Pure Excitement!!!!/What A Blessing!

As I sat with the vision of having one baby, I became overwhelmed with gratitude. It was absolutely perfect!!! God knows what we can handle. My heart will do way better with only one baby to care for, I can include my daughter easier with one, and baby mamma will be more likely to carry the baby full-term and care for her twins easier. And we got one!!!

Plus, before we knew how many babies we would have, I had decided that it would be too stressful for me to try to nurse twins; mostly because I didn’t know if my heart could handle being up with twins all thru the nights. With nursing, it’s harder for the daddy to help take care of the baby.
Now that we were only having one baby, I was very excited to hopefully be able to nurse my baby and have that bonding time.

After the incredibly long, hard, invitro-surrogate process, we got pregnant! We’re going to have a baby!!!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, GOD!!! WHAT A MIRACLE!!!

WE AGAIN GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE ANOTHER MIRACLE OF GOD IN OUR LIVES!!!!!!!

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Making Sense of It All

Now that we were pregnant, I felt myself relax a little. I was able to breathe, and take the much-needed break.

So much of being pregnant didn’t seem like a reality. I found myself wondering was it real? Or was it all a dream?……There was nothing for me to do, and it felt like the process was over.
Our surrogate mother obviously wasn’t around us all the time, and when I was not with her, I easily forgot what was going on, the reality of it… I wanted to follow her around like a lost puppy…

Strangely, my mind played tricks on me………….What part of all this made sense?… Not much when I thought about it……..Pregnancy thru surrogacy wasn’t something that I had ever experienced or personally known anybody to experience before. We were feeling our way through a completely unknown experience.

I continued to try to connect with my baby/babies. And continued to struggle…..I finally decided to stop judging myself for how I thought I was supposed to think, feel, or connect to this experience, and that maybe it was okay that I was feeling so awkward. I gave it the possibility that it wouldn’t make or break my relationship with my baby/babies. That they would understand and know that I loved them anyway 🙂

I was barely able to get off all the hormone medications three weeks after the egg retrieval, and I could feel that they would take a while to get out of my body completely. My heart still wasn’t doing well, and the crazys still had their time with me, but it didn’t feel as intense.

I focused on reviving myself and strengthening my heart… I felt better about the whole thing…….At least for moments at a time…

Heart Echocardiogram/Cardiac Appointment

I had my heart appointment scheduled for January 27th, two days after the embryo transfer. They did an hour and a half long echocardiogram, a pacemaker evaluation, and then I saw the cardiologist. He let me know that there wasn’t much change from the echo done in June, before the invitro-surrogate process started, but that I still needed to plan for another open-heart surgery very soon. I was excited that the stenosis hadn’t gotten worse from seven months ago, but I was still dreading another surgery 😦

As far as how crappy I was feeling, that had to do with my blood pressure being so low, along with the electrical part of my heart. I was having several heart irregularities and cardiac arrhythmias that my pacemaker was not recording , so my cardiologist put me on a 24/7 continuous heart monitor. I had to wear it for a whole flippin’ month! It was kinda embarrassing and very inconvenient.

My cardiologist felt like my heart was complexed enough and recommended that I find an electrocardiologist. He referred me to a highly recommended physician, that he actually worked with, so the two of them could discuss my case easily.

The Embryo Transfer!!!/We made it!!!

(I knew that there was still a chance that none of the embryos would attach and survive, and that if they didn’t, the 7 month long, excruciating process and 40k would be lost…..)

The room we were in had a big screen TV in it, and in the next room were our little want-to-be-babies. The tech magnified what was going on in the next room, and they had it up on the screen so we could see. As he syringed each embryo up, along with the fluid they were in, I had butterflies throughout my body and wanted to scream with excitement!!! Calmly, I watch as he brought them into the doctor, and the doctor transferred my three little embryos to the warm, loving environment that had been carefully prepared just for them, our surrogate mother’s uterus.

We had finally made it to this point, and now had a two-week wait to anticipate whether we would get to continue on this miraculous journey.

