CHP - arms with Myer

CHP - arms with Myer

30 June 2013

What a difference a year makes

~ by Kim

This time last year, we were getting ready for the egg retrieval.

Now... it's just about time for the baby retrieval.


28 June 2013

Grumper likes reggae!

~ by Kim

No, I'm not Grumper. Haha!

Though there are some days that it might be a fitting name for me.

Awhile ago, I had a dream that Joel and Janelle named the baby "Grumper," and since then I've often referred to him as that, as the list of potential baby names is still under wraps. (Though to be clear, in said dream, I was not a fan of the name)

Last night we went to see Ziggy Marley (Bob Marley's son) who was in town for a show. The show didn't start till 8 pm, so it was a late night for me! I'm usually in PJ's by then, and sometimes even in bed already. We had pretty good seats, and almost right from the beginning everyone was up and dancing to the music. Up we got with the crowd, as sitting was not really an option, though there were a few songs I had did have to take a break and sit briefly. It was impossible not to fall into the beat of the music and find yourself dancing or swaying on the spot, regardless of how much of a "non-dancer" you may be. I don't think I saw a 'still' body there, and I could feel Grumper grooving in utero along with the music.

I've been sick lately, so I didn't have as much energy as I normally would, but it was still so great to get out and enjoy ourselves for a bit. I think we were overdue for a date night without the kids. By the end of the night, I was grateful for flip-flops as I waddled out of the theatre with swollen ankles, reggae in my head and a smile on my face. Carl and I went to Jamaica for our honeymoon, so hearing all the music took me back to a different time and it was fun to reminisce. That was our last hurrah before starting to try for baby #2, and less than a year later Rowan completed our family.

Otherwise, things are going pretty good. Mentally, I'm doing well. I'm in awe sometimes at how far we've come and how close we are to the end. I still have my moments where I feel emotional about the whole thing, but I think that's pretty normal for any pregnancy, surrogate or not. Physically, I'm still under the weather, but my iron dose is going up again so I'm hopeful that will help with my energy level. When you're not feeling well, it's easy for things to feel magnified, and things that wouldn't normally be a big deal can sometimes feel catastrophic.

I saw this online and it resonated with me.
Especially "let go of what I can't control"

I wanted to thank everyone for all the encouraging words and support on this journey, especially lately. It really means a lot hearing from everyone, and even though we still don't have all the details worked out yet for the upcoming month, I feel calmer having been reminded that there are so many people who love and support us. 

Here is a pic from last night, just shy of 36 weeks. 

I see my big belly and it still hits me at how spectacular this whole thing is. I can't wait to see Janelle and Joel with their new baby, and think what a miracle he will be. 

22 June 2013

A little bit of crazy is ok, right?

~ by Kim

Fatigue has hit me like a freight train this week. I don't know how I would have gotten through the week had Carl not been off for 3 days and the girls were in daycare for one day. Every day I've been napping, sometimes more than once and still I'm ready for bed by 7:30 pm. My energy is in the toilet, motivation is zilch and patience is thin. I've also been fighting a cold that I haven't been able to shake, which doesn't help. I feel bad because I know it's the girls who suffer the most and Carl who picks up all the slack. I lose patience with them sooner than I would normally and feel bad about it afterwards. I'm wondering if maybe my body isn't absorbing the iron properly, but I don't know if that's just me trying to find some explanation to while I've been feeling so crummy. I've recently been on some additional medications, and I wonder if they might contradict each other?

Lily keeps asking how much longer, and when are Janelle and Joel coming to get their baby. She's asked me if once the baby is out, if I'll have energy again. Ouch. Talk about making me feel guilty.

We made a countdown calendar, and each morning we cross off a day. I'm hoping something visual will help her with time, as I don't think she understands what 'one more month' really means.

Counting Down!
As we get closer to the due date, I've been having a mixture of emotions. There's excitement, nervousness, relief and even a little bit of fear. Right now I'm excited for Janelle and Joel to have a new baby but also really excited at the thought of not being pregnant anymore. It's such a long haul, and I'm at the stage now where it's not much fun. The end is in sight, but still just out of reach and at times it takes such a toll on the family.

