Sunday, May 18, 2014

Isabella Arrives!

So, its been 6 days and I am currently wearing my pre-pregnancy clothes and feeling GREAT!  My recovery has been so much easier this time around...but I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let me back-up to Monday, May 12, 2014....or rather, a few weeks before.

Our due date was estimated to be 5/15/14, but because of my previous c-section, we had to schedule another.  So, after some discussion with Dr. R about 2 months ago, we chose Monday, 5/12/14 and hoped that we would make it that far - 39w4d.  

We had several trips to L&D that I liked to call practice runs....the first was at 37w when I was experiencing some pretty severe abdominal pain.  It wasn't contractions, but a severe "cramp" across my abdomen.  I didn't really want to go in, but the only way we could be sure that everything was good was to obtain an u/s.  Angie, the u/s tech for Dr. R, was out of the office with the stomach flu, so the only way I was going to get an u/s was to go into L&D.  I knew we wouldn't be having a baby, but I called Carrie & Marc to let them know.  We ended up being in L&D triage for about 5 hours...the u/s took about an hour...the tech was so stinking slow it was ridiculous!  But, as I expected, everything was good and we chalked up the pain to a muscle or nerve issue.

38 weeks

Our 2nd run to L&D was a week later when I WAS having contractions.  I spent about 6 hours timing them and putting off another trip to the hospital, but after 6 hours of them being 4-5 minutes apart, I decided to err on the side of caution.  I knew that as soon as we all got there, the contractions would stop and we'd be heading back home - they weren't getting any stronger or more intense, but also weren't stopping.  But, as I figured, we were heading home an hour after checking-in at the triage desk....contractions subsided and I had not progressed or dilated AT ALL.

39w4d - last belly pic!!!

So, needless to say, we made it to Monday, May 12, and at 7AM were being walked up to the pre-op area.  When a surrogate shows up at the hospital, word tends to spread and curiosity is peaked.  My 2 nurses, Karen and Michelle, were both very curious about why I was a surrogate, what it was like, did I know the parents before-hand, etc.  All of the typical questions we surrogates are used to answering :)  I LOVE sharing my stories and answering any and all questions, so there was no lack of conversation while I was being prepped.  The anesthesiologist came in to introduce himself and I talked to him about our situation and asked that he allow both Marc & Carrie into the delivery room, along with Michael who would be my support person.  We had been praying about this situation for the last few months, hoping that whomever we had would be agreeable to allowing both parents into the OR, and our prayers were answered when he immediately said "sure, no problem!"  I cannot tell you what a relief it was to know that everyone would be permitted into the OR with me.  

Marc & Carrie came in about 15 minutes later and introductions were made.  The nurse that would tend to Isabella came in to talk with them about what they should expect while my nurses continued to get me ready. Several times Marc had to leave the area so that he didn't see certain "things".  At one point, Michael stepped out into the hallway with him.  Michael said that while they were talking, people kept walking by and doing a double-take...and it dawned on him that they likely thought he & Marc were the expectant parents-to-be since it was likely known there was a surrogate in pre-op getting ready to deliver :)  We all got a good laugh over that later!

Anyway, right around 8:30, our scheduled c-section time, the nurses helped me walk into the OR, leaving Michael, Marc & Carrie behind.  

It took a good 15-20 minutes for me to get my spinal and get positioned and ready, but as soon as everything was set, they were all brought into the OR and told where to stand/sit.  Michael sat to my immediate left and Marc & Carrie were further over, near the baby warmer.  Cameras were set and the procedure began....seemed like it took forever this time-around, but in all fairness, it was probably only 10-15 minutes before Rawson announced "get your cameras ready".  I told Michael to snap a quick pic of Isabella when they held her up, but what I really wanted was the reactions of Marc & Carrie seeing their sweet baby girl for the first time.  

Hearing her cry, seeing them react to her...the emotions were amazing.  

I couldn't help but begin to cry too!  

At one point the nurse brought her over to show me - she was goopy, but so very beautiful!

Marc & Carrie and baby Bella were taken into recovery while Dr. R and his team closed me back up. 

Eventually I was taken back to the pre-op area to recover and rest.  While there, the nurses and the AA were working to get my blood pressure & heart rate to level out - heart rate was through the roof and blood pressure was in the toilet.  Nurses said it wasn't anything to worry about, but they were watching me like a hawk.  The only issue I felt was dizziness.  But we spent a good 2 hours in there before they finally sent me to my room.  Once I was settled, Michael headed home to eat & grab the kiddos.  At some point that afternoon, Carrie came over with Bella so that I could see & hold her...I remember that happening now, but the day after, we were laughing because it had completely slipped my mind.  We will just blame that on the drugs....

Michael & the kiddos came back on Monday evening to see me...well, to see Isabella and quickly say Hi to me :)

Rawson came over on Tuesday evening to say Hi, check my incision and asked if I wanted to head home a day early...well, duh!  I of course told him I did and we agreed that as long as everything was good, I'd go home on Weds instead of Thursday....took him ALL DAY on Weds to show up, but I was eventually released that evening and got to spend the night in my own bed. 

