Friday, November 26, 2010

The BIG Visit!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!  There was so much for me to be thankful for this year, especially for the 3 little girls I brought into this world just 2 1/2 months ago.  As promised, I have updates and photos of Eve, May, and Lily...

This past Sunday, I finally got to visit the triplets for the first time since they have been out of the hospital.  My IP's have decided to stay down here in Southern California through the first of the year to avoid any problems during RSV season.  So, as of right now, they aren't too far from me so it makes visiting very accessible!

My momma and sister tagged along.  I can't believe how much our families have grown together.  It is the greatest thing to not only be able to share this experience with my loved ones, but it is more amazing that they really want to be apart of the girls' lives and watch them grow.  I really see my IP's and the babies apart of my family now.  I am so fortunate to have formed such a fulfilling relationship.

We arrived just in time... girls were ready to eat!!  It was amazing how much they ate.  Huge improvement from when I saw them last.

My mom fed Baby May.  May was the smallest of the 3, but caught up to her sisters in no time!  She is keeping up and eating lots.  She is close to 9 pounds!! 

Cassie had her favorite, Lily!! She is still the chunkiest and her cheeks keep growing.  Lily is approaching 10 pounds!!


And I got to feed Baby Eve!! She still had those beautiful eyes that followed me everywhere.  She is almost as big as her chunky sister, Lily, almost 10 pounds!

After the girls ate, we only had a short visit before they had to go back down for a nap.  Their parents have them on a very strict schedule which is so unbelievable to me.  They are great parents to these girls already and are handling this overwhelming parenthood so well.  Putting 3 preemie babies on a schedule that actually has been successful is awesome.  I bet it makes sleeping so much easier.

I finally got to do what I have been dying to do since they were born... hold all 3 at once!!
This was the first time we have all been together since they were in my belly!!
What an AMAZING feeling!!

My mom loves these girls so much!!

So, how did it feel??  Well, words cannot describe how happy I was to be able to see them all home and healthy.  They are twice the size as when I saw them last and they have changed so much.  Holding all 3 at once, I could still not believe that I grew all of them inside of my belly.  How did they all fit??  Being able to see the girls in their new home and seeing their parents interact with them really made this whole journey mean more to me than I could ever imagined.  I really couldn't imagine life without this family of 5.  I am so blessed to have had such a fulfilling experience that I can share with the world.  Looking into each of their eyes, I am so much in love with Eve, May, and Lily.  As silly as it sounds, I really think they remember me and recognize my voice.  They were giving me this look like, "Hey, I know you!!"  

I am so glad I got to make this big visit and see how much these miracles have grown.  I really got mixed emotions after holding the girls.  I immediately got a feeling... I feel like I need to have another baby sooner than later or become a surrogate again.  I can't get it off of my mind, but whatever it is, I will make it wait until my body is ready!!  

Oh, and this body of mine... well, that definitely needs its own post, which will come very soon!! 

BTW, I just got an email from my IP's... Lily and Eve slept from 7:30pm-7:00am last night, and May woke up only once for a feeding!!!  I cannot believe it!  What amazing parents they have =) 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Role of the Husband... I could have never done this without you!

I have a few issues about post surrogacy to write about since having the girls.. the role of the husband is a very important one to me.  Some of you may think to yourself, "What did your husband have to do with any of this??"  My answer... EVERYTHING!!

From my own experience, as well as many stories I hear from women exploring the world of surrogacy, husbands usually react the same way when that first conversation arises about the desire to carry someone else's baby.  I remember when my husband, Cameron, and I first got together.  I had mentioned that someday in life I was going to try and become a surrogate.  Because this was years ago and we were very young, neither of us took me seriously.  The years went on, and after being married with 2 kids of our own, the subject got brought up again.  The first time we really discussed it, which was 2 years ago, Cameron had so many thoughts and opinions: Was this risky to my health?  What if something happens to me?  Am I going to go through some sort of depression when giving the baby up?  How are our boys going to react? And so on.  Like many men in this sort of situation, my husband wasn't all for it in the beginning.  So, I gave him some time...

