Friday, February 27, 2009

FFN was negative!

I'm going home today! Chris' plane has arrived back into Minneapolis and he will be up here in a little while to get me once he picks the kids up from Beth's house.

I am so relieved, as I'm sure M&B are as well. :)

I will be on bedrest at home, but not strict bedrest thankfully so I can still take care of the kids without having to bring someone in. They are also sending me home with a prescription for Nifedipine. I have to take it once every 6 hours, around the clock. It should keep my uterus quiet and not contracting much.

So this is fantastic! I cant wait to go home, but I really cant wait to see Chris & my boys. :)

31 weeks!

Well this entry is coming to you live from the hospital! Dont worry, everything is fine.

This story starts at 5am on Wednesday morning. We got up and took Chris to the airport. He had to go to Florida on business for a couple days. So we dropped him off, then came back home for a bit until registration was open at the school Ian will be going to in the fall. I took the boys and registered Ian for kindergarten, then we came home and had some lunch. Then I had to take them to my friend Beth's house because she was going to watch them while I was at the doctor since Chris was out of town.

So then I went in for my first biophysical profile appointment at 1:15. It started with an ultrasound where the tech was looking for each baby to have certain kinds of movements within an allotted amount of time. She was looking for big body movements as well as small motor movements such as hands opening & closing. Both babies passed and got the maximum 8 out of 8 points. Baby A weighed 3 lbs 9 oz and Baby B weighed 3 lbs 7 oz. So nice and big! The doctor was impressed at their sizes and said whatever I've been eating/drinking, to keep it up!

Next was the NST (non-stress test). They hooked up a monitor on my belly for Baby A. I had to squeeze a trigger whenever I felt her move and the monitor tracked her heartrate in conjunction with my clicks. She did great and got her 2 out of 2 points for that. Baby B kept moving away from the monitor when it was her turn, but she did great as well and got 2 out of 2. So both babies got the maximum 10 points!

Lastly, my doctor did a cervix check. This is where it gets crazy and from this point on my day was like a blur. 3 weeks ago I had a cervix check and was totally closed and firm, all that good stuff. Well Wednesday I was 2cm dialated and soft. Lots of women can walk around for weeks at 2cm dialated, but my doctor seemed to be concerned the most that I had no idea this was occurring. I couldnt think of any one particular time within the past 3 weeks where I had any more discomfort or pain than usual. I've actually felt great, so this was a huge shock to me. She didnt want to jump the gun and send me to the hospital unnecessarily, so she conferred with another doctor at the clinic and she agreed that I should come in for a steroid shot for the babies in case they are born early, and some monitoring for my contractions (I had been having up to 4-5 an hour in the evenings for weeks now but they never hurt), and then the FFN (fetal fibronectin) test to see if we were looking at labor within the week or not.

She wanted me to check in right after dinner that night. So I start to freak out a bit. Chris is out of town and where were my kids going to go for a couple days? I dont know that many people in MN yet since we haven't lived here very long. Luckily my friend Beth said she would keep them for the couple of days, so I knew they would be in good hands. So we went home and I ordered us a pizza, then we got their bag packed and my bag packed and I took them back to Beth's. Her husband drove me to the hospital since it was downtown and I had never driven there before. That was definitely a load off my mind!

I got checked in and the first thing they did was give me a betamethasone shot, which is a steroid for the babies' lungs. It matures them more quickly so if they are born early, they can breathe air much easier. The nurse said that while in the womb, babies lungs are full of surfactant which makes them kind of sticky and they stick together which would make it more difficult for them to breathe once they were out in the air. Another surrogate I know who is a nurse said she has seen first hand that the shot is incredible for any baby born early. So that made me happy. I think the whole stressful situation had me contracting quite a bit that night. I had 6 within an hour, and the another 6 within the next 30 minutes. So they gave me a shot of terbuterline which was basically like a big ol shot of muscle relaxer just for the uterus. The contractions stopped immediately, although while I slept they came back to about 4-5 an hour overnight which everyone was fine with. I slept decently that night, which was actually better than I had been sleeping at home. I was so tired after being up since 5am that day, and then the excitement of the day, so I slept well and only woke up to pee once.

