Labels

Family Life (79) Surrogacy (66) Rachael (43) So Sayith... (22) Justin (16) Jordan (14) Taylor (12) Elijah (5) Nerdness (3) Adoption (2)

Monday, December 15, 2014

So Sayith Tay, Jay, and Eli #6

We won't talk about the last time I did family blog night, but in light of some recent events in my house I feel inclined to start it up again for selfish reasons.  Just so I don't feel like a horrible mom as I sit distracted with other things.

And since we are racing through one of the busiest times of years with all these holidays around I figure that's what we'll focus on.  Enjoy.

What is a Holiday?
Taylor: Is like a time that you spend with your family.
Jordan: I don't know
Elijah: Nothing

What is Thanksgiving?
Taylor: A time that you also spend with your family and eat dinner with everyone in your family.
Jordan: It's the day where we share love.
Elijah: For getting presents

What do we do at Thanksgiving?
Taylor: We make a giant table with all the tables we have and we eat all together, or we just spend time at grandma's house.
Jordan: Have family time.
Elijah: Give presents

What is Christmas?
Taylor: Christmas is a time that every has joy and they have fun opening presents and giving.
Jordan: Opening presents.
Elijah: Bringing presents.

What do we do at Christmas?
Taylor: We put presents under the Christmas tree and give presents to everyone in our family.
Jordan: We open presents.
Elijah: Bring  presents.

Why do we celebrate Christmas?
Taylor: Because it's God's birthday and on his birthday he tells us all about giving people stuff and how to be nice.  And our family likes to be kind to people.
Jordan: Because it was the day when Jesus was born.
Elijah: I created a flying train remote (he actually says remote "tra-mote"), it flies in the air and then goes down.

What is New Years?
Taylor: Uh, yeah I don't even know whats a new year.  Wait I know what it is.  A new year is like a new time of the year.
Jordan: Going new places.
Elijah: Bring nothing.

What do we do at New Years?
Taylor: Have fun.
Jordan: We eat.
Elijah: Nothing.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Chapter 1 - Finished

Um, so November is almost over.  WHAT?! And for what is likely to be my only blog for this entire month I figured I’d update you on surrogacy things.
If you recall back in August I went to the ER for severe abdominal pain.  That’s when I found out not all of the placenta was out and after a failed attempt to get it out with pills I found out a D&C was needed.
I didn’t want surgery – even though it was minor.
The D&C was scheduled from 11/24.
Then, on November 6th I woke up to quite a bit of bleeding.  I wasn’t in pain so I headed off to work.  The bleeding, however, did not ease up.  After a couple of hours I decided it was probably a good idea to contact my doctor who told me to go to the ER.
So here I was, ER visit number 2.  And the ER doctor said I should get the D&C right away.
I REALLY didn’t want surgery to begin with and yet here I was – more than 2 weeks ahead of schedule getting the D&C.
Justin joined me at the hospital.  They put something in my IV and told me that it would help me relax and I wouldn’t remember even being put under.  After a minute or so of waiting I remember thinking – yeah right, I remember all of this! There is no way I’ll forget any of this.
Then, suddenly I was waking up post-surgery – So I guess the doctors know what they are talking about after all.
Everything was cleaned out.  I felt fine (other than nauseous and groggy).  I went home and fell asleep.
The following day was Jordan’s 6th birthday party – where I probably did too much (I was supposed to take it easy for a few days).
So, fast forward to 11/10.  I woke up severely nauseous.   I had pretty major cramping and I felt light headed.  I told myself it would “pass” and headed to work.  I had to pull over a few times on the way due to nausea, but I made it to work.  As I parked the pain got significantly worse (like the first time I went to the ER).  I barely made it inside work and called my boss to tell her something just wasn’t right.
So an ambulance ride later and I’m sitting, again, in the ER – visit #3.  Several prods, pokes, tests later they find that there is extra fluid causing pressure (translates to pain) – but I’m fine.  Great – what a waste of a day AND who knows how expensive that dumb ambulance ride will cost.
And now it is “all over”.  I submitted my final expense reimbursement form to the agency and realized that it was done.  This crazy journey was done.  I met with my OB today and got the final “you’re recovered” letter and sent it off to agency.
A few minutes later I got an email right back – a new family to meet in a few days if I’m interested.
And so…it begins again.  This doesn’t mean this couple will be a good “fit” or if the next one will be (last time I met 3 couples over 9 months before I found the “right one”. 
I know we’re crazy! But every up and down, every injection and morning with my head in the toilet, every uncomfortable night and even the post-delivery drama was worth it.  There is nothing that really describe what it feels like to help a family grow.  And I (WE) can’t wait to do it again.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Glitter and Sticks - Holy Cow She's Six