Over the next year, I researched agencies, read up on stories of surrogacy, and really thought about whether I should do this or not.  I shared all of this information with Cameron over a period of time.  Because neither of us were fully educated on the entire process, he offered to sit down and speak with an agency about it.  I think this was the best thing we did to start the process.  From the very first step, he was with me.  We learned together and I wasn't alone on any decisions I had to make.  As we walked into the agency, he still was not sure about the whole thing.  But, walking out, he had never been so happy to help a stranger in his life before this day.  No... the agency wasn't like a car sales man trying to push you to make that huge purchase like a lot of people may think.  They were completely honest in the way things worked and never pushed us to make any decisions.  The moment when my husband fully committed, was instantly after we read up on a couple's story and their desire to have a child.  I get chills just thinking about those few minutes where Cameron and I came together and wanted nothing more but to help this couple, or any couple.  We never really knew how bad people have it and how much the ongoing struggle effects their lives.   

So, the process began.

The husband does more than just sign the bottom of the 35+ pages of the surrogacy contract (which they must do in order for the contract to be legal).  In the beginning, he must undergo screening for any health issues or drug use, be evaluated by a psychologist, administer your injections, and follow some strict temporary rules.  A major rule that most men don't completely agree on is NO SEX!!!  Surrogates are to be on "pelvic rest" for periods of time throughout the process; the beginning is the most challenging.  Although with all of the hormone medications you are on, you could really care less, but for the husband it can be a huge frustration.  This is the first test of his loyalty to the entire process.  It becomes very difficult for them to accept that he has to commit and honor the rules even though he is not the one pregnant.  They may begin to feel somewhat neglected as you tend to this baby's needs before him, especially when this baby is not his.  Cameron did sooo well with this and I thank him so much for the support.  I'm not saying it wasn't hard for him, but he did his best not to let it show. 

During the pregnancy, it is up to him whether or not he wants to be apart of meetings with the IP's and doctor appointments.  I really think my IP's were appreciative that they got to know Cameron and actually get together on a few occasions.  Cameron and I didn't feel it was a necessity for him to attend every doctors appointment like he would if it were our own child, but he did go as much as possible.  As you really get into the pregnancy, it's really nice to have someone on "your side" when going into see the doctor.  Not that my IP's didn't care about my health, but it is only natural for them to be extremely concerned about the babies and focus on their outcome the most.  I respected that at each appointment, but when Cameron came along I knew both me and the babies were being cared for by our loved ones.

As many of us surrogates fear they might form some sort of attachment to the baby/babies, I think the surrogate's husband should be aware that this could be possible for them as well.  I know that it was hard for Cameron to see me pregnant.  All of those feelings he had when I was pregnant with our boys started to come back.  Although we were so not ready to have a third, seeing me pregnant made us both want another baby sooner than we thought.  I think Cameron noticed these oncoming feelings and put up a barrier between himself and my growing tummy.  He avoided touching and kissing my belly.  He wasn't interested in feeling their kicks or watching them all do somersaults.  He tried his best to treat me like his wife and not cater to me as much as he would if I were pregnant with our own.  Don't get me wrong, he did his best in helping in every which way I needed it, but I noticed how he didn't "bend over backwards" for me, I guess you can say.  I remember laughing at him some times because he didn't help me out of the car or he walked way too fast through the mall, leaving me yards behind him.  It would always take him a minute to realize and remember that I was pregnant with triplets!!

I think the best advice I can give women becoming a surrogate who is married, is to allow your husband to be involved in the process so that you don't feel alone, but at the same time respect the distance he forms throughout those several months.  Invite him along with some meetings with the IP's and some doctor appointments, but whatever you do, don't force the issue.  It took me awhile to learn that my husband wasn't being less attentive to my needs because he was punishing me for my decision.  Over time, I learned that this was the best way he coped with the situation and how he was able to walk away from the babies, unattached.  Surrogates, don't give your husbands a hard time or give them any guilt trip about him not being there for you physically and emotionally as much as they would if you were carrying his baby; yes, he is apart of this journey too, but needs his own way of accepting it.

