Thursday, February 6, 2014

Guest Post: "Our Surrogacy Journey"

I love being pregnant and after 8 years of research and our family being complete, I decided to become a gestational surrogate. I wanted to experience pregnancy and birth again and help a well deserving couple become parents. In doing so, I ended up with so much more, we have now extended our family to include the Jacobson-Lynch family. 

WARNING: This is a BIRTH story WITH photos! Some are somewhat graphic and do show a baby being born. If you are not comfortable with this, then do NOT read any further. This is your only warning.
Writing the birth story has not been easy for me. Partly because I didn't know what to write. I mean, obviously I would write about how he was born....but this is so much more than that; the right words to give everyone the full vision of just what baby William's amazing birth was like. Partly because I couldn't type on this without becoming an emotional mess, reliving the overwhelming accomplishments of finally giving Doug and Charles their well deserved baby boy, and the empowerment that came with having my first home and water birth. My doulas have been the biggest part in my emotional healing after the birth, and helping me find myself again, to finish his story. I'm sorry it's taken so long, but without further ado...here is his story.
It finally came. William's birth day. It all started the night before his birth, November 2nd. My legs had been bothering me during the last trimester; kind of a burning feeling when I was on them a lot. On this particular night, I asked my husband to rub them, nothing special, just to relax me. So I got in a nice hot bath and after laid on the couch and he rubbed my legs. We went to sleep around 10.
12am. I woke with the need to pee. Nothing unusual for being 39 weeks pregnant, but this time something was different. As soon as I woke up I had a contraction, which I marked as being no different than the contractions I have been having for weeks now. This one did feel stronger, but not enough to really alarm me.
Made it to the bathroom and relieved myself, had another contraction. Suddenly felt the urge to pee again. Inner monologue: "What in the world is going on? Why did that hurt? Why did that make me need to pee again?"
I could only "tinkle." This confusion went on for a while. I mean...this was not something I had experienced prior.
These contractions felt strange. Not like what I had been having before, and not the labor contractions I remember feeling with my own three children's births. I wasn't sure if I was in labor or if this was some weird twist to prodromal contractions.
Then suddenly (TMI warning), I had a contraction that made me have a bowel movement, that I never felt coming. I remember grabbing the counter and the tub and thinking, "What in the hell just happened??? This has GOT to be labor."
But it didn't FEEL like labor. Not as I knew it anyway.
I took me a few minutes to convince myself this was it, and I was timing the contractions. Every 2-5 minutes apart...not typical labor patterns...WHAT is going on...?
I call my midwife Kelly; still on the toilet. I don't remember much of our conversation. I remember her asking me questions, and me having trouble answering. I couldn't process anything to answer her. I remember saying "I don't know" a lot...Kelly knew I was in labor and knew things were happening quick. She's good like that.
Me, a doula, wasn't convinced I was sure it was labor. After all, labor had never felt like this before. This was my first all natural birth, but going into spontaneous labor felt the same every time...right???
Kelly is on her way.
I waddled out of the bathroom out sometime around 12:35ish. Woke my husband who was on the couch to tell him I am in labor and to get the pool ready.
Contractions were coming and getting more painful. I hit my knees and lean on the couch, dialing my doula Gaela. She also being great at what she does, also knew just from talking to me that this was the real deal. I remember telling her I wasn't positive it was labor, but pretty sure and I would rather be safe than sorry.
I was so worried about everyone coming out to my house for false labor. I so badly didn't want that to happen.
Then I called Doug and Charles to let them know it was time. With every phone call came more and more contractions, that got more and more painful. I knew it was time.
Still...these contractions were not totally consistent like labor "should" be. It all still very weird to me.
Finally, I called Rachel, our photographer. I told her much of the same thing I told Gaela. Not sure; better safe than sorry. On her way she came.
I had a thought of another call...I hesitated and called anyway. I called my mother. No this wasn't her grandchild. But I am her child and I was in labor. Having a home birth for the first time. I knew my mom was worried about it so I called to let her know things were happening, but told her since it was the middle of the night, to just wait until morning, then come up to see me if she wanted to. She agreed and we hung up. On to laboring I went.
Everything is so fuzzy. It all just went so fast.
