Friday, January 17, 2014

9 months post delivery AND BIG NEWS!

It's been a long time since I've updated! B is now 9 months old! My kids and I went and visited him and his siblings and mama last weekend. It was great seeing them! B was so much fun, bouncing around and all excited when we were "talking". He's precious and I absolutely love being able to see him with his family! 

AND for some big news......
I'M PREGNANT! (again!) This time its mine and my husbands, and we are so excited that we are adding our 3rd (and last) little one to our family!

We weren't exactly planning on it, be we are soon going to be a family of five! We found out baby is a boy, and have decided on the name Thomas Charles after both grandfathers.
I still hope and plan to carry B's little sibling, but that will be after I take a good, healing bit of time off from pregnancy. 

This is how we announced our family would be growing by two feet!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

4.5 months later


This cutie is 4.5 months old now! Sometimes it seems a little surreal that I carried him, although I'm still trying to shed the last few extra pounds of baby weight. I also was on steroids for about a month and a half, so I think that had some to do with why I weighed the most I ever have!
I still text with K pretty often, and am hoping we can get together again in the next few weeks.
Here's a few pics from our previous get-togethers.

This was mid-June, the last day I pumped milk. Glad I did it, but it was a lot of work (much more than nursing in my opinion), and I'm amazed at the women who keep it up for much longer!

(And yes, Conner attends these get-togethers too, but he's too busy running around with B's older siblings to take a pic!)



I made this a while back but forgot to share it-

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Inquiring Minds

Here are the answers to the questions I've received lately:

How difficult/or not was it to send him home with his parents? Even though you know the whole time this is a gift you are giving to someone, and its not your baby, does the instinct to be mom and cuddle and care for him come about?
This one is really hard to explain! Mostly, it wasn't difficult for me to see him go with his parents because that's where he belongs. The hard part of saying goodbye for me, was that the family lives a few hours away, and I knew I would be missing them. (Especially K, since I had been seeing her once a week for a while!) Being in hospital, having delivered a baby, going through surgery, hanging out playing games and watching TV in the hospital room with my husband, were the things that made it "strange", because we have been through those things when we had our children, and were in the same hospital with our last child. I was also surprised with my husbands reactions. For example, he was glad we didn't get my tubes tied, which was something we discussed several times before the c section. It brought up feelings in both of us about missing ours being babies. (But surprisingly, the "baby fever" wasn't all that severe, although we still haven't decided if we will have another later on.)  The instinct to cuddle a baby is always there for me, and as much as I do truly LOVE baby B, I never felt like his mom.

another question I got along the same lines: Was it emotionally hard carrying the child knowing you were not taking him home with you?
Not really. I did get attached to him but it felt like a different attachment the entire pregnancy than it did with my own. I loved thinking about him getting to "experience" things with us especially things I knew would be similar to what he would experience with his family, or if his mom would have been able to carry him. I loved when he would dance around during church services, and so far I'd say thats been the only times since delivery that I kinda miss being pregnant.

I want to be a surrogate, where do I start?
The first place to start is with research. Look up surrogacy laws for your state, research the medical process. Also one of the first things to do is decided if you would like to be a traditional surrogate, or gestational surrogate. A traditional surrogate uses her own eggs, and a gestational surrogate (like me) is a carrier whom is not genetically related to the baby/babies. Also you need to decide if you would prefer using an agency, or going "independently". There are pros and cons to each route, but I choose an agency because I don't trust myself to be organized and on top of things enough to make sure I didn't miss anything. If you decide an agency is the best route, I HIGHLY recommend Fertility Resources of Houston. They were exactly what I wanted from an agency, professional AND personal. If you are considering starting the process, start gathering your medical records because that could end up taking a while. Here are some sites with helpful information:

