While I sat and typed up my last post, I was well aware that my contractions were stronger and more frequent. But, as mentioned several times before, I just had a feeling that when it came down to the real deal, it would be because my water broke. I left to get Kaleb from daycare and came back home around 5:45pm. I went to the bathroom to pee and came out to get dinner on the table and felt a little trickle that didn't belong and ran right back to the bathroom. I immediately thought that it could be my water, but then it kind of stopped and nothing happened. Terry was getting ready to head out to his son's soccer game that was about half an hour from home and he wouldn't be home until around 9:30pm. I felt another trickle and told Terry that we might be heading to the hospital after he gets home from the game in a few hours. He seemed a little surprised and asked me if I wanted him to stay back and I said "no, it's not urgent and I can wait." I was this same way when my water broke with Kaleb and I also knew that this was an important game for Terry to go to. There was a sense of calm and no sense of urgency. Terry left, and he felt bad and didn't want anyone to think that he was picking the soccer game over me, but I re-assured him that we would go when he came back and that I had things to get in order anyways. At that point I was still kind of second guessing myself although I knew I wasn't peeing my pants because I can now tell you from experience what it feels like to be a grown ass woman and having accidents.....oh, have I mentioned how fun it is to carry twins sometimes? Never a dull moment, I'm tellin' ya! Some words of wisdom for you ladies; never allow your bladder to get totally full, this is a very bad idea, and never pass up the opportunity to pee in a toilet, even if you just passed a bathroom 10 minutes before......I've got a whole new respect for public restrooms while I refused to use them before. Anyways, back to the story; Kaleb ate dinner and I took a shower. When I bent over after taking a shower to dry off.......lets just say I had to dry off again, yep, GUSH :). I put a big pad in my underwear and put some comfy clothes on and started to get ready. I let Kaleb know that when Terry came home, I would be going to the hospital to have the babies and that he would be taken care of and that everything would be fine. He was so excited :). I could sense the wheels in his head were turning. He wasn't really convinced that the babies would be coming, because I wasn't acting any different and he asked me a couple of times if my water was still leaking, even though I could tell he had no idea what I meant by my water leaking (this I forgot to educate him on, ooops). I called Kaleb's dad to see if he would take him that night and bring him to school the next day but couldn't reach him so I knew I still had my back-up who is and will always be right there and ready for me......my family. Although I still hadn't told anyone just yet.
For the next couple of hours I paced myself with getting ready. After my shower and getting on some comfy clothes, I gave Kaleb a bath and got him in his jammies. I dried and styled my hair (I knew this would be the last time I did my hair for a couple of days and wanted to look somewhat decent for pictures, don't judge!) and did my make-up and packed that stuff in my bag. While I was getting ready, I kept wondering when it would be a good time to let T&Y know what was happening. It was killing me not to tell people what was going on! I had a little dilemma. I really didn't want to tell T&Y right away because I knew they would feel like it was very urgent that we get to the hospital and I wanted to wait until Terry got home around 9:30pm, but I also knew that they were planning to join my sister, Abbie, and her friend at a concert that evening and I didn't want them to actually GO to the concert before I let them know. So, I called my sister, Abbie, at 8:00pm to let her know and I left her with a very special secret to keep for the next half hour until I was ready to tell the guys. She was shocked and so excited. The best part about that scenario was that she was there to witness their reaction when I called to let them know. It couldn't have worked out any better! I promised her that I would call T&Y at 8:30pm to let them know.
I finished getting ready and then called T&Y at 8:30pm to let them know that my water had broken and that they would be having some babies very soon. I also expressed that there was absolutely no urgency to get to the hospital at this very moment and that I wouldn't be leaving the house for another hour or so, so to enjoy these moments, finish their packing, and wait for another call from me. T was the one who answered and he sounded so calm, I thought he didn't believe me at first! According to my sister, his reaction when I told him that my water broke, was absolutely priceless. He was shocked, smiling, and so excited. They saluted with a glass of wine and sat around with my sister and her friend, waiting for THAT call.
I figured the hospital wouldn't be trying to feed me during labor since I was at a higher risk for c-section so I packed some snacks to sneak; apples, peanut m&ms and cookies :). I grabbed my body pillow and the rest of the things I "needed" to bring to the hospital. Kaleb watched t.v (I don't let him watch t.v very often, so he was probably thinking that I could have babies every day of the week and he'd be happy about it!). I called my youngest sister, Karly, to let her know that Kaleb's dad was not answering and that I needed someone to pick Kaleb up and take him for the night and bring him to daycare in the morning. The rest of the weekend we would play by ear. Again, my family is awesome and always ready and willing to help. I called my mom to let her know and she was just as surprised. Everyone seemed so shocked that it was actually happening. Like...right NOW, it was happening. I think we all thought it might be a little longer. And maybe some of us forgot that it would ever come to this, an "end" to this chapter. I'll touch more on that at the end. The feelings that I felt about everything at this point.
