Friday, April 29, 2011

The Other Side to Natalie's Delivery

This blogpost was written by Tiffany, Surrogate Mother

When James and Natalie told me they were expecting a baby, I could not have been more happy for them, they were going to be parents! They found out it was a boy and I was even happier. Holland and Blake would have a boy cousin!  Summers of camping, bug hunting, peeing on things they shouldn't be peeing on. James and Natalie were starting their journey into parenthood and growing their family. Life was perfect and bliss and full of excitement! 

The week before Hunter was born, I must have called every day to see if he was close to coming out.  I danced around the house like a banchy (Sean hates when I say banchy, so I have to start throwing it out at random points).   He didn't come.  11 days past his due date, Hunter decided it was time.   James called me and told me they were on their way to the hospital, we knew he would be born in the middle of the night maybe later. Our plan was to go to sleep, then wake up the next morning hoping to have a nephew and head down (We live 2 hours from each other).  

I woke up the next morning to 7 missed phone calls on my cell phone. My heart sank, the worst had happened - why would I have so many missed calls?  James, my brother Jonathan, and my mom had all tried several times. No one in my family calls that much unless the worst had happened.  They were all very early phone calls.  5am, 6am 7 am etc etc.  I called James first, it rang twice - but it could have been ringing for hours, it really felt as if it was ringing forever... I was crying before he even answered.   It was around 7:30am, he answered and said something had happened.  He paused, he swallowed, he said, "Can mom tell you?" and handed the phone to my mom. I remember being so scared, I am crying as I write this because it was a very scary moment.  My mom took the phone, and she told me there were complications, and that Hunter had a fever and was being taken care of and was fine, but Natalie... Natalie was not doing so well.  She had lost an extreme amount of blood, an extreme amount.  She said she was finishing surgery and we should drive down soon.

Between the time of the phone call, and when we arrived at the hospital, Natalie had made it through the surgery.  She had lost too much blood after birth.  It turned serious so quickly, she was rushed into surgery.  I was told that as she was being wheeled away, she was crying and telling them not to give her a hysterectomy. The surgeon came out in the middle of the surgery and told my brother, she was dying.  Her blood pressure was 30/12, they had put in 11 pints of blood into her body  .... they had tried everything and they needed to completely remove the uterus to see if she could make it.   Of course James said yes, do it.  She was dying.  It took a lot for us to admit it, but she was dying. 

The doctors said she would not wake up for 3 or 4 days.   I walked into the ICU and she was unrecognizable.  She was swollen beyond belief and everywhere you could have a tube coming out, she had one.  And what was so heartbreaking, as a mother, was to see this young mother, struggling to survive and having just given birth and no baby with her. 

My brother refused to leave her side. He was there holding her hand, saying over and over, "I love you, you look so beautiful, you are so strong. Hunter and I love you so much. You look so beautiful."   I am again, crying as I write this.  I always knew James and Natalie had a strong love.  It's what you hope for with your siblings, with people you love - that they find someone to build their lives with, to make them happy, to truly love with.  I have never seen a love like this.  He would not leave her.  He hadn't slept in who knows how long - and stood by her, repeating positive affirmations to her, genuinely, lovingly, adoringly. I finally convinced him to sleep on the long chair in the same room.  He would only do this is I took his place holding her hand.  Of course I would.  I held her hand and my heart broke for their family.  I just wanted her to be with her baby and not in this physical, emotional pain.   Three or more day till she wakes up?  How could this be happening?

And then, her eyes opened.  Was I seeing things? I just got here, it hadn't been 4 days yet!   She was waking up!   She was so strong.  She was so strong.  Later, the nurses figured out how to bring Hunter to her, since she was in ICU and they said they don't bring newborns there.  She was able to be with Hunter again, and to nurse and bond. James, Natalie and Hunter, their new family.  The surgeon who saved Natalie's life came in at that moment, and he started to cry. He said how amazing it was to see her here, alive with her baby when she was so close to death.   I am so happy to hear that, because I often think surgeons are desensitized.  For him to say that, feel that... it sort of set in too how close we were to really losing her. 