I remember being on the floor on my knees, leaning on the couch the entire time. Just swaying front to back, front to back. front to back. (that side to side sway just didn't feel good to me)
I didn't breath through them like I had always heard and was taught in the birth classes I took with my two oldest children. I was moaning. I didn't even think about doing it (even though it was part of my doula training to teach my clients), I just....did it. Man did it feel good. I tried doing the whole controlled breathing thing to see if that would work better to manage the pain...nope...low moans felt soooo much better. I stuck with that. This listening to your body thing is working out pretty well!!!
I remember my husband and our friend Jessie (the one that had been staying with us to help out with my bed rest situation. She was a friend's house and I had called her to come down to be with my children should they wake up, but in the fuzz of my memory I don't remember at what point I called her) going back and forth with water, and there was a hose in the pool....fuzzy memory, but I remember them scrambling trying to get the pool filled up. I think I asked a few times if it was ready yet.
I was dying to get in that water. I don't think I have ever been so anxious to get in water in my entire life. I never had a water birth before, I was just hoping so badly that it would work for my pain as well as all of my research said it would.
Kelly and I were texting. I was trying to keep her up on what was going on with me, because things were really moving quickly.
I began to fear she wouldn't make it in time. I was terrified of having this baby without her there. Terrified.
At 12:39, I text Kelly, "Contractions coming...some are difficult. Had to get on my knees. get worse when I pee."
1:43am, "Definitely getting harder."
1:50am, "They are coming quick."
They were really coming fast, some lasting for a minute or longer, some not quite a minute. Still not real consistent, but man when they hurt, they hurt. It was a hurt I never experienced in my other labors. Not...painful...but intense. That makes no sense to those that haven't experienced it, but it's the best I have for explanation.
1:56am, "water broke." That was different this time than all the others. My others, I had a huge gush. This time, my pants just suddenly felt very wet. I knew what it was.
Kelly then asked if the pool was ready.
It wasn't quite ready yet, but almost. I remember getting up and going to the bathroom to pee again, amniotic fluid continuing to flow. Upon using the restroom, I discovered blood. Normal during labor yes...but a sign that birth was very close. I had a little freak out and let Kelly know. All I got in response to that was, "Call plz."
uh oh. "God PLEASE let Kelly make it in time"
Again, pieces missing of that conversation, but I remember her reassuring me, telling me to calm down and relax, and to get in the water as soon as I possibly could. She knew this baby was coming quick and the water could help slow things down a little, hopefully giving her enough time to get her to catch baby.
I got in the water. My husband said something to me twice about it not being ready yet, but it was darn full enough for me, and I couldn't wait any longer, I remember telling him something along the lines of it was fine and he can keep filling it up with me in it...or something...there was some talk about the temp of the water...but it felt great to me....anyway, I kicked off my pants, leaving on my panties (trust me, this piece of info, comes into play later) I got in the water, got on my knees and it. felt. amazing.
Shortly after getting in the water, I asked my dear Jessie to wake up my daughter Piper so she wouldn't miss the birth. We all wanted her to be present, as well as she did. She comes out and sits in the chair right next to the pool. My poor little girl, didn't of course understand the focus part of what I needed to do, and was trying to talk to me. It was so distracting, but I remember, when I had a break telling her and making every effort I had to make sure I didn't sound harsh, "Please don't talk to mommy when she is making those noises." She very kindly, understandingly said, "oh ok." and she did just that. Only talked when mommy was quiet. She was so great. I'm so proud of her.
I couldn't be straight on my knees like a person normally sits on their knees. Contractions hurt worse that way.
I'm weird like that. I had my left leg in front of me like I was going to sit "Indian Style" and my right leg stretched out behind me like I was trying to do the splits. Rocking front to back. That felt really good.
I even tried floating on my back in the water, being taught birthing on your back is the worst postion for birth, so I thought I would see if it worked for the water...pffffft...no way was that happening! As soon as I had a contraction while I was floating like that, I came right back up into my original position!
Contractions were coming in waves. Sometimes with a little break, but mostly not. 
Time seemed to be going by so slowly, if felt like forever ago that I had called everyone...where were they???
I expected Doug and Charles to be there first, but they weren't there yet. I was getting worried. I asked out loud for them and my husband informed me it had only been ten minutes since I called them. I checked my phone because I felt like it had to have been much longer than that...nope. It was only ten minutes.