My sister, Karly, came to pick Kaleb up and take him for the night. What a life-saver she is! When she got to the house, she asked me "aren't you freaking out?!" I said "no, I'm calm, I know it will take a while before things start rolling and I feel the same as I did when my water broke with Kaleb. Calm." If I had been carrying a singleton, I really would have liked to labor at home as long as possible (assuming that labor would start on its own and I wouldn't need the evil Pitocin). But because it was a twin pregnancy, I knew that it wasn't possible and we would be in the hospital for the entire labor. I had planned to ask if I could walk and sit on my birthing ball and not be totally tied to the bed the entire time. Fingers crossed. Kaleb gave me a big hug before he left (well, as much of a hug as he could, considering I was all belly!). He was excited to sleep over at his auntie and cousin's house and I was happy that I had packed a hospital bag for him, when I packed mine. Out the door he went, and on with the rest of my packing and preparing I went. Slowly but surely.
At 9:00pm, Y called to ask if I was sure I didn't need or want them to come and get me and bring me to the hospital. They were anxious and I don't blame them one bit! I re-assured them that Terry was almost home and that I'd be calling them to let them know that we were leaving in about half an hour. At 9:15pm, Terry came home from the game and quickly put together his things. We were out the door at 9:30pm. When we got to the hospital we went straight to the maternity ward to get checked in. I went into a little triage room first (T&Y were not there yet) to get checked out. T&Y arrived shortly after and waited in the waiting room. They checked in with the nurse a few times while I only spent about 45 minutes in the triage room, I think they really thought I would give birth soon and they would miss it, but I was so confident that labor would take forever and I reassured them that we would be going into the room that I would labor in, shortly.
One of the first questions I asked the nurse in the triage room was "who is on tonight and when does my OB arrive?" She let me know who was on that night and it just so happened to be another OB who is very experienced with surrogates and one who would not have any issue allowing me to deliver vaginally. My OB was to arrive at 7:00am in the morning (it was 11:45pm at this time.....again, I knew labor would be long, so it would be him who delivered). Perfect. I felt like the stars aligned....my OB was scheduled at the hospital just 3 days this month and I just so happened to be there on one of them! YES! The nurse checked me in the triage room (ouch), and I was at about 3cm at that time, however, my contractions were not regular at that point. No surprise. We left the triage room and went to a much more comfortable room for me to labor in. The room had a bed for me, a couch, a rocking chair, and a few folding chairs.
I knew deep down that it would take Pitocin to get my contractions going, just like it did with Kaleb. I really wanted to be able to be up and about and not tied down to a bed, so I was pretty happy when we got to our room and the nurse allowed me to walk the halls. Terry took that opportunity to take a nap, knowing he'd be up all night. T&Y and I walked for about an hour and then went back to the room to get checked. Not much progress, so back to walking we went. We talked and talked and time passed quickly. T&Y were SO excited and I couldn't wait for the moment they met their children for the first time. The moment they would become a family. At 2:00am we finished walking and the nurse started the Pitocin. Y asked again how long I thought it would be. I continued to let them know that it would be a very long labor. The nurse made comments about having the babies before her shift ended at 7:00am, at which I balked and told the guys not to listen to her, it wouldn't happen. It was 2:00am and five hours of labor would be a dream! They were SO tired, their eyes were rolling in the backs of their heads as they talked to me, so I was happy when they finally took my advice to take a little snooze in the room. Each of them took turns taking a nap and I managed to stay awake, even though I felt as if I had been hit with a tranquilizer.
At 3:00am I sat on my birthing ball in hopes of getting my contractions to come more regularly and stronger. I also requested a coke from the machine to wake me up a bit. I knew I'd need all the energy I could get to stay awake for the next day or so. Turns out, the babies took all of the caffeine and left me with nothing. Those sneaky babies :). They were busy moving, kicking and dancing. The monitor picked up all of their movements and I could tell it made the guys a little nervous because every movement was loud. I reassured them that it was just the two moving around after the caffeine high that they stole from me and that it was normal. T&Y kept looking at the monitor when a contraction would come and tell me what the number was on the Richter scale. They didn't realize that the number did not matter. The contractions weren't very strong yet, but they were there and getting more and more regular. We continued to talk and I even pulled out my laptop to pay a few bills since it was pay day that day. Between 4:00am and 5:00am I was checked again and was at about 5cm. The time was passing quickly for me.