Yesterday was pretty quiet. I was down to 2-4 contractions an hour...and keep in mind that none of these have ever hurt. They have all been just a tightening of my stomach and nothing more. So even when they were more frequent, I felt fine. I also have no other signs of pre-term labor. No bleeding, cramping, back pain, discharge, pelvic pressure, rectal pressure...nothing. So they moved me to the long term bedrest part of the hospital since things were looking fine. I have a bigger room with a shower, a LCD TV, DVD player, microwave, table fan, and the bed is comfy. Also included in the rate of the room is Integrative Care, which are things like massages, aromatherapy, accupuncture, accupressure, reflexology, etc...based on what you need. They thought I could use an aromatherapy massage to bring my stress levels down and relax me. So I had a lovely massage with lavendar oil and relaxing music, and then she left me with a little envelope with a tissue in it that has the lavendar oil on it, for a refresher whenever I need it. She recommended that someone come in the next day to give me another one. I can live with that! I was only hooked up to monitors twice contractions at all each time, and both girls still doing great. I received another betamethasone shot last night..and let me tell you..that shot HURTS! Big needle, lots of meds, and it stings going in. Not fun! But totally worth it, of course!

Last night was wonderful. I turned the fan on and had it blowing on me (I get hot VERY easily) and turned the TV to the relaxation channel which has relaxing music and scenery. This was around 11pm or so. And I was knocked right out. I slept until 5am and got up to pee, then went back to sleep until 8am. I really needed this good sleep! I had my breakfast, then they hooked me up to the monitors contractions, babies doing great, and then I got to take a shower! Chris will arrive back into MSP around 1pm and he will bring the boys up here to see me. So I am glad to be all showered and have makeup on. At some point they still need to give me the FFN so we can see what the next step is. If its negative I can go home and do bedrest or modified rest there because it means 99% chance of no labor within the next week. If its positive they will keep me here for bedrest because it indicates 30-50% of delivery within the week...which we dont want! I am pretty sure it will be negative...I mean despite the dialation I dont have anything else going on with my body. No contractions, no pressure, nothing. So we will see.

Now, M&B have been awesome through this. I dont know how they have stayed so calm...I think if the situation was reversed I wouldnt be as calm! I think it definitely helps that I am NOT actually in labor though! LOL. If the FFN comes back negative, they will come out here next still moving up their original plans by a couple weeks. If it comes back positive they will come immediately. I am so thankful that their jobs are so flexible and they can work from here if they end up being here an extended amount of time. Right now the first goal is to keep the girls in until 34 weeks and my ultimate goal is at least 36 weeks! I have a friend who was a surrogate and carried twins, and she was in the hospital at 29 weeks with possible pre-term labor issues, but ended up needing to be induced at 37 weeks anyways! So its definitely possible the same will happen here. I just do NOT want them born pre-term at all. I've read that 35-36 weeks is full term for twins, since they mature more quickly in the womb that singletons, so thats what I really want to get them to. And this is mainly of course for their health, but also because nobody wants to be labelled with having a pre-term birth. In the surrogacy world you are labelled as damaged goods basically, and I want to have the option of doing this again in the future. Of course I am nowhere near ready to think about doing this again yet! But I want to have the option just in case. I've had such a great experience so far with M&B and their babies, and the whole pregnancy so far (besides this little speedbump!), so I would be afraid that it wouldnt go so nicely next time! So we'll see.

Well here is the 31 week developmental update for the girls:

  • The rate of physical growth slows down just a bit, but even though she doesn't get much longer, she will gain a lot of weight the rest of the pregnancy.
  • Fat continues accumulating. This layer of fat turns her skin from red to the rosy pink she will have as a newborn.
  • Calcium, phosphorus and iron are being stored and her bones are growing and hardening.
  • Baby is 16.2 inches (41.1cm) long and weighs 3.3 pounds (1502gm)
  • Her brain enters another period of rapid growth, producing hundreds of billions of new nerve cells! Amazing!
  • She may move to the rhythm of music. Studies with heart rates show that she also prefers some types of music to others -- already!
  • Lungs are the only major organ left to complete development. Remember, that while you may be anxious to meet your little one that these last few weeks can be vital - with each day increasing your baby's ability to breathe on her own.

Obviously I dont have a belly pic today since I didnt bring my camera with me to the hospital! I do have my cell phone but the picture wouldnt be very good. So I will do that later.

