I hope you have had a fun summer full of long days in the sunshine with friends and family. We are still holding on to the last bits of summer and have our annual beach camping trip in a few weeks. The months seem to go faster and faster though. I have one child starting Pre-K and another that is 6 months old!! Where has the time gone?
I am inching my way through our surrogacy story. Even though I am anxious to finish the story, I am enjoying doing it at a slow pace. As Ivy lives her first year, it has been special to reflect back at how she made her way into the world. So stay tuned! My next post will be her birth story full of some beautiful photos of the moment we held her for the first time.
But this post is all about the endless WAITING!!
As you know, we did IVF back in 2011 and little embryos (Jack and Ivy) were created. For this reason, we knew exactly how many days old the embryos were at the time of transfer. And also for this reason, we could predict the exact due date. In Jack’s story, he showed up 11 days earlier than that date (he was due Jan 4 and came on Christmas Eve). I wondered if our babies just grew a little faster. Stacy was also early with all three of her births. Stacy and I often wondered if it was the genes of the baby that determined how early he/she was born or if it was based on the woman carrying the baby. We never did any medical research on that, but in both cases, we expected that Ivy would be born early.
And to confirm that assumption even further, Stacy started experiencing some complications that could cause pre-term labor. The day after Thanksgiving, Stacy woke up very sick. She thought she may have had food poisoning or the stomach flu. She had thrown up, was very dehydrated, and had no appetite. Later in the day, she started having strong and regular contractions. We were exactly 30 weeks pregnant.
It wasn’t time for her to come yet.
We headed to the hospital and my fears started rising. This was the other shoe I was dreading would drop. Of course something is bound to go wrong, I thought. I feared for Ivy’s safety. I feared for Stacy’s safety. Would this whole thing end up being more of a nightmare than a miracle?
The contractions wouldn’t stop. The doctor eventually ordered a shot that would stop them and it did the trick. They also performed an ultrasound and this is when we discovered that she had a condition called polyhydramnios- or extra amniotic fluid. A normal measurement for the third trimester is between 5 and 25 centimeters (cm). A total of more than 25 cm is considered high. Stacy was measuring in the high 30’s. They ordered future testing and a meeting with a specialist.
The specialist ended up explaining that the extra fluid could indicate some problems, such as fetal abnormalities (pyloric stenosis in particular) or it could just be that the baby likes to pee a lot! We wouldn’t know until birth. Naturally, this type of news did wonders for my already anxious mama heart.
To make matters worse, it could also mean major complications for Stacy! In cases of polyhydramnios, the birth can be dangerous. If her water broke for example, there could be a placental abruption with the pressure along with several other possible complications.
What would I do if something happened to our dear Stacy who was selflessly giving us this gift?
It also meant that Stacy’s belly was measuring weeks ahead of schedule and the doctor explained that because of this, her body may think it was labor time when it really wasn’t. And this was true for us. She experienced many contractions for the remainder of the pregnancy. We never knew if this was “it” or not.
For the last couple months of the pregnancy, Stacy went in for non-stress tests twice a week. Most of the time, I was able to go with her and those are some of my sweetest memories. We would get a quick peek at our baby girl and would sit and chat while they monitored the baby’s heart rate and movement. This is Jack and Stacy at one of the tests.
One time, Ivy wasn’t as active as they wanted. We ended up going to the hospital AGAIN that night and talks of an emergency C section started happening. But just before we all got TOO worried, she perked up and we were sent home.
So if you can imagine my state of mind- I already thought Ivy was coming early, we were experiencing daily contractions, we went to the hospital multiple times, and we feared complications for Stacy and the baby once she was born.
I WAS A MESS!
I just wanted to speed it up so that I knew what I was dealing with. Having the birth happen a few weeks early would have given me that peace of mind, but as we got closer and closer to our due date of February 5th, I started to fear that wouldn’t be the case. I remember Stacy and I joking that she would be born late after all of this craziness.
At the end of January, we started “Operation Get The Baby Out.” We went walking one beautiful evening near Stacy’s house (and let’s all take note that Stacy is basically a pregnancy model).
When you are pregnant, you can get a read on how your body is doing. You pay attention to your aches and pains. You know your daily routine and if that is being disrupted by new symptoms of labor. So even though you don’t know when the baby is coming, you have a lot of information readily at hand. I relied on Stacy for that information. She did an AMAZING job of keeping me in the loop with constant texts and calls. But it was a tricky dance of not wanting to pester her too much, but also stay in the loop. I am sure she had a similar challenge. I could imagine her wondering if I really wanted all the details (but yes, yes I did!)
And instead of feeling my water break or experiencing intense contractions, I was relying on my phone to tell me when it was “time”. You better believe that phone was on me at all times and never silenced. I felt sort of like a phone maniac and would panic if I realized it wasn’t near. We had missed the birth in our adoption story, and I had nightmares that we would miss this one as well.
Stacy and I were determined not to let that happen. So we talked A LOT.
For example, this was a very typical text conversation. And yes, I see the 15% battery. I am sure this was causing phone mania and I was immediately seeking a power source.
Days later after our walk, we were all hit VERY hard with a terrible virus. Stacy, her son, her husband Jack, and I all got it. We had fevers, stuffy noses, and some of the worst coughing I have had in my entire life. This is me at urgent care.
This is not how I pictured looking or feeling when this birth happened. And Stacy was afraid she wouldn’t be able to push with her ribs being so tired from coughing. At this point, I just had to keep taking one step in front of the other and letting go of my fears. This all was clearly not in my control.
By the time the due date came around, we all were feeling much better. We were thankful for the chance to heal. On our due date, we went to get foot massages and Stacy gave me a beautiful gift- Ivy’s baby blanket.
The day after, we all went walking at the beach in order to get things moving.
This was on February 6th. She wouldn’t be born for 3 more days.
Despite all the fears and anxiety that surrounded me in this stressful time of waiting, something else was blooming in my heart- a growing excitement to meet my daughter. I couldn’t wait to see her sweet face!