The nurses kept asking if I wanted an epidural yet and I kept telling them "no" and that I wanted to wait until I was pretty progressed and couldn't handle the pain anymore. It was so weird to me how different things were this time around. The nurses and OB were eager to give pain meds and were really encouraging it, while it used to be the opposite. I wasn't uncomfortable and saw no need for an epidural at that point. But because I was delivering twins, I was told from the beginning that I was required to have an epidural at some point so that, if an emergency c-section was needed, they would be able to deliver quickly without having to put me under completely. My goal was to get as far as I could before begging for an epidural and I....was....determined.
I labored a long and hard labor with Kaleb before getting an epidural and when I finally got an epidural, I went from 4cm to complete and +1 station within about an hour. It was a mad dash to get the room turned over for delivery as I surprised everyone with the progress. I was afraid the same thing would happen this time around. That my body would be tense and not relax until I received an epidural, but the fact that my cervix was already dilating and progressing, gave me more and more confident that the epidural could wait. The nurse came back at about 5:00am when I climbed back into bed and she told me about their "magic peanut ball." Apparently, this nifty peanut shaped exercise ball that fits between your legs, has helped women in labor progress quickly and it works like a charm every time. I was skeptical, keeping in mind my previous long labor, but happily obliged and laid on my side while she put the peanut ball between my legs. I immediately noticed a difference. I suddenly felt a shift in the babies' positions, more pressure, and my contractions became MUCH stronger. I even asked Y to show me the strip of paper that comes out of the monitor so I could see if the nurse made notes about increasing the Pitocin. The sheet was empty, no notes.....it was ALLLL peanut ball! I breathed through each contraction quietly (I'm not a screamer or a moaner....I refuse, but I understand why women do, labor IS painful!). I continued to think to myself "relax, let your body do it's thing, don't tense up, breathe, you're not going to die, it will be over very soon." And it was the truth each and every time, so I continued to tell myself the same thing during every contraction. I am not one to focus on anything or envision things, but I envisioned letting my cervix open with each contraction, as painful as it was and as much as I wanted to grip and tighten up, I think it helped! It was amazing, as painful as they were, I continued to press on. T would place his hand on mine (I gripped the bed rail since I was on my side), to comfort me when he saw me close my eyes to breathe. He would tell me when it was almost over, too :) So sweet :)
At 6:45am, the nurse came back and asked "Ok, do you want an epidural now?" I responded "if you check me and tell me that I'm progressed to a 6 or 7, maybe I'll consider it, but I want to get through this contraction first and then pee." I kept in mind that I was required to have one, even though I still didn't feel it was necessary at that point and was getting through each one just fine on my own. They all felt equally as strong, so I wondered when they would get so strong that I couldn't take it anymore. Until I reached that point, I wanted to continue naturally. She checked me and when she pulled her hand out, it was covered in blood, which surprised me and I asked "is that normal?" She said "yes, it's bloody show, you're at almost 9cm, no time for an epidural right now, no time to pee, we need to get you into the operating room because you're about to deliver." Whoa! What?! 5 hours of labor? Awesome! Scary!
Terry and the guys quickly stripped down and put on their scrubs. I overheard the nurse talking to the anesthesiologist on the phone and she said "I can't help how quickly she dilated!" I'm assuming he wasn't happy with the urgency of the situation. She was trying to get him to my room to administer the epidural before we got into the OR, or at the very least, get him into the OR now. The reason that I had to deliver in the OR was because twin delivery is at a higher risk for c-section, so in the event that I needed a c-section, we needed to be fully prepared. As everything was happening, I started to feel emotional and about to cry, just because I couldn't believe it was about to happen, but I held back. It's an emotion that's hard to put into words. I was happy and sad that it was almost over, scared, and excited all at the same time. Part of me wishes I would have just allowed myself to cry, but I thought that would happen effortlessly in the OR when the babies arrived.
