It has been nearly a week since sweet baby A, now known as Jackson Jacob was born. Even writing this post makes me get a bit emotional, it was such a beautiful experience and honestly, I couldn’t have picked a more deserving couple than Derek and Sara. Many of you may be wondering about how the actual delivery day went down, so good thing for you and for me, I put Billy in charge of documenting the events so I could write about it later. So let’s start with the night before and take you through the entire experience. For those who get lost in the details, feel free to skip ahead to the end of this post.
On Tuesday, June 28th Sara and Derek, Renee and Jim (Derek’s mom and Step Dad), my parents and our family headed out to enjoy a dinner at Porcupine Grill. I wanted to have a light dinner so I stuck with the salad, no sense in eating a big bean burrito before the big event, that has disaster written all over it. We ended the night relatively early and headed home to finalize packing and to get some sleep before the induction the next day.
On Wednesday, June 29th I called the Charge Nurse at St. Mark’s Hospital to find out what time I should come in for my induction and was asked to arrive around 7:30 am to finalize paperwork and get all checked in. We arrived just before Sara and Derek who seemed excited, nervous, anxious and worried all wrapped into one. They started on their paperwork, we started on ours and then we headed into a room to get all set for the induction.
Around 8am, our Nurse Melissa gave me a gown, belly band and started to put in monitors to track my contractions and the baby’s heart rate. She tried to put in my IV, but I guess I have veins that roll, so she brought in the reinforcements and the Charge Nurse (Stephanie) had to put it into my other arm. This was a bit distracting because all of the machines were on my left side of my body and my IV was on the right side, so I had cords and tubes going across my body the entire day…but let’s not get hung up on the small stuff right?
Just before 9am, Jim and Renee arrived at the hospital to hang out with us in the room until it was time to deliver Baby A. They also started my Pitocin drip to get my induction started. With my two kids, I went from a 2-10 in under an hour once I was on Pitocin and my water was broken, so I asked the nurse to have my epidural before my water was broken. I wanted to make sure that I had time to get the epidural before it was time to deliver. Around 9:15 we had a new nurse assigned to us, her name was Ashlee and the Charge Nurse felt she would be a better fit with our group, I guess we were a bit overwhelming for Melissa. New nurse Ashlee did a quick cervical check and I was dilated to a 2 and 50% effaced, so I hadn’t had that much change since my appointment the week prior. After a quick check Ashlee put in my first Penicillin drip which BURNED and made my arm feel heavy but it was all for the benefit of Baby A so I managed through it. She backed it off a bit and watered it down with fluids which helped a ton, because I hadn’t felt that before with prior deliveries.
Around 10 am, my bestie Ali arrived at the hospital, she wanted to be part of the delivery process so I invited her to stay for the day and be part of the entire event. In addition, my friend Piper arrived to document the day through photography as a gift to us. Right as they arrived, the Anesthesiologist arrived to put in my epidural. For my own kids I was always on my side, but he likes to do them sitting up, so they wheeled a bed side table over with a pillow and asked me to hunch over. At this point, I was having contractions but they only felt tight with no pain. With my own children, I was in a bit of pain when I got the epidural so I was relived to have it put in. This time around, I wasn’t in pain and it was weird to just have him hook you up and know that it would be beneficial in the long run. So as I sat there, I felt the numbing of the needle, then the pressure of the catheter and the zing of the…well not sure what gives you the zing but it feels weird, then everything starts to go numb. I usually react very well to the epidural so I didn’t anticipate any complications. Good thing for me, my trend held up and it worked just as it needed to…except at the end, but I will get to that later in this post.
One of the best things about labor is the urine catheter, weird of me to say right? I happen to have a small bladder, nothing diagnosed of course, but I have to go often. So the fact that I could go hours without having to physically go to the bathroom is amazing. After my first child, I had Preeclampsia and my blood pressure never went down after delivery so they put me on Magnesium for 24 hours. During that time I had a cath in and it was pure bliss. I just slept and relaxed and peed into a tube…ahhh.
Around 11 am, Dr. Horvath came in to break my water. Typically this is a standard procedure with pads and bags to catch all the water, but I guess I gave them a run for their money. After Dr. Horvath checked me, I was still at a 2 and 50% effaced so she broke my water and holy moly what a ride. I noticed that after she broke it, Ashlee and Horvath looked at each other in surprise, first noted there was no Meconium which was good. Ashlee then said she has never seen so much water come out of one person. It was pouring out of me, then it made me giggle and more started pouring out. Everyone in the room joined in and looked as I gushed and gushed fluids, what a sight! Stacks of towels were brought in, new bed sheets, the floor had to be mopped up, it was dripping down from the bed and so they had to keep a towel between my legs at all times. Dr. Horvath felt that since I had so much fluid, this was preventing Baby A from dropping and going into labor on my own. My parents arrives shortly after the waterworks and we enjoyed telling the story to all new visitors as they arrived.
