Friday, March 29, 2013

3rd month, 3 weeks, 3 sisters, 3 babies

Well today it's been 3 weeks since I delivered that sweet baby coconut. I'm recovering very slowly but making progress everyday. It's the small things that show my improvement. But today I wanted to share something unique to my family and our journey.

So I don't have any blood sisters, I have many, many brothers. But thankfully those brothers married women, who have become my sisters. It's the next best thing. My little brother and Zeus' little brother have beautiful wives who I love dearly. After I talked of getting pregnant with someone else's baby, months before we did I think I put a bug in my sisters ears. I thought how cool it would be to be pregnant with family members. But never really thought about it again.

Once I started the process of shots, hormones and readying my body for IVF I shared a lot of info with my sisters. Our families were very supportive of my decision to help another couple become the sought after family they hoped for. As time went on and I became pregnant it was obvious that my brothers families wanted to each extend their family with one more. Amazingly enough several weeks into my pregnancy both sisters shared they were pregnant. As we learned days later that one was due late Feb, the other late March and me early April. S was due about 5 weeks ahead of me and C was due just a few days ahead of me.

Now that March had arrived S was late and thankfully went into labor on her own on March 4 delivering a healthy baby girl naturally, Kendall Grace 7lbs 3oz and 18in.

Terribly, two days later I woke to a huge water puddle in my bed. Yes, my water broke at just 36 weeks pregnant. Since Coconut was breach I was forced to have a c-section that morning. So on March 6 at 8:23am weighing 5lbs, 9oz and 18.5in, Luke Timothy was born.

Just a few weeks later my darling sister C had a scheduled C-section. On March 25, at 8:17am weighing 9lbs and 21in, Burke Levi arrived.

Amazingly enough on both sides of our families we have a new niece and a new nephew and Lil Luke will also be called our nephew.

It was an amazing story that for the rest of our lives we will remember and these 3 babies hopefully will meet some day, at least that is my hope.

Here are the pictures of the pregnant Mommas and the babies. Which one is which?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

2 weeks postpartum

Hello my dearest friends and family-
Today marks the 2 week anniversary of the birth of my very first surro baby. Can y'all believe its been that long? I can't. Coconut seems to have settled in well to his home is Seattle. He is getting daily visitors and has become quite the superstar these days. Athena had to create a visitor sign up already to avoid too many at a time. Apollo is back to work and Charlie Mae is the perfect guard dog.

I'm grateful to be included in pictures and small updates here and there. I hope this continues.

Today I'm still moving slowly and thankful that Zeus is still home for a few more days. He has been a wonderful help to me. Although every time I come to the living room he has rearranged another piece of furniture or added another piece of furniture, it's rather annoying.

I'm working on finishing all the details so that I can begin shipping breast milk to the preemie bank. It's amazing how much milk I'm pumping. We are talking about 50oz a day. I'm pumping every 3-4 hours and going through milk bags like crazy. We plan to pump for several months and donate to the bank for preemie babies born smaller than 3 pounds in NICUs across the country. I'm thrilled I can help other families. Our freezer looks like a milk depot itself. It's a whole lot of milk. I teased Ryan and the kids that when I'm back to cooking to look out I might use breast milk! They didn't think it was funny, but I sure did.

I've lost 25 pounds since giving birth with many more to lose. I am back below the 200 mark and that feels great. My blood pressure has completely normalized as well. I'm glad of that. So no more beta blocker for me, yeah!!! I'm down to minimal medication with little pain meds as well. My incision is looking pretty good. Most of the glue has come off and it's healing well. I measured it recently and it was 7.5 inches long. Quite the opening if you ask me. It's still very sore, my stomach itself has some physical bruising and it is very tender to the touch. It is painful to wear pants or anything touch the skin below my belly button for more than a few minutes. So that has limited my clothing options. Thankfully I've been home most the time so I can wear nightgowns, summer dresses or tshirts and be comfortable. I'm gonna attempt to lay on my side in bed tonight, we shall see how long I can stand the pain and uneasiness.

My mental well being is improving daily. I can say his name and not cry. However I'm still emotional and miss him and his little kicks and seeing him on the ultrasound weekly. I miss my growing belly. It's still hard to believe I'm not pregnant any longer. I'm keeping busy with plans for our upcoming move and trying to locate a house. I should be able to drive on Monday and that should help too. I only have 2 vases of flowers still alive from all the beautiful arrangements sent. They are special. I just love fresh flowers and have been lucky to have them here since valentines day. Although these will be gone soon :(

God is alive and guiding me through this emotional time. I pray a lot. If I'm by myself I'm probably praying. I haven't been on the phone much because I'm still trying to get myself together. I'm sorry if I haven't called you or visited, but I'm still recovering. I'd rather talk to God right now so I hope y'all can understand. It shouldn't be too much longer but time will only tell. I'm kinda in seclusion and I like it that way for now. I'll want visitors soon I'm sure. But it just takes time

I got coconuts diaper cake finished today and have a few things to put together before I mail him his first of many boxes from us. I never imagined having these feelings for another child, let alone one that wasn't mine. However, I carried him like he was my own, actually I was more cautious with him than my own. So he'll forever be my baby, just my surro baby.

