The baby is wonderful and I am too! I just haven’t been updating because I’ve been SO BUSY! I know, aren’t we all. So this is what you’ve missed over the past ten weeks since my 18 week update –
I finished off the summer by taking my kids camping for five days. It was just the three of us and it was a brilliant trip. We ate like kings (that’s why we go camping), roasted marshmallows, swam in the river and played in the waterfalls. We even snuck off to the beach an hour and a half form our camping site one day. My son forced me to start Maze Runner so we could chat about it and watch the movie together like the good old Hunger Game days, so I obliged (it’s not as good as The Hunger Game trilogy). I had to work on homework some, leaving the kids one day to walk the river from our camp site to the waterfalls, a good mile or two! Anthony helped coach Caitlin under, over or around all the fallen trees. He’s so patient and good with her when he wants to be… unlike the rest of the time when he aggravates her!
We had our “20 week” ultrasound at 19wk2d where every single thing was determined to be right on target and normal and it was confirmed that Marce and Chris are having a baby boy! It was good to see them and Eileena!
I also got a tiny taste of what Marce and Chris must get often, being gay parents. We were in the hallway by the elevators after the ultrasound appointment and one woman captivated by Eileena and apparently in need of making sense of the four of us said, “This must be mom!” referring to me. I clarified that I was not mom, but here are her two dads! I wasn’t even holding Eileena or actively involved, Chris was the once chasing her around the room. This whole surrogacy experience, not just the previous interaction, which by the way, no one took offense from, sure has me considering how I phrase things in my own interactions with others.
A couple days after the ultrasound I took my son to Sacramento for another surgery on his hand. We make an annual trip the amazing, God sent, phenomenal, miraculous, Shriner’s Burn Center to check up on and get continued little tweaks to Anthony’s hand as he grows. He had a skin graft at the Shriners when he was a toddler.
Early in September I finished my summer classes including the dreaded final Econometrics course that had been haunting me since I declared my major ten or so years ago. I even got an A in the class because I’m boss like that…. and I had an awesome study buddy!
My kids started school and the regular business that is our life continued. Both kids have been on the swim team, though my son just withdrew in preparation for wrestling season. He has his plate full with band, math team and school. My daughter is trying out volleyball for the first time, too.
I am still volunteering for the Citizen Review Board through the Oregon Judicial Department, to help provide state and federally mandated reviews for kids in substitute care (foster care). I meet, along with my fellow board members, once a month to review cases. I have been a CRB member since May and I really enjoy it and the opportunities it gives me to be right in the thick of so many of the issues I am interested in. I have also gotten to go to a couple very informative seminars on topics I am interested in on a policy level, through my involvement with CRB.
I had been looking for a house to rent all summer. My husband and I have been working on a divorce for over a year now. (Yes, I’m totally just sneaking this in.) Marce and Chris have been privy to the situation since early on. We are doing the nice and peaceful type of divorce and we have been living together as I continue in school but I’d been stalking Craig’s List all summer really hoping to find an affordable place to rent with a hopeful move in between summer and fall terms. It was a tall order to find a place for a descent price with enough bedrooms let alone a garage and yard, close by, that had not been spoken for five applicant before me. Just as I was thinking I would never move out, a friend sent me a picture of the cutest little house and a phone number. Everything fell together beautifully. I got lucky and moved in the week before fall term started.
I’m pretty sure when I first started blogging a couple years ago I wrote something to the effect of, you wouldn’t want a surrogate going through major life chances such as a divorce or a move – ha! Well, here I am navigating some major changes. Luckily we got some of the emotionally grueling part over with before we started this surrogacy. Jason has been on board with the surrogacy all along. He is part of the contract and underwent all the screenings again this time around. The plan is still for him to be with me at the birth and he was there for the embryo transfer as well. As with the first surrogacy journey with Eileena, I am really grateful for Jason’s support with this surrogacy.
