One of us has embryos, but no womb..the other has a womb she is willing to share...one of us is the heart and one of us is the body.. This is the story of two friends who have embarked on a journey of life.
I can hardly believe that nearly two years have gone by since this journey began. With that realization comes the reminder that Sherri has also been gone for the same amount of time. There isnt a day that goes by that I don't think of Sherri in one way or another.
Ella eases those feelings.
Baby Mama was a great support system to me through the 17+ hour labor. I cant forget Ella's Safta (grandmother) who helped me make it through the difficult final stage of labor. Thank you so very much.
Going back to December 30, 2009 .... my awesome husband drove 6 hours to the hospital to pick me up, 24 hours after Ella was born. I decided to go home quickly for a number of reason, not the least of which was my family and I were eager to get our lives back to normal.
Ella's Mom,Dad, brother and extended family were all loving up on her and it was time for me to go ... this leg of our journey had come to an end.
I am sure many of you have questions about my feelings at this point. Honestly, when I was carrying Ella, I felt confident that I would have no problem handing her over to her family. I did have the nagging feeling that I might be sad when the time came ... simply from the change in hormones, etc.
I never did have that feeling. I am not sure any feeling could ever replace the overwhelming joy I felt when I saw the faces of Ella's parents and her grandparents right after she was born. After my initial feelings of relief that I had survived the delivery at my old age ;) I was truly amazed at how naturally the events just unfolded. It was as if that is how everything in the world was meant to be, and I was at peace.
There are times I even have to remind myself that I gave birth to someone else's baby. Psychologically, I was so well prepared for my role as a gestational carrier and that made the transition perfect for me. I was always committed to helping my friend make her family complete, everything else simply fell into place.
We have had many milestones in the past year and I have seen Baby Mama and the family quite often (although not as often as we'd like) We were able to spend Ella's birthday together and my daughter Sofia made her a little cake.
Its been a crazy ride. I am so enjoying being Ella's auntie and my heart nearly explodes when I see this family together ... to be able to have a part in completing the family of a friend that you love ... is incomparable to any other feeling I have ever had. I look forward to sharing this next step in our journey.
Alright so it was brought to my attention that by not updating I left the impression that something could be wrong (for those not following on facebook). So I claim sleep deprivation. I have lots and lots to write, but my brain is still fried, so here are the basics:
Our miracle, Gabriella Marjorie Susskind entered the world at 10:19pm on Tuesday, December 29, 2009. She weighed 7lbs 12.5 oz and was 21 inches long. She and Egg Basket are both doing well. Egg Basket was a rockstar who made this whole delivery thing look easy. Egg Basket returned home to her family after 24 hours and she and I are in regular touch. She is feeling well both physically and emotionally (so don't ask her!).
Gabriella (also called Ella but NOT Gabby) is amazing. She is beautiful and perfect and I am enjoying every moment with her. Even those late night awake sessions are a chance for me to just have quiet time with her and appreciate her presence. Her big brother is doing better. The first week was a bit dicey, but he realizes she is here to stay and is now being very sweet. He sings to her, reads to her, hugs and kisses her..and only occasionally tells her she is "ruining his life" :)
That is all for now..I will have lots more to say about this whole journey, but right now, my hands are a bit full :)
Well, as you all now know, the 3 hour GTT was normal... obviously a good thing from the health perspective... a bit of a bummer to our hopes of delivering early.
Now we will focus on making it through the next week... at this point, an early arrival would be a pain for all of us. I have noticed that the baby has stopped her intense abuse of my internal organs and is content with mere squirming and pushing. This is a welcome change (minus the times when, I swear, she is attempting to head butt my pelvic bones)
Today was our first (and only) non-stress test. They did a quickie ultrasound to measure fluid and everything looked great. The doctor declined to check for dilation today, for fear of "stirring things up" prior to our planned induction next week.
This was a-ok with me because I am not a fan of this particular doc. His bedside manner died sometime back in the 80's when he probably should have given up practicing medicine ... he is older than dirt as it is. In fact, he probably has boxer shorts older than Baby Mama HAHA! At least this visit he reviewed the file and didn't mistake us for lesbian partners... I was kinda sad to see that perception end, the possibilities for amusing myself at his expense were endless!
This may (or may not) be my last blog post before the big day. I am currently musing over my reflections of the past 11 months. I am formulating a post-delivery blog post with these thoughts. It should be pretty entertaining, so stay tuned!