My OB walked in wearing his jeans, jacket, and carrying a coffee, his shift was to start at 7:00am and it was about 6:55am. He had JUST arrived "on duty" and we barely gave him enough time to change. He joked a little with the guys and said they looked more prepared to deliver than he was (they were all gowned up and standing in the room, ready to run out the door with us). It was time! We rolled down to the OR while I laid on my side and continued to breathe through contractions. When we got into the room, it was everything everyone had prepared me for. It was cold, bright, not very welcoming, much like any room you have surgery in, and the table that I had to deliver on was narrow and uncomfortable. I had Y at my left stroking my hair, T in front of him at my left holding my hand and Terry on my right holding my other hand. I managed to scoot onto the table, off of the one I was laboring on, and at that moment I felt Baby A's head move into the birth canal. I looked down at my OB and said "I just felt his head move down." My OB flipped me on my back, acknowledged that Baby boy's head was at a +3 station (almost crowning) and that I was not supposed to push and just breathe through the contraction. At that moment, I remember thinking "this is what women bitch about when they're told not to push, and they feel like they need to...like really really need to." I told him that I would try, but that I wasn't going to make any promises. All of the rumors of what a natural birth feels like, were coming to fruition. At that moment my OB said "Nicole, there isn't any time to get an epidural, are you going to be ok with that?" To which I responded "it SOUNDS like you're giving me a choice, but I know you're not, so I'll do what I can." He laughed and we got down to business, but I won't lie, I was scared! I remember hearing about "the ring of fire." Sounded painful to me! I did not have the urge to push when I had Kaleb because I had an epidural, and I also felt very little when I had him, only a slight burning sensation, but mostly numb. While delivering Kaleb, with every contraction, the nurses had to tell me and then I pushed. THIS, was much different. I had the urge to push like nobody's business. I managed to breathe through that first contraction so everyone could get my legs in the stirrups and situated. The anesthesiologist introduced himself to me, told me that if I needed to have a c-section I would drift quickly off to sleep and wake up shortly after when it was all over. I remember thinking "I really hope I don't need you." The nurse looked at me and said "you're going to feel burning and it's going to hurt, but you need to push through it, don't hold back". I was allowed to start pushing with my next contraction and BOY did I PUSH! It hurt like hell, but felt so good at the same time. I kept thinking "oh my God, can I do this? Keep pushing. He's almost out. This hurts like hell! Pushing feels good!" Three good pushes and Baby Dor was born at 7:31am weighing 5 lbs. 12 oz. and 18 inches long, screaming like a champ. I remember the feeling of the slippery cord attached to him. This was all so new to me, it was actually so amazing to have feeling during delivery. He was placed on my stomach and I took my first real deep breath, one I hadn't been able to do in a long time, and thinking "I have another one in there, I want to get her out, no c-section, no c-section, he's still screaming, are they going to give him to T&Y or just leave him here, I don't know what to do, do I touch him, do I try to comfort him, do I ignore him, I can't hear anyone who's talking to me." T cut his cord and they whisked him off to the warming bassinet. My OB asked me to give him a test push to see how Baby girl's head was positioned and how close she was. It must have been a good push because I brought her down right away, he broke her bag of water which the guys and Terry thought was interesting as it gushed out, I continued to give some pushes, even without contractions and she was born 10 minutes later at 7:41am weighing 4 lbs. 10 oz. and 18 inches long. Again, I felt her slippery cord, breathed a sigh of relief as they put her on my stomach. It was AMAZING. She came out crying, but not as much as her brother. I put my hands on her and patted her back to get her to cry more. I looked at the both of them like they were little aliens. I didn't feel a maternal connection...at all. It was strange, but comforting. I really thought I would cry like a baby when they were born. I was actually hoping for that because I feel as though I lack the emotion that everyone needed to see and I needed to feel. The truth is, I felt emotional, but didn't feel the need to cry. This is how I felt was supposed to feel all along and it happened and I felt relieved. These babies were not mine. I felt like someone had just placed two babies on my stomach that did not belong to me. And that's exactly it. They were never mine. They did not feel like mine.
Y cut her cord and they stepped away in the room to hold the babies and take pictures. Before T&Y left the room, Y came over and buried his head in my shoulder and cried and repeated "thank you, thank you so much." I wrapped my arm around him and kissed his head and congratulated him. The only regret that I have about the delivery is that I wasn't able to concentrate on the guys when the babies were born. I was so wrapped up in pushing, because it was painful and intense, that I didn't stop and smell the roses. Kaleb's birth was much different. It was slower and I watched as I delivered him. But, then again, I am so absolutely astonished that I was able to deliver without an epidural and how smoothly it went, that I couldn't possibly change anything about it. What an awesome and amazing experience that was. Would I deliver without an epidural again? On purpose? Depending on how big the baby was estimated to be, possibly!
