’t think I would have survived without. Having the freedom to move around my own house was AMAZING. I went from our bedroom to the living room, to the kitchen, to the dining room – Everywhere I turned there was another set of amazing hands providing counter-pressure, another calming voice talking me through a contraction and my awesome best friend to capture all the memories. We had time in between contractions to pose for a few photos. We all put on our TEAM TUCS shirts – In our PBO paperwork, they refer to the baby as “The Unborn Child S” (M&Ts last name “S”) and we joked that since we would have so many people in the delivery room, we needed shirts! I had them made and loved seeing everyone wearing them!

M&T rocking their TEAM TUCS shirts <3

M&T rocking their TEAM TUCS shirts ❤

#1 Mommy & #1 Daddy

#1 Mommy & #1 Daddy

M with her own special 41 weeks sign <3

M with her own special 41 weeks sign ❤

The whole team! Two awesome doulas, one great uncle, an excited Mommy & Daddy and me, one proud Surromama :D

The whole team! Two awesome doulas, one great uncle, an excited Mommy & Daddy and me, one proud Surromama 😀

_DSC5216

A special picture with M&T

A special picture with M&T

I continued to work through the contractions and couldn’t have done it alone – At one point or another, everyone helped and I will forever be grateful. I have said it before but I’ll say it again – Everyone was such an integral part of our team. I needed everyone at different moments and am SO thankful they were all there and available. Christin captured some great photos including my daughter talking me through contractions ❤

My sweet oldest daughter making sure Mommy was okay <3

My sweet oldest daughter making sure Mommy was okay ❤

Christy getting a feel for what LT was up to as she helped me work through a contraction

Christy getting a feel for what LT was up to as she helped me work through a contraction

Shannon has THE BEST counterpressure

Shannon has THE BEST counterpressure

And luckily she taught everyone else her techniques!

And luckily she taught everyone else her techniques!

Up to this point, I was doing pretty good in between contractions – Eating a little, drinking a lot, walking around, talking through contractions and laughing and joking in between them. But things weren’t progressing. My contraction pattern was the same and maybe even a little slower than it had been. Christy took me into our bedroom and sat me down – She said that I could either promise to give her at least an hour of nipple stimulation (to bring on more frequent contractions that would push me from early labor into active labor) or everyone could go home… She was SURE that if they went home, they would be back later that night or early the next morning but I wasn’t having it. We had already waited until 41 weeks and I was ready to hand M&T their baby. No more waiting. Christy left Hubby and I alone and I started nipple stims. Not going to lie – Most awkward thing EVER. I’m not one to enjoy that sort of thing, let alone to do it myself….. BUT, it worked. Holy crap on toast did it work. Christy left the room at about 4:45pm and by 5:10pm I was having back to back, realllllly strong contractions after just a few seconds of nipple stims. Making it through that 20-30 minutes was SO hard. To sit there and do something that I KNEW was going to cause HORRIBLE pain within a few seconds was the biggest mental hurdle I had ever had to overcome. It was official – I was in active labor. The contractions were longer, stronger and MUCH closer together than ever before. I no longer had any desire to move around the house – We were in our master bedroom and that’s where I was staying. I tried sitting, standing, laying down, sitting on the birth ball – TONS of coping techniques. I don’t know how I made it through but I did. M&T were great – They were a constant fixture in the room, calming me down, telling me I was doing great and thanking me for going through this for them.

Moving around the house more.. Back in the bedroom here..

Moving around the house more.. Back in the bedroom here..

Labor isn't always glamorous.... I was throwing up but IT WAS PROGRESS!

Labor isn’t always glamorous…. I was throwing up but IT WAS PROGRESS!

I look like CRAP in this picture - But M was AMAZING and this picture is PERFECT at showing that.

I look like CRAP in this picture – But M was AMAZING and this picture is PERFECT at showing that.

At this point, about 6:30pm I was in full blown active labor. I moved to the bed and Christy and Shannon arranged a ton of pillows in various different places trying to keep me comfortable. I don’t remember much honestly – I remember breathing through contractions, moaning like crazy and hearing calming voices and feeling soft reassuring touches along with firm counter-pressure.