Two or Three???

God had assisted us up to this point, and we knew that it would take a greater power to take over the process from here. I wanted to implant three embryos, so that our chances of having at least one baby survive would be more likely. Putting in three embryos, didn’t mean that three would take. We were planning on implanting two, and planning for two babies surviving. I was afraid with three that I wouldn’t be able to be there for the babies like I wanted to. And even more scared that I couldn’t physically take care of three babies.

I also knew that I would willingly and ecsatically accept one, two, or three beautiful babies with a smile on my face, and that God wouldn’t give me more than I could handle. If all three did attach and survive, we were all four willing to do what it took for their safety.

The four of us discussed, and Dan and Alice assured me with details of scenarios, of what could happen, and what they would be willing to do if each happened. Dan jokingly said, “If you guyz have three, you can just give us one!”

A peace came over the room and over Alice, Dan, & me. I started becoming more clear, and felt like God was guiding us all. We had made a decision and I felt good and at peace with it.

WE CHOSE TO IMPLANT THREE LITTLE EMBRYOS!!!

Another Decision???/Dan To The Rescue!

January 25th, 2010 The Embryo Transfer!!!

Alice asked me if I wanted to be there during the embryo transfer. I was thrilled!!!

She obviously wanted her hubby there, so they met me at the clinic. There weren’t anymore decisions to be made, so Gordon went to work. I didn’t think I would need him, and he wouldn’t be in the room anyway………….Or so I thought…..

The doctors had been telling us throughout the 7 months of trying, that they would only implant two embryos at the most. We wanted twins and Alice was ready to carry twins, she’s an expert on that, hehe:)

When we got there, the doctor came in and told us that because the embryos were just barely below normal in quality, we had the choice to transfer three embryos…..What the heck! We had already discussed in detail our options and made the big decision, and now things felt out of control all over again. I called Gordon, but he seemed to be in the same overwhelming dilemma. He knew we were on the same page, so he trusted my decision….I didn’t want to make the decision:(
I felt numb…………. I didn’t want to deal with anything else.

So many risks and unknowns. Would three take? Would they be early or full-term? I had the experience of the NICU before, and just wanted to experience the normal, stay-at-home, in bed, enjoying my baby/babies for two weeks like everyone I had seen. I wanted to be able to actually hold my baby…
Would Alice have to go on bedrest, and not be there for her girls? Could my heart handle three, I didn’t want to take on more than I could handle and enjoy…………….

There was so much loudness in my head, I wanted to run away and cancel the whole thing. I had been on so many hormone drugs, I didn’t feel stable or sane at all. I really didn’t feel like I could make anymore decisions.

We sat in the small, dark room, waiting for an answer. I had a thousand swords flying my way. As I stared off in a blank, Dan and Alice started talking about it. They were wondering what the answer would be, and at the time same being very supportive.

Holding back the tears, I started telling them my concerns and fears, cuz it was again a decision all four of us needed to make. I couldn’t think straight and was mumbling. I couldn’t seem to comprehend anything…..

Dan stood up and very assertively encouraged us to discussed all the facts, details, risks, thoughts, and feelings of all four of us. He completely saved my ass. It was like the “Incredibles”, when Helena grabs elastigirl and says, “pull yourself together”, but in the most loving, caring, gentle way.

It was like he took all my confusion and made sense of it. Thank you, Dan!

Be Strong, My Amazing Heart!

My heart had been affected much more than I realized. All the extreme and rapid fluctuations of hormones going through my body with each cycle we tried, was more than my heart could handle…I was having alot more symptoms, and feeling worse everyday. I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be around to raise this baby/babies that we were trying so hard to get, or my daughter.

I was supposed to be scheduled for my third open-heart surgery this same month. As you can imagine, timing was horrible!

