Friday, March 10, 2006

Kyen's Birth Story

Friday morning I woke up by 3:30am, kissed my sleeping husband and sons goodbye, and drove myself to the hospital by 4:30am.

I was hoping to arrive early enough to be fully admitted and ready for the scheduled 5:00am induction...we wanted this show on the road. I made it to the L&D floor by 4:45am (couldn't believe I beat Taryn and JD - who were staying in the hotel right across the road from the hospital). I changed into my gown, took a few pictures, and I was hooked up to the IV fluids by 6:00am. Not long there after I started receiving a bag of precautionary antibiotics and the Pitocin drip began. Taryn and JD made themselves comfortable and we hung out for a bit.

Taryn's family arrived and we all visited for about an hour or so waiting for my OB to come in to break my water. My parents and Grandma came up to my room just before the Dr got there at 8:15am. They had stayed in town overnight to be there with me for my induction. I was having contractions by the time my membranes were ruptured, but 12 minutes apart. And I was dilated between 2 and 3cm still only 50% effaced. Baby was high, at a -3 station, but low enough to be engaged - thankfully we did not have to worry about his cord prolapsing.

I was very quickly allowed out of bed and hooked up to a portable, wireless fetal heart monitor (very cool - got'ta love technology). By getting out of bed we were all very hopeful that my contractions would pick up and each half hour the Pitocin was increased to help things along as well.

At 9:00am, I was already beginning to feel that the baby had come down a bit and my contractions were definitely starting to increase in frequency - but not yet in intensity. My husband arrived at the hospital near 9:45am after getting the sitter acquainted w/'Topher and our older two sons off to school for the day.

Taryn, JD, my husband, and my Mom paced the halls with me.

We had people coming and going in and out of the room often - the mood filled with lots of excitement and anticipation of when baby Kyen would make his appearance. We began taking bets on how much he'd weigh - most of us confident that he'd surely be over 8lbs. My Dad was the only one of us who felt he'd weigh less - turns out he was right and won our pot of money.

By 10:00am I was really starting to notice the pain of the contractions, needing to stop in the hallway to breath through most of them. My OB saw us in the hallway and checked the dose of Pitocin I was receiving - stating that I was on quite a lot at that time already (near the amount she'd cut off administering any more). I walked a bit and rocked in the rocking chair hoping to have made some progress since I was now really feeling the strength of being in active labor. Each contraction had me stopped and breathing through the pain - fairly intense cramping at this point.

The nurse checked me and said I had made it to 5cm, but was almost fully effaced. I requested the epidural very quickly after this check of my cervix. They mentioned that the anesthesiologist would be in as soon as he finished up with an emergency C-section (the nurse hoped he'd show up by 11:00am). There were five OB patients (including myself) being induced on this morning, yet only one Dr there for anesthesia. We were a bit put off after learning this information. I had several emotional moments by this point, and just after - kept the Visine close. (I'd be damned if I had to see my little surro son come into this world through cloudy contact lenses).

I had given up walking the hallway by 11:00am, and tried to patiently wait for my epidural through the contractions that were coming on much stronger by this time and nearly 3 minutes apart. My Mom and husband coached me through each one. Taryn would step in to help when one of them needed to leave to get me something or call the nurses in. I was extremely thankful to have them there with me. The contractions had me feeling so tense, I just couldn't get comfortable enough to stay on top of them so they pain wasn't so bad.

The only thing that helped me get through was to moan and lean on the shoulders of my husband and mom while hugging them tightly. This was comforting, but not enough to feel I was relaxing enough to open up my pelvis.

At one point I was only able to sit on the bed with my mom in front of me coaching me to breath (apparently I was holding my breath) and my husband held me on the bed because the pain was so intense I felt like sliding off and away from the cramping. The only way I can explain the pain to them was that it felt like a charley-horse (multiplied by 10) all around the lower front of my stomach. I could tell there was no more, or at least very little, amniotic fluid around the baby to help ease the pain of the contractions...this was as dry a labor as they come.