On Monday, the one with the smile turned 6.  The one who adores babies.  The one who loves to help.  The one who has a slightly unhealthy love for pain and blood.  The one who for at least 4 years has been most people’s secret “favorite”. The tomboy in a tutu.
My Jordan.
Jordan started off with an exicing weekend when one of her life long goals was accomplished - she was a flower girl.


 
This was her first year being in school when it was her birthday and since I have such fond memories of being surprised by my daddy for my birthday I took the day off work.
I started by bringing her lunch and eating with her at school.  She was excited to tell everyone that I was her mommy and she was excited to sit and eat with me (I know someday that may not be the case).
Later in the afternoon Justin and I came to her class with cupcakes and listened as her class sang her Happy Birthday and prayed for her.


 
After school the birthday girl got to pick where we had dinner.  She picked IHOP, one of my kids’ go-to restaurants since who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner (except for me)?



 
As most of you already saw, she got a Ukelele for her birthday which she is learning to play. She wanted a Turquoise one – and that’s what she got (after a minor mishap with a pink one).
 
Our usual birthday tradition of letting the birthday kid decorate their own cake – which usually ends up being a pile of sprinkles in the middle – was sadly not done since we didn’t get home from dinner until nearly bedtime.  So that will be coming later.
Overall, I’d say she had a pretty good day.  And she still has her party to come!
Happy Birthday Baby!
I love you dearly.  You have such a compassionate heart and love to care for others.  You are selfless (well mostly) and loving.  You have a smile that lights up a room in an incredible way.  You are definitely stubborn and like to test the rules and boundaries to see what you can get away with.  I know that characteristic will help you achieve some incredible goals in your future.  I love your excitement for life.  I love your slightly terrifying curiosity in blood, needles, and pretty much all things morbid. I love your willingness to try almost anything (even if only once).  You try to face your fears, but still find comfort in mommy and daddy’s arms when the dreams feel a little too real (I’ll miss that someday).  You’re mommy’s helper.  You’re Aunt Genny’s Munchie.  You’re Grandma’s lover girl.  I’m proud of you and can’t wait to see what you can accomplish.
And the part you are all most excited about (or maybe just me) – The annual photo comparison:


 Birth
 
 Age 1

 Age 2
 
 Age 3

 Age 4
 
 Age 5
 
 Age 6
 

 

 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Welbehr Wedding

This year for us has been the year of weddings.  It hasn’t been since 2006-2007 that we had so many weddings to go to.

Granted, its only 4 weddings, but when you are actually PART of the wedding it feels like 20. This year (including the 1 wedding we have left) has resulted in:
1.       A drive to Fresno (well…Clovis, but pretty much the same thing)