At 3:30 pm, they decided to put in a pressure monitor to see the strength of my contractions since I wasn’t progressing very fast. They inserted this next to the baby’s head, which didn’t feel great and added bit of pressure, plus released another round of fluid. Once that was added, they could see that I was having good and consistent contractions. Around 4pm, they checked me to see if I was progressing and I was finally at a 6 and 85% effaced, so they didn’t feel it would be long. Shortly after, around 4:15 I was having some pressure so they checked me and I was at a 7 and 90% effaced, but the baby’s heart rate was dipping a bit so they gave me some oxygen. At 4:42 pm I was having a ton of pressure so they checked me again and I was at a 10 and fully effaced, it was go time!
Pushing…I was really worried and dreading the pushing, I remember this being my least favorite part and very hard. I was hoping I would have one of those stories where I had three contractions and he was out, but as it turned out, it took a bit longer. Once I started to push, I could feel a ton of pressure, but not much pain. Throughout my labor, I only pushed my Epidural button once which was toward the end when I was going from a 6-10. As I began to push and push, I started to feel more pressure and a bit of pain. Because Billy and Derek were holding my legs back, my epidural was going into my bum cheeks and not where it was supposed to numb. Billy told me later that everyone kept trying to push my epidural button but it only releases so much in an hour and it was at its max. So even though I was saying that I was in pain, and everyone was trying to help, my bum was nice and comfy and living in pure numb bliss. Around 40 minutes later and one tired surro mama, I pushed baby Jackson Jacob into this world, but not before a quick episiotomy to help his head come through.
In the moments that followed, I witnessed pure love and joy. Jackson was put into his mother’s arms and they sat skin to skin for 2 hours. Derek looked with adorning eyes and kept kissing Sara and Jackson. It was a beautiful experience. It felt as if I was on the outside witnessing my own kids being born and seeing for the first time how it feels to be a new mother and father. Renee and Jim came in to meet their new grandson and a few other visitors came in as well. Ali and Piper were excellent birthing coaches, Derek and Billy were great leg holders and Sara kept her self calm by chanting calming expressions when things got intense. Jackson Jacob weighed in at 7.13 ounces and 18.5 inches and 36.5 head circumference.
While they sat with Jackson and bonded, I continued the labor process and released the placenta, then was sewn up with a few stitches. At that time, they noticed I had a slight fever so I received a third round of Penicillin for infection. In addition, my blood pressure was a little high so they were watching me to see if I needed a shot of medication to bring it down. It wasn’t until I was in my room that I ended up needing a shot to help with my blood pressure. As we left the labor and delivery room and headed upstairs to our maternity rooms, my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin greeted us to say hello and check in on me.
Sara and Derek were in their own room with the baby and she was trying to start the nursing process. Sara has been stimulating her production for 6 weeks and hopes that she can nurse Jackson, but will need a bit more time to see if she produces enough. As part of our contract, I agreed to supply my colostrum to them throughout my stay at the hospital. Given that it comes out in tiny amounts, we had to get creative with how we expressed it. The lactation specialist suggested that I express by hand into a spoon then use a syringe. The nurse I had said that I can use a pump and then use a syringe, so I gave that a try first. Luckily it worked and Billy and I together figured out a good process of pumping and meticulous syringing after. We would then deliver the liquid gold to Sara and Jackson throughout the days and nights in the hospital. The only hiccup the first night was after I delivered they ordered me dinner but it never came so by 9pm I was starving and I had to resort to a wilted salad, banana and peanut butter. Billy hadn’t eaten all day either, so we grabbed a few snacks for him as well.
On the second day of recovery, I took a shower and cleaned up a bit, which felt amazing. We went to visit with Sara and Derek and meet Jackson in their room. I was a bit hesitant on how I would feel or what I would want to do about holding him. I didn’t want to create a bond I couldn’t break so I was trying hard to make the right decision about when to see him and when to hold him. But after we saw him, it was like he just belonged in their arms, like I was watching my good friends hold their baby, not a baby I just delivered. So I decided to hold this little man in my arms and I am so glad that I did, he was breathtaking. Lauren arrived later that day and also got to hold him for the first time. We took a bunch of pictures and she stared at him, mesmerized by his tiny hands and feet. In the delivery room she got to see him and her reaction of sobbing tears was raw and pure. Lauren wanted to stay with me, so she helped with the syringe and delivery of the goods to Sara and Jackson and was an amazing night nurse, she really is impressive and very responsible. In the morning, we sat in my bed and enjoyed my hospital food and snuggled watching Pretty Little Liars. I know, I know, but it is something Lauren and I have enjoyed watching together, and I loved that moment alone with her all to myself.
That morning, Billy and Will arrived and we were heading home, so there was packing to do and some final pictures with Sara, Derek and Jackson. Once Billy loaded the car, we headed to their room to say our hospital goodbyes, although the Pediatrician didn’t clear Jackson for leaving Utah so I knew we would see them over the next few days. We took a bunch of pictures, and let Will hold his surro brother and then headed home to recover.
I wanted to thank everyone for all the positive energy, texts, emails, phone calls, social media posts and well wishes of support for our family and my journey as a surrogate, but most of all I wanted to thank my husband Billy and two kids Lauren and Will for their support, I could not have done this alone and I love them with all my heart.