Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Habla Usted Espanol?

I do not.

But I think I might like to learn!  :)

I'll admit it's a little scary, but I am trying to embrace my inner student and possibly try to learn Spanish!  I was re-watching George and Farid's Baby Shower Video last week and realizing yet again that a) Spanish is such a beautiful language; and b) I don't know what the heck Farid is saying in Spanish at the end of his speech! 

Your thoughts on the best way to learn? 

I've gone to the Rosetta Stone website and completed their demo.  What did I learn?  How to order salad (ensalada), bread (pan), and fish (pescado). And also something to wash it down with:  water (agua), juice (jugo), or coffee (cafe). I can also identify photos of all these items being consumed by girls (nina), boys (nino), women (mujer), and men (hombre).  I guess that's not too bad for a 15 minute tutorial, right?  Given an hour or two I should be fluent!  lol!  So, is Rosetta Stone the way to go?  It's expensive...almost $200 just for level 1!  Or should I take a class at a community college?  Also, is it a lost cause if I am completely incapable of rolling my R's?  I don't ever expect to sound fantastic speaking it, but I think it would be SO COOL to know another language!

Oh, Milena and Gustavo...how lucky you are that you will be able to speak both English and Spanish from the get-go!

I'd love your feedback!  How should I go about this new venture? 

Muchas Gracias!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Post-Journey Emotions

I have had many, many people ask me about what it's been like emotionally since the babies have been born.  I figured I would dedicate a post to that, just in case there are others out there who might benefit from knowing what it's like...at least what it's been like for me. 

So here's how it's gone: 

We delivered on Sunday night.  The emotions during and immediately following delivery were nothing short of pure elation!  There is absolutely no sweeter feeling than bringing life into this world and that feeling wasn't any different just because the babies weren't coming home with me.  Seeing those babies in the arms of Farid and George is something I had been waiting a long time for!  It was magical. 

Monday I was a mess.  Lol!  Kleenex was not doing the trick...By 6:30 AM, I had graduated to a bath towel!  Was I sad?  NO!  I was overwhelmed.  I woke up to over 200 emails in my Inbox and had over 150 more by the end of the day.  All from people who were congratulating us, wishing us well and had MANY, MANY kind words to say about me and the gift I had just given.  Now let me clarify...I can handle attention. :)  And kind words.  But this was so much!  I couldn't wrap my brain around how kind people were!  It was overwhelming...in a good way...but overwhelming nonetheless.  Pair all of the kind words with the fact that I was finally getting to "know" these beautiful babies I had just carried for 8 months...I was a blubberin' fool!

Tuesday I woke up feeling great!  And I continued to feel great through the next Sunday.  A few happy tears here and there but still no sadness. I was lucky in that I was able to spend a significant amount of time with George, Farid, Gustavo and Milena every day for the 11 days following their birth.  Holding, feeding and changing the babies while hanging out with some of my very favorite people was so awesome! I am extremely grateful to the guys for allowing me to do that.  I really do think it was helpful for me emotionally.  That being said, the Monday before their departure (we're at 8 days post birth), I woke up and I could tell it was going to be a rough day.  I fought a ginormous lump in my throat for the better part of the day.  And it didn't feel like happy tears I was holding back. I was sad.  Sad that they were leaving soon.  Absolutely dreading saying goodbye. 

*People always ask me at this point "Dreading saying goodbye to the guys or to the babies?"  Well, I was dreading saying goodbye to THEIR FAMILY! 

This is probably a good spot to point out that at NO point pre pregnancy or during pregnancy did I think that I would have a hard time "giving" the babies to George and Farid.  The emotions that I had post pregnancy were NEVER about "giving" the babies to them.  These babies were theirs from the get-go!  I have all sorts of happiness about seeing these men, whom I have grown so close to over the last year, with their children!  What a privilege!  What an honor!

So Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I spent on the verge of tears. No, I didn't cry all day long...in fact, I cried very little.  But I was very aware on those days that it wouldn't take much for me to cry.  Thursday night when the time came to say goodbye, the flood gates opened and all of Highlands Ranch, Colorado was forced to don their galoshes!  I learned 2 things that night:

1.  This would absolutely be the hardest part of this journey.

2.  You never....ever...ever...run out of tears.

Friday morning.  I felt sad.  A little lost. Yes, I'll say it....bored.  Pregnancy in general, but especially a surrogacy pregnancy is all consuming.  We think about it, we inject ourselves with it, we experience so much happiness, so much pride....and that's all before becoming pregnant!  Once pregnant, we experience all of those things PLUS the pregnancy experience!  And quite an incredible experience it is!  Basically, I had to come to terms with the fact that I needed to go back to my "real" life.  I have a wonderful life...an amazing life, but this surrogacy journey...it's pretty tough to beat.  :)

However, Saturday, I felt better. Sunday, even better. And by Monday morning...pretty much back to "Just Jeni", which I know Mike said I will never be again.  :) 

So, 2 weeks.  That's about what it took for me!  Some things I have found to be therapeutic? 
  • "Forcing" myself to get back to my usual tasks
  • Pictures and videos of the guys and the babies, (Thank you, George and Farid!) 
  • I spent some time one day and re-read this blog from the very beginning!  What an incredible journey we have had!  You said it at the very beginning, Farid.  We have an amazing story to tell.  Boy, were you right.

I hope that this post has shed some light on what it is like to recover from a surrogacy pregnancy.  There are many misconceptions out there about what surrogates must be feeling post-delivery.  Really, we are just human beings, with feelings and emotions, who are blessed with a super power....

creating families.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I have OH SO MANY things to be thankful for!

My amazing husband... who supported me EVERY step of the way
 through our surrogacy journey this year. He really is incredible. 
He always knows when I need help, and he's there to help. 
He also always knows when I've got it on my own 
and during those times, he allows me to do my thing!
 It takes a special man to deal with me...
I am strong and independent and I like that he allows
and encourages me to be that way. 
Thanks Rick, for being there for me this year, and every year.

My daughters... who are unbelievably mature and understanding
 about their Mom carrying babies for another family! 
They understood what we were doing from the very beginning
and were so proud of the gift our family was giving! 
They enjoy telling any and all who will listen about the guys and our journey! 
Girls, I am so proud of you and all that you are and are becoming!

My family and friends... who have and continue to offer me
an endless amount of support.
 I wish I had logged the hours that my mom has talked with me about this experience. 
 Hundreds.  Easily.  Thank you, Mom! 
To the rest of my family who from the very beginning,
believed in me and my ability to do this. 
Thanks to you all for having my back! 
And my friends...many of whom I have met
and grown closer to due to this experience.
I thank you for always being excited for us! 
It makes me feel so loved that you all were just as anxious as I was to get a positive,
to see how appointments and visits from the guys went,
to be sitting on the edge of your seats as our due date was approaching,
 and that you continue to be interested, and happy for all of us! 

George and Farid... I keep saying the same word over and over.  WOW. 
Thank you both for all that you have done for me! 
You are always there, you trust me, you always care, you include me in your lives
 and make a point to become part of mine. 
Thank you for allowing me to carry your children.  It has been such an honor. 
I have learned and continue to learn so much from you. 
You've changed my life...you've changed ME.  I am eternally grateful. 

Milena and Gustavo... You two cutie pies were a big part of my life this year! 
 I am so proud to have been able to play a role in getting you here! 
Thank you for being so nice to me while you were busy growing in my belly! 
And now that I've met you...I can't even begin to express how wonderful you are! 
Hugs and Kisses!



Monday, November 21, 2011

Belly Pics!

Hey!  Didn't we already have the babies?  Why on God's Green Earth would I be posting belly pics?  :)

Because I want to...that's why.  Lol!

I figure there are many people reading this blog.  There's bound to be someone out there who may be considering becoming a surrogate!  Back when I was first researching and began following blogs, I was very interested in reading about the process, but I was also interested in finding out what things were like after the delivery.  In particular....what the belly was like after delivery.  :)  I can vividly remember seeing these ginormous twin bellies and thinking to myself, "That's not gonna be pretty after delivery!"  :-)

Now don't get me wrong...I'm not a vain person.  That's a lie.  I am a LITTLE vain. 

