Angel Wings

I’m now home one week after birthing the little angel God let me hold. At 14oz and 10inches long he made such a huge impact on our lives.

At 23 weeks 5 days along and just four days after I decided I would carry him as long as God allowed he got his angel wings. I went in first thing Monday morning on august 13th to monitor his heart beat because I had not felt him move at all the day before and I just felt like he was gone. My Doctor and I discussed my experience and how we both felt more comfortable knowing if he had passed it was in his timing. She then did and ultrasound scan and his little heart was still. He was peaceful and I knew God had called him home. We discussed when I would go in to the hospital and my favorite nurse and I cried.

I left the office and made all the arrangements for the children and planned to be back at the hospital at 8:00p.m. that same night. I stopped a few times in the midst of it all just to thank God that Joshua was able to go in his time. I truly felt like I was carrying an angel. I gathered all the little things I bought for him and prepared to be staying in the hospital a couple of days.

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I Checked into the hospital right on time and was met by my doctor who was so wonderful through all of this. The plan was to start a slow induction and wait for things to happen as natural as possible. Things got difficult pretty quick. I started to run a fever pretty early into the night. I had my husband and my best friend by my side to make sure I was well taken care of but the night seemed to bring a lot of anxiety for all of us.

I was not feeling well with the fever and the fear that things could just happen at once without much warning. I made it through the night and received an epidural before adding any more induction medications because I was already feeling bad. My Doctor was able to stay close and monitor me so intently. I was blessed with a perfect delivery experience. Little Joshua was birthed at 12:58p.m. He was such an incredible little angel. My Husband and I were able to hold him and love him. Thank you God for an incredible experience.

Shortly after Joshua was born I began to lose too much blood and my doctor became very concerned. I had to be sent into surgery and then to ICU to receive a transfusion. I had a condition called acute DIC which can happen when the baby passes away in the womb. I stayed in the hospital until Friday to be monitored and make sure all of my levels were returning back to normal.

The whole experience was very difficult but I know that I was chosen to walk this journey and God would get me through. I had so many people visiting and praying for me, the baby and our families. I am so sad at times that this pregnancy had to go this way but again I know God has a wonderful plan. Little Joshua will forever be in my heart and mind and I know I will share his story for years to come.

His parents will receive his ashes and we will both get some pictures that were taken by a photographer that came in from a company called Now I lay me down to sleep. I know we did all we could for precious Joshua and I thank all of you for your prayers and encouraging words. So many wonderful people showed up in so many ways…Thank you.

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Choosing Joshua

I’ve struggled to find the words to write for an updated post. I have been carrying the weight of a decision made by Joshua’s parents to terminate the pregnancy after the amnio revealed that he has Trisomy 18. The news brought shock and heartbreak. The first few days after the news left me wondering what the parents would choose and telling everyone that we all said pro-life in the beginning so I was sure that’s the way it would go. When I received the email from them that said they were choosing termination and that they just wanted to “send Joshua to paradise now” I broke down in tears immediately. I cried one because they named him Joshua and that’s my youngest son’s name and two because there was a decision on the table and things were final.

My feelings were that I didn’t really have a choice because there was a contract in all of this that stated they have sole discretion in the decision. I felt that I would have to be settled in that and trust that God would change their hearts if he saw fit. I relied on letting the legal aspect speak the loudest. When I shared the news with those closest to me who were waiting to hear where I was headed after the news I got very mixed responses. Joshua was now causing a stir and making his life very known. I said from the beginning that I take no credit for this growing life and that I am just the blessed one chosen to get to carry him. No one can choose to create life. Each life is a Gift from God.

In the days after their decision I dealt with all of the emotions of knowing I was carrying a baby that would not survive. Even though Joshua is not mine and I was comfortable with handing him over to his parents at birth I now felt very connected to him as his life would now begin and end with me. When I called my Dr. to tell her the news she was saddened for me and wanted to make sure I was taken care of. She actually called me on her day off to discuss what would happen. She also explained to me that she would be on vacation the following week and asked that I come into the hospital on the following Monday night. As we were discussing the dates I realized that would make it scheduled on my son Joshua’s birthday. I quickly said I just can’t to that. She delivered my son five years ago and it was all too much. We then scheduled it for the day after his birthday and hung up the phone. I just couldn’t believe this was happening and had to go back to trusting God would show himself in this whole week that we now had to wait. Was my doctor on vacation for a reason? was my Joshua’s birthday in the way for a reason?

In that week so many people had questions and concerns, thoughts and prayers and I was right with them. I spent so much time researching everything I could on trisomy 18 and reading other parents stories. The only thing different for me is this is not my child and the decision to carry him was not in my hands. I went out and bought him a few things for when his tiny body would enter this world. His parents have asked for pictures of him and also requested his ashes be sent to them. Everyone including myself have asked if they were coming here to be with him at all and the answer is no. They are settled in the information that they have been given that he will suffer and not survive. I have emailed them and asked that I carry him till he and God are ready for him to go but they just are too heartbroken to hang on to him from where they are.