I have just recently decided to become a gestational carrier. I am not yet matched, but I was wondering if you could tell me more about the matching process and how you knew your IP's were "the one"? And after matching can you tell me what to expect as far as the medical screening and psych screening?
Every agency and clinic is a little different, but for me I did the psych screening before matching, and the medical screening afterwards. The psychological evaluation consisted of my husband and I meeting with a social worker, she went over alot of things and is very involved in the world of fertility. I also had to do a 600 question inventory called the "MMPI" which screens for personality disorders. It asks some very strange questions but it's not too bad. The medical screening for me was a long visit with an RE (reproductive endocrinologist) during which we did a medical history review, blood work, a mock transfer, and a saline sonogram. I was lucky to have that all done in one visit, many times it takes 2 or more office visits.
The matching process one is very personal to me, and is similar to dating! The first couple I was told about sounded nice, but they weren't married which bothered me since I didn't want to be on the baby's birth certificate as "mom" even for a few days.  I was unsure if I even wanted to set up a match meeting with them. Very shortly after, my agency coordinator called me and told me about K and M. They had previously been matched but it didn't work out, so they were looking again. I immediately got butterflies hearing about them and knew I wanted to meet them. That night, we scheduled a meeting. When we drove to meet them, I told my husband to "make me" wait a day before saying yes or no. But on the way home, we both knew it was a yes! Hours after meeting them we decided to call and tell the coordinator "YES" and K and M had done the same! We just felt so comfortable after talking to them for a couple of hours, and we trusted our hearts.

How did Olivia react when you didn't come home with a baby? & Conner too but he's younger, so not sure how much he understood.
Yes, Conner just turned two so he didn't seem to care either way. He has been only ever so slightly interested (for a couple of seconds) the times he's seen B. Olivia, however, understood very well from the beginning. I did worry because once toward the end of the pregnancy she hugged my belly and said something like "our baby B." I corrected her and she said "I meant ours to hug." I tried to talk about K and M anytime the pregnancy or baby was mentioned, and I think that helped alot! When people would ask her if she was getting a brother or sister she would say something like "Conner's my baby brother, this one isn't ours."  But she did great at the hospital and when we came home. I show her pictures when K sends them, and we've seen them a couple times since delivery. (She's WAY more interested in B's big siblings than B when we get together!) When it came time to getting back to normal, she did really well. She was great about remembering to be careful because of the surgery. One day at the park a couple weeks after delivery, another kid overheard me telling her I couldn't push her on the merry-go-round, and asked Olivia "why?" In words wise beyond her years, I heard her explain that her mommy just had a baby but he isn't our baby, that mommy is a surrogate, and the doctor had to cut her to get him out. I was about to burst with pride hearing her. Kids are amazing at understanding and accepting things just as they are!

How difficult is the legal part of surrogacy?
This will change depending on several factors. But overall, if you live in a surrogacy-friendly state like Texas, its rather easy. Basically, the contract is drawn up by the parents lawyer, then the surrogate and her lawyer reviews and makes changes if necessary. This contract protects the surrogate and parents and discusses several preferences by each party. Once everyone likes the contract, it is signed and the embryo transfer can happen. The next legal step is custody, which is also easy in Texas. There is a Pre-Birth Order which gets signed by a judge during the pregnancy and deems the parents as the legal guardians and ensures they are listed on the birth certificate. This only applies to straight, married couples. If a surrogate carries for a gay couple, or a single man or woman, then these rules change and the surrogate is listed as the mother, and must reliquish her rights and the parent(s) then adopt.

Did you nurse or pump for the baby at all? Did the mother prepare so that she could nurse the baby?
I started pumping for him a few hours after delivery. There wasn't enough for him to take much home when we left the hospital, but my milk came in that weekend and I shipped to them. Yesterday was his 2 month birthday and I still haven't stopped pumping, although the last two days I've only pumped in the morning and at night (so twice a day.) I keep saying I want to stop but to me its emotionally difficult to stop for some reason. Pumping is ALOT of work though, so I'm thankful now that I'm able to only do it twice a day without much pain. I never nursed him. I wasn't entirely opposed to it if necessary, but prefered to pump, and it was never discussed. His mother was advised not to try to induce lactation because of the medications it would require and how that would effect her medical problems. She was able to nurse her other children and is very thankful that B is able to get breastmilk as well for now.

What was the hardest thing about the journey?
This is a tough one! Honestly, everything went so well for the most part. Pumping has hard its hard times. Recovering from major surgery, although my recovery went well, was difficult at times because without a baby around, its easy for myself and my family to forget I needed to be taking it easy. I had emotional breakdown the day we came home after my husband and I realized I physically couldn't do what we were all used to me doing around the house! Aside from the post delivery stuff, I'd say the autoimmune disorder I developed was the hardest thing. My pregnacy was nearly perfect besides that. It was the most miserable rash. I itched all over and was up in the middle of the night taking baths in vinegar water, trying multiple remedies all the time. I was relieved to get a diagnosis, but also sad that its something that I'll always "have", and the rash could potentially flare up again. If it does though, I know what I need to do to control it.

Thanks for all the questions, hope this helps! If anyone has any more questions, I'll edit them in later!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I'm thinking about doing a Q&A post, so if you have any questions please post them in the comments.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Birth story!