On a sad note, we are approaching the 1 year anniversary of when Baby Mama and I reconnected. It is bittersweet for me. On January 14th, it will also be the 1 year anniversary of the unexpected loss of my sister-in-law, Sherri. This week was the week we always spent making gingerbread houses and gift baskets to deliver to our friends. We spent an entire week, decorating houses, baking yummy candies and pastries and completely destroying her kitchen. I laugh to myself at how Patsy (my brother-in-law) would (half)jokingly complain about how we would make such a mess that the kitchen would likely never be found again. I cry at the thought of the two years after Patsy's death that Sherri, Hayley and I made our goodies with tears in our eyes, knowing that we wouldn't ever again hear Patsy make his obligatory protests to our annual tradition.
Next year, I will continue the tradition and smile through my tears because I know Patsy and Sherri will be watching. Patsy will be shaking his head with a Bud in his hand and Sherri saying “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way.”
Yesterday I got a call... a call from God. Ok it wasn't actually from God, it was from Kathy... the nurse at my doctor's office. But to me, for that one moment in time, she was God. Now normally, she would be bearing bad news with what she said... yesterday, she was singing music to my ears.
Due to a lab screw-up, my 28 week bloodwork results never made it to the Dr.'s hands. Now, not to be sidetracked, I LOVE the lab in East Haven ... the people there are pleasant ... but damn are they horrible at getting the results to where they need to be! They have lost my results twice and Len's once... that is a pretty crappy track record.
So I went to the lab in the town I live in this time. And they really are an unpleasant group of folks. Let's just say they didn't do well in the "bedside manner" class in phlebotomy school! I think what happened is, the people who fail in that class, all get sent to the lab in my town so they can be cranky together... a "misery-loves-company" kind of thing!
At any rate, as they miserably did their job on Monday, turns out my 1 hour glucose tolerance test came back high-ish. What this means for me is that I need to do the 3 hour glucose tolerance test..... complete with fasting and all that good crap!
What this means for US is much better....the doc has agreed to deliver early if the 3 hour GTT comes back high as well. He feels that this is safe at this point (less than 2 weeks from the scheduled induction)
So I sat in the miserable place, starving,tired and nauseous for 4 hours... listening to the miserable employees complain for 3 hours straight about some medical assistant at a doctor's office who was rude earlier in the day.
For those of you who don't know, the glucose liquid for the 3 hour test, is twice as sweet/strong as the drink for the 1 hour test. Chugging that back on an empty stomach was akin to drinking 10 oz of orange flavored Karo syrup... ! So there I sat, in the office, stomach heaving, trying to hold down this concoction from hell (or I would be subjected to it again the next day!) curled in a fetal position in a chair with my jacket over my head, sucking my thumb and waiting for the first hour from hell to ... just ... end!
The employees voices permeated through my jacket and made that hour seem like an eternity.
I did get a reprieve in hour 3, as my stomach settled and all but 1 employee left for Wendy's (yes, I know they went to Wendy's and I know they ordered a taco salad, a Baconator combo (single)and two Frosty's ... it is forever seared in my brain... oh and one of the ladies bought ketchup for the entire facility to use ... in case you care ... which I didn't, but had to hear about it on a nauseous stomach anyway)
And now, I am home, in the blissful quiet of my house ... awaiting the (good) news that this baby can come NOW!!!
Please join me in what may be the only known wish-fest for a person to actually WANT/HAVE gestational diabetes... because I love ya guys, but I am SO DONE!
First order of business... my apologies for the lack of blogging! I will say, I was pretty convinced that this pregnancy was going to progress much in the same way as the last 5... Needless to say... it hasn't. I think I forgot the part where, this time, I am old! For any of you out there wondering.... 42 is INDEED old. There is a very good reason why we old ladies don't, generally, have babies. our bodies simply cant handle it. I have been sick, more or less, the entire time. I NEVER had morning sickness before... let alone this all-day sickness. Chasing after a crazy 3 year old certainly doesn't do much to help the situation.
I have lots of things stored in my brain for when I have the energy to write (while Baby Mama and Daddy are up for late night feedings, I will be working on recording many of my thoughts, which have been filed away for later use)
I know that there are many unasked (and asked) questions about how I "feel" about this process.... and generally, I feel largely the same as I felt when I made the decision to do this in the first place. The physical toll has been greater than I had expected, emotionally... everything is consistent with my expectations.
I wish I had felt well enough to be more interactive on the blog, however I hope to be able to fill in more details once the baby arrives and I am feeling more physically well.
The Dr.prescribed phenergan which has done a great deal for the nausea I have been experiencing... the down side is, phenergan has a very strong sedative effect and I spend alot of time dozing off.
I still have lots to do to prepare for the holidays, and there is always the looming sense that the baby will surprise us with an early arrival. I have never gone into labor early... however the one thing this experience has shown me is that what I have experienced in the past is merely a crap shoot and anything goes!
I will say, I am having no signs that anything is impending at this point.