Today I was scheduled to go into the hospital to start the induction when God showed up. I’ve asked for prayer and today warriors rallied for Joshua’s life and God put it on my heart loud and clear to fight for him. I spoke with my doctor and the attorney that represents the parents and just simply said “I cant do it!” I want to let him live. Both responses were “I understand and lets wait” Thank you Lord!! I don’t know at this point how the parents will react but knowing my doctor is on my side and the attorney telling me nothing will happen to me legally tells me God has this in his hands but I already knew that.

Please continue to pray for precious Joshua for he is fearfully and wonderfully made!

It’s a BOY

On July 11th at 9:30 a.m. Maddie and I checked in to have the ultrasound done to reveal the sex of the baby and measure to make sure all was on schedule. Right from the start the scan showed that baby was a boy and I turned to Maddie and said ” I knew it”. The technician continued to scan and take pictures to put on a disc for me because I was not allowed to video it for the parents. After a while of her scanning and measuring she said she was going to get the radiologists because he sometimes liked to see things for himself. I got up to empty my very full bladder at that point and did not think much about the doctor coming in. He began to scan and I said, him being there was new to me so it was a little concerning. As he scanned I asked what he was looking for and he said the bowels were showing brighter than he would like to see. I was not too alarmed and he then asked the tech to show him the pictures of the face. I again then asked what he was looking at and he casually said the baby had a cleft palate. I seemed to just think out loud that it was cosmetic and not that bad right? The doctor and I discussed the fact that the parents and I were prepared to do whatever it takes and they would accept a baby with special needs.

I was scheduled to see my obgyn immediately after the scan for my regular checkup. In the five minutes it took for me to get there some concerns began to set in and when I was checking in I shared some of what I was just told. My Doctor wanted the full report  asap and ordered a blood draw for some genetic testing. She suggested I see a specialist for further monitoring. My pregnancy plan would now be much different from what I was used to. On the way home she called me to inform me that the blood test would cost $1900.00 and to make sure it would be ok with the parents. I then thought about how I would share this news with them. it’s all so surreal as it’s happening . before I got home my doctor called again with the results from the scan. She said not only did he have a cleft palate and lip there was also cysts on his brain, the bowels were the color of stone and he is smaller than 50%. She said things like; fatal and Trisomy 13 and 18. I was hearing her but not really understanding it all. I then asked how I would share this with the parents and she suggested I have them call her.

I had parents on the other side of the world waiting to find out the sex of the baby. I emailed them with the sex and let them know that there were some concerns and they needed to call my doctor. The response email expressed their shock and they said that the Doctor told them Trisomy 13. I have been researching the genetic defect and it is just not good news. I am heartbroken for the baby and the parents. We have come so far for such bad news now. I still need to go for the amnio test which the doctor has suggested instead of the blood test and I will also have another scan with the specialist to confirm the suspicions. Lots of tough decisions will need to be made soon.

Please pray for this baby boy and his parents.

17 weeks 5 days

Wow! here we are well into the second trimester and things are on the fast track to healthy happy baby. it’s been a while since my last post because we were without Internet for a almost a month and i’ve been running with children for the summer time. the last five weeks have been quiet on the pregnancy front except for one bought of bed rest at 12 weeks for a bleed episode which turned out to be nothing and baby was fine the whole time. I  never had the bed rest experience and it was a little unsettling. You always want a pregnancy to go smoothly and being one that is on behalf of another couple, I felt even more of an obligation to have things be perfect. All life is precious and every beating heart needs to be handled with so much care whether the child is yours or not. I often explain to people that I am caring for someone else’s child just like a babysitter or any good caregiver would. I’ll do whatever it takes to take care of this life even though its not my own child. 

I have had the opportunity to see the baby with every doctor visit so far and every time baby is bigger and stronger than before. The one thing very different about this pregnancy is the development of my placenta. It has made it’s place right out in front which prevents me from being able to feel the baby move right now. I even went in to the doctor early last week just to check in on baby and make sure things were ok. I know its still early and baby is little but I felt flutters in the beginning that seemed to go away once the placenta really formed. I’ve also done what I seem to do with pregnancies and have transferred my weight so far to the baby and have not gained any additional. I know the next couple of months will bring big changes in the baby’s size and movement will become very real and obvious so I should enjoy this time while I can. I go in on July 11th for the level 2 ultrasound which will reveal the sex of the baby. I don’t really have my own feelings on what the baby is but following the trend right now means baby is a boy. All the mommies I know that are expecting are carrying boys so we will see if I am doing the same. I have emailed the parents to ask if they are wanting one or the other and if they have names in mind but I’m waiting to hear back.

I can’t wait to reveal what they will be having and hear them name their baby. For now I will continue to play the recordings of baby’s mommy reading books in Swiss German though head phones on my belly. They are already bonding from worlds away.