I'm exhausted. I'm grumpy. I'm swollen. I'm uncomfortable. I'm sick.
And I'm whiny. (Obviously)  

Even though there are still 5 weeks till our due date, I'm now only 2 weeks away from being considered "full term". It's hard not to think about how everything is going to go as we approach delivery, and we still have a lot of logistics to figure out. I'm very much a 'planner' by nature, so not feeling organized gives me some anxiety. We still have yet to figure out some of the details, like who will watch the girls when we go to the hospital, as well as when I get back home and have the physical recovery to deal with. Most likely Carl will be working, and the thought of being on my own with the kids immediately postpartum is a little bit daunting, even if the delivery goes smoothly. Then there's the questions like what happens if labour starts in the middle of the night, and who's available if we need to move fast. I also worry about the thought of Carl not being there when it's time to go. He doesn't have any time off, so I don't know how that will work out still. Maybe baby will come on his days off? I can't even fathom the idea of doing this without him there. He's a nurse at the hospital (a different one from where we'll be delivering) so it's not a job that he can just take off at a moment's notice. 

When Rowan was born, the entire labour and delivery was 2 1/2 hours from start to finish. I felt my first contraction and was holding her in my arms a couple of hours later. We arrived at the hospital within the hour of my first contraction, and when we got there I was at 4 cm. I became one of those crazy screamers that you see in the movies. In the delivery room, amidst the throws of childbirth, I cried out (some may say growled) that I wanted an epidural - but when they checked me I was already at 9 cm. They told me I had gone from 4 to 9 cm in 20 minutes (hence the intensity of the pain the my screaming out like a lunatic) and it was too late for an epidural. I was offered the gas, which I tried, but found it didn't really do too much as far as pain control and only made me feel woozy. So "au naturel" it was for her. She came fast and furious, which I think only adds to my current anxiety for this delivery, wondering if this baby might be anything like my last delivery and what we'll do if we need to move fast again. Last time my mom was around, but this time she'll be out of town when we're due. 

I guess for the time being, I hope that my need to have things organized and planned doesn't start driving me (and everyone around me) nuts.

I will try to find my inner zen and take deep breaths...  

Maybe now would be a good time to figure out which of these I need most. I probably shouldn't do all of know, being pregnant and all.  ; )

I could start a Facebook poll... 

Carl's the nurse. I'll ask him.

After all, he does work in psychiatry. 

I figure if I start to go crazy - he can bring me in to work with him.

Hopefully the staff there will be nice to me.  :)

15 June 2013

34 week belly shot

~ by Kim

34 weeks - 6 to go!

This was the first picture I took, and after looking at it, realized I looked somewhat enormous. 

I figured I'd try again from the other side...thinking maybe it might be a bit more slimming?

I'm not sure if the desired effect was achieved.

Especially with my cute little baby in the background.

I sent a pic to Janelle last night and tried to re-assure her that looks can be deceiving. 
I'm now running with the theory that I've got big bones. 
Big belly bones, anyway. 

You know how those belly bones can be...

Come to think of it, I think my thigh bones might be on the larger side too. 

13 June 2013


~ by Kim

This week I've started experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions for the first time. I never had them with either of the girls, so this has been something completely new for me. At first, I wasn't sure what was going on and just thought that I was having some bad cramps. It was my daycare lady, who in seeing me clutching my stomach as I told her about these "cramps" I'd been having all morning, filled me in, and as soon as she said it, it made sense. My stomach would get tight and I would feel crampy, and it was uncomfortable enough that I would find that I had been holding my breath until it passed. When I got home, I of course checked with Dr. Google and it sounds like these may be a regular occurrence until the little one arrives.

Otherwise, I'm doing pretty good, just really feeling a lot more tired. Sleep hasn't been that great, and I wake frequently at night. It's no longer just getting up to use the washroom, (which I average about 3 times a night) but now I wake up each time I go to roll over - just from my size. This is the first week that I've had to pull out my pregnancy and wedge pillows, and it's more difficult to get comfortable for any length of time.

My waddle is more prominent than it's ever been, and not just limited to the end of the day anymore. I'm acutely aware of how much I've slowed down (at everything!) and am grateful that the girls are still small enough that they're both eager to pick things up and go and get things for me. Bless my little "fetchers." Sometimes my various dropped items come back a little stickier than when they first left my hands, but I can't complain.