A week later, I came to take Hunter's newborn photos.  After, Natalie and I were sitting and talking about her loss.  I had never experienced anything like this and so desperately wanted to be there for her and my brother.  She talked about how happy they were to have Hunter, but how she was conflicted now with feeling a loss for the children she will never have.  She mentioned how she still had eggs of her own and that her and James were considering surrogacy.  Honestly, I was pissed!  What if the surrogate drank, or smoked, or threw herself down the stairs! How do you trust someone like that with your baby!  No way, no WAY!  Then suddenly, it came out, it was as if I couldn't stop it, "I'll do it!"  I immediately covered my mouth and said, "Oh my God! That was so inappropriate! I am so sorry!"   She looked at me and said, "I thought you didn't want any more children, you were done being pregnant?"  I said, "Yes, we don't want any more natural children of our own, we will adopt, but I have this perfectly good uterus!"    We cried, we hugged, we cracked some inappropriate "carrying my brother's baby" jokes and we took a huge step towards this brand new journey together. 

I could not be more honored or more excited to be able to carry their child.  Life is full of wonder and this is one of them. I am blessed to be part of such a wonderful family. I am in awe every day of Natalie's strength, and the love her and my brother have for each other.  I have also found new strength and support from my amazing husband, Sean.  I know I could not do this without him.  My love for him grows more and more each day.  

I cannot wait to see what's next!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Natalie's birth story

This blogpost was written by Natalie, Intended Mother

We were so blessed to conceive within the first month of trying, we were overjoyed. We took 3 pregnancy tests "just to make sure!" I had a great non complicated pregnancy. My official due date was October 17, as the day came as passed we grew anxious and even considered all the "labor inducing" tricks. I did not give in and went in for induction at 5:00am on October 29th. It was a loooong painful process. Finally at 11:30 pm I had dilated to a 9.5. I was so excited, yet couldn't get my nerves to settle and the bad feeling out of the pit of my stomach. They told me to take a quick nap until they got everything prepped. I woke up about and hour later. I began pushing at 2:00am and 45 minutes later, our beautiful son was born. James and I couldn't be more excited, tears of joy were pouring out. He was the perfect mix of both of us, those huge eyes melted my heart. They placed him on my chest and a few minutes later they took him to clean him up and take all the usual measurements.

I was getting ready for the after birth, nothing to be concerned about. Everything was going well. The doctor started to stitch me up, thankfully just one...except she noticed I was bleeding on the inside so slowly she was stitching me on the inside what she thought were tears from the baby's head. An hour later and 3 packs of thread, she was starting to get concerned. During this process she began pushing on my uterus in order to make it contract. I was starting to blackout at this point, from the pain of her pushing on my uterus and the loss of blood. The anesthesiologist had come in shortly afterwards to check on my meds. He ran out of the room and ordered the nurses to grab all the bags of blood they could carry. The anesthesiologist ran back into the room with blood in both hands and in each pocket. They couldn't get the blood to stop and told my family they would need to take me into surgery immediately. I was rushed to the OR, thankfully I was the only person in labor that night they used all 14 nurses on staff. I lay on the bed as the prepped the room and me for surgery. I prayed for two things before they began, I prayed that I would make it through safely for my husband and my son and that they would put me under because the pain was so horrible I didn't think I could handle any more. They did a c-section cut and took out my uterus and injected it with steroids and massaged it to try and get it to contract. It seemed to be helping so the Dr. put it back inside and stitched me up. Unfortunately it did not.

They ended up having to go back in and take it back out. My blood pressure plummeted to 30/12 and I had lost 11 pints of blood. They went into the waiting room and told James that they were unable to save my uterus if they did not take it I would not have made it. Once I made it out of the OR they had to warn my family that the way I would look might shock them.They took me into ICU, my family said they couldn't recognize me as I was so swollen, from the blood transfusions to all the fluids they gave me, I was beyond recognition. I was supposed to be in ICU under sedation for at least 48 hours with a breathing tube to assist my breathing. At that point I was still critical due to all the fluid in my lungs and the stress on my kidney. The nurses told my family they would have to leave the room. I had become agitated and restless. I was kicking a throwing my arms every time they would come in. 4 hours later......I opened my eyes finally my mom came in and showed me pictures of Hunter assuring me that he was safe and nothing was wrong. I began to settle down. The last thing I remembered before I went under sedation was them taking my son into the OR with me and subconsciously I must have been worried there was something wrong they weren't telling me.