After T&Y left, it was time to deliver the placenta. When I had Kaleb, I paid absolutely no attention to this part. I was numb so the OB did the work and I didn't even realize what was going on down there. I also bled like crazy after Kaleb and wound up passing out a few times in the bathroom after I got up. And it took, what seemed like, forever for the epidural to wear off. This experience, again, was totally different. Delivering the placenta. Ouch! My OB massaged and pushed on my stomach and also gently pulled on the cord to pull the placenta. I think that took longer than it did to deliver the babies. It was almost like delivering another baby! Once the placenta came out, he went ahead with examining it and showing us what everything looked like. All I could think was "how do you people eat after this?" I could handle never seeing a placenta again. Yuck. Although it WAS interesting to see the two "sacs" and a hole in each of them where they came out of and their cords attached to it.
My OB kept commenting on how perfect everything went. He mentioned how it would have been great to have the students in there to watch everything as it was textbook perfect. I felt the same. I was so happy and relieved that everything went so well and couldn't believe it. I didn't rip or tear, just a little bit as any woman giving birth would, and I didn't lose very much blood. Again, an entirely different experience than what I had with Kaleb. Each were amazing, but this one was less complicated and shorter. I just couldn't believe how it all happened so quickly!
I got back to the room and Terry had sent my mom a message earlier to let her know that it was time. She was on her way when I went into the OR. Once back in my room, T&Y came to say "hi" and to check on me. We took a couple of pictures together before they went back to the babies. The nurse came in to see if I was ready to get into the shower and clean up. She asked me if I was a "fainter", to which I replied, "why yes, that's exactly what happened after I had my son." She wanted me to eat first and then get up afterwards. I couldn't stop shaking/shivering from the adrenaline, some pain, and just everything. Terry ordered my food for me (french toast and bacon....I was able to eat again and SO excited about it!) Remember, I still had to pee. I wasn't allowed to go when the nurse checked me before delivery and apparently I didn't pee on the OB during delivery. When my food came and the nurse came in to see how I was doing, she mentioned how full my bladder was. She couldn't even feel my uterus to check how I was doing. I decided it was time to get up and go and take a shower afterwards so I could actually enjoy my meal. My mom arrived shortly after I got back to my room and situated. She was SO nervous for me to get up, remembering full well what happened after I had Kaleb. I kept reassuring her that this time was different. I bled much less and I felt much better. Truthfully, I was almost as nervous about it and so was the nurse. Terry and the nurse helped me to the bathroom and I felt fine. It felt good to pee and take a shower. Though, as all of us mothers know, taking a shower after delivering a baby is almost pointless. You clean yourself and have to clean yourself again, and again. All I could think about was my precious first meal, waiting just outside that bathroom door for me. When I finally got dressed and back out to eat.......it was time to clean up again. Shit. Back into the bathroom I went. Good thing I brought several pairs of comfy pants! When the nurse had handed me a pad the size of a chucks pad for after my shower, I balked and had put a smaller (yet still very big one) pad in my mesh undies (damn those are comfortable!) and apparently the nurse knew best....chuck pad is definitely necessary for the first few hours. There's no shame in wearing diapers.
I ate my delicious meal, in about 30 seconds flat. My mom and Terry had gone to visit the babies in the nursery while I had showered and they were back now. My dad arrived shortly after that and we all chit chatted about how amazing the delivery went and how happy I was about it. My sister, Abbie, arrived later on and brought a gift; purple Victoria's Secret PINK outfit (pants and zip up hoodie), my ALL time FAVORITE thing to wear. I was and still am so amazed at their support and generosity. I never expected gifts in the hospital, I assumed we would be giving gifts to the new parents, which we did. It was so thoughtful of them. Later on, an Edible Arrangement arrived from my cousins. Again, SO thoughtful and generous. We gobbled that up instantly! The rest of the day we just went with the flow. It seemed to go by so quickly and is still kind of a blur. Terry and I took a nap after my family left and when I got up, a pain in my back took my breath away. I wasn't expecting that. My mom had come back to visit and we had the nurse come in and give me some pain meds. We visited some more while Terry slept and then it was time for someone to go get Kaleb from daycare. My parents took Kaleb for the weekend, which was so awesome of them and much appreciated. Again, Kaleb loved it and I didn't have to worry about anything but taking care of myself.
We were moved into a nicer, bigger, post-partum room with a fridge. I had mentioned several times to various people that one of my first meals would be a cheese pizza from Pizza Man. I LOVE their pizza (in that town). The guys inquired about it a few times, I know they were hungry, too :) We had planned to order it for dinner and all eat together. We ordered a couple jumbo pizzas and some cheesy bread with some Coke and Cherry Coke. I....was....in....HEAVEN! I ate half of the jumbo cheese pizza, some cheese bread and drank plenty of Coke. Ah, to have my body back! It was so odd to eat a full meal and have absolutely NO acid reflux afterwards. No complaints here!