Poor Taryn, JD (and everyone else in the hospital within earshot, for that matter), they had to sit around the room listening to my moans (many times low screams). Several times I noticed people left when a contraction would start. It must have been hard to listen to. I did catch Taryn, on a few occasions crying as she watch me in pain - wishing it could be her instead. I felt awful, but there was nothing any of us could do at this point, but try to be patient and get me through the contractions the best we could. Everyone was eager to get the baby here, but this was not something any of us expected (that epidural should have already been on board so I could be comfortable).

By 11:30am, I was getting very frustrated that the anesthesiologist hadn't arrived yet. I probably had everyone in the room bother the nurses after each contraction to see where he was.

A nurse came in after DH literally yanked her to my room (my assigned nurse had to help with the emergency delivery) and demanded they turn off the Pitocin to see if it would help space out the contractions from coming so often (every minute now) while we waited for the anesthesiologist to arrive. After doing so, she told us that another emergency came up and it would be another hour or so before I'd get my epidural. "$hit!", was all I remember saying. But, my husband told me later that I was also begging her at this point to give me anything to help with the pain. But she refused and instead put an oxygen mask on my face. If nothing else, this served to muffle my screams (getting much louder now) and of course it helped oxygenate baby and I better.

I remember screaming out in pain saying, "No! No! No!". I don't know why I was so vocal this labor. It was an incredibly painful experience and I think it took me back to when I delivered the twins without medication because I went to fast to get an epidural. I was afraid the same thing would happen again, I suppose. The nurse checked me once more and found me to be about 7 cm and fully effaced, but still not progress enough that I felt warranted all the pain I had just endured (for a couple lousy centimeters)!

It was 12:25pm before the anesthesiologist finally arrived in my room. Apparently my husband forced the nurses to order the on-call doctor to come take care of me. The doctor clearly wasn't very happy to be called in, but I sure loved seeing him...even if he was upset and irritated. I finally had my epidural and tried to compose myself soon after. This was the only time I asked everyone but my husband to please leave the room, so I could gather myself a bit (and primp for all the pictures we'd be taking now that I was pain-free). ;)

As soon as I had the oxygen off my face and comfortable, I immediately noticed the baby had moved down and I felt as though I was sitting on his head (duh, I was). My IPs and family came back into the room and I felt between my legs. Sure enough, there was Kyen's head just starting to crown! We called for the nurse to get my OB there quickly! She checked me and verified that I was indeed complete and baby was at a +3 station.

I noticed I was VERY swollen too. I guess I was sitting just right and the combination of the pressure from baby's head made me swell quite a lot...more then any of my previous births. I knew I wouldn't be requesting a mirror for this delivery.

At 12:40pm the OB arrived with her assistant. They had my bed broke down and raised way up high in the air so the doctor could deliver me standing up. I was nearly 4 feet up 'cause Taryn stood almost even with a full face view of my neither regions...lovely, I'm sure. But you couldn't tell she was bothered by it in the least - her son was about to be born.

JD stood to my right, next to his wife and the baby warmer. My husband was also there shooting pictures and video (and handing me cameras when I requested them - yes, I took full advantage of the view I had of the emotions in the room). Taryn's uncle and Dad stood to my left and her aunt roamed around, trying to get a good view.

Each one of Taryn's family had someone on their cell phones waiting to hear as their new relative came into the world. My Grandma came in just as I was beginning to push and walked right up to be next to me. I didn't realize until later that she was next to Taryn - wanting to see everything closely as she did w/my last son's birth. My twin sister (also a surrogate & pregnant with a sibling for her NY couple), and her 4.5 yo daughter finally arrived just in time to help capture the moment too. They and our mom stood to the back of the room with video cameras in hand - each on opposite sides of the room.

Everything was perfect. I started pushing. First push - Taryn says while the tears stream down her face, "Oh wow, I see dark he comes!" JD is all smiles, " his mama" and claps his hands proudly. I was told to stop pushing while the doctor suctioned the baby's mouth and nose. My OB says, "Okay Heather, big push".

