Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Kysen's birth - A Surrogacy Story

This is Kylee's story of the birth of her surrogate son, who she carried, incubated, grew, and birthed for her friends who could not have another child together for medical reasons. Such an amazing thing to do for a couple!

Had a normal day - sunday at mum's for lunch altho thinking back now i guess it was quite unusual that i wasnt very hungry and i was really quite lethargic not to mention short on temper actually i spent all of sunday afternoon screeching at the kids like i was a mad woman (sorry kids mummy does love you).Went to bed early to put my feet up to watch TV and turned off everything and slept at 10.30.Woke up at 11.30 with a shocking lower back ache and the worst heartburn you could imagine!! so i got up for a wee and noticed the tiniest streak of blood on the paper but didnt get my hopes up and went back to bed.Was so excited thinking maybe this was really it (keep in mind ive never spontaniously gone into labour,had a show or had my waters rupture) i couldnt sleep and was having niggles and needing to wee every 20 mins or so.Finally at 2 i went and woke ben and said i felt unwell and maybe the baby was coming and he made me a cup of tea and we watched some stupid haunted house thing in my room till 3 but as i had no regular contractions i told him to go back to bed as i didnt think the baby would ever come.3.30 i got up yet again for a wee and YAYYYYYYY i had a small show so back to tell ben that yes baby was coming today and we needed to finish packing my bag and that we would wake the children and drive to stratford birthing centre when my contractions regulated as i didnt want to wake all the familys involved (how considerate of me) .By 4 my contractions were regular and 8-10 mins apart so i woke the kids and loaded everyone up the van for our drive and got ben to ring mum to tell her it was happening.Got to mums and the contractions were still regular but not at all painfull but yippeeee my waters broke lol just a little gush with every contraction so at ten to five mum rung the babys parents to tell them to come on in they would have a new son by the end of the day.Mum rung the midwife and told her i was now 5 mins apart and she suggested we move over to the unit due to my usually very quick births,of course we couldnt go there tho untill i had a chocolate bar and mum bought smokes so off to the all night garage first lol what a sight we must have looked all crammed in mums rav4.Got to the birthing unit and contractions were still easy.Babys parents arrived and slowly my contractions got steadily stronger and by 6.30ish i was really feeling them so with mum and babys mums assistance i had a shower (quite funny really as we were laughing at the fact i had to remove my fanny piercing before birthing),the shower helped put me into a good established labour and i felt the urge to get onto the bed.After what felt like forever those contractions hit me hard,i was so scared as the pain was like nothing i had felt before and i wanted to stay calm for my childrens sake but OMG i couldnt as i was pushing my little heart out and that baby just wasnt budging,i remember screaming that he was stuck and everybody telling me to push harder but i was just so bloody tired and seriously it was breakfast time and i couldnt understand why the midwife wouldnt let me stop and have some LOL.Finally after what seems like forever i felt the baby crowning and i felt him jam on my wee hips and pelvis and to make it worse i crapped myself (oh the shame of it) i kept pushing but his head just wasnt moving and the pain got so bad i saw my life flash before my eyes.With some assistance from my midwife finally his head was out but i was tired now and honestly didnt understand why the midwife wouldnt just pull him out (i asked her nicely) but with all my might i got his shoulders out and it was welcome to the world baby!!!!! his mum caught him but then he was chucked onto my tummy by the midwife and a sheet put over him i was sitting there thinking hang on this wasnt the plan,i dont want him.I lifted the sheet and saw he was blue and purple and i was thinking OMFG hes dead,after close to a minute and alot of slaps finally he cried and i was so relieved.His dad cut his cord and baby was given to me and i was told *here kylee give your baby to his mum* ,I must say handing that screaming huge bundle of baby to his mum was the most surreal thing you could imagine,she was crying and shaking so much she could barely take him from me she kept repeating thankyou over and over and the look of love and understanding she gave me will forever be imprinted on my mind.Our stay at the unit was nice,day 1 was great and the parents friends and family spoilt me rotten,day 2 i had a few tears but nothing major.Day 3 saw me standing outside at 3.20am in the cold sobbing where nobody could hear me,erratic thoughts running through my mind and the urge to go and get that baby out of his crib and run away with him was so strong that i went inside and sought out the company of the night nurse,all i wanted was to hold my baby and tell him that i love him.Day 4 was goodbye day and i woke feeling blue knowing i was saying goodbye not goodbye forever but i knew from that day on i would no longer be his mum,i avoided holding him and just watched him till mum arrived to collect me.I packed my stuff and told mum ok its time to go now and stood in my room looking thru to his room where he was sleeping and realised i just couldnt say goodbye and then i broke down infront of everybody and that was the last thing i wanted to do,i knew when i was carrying him it would be hard but this was torture i was leaving the unit without my 4th child,my 4 day old son!.Walking out those doors is the hardest thing i have ever done.Everyday his parents thank me for giving them the child that they would never have had but everyday i thank them for trusting me to grow and nurture their child in my womb.This has been an amazing experience for myself and my family and friends and yes i would do it again in a heartbeat,it was a hard birth and has been hard on me mentally but thats 2 small negatives out of the billions of positives i have gained,my family has extended greatly and hey ive got a baby i dont have to get up with in the night or change crappy nappies lol.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Kellie's birth