One of the things that I am currently focused on is getting my body back.  Now, let's not get into the specifics but I may have gained a little lot of weight over the past 8 months! I am happy to report that in 2 weeks time, half of the weight that I put on is gone.  I still have quite a bit to go...29.5 pounds to be exact.  Oh crap!  I just realized that you mathematicians out there can now figure out how much weight I gained!  Oh well...it is what it is. :)  *Now all you non-mathematicians are figuring it out too, huh?  LOL!

Soooo....here's a progression from the last few weeks! 

35 Weeks Pregnant...3 days prior to delivery.

1 week post delivery.

2 weeks post delivery.

Not bad, right?  Still sportin' a little pooch and I've got enough fat on my back and thighs to fry up a whole chicken for dinner, but.... I'M KIDDING!!!! 

Ok, let me get serious for just a minute.  If you're a potential (or current) surrogate and reading this, I just want to say this about that.  The belly is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  I was also worried that it would be mentally difficult to deal with the leftover belly, but it's not.  I look at my leftover belly and I actually feel a sense of pride.  That belly grew 2 healthy babies!  She done good!  

I will continue to work to lose the extra pounds, I'm not too terribly worried about it.  And unfortunately for all of you, I will be using the blog as motivation, so I will continue to post about my progress.  My goal is to get down to what I weighed the day I left for NY for our transfer.  No, I'm not going to tell you what that weight was....how rude of you to wonder!  :)   Let's just say it may have started with a one hundred and ended in a forty-eight. This girl's got no secrets!

I wonder how long it will take?  I actually lose weight pretty quickly. Once I set my mind to something...there's no stopping me.  Any bets from all of you how long it will take?  Think I can do it in 3 months?  Fingers crossed!   

Milena and Gustavo

Celebrating 2 weeks of life! George and Farid sure make some cute babies!

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Little Retail Therapy

Allow me to start by saying that I received and appreciate all of your comments, texts, emails and Facebook posts expressing your love, concern and support after my post last night.  I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate all of you and the fact that I have so many people there for me, who understand.

I've never been good at goodbyes.  And last night's goodbye was especially hard for me.  I think it is important for me to acknowledge the feelings that I am having, process them, and also manage to keep those emotions in check.  I give myself permission to FEEL! At the same time, there is a balance somewhere in there that I strive to find so that I don't allow all of that emotion to become an unhealthy feeling of sadness. 

So, I asked myself..."What could I do today to help keep me in a healthy place?"  The Answer?

Retail Therapy!

Today was a day to pamper and spoil...myself!

Got my nails done (Thank you, Jan), had a nice lunch with Jill, bought some new perfume, had a wonderful, long phone chat with my mom ....not a bad day!

I had a few tears here and there but overall, the day was a success and a nice "transition" day.

On the agenda for tomorrow?

Me thinks I'd like a new pair of jeans, and maybe a couple new tops as well!  Dinner and a movie with great friends tomorrow night is bound to be loads of fun!

And before I know it, the memories of how "sad" it was to say goodbye, will be replaced with all of the happy memories I have of our journey and the new memories that are being created as our journey continues to unfold!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

This post will be short, as I can't really see the keys to my laptop through all of these tears that just won't stop....

Tonight, half of my family is on a plane, headed back to NYC.  They've taken half of my heart with them.  It hurts.  So, so much.

I am so happy for them to be going home where they truly belong.  This is what it's all about.  This is the goal we all had.  This is part of the process.  We knew this day would come.  And yet, it doesn't make it any easier.

Tomorrow is a new day.  I will wake up and do my very best to remember what life is like without being able to hold those precious babies every day.  Without spending time with two amazing men who are such a huge part of my life now. 

But tonight...I will cry. Tears of sadness. Tears of joy.

Let the next segment of this journey commence!

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Have The Answer To The Question Everyone's Asking...

The Question of the Week seems to be:


Well....lemme tell ya!

I'm concerned.  George and Farid SHOULD be FAR more stressed, overwhelmed and clueless, if you ask me.  LOL!

These guys are absolute naturals!  I am amazed when I watch them. Gustavo and Milena are only 5 days old and yet George and Farid have learned to identify cries, they diaper like nobody's business, and feeding and burping is no problemo for them!  Milena and Gustavo are already on a 4 hour schedule....the SAME 4 hour schedule!  They really are making it look very easy!  I'm sure they are tired, but they are doing such a fantastic job!  The babies are SO happy!  I am very proud of all 4 of them!

