Just a little over a year ago I was able to complete the long, complicated journey as a surrogate. I gave birth to Guy on March, 5, 2014. I really felt that it was the beginning of what was to come, rather than the end of my journey.
I struggled with surrogacy for a number of years. No matter what we tried, we ended up with negative responses. Chemical pregnancy, miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, negative pregnancy tests. It really felt that there would never be a light at the end of the tunnel. What R&G didn’t really know was that the more I am told I can’t do something or the more negative responses I receive, the more it pushes me to complete the task. To end up with a positive result. After seven years, I heard the heart beat more than one time!
It’s terrifying to be pregnant and be totally on edge thinking something is going to go wrong. I was totally stressed out with wondering if I took estrogen a few minutes early or if it was late. I worried with every progesterone injection that it wasn’t exactly the proper amount or I didn’t rub the injection site long enough to disperse the progesterone oil.
Getting passed that first trimester lifted a huge weight off my shoulders and allowed me to breathe a little. I was able to stop the injections and pills and just focus on keeping my body healthy for that little guy growing inside. If anyone is wondering, a pregnancy as a surrogate is definitely NOT the same as your own pregnancy. There are so many other components involved with surrogacy than a natural birth that it becomes a job rather than just being pregnant.
The second trimester was supposed to be the super easy part of the pregnancy. The entire second trimester was spent with all day sickness. It got to the point that the dog wouldn’t even remain in the bathroom with me while I was vomiting everything I had eaten or anything I had drunk because of how violent the projectile vomit was. My previous pregnancy was so easy; I never had any morning sickness or any real issues. I was losing weight as Guy was gaining. I was taking naps as he felt the need to try out for soccer or kickboxing or hip-hop dancing. It was insane that at the size he was, I could totally see my stomach moving because of the strength he had. I was still napping daily! Yep, daily. When I wasn’t napping I was working and when I wasn’t doing either of those I was on the bathroom floor. My life was totally consumed with these few items.
I finally made it to the third trimester and it was much like the first and second. I was continually taking Zofran so that I could keep a little bit of anything down. There were still so many days that the Zofran wasn’t nearly enough and I was still spending time laying on the bathroom floor so that I didn’t need a bucket next to the bed. The dog would lay with me on the floor until I got up to vomit, then she would run and hide under the bed and cry! At the beginning of January, I knew that some things weren’t quite right. The pain I was having in my hips and legs was something totally unexplainable. I saw a number of different doctors, had PT for a few weeks and had an MRI completed. The physical therapy really wasn’t the right decision. I was being stretched, massaged, had ultra sound on my hips, back and legs. The stretching the therapist was doing was making things so much worse. So much so that I went from being able to sort of walk a little on my own as long as it was really slow and I convinced my legs to just let me go a few more feet before resting yet again, to not being able to move my legs to walk. I was unable to bear weight without collapsing. I was unable to get my legs from the side of the bed, to being in bed. I was unable to move my legs under the weight of the sheet on the bed. I’m not really sure what a king size flat sheet weighs, but I’m not thinking it’s more than a pound or two. That sheet may as well have been a cement sheet based on my ability to move with it covering me. The MRI was able to determine what the real issue was and I was told on January 18th that I needed to omit any additional movements in hopes that I could save my hips. They were broken and had multiple fissures. They were moving in and out of the socket as I was “trying” to walk. The diagnosis from multiple doctors was AVN in both hips. Who knew this was even possible?
A few months of lying in bed and endless hours of terrible television brought the day that Guy was born. He really wasn’t in a hurry to be born early; he took his time after I was induced. We were all hoping for a speedy delivery since Jayde was born in 25 minutes. I showed up at the hospital on Saturday, August 9, 1997 at 11:00 am, and Jayde was born at 11:25 am. My water hadn’t broken and I didn’t feel that I was in active labor, but Jayde knew that it was time to come out! My due date with her was July 27, so she was definitely cramped in the small space she was hanging out in. The delivery was so fast that there wasn’t time for an IV, there wasn’t time for me to do anything other than getting my pants off. Back to Guy though…..we had numerous monitors hooked up to ensure he wasn’t in any distress based on my condition. There was an internal monitor stuck to his scalp after my water was manually broken. I also had multiple external monitors for him. I was required to have an epidural since the doctor was going to be required to move my legs and we didn’t think that the pain I would be in would necessarily be safe for him.
The epidural took just under three hours to be properly inserted. Seven different people “tried” to get it hooked up. I was poked and prodded 26 different times. The final attempt ended up working, but it felt like it feels when you hit your funny bone. My spine, neck and both arms were tingling the entire time the epidural was “working”. I was told that someone would be able to get the epidural inserted in the first or second try, and not to worry even after I had voiced numerous concerns from previous spinal taps that didn’t necessarily work so well. I shouldn’t complain though, it was a small price to pay to have a happy, healthy little Guy.Perfect little Guy
I was visited by friends and family shortly after Guy was born. People that I never expected to bond with him were ogling over how perfect he was. It’s crazy what happens when someone holds a baby.
I was visited by the hip surgeon just as he had explained he would the day following delivery. The x-rays that were done the day he was born were inconclusive so he needed to move me in a totally different position to be able to get the best possible images. Those x-rays were far worse than anything experienced during the pregnancy or quite possibly my entire life! I had always heard that the bones in your pelvis or in your hips sort of hold you all together, to say I totally came apart during those x-rays was a total understatement. I was asking the radiologist to chop my legs off. I had asked, rather demanded that they stop because I was vomiting from the pain and was covered completely in sweat. I generally don’t raise my voice or use choice language but the position the tech insisted I needed to be in totally pushed me over the edge. This position was to hold one leg about six inches off the table so that the side angle would show both hip joints (think a really low leg lift from lying on your back). I think about it now and it seems crazy that this small difference from one leg to the other caused so many issues. There was even someone standing next to me holding the weight of my leg because I was unable.
The only good part was that I was allowed to take a bath in a tub that was long enough for me and was jetted. It had been so long since I was able to take a bath since I was unable to lift my legs over the side of my tub at home. The tub at the hospital was about half the height and my baby belly was near gone. Phil still needed to lift me over the side and to lower me in the tub because I couldn’t hold my own weight yet. About five minutes into what I thought was the best feeling bath in my entire life, I was told the hip surgeon was in my room needing to talk to me. I thought that odd because it was close to 10 pm. Apparently the x-rays showed far more damage than the surgeon thought possible. The reason I knew this was he insisted on talking to me immediately. Even though I had just gotten in the bath, I knew it was important to discuss the issues with the surgeon personally. He joined me in the bathing room at the hospital to have the conversation with me that surgery was scheduled for 5 am the following morning. I figured there were a ton of people who were in the room for the delivery and it wasn’t like he was just standing there staring at me. He had his back turned to me, which I thought was an acceptable compromise.
I’m sort of happy that he didn’t provide me a long time to think about whether or not the following day was the perfect day for surgery, because I would have probably postponed due to being terrified of what my life was going to be like after that particular day.