They just came in and gave me the FFN test so I should know within an hour whether or not I get to go home, and whether or not M&B will need to get here ASAP. The doctor is pretty confident that it will be negative at this point, so thats wonderful news.

I will update once I know anything else. But so far so good!

Friday, February 20, 2009

30 weeks!

Week 30 is upon us! I am officially in the home stretch! It has gone by so quickly, but I know that just like any other pregnancy, pretty soon it will start to slow down as I get bigger and more uncomfortable. I cant even imagine how excited M&B are getting!!

I had an appointment yesterday but it was boring and uneventful. I didn't even get to see my own doctor because she was out doing some kind of emergency surgery. So luckily they were able to squeeze me in with another doctor. They just did all the basic stuff...urine check, weight, blood pressure, fundal height (uterus measurement), and checked the babies' heartbeats. I start going every week now, and my next appointment is Wednesday which is right around the corner already. Each appointment (biophysical profile) will be approximately 90 minutes. I will start with an ultrasound, then a non-stress test, and then see the doctor which I assume will include cervix checks. I thought I was supposed to have a cervix check yesterday but the doctor said that the number of contractions I've been having aren't worrisome and not enough to change my cervix. I suppose we'll see for sure next week. I'm just glad I'll get to actually see my own doctor! I haven't gotten to see her in a long time. The doctor yesterday also gave me some Metamucil samples (pills, powder, and wafers) to try and see which form I like better. The iron pills they have me taking have caused some major constipation (ew, I know) and the Colace and tons of water aren't helping. Sooooo, hopefully I will have some relief soon!

Well, enough about me. Here's the 30 week update:

  • Baby is nearly 3 pounds now (but I'm sure the girls are bigger than that!)
  • Her head is getting larger to accommodate a period of rapid brain growth. Don't forget to continue to "teach" baby in the womb by exposing to music, literature, and simply talking to her.
  • A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds her. As she grows and fills your uterus, the amount of amniotic fluid will decrease. Funny, you certainly won't feel any lighter!
  • She spends more and more time practicing opening and closing eyelids. Her eyes can move from side to side, following a light source. She may even reach out to touch the light.
  • Early lanugo is beginning to disappear that served to protect your baby's skin from the water in the womb. Your little one's own hair may begin to appear.
  • Toenails are entering their final growth stage.
  • Bone marrow is now in charge of red blood cell production. These red blood cells will continue to service your child's body by transporting oxygen and removing the wastes (carbon monoxide and other gases).
  • Baby has the capability now to produce tears -- yes, within the womb.
  • By the end of this week, baby is now 15.7 inches (39.9cm) long and weighs 2.91 pounds (1319gm).

And here are my belly pics. I actually took them yesterday since I actually had clothes and makeup on! :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

29 weeks!

Well, I must be the most boring surrogate alive. I have nothing new to report. I'm sleeping better, I feel great, and I've almost outgrown the maternity shirts I bought a while back. Luckily the pants still have plenty of room...that means I'm growing only where I need to now and not in my thighs anymore! (maybe....haha)

Here's the 29 weeks update:

  • Baby's head is in proportion with her body now. She appears more like a newborn each and every day!
  • Fat continues to accumulate under the skin -- only now preparing for entering the *real world*.
  • Your baby's brain can control primitive breathing and body temperatures.
  • Her eyes can move in their sockets. Soon she will be able to follow a blinking light.
  • Baby is increasingly sensitive to changes in light, sound, taste, and smell! Various studies show that baby may indicate preferences (or disdain) for particular tastes or odors at this stage
  • She is also moving from side to side, but probably still is head up. In the next few weeks, she will move to the head down birthing position. At times you may feel as if she is performing somersaults for a circus act!
  • Her length is now approximately 15.2 inches (38.6cm) and weight is 2.54 pounds (1153gm)

And here is my weekly belly shot! Maybe I will do another one with my face in it at some point. I dont wear makeup unless I am going somewhere, and I refuse to put a picture of myself without makeup on the internet!

Next appointment is Thursday, February 19th at 3pm!

Friday, February 6, 2009

28 weeks!

I am now 7 months pregnant and in the 3rd trimester! I've been carrying and nurturing these little girls since August 13th. It seems like it is going so fast!