Sometime shortly after that, they arrived. I barely noticed they were there. I asked about Kelly, worrying more and more she wouldn't make it. These contractions were getting more intense, they were on top of each other, and the pain was really kicking in. I was in transition and I knew it. There was talk about calling her to find out where she was, I said out loud, "tell her I feel pushy!" I instantly started feeling like I needed to push.
NO!!!! Not yet baby boy! Not yet!
Is all that going on in my head at that moment.
I hear someone on the phone, Doug or Charles, I'm not sure which, telling her I felt like I needed to push, then immediately following that I heard, "Oh, you're on the back porch?"
Immediate relief!!!! She made it!!!!
I opened my eyes, to see her walking fast in the house, hands full of equipment. Remember earlier I said the tid bit about my panties being on would come up again? As Kelly was getting her supplies out and ready, she says to me while giggling, "You going to have this baby with your panties on?" I completely forgot I still had them on! haha. Here I am about to push out a baby with my underwear still on.
I fixed that and got push ready, then she made a comment that is clear in my head..."Why AREN'T you pushing?" Not so much what she said, but how she said it caught my attention despite my inability to process much during contractions. In a hospital, it's very common for the OB/midwife to tell you when and how to push. I even had one tell me with my youngest, not to push, just "to let myself labor down first." It was almost strange to me to have the control over my body and that's what Kelly was reminding me in her question; that *I* have the control and need to listen to what my body is telling me.
Kelly and I briefing went back and forth in conversation about why I wasn't pushing. Partly because I wanted to make sure everyone was there first. Partly because I wasn't sure I was fully dilated enough to push because of an experience I had with my last labor. Kelly asked if I was wanted to check myself or have her do it and I told her "no" to both. I was in enough pain, that would only make it worse and really, I didn't need it, in the next few contractions, I knew it was ok to push.
At some point, I don't know when; after Kelly, but before the pushing, my doula arrived. I remember seeing her walk in, throw her things down and come right to me. She said as soon as she walked in, she heard "my birth song" and knew baby would be here very soon. Gaela was so amazing, I don't know what I would have done without her.
I had a moment right when she got there that I wasn't focusing like I needed to and instead of low moans, my pitch got higher. Gaela told me to look at her, and at first I refused.
"I can't."
"Yes you can."
I did and she just kept telling me how great of job I was doing and that I could do this. She kept telling me what I needed to hear to keep me going through those insanely intense contractions that were pushing baby William down to meet his daddies.
I started feeling nauseous but just a little, it passed just as quickly as it arrived. Then the hot flashes...I knew it was time. They got me a cool rag and a fan and put the hose back in the pool with cold water...oh that felt so amazing, I just grabbed the hose under the water and let the cold flow on my legs.
Moaning and rocking, I start gently pushing with contractions. I couldn't give the full blown pushes at first, that hurt worse. It felt good to just push a little each time. With each contraction, I was able to push harder and harder.
Contractions never did come "consistently," not text book anyway. Some contractions were short, some long, some right on top of each other, some breaks were long, some not long enough. I just went with it. I did what my body told me to do. If it hurt to push hard, I didn't, if it felt good, I did. And boy it felt good to push. Almost like the pain went away when I could really push. Until....
he was crowning. The "ring of fire" started and I backed off of my pushing trying not to tear. I swear as his head was born, I could feel every feature of his chubby little face. I called out Gaela's name and she came closer, touching my arm, speaking encouragement in my ear. It felt like it was taking forever for his head to be born. Obviously it was all happening quickly, but in the moment it didn't feel that way.
I pushed...and something happened...suddenly, it wasn't ME anymore, my BODY took over and bore down, I went completely silent and pushed with everything I had.
Such an incredible feeling. It was so powerful. It was me...but it wasn't. My body was in charge and it knew just what to do.
and did it. At some point, when it felt like it was taking so long, I called out Kelly's name. She touched my back and said "I'm right here" and that's all I needed to calm me. I can't put it into words but there was so much to that moment for me...it was like a mama/midwife moment that I will never forget, and the comfort that I got from it. She knew just what I needed. And with that,
William's head was born.
A moment of relief.
Charles admitted to being a bit queazy at such sites and from statements of Doug's, Charles was standing just around the corner. Doug went to him so excited to tell him he had to come look at his son being born. He did. His face speaks volumes...