First Trimester complete

The third month seemed to fly by. With the end of school year activities and a family camping trip, here I am at 12 weeks 1 day. Around the end of my tenth week while preparing all the necessary things we would need to go to Garner State Park I had a little scare with “spotting”. I had an appointment scheduled the next day for another routine blood draw but I called the nurse right away. I wanted to let the Doctor know and ask if I would be on any restrictions. I was nervous for many reasons, of course the health and safety of the baby and also our up coming trip, would I have to miss it? The nurse did not seem too concerned, she just instructed me to keep my appointment and said she would add an ultrasound to the order. It’s my job to call the monitoring clinic and schedule the appointment. I called them and asked if they could get me in the same day to save my nerves and they said it would not be a problem. I stayed in bed until the appointment and when I went everything was perfect. The baby looked great and there was no evidence of any problem. Phew!

The next day brought lots of packing and preparing and off to camping we went. The week of life on the river was a nice distraction from nausea and fatigue. I had the opportunity to exercise and relax. The nights brought some challenge because the restrooms were a good walk. You see lots of wildlife at 2:30 a.m. I slept really well for being on an air mattress. I actually felt the first real flutter movements while sitting around the campfire. Seems so early but this is my fourth time to do this so I am much more aware.

After arriving home I was ready to see my obgyn and start my second trimester. I will now have my regular scheduled once a month appointments until it’s count down time. I cant believe we will already get to find out the sex of the baby next month. I know the parents are so excited to know. My doctor did an ultrasound and we saw the baby waving and we could even make out a little profile. Seems so big so quick. I emailed the parents the video of their precious baby waving at them. I love the moments when its more than just a pregnancy, its their baby growing. They responded to the video email with great joy and a sweet picture of the first Nounours (teddy bear in french) they bought for the baby’s room. I love sharing such an awesome experience with them.

Satellite Monitoring

Blood work and ultrasounds have been almost a weekly deal since this journey began. Before the transfer in Boston took place I was visiting a satellite IVF clinic near my home to monitor just when I would be ready. I would go in every other day. After the transfer I would go about once a week and now I go just one more time for one last blood draw at 10 weeks 5 days. The clinic is able to draw blood and have results reported to the Boston Clinic in about two hours. I then get a call with my instructions. So far my instructions have been to continue what I’m doing (taking progesterone) and go back in a week to repeat. This week should be my last time going there and I should then be released to my OB/GYN. I am ready to get into the routine of my once a month visits and this first trimester to be over. I have known since the very first day and in a normal pregnancy the first few weeks are undetected.

I have become very aware of the nausea I thought I might escape since I never really suffered it too bad before. Although it is inconvenient I know that it means things are still progressing and baby is doing well. As the intended father said its bitter-sweet because it makes them so excited to realize their miracle is growing and that warms my heart. I can’t imagine how they must feel knowing that on the other side of the world they are pregnant. I truly feel that I was made to do this. This is their baby and I just get to very intimately share in their journey of becoming parents. I’m sure I will say that in every post because It’s true. I feel extra affirmation when my four-year old seems to completely understand just what is happening. He knows the baby is just growing with us and it will go home with the mommy and daddy. When he sees their picture he says “the mommy and daddy!” I Love that he is my baby and always will be even though I get to experience pregnancy again. I can’t wait for him to see the baby moving around in my belly. I am now starting to show a little and he says “oh the baby is getting bigger”. The whole family is excited.

Settling into pregnancy

Six short months after deciding to become a surrogate I’m now 8 weeks 5 days into the pregnancy and have now decided to keep a journal for all who are interested in following the journey. I have always had a passion for all things pregnancy and once I discovered I could really be a candidate for surrogacy all I needed was the “go ahead” from my husband. I began filling out on-line applications with different surrogate agencies. My thought was if I hit a wall and I am denied then I will be settled in knowing it was not for me. I never hit that wall. I answered question after question. Submitted application after application. My husband and I signed documents and quickly we were matched with a couple. I did have specific guidelines on the couple we would want to work with and the match was exactly what we were hoping for. The couple also chose me through the their own guidelines they set with the agency. It was a match! The agency then set up some more testing and screening for me and my husband so a trip to Boston and back and we were cleared and approved to carry the baby. The couple is in Switzerland so we have met via e-mail , phone calls, and Skype. The couple speaks French as a first language and the father speaks English well enough for us to communicate. We were all very anxious to get started with getting the frozen embryos shipped to Boston so I could then make another trip for the transfer (placing embryos in my womb). Getting all documents and contract signed seemed to take forever but before we knew it I was back on a plan with one of my best friends so my husband could take care of our home and kids. The transfer took place march 17th (st. Patrick’s day) and three days later I was back home waiting to find out how many of the three embryos we put it would stick and grow. After a long two-week wait and a few home pregnancy tests the blood test confirmed we were pregnant.Two weeks after that we saw one perfect heartbeat on the ultrasound screen. The couple cried with the news and I am just thrilled to have the chance to share this experience with them. I know this whole journey is up to God.