I'm sorry I'm so late getting the blog caught up!
The day before the scheduled c section was a busy one for me. I had to get everything packed up for my kids to go stay at my parents for a few nights, then had to take my car to the dealership (repair work since I got rear-ended the week before). My mom met me up there and took me to the hospital to do pre-surgery labs. Mike picked me up on his way home from work, and we had to get our dogs to my aunt so she could take care of them for a few days. There was lots of excitement that night but still really no anxiety. I talked to K on the phone and they were also very busy and SO excited! Due to a convention going on here, they were unable to book a hotel room for the night before, so they had to leave their house around 1am to make it for our 6am check-in. Mike and I woke up early and made sure we had everything then headed out.

We got to the hospital just minutes before M and K. We all went to L&D and got checked in.
I STILL was not really nervous at this point, just excited! I called my mom and told her about when to plan to bring my babies up to see me. We had the nurse that checked us in take a picture of me and my hubby with K and M.

Our "oven", their "bun"- just before delivery
After getting some basic information, we went back to the "recovery" room, which is also where I prepped for surgery. The nurses went over what to expect and hooked me up to monitors. (I actually was having fairly regular contractions, so B might have choosen that birthdate even if we didnt!)  K and M and Mike all kept me company. The nurses were very sweet but had me scared that we wouldn't be allowed more than one in the operating room (which is the "standard"). After a while, the anesthesiologist (Dr. O) showed up. I noticed her jacket and pointed her out to K and my husband Mike, who then proceeded to tell her she looked too young to be an anesthesiologist! I later joked that his "flirting" helped us out, because she let both he and K join me in the OR!! (It's always ultimately up to the anesthesiologist to allow more than one.)  I was sooo happy and relieved when she said yes, although I had a good feeling about it the whole time. After all the prep for the OR, and blood draw for cord blood banking, my OB Dr Reeves said it was time to head to the OR. Just then I finally got nervous. It was really just the spinal that was making me nervous. I'd never had a "spinal", although I'd had epidurals with my kids, spinals are slightly different. I think not being in active labor during a needle going into your back makes you more alert as to how scary that is! For the spinal, no one but Dr. O and Dr. Reeves would be in there, K and Mike had to wait outside in the hall. Dr Reeves realized how nervous the spinal was making me and struck up a conversation about my freshley manicured toenails in "cajun shrimp" color. Yet another reason I love my OB! The spinal was quick and easy and I was soon laying on my back, the curtain placed across my chest, and my husband and K came in. Mike sat near my head and K stood next to him. Dr Reeves had a nurse to assist him and there was also a nursing student in there standing to the side to watch her first c-section. I was alert during my c-section with Conner, but I seemed much more at ease and alert this time around, I suppose because it was planned. I remember talking to Mike and Dr O. We all guessed B's weight just before he was born. I don't remember Mike's and K's guesses, but I guessed 9lb1oz which was my birth weight and B's youngest big sister's also. I also asked if Dr. Reeves had started yet just moments before B came out! He was born at 7:23AM which I thought was neat because my husbands date of birth is 7/23. He was 9lbs 5oz, and I could tell by a glance he was a chunky baby before I even heard the weight! I watched K as the nurse brought B to be weighed and cleaned, she was overjoyed! I began to tear up as she thanked Mike and she was taking lots of pictures. My heart was nearly exploding with joy and pride! It had all led up to this precious moment!

proud mama holding her baby

Once B was born and cleaned up, he and his mom went to the recovery room while M stayed behind I was stitched up. I remember asking Dr. Reeves to stitch me up carefully, because I "want to use my uterus again", and not to tie my tubes. I also asked Mike to take a picture of the placenta since I never saw it with my own kids, and I talked to Dr. O's about her new baby she had 3 months prior. I was very talkative during the whole surgery for some reason! On the way out of the OR, Dr Reeves and one of the nurses showed me the placenta and pointed out the sac B was in. I went to the recovery room to join K and B, who were later joined by M (daddy) and then the siblings tooks turns coming in. I was itching like crazy so I was given Benadryl. K and M's oldest daughter was there while B got his first sponge bath, and she walked to my bed and said "Thank you Ms Julie for carrying him!" Oh my goodness, another heart-melting moment! She's 10 and no one had asked her to say that, just geniune gratefulness from a sweet big sister!
B with one of his big brothers in the recovery room
oldest sister admiring B in the recovery room
After nearly 2 hours in the recovery room, it was time for us to go to our rooms we would be in the rest of our stay. Once K got her family settled in their room, they came over to visit me, Mike and our kids (my mom brought them up there.) She had got all of our kids adorable embroidered shirts, and also got them all gifts from B. So sweet!! She also brought me a wonderful basket full of snacks, a belly bandit (yay! that thing has been amazing!), stretch mark cream (also amazing!), and some lovely personal gifts.