I spent the last hour or so on the bed working through contractions with my awesome support team

I spent the last hour or so on the bed working through contractions with my awesome support team

_DSC5239

_DSC5243

About 7:15pm I remember hearing “If she makes that sound through 3 more contractions, it’s time to go.” — “That” sound was what Christy and Shannon described as a “Ghost Cow” — I laughed at them in our initial meetings but MAN were they accurate in that description. I also remember being skeptical that they would know when it was time to go to the hospital (our goal was not to go until I was 6-7cm dilated) without checking my cervix… They both assured me they would know when it was time to go and I needed to trust them.

This moment I remember - It was almost time to go!

This moment I remember – It was almost time to go!

Apparently I made “that” sound through 3 more contractions because all of a sudden there was a flurry of activity – Things were a little crazy, people gathering up bags, exchanging car keys, deciding who was going where, with whom, in what vehicle – There aren’t any pictures because that’s how fast we were moving. It was TIME. Time to go to the hospital. TIME for M&T to hold their sweet son. I literally remember nothing. Thank goodness we had planned ahead and bags were already packed – I don’t know if anyone spoke to me or asked me any questions – I went from our bed to our driveway where our truck was parked. All the doors were open, the seats and floor were covered in tucks pads (just in case!) It was decided that Shannon would ride with Hubby and I because she had been working through the last few contractions with me and knew where I wanted/needed counter-pressure at that time. I had a contraction AS I was trying to get into the truck and we were on our way after that. As we approached a curvy freeway on-ramp (we only live about 8 miles from the hospital) I started having another contraction. I remember Shannon telling Hubby he was going to want to slow down – I’m not sure what the other drivers were thinking but our labor train (our truck, M&T in their SUV, Christy in her SUV & Christin in Shannon’s SUV) was going about 15mph because I couldn’t handle any faster LOL. My body must have known we needed a little bit of time because my next contraction wasn’t until we pulled up to the hospital. Hubby demanded I let them bring me a wheelchair and went to park the truck – The poor security guard rushed one out only for my stubborn butt to refuse to get in it. I was going to walk into L&D, dangit!

**Stay tuned for Part Two of our story**

 

LT is Here! June 15, 2013

LT is here! I’m still working on my birth story but M&Ts sweet little boy entered the world at 41 weeks gestation, on 6/9/13 at 10:23pm. He shocked us all by tipping the scale at 9 pounds, 2 ounces. I was able to have the all natural delivery that I had hoped for – It was one of the most intense things I’ve ever done, physically, mentally and emotionally. It was a team effort and I couldn’t have done it without my Hubby, M&T, our two awesome doulas and my best friend who captured so many photographs that I will always treasure – Including pictures of M&T catching their sweet son as I delivered him and my OB stood back smiling <3. (I promise to share some when they are ready.)

Thank you all for following along on another amazing journey. My heart is overflowing with love for the second family I've been blessed to help create. Seeing M&T holding their precious angel after all the time they've waited and everything they've endured was a moment I'll never forget.

-Danielle

 

Hotel de Surro is still in operation June 5, 2013

That’s right folks, I’m still pregnant LOL. We are a little over halfway through the full term window of 38-42 weeks…. Currently 40 weeks, 3 days (almost 4.)

 

As of my last OB appointment, I was only 2cm dilated & 50% effaced. Which really means absolutely nothing but people always ask so there ya go.

 

The plan is still in place for an all natural, non-medicated delivery and that means that I reallllllly want LT to decide on a BIRTHday before my OB starts pushing induction. I have an appointment tomorrow for both an NST & a visit with my OB…. She may or may not schedule me for a medical induction, we’ll see how things go…

 

M&T have been in Southern California since 39 weeks and are getting super anxious about the arrival of their son…. I wish that I had a crystal ball or a functioning uterus timer to tell us all when I’ll go into labor… It would make things a lot easier 😉

 

If you could send us “go into labor before 41 weeks vibes” that would be MUCH appreciated. A “medically necessary” induction that isn’t really medically necessary isn’t an ideal scenario for either LT or myself but as the days drag on, emotions run high…. I’m more than ready to hand this sweet little guy over to his amazing parents. They’ve waited for him a long time and I know each day that passes feels like 1,000…..

 

Hopefully my next post announcing LTs birth won’t be too long from now.