I was booked in to have some professional photos taken of my 38 week pregnant belly at 7.30pm on Thursday 26th July 2007, so I started getting ready at 6.00pm. I did my make-up and was in the middle of blow-drying my hair in the bathroom when I felt a warm gush in my pants and knew that it was my waters breaking. It was about 6.15pm, and I was 38 weeks 1 day pregnant. I moved quickly towards the toilet and called out excitedly to Jonny and we stood staring at each other in disbelief that this was actually going to happen. I also had my bloody show whilst on the loo, and started to have a bit of diarrhoea. Jonny called to cancel the photography session, and also the plumber who was booked in for the following morning.

I quickly realised that all my toiletries and overnight things that I would need for the hospital were at my parents place because I had been staying there during Jonny’s graveyard shifts, as I was nervous about going into labour while he wasn’t there. So we decided to go and get some takeaways for dinner and pop into mum and dads to pick up my overnight gear. They were surprised and excited to see us, and we sat together watching the final of Greys Anatomy and I finished knitting the final three rows of my baby-blanket. Contractions started while we were at mum and dads but were only very minor, and the diarrhoea continued. We started writing the times down anyway, and I lost my mucous plug just before 9pm.

When we arrived home I took two Panadol and hopped into bed, thinking I might as well try and get some sleep before we needed to go to the hospital. Because I had previously tested positive for group b strep, we knew that no matter where I was at with contractions, I would need to be at the hospital by 6am to have IV antibiotics.

By 11.15pm I started writing down the timings of the contractions again as I could feel things really picking up pace. By 11.33 I was on my hands and knees rocking my hips through the contractions, which were lasting 40-45 seconds and coming between three and six minutes apart. Not long after midnight Jonny decided to ring the hospital to find out when I should consider coming in for the IV antibiotics, even though I wasn't quite at the point the midwife had indicated (3-5 mins apart and lasting for a minute). It turned out that my midwife was already there for another delivery, so we went straight in. The time was 12.32am. I only had a couple of contractions in the car, and was beginning to wonder if the labour had stopped. At one stage I noticed Jonny was driving in a 50km zone at about 80km an hour and I thought that we would have a good excuse if we were stopped by the Police.

On arrival at the Te Henga ward at Waitakere Hospital, I was admitted and put on the CTG monitor for 20 minutes and told I was only in early labour and to expect a long night. I had to stay flat on my back for the CTG monitoring and I found this much more uncomfortable than being able to go on my hands and knees. I did try to turn over whilst still on the monitor but it stopped picking up the baby’s heartbeat so I had to go back on my back. I threw up at 1.30am.

My midwife, Frann, was attending another delivery so it seemed to take forever before she came in to see me. She put the antibiotic in at 3am after 2 failed attempts at finding a vein, and then she went home to try and get some rest. The student midwife, Kylie, popped in a couple of times as well, but she also went home to get some sleep. The hospital midwife, Denise, took over my care and pretty much left me to it, only popping in once or twice to give me a heat pack and check how things were going. At some stage she also told me how to breathe properly through the contractions which was a great help. Before she left Frann had said I could have some pethidine if I wanted it and I remember asking Jonny at one stage when they were going to offer me gas, but no-one ever did.