I was very swollen after delivery! But happy to see B and his family!

proud surrogate, adorable baby, thrilled mom!

I started pumping for B within a few hours after delivery, and although he had formula for a bit, I have been able to provide him with breastmilk for the most part since delivery. (I am seven weeks post partum as I write this.) Pumping has its difficult moments (to include mastitis and antibiotics) but I think it has helped me tremendously to physically heal and to have a great "ending" emotionally to this journey. I'm thinking I'll be ready to stop pumping in a couple more weeks. It does take away a bit from my family in time, and sure does add to dishes to be cleaned! ha! But I'm so glad to have been able to pump as much as I have! I feel like its a special gift for B! I know I'll probably be a little sad when I stop, so I'm not putting a real time limit on it, just going to stop when I feel like it.

B and I on his birthday!
The "team" the day after delivery

saying "see ya later" leaving the hospital

Mike saying adios to our little amigo

My recovery has been wonderful! I still have some minor abdominal pain (from my awesome OB doing a bit of repair work on those muscles!), but pain free in the incision site. I had my 6 week check up last week and all is well!
B has been doing great! He more than surpassed his birth weight sooner than expected! I have seen him and his family twice since leaving the hospital and he's so precious!
I do miss seeing K every week like we were for those last several weeks! But I'm so happy with the way we've become so close. She's practically family in my eyes now!
This experience has been so amazing! I feel like God specifically laid this on my heart, and He has had his hand on our journey throughout the journey.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The little one has arrived!

I'm going to sit and write the whole birth story soon, but just wanted to do a quick update for now!
"B" arrived on Wednesday March 27th at 7:23AM. The adorable bundle of joy weighed in at 9lbs 5oz and was 21 inches long. His parents are thrilled, he is perfect, and I'm recovering well.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

14 days left!

I can't believe how close we are now! Two weeks from today I'll be delivering baby boy "B" to his family! I'm starting to get excited, but I think since I'm not to that really uncomfortable stage yet it doesn't feel like its as close as it is. Things have been going really well again now that my rash is under control. The diagnosis was actually changed to "pemphigoid gestationis" (verified by biopsy) which is a rare pregnancy related autoimmune disease. My OB had me start oral steroids and now I'm down to a very low daily dose. This, along with a cream, and antihistimines, has helped tremendously. I still itch throughout the day, but its nothing compared to what it was like a few weeks ago. My OB isn't very concerned about it causing problems and also said it shouldn't prevent me from being pregnant again, although it could happen again.
I had a bit of a "maybe in labor" scare over the weekend and went and got checked at the hospital. I was having mild contractions picked up by the machine ever 3-5 minutes but they were hardly noticable. The bag of waters was intact (and was felt "bulging") and no dilation. I'm thinking we will make it to our section date of the 27th.
Tuesday I had an OB appointment, which K and also my sister Lacey came to. I was glad K and my sister finally got to meet, and we had a great time at a local baby store after the appointment. The OB visit went well, my belly is measuring as it should be and all is well. B's heartrate was 141, which is about what it has been for several weeks now.
K texted me later and said that her boys were so upset that she didn't bring B home with her! They are so ready to welcome their baby brother! I love it!
March 6th- 35weeks6days

Thursday, February 21, 2013

34 weeks

Yesterday I had an OB appointment and sonogram. K wasn't able to make it to this one, but both K and M are planning to come to our next appointment Tuesday. The sonogram went well, and B was head down, but "oblique", he was laying diagonally across my abdomen, and facing out! He measured 6lbs 13oz, which is pretty large since average for 34 weeks is 4.75lbs! We will do another sono next week to see if these measurements were just "off" for some reason, and to check fluid again (which was fine this week.)
Dr Reeves looked at my rash again and advised me to see a dermatologist as soon as possible. Since I had class yesterday afternoon, K called the dermotology office for me and got me an appointment this morning. I brought my munchkins with me and they did so well during the appointment :) Dr H says he believes it is PUPPPs, although its definitely not a "textbook case." He have me some samples of a cream and wrote me a prescription to fill if its helping. He also suggested talking to Dr Reeves about an antihistimine to help relieve the itching. It likely won't go away until a week or so after delivery. It certainly is an aweful itch and the best relief seems to be when I'm in the bath or shower. Luckily it doesn't itch ALL day long, it comes and goes, but when it itches, it is very irritating!Here is some info about PUPPP (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy)
Other than that, the pregnancy is going perfectly! I can't believe we are less than 5 weeks from delivery now!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

