A surrogacy journey, jointly documented by Surrogate and Intended Mother.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Teamie pictures

As promised, here are some photos of the last few weeks. Hopefully it creates a snapshot of how joyful Teamie Time is. The bottom lot were a huge amount of fun to do, and involved lots of paint & fun. Was completely Niki's idea, not sure she thought through how painty she'd get though..!
At the baby show excitedly clutching a little outfit chosen  by my mum.

The teamies arrive! Cuddles rock.

Very smiley girls partying - Niki and me with my sisters Abby & Lucy.

Glam friends.
Getting cuddles from Jack & Beth

I love how protective and caring these two are towards "Emily & Adam's baby"

Cheese Teamcake's handprints lovingly placed on bump
My favourite photo of all.
Complete team shot thanks to the timer on Steve's camera!

Another one of my favourites - Adam & I making our handprints.

A long post of excitement and joy

As Niki says, we are now 3/4 of the way through - eeeeeek! 31 weeks and 1 day today; I can't believe how time is ticking by so swiftly. Part of me thinks we'll be there before we know it and the other part of me suspects time will slow down to a crawl the closer we get (particularly for Niki whose pain is increasing as LMHH gets bigger).

Firstly and most excitingly, yesterday we had our meeting with the head of midwifery at Walsgrave hospital. As you may have read in my previous post, we were only too aware that some hospitals can make life quite difficult for surrogacy teams and were armed with questions and braced ready to be firm if we needed to. However we needn't have worried, the two senior staff members we met with were absolutely fantastic and incredibly supportive. Both have experience of surrogacy births before and the meeting showed why Walsgrave is swiftly gaining a reputation of being excellent in the surrogacy world.

Every question we had, they had already considered, and the answers were better than we could have hoped for. For example, there are strict visiting hours, some of which are for partners only. We wanted to know if we could be counted as separate patients to ensure both Adam & Steve would be allowed to come and visit. We were told that of course this would be fine, and they suggested things which will help make our experience even more comfortable, such as providing us with a larger family room (if they are available at the time) to ensure we are all comfortable and have enough space, as four of us plus the midwives needed for the birth could get a little cosy! I will be allowed to stay (and LMHH and I will be given our own rooms as long as they have space) baby will be fully in my care once she's born, we will be allowed separate discharges if necessary....basically everything we needed and hoped for.

One of the things neither of us had considered is how we should be addressed. Naturally, some staff may well refer to Niki as "mummy" - after all she is the one given birth, and they were checking whether we'd be upset by this and wanted anything written explicitly in the birth plan. Both of us are pretty relaxed and know that no one would mean anything by confusing our roles, so we aren't worried but it was another example of how thoughtful this team are. LMHH will naturally have a name tag saying "baby Evans" to link her to Niki for medical and legal reasons, but they said they can put a second name tag on with "baby Assen" on. Whilst this is not top of my priority list (again, I'm very relaxed about this, we all know and understand how the hospital system works) it's just so lovely to have them think of these things. I walked around grinning like an absolute loon as we were given a tour of the ward, and as a tiny newborn bundle of squishiness was wheeled past and I couldn't help but squeeze Adam's hand extra tight. That's going to be us. It's actually going to happen.

Rewinding a bit to a few weeks ago, the baby show was a really magical day. The minute we got inside my mummy started to well up as it hit home that this was really happening. I'm glad that Niki was there to see just how much this incredible gift means to those closest to me as well. We had a wonderful time looking around and trying out various bits and pieces and LMHH and myself got thoroughly spoilt by my parents - the doting grandparents to be. It was wonderful to have Niki there and we had a gorgeous photo taken which I'll post on a separate post, along with some beautiful ones we took yesterday when at Niki & Steve's.

Last weekend was wonderful as we got to have the whole family come and stay for the first time since we moved. Jack & Beth were very excited and jumped at the chance for a tour around the house, making the most of the stairs (which are particularly exciting as they're in the lounge so they could wave through the banisters as they climbed up and down). It was a very busy weekend due to birthdays and mother's day, but as always our amazing teamies just slotted right in and got on with everything. On Sunday morning I was making tea and I felt a little tap on my legs. There was Beth, holding out a card and present from LMHH to mummy. Words failed me and I just hugged Niki & sobbed - how can I ever say thank you properly for everything this amazing family is doing to give Adam and I a child?

Last year, mother's day fell on my birthday. The year before we had had a rough time surrogacy wise, and 3 failed attempts with a different surrogate. No one's fault (definitely not hers) it just hadn't worked, and we were out of embryos, and that team had parted ways. I remember the feeling of dread as that Sunday crept closer; I didn't want to be miserable as I had so much to be happy about and grateful for but in my heart I was just so sad that if anything we were further away than ever to having a family. Niki & I spoke for the first time 9 days later. It just goes to show that you really don't know what's round the corner; life changes without warning, and just sometimes that change brings you closer to a dream you thought would never come true.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

3/4 down...

And 1/4 to go!! Yep, 30 weeks (well actually we are fast approaching 31...eeeeek).

For me, getting to 30 weeks really means we're in the final stretch of things now. 30 something always sounds ALOT further on than 20 something so even though 29 weeks was only, well last week, it still feels like we are a whole lot closer to due date.

Sadly as bump is growing (photo to follow) so is the pain in my back and hips. Physio is helping lots but am really noticing the stretches in between appointments and any slight exertion is taking it's toll. Luckily the kiddies are being fantastic and are looking after me/being very understanding of Mummy not being able to do everything she used to.
LMHH is the ultimate wriggle bum and alien belly is well and truly starting to arrive. Her jabs are more like squirms now and I am regularly kept awake by her all night parties!

Now things with Em and the move have settled down a bit and I'm on maternity leave, Teamie time has been much more frequent. A few weekends back I had a solo trip to Surrey for a girly outing with Em and her Mum to the The Baby Show. It was so lovely to see them both getting excited about all things baby and I think it was a big reality hit that this was all very very real and not just all a dream. We did get some strange looks from exhibition people when I ignored their questions and directed them to Em, even more so from passers by for the lovingly posed bump photo of the two of us, and found ourselves excitedly explaining the situation to confused faces a lot. It was a fabulous day though and worth it just for the overjoyed look on Em's face when buying a travel system.
 Last weekend the whole of the Coventry side of Cheese Teamcake headed on down to Surrey to see 'Emily and Adam's new house with stairs INSIDE' (their old home was an upper maisonette and the novelty of them living in a house was fascinating for Jack). As always the whole family were so hospitable and gave us all a wonderful welcome. We had a great weekend and it was lovely to spend some quality time with our special Teamies.
Sunday brought Mother's day and we couldn't help but contemplate how very different this years was from Em's last. LMHH even got her Mummy-to-be a little something to mark the occasion.

This week brings another Teamie day and our big appointment with the Matron at the hospital to go through all things birth. We both have a list of questions and will hopefully be able to update you about a hugely positive experience afterwards... Fingers crossed.

I kind of feel like my bit is relatively uneventful at the moment. I'm still feeling really positive about everything and am so very thankful that my journey as a surrogate has been such a brilliant one so far.
All that's left is to count down the weeks until LMHH can meet her Mummy and Daddy.

Glamorous bumpy shot.