By 4am I was incredibly uncomfortable and felt a lot of pressure to push, so I called for the hospital midwife, Denise, who told me not to push yet as I wasn’t ready and could actually slow things down. I had to persuade to do an internal examination to check my progress - she was reluctant and still thought I wasn't contracting hard enough (I have NO IDEA where she got this idea!!!). Anyway she did the internal and discovered I was 9cm dilated so she rushed off to prepare the delivery equipment and call Frann back in. Jonny called my mum, and they both arrived at about 4.30-4.45am. If the internal had revealed I was only a few centimetres dilated, I might have considered other options for pain-relief as the pain of the contractions was very bad and I didn’t know how much longer I could stand it.

I started pushing at 4.40am and Frann was very encouraging and told me how to push. During this stage I couldn’t feel the contractions as strongly, but found that pushing was actually much harder work physically. Frann and Jonny were at the business end and could both see the babys hair and commented how dark it was. Mum was at my head administering a cold flannel, and at some point asked if I wanted a mirror so I could see as well, and I agreed. I actually found this really helpful with the pushing, as I could see my progress. Mum was encouraging me to have the baby at 5.19am as that is the same time that I was born, and we joked that I was inefficient with my pushing when 5.19 passed.

Kellie Grace was born at 5.23am on Friday 27th July, weighing 3250g, a little under 7lb3oz. Jonny caught her head as it came out, with Frann’s hands on the outside of his, and he pulled her body out by himself. I had asked mum to have the camera ready to take photos as soon as she arrived, and I found myself grabbing the camera out of her hands and taking the first photos myself. I couldn’t believe how small she was and how much dark hair she had. Her umbilical cord was HUGE.

After only a couple of minutes Frann told me to push again as the placenta was coming. Mum at this stage phoned my sister in London and broke the news to her that her niece had been born. She was on the phone when Jonny cut the umbilical cord, and she heard Kellie crying and cried herself.

Kellie was placed on my chest straight away, and I gave her her first cuddles. She was tiny and all covered in vernix and blood but I didn’t care. After a few minutes Frann told me I had to give her to Jonny while she stitched up my ripped perinium. The stitches hurt like heck and I don’t know if the local anaesthetic actually had any effect. At 6.00am we gave her her first feed, and she had her check-up, a clean-up and vitamin k injection.

I do remember feeling strangely empowered and elated that I had given birth WITHOUT DRUGS and without intervention. It is hugely satisfying to know that you have accomplished giving birth to another human being and you’ve done it in the most natural way possible. I was also so proud of Jonny for his support and love he showed during the whole labour, he was just fantastic and I only had to tell him off once for offering me food when I clearly had other things to think about!

Kellie wasn’t given a name until 9am, as we had to narrow it down from four or five choices that we had. I had a shower and got into a hospital gown, and at some stage my dad arrived to meet his granddaughter, and he walked into the room and burst into tears.

The midwives told us that the maternity ward was fully booked so we would have to stay in the delivery room until we were ready to transfer to the birthing unit at Helensville. This suited us fine, as we were able to spend the whole morning with our new daughter without having to move around. Jonny’s parents and niece also arrived to visit, and so did our friend and her 8 week old son.

Getting Kellie into her capsule turned into a bit of a drama (we couldn’t figure out how to adjust the straps), and even though we were allowed to leave Waitakere at midday, it was closer to 2pm when we finally left. We stayed at Helensville for 3 nights and they were fabulous, providing round-the-clock care and help with feeding. Jonny was allowed to stay for the first two nights, although their policy is usually only the first night for partners.

We came home on Monday 30th July and are settling nicely into a routine with our new addition. Welcome Kellie Grace, we can’t imagine life without you!

“Before you were conceived, I wanted you,
Before you were born, I loved you,
Before you were here an hour, I would die for you.
This is the miracle of life”