The delivery is when I needed him the most, and he was right there with me.  I couldn't imagine doing that alone and I am sooo thankful he was there.  I think the hardest part after the delivery is how we both managed my recovery.  In his mind, I was done.  I wasn't pregnant anymore and he was relieved that those days of misery were over for us.  Because I wasn't bringing home a baby to take care of, his expectations were a little too much at the beginning.  He didn't realize how much I needed that time to heal and he was so ready to have me back to being the mommy and wife I was before all of this.  It definitely was a challenge to balance it all after having the babies, but I did my best to communicate with my husband and assuring him I would be back, but it was still going to take time.  I think husbands are just so excited to have their wife back that they forget about the recovery time.  But, it doesn't help getting mad or disappointed with them... you need to be just as understanding of their needs as you want them to be with yours.

So, it has been 2 1/2 months and I am officially back to normal.  It took forever for my bleeding to stop (a good 9 weeks), but I have gotten so much energy back!!  It was a struggle at the beginning to get our lives back on track, but I think we are just about balanced now.  There are not enough words I can say to tell you, Cameron, how much I appreciate your dedication and support through this entire process.  You were right there with me as those babies were being made and stuck with me until we both saw them come out, one by one.  Yes, my emotions were a complete disaster through the past year, but you never walked away from it and you gave me more support than I could have ever imagined.  Thank you for helping me fulfill my dream.  Thank you for giving this gift to an amazing couple.  Thank you for everything!!

Aren't husbands the greatest?!?! Well, mine is =)

On a side note... I am visiting the girls tomorrow for the first time since they have been out of the hospital!!  I will have lots of photos to share, so look for an update soon.

Friday, November 5, 2010


It has been just over 2 months since I had Eve, May, and Lily.  They are doing sooo well and I have every right to brag about how well I bake buns!!  Not only have I had 2 ginormous baby boys, whose health and weight have never been an issue, but I have also carried triplets who came out as healthy as can be with no health concerns in the slightest.  I remember at one of my doctors appointments several months ago, the doctor and nurses tried to convince me of how perfect my uterus was and how I was made to do this, made to carry lots of babies!!!  If there is such a thing as a "perfect uterus" I guess that they are right.  And yes, I may be made to do "this", but I do have my limits...

So, as time has gone on, the question gets more and more frequent: Will you do this again??

As I think about my answer every time I am asked, it becomes more and more likely that I plan to do surrogacy again.  Yes, some of you may think I am nuts, especially my family members, but no one knows the feeling you get after you have given someone the greatest thing in life... a child, and in my case, 3 beautiful ones!!  There are not enough words to explain how rewarding this experience was, how fulfilling it made me feel, or how my entire outlook on life has changed.  It has made me a better mother and taught me to love and cherish every moment I have with my family, big or small.  Many of you may think you already experience these feelings and appreciation for life, but I also thought my life was near perfect before I became a surrogate.  I guess only the other surrogates out there really know what I am trying to explain.  But, take my word for it, I am anything BUT nuts for wanting to do this again.

So, do I really think surrogacy is addictive?

Well, in a way, yes!!  When I set out on my journey I told myself and everyone around me that I was only going to do this once.  It was something I have always wanted to do, but I couldn't imagine myself going through this tough process more than one time.  When I heard about other women having babies for two, three, and even four families, I thought they were absolutely CRAZY!!!  Why in the world would they want to put themselves through that, that many times?!?  And then the injections came, which was a pain in my a**... literally!!  After that, the nausea... blah!!!  And then followed the "WTF, I am having triplets!!"  Months following, I was in the most unbearable position of my life, with the list of discomforts that I will spare you this time around!!  And finally, a delivery where my life was at stake and I scared everyone by the amount of blood that I lost.  And now, I want to do this again?!?