Marce and Chris have been supportive and understanding. After one pretty open conversation with Chris, when he was down for one of the appointments, he made it clear that if I needed anything, even just support when I get more tired and slow toward the end, he will be happy to come down for as long as is necessary.
When I did move to my new place I had helping me move: six women (I LOVE my friends) including the daughter of a friend, plus my super helpful daughter, my teenage nephew, Jason, and at one point four pretty amazing teenagers who were passing by and offered to help offload – I guess I found a nice neighborhood! My son was at a friend’s birthday party which was probably best for him. The excitement of the move did not counter the sadness for him like it often did for my daughter, though he is getting used to the separation and is a little more content now. My friends were a stunning and priceless help. In addition to helping me move my sister spent eight hours bleaching every surface of the bathroom among other things. My older sister has been my long distance interior designer.
I started the fall term about four weeks ago and spent the first three weeks of school trying to balance school deadlines with unpacking, buying furniture and all the stuff needed to furnish this place. I didn’t even have internet until late in the first week of school which made online learning a little tricky. I camped out at Jason’s and the coffee shop a lot. I’m taking two classes only – a schedule I planned ahead for. I’ve been taking four classes each term so I could take it easier over the summer and final trimester of the pregnancy and still graduate this year. This is my last term! I graduate this December with a BS in Economics, minor in Political Science! In fact I only have six more weeks left.
I had another appointment with the midwives at twenty three weeks. So far I’ve met four midwives at OHSU and I’ve not only connected with each one but theorized, ranted and philosophized with them. They have all been very interested in the surrogacy, in how and why I had a C-section and how we were going to avoid that, if possible, this time around. Early on, I expressed my frustration about Kaiser’s relentless attention on the perceived size of the Eileena in utero last pregnancy. The midwives at OHSU not only don’t get it but one even expressed concern around women not gaining enough weight by trying to follow imposed guidelines on how much a woman “should” gain in pregnancy.
OHSU has not harassed me about early or repeated glucose tests. In order to give the best picture, I opted to monitor my glucose levels three times a day for two weeks, (instead of the glucose drink that I’m not a fan of for a couple reasons) to rule out gestational diabetes. I tracked this between week 26-28 and from my limited knowledge all my numbers for one hour after mealtimes were in the preferred range. Of course, my care provider will assess this at our appointment next week.
Since the summer, I have also applied for a few select jobs as opportunities have come available and as time has allowed, in anticipation of graduation. I have my first interview next week! It will be a kick to show up for an interview as pregnant as I am and you know me, I’ll have no trouble talking about the elephant in the room – sorry that’s the most cheesy joke I’ve ever made – get it, Elephant… Moving on.
Over the last ten weeks the baby and my belly have grown beautifully! I feel wonderful. Really terrific. I am starting to get some general discomfort associated with having a big ol’ belly but nothing painful or even limiting. I sleep well, waking like clockwork to go pee twice a night. My appetite is pretty much the same. I don’t feel overly hungry and I really don’t have many cravings. If I had to pick one I’d say I’ve developed a little thing for olives from the olive bar. I’m not craving fresh veggies like I was with Eileena so I’ve been juicing a lot this pregnancy. That’s my way to make sure I’m getting enough nutrients from vegetables when I’m not eating salads or a lot of raw vegies each day. My daughter doesn’t love to eat vegetables but does drink my juices so this works for her too. I’m still eating my fresh ferments too but not craving the kombucha and kimchi like with Eileena. I’ve been eating my home fermented pickles instead. I have had a little heartburn but not eating chili seems to have mostly solved that little trouble.
Baby boy is nice and strong and wiggly. So far I don’t think he is as active as his sister but he kicks like a champ and at times I can see my belly move with his movement. He favors my right side, with my placenta which is anterior (to the front of my uterus away from my spine) probably to the left side. I know these are the juicy details you guys were looking for. J The pregnancy has been dreamy. It’s going by fast. Baby boy is going to be here soon (January) and I’m going to wonder what happened because I’m pretty sure I just got pregnant.