33 weeks

Well little "B" cooperated for his second 3D sonogram! I was sad that his family missed it, but glad the tech was able to get some great shots this time!
1/28/13 30weeks+4days
He still has been having the hiccups alot, at least a few times every day!
The pregnancy has been going well. We had an appointment February 7th, measuring right on track. The C section has been scheduled for March 27th. After our appointment, K and I met Wendy and Denise at the hospital and met with the head nurse there to discuss how we wanted everything to go, and for a quick tour. We also pre-registered and met with the birth certificate worker. Everything is good to go for the big day! I am so pleased with the hospital, they were wonderful when I had my son there, and I anticipate everything will go smoothly with this delivery and recovery. It made it seem like we are getting so close to the end to go and have that meeting. We still have a little over 5 weeks from now, I'm sure part of it will fly by but it seems to fluctuate with how fast and slow different parts of this pregnancy has felt. It was so great to get to spend time with K again, and she'll be here Wednesday for our next appointment too. I'm so glad she's been able to come to nearly every appointment despite the drive.
Not long after the appointment I started noticing bumps on my belly. In a few days there were quite a bit and it was itching so bad. I went in on Wednesday the 13th to have Dr Reeves look at it. Lo and behold, I have poison ivy! He put me on a med pack and its stopped spreading. Its looking better but still itches quite a bit. K suggested calamine lotion and I've been using that alot the last couple of days too.
According to, B weighs as much as a pineapple, just over 4 pounds, and is over 17 inches long.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Quick update

K and M and all their little ones came into town Thursday for an appointment. The visit with the doctor went well. B was practically turning flips to avoid us hearing his heartbeat but we finally got a couple seconds here and there! We could see him moving around, pretty funny! We discussed the c section again, and looks like March 28 will be the big day, as long as I'm not showing any signs of labor. After the dr visit, we all gathered into the sonogram room for a 3d ultrasound. It was great to catch a couple glimpses of B but the tech really couldn't get a good clear shot. When his hands weren't covering his face, he had his face right up against the placenta, making it impossible to get a clear view. I was pretty disappointed since the whole family was there to see him, but that's just how it goes sometimes! We are going back in on Monday to try again, and K will be coming alone most likely. Fingers crossed we get a better look this time! From the little bit we saw, you can already see similarities with his siblings! Very cool!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

29 weeks

Today marks 29 weeks! Baby boy (I'll call him "B")  has the hiccups right now, and has been having them alot since I first felt them about a week or two ago. According to, he is around 15 inches long, and about 2.5 pounds. Yesterday I did the glucose lab, and today I got the call that all is good with my insulin and iron levels. I talk to K today and she and the family are very excited about our 3-D sonogram next week! I can't wait! K and M and their oldest 3 children will be attending the appointment. They will be bringing a sitter for their youngest, and my kids and mom will likely be keeping them company during our appointment. This week we submitted all the paperwork to insure K and M go directly on "B"s birth certificate, and if all that is done in time, we will go to the hospital after our appointment Thursday to get everything prepared! I can't believe we're only about 10 weeks away from delivery! I'm so thankful that this pregnancy has treated me as well as my others, and so far I haven't even been having the hip pain I had in my pregnancies with my kids. I have been having those fun Braxton Hicks contractions in the evenings, just as I did while pregnant with my son. I actually kinda enjoy them especially since I won't be laboring with this delivery. (Not sure if that makes sense to many, but it does to me!)
27 weeks + 6 days - Jan 9

A couple weeks ago, K and I decided to get together for lunch and have all the kids finally meet! (And my first time to meet their older kids.) It was alot of fun! We went to Cheddar's for lunch, then went to the Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin. The kids all had a blast and the zoo was really nice. I loved seeing the kids together! It was pretty cute when we first got seated at the restaurant, one of the boys said "Hey! You have our baby in there!" when he noticed my belly. Then when it was time to leave the boys wanted to take B home with them. Almost, but he needs to grow a bit more!
K and M's kids and my kids- Jan 3rd