2.       A drive to San Diego

3.       Justin being a Best Man

4.       Justin being a Groomsman

5.       Elijah being  a Ring”Bear” x2

6.       Jordan being a Flower Girl
I am definitely not complaining.  They have all (and I’m sure will be) amazing weddings for some of our dearest friends.  But to be honest (which is really why you blog) the last wedding was one of the best weddings ever.
NUMBER 1
First of all, it was for Sam and Tiffany.  If you don’t know who they are, you should. 
Sam is Justin’s best friend and Justin probably likes Sam more than me most of the time.  I’m ok with that – granted I had to accept that fact as part of my marriage to Justin.  Sam was just part of the package.  I have so many stories I’d like to share about Sam, but I feel that it is probably not in theme with the “wedding” blog, so they’ll come another day.
Then there’s Tiff.  I love her.  As my husband’s rather odd but pretty epic Best Man Toast mentioned: She was able to put up with Sam’s over-analization (yes I made that up) of their relationship AND she passed the “Porch Test” with flying colors (if you don’t know what the Porch Test click here).
So, the wedding was awesome because it was for 2 amazing people. 
NUMBER 2
It wasn’t your average wedding.  The wedding involved 3 pastors and a hour glass (awesome).  The Davis' made it into the vows! The Ring”Bear” carried a bear, not a pillow.  To get the Bride and Groom to kiss at the wedding you had to lip sync and dance to a song (There are videos...awesome videos).  There was a s’more station instead of a “cake” (which gave Tommy the chance to make an amazing shot with skewer).  The music was all 80’s all the time (well except the 1 swing song they threw in for me – Thanks for looking out guys).
NUMBER 3
My super sexy husband was the best man AND my son was a stinking adorable Ring”Bear” (also another How I Met Your Mother Reference) AND there were so many of my favorite people/friends there.
So I hope you see why it was such a Legen-wait for it-dary wedding (I felt I had to throw in at least 1 more reference to How I Met Your Mother).  I apparently did a horrible job at getting pictures and only got these few – but Elijah is adorable and makes up for my lack of other pictures.  Although, seeing how I didn’t get a picture of me at all, I say Sam and Tiff should have to dress back up in the wedding garb so I can get a picture with the Bride and Groom.
 
The Rehearsal Dinner


 
 









The Wedding












Monday, October 6, 2014

HELP ME WIN! Seriosuly...

I’ve bragged several times about the place I work.  Because I love it.  Seriously.  I’m not paid to say I love it (I am PAID, but that is for doing my actual job) I just honestly love it.
We are currently doing a big push to employees to offer friends and family AMAZING rates on savings account and certificates.  To be honest, even our checking account pays an interest rate higher than a lot of savings accounts (my mom’s savings account at Chase makes less than a checking account at ECCU!)
So, I want to offer you all the crazy awesome rate!  Sure there’s the checking account here (again that will probably earn you a higher rate than your “standard” savings account at your existing bank), but what I’m talking about is even better (do both if you so wish). 

Do you see those rates?!
I dare you to go to your bank and find comparable rates on the same type of account!  Family will automatically qualify (just tell them you are related to me) and friends can qualify through their church! 
I can make this even better.  You get a high rate and while your money is making money ECCU gets to fund amazing ministries and missionaries worldwide! 
AND IT GETS BETTER!! So you get high rates, we get to fund missionaries around the world, AND you can help me win cool prizes!   As part of this effort to offer YOU great rates, the employee (that’s me) can win prizes like wearing jeans to work all week ::happy dance::  If you don’t know how awesome that is you may not have to wear slacks or dresses/skirts to work every day like I do. 
SO:
1.       Help me (Rachael Davis) win cool prizes

2.       Help fund missionaries and churches around the world

3.       Earn high interest on your money
To get this great offer you must go to www.eccu.org/ECCU4 (watch the cool video - not required by pretty darn cool).  You can apply online and use the code ECCU4 to get the great rates (and get me credit for cool prizes).
EVERYTHING can be done online and you can easily (and FREEly) transfer money to and from ECCU to another bank as needed.
No excuses.  Go now. 
And for any of you with large sums of money – have no fear.  ECCU is federally insured.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Chubby Babies

I don’t know if you know this, but my kids are skinny.  Like crazy tiny.  They were always that way.  They were born tiny and stayed tiny.  Which sort of sucked because who doesn’t love a nice chubby baby.  There is something awesome about squeezing those chubby little legs and kissing those chubby little cheeks.
So I’ve had to go elsewhere to get my chubby baby fix.  Luckily, I had some friends that had gorgeously chubby babies that they let me love on (and they have a new one on the way!!)
All of this to say it was no surprise that Ann Ann was born a tiny baby.  That’s what my body does, it grows tiny babies.
So you’ll imagine my shock to see her and find she is in fact a CHUBBY BABY!  She has huge kissable cheeks and lots of cushion.  Sadly, because I am sick I didn’t get to hold her ::insert 2 year old type tantrum here::
Between head lice (yeah…another story for later) and colds we had to cancel a dinner with them and my WHOLE family.  Super bummed.
Even more so because they are leaving on Wednesday back to China.  An for being pretty un-emotional through this whole process I suddenly find myself quite emotional.
Not the type of emotional that you may think.  I’m not suddenly having attachment problems.  I am just suddenly realizing part of my family is moving half way around the world.
This little girl and her mommy and daddy are part of my family now.  In this amazingly unique way, and in 5 days the will be on a plane heading to China.  That is weighing on me more than I thought it would. 
LUCKILY, the new surrogate they hired got her positive pregnancy test this week so they’ll be back in next year for the delivery of the new baby.  Yay!
For now, enjoy these pictures of my chub-elicious Asian baby.




Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Emotional One


My kids have vastly different personalities.  As a recent post of Facebook clearly shows:
“How many kids does it take to kill a spider? 3. One to scream “it’s moving to get me” (Taylor), one to stare and say “wow it’s so big” (Elijah), and one to run and get a shoe, try to calm Taylor, and explain to Elijah how to properly squish it (Jordan).”
Sadly, I feel Taylor usually gets the short end of the stick.  As the oldest she gets some perks, but not many.  And due to her VERY emotional personality most people tend to lean towards my other 2 kids.  Honestly, I even tend to lean towards my other 2 kids. 
Horrible mother confession time:
It’s easy to see Jordan and Elijah and know that I like them.  It takes work to remind myself of the “why” when it comes to Taylor.  I LOVE all my kids dearly, but I don’t always like them. 
They all have their moments.  Taylor just happens to have more of them.  But in my time trying to be very intentional about reminding myself what makes Taylor special and enjoyable I find I learn so much more about her.
She’s very sensitive to things people say about her and the slightest judgment weighs heavy on that little heart of hers.  She yearns for approval and is easily jealous when others get it when she doesn’t.  I constantly have to remind her not to be selfish.  We focus a lot on what the “right” choice should be for situations.  She strives to be “grown up”.  Over the last few months I’ve been seeing glimpses of our parenting finally begin to work. 
As she screams in frustration she yells “I’m SO frustrated and I can’t control myself!”…so yes she’s still freaking out, but she’s acknowledging it. 
As Jordan cries because she really wants something Taylor has (that Taylor rightfully has access too), Taylor will hand it to Jordan…then run to her room crying – being un-selfish is rough after all.
But if you can look passed the emotional chaos happening in that little 7 year old girl you see something amazing.
She’s rather brilliant.  She learns things SO quickly and remembers things from forever ago and is curious about everything.
She’s pretty stinking hilarious. She says the funniest things and tries so hard to make people laugh (yes, I know most of the time it gets annoying, but she is really just trying to make you happy)
When it comes down to it, she has an amazing heart.  She loves so deeply and fully (which is why she is so easily hurt).  Everyone is her best friend (again…which is why she is so easily hurt).
Anyway, I know this is random.  I’ve just felt extra guilty lately about how annoyed I can be by this little girl.  And I want to end this with a small story called “Remember when I saved Jordan’s life?” – Taylor Davis
A couple of years ago the girls were playing in their room.  I heard Taylor scream.  As a mom you know the difference in what the screams mean.  This was a scream of pure terror…I’m talking real fear, not “I just saw a spider” fear.
I ran to the room to find the dresser had fallen over and Taylor was holding it up, keeping it from falling on her 3 year old little sister.  Taylor was screaming from the pure weight of the dresser, tears pouring from her eyes.  I ran and lifted the dresser and Taylor fell to the ground sobbing.  Those 15 seconds must have felt like a year to her.
She was shaking and scared.  Jordan was rather oblivious to what was going on.  I sat Taylor in my lap and just hugged her to calm her down.  I whispered to her that everything was ok now.  I told her she did a good job and kept her little sister safe.
Can you imagine what was going through that little head? At 5 years old she put herself in harms way to “save” her sister.  In that moment I didn’t even realize the emotional weight of that until Taylor told me just yesterday “Mom, remember that time I saved Jordan’s life?  I held the dresser so it didn’t squish her and make her dead”.   So at that time (to me) she was keeping her sister from getting some pretty bad bruises and maybe cuts.  To her, she sacrificed her life to save the life of her sister.
And THAT is who Taylor really is.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