And the next contraction I pushed again. Someone in the room says, "Oh, he's big!" and I hear my mom say, "Come on Heather! Go Heather!" Through my own tears I can see Taryn with her arms out ready to catch her son. Everyone in the room is crying along with us now. Kyen came sliding out at 12:53pm and I'm told to stop pushing - he's here!

JD reaches over to cut his son's cord. Taryn cries out, "Awe, he looks like his Daddy" and in the same instance JD says, "He looks like his Momma!" :) Everyone quickly moves to the side of the room where Taryn places her son in the warmer and the nurse cleans him up. Kyen really starts to cry (music to my ears 'cause my sons had respitory issues - not my IPs little ones though, TG!) The cell phones were raised in the air capturing the sounds of the baby's first moments and the emotions of the room! It was beautiful! "Happy Birthday baby, Happy Birthday!", his Mommy kept saying while taking pictures of him laying there.

My husband leans over to hug me as I cry on his shoulder (I had several emotional moments like this one - it was all so overwhelming). Taryn calls over to me from the corner where the baby was and tells me how cute he is and asks if I'm OK. I still had not delivered his placenta and we were all holding our breaths that it would deliver without complications. And it did (just 10 minutes later)! My OB was very reassuring and knowledgeable. Holding it up for me to see - the entire placenta, in one piece. What an emotional relief!

One by one everyone came to hug me and thank Noel and I for helping bring Kyen into the world. I loved seeing everyone so happy with how the baby looked and how healthy he was.

I got a few glimpses of baby Kyen in the warmer and I knew instantly

(as did my husband, sister, and the nurse) that he may not be as heavy as we all thought he might. Turns out we were correct. Once they got the baby in to weigh him, he was only 7lbs 13oz and 19.5 inches long. Still a nice, healthy size though for a 38 week gestation. Taryn was relieved he didn't come out walking and talking already. ;)

He was first lifted up for JD to hold and after a few quick pictures he was back in Mommy's arms. :) We took a few pictures of them and all of us together. Then Taryn let me hold the little miracle. He had the most petite features and such dark black hair - tons of it! My Grandma was so funny, saying he was very pretty and how she thought he was a girl and didn't know why all along she thought that. I told her, I didn't know 'cause I don't often bake baby girls...LOL.

Before saying goodbye to my parents and Grandma, that afternoon, we had several visitors. Angie's intended parents from NY, showed up with their daughters (the youngest of which was Ang's 1st surrogate baby) bearing flowers for me - so sweet! Kathleen had given Taryn (the day prior at lunch) a beautiful crocheted blanket she had made for Kyen. After exchanging the gifts, Taryn had also bought a gift for my sister's little surro son-to-be, my lunch arrived and everyone took turns holding baby Kyen.

Noel had to get home to our sons and I spent the rest of the afternoon resting and ogling over the baby. Taryn and JD went back and forth from the nursery to get Kyen bathed and fed.

We weren't sure if the hospital had enough empty rooms to allow my IPs to get their own room with the baby. It turns out they were able to find a smaller one on the opposite wing where the C-section patients stay. Which was fine with Taryn and JD. And the following night (once I was released to go home) they were able to stay in my larger room.

Our legal paperwork for the pre-birth order was sent successfully through so my couple's names would go directly on the birth certificate. Taryn and JD filled out all the paperwork (I took pictures, LOL) and received all documents as they would if they had given birth without the use of a surrogate. We were very pleased with how well we were treated and taken care of. Kimberly, another intended mom who belongs to my surrogacy support group and lives in the OKC area, arrived and we visited with her. She bought the baby a sweet little stuffed lamb. That evening LaDonna, another friend from TOSS, came by to visit us as well. It was nice having them there to meet my new little surro family and support us. :)

Later that afternoon my husband came back up and brought our sons to meet Kyen. They stayed long enough to watch Taryn and JD open our gifts to them - a digital picture frame; a little Oklahoma t-shirt, baby bib w/Kyen's ultrasound pictures, and a military baby onesie for Kyen; a teddy bear that they can hang from his crib that plays a heartbeat sound (so he'll have something to remember of me and hopefully soothe him too); a blanket I crocheted that matches the colors of the nursery, and a personalized lamp for the nursery with a picture of us at Kyen's baby shower with a poem that says, "Precious one so small so sweet, dancing in on angel feet, straight from Heaven's brightest star, what a miracle you are." And I received a very nice purple sleep mask (Taryn knows how I can't sleep without one) filled with Lavender (she loves Lavender - it's so relaxing), a bar of homemade Lavender soap, a pretty little necklace that says "love, faith, & trust" (very meaningful), and the most beautiful vase that depicts a family of five from a shop in Newark that I saw when we went shopping (she went back and bought it for me - so nice).