The girls are doing great, and today Rowan lifted my shirt and said to Carl: "Mommy has big tummy!" The innocence and truth in such a simple statement made me smile and Carl and I both had a laugh. Lily asked me this week: "WHEN are Janelle and Joel coming to get their baby?" I'm thinking of making a little countdown calendar for her, where we can scratch off the days and count down together, and that maybe having something visual for her might help.

I had another ultrasound this week so they can check on the baby's kidneys again (one was showing larger than the other so they're want to monitor it) and though I don't have those results yet, we found out some other fun stuff. Baby is currently 5 lbs, 1 oz, the head was just below 9 cm (full term is 10 cm) and his head is down and he's sitting low. We're really coming up to the end!

When I go out with the girls, I see people looking at me, and I think they must think I'm that crazy lady who keeps having kids. Is that what I would think if I saw me? Maybe. When someone comments on how I'll have my hands full, often it's easier to just smile and nod and I do it often depending where I am or who it is.

A little while ago, I was out shopping and had both girls in the buggy. The cashier smiled, and our conversation was:

Cashier: "So, do you know if this one is a boy or girl?"

Me: "A boy." (I feel like a fraud, because people seem to get so excited when I say it's a boy)

Cashier to Lily: "I bet you're excited to have a little brother!"

Lily: "It's not my brother in there! It's a COUSIN!"

I wasn't sure what the cashier was going to think, and I'm thinking I'm going to end up explaining our situation, when she says to Lily:

"Oh...I'm sorry! I thought that was your mommy!"

Ahhhh......right. That makes sense.
Lily was talking to her sister by then, and had stopped paying attention to the cashier, so I just smiled and we left.

My Loves
(Some pics we had done at the mall this week)

I'll post a belly shot soon - when I'm not already in PJ's :)

10 June 2013

Milking them for all it's worth

- by Janelle (IM)

It's time to pump! I have completed 4 months of straight birth control pill popping and now am on the pumping part of the lactation induction protocol. To think I was getting tired of having to remember to take a single birth control pill everyday. Now I have to remember to hook up every three hours for a 20 minute session of pumping.

First I want to say thank you to Gee & Kristin who have passed on a double breast pump for me to use. What luxury, such a time saver!

Second, I'm happy to say that I got a few drops on my first try and have milked my way up to generating nearly 5 ml per breast in one session! I'm hoping the excitement of this carries me through until I'm actually getting enough milk to freeze for our baby. I've never really cheered on my breast before, but I'm certainly doing so now.

To help with this process I now eat oatmeal Monday - Friday when I get into work, and I'm taking blessed thistle and fenugreek supplements. Go boobs!

08 June 2013

Maternity leave and a little OCD?

~ by Kim

I'm 33 weeks now and officially on maternity leave!

Everyone is curious how the maternity leave works for us, being a surrogate pregnancy, and if I'll be taking the whole year off that moms usually take. (I wish!) In Canada, the year off is subdivided into two parts: 15 weeks maternity leave and then the remainder of the time is parental leave. I'm entitled to take the 15 weeks that's the maternity portion, and Janelle will be able to take the parental portion. Initially, I wasn't sure how much time I would take off work, but after Carl and I talked about it, we've decided to take the whole time off and enjoy having the summer off with the family. I was starting to find the long days (my shifts are 12 hours) and shift work (switching from working days to nights) more challenging, but really that was only a small reason. Truthfully, I didn't need much convincing when Carl suggested I take all the time allowed. I'll never qualify to take it again, so we've decided to take advantage of being able to take the summer off, till I go back to work in September. Lily starts full time kindergarden this fall, and at times I fell a little sentimental as we approach this milestone. This will be her last bit of time at home until she becomes a school-aged kid.

Since getting back home from our trip to Calgary, it has sort of felt like an extended vacation. Actually, it's been pretty awesome. I'm still feeling good physically, and I feel like I'm getting into the groove and finding my place in the "stay-at-home-mom" mode. It hasn't been long enough for me to miss work or get bored at home, so right now being at home is still a luxury. I'm on top of the groceries, laundry and meals and feeling pretty productive in general (for the time being anyway.)

I still haven't been able to accurately plan out my day or what I hope to accomplish each day, in that I never seem to be able to do everything I think I should be able to. Just doing the basics at home with the kids seems to fill my days, so the extra projects like organizing storage areas or sorting old baby things haven't happened. It's hard to find the time, and when I do have the time I either don't have the energy, or I find something more fun to do, especially with the good weather we've been having. One afternoon this week, when I could have been tackling said-projects, the 3 of us ended up at the beach with buckets and shovels instead. Another day, I put Rowan down for her nap and just put a movie on for Lily and then went to lie down myself. Maybe I'm not as productive as mentioned earlier...

