Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The End is Here...

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!!! 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Workin' It!!

All I can say is... so far, I have lost 15 pounds in 5 weeks!!!

I am so excited.  And after having triplets, and a total of 5 babies in 3 1/2 years, I never thought I would get the body back that I had when I got married.  But, I am proving myself so wrong!!

I just bought my yellow bikini that I will hang up so that I can be even more determined.  I'm more than half way there... 13 more pounds to go!!

Go me!!! 

On baby news... I just got a video clip of the girls' first time eating baby food.  I can't believe how much they are growing and how fast time is going.  I'm really starting to miss all of them, so a visit is definitely needed sooner rather than later =)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Happy Trans-versary!!

Well, today marks a very special day for me... exactly a year ago today, we had our BIG transfer and started growing 3 beautiful baby girls.  The day is still so clear to me and I can't believe it has been a year already. 

I remember that our transfer was originally scheduled for Superbowl Sunday.  We had to be in the fertility clinic pretty early in the morning.  As my husband and I were heading out the door, the phone call came that postponed the transfer for another day.  Are you serious?!?  That was the worst thing ever!!  I was so mentally prepared for the whole thing and anticipating it all.  I had childcare set up and my husband finally accepted that he had to cancel his big football plans.  But, the embryos weren't perfect just yet and another day of them sitting would make them A+ embryos.  The decision was made to wait until the following morning.  Man was I frustrated!!!

So, the next morning came.  LA traffic, I hate you!!!  It took over 2 hours to get to the clinic, which should have only took one.  I was so frustrated by the time I got to the office, but I tried to calm myself down before the transfer took place.  We waited what seemed like forever.  My IP's were there and they were so excited.  My husband was more nervous than all of us; not only was his wife getting implanted with someone else's embryos, but he also had to report to an interview the same morning with PepsiCo which ended up changing our lives!! 

The procedure was pretty easy for me, no pain.  I sat laying down for a couple hours, the bed reclined so that my feet were higher than my head.  I was then told I could go to the bathroom and go home to my 24 hours of bed rest.  I was so nervous to go pee!!!  I just thought I might pee those embryos right out!!  But, I had already held it in long enough so I did my best not to push anything too hard down there =)  From the office to the car, to the car to my bed, I walked with my legs as closed as I could!!  I know this sounds silly, but I really kept thinking those babies could just slide right out!!

Remembering that my first attempt at surrogacy failed, I was super paranoid with the following days.  I stayed on bed rest an extra day and tried not to lift any amount of weight for a couple weeks.  My IP's really wanted me to take a home pregnancy test as often as I wanted to following the transfer.  So, my mom brought home a year supply from her hospital and I took them religiously!!!  No, these tests aren't accurate after a transfer.  Day after day, I kept taking them.  They all were different and that second line was sometimes present, but always so faint.  I remember studying those tests for the longest time with my husband.  How many times could we ask each other, "Is there a second line or not??"  Well, apparently there was!!!  My blood test showed that my hormone level was HIGH...

I remember the nurse calling me with the results, saying it was AT LEAST 2!!  Wow!!  And, the rest of the story is history =)

I love looking back and reading my posts from last year.  I definitely went through some hard times.  But, I will stick to my words... no one will EVER know what I went through.  I have been in contact with someone who is starting a journey that is very similar to mine.  She is the same age as I was when I found out the BIG news; 2 embryos transferred, both took, one split.  Just as I was experiencing the worst emotions of my life, so is she.  Reading how much pain and depression she is already experiencing reminds me of how much carrying triplets for another couple drains you physically and emotionally.  There are very few people out there that can say they know how she is feeling, but the majority of her family and friends will never be able to say the right things to her and support her in the way she needs.  I hated hearing everyday that "this is all going to be alright", "it will all end soon", and "just think of the wonderful thing you are doing."  I'm glad that she found me and I can be of some support for her.  I know EXACTLY how she is feeling and it breaks my heart knowing someone has to go through some of those emotions I went through.  There will be a day where she will look back and appreciate the journey God had blessed her with.  She will soon be able to say that she is more proud of herself than she has ever been in her life.  Once those babies are born, she will look at life in a whole new light and appreciate every moment more than ever before!!  You know who you are... and I'm here for you!!

Transfer days can go one of 2 ways and I am so fortunate that I had a successful one.  I can't imagine having to go through another failed attempt.  I can't believe how much my life has changed this past year.  It has definitely been a very interesting journey that I will cherish forever.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Help Isn't Always Helpful...

Looking back on last year, I thought I had the most amazing surrogacy plan ahead of me.  I had perfect IP's (who are still the most incredible people I have ever met), a supportive family behind me, and what I thought was the world's greatest surrogacy agency leading me through one of the most foreign processes out there for people like me...