I am very sad that I have to miss the surrogate support group meeting this time around. It's tomorrow in Chicago. This meeting is going to be huge! There will be 5 or 6 birth stories, and then all the other ladies who are pregnant or about to transfer, and the new girls as well. I dont get to go to another meeting until the girls are born, and then I will be giving my birth story. I miss everyone. The last 2 meetings I've gotten to go to were here in MN and had hardly anyone there. These meetings are so important and are really helpful for all the surrogates no matter which phase they are in. I cant wait to hear all about it. :)

Not much of any update from me today, since I updated on Wednesday about my appointment and everything. So I will jump into the good stuff: the girls' development.
  • Eyebrows and eyelashes are now very noticeable!
  • Hair on baby's head is growing longer. Some babies are born with almost none at all, while others appear to be ready for their first haircut!
  • Eyes are completely formed now. Quite a view from inside!
  • Your baby's body is getting plump and rounded. Most of that increase is muscle tissue and bone. Fat will be added during the third trimester.
  • Muscle tone is improving. Preparation for the Olympics feels like it is taking place in your womb!
  • Lungs are capable of breathing now (but baby would still struggle and require medical attention if born now)
  • Talk to baby often, reading stories, singing songs and more. She can recognize your voice now and will often calm to it later on!
  • Your baby weighs in now at 2.2 pounds (1005gm) and is 14.8 inches (37.6cm).
Well it looks like the girls are already ahead of the curve on weight! So now they'll just continue to put on weight and grow a few more inches.

Here's my belly today:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Appointment today

Well I had a great appointment today! I passed my Glucose Tolerance Test with flying colors. My number was nowhere near the threshold of Gestational Diabetes! And the Glucola wasn't as bad as I had remembered. The worst part was trying to drink the whole bottle within 5 minutes.

Both girls are head down! I'm doing a major happy dance over this. I know there's a chance that they could flip around between now and their birth, but having a normal vaginal delivery means a lot to me and knowing that as of right now its a possibility has me feeling relieved!

Miss A is weighing in at 2.7 pounds and Miss B is weighing in slightly smaller at 2.6 pounds. They are about 15 inches long too. I am measuring 34 weeks, if I were carrying a singleton. So I was previously measuring 8 weeks ahead and now its only 6, which is fine.

BP was great, urine was a little concentrated so they want me drinking MORE water (I drink water all day long, and everytime I wake up at night already!), and I am slightly anemic. So they want me taking Iron pills, but to do that they want me taking Colace regularly to counteract the constipation caused by the iron pills. Isn't being pregnant fun? hehe. My hemoglobin was 10.5 and needs to be 12-13 for Iron.

I'm sleeping a little better, but now I also have VERY itchy skin (mainly on my feet) which keeps me awake at night. I got some suggestions from some friends and last night I covered my feet with Sarna Anti-itch lotion and then put socks on. I slept very well last night. So it seems that I have found something that works and should help me sleep more easily without taking Unisom. I got some Vaseline Cocoa Butter Oil Gel for my stomach and other itchy parts. It smells really good, so I smell like a chocolate treat until you get to my feet, and then I smell like medicated lotion!

There has been no talk of scheduling a c-section nor an induction at this point. I was reading on some twin forums last night and it seems that its very possible and common to carry to 38 weeks with twins, although by that point you're begging the babies out! The uncertainty is the only part that's making me anxious at all but I know they'll come out when they're good and ready.

Well thats it for now. I will be 28 weeks on Friday, so I will have a new belly pic and some developmental updates. :)
The below picture has my cervix at the top, Baby A's head on the left and Baby B's head on the right. And I think that's Baby A's arm between them but I cant tell for sure since I cant tell where the membrane seperating the girls is.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Go Steelers!

Well today is Superbowl Sunday and people have asked me who I'm rooting for. Of course I want the Steelers to win. I've got two little Pittsburgh babies in my belly!

Also, I agree that my belly looks smaller in my recent picture compared to the one before it. It's a combination of my posture, the lighting, and my clothing I think...because I've still got a big old belly! The girls will be growing a whole INCH this week alone, so I'm thinking my next picture or two will show some major growth. :)

Happy Sunday everyone!