After dinner Terry and I relaxed and later I went to the nursery to see the babies. They were beautiful. They had to stay in the "Step-2 nursery", which is more intense and capable of monitoring than the regular nursery, because of their gestational age. It was also determined later on that the baby boy was not as interested or practiced in taking a bottle without a little bit of difficulty, so he needed more monitoring. I had started pumping shortly after delivery and was getting colostrum in and hoping my supply wouldn't take long to kick in. From the beginning, it was agreed upon that I would pump breast milk for the babies while they were here and I was more than happy to do it.
That night (Friday night), Terry didn't sleep very well on the uncomfortable sofa and I was up every 3 hours pumping to keep on the babies' feeding schedule. Every 3 hours, a nurse from the nursery would stop by to pick up milk, which was SO nice, I was able to clean the pumping supplies and go right back to sleep. Terry left at 5:00am the next morning (Saturday) to get some more sleep at home and go to his son's soccer game. My OB came in to check on me before he left, telling me again how awesome it went, and telling me he'll see me in about 6 weeks. I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon relaxing, pumping, eating, and just enjoying the down-time. I would bring milk to the nursery and visit a little each time. From the very beginning, T&Y were there for each and every feeding, every 3 hours. They were absolute naturals with their babies and it was SO amazing to witness.
When Terry returned, we spent time watching T.V, playing our favorite game "Words with Friends" on our phones, and just taking it easy. It felt SO good. I know most people hate hospitals, and I'm not one to especially enjoy them either, but after having a baby, it sure is nice to have others help with your recovery and not having a care in the world. I was in no hurry to leave that peaceful place, I felt safe and very satisfied and comfortable.
Sunday morning I felt a bit sad that it was my time to leave. Truthfully, I felt well enough to leave right after having them, aside from some major back pain that I was still taking pain meds for. I know my OB wanted me to stay until Sunday, considering just having twins, and I was happy to stay so I could continue to pump colostrum (still crossing my fingers that my supply was just about to come in with a bang) and visit the new family. On Sunday afternoon, the paperwork I needed to sign before I left, was ready and waiting. Minnesota is not a "pre-birth order" state. Meaning, when a woman gives birth to babies, whether they are genetically related to her or not, they are "hers" until she relinquishes her parental rights in court. Because of this, the babies were born with my last name (and that will change when we go to court) and I am still their legal mother. I had to sign the "Rights of Parentage" paperwork with the guys and their birth certificates to show their names with my last name. This is the part where I am very thankful that T&Y are so trusting of me and show no concern of me "changing my mind." I can only imagine what this must feel like for parents who use a surrogate in a state like Minnesota and I don't have to put any effort into convincing them that everything will be just fine.
Because baby Dor was having his feeding issues, it was anticipated that he would stay in the hospital for a bit longer and court has been delayed. Abigail was going full speed ahead, mastering everything that a full-term newborn would, and never looking back. T&Y felt very comfortable having both babies in the Step-2 nursery, even when Abigail could have been discharged to their room. They felt it was best to keep them together as long as they could. Dor also had a breathing episode one evening where he needed assistance to breathe and that was pretty scary. I kept hoping and thinking positive thoughts that he would catch on and be released soon.
Every day after I was discharged, T would drive from the hospital in the morning to pick up breast milk from my house and then again in the evening. He needed that time out of the hospital to breathe and I liked seeing him and hearing updates, so it was good for both of us. Monday night we went out with T&Y to mine and Terry's favorite place for wings. It was good for T&Y to get out and also to have dinner just the 4 of us. I could have stayed there all evening catching up, but it was time to go home and....you guessed it....pump!
My first days staying home from work were very strange. I didn't have any babies to take care of, only myself, and I am not the type to stay put for long. I took advantage of that time to rest and sleep as I was up around the clock pumping day and night. I felt great and only a little sore on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I went to the hospital to bring milk and to visit everyone. I held the babies for the first time and felt as though I was holding a niece/nephew or a close friend's baby. Again, a sigh of relief as a surrogate. Abigail is so small and delicate, but so beautiful and changing every day. Dor has more to him, he's bigger, and he is just as equally as beautiful as his sister. After visiting in the hospital, I stopped into work to visit my co-workers, answer some questions, tell everyone about how it went, and fill out some paperwork. I went home and began to feel a little "under the weather" and that night it really hit me. I was in quite a bit of pain, all over, all night, I had the chills and couldn't warm up enough to sleep. I was pumping but didn't feel as though I was getting much out of it and I was SO ENGORGED I had to roll myself out of bed just like I did when I was pregnant.