School, Big Teeth, and other Ramblings

I just realized I forgot to tell you all about the kids’ first day of school.  I have no excuses really.  I’d like to blame it on them starting the same month that Ann Ann was born, but that was 3 weeks before so…I guess I’m just a slacker.
This year was special because all 3 of the kids started the school year at Shoreline Christian School (no go forth and enroll your children there to…or don’t).  Taylor started 2nd grade and Jordan started Kindergarten.  Did you catch that? 2 of the 3 Davis children are now in elementary school.  And with Elijah starting next year (granted he can manage to learn his colors – what kid knows his letters before his colors?!) I’ll soon have all 3 in grade school.
The time of toddlerhood, preschoolhood, and diaperhood will be behind us (maybe that makes me want to cry a little, but only a little).
And now we brace ourselves for attitudehood, and hormonehood.  I know you like my made up words.
So here are pictures from the kids’ first day.  I do find my kids awful cute(ish).  Despite the fact that Taylor has entered the awkward age where her teeth are bigger than her face as her head rapidly grows to catch up to her new chompers.  Poor girl…she’s already a walking stick with no rear end.  Now she has to deal with huge teeth and a growing head.  Good thing she has those gorgeous blue eyes.






Wednesday, September 17, 2014

1 Down, 19 To Go


As usual Jordan stayed up far too late on one night.  Resulting in a VERY tired girl in the morning.  She is typically the most difficult to wake up.  And then she moves VERY slowly and cries at everything. 
So on Friday morning as she sat eating her cereal and crying about how it hurt her teeth to eat, I essentially told her to suck it up.
10 minutes later she was still whining about her teeth, but suddenly stopped abruptly to announce she had found the source of the pain.
Her tooth was loose.
She may have squealed with excitement.  She’s been wiggling her teeth in anticipation for nearly 2 years when she saw Taylor lose her first tooth.
So every night since that morning she has asked me to try and pull her tooth out.  Now Jordan has an adorable smile (I know I’m not biased, this is in fact a true statement), but part of the problem with that smile is that her teeth are so tightly squeezed together.  So trying to get a grip on that loose tooth was very difficult.
Yet every night she’d walk up to me with a piece of tissue and the tube of Orajel with a huge grin and ask me to try and pull that bad boy out.  I’d tell her to tell me to stop if it hurt.  I’d watch her face carefully as I pulled on this tooth that was obviously not ready to let go.  Her eyes would fill with tears and I would stop and she bravely tell me that it didn’t hurt.  I would then just tell her we’d try again tomorrow.
Until last night.  Last night I began to pull (and it was still not ready), but I felt something pop.  The tooth wasn’t out, but something disconnected and the tooth became very loose.  I always have a fear the kids will swallow their teeth in their sleep so I told her that I’d need to pull again.
She began to cry silently…she didn’t want me to pull it, it hurt.  I bribed her with some frozen yogurt (literally… a thing of yogurt that was frozen) and she agreed.
And with one good tug that thing came out.  And so did many tears and mounds of blood (can liquid be “mounds”?).  I looked at her seriously and said, “Oh, it hurts? Should I put it back in?”
She laughed and suddenly the pain was gone.  And my little serial killer (aka surgeon) in the making decided that she rather enjoyed letting the blood spew out of her mouth before wiping it up with a paper towel.
And so was that tooth.  And my proud little girl called people to tell them.  And she insisted I take a picture (which I would have done anyway).
And as we got ready for bed I watch Elijah with his fingers in his mouth…insisting that he is a big boy with a loose tooth…
 
 

Friday, September 5, 2014

It's A Very Special Day

So just recently Justin and I celebrated our 8 yearanniversary.  I say “celebrated” loosely.  We aren’t really the “celebrating” type.  We MAY use these special days (like birthday, father’s day, mother’s day, anniversary) as an excuse to splurge on a nice dinner or something, but that is rare.  We usually just move through these days like they are any other day.
There are 2 days though that are extra special to us (well maybe just me).  Days that mean more than our anniversary.
5/9 (May 9th) and 9/5 (September 5th).  These are Justin and Rachael days.  My favorite number is 5, Justin’s favorite number is 9.  So these days are clearly meant for Justin and Rachael.
We are weird.  Obviously.
I also just recently found out that it is not “normal” to have a favorite number. I just assumed everyone had a favorite number like they have a favorite color.  Apparently that is not true ::mind blown::
So Happy Justin & Rachael day to all my friends and family and strangers reading this – you should celebrate by doing something that Justin & I love.
And to my dear husband (who I more frequently just call “Husband” thanks to the TV show The Neighbors), Happy Justin & Rachael Day!  We should also celebrate by eating something extra yummy tonight or buying a new game.  Maybe both.  I like new games and food.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Davis' - We Are Sleep Talkers

Justin does this thing…he talks in his sleep.  He talks in his sleep most nights.  Usually it’s incoherent mumbling (which is not unlike some phone calls you have with him while he’s awake).  Sometimes it is completely coherent, although irrational.

