the journey is over; but a lifetime bond is formed

Ironically I was planning to pop in here on Friday to talk about the pregnancy wall I had hit. I felt different, I was just done, and I was really worried that I wouldn't make it to the parents arrival on the 7th. Well, now I'm coming to tell you I was right, and relate the birth story instead! (Skip towards the end if you'd rather just read about what's happened since, and Gwen's reaction.  TL/DR version: 3.5 intense hours, big healthy kid!)

I was 37.5 weeks:

Thursday night I headed to bed with big plans for my Friday off... thing like packing my labor bag, pulling out and testing the pump, cleaning up around the house, etc. I felt uncomfortable and sore the whole night, but not really crampy. I only slept off and on. At 3am I woke up to use the bathroom, headed back to bed, lay there for about 10 minutes and ended up jumping out of bed at 3:20 because my water broke in a big way. I got to the bathroom and sat on the toilet and out came so much fluid. The contractions started then, about 5 minutes apart, not too bad (I could just breathe through them). I got cleaned up, grabbed one of my super sized postpartum pads to put on, and got myself dressed. I spent the next 20 minutes packing a bag to take while calling the Birth Center, who told me to come in, my mom (to come down with Gwen), and my neighbor who came to be here until my mom got here; and texting the parents. I woke Trav up then so he could grab stuff for his own bag, while I found pumping supplies, then we headed out.

It was a half hour to the Birth Center and we got there around 4:30 a.m. While in the car my contractions had picked up so they were about every 3 minutes, bordering on 2 minutes, lasting a minute and I had to shift around and breathe through them with more concentration. (Side note: laboring in a car sucks!) When we arrived they checked me and I was at 5cm. They checked my vitals, got me hooked up to an IV (needed antibiotics since I was GBS+), and listened to his heartbeat. All sounded good so they had Trav run the tub for me. I got in there and labored in there for about an hour (they unhooked me from the IV once I got a dose of the antibiotics). Contractions were hard, but the water helped a lot and I was able to breathe through them well until the very end. The midwife noticed I was starting bear down without realizing it so asked if I would mind getting out to be checked. I had gone from 5cm to just a little lip of cervix left in just over an hour!

So I got on the bed to get ready to start pushing. The contractions were harder to deal with outside of the water, and uh, I got pretty vocal. That lip also got stuck and he wasn't moving down, so the midwife ended up having to reach up there and push it out of the way (twice) which was really really hard. Once that was done he finally started descending. He still was moving down a bit slowly, but his heartbeat sounded great and he was moving, so they weren't concerned (afterwards from the angle of his conehead, they figured out that his head was coming down a bit angled, and they think his hand was by his face). I pushed for about an hour total, and at the end the pressure was so amazingly intense I had to talk myself into actually pushing. Trav, the midwife, and the nurse were all so wonderful and encouraging and I absolutely couldn't have done it without him. He was born at 6:50 (so 3.5 hours after labor started). 7lbs, 11oz; 21in long; 14in head!

The midwife said that if we weren't completely sure of my dates, that she would have thought he was a 40 weeker (happy the kid decided to show up early, how big would he have been in two more weeks?!). I don't know what his first apgar was, but his second was a 10. I managed to somehow get away with no real tearing, which is amazing to me.

The parents unfortunately couldn't get a flight out until Friday. He, Trav, and I stayed at the Birth Center for 12 hours while they monitored us. I pumped and gave him bottles, we both slept well, and he was basically a champ all day. It was exactly as I hoped it would be: I loved getting some newborn snuggles, I feel affection for him, but its what I would feel for the child of any close friend. And at the end of the day, when the women from the surrogacy agency came to take him for the night, I was 100% happy to hand him over to her and head home (where I slept better then I had in months!).

It was (9 months and) 12 hour with us, 24 hours with her, then the rest of his life with his parents!

Since the birth I have been sore, but I feel good. Both physically and emotionally. I'm taking it easy and letting my body recover, but I feel so very blessed by this experience. It has been truly amazing. Today was the follow visit with the Birth Center, and we got to spend a good 2+ hours with the family. It was wonderful to see them with him, and everyone was given an A+ clean bill of health.

Gwen has been the biggest champ since the birth. She asked about the baby, saw pictures of him, and is very interested in my pumping; but her biggest concern has been my recovery. We make sure to reassure her constantly that every ache and pain I'm experiencing is normal and okay. She is constantly giving me hugs and checking to see if there is anything I need. She helps me set up the pump and presses the power button for me. She grabs my slippers, or helps me out of my chair, or does a million other little things to be a big helper. It is amazing to see and I think is a huge help to her in processing that I am no longer pregnant, but that our family is still the same. Its definitely helped her attitude a ton and I think she loves having special big girl responsibilities.

And that is that. The physical part of the surrogacy is just about done (just the recovery), but what a special bond we've created! I'm so grateful for this whole experience.

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~ Meegs