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.