Like a few weeks ago when he searched our entire bed for a “snake”.  Then proceeded to call me an idiot when I asked him why he was looking for a snake in our bed – yeah, usually is pretty mean to me when he sleep talks.  Idiot, Fat Cow, and Annoying are just a few of the many things I’ve been called.
But this blog is not about Justin, it’s about Jordan.  Jordan has inherited the wonderful skill of sleep talking.  One of these happened a couple weeks ago.
We spent our “movie night” at home watching the Magic School Bus.  The episode was about flowers and all the parts of the flowers.  At one point the students land in the nectar of the flower and get “stuck”.  Apparently that stuck with Jordan.
About an hour or so after she fell asleep she woke up crying.  I told her to come to me and asked why she was crying.  She sat in front of me with her eyes closed and told me “I can’t get out of the flower!”
I was confused.
“I’m stuck in the flower and the giant bees are going to eat me! I can’t get out of the flower”
Then it clicked, the Magic School Bus episode.  So I told her I squished all the bees so she was safe.  She nodded and went right back to bed.
She talks in her sleep pretty frequently, but this was the first time it was coherent enough to tell a story about.  I’m sort of excited to see what else is to come – as long as she doesn’t lick my back like her dear father…

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pain In The...Uterus?

If you recall from Ann Ann's birth story there were some complications with the placenta.  That sucker was holding on for dear life.  The doctor even snapped the umbilical cord while trying to get it out.

Once it was out the doctor carefully inspected it to make sure it was all out.  She said it was.  Who was I to doubt her?

She gave my antibiotics to avoid infection and some medication to contract my uterus quickly to avoid hemorrhaging.  All seemed well...until...

Monday night Justin and I got to enjoy our first double date the the future Welbaums.  I really enjoy those people.  I stopped by the restroom before I left and had a weird cramping feeling when going to the bathroom, but it went away after a few seconds and everything seemed fine.  Then when I stood up I felt a blood clot come out - it was about the size of a ping pong ball.  The doctor said to look for clots bigger than a golf ball.  This was not that big, so I just ignored it.

On the way home I was having some random cramping, but it was tolerable and that is not uncommon as my body squeezes itself back into shape.  I ignored the minor cramping and went to bed.

At 12:03 AM I woke up in severe pain.  I was cramping worse than ever and could barely make it to the bathroom.  As I sat on the toilet the cramping got even worse.  Every time I started to push to do my business the pain intensified.  After 30 minutes of severe pain I began to feel light headed and nauseous.  I called to Justin because I was worried I was about to pass out.  At this point I was breaking into a hot sweat on top of everything else and wanted to get in the shower to cool off and hopefully keep me from fainting.  Justin helped me get into the shower and then he called the Nurse Hotline to find out what they suggest for us to do.

I was not surprised to hear them say I needed to go to the ER right away.  I was hoping that they would be like "she's fine, she just needs to sleep it off", but at this point I knew it was probably something more.  So PRAISE JESUS that Amber (who babysat for us while we went out on our double date) stayed the night with us and was there to watch the kids as we headed to the ER at 1 AM.

Luckily we got in quickly and I got an IV within a few minutes of being there.  The IV sucked because it was done right at my elbow so it hurt whenever I tried to move my arm, but they got me fluids, Zofran (for nausea), and Morphine for pain.  I don't like Morphine.  It makes you feel funny, and in this case it didn't do anything for the pain.

An ultrasound was done and they found that all of the placenta was NOT out.  I was given 2 options.  I could go home with some pills that would contract my uterus and flush out the remaining placenta (which would be painful) or I could get a D&C.  Since I didn't want surgery I opted for the pills.  So about 4 hours from arriving I was being sent home... in pain and on the verge of passing out every time I moved.