This picture brings tears every time. No words needed. The positive shock on Charles and excitement on Doug...
The amazment on his face is clear.
I was so thankful to have a break. I just leaned across the edge of the pool and let my body go limp. I admit if felt kind of awkward to be sitting there with his head out, but thankful nonetheless. A few minutes went by, then something began to feel wrong.
The pressure increased and I prepared for the next contraction...but it didn't come.
More pressure....no contraction.
I started asking "where is the contraction?!" Kelly kept telling me it was ok, the contraction will come, it will come.
But it didn't. I kept asking where the contraction was. The pressure had gotten so intense, I knew something wasn't right. Kelly knew something was wrong and told me to turn around. Oh god I didn't want to do that! Last time I did that it hurt so bad and now I have a baby head hanging out of me...I am NOT turning around! But I know Kelly and how she practices, if she was telling me to turn around...I needed to turn around. She kept trying to explain to me how she wanted me to turn; she stayed perfectly calm the entire time, never once letting on that something wasn't right; and it was actually quite simple, but my focus was so off, I couldn't process what in the world she was trying to tell me. (after the fact they told me again and I couldn't believe I didn't understand at the time! ha!) Finally Gaela just said, "Kim, just turn over." I responded, "OH!" haha, and turned over. I felt silly.
Oh my goodness that was the worst part about the entire labor...turning over with a human hanging from my body.
Such a powerful picture. Such a powerful moment.
I turned over. Looked for something to grab onto. In my left, I had Gaela's arm while she was holding me up in the water. In my right, my dear husband reached his hand out and held my hand. I was just floating, waiting for the contraction to come.
Baby William's shoulder was a little "sticky." That is what was causing the hold up. Kelly, whom is usually very hands off, with just one finger, very easily and quickly, got his shoulder unstuck, and then came the contraction I was waiting for. With one final, simple push and he joined us earth side!!!
Out of the water and right into his Daddy's hands!!
"It's your baby!!!"
Oh lord the relief!!! It's over! Baby William is here!!!
Oh the look on his Dad's face!!! I LOVE it!!
Precious.
Doug just held and stared. Charles came over and awed as his baby boy. The moment two men became dads...beautiful.
There was a bit of humor to this moment...in all the excitment, they had to remind the guys that baby and I were still attached. Doug offered Charles to hold him and Gaela spoke, telling them "not yet, he is still attached!" haha
They chose to delay his cord clamping, and baby was getting chilly, so they handed him to me in the warm water and for some skin to skin to keep him warm.
I was so tired.
I looked down at him to his face for the first time, and I just started laughing,
"He looks JUST LIKE Charles!"
Man he did (does), looks so much like his Dad.
But oh so happy for the family I helped create. I love Doug's expression here. You can see that fresh born parent happiness.
Dad (Doug) cut the cord.
We all decided that I would nurse Baby William until they went home. Which came in handy because I was hemorrhaging and we needed him to latch to help my uterus contract down.
 This was him getting his first latch.
It felt really good to not only give them the baby they had been waiting for, but to also be able to give him the very best start possible.
Doug was never far away. :) I didn't mind at all. I liked that he always stayed close by, no matter where baby William was in the first few hours of his life. It was so sweet.
I love my daughter's expression here...it's saying, "He's here and he's amazing!"
See all the love just floating around here. Happy dads right there, no doubt about it.
There he is: William Nathan Jacobson-Lynch. The most precious thing that happened in 2013.
Born November 3, 2013 @ 1:39am. 7lbs 6oz. 20in.
labor only lasted 1hr 39min.
I am incredibly honored I was chosen to birth this handsome little being.
My heart runneth over.
The Jacobson-Lynch family.
This is what it is all about. Every needle stick, blood draw, appointment, sleepless night, chiro visit, painful pelvis and back, lack of breath, you name it...was all worth it when I look at this picture.
Making families. Next to birthing my own children, this is the most amazing thing I have done with my life.
Congratulations Doug and Charles! Welcome to earth side baby William!
 
 
Kimberly is a mom of 3 and a wife of 8 years. Currently attending UCM in Warrensburg, Mo for a BSN in nursing. She is also a CAPPA doula (working on certification). You can read more at "My Surrogacy Journey" on Facebook!

No comments:

Post a Comment