The most exciting thing that I have done recently was take a Saturday trip into New York City. I went to a book signing in Chelsea Market and met Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman. She was a real sport and signed 7 books for me (and my needy friends) I would have loved to talk with her longer, however she had a slew of people waiting to have books signed and I had 42 year old legs aching for a place to sit down. If you don't know who Ree is, please check out her website at http://thepioneerwoman.com/
I assure you, you will love her story(s), her sense of humor, her photos (her Nikon D3x made my D2Xs jealous ... LOL) and her recipes. I have tried many of her recipes and they do not disappoint!
After the signing, my hubby... the gem that you all know he is, took me to Williams-Sonoma in Stamford and spoiled me with a new Kitchen Aid pro series, an ice cream maker attachment and an All Clad electric griddle YAY!
So ladies and gentlemen, now we wait for the little miss to make her grand entrance... all I ask, is that the hospital have the epidural ready and waiting and that someone (anyone) have my martini waiting!
This is a very grouchy face..look sideways towards the top of the picture
And this is just a closer picture of her face...her arm is next to her head (also sideways)
Sorry it has taken me so long to get these pictures up- I had technical issues. Three separate scanners didn't work so finally I took a picture of the pictures..not perfect, but good enough that you can see our beautiful daughter :)
Two weeks ago Egg Basket made the torturous journey here to Maryland. It is a very difficult journey since she does not live close to the airport, traveled alone with her three year old and is more than 8 months pregnant! Still, she braved the journey to come and meet with the doctor here in Maryland and attend the small baby shower that my sister and close friend threw for me.
First an update on the doctor appointment- We started with an ultrasound that went really well once I restrained from ripping off the nurse's face who said that only the father could come back to the room. Now in fairness, Baby Daddy and Baby Grandma where both there so I guess we looked like quite a crowd ..but the nurse clearly did not look at the file and realize this was a gestational pregnancy- ultimately she was very nice, but we had a tense beginning.
The baby cooperated for the lovely pictures above and we had a great delight in that they were able to see the baby's hair in the 2D ultrasound! She has so much that it was sticking up all over the place and we could see it. Egg Basket has been telling me she has terrible heartburn and so knew the baby had a head of hair, but it was great to see it. Now before you naysayers all start telling me it will fall out, it sometimes doesn't if it is thick, and if they can see it on the u/s it is likely thick..so let me live in my fantasy world of my daughter and her lion mane :)
The other highlight of the u/s involved Egg Basket's three year old. She is the spunkiest, smartest and most adorable little girl I know. For obvious reasons, Egg Basket has not told her that she is pregnant and since the three year old has no real prior reference, she just thinks Egg Basket is getting fat :) Well, she came into the ultrasound and stood on a chair next to Egg Basket and watched the screen...as the nurse pointed out the legs, arms, etc, the three year old decided they were "drawing a picture on mommy's tummy"...a very smart way to make sense of what was happening on the screen and very cute!
Anyway, the baby looked great and then we met with the doctor who agreed to do an induction!This is great news because as many of you know Connecticut recently changed their GC laws and will only allow genetic parents on a birth certificate. Since it is not my egg, they would allow Baby Daddy's name, but I would have to adopt whereas Maryland allows both of our names (with a court order which we already have) on the BC from the beginning. The doctor agreed to do the induction a week before the due date (putting us around December 28th) and can schedule it one week before that, meaning we should know the exact date around the 21st. Now we just have to hope the little princess doesn't decide on arriving early. Granted, Egg Basket might appreciate that..she has been very sick (virus) and is actually losing weight..constantly nauseous and barely able to eat...she is looking forward to evicting our little troublemaker and we are looking forward to welcoming her :)
Next- my sister and great friend through me a small informal baby shower..it was amazing. As some of you know there is a Jewish tradition of not bringing things into the house before the baby is born- so I didn't have a shower before- but this time around, we decided the celebration with my close friends and family was appropriate. It has been a long journey and one I couldn't have survived alone. It was nice to celebrate with those so intricate to this journey and to have the chance to thank them all (not to mention show off the baby's room!). My sister went above and beyond, creating adorable diaper invitations, an amazing diaper cake and cooking the best desserts a girl could ask for. My friend E opened her home, provided the wine and took great care of all who attended. and for the record- this child will be so much better dressed than I ever am :)
Finally, for this keeping score- still no milk. I have moved on to the hospital grade mechanical pump 6 times a day for 10 minutes a time. It has been 3 weeks on the pump and besides sore nipples, I don't have much to show :( However, the gurus say you usually start seeing drops around 4 weeks, so we shall see. I also added mother's milk tea (3x a day) and an herbal supplement (3 x a day)...I feel like a crazy person constantly looking at the clock to see if I need to pump, pop pills, or drink tea. I also purchased a supplemental feeding system so I can "nurse" her with formula if I have to to try to bring in milk...we shall see..
Tomorrow I head to CT to begin our weekly appointments..will update again soon :)