So I spent the entire day yesterday in bed.  Every movement I made caused my pain level to shoot up from a resting 6 to an intense 8.  I was given pain killers that took the edge off, but they made me so drowsy that I could barely keep my eyes open for more than an hour at a time all day.  My daddy came by around lunch time with food and snacks which was awesome, because I hadn't been able to muster enough energy to get up and feed myself.  And I spent the whole day waiting for the rest of the placenta to make its appearance (in the form of 2-3 more large blood clots according to the doctor).

Now we are at today.   I'm still in pain, but now its between a 4 and a 6 so it is manageable.  I still feel very lightheaded if I move around too much.  But the worst part is... I still haven't had any blood clots.  So does this mean that maybe it came out in smaller pieces so I didn't notice it?  Or does it mean its still in there an I could develop an infection?  Does this mean despite trying to avoid the surgery by taking the pills I'm going to end up needing a D&C anyway?

As of right now, I don't know.  I have this last day to "wait" and then I'll talk to my doctor to find out
"what's next".

People have asked what they can do to help, and right now the best would be just to pray for me please.  Pray my body does what it needs to do so that I do NOT need a D&C.  You can pray the pain goes away too, but I'm more than willing to deal with that part if it means the remaining pieces of placenta come out on their own.

And now back to bed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Will We Do It Again?

So there isn't much left to the "story".  Over the next several hours we just went on with the flow of things.  My parents came by to wait until I was released so they could take me home.

The only important thing left was when Baby's Daddy finally arrived.  On Sunday around 2 his airplane finally landed after much chaos and many delays.  He came straight from the airport.  Baby's Momma went to the hospital lobby to get him so me and Ann Ann had our last few moments alone.  I picked her up and got her ready to meet her daddy.

When they came in the room I got excited all over again.  I got to see Baby's Momma see her for the first time, now I was getting to see Baby's Daddy see her for the first time.  He washed his hands and I handed him his baby girl.  He awkwardly held her and just stared at her chubby little face.  Baby's Momma stood by him to help him hold less awkwardly.  They were finally all together!  He looked up at me and just said thank you about 20 times.  Tears were welling up in his eyes and Baby's Momma's eyes.  And of course as soon as that happened there were tears pouring down my face.  I thanked them for letting me be part of this journey with them.

Shortly after the nurse came to wheel me out (not because I was broken, but it is just policy to wheel patients out).

I got home to an exhausted husband and exhausted children.  They were all driving each other crazy.  My hubby did an amazing job though getting the house picked up before I got home which helped me relax a little.  However, about an hour home and everything hit me:

I was physically exhausted - I had 4-5 hours of sleep in the last 55 hours and during that time pushed a baby out so my body was still out of whack and oozing blood and contracting (I was on some medicine to keep contractions going so my uterus would shrink faster to avoid hemorrhaging).

I was emotionally exhausted - Since Baby's Momma and Ann Ann were in the room the whole time I never really had time to myself to just work through the emotions of those 2 days.  I am SO glad they were there with me, but putting on a "strong" face for the Momma the whole time was a little draining.

So as everything hit me, I felt overwhelmed.  I felt that everything in that moment was completely out of control and I just cried.  For no real reason.  Just a release of all the exhaustion.

Around 11 PM that night I finally went to bed.  For much needed rest for every part of my being.  By morning I was mostly back to myself.  Still tired because...

Note to myself and other potential surrogates: Pumping is a nightmare

In order to have a milk supply without actually breastfeeding you have to do far more work than when a baby is nursing.  I have to get up every 3 hours and pump both sides for 15 minutes each.  Pumping colostrum is pretty painful while you wait for your milk to come in.  I was so excited for my milk to finally arrive...until the engorgement started while my knockers adjusted to the "demand" of the pump.  So yeah...every 3 hours without fail for 15 minutes (no more, no less).

But at least Ann Ann is getting the milk she needs!

And with that I ask myself, would you do it again?  And although I am pretty sure I know my answer, I want to wait a few months to make sure.  So I won't really answer that yet.

Thank you all so much for reading about this journey! Thank you for praying with me through the rough times, and rejoicing with me through the awesome times.  Thank you for your support and encouragement.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 2 - Watching Mommy

Yesterday I told you all about the 24 hours leading up to Ann Ann's birth.  If you missed it you can go here.

Today, I'll tell you about what happened after she began her life on the outside world.