These emotions, or need I guess you can call it, completely change the moment a surrogacy comes to an end and the baby/babies are born.  Throughout this journey of mine, I have met some amazing women who have been, or are currently, a surrogate.  I was so lucky to have come across Kelly's blog one day, I'm not the Mom, I'm just the Stork!, and read about her past and current journey.  Ironically, I remembered the pictures of her first IP's when I was at the fertility clinic when they were there visiting the doctor with their twins that Kelly delivered almost 2 years ago.  From then, Kelly has virtually become a huge support system for me as well as the other surrogates she introduced me to.  So, just need to give her a quick "Thank you!!"  Anyway, through this little virtual group we have as well as other blogs that I have read up on, I notice a consistency with many surrogates.  Without disclosing any names, here is what some women felt after their journey was over:

"In the past I've compared it to planning a wedding . . . how you spend almost a year planning for your wedding, this one day and in a matter of hours it's over. Yes, you're happy but later you're left with a 'now what do I do' since you spent so much time on the planning . . it's like you feel empty in a way."

"It's like the anticipation that builds up for Christmas morning - shopping, planning, hours of wrapping, and in 15 minutes, it's all over."

"They were so thankful, but it is definitely like closing a chapter on your life."

"I hate to say it's 'addictive' because that's not it, but there's all the attention, you're doing such a wonderful thing, you're pregnant, you're special and then it's just over. BAM! All those great feelings you had are gone, mixed with all the hormones, well it's just such a huge loss right after."

"I feel as if something was taken from me in a blink of an eye; not specifically the babies, but I think I am missing all of that hard work I did. I put in the hardest year of my life and dedicated a ton of energy and sacrifice, and all of a sudden, it's gone!!"

I really feel that although I had a rough journey, it was all over too soon.  Yes, a pregnancy is less than a year, but I feel as though in that year I met some amazing people and formed incredible relationships.  It all happened so fast and even though I prayed everyday for those last few months to fly by, I would love nothing more than to do it all again.  Just to experience all of the emotions from myself and the IP's again would be beyond wonderful!!

So, I really can't say whether I am going to do this again or not.  But I do feel like a newly recovering alcoholic right now; I just finished my rocky journey and now I am just itching to say "yes" and make that first move.  But, I have to do what is best for me and my family right now.  I need to be that loving wife to my husband, comforting mommy to my boys, and lively daughter to my mother.  And my womb may not be available for the next few years anyway (my husband is already starting to ask for another one!!).  But, as of today, my hope is that I will be able to be a surrogate one last time in the next 5 years.  Who knows... maybe 3 isn't enough and my IP's want to go another round!!

Updates and pictures of the girls next time, I promise!!  But, here is a pic of me and my boys on Halloween...

Max was Buzz and Jackson was Woody!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy 2 Month Birthday, Girls!!

Just wishing my girls a happy 2 month birthday!!  I can't believe how fast the time is going.  They are all doing fantastic...  Lily and Eve are about 7 1/2 pounds and May is catching up and is almost 7 pounds!!  These girls look like full term babies... keep it up, girls.

Left to right~ Lily, Eve, and May

First Halloween, 3 peas in a pod!
Eve, May, and Lily

Wearing their Sunday dresses!!
Lily, Eve, and May

As you can tell, they all are filling out and getting a little chunk on them (especially Lily!).  May and Eve are starting to look more "identical" as May catches up to Eve's size.  They are still enjoying delicious breast milk, compliments to me, and are officially eating more than I pump.  But, with my huge supply I had in the first few weeks, they have yet to consume any formula!!  Looking forward to visiting them all soon.

I have many topics about post surrogacy that I want to blog about.  I will try and post my first topic in the next week, "Is Surrogacy Addicting?" But until then, I am trying to complete a move while taking care of my 2 sick baby boys =(