I appreciate all the prayers y'all have given and continue to give. They are so helpful and have been amazing. I appreciate all the cards and love and kindness you all have shown me as well and I hope that never stops. Through this journey I've learned so much more about so many of you. I've grown close to many and felt great love from y'all as well. Although the pregnancy has ended this journey is not over. It will never end. I hope you'll continue to read my story as we watch this guy grow. Thank you again and God bless you all!!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Nice to meet you, so long Coconut

Wow, yesterday was intense emotion for this momma. Never imagined how'd I feel when this day finally came. Many people along my journey asked how I thought I'd feel about it. I usually just said I wasn't sure, I'd never done this before. I tried to think that it would be a none issue. Boy was I ever wrong. God is awesome. But he also made is human and made us feel for a reason. For this, my motherly instincts kicked in and those maternal feelings were 100% intact. Those feelings are both a blessing and a curse in this specific situation. We are meant to protect our young especially if it comes from our own body. But god did not create a compartmentalizable brain for birthing mothers, at least not in this one.

So yesterday afternoon coconut met all his goals and was released out into the world from the care of the Cardinal Glennon doctors and nurses. He was now to begin his new chapter with his anxious parents. We were so lucky to have been rewarded with a 2 hour meet/greet with the lil guy at his parents St Louis hotel. My children had waited months for this day. And thankfully it had finally come. I was a wreck. Not sure if I was to be thrilled for my own children to meet their "womb mate" or if I was scared or terrified. I wasn't sure what was flowing through my veins. I just knew I needed it to happen and so did they. Zeus carefully drove through pouring rain into the city. He has had no real emotion through the whole 12 month process. I was appreciative to him so willing to help me complete my calling from God. So we arrive and he drops is off at the door while he parks the car. My mind was moving faster than my body could. Would I remember to take pictures? Would I get enough of the special moments? Would I get enough time? How would I keep it together? Man the questions were swirling. As we walked the halls I could feel my kids excitement growing more and more impatient as we got closer to the door. Then there it was rm 331. Just behind that door was a family I created with Gods help. Knock knock knock, Zulus hand softly taps the door and it opens and in we walk and there he is laying peacefully in his Mommas arms. My eyes welled with tears but I fought them back. After washing their little hands Zulu was first to hold him followed by Ziggy, Omega and finally Zero, who has so longed for this moment. It was beautiful. I was proud. They were each so gentle and loving. Each in awe of how little yet commenting how big he was for a belly. It was a precious moment for me. Zero was honored to be able to feed him a bottle while I helped burp him. Omega got to help as well. Then I got to hold him, smell him, kiss him and tell him how much I've enjoyed our time together and that I'll always love him. Secretly in my heart I didn't want to let him go. But I know he wasn't mine and I signed the line saying he belonged to them. With no biological connection you'd think it'd be easy to hand him off. Heck no, that's most difficult thing I've ever endured in my life. I felt so comfortable with him. Our time together was one of the rockiest roads I've ever traversed. You can read through my blog as see how bumpy it became and then it ended so abruptly. I rolled over in a pool of water 4 weeks shy of his due date, just 48 hours after my niece Kendall Grace was born. I knew it was over. I knew it would end in a c section. I knew he would be smaller than full termers. I had to just get through it.

However I missed getting maternity pictures. I missed having birth pictures. I missed seeing his parents faces the first time they saw him or touched him. I didn't get to be a part of that. I missed holding him. I missed happily handing him off in the blanket that's being made for him. I lost so many things during this that I may never fully recover mentally from the pain or frustration.

I do know that I helped a man and woman complete their dream of parenthood. The sight of that birth certificate with no mention of my name was terribly painful.

So today as his parents board that plane bound for Seattle all I can do is cry. Tears of joy for an entire extended family that they will all be introduced to this amazing life and tears of sadness of the sudden loss that flows through my mind, body and soul. I'm so very glad I got to do this. I love the amazement of creating babies. It's awesome feeling. I may want to do this again. How soon, only time will tell but will I ever act upon it God is the only one who knows.