Speaking of gifts, my sister-in-law and family sent over some beautiful flowers. Noel and the boys brought up a vase with three of my favorite flowers too. My twin sister gave me a nice card and baskets I've been wanting as well as giving my IPs a sweet baseball bear and outfit for Kyen (she bought the same for her little surro son - they'll be twins like Ang and I - LOL). And my former intended parents, Stacey and Anthony - and surro kids, sent me a dozen yellow roses with the nicest card. And they sent the baby a nice little basket of goodies that Taryn thought was so generous of them to get.

I've felt terrific since the birth of Kyen. I did end up with a few "cosmetic" stitches, but I was rarely sore and never felt a single after-pain (unbelievable). Rarely did I need an Ibuprofen and I only took one Tylenol with Codine when the night nurse handed it to me in the middle of the night. She thought I'd want it since my epidural would fully wear off by morning and I could avoid feeling any pain by taking it.

My back was a little achy, but that was more then likely from the epidural or a combination of my muscles being so tight during labor (every muscle was so tense - rock hard at the time).

Taryn and JD didn't sleep well that first night, I don't think they've slept well since Kyen's birth - but, they are loving it! ;) I was released to go home after 24 hours post partum. First time, ever! It was great! I didn't get emotional saying goodbye to them there at the hospital because I knew they had another day in Oklahoma and I'd be back up to visit the following day.

I had to take tons of pictures and video the day following, once Kyen was released from the hospital and back at their hotel across the street. It would be the last time I'd see them for a while. Taryn and JD were already using the web cam to show off their new baby to family back in Delaware. I had burned off all my pictures and video for them to have and gave them my bracelets from the hospital as a keepsake too. The boys held the baby and Taryn's uncle brought in a bottle of champagne for us to toast the baby's safe arrival and journey home. We had some laughs and I thought how I'd miss them and all the times we shared together through the pregnancy.

I swaddled my little surro son up in his blanket and held him close taking pictures with everyone in the room to remember these last moments in Oklahoma with them. Quietly I said goodbye to the sweet angel sleeping so soundly in my arms. I kissed him telling him to be good for his parents just like he'd been for me the past 9 months I grew him in my belly. Saying goodbye to his parents was hard - I only broke down once while hugging Taryn. She's been an incredible friend and so strong through all that we went through together. I'm in awe of her! She and JD thanked me again (their whole family did several times) and I gratefully told them how enjoyable it had been for me and how much of a pleasure it was for us too!

They flew home the following day - the baby did VERY well on the plane and they are now home and happily in love with their new little one - a bit colicky, but growing like a weed - This week - April 3rd, at 3wks old, Kyen weights 10lbs 2oz already.

It's been an amazing surrogacy! The pregnancy couldn't have gone better. My couple and their family welcomed us with open arms and I thank God for the miracle of finding them and being able to help them the way I have. Another blessing born into a fabulous family. This journey is over, but there will be more to come. I know we'll remain close and even hope to make several trips up to visit and vacation with them. Maybe even try for a sibling in the future. ;)

***Update - Mother's Day 2009***

After my latest surrogacy journey for a CA couple, a year following Kyen's delivery - I unexpectedly became pregnant with my own daughter (4 years post-vasectomy). My twin sister stepped in to take my place as the Dayton's surrogate, but after several failed embryo transfer attempts they moved forward with a local surrogate. And I'm pleased to announce they are expecting a new baby boy in August of this year! Kyen is now 3 years old...adorable as ever, enjoying "school", and excited to be a BIG brother!

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