Yesterday marked 3 weeks since birthing my spunky little passenger man, Ethan.
Some days it feels like I birthed him an eternity ago, other days it feels like only moments ago!
The first couple of weeks after the birth were exhausting. I would need a nap after getting the kids off to childcare and another nap after putting some clothes away or just unpacking the dishwasher! It wasn’t until last week that I started to feel I had turned the corner. I started getting some energy back. Yay! And this week I went back to work! I probably haven’t been as productive as normal but my brain and body have been through a lot so I am easing back into it slowly, slowly. Over the Christmas period we have some time off so we are looking forward to taking the kids out for some adventures- something we weren’t able to do leading up to and post birth. I think they have become a little stir crazy, so getting out and about will be good for them!
I am healing well physically. Lochia has lightened up which is good and my tear is healing with the stitches dissolving. Emotionally/mentally I am absolutely fine. I think some people expected me to be a mess but it hasn’t been that way at all. Its funny how your mind and body differ so much in the way they respond to a situation like this though- fascinating, really!
Baby Ethan is well- growing nicely and IM is doing the most brilliant job of breastfeeding him! He is a cheeky munchkin though- not sleeping well (or at all) overnight. I feel for IP’s- having gone through that, its tough! But I also reminded them that we knew this was a possibility seeing as pre birth, a lot of his active time came overnight and would keep me awake!! We went to see them on the weekend for lunch and it was so nice to have some more cuddles! I must admit though, it just feels like we are visiting friends who have had a baby. I don’t really look at him and think “hey, I grew him”. Its weird! He is my special little man though. At one stage he was crying, the kids were being little terrors and I had a bit of a shout at them telling them to settle down. Ethan immediately stopped crying. He must remember the noise and me yelling from in utero! hahahaha!
I got asked a couple of questions the other day about this journey.
1. Looking back, would I do anything differently?
2. Would I do this again?
1. I would say about 95% of this journey was perfect. That’s pretty amazing! The feeling of carrying a surrogate baby is just so different to carrying your own. Things that you liked about carrying your own child might become a little “old” carrying someone elses. Some surrogates go down the path of resenting the baby they are carrying. This certainly wasn’t the case for me, but at times I did struggle with not being able to be the best mummy I could be for our kids and this also put pressure on hubby. So although I don’t regret doing surrogacy when we did, I would perhaps advise against surrogates jumping into this if their kids are still quite young. It was definitely a toll I didn’t expect would be as great as it was- physically and emotionally. I was lucky to have family, IP’s and their family helping me out though. This would be a lot more difficult if we were in a different state to them. So I am glad I stuck to my guns in requesting IP’s from the same state!
Going into this, I was convinced that 100% open and honest communication is the key. I am not so sure about that now. Not so much from my personal experience, but going through this process with plenty of other surrogates who were pregnant at the same time who had some difficulties, my mind has been changed on the subject. Hormones are running rife, you are carrying a child that is not yours. I found that waiting overnight to see if my feelings on something had changed made a huge difference. The day before I may have said something I regret. I may have upset IP’s and/or my family unnecessarily. The term “pick your fights” applies to this and it served me well. I also discovered that some IM’s were jealous of their surrogates who were able to carry children and resented them somewhat for this. Which I think is absolutely normal! BUT that being said, surrogates don’t need to be reminded of this on a regular basis. So again, 100% honesty might not be the best thing for a surrogate to hear when she is carrying IP’s child. She doesn’t want to be stressed unnecessarily.
I can think of one or two moments when I could have stood up for myself a little more. Nothing major, just a couple of inconveniences. But I didn’t want to rock the boat, so I let it slide. This isn’t a contradiction to my above paragraph, just a slightly different circumstance! lol
Looking back, I knew that from that first hcg level (even though it was low), I knew I would be birthing a baby for our IP’s. For IP’s it is completely different. I found that it wasn’t until well after 30 weeks that our IP’s could truly get excited about having a baby. They could finally exhale. Although I wouldn’t do anything differently in retrospect, it is still worth noting this for other surrogates who might be reading- infertility, heartbreak etc puts you in protective mode. So if IP’s aren’t as excited as you are about scans or appointments or don’t want to have a baby shower, this could be the reason why. It’s one step at a time for them.