Thursday I felt the same and was in pain, had the chills, and wondered if I should get checked out. Friday morning I called the nurse-line and they told me I should definitely go in to get checked out in case I had an infection. I was able to get in with my OB and he checked me (again, ouch), but didn't feel that I had an infection, so he ordered a check on my white blood cells and sent me on my way. I was a little frustrated. How could I go from great to feeling like crap and having the chills without anything being wrong? I went home and slept. My white blood cell count was elevated, but my OB said that was normal for being post partum. Again, I was frustrated and just took it easy the rest of the day. Saturday I felt better physically and by Sunday I felt MUCH better, so I'm not sure what happened. My milk supply also came in full force, so maybe it was partially due to being engorged. I noticed right away that my supply wasn't as much as it was with Kaleb, but couldn't really remember if it increased later or if it was just because I was trying to feed two babies instead of one (and one of them eats a LOT). I called to talk to a lactation nurse and she gave me some tips and also encouraged me to try "More Milk Plus." I ordered the supplement and started taking it that evening. My supply has increased quite a bit, I'm pumping around the clock (I have the time now, but have no idea how this will work when I return to work next week, although I fully intend to keep my pumping schedule), and both babies are getting 100% breast milk but I'm still barely keeping up with them. We'll just say I'm a pumping machine right now.
I quickly lost all of the pregnancy weight and some. In fact, on Friday morning, I had dropped at least 22 lbs. I gained about 14-16 lbs. during the pregnancy, so I am under my pre-pregnancy weight and my legs look sickly. My stomach is almost back to normal but will take some time, I know. I also know just how lucky I am. But truthfully, I am underweight now due to the fact that I was unable to eat much during the end of the pregnancy, so I had a feeling this would happen. I'd like to get back to a healthy shape soon. For the first few days, my feet were swollen and that was a new post postpartum experience as well. Now that the swelling from the pregnancy and postpartum period is gone, I can't get over just how weird my feet feel now that they're back to normal and "mine" again. They're thin and boney! It's strange!
I go back to work next Monday, after having 2 weeks off to recover. This week I am enjoying my time off much more. I never thought I'd say this, but aside from seeing my co-workers again, I'm not eager to go back! I know the "mess" I'll return to after having been gone and that's just typical for anyone, and I know that it will be strange to jump back in 100% after having been part-time at the end of the pregnancy and off completely for 2 weeks. I told a fellow surrogate friend today that I could totally dig this whole stay at home mom gig, as long as my child continued going to school an daycare full time, wink wink ;). The truth is, I have kept Kaleb on his typical schedule at daycare, full time, for a few reasons. 1.) Kaleb needs a routine, 2.) I need to be without a demanding 7 year old, and 3.) Kaleb would have much more fun at daycare before and after school than he would with me. Kaleb is also under the assumption that I'm already back at work, so he doesn't feel bad that I don't keep him home with me.
Many people inquire about how I feel emotionally. Honestly, I felt wonderful and euphoric in the hospital after the delivery. I felt sad being discharged and going home to be by myself for 2 weeks while off of work. I finally learned what surrogates talked about when it came to the "lost" feeling after having given birth. I knew before I had the babies that I wanted to do this again, and I wasn't expecting everything to happen so quickly. Last week was my first week being home and when I started to feel sick on Wednesday, I also started to feel the hormonal changes and much more emotional. I cried a little here and there when I took a shower, but not because I was depressed. I felt clingy to Terry and it saddened me that "our weekend" without the kids would be busy with other things that would keep us apart (he had a soccer game to go to and mentioned that one of his kids might want to spend time with him that day) because all I truly wanted was him to myself and for him to cuddle me and be in the moment with me and no one else. I was also feeling quite heartbroken and I'll explain why. On Wednesday while I was visiting in the hospital, T and I reminisced while we held the babies, about how perfect and amazing everything had been. I mentioned to T that I was hoping to do this again some day (without any thoughts or suggestions as to who it would be for, just simply that I hoped to experience it again after a rest). T smiled and asked "how long?" He mentioned that he and Y would want more children and that they'd love for me to carry for them again but didn't want to push or know how to bring it up until I mentioned wanting to experience another journey. Although I knew that they still had not had their children alone yet and would most likely be so busy and overwhelmed when that time came, the fact that they thought about having me carry for them again, was like a marriage proposal (I now call it a "carriage proposal" :). It was such a touching experience and I was very happy they even thought about it, whether it happened or not. I felt like telling everyone, but I didn't. That evening, Terry was in an especially awesome mood (which doesn't happen often, he tends to be very negative and not in the greatest mood), so I did what every woman does, I took full advantage of it, thinking it would give me the answer I wanted. Nope. He shut that train down immediately. He told me that, while he was not all that supportive of surrogacy, he knew it was something I wanted to do and he supported me because of it, but now I had "done it" and I should be done. He said he never knew how many complications could arise out of a pregnancy (twin pregnancy, mostly) and that he never wanted to worry about that again. He also mentioned that he is selfish and wants to live our lives and not have to share me with another pregnancy again or have anything hold me back. I was crushed. I felt like sobbing but kept it together. I hope to let this next year pass and re-visit it once again to see if things have changed, but his shocking disapproval has been weighing on my mind every since. I DO understand that it is very soon to talk to him about another surrogacy and it is very true that significant others go through a lot during the pregnancy as well; let's not forget the fact that I was on pelvic rest (i.e: no sex) for several months at a time, we weren't intimate at the end of the pregnancy either because I was tired and Terry wasn't particularly wanting to be intimate with me at that point, he has had to share me with other people and another experience for almost 2 years at this point, he's had to give me countless injections, listen to me vent about the complications in the early part of the pregnancy, he saw how fatigued and miserable I was because of it, etc. So he has also been through a lot.
