Tag Archives: “Mom”

This Is My (Grand)Father’s House

Spiritual moments are few and far between for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a skeptic or because I’ve learned to carefully guard my heart. But when something does sneak in, it renders me a liquid puddle of goo. I had such a moment today.

I’ve been living in my grandparents’ house for a little over a year-and-a-half. My daughter and I share living space with a housemate and our combined rent helps to pay for my grandparents’ care. Well, now it helps to pay for my grandmother’s care: my grandfather passed away January 29th. This has been their house for 50+ years, so this was my home-away-from-home. I love living here because every wall, every cabinet, every floorboard is filled with memories. Shortly after moving in I was cleaning the top of the bathroom medicine cabinet and was showered with baby powder; Grandma’s baby powder always coated the counter-tops of the bathroom.

Today I was brought to tears by a mystery smell. I don’t know what it was or why I smelled it today after so long. But it was Grandpa.

I had been changing my clothes and was about to close the closet door when I was almost knocked over by the smell of Grandpa. I couldn’t locate the source, it just hovered inside the closet – so much so that the shirt I’m currently wearing STILL smells like him! I was fixed to the spot I was standing on for a good 5 minutes, just soaking up and enjoying the smell of Grandpa.

I can’t really describe the feeling of warmth and love I got when I smelled Grandpa, but it’s something I will cling to with every fiber of my being. I was truly touched by Grandpa today.

This is my grandfather’s house. I can only hope I can continue to live here for as long as possible so it will ALWAYS be his house.

39 Week Update


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I’ve pretty much reached that stage of pregnancy where I’m “done.” Just a few hours into each day I’m tired, my back aches and I’m MORE than ready for labor to start. Of course, Miss Swann really should hang in there until 40 weeks; it’s the best for her development. And, yet, I’m not ready to NOT be pregnant. I’ve enjoyed this pregnancy, this surrogacy, this whole journey. My job as gestational surrogate is almost over and then it’s up to the boys to raise Miss Swann, to love her, to teach her, to nurture her. I’ve fulfilled my part of the bargain: provide a safe place for this little baby to grow for 9 (10) months so she can be raised by two people who love her so much they’ve been planning to have her in their life for a long time.

Pregnancy agrees with me: I had a relatively easy pregnancy with Em and this one seems to have been just as easy. Sure, I’ve whined about heartburn, not being able to put on my own shoes without assistance, swelling, the lack of sushi… But those all fade away and I can focus on the lack of morning sickness, being able to teach my daughter about love and babies, the support my family, boyfriend, church, friends and coworkers have given me, the opportunity to teach people in my life about surrogacy and of course the wonderful relationship I’ve developed with Miss Swann’s daddies.

In regards to the pregnancy, this week was less eventful than the last. I have only had intermittent Braxton Hicks contractions that are eased by rest and water. I lost part of my mucus plug Friday. I experienced one moment of seemingly random and sudden vomiting Sunday afternoon, but was able to eat lunch right after and have only felt some mild nausea on and off since. My lower back started to hurt Monday afternoon but that also went away once I was in my recliner with my feet up. Miss Swann’s movements have been less frequent but with the same intensity that she’s had all along. Her favorite spot is about 2 inches below my belly button, causing discomfort that is VERY similar to cramps/contractions, so every time she stretches I go on full alert! I woke up Tuesday with my lovely swelling, so I put on my maternity support belt, took some Tylenol and drove to the office with an ice pack; by lunch I could actually sit comfortably. The support belt is a bit uncomfortable now that I’m bigger, but it’s better than staying home JUST BECAUSE I cannot be in any position other than lying down on my side.

In regards to the surrogacy, this past week has been amazing! The boys joined us at church Sunday morning, had a wonderful NOH8 photography session with Em and me Sunday afternoon and had dinner with my family Sunday night. The relationship between us all is just beautiful, like long-lost friends reconnecting after years of separation. Our conversations are a mix of love, laughter, and language lessons: we keep discovering phrases that don’t really translate well or even exist. We are also learning about some cultural expectations that are complete opposites of what we are each used to. The boys were quite shocked to learn that their daughter will only stay in the hospital for 2 days before they take her home, which is MUCH different from the ONE WEEK babies usually stay in the hospital back home!

The deadline for my mom to be my birth coach is slowly closing in as she leaves this Sunday to be with my sister; of course my friend Mary is ready and excited at the prospect of being there for me.

Em and I both have bags packed, ready for the big day: mine for my hospital stay, hers in case my labor starts at night so neither she nor I have to pack her “tomorrow” clothes while she’s sleepy and I’m breathing through contractions.

Brad is still unsure about where he will be when I’m in labor. In the beginning I told him his only job was to make sure I had sushi ready for me in my recovery room. But as this pregnancy has progressed, so has our relationship. He’s very important to me and I feel like I need him with me during this. But this is not his baby, so it’s not like he HAS to be there. Only he can decide what is right for himself and I’ll support that decision no matter what.