 

Until next time,

Danielle & LT

 

Worth the Wait May 21, 2013

I apologize for my absence – Instead of excuses, I’ll offer you up tons of pictures of what’s been going on in our world. I’m currently 38 weeks, 2 days along with sweet LT! I got to join in his Mama & Daddy’s wonderful baby shower celebration and now we are counting down the days. M&T will be arriving to Southern California on Monday (just 6 days!) to await the arrival of their sweet boy. As long as he stays put until they are here, he’s welcome to come anytime after that. I am very excited (and only a little nervous) about the birth. I’m confident the team of wonderful people we have, including our two doulas, will give us the perfect natural, unmedicated experience that I’m hoping for. *Fingers crossed*

 

Without further delay, here are some awesome pics from our family shoot with my IFs and the twins and our maternity shoot with M&T by the amazing CDC Photography and M&Ts baby shower ❤ I hope you enjoy them!

 

First up, pics from our AMAZING visit with Esteban, Michele, Davide & Gabriel in January. I’m SO thankful to have these photos and look forward to repeating the photo shoot annually when we get together <3<3<3

_DSC3243

_DSC3250

_DSC3251

_DSC3257

_DSC3275

_DSC3282

_DSC3302

_DSC3307

 

Now some of the beautiful shots from my maternity shoot with M&T. Loving how these turned out ❤

_DSC3768

_DSC3828

_DSC3833

_DSC3803

_DSC3846

_DSC3858

And last, but not least, some shots from M&Ts amazing Peter Rabbit themed baby shower. I am so blessed to have been included in their special day and had the opportunity to meet so many family members and friends who are anxiously awaiting LTs arrival ❤

Baby Shower

Baby Shower2

Baby Shower4

Myself, M, T and M’s beautiful Mama ❤

Baby Shower5

M’s stepmom, their first surro C, my beautiful Mama and myself ❤

Baby Shower6

With my own beautiful Mommy ❤

Baby Shower7

C, myself and M 🙂

Baby Shower3

A very special 33 Weeks belly shot with LT’s amazing Mama and Grandma <3<3

I’m off to finish up some special projects I’ve got in the works that need to be done before M&T arrive on Monday… I hope everyone who reads this is doing well ❤

Until Next Time,

Lots of Love – Danielle & LT

 

Twinkies and LT! March 25, 2013

I’m a horrible blogger this journey, I know. I promise I’m calling myself into the office and documenting my terrible performance as we speak. I’m on the brink of firing myself. Thank you to those of you who have stuck by and emailed asking for updates that I’ve failed to post here. Life keeps getting in the way and just when I think I have a night to sit down and write out a blog post, something comes up. But, I’m back! With updates! Great ones!

 

First things first – My adorable Italian surrotwins are WALKING and TALKING and as cute as ever. In January we spent the most AMAZING week with them and their fabulous Daddies. I will FOREVER be grateful to Esteban and Michele for keeping myself and my family involved in their lives. To be able to see the twins grow, to have been able to snuggle and cuddle them for a week and most of all, to see the family that I helped create in action – Priceless. Absolutely 100% priceless. To say that I am blessed doesn’t even begin to describe how lucky I am. There are few surrogates out there as lucky and not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for bringing Esteban, Michele and I together for what has turned into not just the creation of their family, but the permanent expansion of my own ❤ I am already counting down the time until we get to see them again! We are hoping to get together at least once per year and again, I’m so thankful for the effort that is made to keep me a part of the twins’ lives ❤

 

In pregnancy news, LT is doing FABULOUS and we are currently rocking the 3rd trimester! J I am officially 30 weeks and 1 day along so we have 10 weeks (maybe more, maybe less) until this sweet baby BOY is in his Mommy and Daddy’s arms. That’s right, M&T will be welcoming a little BOY. Apparently I am meant to carry boys for everyone but myself hahaha. I couldn’t be more excited for them and they are both over the moon. All of our scans have shown a happy, healthy and adorable little boy who is growing perfectly. My OB appointments are all short, sweet and uneventful which we love. I’m being seen every 2 weeks for a quick visit where they check my weight, urine and blood pressure, measure my uterus and listen to this little boys heartbeat.

