I see a horse. Its high. I am about to hop on. But before that…
Friday marked 24 weeks pregnant! It has also reared up the ugliness that is indigestion. First it was tomatoes. Then chocolate (damn you). Now its pretty much everything! Grrrr It is off and on with no real consistency, so there is really not much I can do about it. Except remain upright when it hits! But hey if that’s the worst that goes on then I think I am pretty lucky. Had a lovely massage on the weekend. It did little to stop my ankles from looking like tree trunks but it felt nice, nonetheless! The kicker? And its a bad, bad first world problem… We cant see her again until the end of September- bugger, bugger, bugger! I don’t know if I want to see someone else in between. K has massaged me throughout 3 pregnancies now and probably knows my body better than I do!
Here are my stats thus far. At 24 weeks, I….
-Have increased my waist measurement by 6cm
-Have gained 4kg (and probably a shoe size from fat feet!)
Wasn’t much to write home about before but from now on it will be great to see how things change! I also love the comparison between this and previous pregnancies.
My little passenger is still unbelievably active. Most of the time its only me who can feel it (bubs goes shy whenever someone puts their hands on my guts) but yesterday I noticed some distinct movements from the outside. The first thing I did was grab the phone to video it and send to IP’s but it just didn’t show up on the screen at all- disappointing… I am beginning to think that this little person NEVER sleeps. Gosh I hope that it isn’t the case after the birth- Poor IP’s!! Tomorrow we have an appointment at the hospital- I will likely have a cervix check so it will be good to see my passenger again.
Here is how bubs is progressing this week, according to kidspot:
“Now weighing around half a kilo and around 30cm from head to toe, baby is receiving oxygen through the placenta and her lungs are maturing to start producing a substance called surfactant, which keep the lung sacs from collapsing in on each other. In fact, baby is now looking and behaving much the same way now as she will when she is born. Her well-developed skeletal system is making bone marrow and she’s capable of producing her own white blood cells to fight off infections.
Some research has shown that from this age, the foetus can actually think – but who really knows? They probably can’t think much more than: “Hmmm, this umbilical cord looks nice”. Your womb tenant will be taking up more space in your belly and your bump will be bursting further to the front. Baby’s pattern of sleeping and waking will start to establish itself, and you may notice her moving and squiggling around particularly when you are trying to sleep.
Baby’s face is almost fully formed, complete with eyelashes, eyebrows, and hair. She’s looking amazingly like the gorgeous little human you will meet very soon, and no doubt want to cover in kisses and cuddles. Her lips are red and she makes sucking actions, too.”
Ok, hopping on that high horse now.
There has been much media coverage in the past couple of days about surrogacy. Highlighted by the case of twins born to a surrogate in Thailand where one child who had been diagnosed with Down Syndrome was allegedly left with the surrogate as the Australian parents flew home with his twin sibling. A horrible thing to read about for many, many reasons. If you can see any positives in this, it is that generous people from not just Australia but around the world have donated money to support this child and the surrogate who carried him and is now raising him even though he is not hers biologically. The total currently sits at just over AUD$200,000 which will also go towards medical bills as he is requiring surgery to repair a hole in his heart. http://www.gofundme.com/bxci90
But I feel that this situation highlights a few things:
1. The sheer volume of couples that turn to overseas surrogacy as their choices in Australia are limited by time, red tape, expense and legislation. It needs to be easier to access surrogacy in our own country. Laws need to have continuity across states- why can in some states a transfer be organised in a matter of weeks with minimal counselling and in other states, the hoops that have to be jumped through are so immense that transfers can take a minimum of 6-12 months after the process has first started? There needs to be a happy medium. Now I don’t necessarily believe that compensated surrogacy is definitely, 100% the way forward in Australia, for a number of reasons, but why is anyone who is associated with surrogacy able to charge an arm and a leg, yet the woman who carries the child is not allowed to receive anything? Large payments are not the answer here as that only adds to the burden of cost for the intended parents, but there must be some middle ground. At the very least, IP’s should feel that they can thank their surrogate by way of a small gift without putting a parentage order at stake because the arrangement needs to be purely altruistic.
2. Medicare. This is the governmental body in Australia responsible for our healthcare system. A couple/single accessing IVF treatment in Australia is eligible for rebates in order to subsidise the costs charged by clinics to go through the process. It is this rebate that enables those who are trying to conceive a child the ability to have multiple transfers or egg collections to ease some (but not all) of the financial burden associated with assisted reproductive technologies. But of course, it still can add up. Lets now look at surrogacy, where all medicare rebates cease. You may have a couple who has gone through years and years of egg collections and embryo “making”, transfer after transfer with no baby. Then they are faced with the prospect of surrogacy. All Medicare rebates now cease to exist and a process that may have initially cost a couple of thousand dollars now leaves the IP’s $10,000-$15,000 out of pocket each time. Each time. Processes are currently being put in place to have these laws changed and fantastic work is currently being done by those at Medicareless http://medicareless.org/ but until then, we will see more going down the path of international surrogacy as it can be cheaper to go over there for egg harvest, making/storing embryos and paying initial costs for surrogacy arrangements with clinics.
3. Overseas surrogacy arrangements. Now I don’t for one moment intend to tell you that I know everything about international surrogacy. Because I don’t. But here is what I do know. In some, mostly developing countries, the industry is largely unregulated, with almost anyone able to start up a clinic. The process can be started reasonably cheaply and quickly but then ethical concerns can come into question with things like selection of surrogates, transfer of multiple embryos, termination etc. IP’s also have limited contact with clinics and surrogates, so some information coming out can be sketchy. Also, unknown bills for things like surrogate hospitalisation, Special Care Nursery stays or NICU means that costs can add up very quickly. More recently, the new military rule in Thailand has sought to make surrogacy illegal, except for some very hard to meet requirements. This leaves many singles/couples with currently pregnant surrogates in limbo and obviously concerned.
Just to clarify, I am certainly not judging any parent for the way in which they go about having their family. Their decisions are based on as much information as they can access and any parent who looks to surrogacy for one reason or another is already making an immense sacrifice in order to have their child/ren, one that I admire immensely. I just wish that there were steps that could be taken within our own country to entice (wrong word, maybe?) more to go through the process here- both as surrogates and IP’s.
Where does this leave things? I don’t know. Reform is not even around the corner but I truly hope that the “bad” stories that we do hear will make way for legitimate and necessary debate on the topic by those who make the decisions in order to take the first steps towards change for the better.
So that’s my 2 cents, for what its worth. Hopping off my high horse now- one really shouldn’t be riding while pregnant anyway…
Let’s leave this on a positive note. Here is another headless photo of me and my stomach! lol