I can recall bragging about the passion I had for these women that created and maintained this agency (they're almost to that point where mentioning their name is very well deserved, but I'll spare them that for the time being).  They treated me with the highest respect and cared for me as if I were their top priority.  In the early stages of the process up until the middle of the pregnancy, they offered overwhelming support.  I got checked on daily, had a representative present for important doctor visits, and I was given absolutely everything I ever needed or wanted.  This was short lived.  Towards the end of my pregnancy, I felt alone.  Like many of you realize out there, I was crying out for help!!  What did I need help with when I had the world doing everything they could to assist me with child care, house keeping, meal preps, etc??  Well, obviously I was mentally breaking down.  Day by day, I was becoming more and more depressed.  I just wish my agency had maintained that role they had played in the beginning throughout the entire process.  Instead, phone calls, emails, and correspondence from me and my social worker were ignored or neglected.  If I had an agency that actually attempted to reach out to me in my time of need rather than me having to force help, I think I would have had a much better time dealing with all of those overwhelming emotions.

At this time of just starting to realize how much my agency was starting to suck, I thought maybe it was just me and these raging hormones that just started to hate everyone.  As much as I hate discussing the compensation side of surrogacy, I really need to state that I was taken advantage of.  Every month it got worse.  I'm not the type to complain until things get out of hand, so I let little things slide until I reached my breaking point.  My IP's thought the world of our agency.  They worked with a very BIG agency prior to working with ours, which most of you out there are with, and had a not-so-good experience with them.  So, they grew to love ours.  As time went on, I tried to warn them about all the things happening.  I'm so glad they got involved to help in every single matter, but soon they caught on.  It wasn't until recently where that moment of "Oh my God, these people have no business running a business" happened.  They had no need to, but they apologized over and over again for me having to deal with this ongoing stress with them.  In the end, not only was I taken advantage of, but we have proof that they were as well.  They feel absolutely betrayed and will NEVER recommend this agency to anyone. 

The point of having an agent in this whole surrogacy process is to help guide people through the process and make the entire thing much easier on everyone involved.  They're not there to cause more stress and frustration for anyone!!  Early on in my pregnancy, I told everyone how important it was to have an agency, but sometimes I think I would have been better off without one.  I think having a contract and a very good fertility attorney is key, but an agency really can cause more harm than good.  Now that my journey is at an end, I know exactly everything I would have done or said differently.  Although the surrogate part is over, me dealing with my agency is not.  I may have a long fight ahead of me, but I am not going to let them win!!  They may have not realized this in the beginning, but I am one smart girl.  I am very well educated and I let NOTHING get past me.  I know they hate how "surrogate smart" I am and probably wish I was one of their other surrogates who just "let things go".  But, I have news for them... I never give up on things and I am always right (just ask my husband!!).

So, my point on this post is not to bash my agency (which there is a lot more of that I REALLY would like to disclose), but it is just a warning to all of you surrogates out there.  I know sometimes you don't know the truth about people until it is too late, like in my situation, but never forget that you have a voice.  If you are ever second guessing things, then look into it until you are positive.  And just because you may be helplessly knocked up, you still have a voice.  Stand up for yourself no matter what the situation may be and let yourself be heard.  You all are not just an "oven"; you are a human being that should be treated with respect, especially when you are giving someone life!!

If you have any personal questions, I am free to email to chat!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

5 months already?!?

So, the girls are already 5 months old!!  The time has really gone by so fast.  So much faster now that I can breathe and am 3 babies lighter =)

I continue to hear from my IP's pretty often.  I get frequent emails with photos and even cute video clips of girls, girls, girls!!!  Their favorite things are bubbles, sucking their thumbs, and EATING!!  These girls are getting so chunky and gaining so much weight...

Lily is the biggest, 15 pounds, and is starting to sit up on her own!  Eve is 14.12 pounds and amazingly little May caught up to her identical sister and is now bigger... 14.7 pounds!!  I plan to visit this month, so I will have some pics with my girls to share soon.

Eve, Lily, May

Lily Pies!!

Eve and May (Wow, I hope I got that right. They are getting more "identical" every day!!)

So, I have exactly one more month of pumping.  If I make it to March 2nd, I will have made it to my goal... 6 months of pumping and giving the girls the BEST nutrients!!!  I think having this did them wonders and they are very healthy babies because of it.  They deserved every drop =)

It's been 3 weeks since my hard core training has begun and I have already lost 11 pounds!!!  Not only am I losing all of that stubborn baby weight, I am also the healthiest I have ever been.  I make absolutely every meal.  My new lifestyle has given me so much more energy and I LOVE the way it makes me feel.  I can definitely see the light at the end of tunnel, and for me that light is a bright yellow bikini!

I will have a couple more posts to write over the weekend about some surrogacy issues, but I wanted to update you on these amazing girls!