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.
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 :)