2. Would I do this again? What a question!!! I remember saying to hubby post birth “that was harder than I remember!”. And “I will definitely not be doing that again!” There is one thing I can definitely say and that is that we have 100% completed our family. A certain surgical procedure performed on hubby last week has decided that once and for all!
But I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss being pregnant. That I didn’t miss my tummy and that life growing in it. That I didn’t love that “surro high” that surrogates speak of post birth when you realise that you have made someone a mummy and a daddy (or any other definition of a family). Am I freaking NUTS?! Would my family disown me if I said I wanted to do this again?! I am certainly not going to make any rash decisions though. I cant even consider it until at least 2016 in order to give my body time to recover and for my family to forget about some of the anguish that I put them through. 😉 By then I will probably know either way. But until then, my standard response will be “I am done”. I don’t want people thinking that they can sway me either way!
So whats next???
I have submitted our request for a birth certificate which has to be put in mine and hubby’s name. Once this has arrived (the post is SLOW before Christmas) we can start on the paperwork that is necessary for the courts in order to get a hearing date that will approve parentage orders for IP’s and for the birth certificate to be changed. This can be a lengthy process so who knows when that will all happen! Hopefully soon. Not because I am in a hurry to have Ethan transferred legally and officially to IP’s, but because I want it to be official for them. Does that make sense? He never has been or will be ours. He has always been IP’s bubba. We just want it recognised.
For us personally, we are settling into our “new” normal. We still speak to IP’s every day and they send photos. We catch up regularly with them and Ethan for cuddles and the kids just simply adore them all. I am looking forward to being a part of his life as he grows. Christmas is next week!!! The kids are really excited about it and its great to see their little faces when we talk about Santa and see Christmas lights. We are transitioning the twins from cots to toddler beds which has been interesting to say the least and there might even be some toilet training planned for early 2015!
I have a blood test booked for next week to check iron levels then a 6 week post birth checkup in the new year. I will ask lots of questions about the birth and get a mirena implant put in (more for period regulation than for contraception purposes). And a repeat diabetes test- yuk! I am pondering a change in career but am not in a real hurry to make any decisions about that- will just keep my eyes and ears open for the time being.
I chatted to one of our midwives yesterday. I sent them a chocolate bouquet to say thanks (doesn’t feel like an adequate enough sign of my thanks!). She said they miss us! When I am back in the clinic in the new year they all want to catch up with me to see how I am going. I cant wait to see them again, they really are wonderful ladies and I am spruiking them all over the surrogacy community saying how amazing they are!!!
I am also planning a very special gift for IP’s that I have been working on since before we got pregnant. I am almost finished and I really hope I will have time to get it to them before Christmas! I also have to put all the photos we took on CD for them- must get around to that too…
But I am NOT closing off my blog! I plan to see this through to the very end. Updates will definitely not be as frequent but they will happen. Plus I need to come on here and see how my US surrogate friend Liz is going with her pregnancy! I think she is convinced that I am stalking her from the other side of the planet…
And of course, photos. I haven’t been able to post many lately due to computer issues, so here are lots to have a squiz at now that things are working again!
Group photo! This was taken the weekend before I birthed. Our daughter wanted to be in the pic- it was a hot day so clothes were optional!
This is the moment I “met” Ethan. IM bought him around so I could say hi.
Post birth but before my hemorrhage. I was covered in warm blankets as my body was going into a bit of shock and I was shivering uncontrollably.
The next day just before Ethan went home with IP’s. I was pretty puffy in the face from the 4L of fluids they pushed through me the day before!
THE most beautiful family photo EVER. It still makes me teary looking at it.
My babies meeting Ethan for the first time (the weekend after birthing him).
Having a chat with my special little guy.
And the coolest close up of Ethan as he ponders all that is life.
The AWESOME gift hamper I received with all my fave wines and chocolates. Lets just say that the chocolates are LONG gone… I am looking forward to tucking into the wines over my Christmas break.
To those who are following my journey, I thank you so much. Your support means a lot to me. I hope all who read this have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. I hope those who are experiencing their first Christmas as a family have a truly amazing time. For those whose homes are feeling a little empty again this year, please don’t lose hope and I will be sending lots of love and wishes that 2015 is your year.
Until 2015- thank you xo