I remember opening my eyes seeing my amazing husband and my father by my side, I was still unable to talk because I still had a breathing tube. I motioned for a piece of paper the first question I wrote, to my husband was "were you scared? and did they take my uterus?" The next thing I remember was my gorgeous sister in law by my side, I was so thirsty and they wouldn't let me drink anything because of the concern that I might choke on the water. Tiffany was feeding me ice cubes with a spoon for at least an hour. She might have even snuck a couple sips of water :) All I wanted at this point was to see my son. Since I was in ICU they were worried about bringing a newborn in with all of the germs. They also had a security bracelet on Hunter so they had to figure out how to rig the system to get him out of the nursery to the ICU. 7 hours later I was able to meet my son again. I never imagined the love I could feel so quickly. He was so beautiful and such a blessing. I thank God that my uterus did its job to deliver my healthy son. I did not want to let him go.

I was transferred to the mother unit with my son the next day it felt like a year since I had seen him. Once I had him in my arms I was so afraid to let him go. He didn't leave my arms for 2 weeks. The nurses couldn't believe I had come out over everything so quickly. The doctors came in to check on me and they were all in tears. Seeing me alive holding my son, none had seen such a scary situation come out with such a happy ending. I thank my son, Hunter for giving me the strength and the drive to make it so quickly. I look back now and cannot believe what I went through in such a short amount of time. I feel so blessed to have such an amazing son and such an amazing support system with my family. I felt love that I could never explain in a lifetime.

A week later the reality started to sink in. I would no longer be able to have the big family I have always dreamed about.....Tiffany came over one afternoon to take Hunters newborn pictures. We were sitting on the couch after we were done talking about everything, loss, miracle of life, when Tiffany blurts out "Can I be your surrogate??" We both began balling. I feel so blessed to have come out of this situation. All the doctors were so amazing, I feel God was truly looking out for me that day. It has been a really rough road, I feel like I have lost part of mywomanhood. I have had to go through the same greiving process as I would have if I lost a loved one. This is going to be a long scary process but I truly believe there is a plan for us. We are so lucky to have Tiffany in our lives....

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Hello, and thank you for stopping by our blog!  We are two sisters in life, brought together by marriage - well, not our own marriage, Natalie married my brother, James.  So although we are sister-in-laws, it's safe to say we feel like much more - truly sisters.  Circumstances took place and now James and Natalie have decided to have a baby through surrogacy, and it just so happens, I was available.  :)   Through this new journey, we will be blogging often on the two sides of surrogacy.  One point of view from a mother who can no longer carry a baby, and another point of view from a mother carrying a baby for someone else.  This is all new to us, we are still familiarizing ourself with the terms and all the lingo.  Tomorrow we start our journey together with some testing at the reproductive clinic in Seattle.  So we thought it might be a good time to launch our little blog to share with friends and family, and maybe help others along the way who may be considering the same thing.   We are excited and anxious for this new baby to come into this world.   On this website we will post a little about Natalie, and a little about myself (Tiffany) among other things we learn along the way as well as pictures and blogs about our journey through the unknown.  We hope for the pregnancy to take in January and excited to see what the future brings for this new blessing in all of our lives.  We are so grateful to have each other as a family and know how very blessed we all are. 

Tomorrow is our first trip in together at the Reproductive Center and we are excited to report back and show pictures (don't worry, nothing inappropriate) of what happened.  Also, this weekend we will post a little back story about each of us, and what happened to Natalie and their little family to get to this point.  I am so honored to be a part of this, and trying not to cry as I write this.  How lucky we all are.

Thank you for taking the time to read, feel free to follow us, or take our weekly poll.  Thank you everyone for your support, thank you.

Tiffany and Natalie