Now that this was the last cycle we would try, I just wanted to finish the process before I went to see my cardiologist. He had to give the okay at the beginning of the process, that my heart could handle the medications and the egg retrieval, and I didn’t want him to change his mind base on how I was doing now. I was afraid that if I went to see him before we were finished, that the whole thing would be stopped. I couldn’t risk that, we were too close………

Going Home/Freedom

I started doing better after about a week on antibiotics. I was able to start moving my bowels and didn’t have to have another surgery. (PHEWW!) I dropped about 20 lbs. of water weight in 4 days, and I could feel it. My heart and kidneys were getting stronger.

Women are usually in the hospital for 2-3 days for a normal c-section, I was in for 10 days. Although I still had a long recovery ahead of me, I was ecstatic to go home (actually, I went to stay with my mom for awhile). After 14 weeks on bedrest, and 2 1/2 months in the hospital, I was FREE!!!……I felt like shit, but I was FREE!

We had accumulated so much stuff over the 2 1/2 months in the hospital, that it took Gordon two full trips out and filled up our whole car.

Barely Surviving

After about two days, the nurses made me get up. They wanted to monitor my weight. I was so swollen from my heart, that I weighed more than when I was pregnant. They were giving me lasix (a diuretic), but were very worried about my heart and kidneys.
I got up, but couldn’t walk much. I was excited to be able to see my baby whenever I wanted. I had only seen her once, and she was three days old. I felt like such a bad mom….

Gordon took me in a wheelchair, down to the NICU. I could stand up to see my precious baby for about five minutes, and then could sit in the chair for about a half an hour. I couldn’t see her very well sitting, but it felt good to be near her. They wouldn’t let us hold her….I often wondered if she was really mine….I stared at her, wondering if I would ever be able to hold her and take care of her like my motherly instincts desperately wanted to. Through the tubes and wires, I watched her closely for each breath.

When I got back from seeing her the first day, I told the nurses that I wanted to go down at least five times a day…..I made it ONCE…… I couldn’t pull strength from anywhere. It devastated me….. It felt as though both of us were barely surviving:(

Vaginal Birth or C-Section

Because of two previous open-heart surgeries and my unique heart (hehe, I’m staying positive), my doctors discouraged me from getting pregnant. I told them I had been waiting for a baby for a long time. I asked them if they would support me through a pregnancy. I now have amazing doctors, after several years of ASSHOLES and multiple surgeries. Both my OB/GYN & Cardiologist agreed to be my support and monitor me when I got pregnant.

After my water broke, my Cardiologist told me that he was actually glad that I was on bedrest, because he wasn’t sure my heart would be able to handle being pregnant with much of any activity. Throughout the pregnancy, I have had echocardiograms to monitor how my heart is handling the pregnancy and extra blood flow. Throughout a pregnancy, a women’s body produces about 3x the regular amount of blood. This is why, by the end, you feel like a fiery furnace. My heart is definitely taking a toll, but because of bedrest, it is managing pretty well.

Because of the important, specific details of what needed to happen when I went into labor, every doctor that took over for my OB or that was on call, would come into my room and discuss each and every detail with me. They wanted to know what was going on, and wanted me to know that I had great doctors that knew what to do. It was very comforting and all of them treated me like I was very special. However, I was very clear that I wanted MY OB, Dr. Draper, there for the delivery if possible, and he said he would be there if he could make it.

Dr. Draper knew that I wanted a natural, vaginal birth. He said I would not be able to have it natural, because my heart wouldn’t handle me pushing at all. I would have to have a very heavy epidural, so my uterus would be able to push the baby out.

He said that if I wasn’t able to have a vaginal birth, I would have to be put completely out for a C-section so they could monitor my heart with a Transesophageal Echocardiogram (an echo camera down my throat), and be able to override my pacemaker and defibrillator. He said Gordon wouldn’t be able to be in the room.

I knew that if I had to be put out, then I would miss the first several hours of my baby’s life. I wouldn’t know what was going on, or if the baby even made it…… I tried not to think about it, and just prayed that everything would go good. I was so focused on having a vaginal birth, so that both me and Gordon could be present for the baby.