Procrastination at its best

There was one day this week, I was looking for something that was in the back of the kitchen cupboard, and realized just how disorganized the cupboard was. How had I not noticed this earlier? It was a mess. There was canned fruit on 2 different shelves. *gasp* I had a sudden urge to pull everything out, wash all the shelving, (there was a sticky spot from syrup that had dripped), take inventory of what was in there and re-organize! Then I I nesting?!? Is it some hormonal thing that just happens to pregnant women regardless of circumstance? My shelves really are ok, and we've managed just fine with the salt and pepper not always being right beside each other for ages. I'll check with Carl later, but I'm pretty sure he hasn't been suffering. I had to pick Lily up from preschool, so I had to close my cupboard door and go without changing anything. Unfortunately, it's now on my radar, and it's in the back of my mind of things that need to be done. Before we know it, we'll have a full house here, and what will they think if they see my cupboard is such disarray?!?

Otherwise, all is good with us. I now see the midwives every 2 weeks, which is a bit of a milestone and reminds me that we really are getting close to the end.

I wonder if I'll miss being pregnant...

Sometimes I crack myself up.

Bring on the summer cocktails!

33 week bare belly shot

04 June 2013

Trip to Calgary (pictures!)

 ~ by Kim

We left Victoria almost 2 weeks ago, and arrived back home yesterday afternoon. The highlight of course, has been our trip to Calgary to visit with Janelle and Joel before the baby comes. It was an great trip for us, and we had such a fantastic time out there.

Travelling with a 2 and 4 1/2 year old in the car makes us a pretty slow moving crew. We stop frequently at various locations, some of them being a just a rest area along the side of the road, tourist attractions along the way, and sometimes just a fast food restaurant that has a playplace, where we would stop and have a cup of tea and let the girls run around a bit. It probably takes us twice as long to get anywhere, but we have fun getting there.

On our way there

Once we got to Calgary, we were BUSY! We visited with family, went to the zoo, parks, swimming, bowling and restaurants. There was even a baby shower while we were there, which was so special to be there for and to be part of. The love, support and excitement was overwhelming, then and throughout our entire trip. It really touched me and was so re-affirming why we're doing this. 

Being there, it was hard not to get caught up in all the excitement that comes with a new baby. Small things, like seeing this baby's room and where he's going to live made me feel happy and excited for them as I imagined what their life would become just next month. Visiting with all the family reminded me of how many people this affects, and the impact that this baby will have on everyone.  He's not even here, yet means so much to so many. It was really heartwarming to spend this time together, not just with Janelle and Joel, but everyone we saw out there, and I felt like I was a part of something special. 

Here are some pictures from our trip:

First: the kids. Pretty cute bunch.

One morning, we hit the pool and then went bowling afterwards. Busy day for little people!

Lily had never bowled before, and she LOVED it. When I asked her what she liked most, she told me, "the shoes."

The Zoo! Some of the animals we saw:

And the animals we brought! 

My daughter Lily, and Joel making faces. This picture cracks me up.

Our families

Rowan, myself, Carl and Lily

Joel, Asher and Janelle

We had a baby shower while I was there, which was also a lot of fun. I got to meet so many of their friends, all who welcomed me warmly, and share in the celebration of this new life that will be here soon. There was a ton of people there, but I didn't want to post pictures of people without permission, so instead you're stuck looking at more pictures of us. 

Janelle has a friend who is a midwife, who brought her doppler with her, so after the party had quieted down, we got to listen to the baby's heartbeat. Pretty amazing moment.

All in all, it was a really special trip. We had an amazing time with incredible people. Thank you to all of you who made it such a memorable trip for us. And especially to all the family we saw. This baby is so lucky already, not just for great parents, but the incredible extended family as well. So many people touched my heart in ways that I will take with me always. 

This trip has made me excited for the future, has reminded me of the big picture, and makes me feel fortunate to have a part in changing someone else's life. Aside from my own children, this is right up there on the list of biggest things that I've done. It's something that I feel proud of. 

I can't believe this little one will be here next month. 

Next month already!?!
....I have to give birth again! Ack!