“Stats” from today’s appointment:

Station: -2
Dilation: 2 cm
Effacement: 70%

My weight gain in the last week is a bit surprising to me, though it could just be water/fluid retention. As of the writing of this post, my ankles are still swollen, even first thing in the morning. My waist gain, however, doesn’t surprise me. Miss Swann has moved around a bit and isn’t quite as up-and-down as she usually is.

My blood pressure was 136/78 and I had a small amount of protein in my urine. Doctor sent me over to Quest for blood work. IF my labs are abnormal, I’ll be sent to labor & delivery today; if they’re normal, I have a 7:30 AM induction scheduled for tomorrow! So I may not get to go out with Brad for Valentine’s Day, but… WORTH IT!!

Of course, I’ll update more as I find out more!

38 Week Update

Things got crazy-busy yesterday, between attending the lottery meeting for the magnet school I’m trying to get Em into (all luck of the draw, unfortunately), my OB appointment, meeting with my boss to go over ALL my job duties folks will have to cover while I’m on maternity leave, lunch with my mom and Em and then catching up on work I missed in the morning. Add to that dinner and normal life stuff after work, I was kinda tired.

So yesterday’s post is going up today. :) But it actually starts on Saturday.


BUT FIRST!!!                                         See that?!? ————>
Have you entered your guess yet?
Do it! Do it NOW!


Saturday I spent about 7 hours at Disneyland with Brad, Em, Dad, my godparents, their youngest son, his wife and their two little boys. I only went on 3 pregnancy-OK rides and made sure to sit whenever we weren’t walking to our next destination. I drank lots of water (as per my usual) and felt pretty good. Right as Brad, Em and I finished dinner I started feeling some mild contractions. VERY mild contractions. They started out at the top of my stomach, tingling like your foot does after it’s fallen asleep. Then my stomach would tighten and the tightness would move down to where I normally feel menstrual cramps. None of it was painful, but they were quite frequent. I decided to keep an eye on them while we finished up our evening. An hour-and-a-half later they hadn’t stopped but they hadn’t increased in frequency or intensity. I texted Mom and Brad, Em and I headed home.

Once home I drank more water and sat in my recliner with my feet up. Mom gave me the phone number of a church member who’s an OB nurse and suggested I check with her to see if she thought I needed to go to the hospital or not; being not quite 38 weeks, not feeling any pain, and having only been 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced just 3 days before, I was hesitant to go to the hospital just yet. After about 4 hours of contractions, Mom and I decided to head over to the hospital (a whopping 3 blocks from my house; I could have walked there faster than it took Mom to get to my house from hers). Brad stayed at my place since Em was asleep and I promised to keep him updated.

Turns out my contractions were just my body’s way of saying ENOUGH, I’m tired!! Being on my feet that long at Disneyland had caused the contractions, but hadn’t started labor. I was sent home and told that the contractions would likely stop by morning.

I woke Sunday morning feeling fine but tired after having been up until 3:00 AM. I slept through church but had a good day after I caught up on my missed sleep. My feet swelled up Sunday night so much that I couldn’t get my shoes on, but I attribute that to the salty snacks I had at the Super Bowl party we went to that afternoon. My feet returned to normal size by Monday morning. Late Sunday night I had some (Ok, a LOT) of my lovely swelling that I get when pregnant, so I took Monday off from work as the only comfortable position I could find was on my side with my hips elevated on pillows. The swelling went down just in time for me to tidy up my house to welcome the boys who’d arrived from London Monday afternoon!

My OB appointment on Wednesday was a party! Mom and the boys joined me for my check-up; I figured the more eyes and ears the better. That thinking paid off as Mom asked a question of the doctor which then got the boys thinking about other things they needed clarification on. Yay, Mom! The boys got to hear and feel Miss Swann’s heartbeat (they put their hands over the speaker on the Doppler), too!

“Stats” from yesterday’s appointment:

Station: -3
Dilation: 1cm
Effacement: 50%


Yup, no change since last week, even with my little contractions on Saturday. The doctor thinks Miss Swann will be a little less than 8 pounds at birth (Em was 8lbs 8oz, so a little smaller is ok with me) and while they won’t stop my labor if it starts before 40 weeks, they’re hoping she does go that long because that means she’s as “baked” as possible. Mom, of course, is hoping for a little earlier than 40 because she’ll be with my sister 3 days before I’m due. (Hey, sis: next time I get pregnant, don’t copy me, k? 😉 )

I gained 4 pounds this week, only 1 of which could/should be attributed to Miss Swann. I know weight fluctuates, as my chart shows, but last night I think I found the cause: edema. I lost my ankles yesterday! I’m actually surprised it took this long to happen, though I’m not happy that it did. I’ll be increasing my water intake (hard to do with how much I drink already), watch my snacks and get up to move around more often, though lately that means I’ll be moving in the direction of the ladies room; every time I stand, Miss Swann squishes my bladder and my first stop – no matter WHAT my original intention was – is the bathroom. I’ve got my feet elevated on a stool at my cubicle at work, so that’s pretty much the best I can do.


On the one hand, I can’t believe it’s been 38 weeks already. On the other hand, the boys and I have been on this journey together since October 2011 when we each said YES!! to the agency after our first Skype meeting. Tempus fugit.