THE SECOND 24 HOURS (8/9/4)

8:00 AM: Because of the problems with the epidural at this point I had complete feeling in my right side, but my left side was still completely dead.  The nurse pulled up a spiffy chair thing and wheeled me to the restroom.  They make you pee to make sure your body is functioning properly before they let you go to recovery.  And pee I did... so much.  I was wheeled back to bed and saw that Baby's Momma was spending some skin to skin time with her baby girl.  A precious moment to see.  I fell asleep shortly after that.

9:00 AM: My room was finally ready.  When I woke up Baby's Momma was gone to handle some things she hadn't been able to get done before Ann Ann came.  So Ann Ann and I headed to our room.  The hospital is supposed to give the family a separate room, but because they were so full the only option the hospital had was to keep Ann Ann in the nursery and let the Baby's Momma "visit" her in there.  So I offered to have them stay with me so they could stay together.  In the next few hours I held Ann Ann amazed at the odd bond I was feeling.  I did love this little Asian baby I held in my arms and nursed a few times.  But it was a very unique love.  Nothing like the love I have for my own children, but still similar.  In those moments I prayed for that gorgeous baby.  I prayed for a long, healthy, amazing life.  I prayed that God would work in her to do amazing things.  I prayed she would be a reminder to her mommy and daddy that God loves them and provided them with her.

1:00 PM:  Justin and my crazy kids arrive to meet Ann Ann.  Taylor was the first to hold her and had a huge smile on her face.  Jordan was next and would hold her forever if I let her, but she had a cough so I told her she couldn't hold her anymore.  Elijah was excited...until he actually hold her.  He posed for a picture and decided she was boring and jumped down off the bed.  Justin got to her hold her too - another awesome moment for me.  Watching my family say hello and "good bye" to this little baby who has had such a huge impact on our family over the last year.  There were amazing moments and there were very very difficult ones.  But here she was now.  And again...so worth it.

2:00 PM: Baby's Momma and the Interpreter arrive with lunch for everyone.  We eat quickly because the nursing staff is eager to get some things done with Ann Ann that they had to wait for the Baby's Momma to approve.  So as everyone left the room got quiet.  Baby's Momma watched Ann Ann get her first bath.  And listened (and recorded) intently as the nurse explained how she would do it at home, and what else she may need to know for the next 24 hours (how to burp, how to swaddle, how to suction mucus).  And for the next couple of hours we just sat and talked.  We watched Ann Ann in her bed.  I watched Baby's Momma watch Ann Ann.

4:00 PM: Baby's Momma and the Translator had to head out again.  They needed to take care of a couple more things.  So out they went.  And I slept for an hour or so.  My first long stretch since 2 days earlier.

9:00 PM: Baby's Momma comes back alone this time.  It was not just the 3 of us.  We talked some more and now that I was pumping Ann Ann was in her capable hands for the night.  She was so nervous.  The first time she fed her there was joy in her eyes.  Then she went to burp her for the first time and very gently patted her back.  I showed her how to actually burp her.  And again, Ann Ann slept.  And for the first time so did Baby's Momma (and me).

Ann Ann was up every hour after that.  She was one hungry girl, but pumping colostrum is difficult and I could not keep up with her demand.  The nurses brought in formula to supplement between the colostrum feedings.

8/10/14 3:00 AM: Ann Ann had her first dirty diaper (just wet ones up to now).  Baby's Momma was now changing her first "real" diaper.  20 minutes later, about 15 wipes, and some tears from Momma later Ann Ann was clean and re-swaddled.  Baby's Momma was overwhelmed at this point.  I just hugged her and told her she did great - it takes time to get "fast", but she is a good Momma.  The entire time Ann Ann cried Baby's Momma just sang to her.  Another beautiful moment I got to be there for.  Even with the lack of sleep at this point...it was worth it.

The next few hours were much of the same.  Ann Ann up and hungry.  At one point she did have some gas so I showed Baby's Momma how to hold her in a way that would help get it out.  One big burp and Ann Ann fell happily back to sleep.

7:00 AM: I ordered breakfast for me and Baby's Momma and took a much needed shower.  Ann Ann was now 1 day old.  The nurses came in to take her for some blood work so Baby's Momma and I rested.

And here are some more pictures of the 2nd day: