As of last Thursday, pumping breast milk for my surro girls came to an end.
It was my ultimate goal to make it to March 2nd, when they turned 6 months old, but I think I made it pretty close!! Throughout my 5 1/2 months of pumping, the girls never went one day without breast milk. As you may remember, I was pumping an extreme amount in the beginning and my supply stayed pretty high throughout my time pumping. I never knew I could maintain a milk supply such as this without actually breast feeding. It's all about supply and demand and boy did we demand tons of milk from these boobs!!! In the past several weeks, things definitely changed. I'm sure it had a lot to do with my changing diet.
I remember how much I ate as soon as the girls were born. I think I ate 4 times as much after delivery than I did when I was pregnant. I was soooo hungry all of the time!! I couldn't eat enough cheeseburgers and ice cream =) This helped my supply A LOT!!! But, then things needed to change and I owed it to myself to get healthy and work on that body that I deserved. I reduced my caloric intake, stopped consuming dairy products, and ate very small frequent meals. I don't think the boobs liked this very much. I did my best and pumped as often and as much as I could. But, something had to give. So, as hard as it was, I had to retire the good 'ol Medela.
I didn't know how hard it was going to be. Yes, pumping can become a pain in the butt; I couldn't go to bed until it was done, I had to wake up 30 minutes earlier to pump before I left the house, and if I was gone for a long period of time I had to arrange to pump in public or deal with huge leaking breasts!!! On the other hand, it was somewhat of a reality...
Now that I am completely done with pumping, I feel that this surrogacy journey is over. Now that I am finished helping out my IP's in growing 3 beautiful babies, I am not needed anymore. The job of a surrogate is over. It is sad to think that there isn't a connection with us anymore and they don't need to rely on me for a thing. Their lives are now going on without me. However, the journey of me watching them grow isn't over and I hope I will always be apart of their lives.
I have to say that I am one of the lucky surrogates out there. As you head into a journey, you never know and are never guaranteed what life will be like after delivery. There are very few surrogates out there who wish to part and never speak with their IP's, but I have never met someone who wishes this. Most of the women I have met wish there would be more contact after the baby/babies are born. Many times these women are led to believe that there will be a continuous relationship between them and the new family and that contact will remain as often as it is during pregnancy. But, the reality is, this fails to happen more often than we wish. And that is very hard for some women to accept. I feel for them and I can't even think what it would be like if my IP's weren't as welcoming into their lives as they are. Contact between them and myself has decreased quite a bit since the early weeks of the girls' life and I am sure it will more now that I am not pumping anymore, but I think the gradual shift helped out a lot. Nowadays we usually email about once a week and I get occasional photos or even video clips. I am never ignored and if I want to email or text and just ask what the girls are up, they will be very quick to respond. They are like family to me now and I am so thankful for that.
I know they won't be down here in Southern California forever. The plan is for them to return home before summer, so I need to take advantage of them while they're here =) So, my next visit will be on March 6th!! I'm so excited!! My mom and sister get to come along too; they have been just as welcomed into their lives as I have and I think the whole dynamic is just fascinating!! My mom and sister sure have come a long way in this journey with me and they love my IP's and the girls VERY much!! I have been blessed with an almost perfect journey!!
So, there will be pics of the girls to come in a couple weeks and I'm sure you can't wait!! As of today, 6 weeks into my fitness training, I have lost 17 pounds!! I finally reached the weight I was BEFORE my very FIRST PREGNANCY with Jackson!! And I'm not stopping there... I want to go all the way and lose 11 more pounds. I will definitely share my secrets to my success in a later post and hopefully by June I will be brave enough to post before and after pics!!!