So today I have these pictures and moments for memory. Hope you enjoy!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Coconut forever in my heart

Today I was so blessed to get another chance to see, hold and feed this precious little baby. I get giddy knowing I can see him. The feeling I get is like when a girl is waiting for her date arrive. She's giddy, nervous, excited but terrified and a little scared. But with each step through that hospital I heart beats faster and faster. When I turn the corner to his little NICU room the tears well up in my eyes. It's so emotional. There's sadness that I'll soon not be a daily part of his life. There's happiness that I was privileged to make a family. There's fear that my light in his life will diminish. There's joy for his grandparents that their children can finally experience parenthood. There is hope that he'll always know me, and that I can be his "auntie" and that he'll be told from early on our story together. There is no doubt that this baby will forever hold a place in my heart, I'll never forget him. I'll never forget his life growing in my tummy, his untimely birth and all the steps in between that lead us to March 6, 2013. I honestly don't know how his parents will include me or I'd they'll include me in his life. My heart hopes I'll be his aunt, that I'll get pictures, invitations, cards, letters, drawings. But I can't be sure this will happen and for that I'm super concerned. Coconut is not biologically mine, but that doesn't change the year long process we've gone through to get him safely here. I hope the pain subsides and the hope triumphs my soul. I know God chose me to walk this road and I'm his loyal daughter listening and following his lead. It's terrifying. I've been allowed to fall in love with this little baby and that love is forever. I'm continuing to follow Gods path for me. I'm not sure why this road was so dry, dark, bumpy and terrifying. It's his plan and I keep reminding myself that I've got to let him lead me. My prayer tonight is that God continues to hold me up and allow me to accept whatever he has in store for me. I never wanted to bring more babies home for Zeus and I to raise. But sharing my body with this little guy this past year has changed my view on family. He has become a part of my family. My own children learned to love him, rub him, kiss him, feel him and care for his health as he grew inside my belly. One hope I have is that they get the chance to meet him before he jet sets to the Pacific Northwest. I hope they can hold him, kiss him, rub him and say hello to the little guy they shared their mommy with for a whole year. I want my kids to have a chance to see him with his parents. I know they will soon forget of him in my belly but not of our families journey to bring forth this life. If you asked me today if I'd do this again I'd tell you no. I love to easily to let another life go. But that could change some day later in life . But for today I love 5 little children that grew in my belly. 4 left me with stretch marks and sore hips, but stayed to make their mark on my life daily. But 1, who's not mine has left a slash on my stomach, sadness on my heart and will be raised hundreds of miles from me. I'll never know how this story ends but I know that these children will forever have their names carved on my heart, in my mind and make me proud to be their protector, birther and creator. My life is blessed.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

My precious surro baby

Yesterday I was able to be given a hospital pass from my hospital bed. This means I got to take a ride to Cardinal Glennon Children's hospital to see my little belly baby, coconut. I was so anxious and nervous that I couldn't really say what I was feeling. I just wanted to get my hands on him. There's something about having a baby grow in your belly, even knowing that baby is not biological to you.
When I was wheeled to his room I was in awe of him. I teared up and tried to hide it from everybody. I'm trying my best to be strong and happy for coconuts parents. I am happy for them. But I'm a little sad that my part is over. Coconut has etched his life into my head, my heart and on my stomach. There will never be a day that goes by that I won't think about him. He is a beautiful boy. I'm sad he decided to come early. I wanted to make this journey as memorable and special as I could but we lost a few things with the early birth. While visiting I was able to feed him and hold him. It was very special to me. We took some pictures. It's great to see his parents so excited and happy to have a son. My hopes are that he'll always know me, my story, what I did and that I'll always love him. No he is not my son but I carried him, nurtured him, loved him, fed him and grew him for 9 months. I learned his movements and his heart rate. I saw him more times than my own babies. This little guy became my buddy. We hung out together.
My heart is and forever will be a mother to 5 babies, not just my 4.
I love you sweet coconut

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Precious arrival

Coconut arrived via c section at 8:23 weighing in at 5lbs, 9oz and 18.5 in at Anderson hospital. I'm recovering and in lots of pain. Very tough. Zeus is here with me and I'll get to see baby soon. He did need some help. I delivered at 36 weeks, previous estimate was mistake. He's pretty cute. Can't wait to hold him

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hard day

Today started out rough. We were forced to have a c section after I woke up in a puddle at 1:30am. The baby was still breech and sitting very high up. I was very disappointed. I wanted a normal vaginal delivery but coconuts health wouldn't have faired well that way. So after seeing doc at 7:30am we were in the OR by 8am. I hated the needle prick, the numbness and the lack of control. After all the pulling and tugging, coconut came out and I was able to glance at him. He needed help breathing so Zeus couldn't hold him nor could I. Once I was stitched up Zeus came to my recovery room telling me that coconut was headed to the children's hospital. I immediately went into a mental shutdown. I was crushed. They wheeled me into a normal room and a few minutes later they wheeled this massive contraption into my room so I could take a peek. From 3 ft away, through a plastic box I had to let him go. It was dreadful. I couldn't believe I'd let this happen. But after that it was me dealing with this enormous pain in my heart and the horrid pain of having my stomach sliced from hip to hip. So I was left, with Zeus, thankfully to traverse this new road. Zeus made it better by bringing my babies to see me and have dinner with me. It was so special. He's a good guy. I also was sent some gorgeous flowers that brightened the day a little more, thanks D &T. So here's a few pictures.