 

This weekend M&T came for an amazing visit and we accomplished a TON of things in addition to them having lots of time to feel LT’s kicks, punches, rolls, his HEAD and his hiccups! It was amazing ❤ They flew in on Friday and that night we met with our two amazing doulas – That’s right, TWO! We have two Mama’s this time so it’s only fitting that we have two doulas 😉 We talked, ate dinner, talked, ate ice cream, talked, felt the baby, talked, listened to his heartbeat and then talked and talked some more – For over 4 hours! Christy and Shannon are truly WONDERFUL and we all adore them so much. They are going to be absolutely instrumental in this labor and birth being different from my others. We are going to labor at home as long as possible (ideally until I’m 6-7cm dilated) and then move to the hospital for delivery. I am hoping to go completely natural aka no epidural. Though I am slightly nervous, I know that with my Hubby, Christy, Shannon and M&T by my side, I will have all the support I need to get through. I am so excited at how different this labor is going to be and loving the idea of letting LT control how things go, when he arrives, etc. Saturday morning we all watched my oldest daughter at gymnastics and then headed to a 3D/4D ultrasound. LT, who had been head down Friday night, was suddenly transverse!! He is definitely taking advantage of his suite and moving around a lot! LOL. He started out the ultrasound with his feet in his face. We encouraged him to move them so he did – But replaced them with his little hands! We were able to wiggle him around some (to which he responded with kicks/punches strong enough that the ultrasound tech felt him LOL) and got the most adorable pictures. He was yawning, swallowing and even smiling in one! It was a lot of fun to listen to M&T pick out what features belonged to who, etc. I am convinced that he is the perfect mix of both of them and can’t wait to verify that when he’s in their arms! Sunday we had the privilege of having my best friend who owns CDC Photography take our maternity pictures. The weather was perfect and the scenery was so beautiful. I cannot wait to get to see the photos when they are all finished. Once again, I feel so blessed that I have such a special relationship with M&T that we are able to have precious photos to remember this very special time in their lives.

 

In just over 2 weeks, I’ll be headed to Central CA for M&Ts baby shower. I’m so honored to get to be included in their day and can’t wait to meet some of their friends and family. This little boy is already so loved by so many people!

 

I hope that everyone is doing well and enjoying the start of Spring! We have had some crazy weather but I’m looking forward to it warming up!

 

Until next time,

Danielle & LT ❤

 

I’m destined to carry….. January 3, 2013

Baby……………..

Babies. For other people. Who are awesome.

And who are going to be amazing parents.

You thought I was going to tell you whether M&Ts Little Tot aka LT was a boy or girl, didn’t you?

Sorry folks, you’ll have to wait until we get confirmation…

Monday M&T fly in for our 20 week anatomy scan!

Holy crap! Yep, I said 20 week anatomy scan.

Where is the time going?!

We are right around the corner from the halfway point

and 3rd trimester is in our sites…

I started feeling LT move pretty consistently. It’s a feeling I’ll never tire of…

Knowing baby is getting strong for his/her Mommy & Daddy

is an amazing feeling.

I promise an update and a gender reveal after Monday 🙂

In other surrofam news, Esteban, Michele and the twins are in Costa Rica!

Next stop?! Cali to see us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They arrive in just over a week and we are

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

excited!!! We have already planned out fun things to do and I can’t wait

to hug them all and love on my super adorable surrotwinkies!!!

I hope everyone had a great New Years and your 2013 is off to an awesome start!

Xoxo,

Danielle & LT

 

Happy Birthday Gabriel and Davide! December 18, 2012

In January of 2011, four strangers met for the very first time – And none of our lives would ever be the same again.

 

From our very first time spending the day together:

LA Zoo, April 2011

LA Zoo, April 2011

 

To beyond full term with two very special little boys:

38 Weeks - The morning I went into labor

38 Weeks – The morning I went into labor

 

To the day two amazing men became two of the worlds best Dads:

Hanging out while in labor

Hanging out while in labor

DSC04998

Meeting Gabriel for the first time

This journey has been one of the most special parts of my life and I will never forget a single moment. Esteban and Michele – Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your family – And allowing me the HUGE honor of helping you create your family. I am so blessed with the four of you and you will forever and always hold a very special place in my heart!

Gabriel and Davide – Watching you grow brings me so much joy. You have the best Dads two little boys could ever ask for. You are two very special little boys with family on more than one continent that loves you to the moon and back. We can’t wait to see you and your Daddies in January!!!!!! <3<3<3<3

Our first time all together - One day shy of 3 weeks old

Our first time all together – One day shy of 3 weeks old

 

6 months old

6 months old

 

6 months old

6 months old

 

And Today – Today my sweet surrotwins – You celebrate your first birthday. Such a memorable day for your Dads and your surrofam. Happy Birthday my loves, Happy Birthday ❤

1 year! Davide on the left, Gabriel on the right <3

1 year! Davide on the left, Gabriel on the right ❤