I began to worry a little about whether my emotions would turn into postpartum depression and hoped I would have a grip on it and be able to manage. I confided in a fellow surrogate friend on Saturday that, while I felt good, I was also emotional, and "was that normal?" I laid in bed one morning and felt doom creep over me when I thought about the fact that T&Y and the babies would be leaving eventually and that they weren't here forever. I never expected to feel sad about that because I'm so independent and felt that I would feel crowded with them all here for so long, but I don't feel that way, I love it. After Saturday passed and I began to get over whatever illness I had, I began to feel much better. Come Sunday, I felt almost back to normal again and today I can happily say that, while I fully expect to have my emotional days, I feel much more confident in my emotions once again.
Saturday evening we had dinner with my family to celebrate my sister's graduation from college. It was great to see everyone again and my aunt and uncle had joined us. My aunt was inquiring about things and I mentioned pumping for the babies and how I was so happy to do it and I learned that I should have used a better choice of words. I have to realize that not everyone fully understands why I did this and how happy I am that I did carry as a surrogate. I told her that I was happy to pump for various reasons but that I also liked how I was still "needed" and that it could have been more of a shock to go from delivery to "nothing" if I didn't have pumping to "wean" me from the events. What I meant is that I liked having something to give to the babies that only I can give at this time (other than another pumping woman, of course). I like that it gives me the opportunity to see them more often, and it gives me a purpose until they leave. I thought it made perfect sense until my mom texted me later and said that something my aunt told her, concerned her and "was I having second thoughts about the babies?" My answer.....absolutely not. I share no connection with them and actually wished I felt more towards them. I love them like I love newborn babies that belong to someone else. I'm happy to hold them and take in that experience, but happy to hand them over to their parents and not have to take care of them permanently. My mom seemed reassured and told me how proud she was of me. I'm thankful she understands and will continue to keep in mind that some people do not necessarily understand.
So, what's next? Today was their first newborn check-up, which I went to and they are growing like weeds! Tomorrow my mom, sister, and I are going to visit them at their apartment. Monday I go back to work and hope to keep my head with everything I am returning to. Court will be scheduled soon now that Dor has been discharged finally. T's parents arrive tonight to stay for a bit. T&Y and the babies will be staying until November 24th (they are in no hurry to leave as their house is being built). And I continue to pump until they leave and then look forward to updates from them when they return home. I am SO happy that I was able to experience such an amazing thing. When people tell me that I did such a selfless thing, I feel guilty for accepting those compliments because I truly feel as though this experience was just as much a blessing and a gift to me as it was for them. I feel amazing about everything that has happened and wouldn't change a thing. I really hope that Terry will warm up to the idea of allowing me to do this again, especially if it is for T&Y now that we have such a strong connection and they are like family. Only time will tell!
The night before my water broke, we went
to dinner at Benihana's with T&Y and my family. It was our version of a mini-baby shower for the guys as well. My sister knitted baby blankets as well. So special!
Abbie T&Y and her baby blankets that she knit....
My last belly pic, 35 weeks 4 days just before leaving for the hospital..............
Terry when we got into the labor room.....................
Time to get to the operating room!
Baby boy Dor, welcome to this world!
Day 1; No more babies in this deflated belly (yes I DO realize how lucky I am, long torsos house babies well).................
Discharge day for me.......................
Discharge day for the babies.............