Since being home, my recovery has been so much easier than the previous section.  My stomach muscles are much less sore - I've been able to get myself up & down out of bed, roll to my side, walking around easier than I expected, etc.  I've been amazed at how much simpler this time has been!!!  Michael & I  ran a few errands on Friday that included having lunch with our Pastors, my bosses, and I even attended Ian's Gymfest on Friday evening and Morgann's on Saturday! Oh, and I FINALLY got my margarita Friday evening too :) :) :)

I'm sure there are parts to this story I may have missed, or forgotten, and I know that Carrie will likely post her own version of Isabella's birth, but I can say without reservation that I am so grateful for what this past year has brought.  From meeting Carrie at a nearby Starbucks to simply answer questions and help her navigate the scary waters of surrogacy, to completing my unexpected 3rd surrogacy journey with she & Marc standing by.  I had no idea what this might look like from the other side, but I have no doubt that this is what God had planned for my life.  The blessings that surrogacy has brought to me and my family are numerous.  We have made so many life-long friends, and have experienced joys that many people will never understand or experience themselves.  But I have absolutely ZERO doubt that this was a calling that God placed on my life.  My children have been a part of watching families be created by different means, have watched women become mothers without carrying their own babies, and have witnessed what it means to sacrificially give of yourself.  Not everyone will always agree with your choices, but when you follow God's will for life, He will ALWAYS bless your path.  

I cannot put into words how wonderful this journey with Marc & Carrie has been.  I keep trying, but words fall short.  I simply Thank God for bringing our paths together, and for blessing them with such a precious little miracle.  

Isabella Dawn Rodriguez
5/12/14 @ 8:57AM
6 pounds 4 ounces, 19 inches long
Practically Perfect in every way :)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

She's here!!!

I plan to blog today because I want to remember her birth story as best I can,  but just a quick post to say that baby Isabella Dawn Rodriguez arrived on Monday,  5/12/14 @ 8:57am weighing in at 6 lbs 4 oz,  19" long :-)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Baby 101 Class

Two weeks ago we attended an "infant care" class at the hospital.  We were each given babies that looked like this:

What's wrong with this baby?  Is it hungry?  Gassy?  Tired?  Bloated?  Constipated?  Hmmm... from the expression, who could tell?

Anyway, we learned the five S's from Harvey Karp's book, "The Happiest Baby on the Block": Swaddle, Side, Swing, Shhhh, and Suck.  Here is Marc with his perfectly swaddled baby (I think we will find it is much more difficult to do on a baby that can *move*):

Other good information gathered: how to decode baby's cries using the Dunstan Baby Language System, baby bottles, pacifiers, infant choking, signs of an unhappy baby and techniques to calm.

Baby Showers!

I had a great baby shower put on my sweet friends; and one surprise (!) shower put on by our small group the night before.
Here are pictures from the surprise baby shower:

(you can tell it was a surprise, or else I would have fixed my hair!)

It was held at or friends, Vince and Yvonne's house.  They have a nice outdoor gazebo!

The "big" shower, at my friend's Melissa's house.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Cesarean Section Class

Last Saturday Marc and I went to a cesarean section class at the hospital.  The first thing I learned: how to spell c-e-s-a-r-e-a-n.  It's not Ceasarean, as I had assumed.  Wasn't Ceasar birthed by c-section?  Well, that wasn't covered.  I wish you could hear the "Jaws" theme, as that is what was playing in my head as we walked into the classroom.  Marc was hoping for a model, not a LIVE one, mind you, but one he could at least open up and take guts out of.  I was feeling queasy.

So the class was mostly the nurse talking about pre-op and post-op procedures.  We were happy to learn information about newborn babies such as this:

We were not happy (and a little freaked out) at learning everything there is to know about c-sections (and yes I know this is the reason I signed us up for this class):

We got to go upstairs and look at the pre and post op area, and what the rooms look like.  This was my favorite part of the class.  We were not allowed to go into the operating room (unfortunately).

and... in case you were wondering, which I was when the nurse teaching the class rolled in the TV, we did not watch a video of a c-section.  We watched an animation of one.

(to clarify:  Jenn is having a scheduled c-section due to her last pregnancy needing to be a c-section.  It's tentatively scheduled for May 12!)

Belated 28 Week U/S Pics and News

Ok, well I figured I better get these up since *tomorrow* we have our 30 week appt... only two weeks behind!

We had a little scary news at the 28 week appointment.  At the very end of our chat with Dr. Rawson, he mentioned he wanted to do another ultrasound because there was a small echogenic area in the heart that they had been watching.  They hadn't said anything because they didn't want to worry us and thought it would shrink in size or disappear.  We did the ultrasound, and the area was still there- and at the same size.  I did my best to take a picture from my own computer screen (we've had most of the ultrasounds recorded for us), when Angie pointed out the spot with her cursor.  When you see it in motion, you can really see the four heart chambers moving, but here you can only see a dot:

We were referred to a Fetal Medicine Specialist, and got an appointment just three days later.  At this appointment, they did an extended ultrasound (it lasted 45 minutes!) and looked at *everything*.  They said she looked completely normal and that the echogenic spot was really nothing to worry about, they see it all the time.  So we haven't been worried.  Hopefully tomorrow will show some shrinkage of that little spot, if we do indeed do another ultrasound!  Anyway, little Isabella Dawn gave us some reassurance that everything was okay, she smiled at us!  It was one of the best ultrasound shots ever!!