How about moi?

I am also doing very well!  I have VERY little leftover pain and soreness!  I feel extremely stable emotionally!  I'm thrilled!  I will admit...I was prepared for things to be a little rough...both physically AND emotionally.  What a nice surprise this has been!

It's been awesome to be able to spend time with the guys and the babies while they are still here in Colorado.  I will definitely be sad when they leave, but at the same time, I am really excited for them to be back in Brooklyn, where I know so many of you are patiently waiting.  Prepare yourselves for their return...these babies are ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE!! 

The love and support that we have received has been amazing...and has made this journey so special for all of us!  I thank you for that!  On that note, let me leave you with what I know you really want...pictures.

Milena                            Gustavo



Gustavo. 2 days old.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Journey...

I hope you enjoy this video of our journey in a nutshell. The lyrics to the song are very meaningful for me and the pictures even more so.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Welcome To The World!

Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

Approximately 1 hour after posting on the blog that "these turkeys are done",  I went to the bathroom only to discover that it seemed my water had broken.  I guess these kiddos didn't like being called turkeys!  :)

I called the Dr. who told me to go to the hospital to confirm that indeed, my water had broken. 

I called George and Farid, who I have to say, were far more calm, cool, and collected than I was at that point. 

I called Jill, who was celebrating her birthday with friends downtown and God bless her, she hopped in the car and came to pick me up and take me to the hospital.

Don't hate the socks, man!  My feet were cold!  :)

We arrived at the hospital at about midnight.  They quickly confirmed that the water had broken.  Good news is, I wasn't in active labor.  The body was being nice and lazy which I am OH so thankful for, as it bought us lots of time.  Our Dr. and the hospital staff were all wonderful about taking care of me and were also aware of our unique situation and allowed us to just hang loose until Farid and George arrived and then we could really induce labor.  Much of the waiting time was spent monitoring the babies heart rates which proved to be quite difficult as they were both still moving around an awful lot and so their heart rates would frequently fall off the monitor and the nurses would have to re-locate them.

 Just after 1:00 PM, the guys arrived here in Denver, and we got the show on the road!  Pitocin was started and we began having regular contractions shortly thereafter!

The contractions started out quite bearable, and spaced apart.........and then that changed. Oh, boy....did that change.  :)  Jill was an amazing coach...her sense of calm, her ongoing encouragement, was extremely helpful.  The guys continued to remain cool as cucumbers throughout the entire laboring process.  In between contractions, I felt fab-u-lous, so we used that time to laugh, joke, and we MAY have all been spotted working on our computers!  :)

Contraction. Eyes closed, slow, deep yoga breathing.

In between contractions.

Let me backtrack just a bit.  At my last prenatal appointment, the Dr. had given me lots of information about what I could expect on delivery day.  A few things that I learned? That they encouraged me to have an epidural.  That we would be delivering in the OR.  That there would be many, many people in the OR helping out with delivery.

  • Epidural.  With twin vaginal deliveries, there is always some added risk.  Particularly since Baby B (Gustavo) was breech.  They said that although the decision was entirely mine, they felt more comfortable having an epidural already in place before delivery. They explained to me that once Baby A (Milena) was born, they would try to manually turn Gustavo around from the outside.  Apparently this is not a very comfortable process.  Also, should there be a problem being able to deliver the second baby vaginally, an emergency c-section becomes necessary.  At that point, there isn't time to put an epidural in place so I would have to be immediately put to sleep for the rest of the delivery.  I REALLY DID NOT WANT THAT!
  • Delivering in the OR.  Because of the potential complications stated above, they told me that we would be delivering in the OR. I was a little bummed to learn that since an OR seems like such a small, cold, stark environment to deliver in.  But hey, not my choice, right?
  • Lots of people in the OR.  Yeah...this is a fact.  Soooo....you've got yourself 2 doctors and 2 nurses for me.  2 nurses for the babies, an ultrasound tech, an anesthesiologist, and several assistants.  Now let's add me, Jill, George and Farid.  That's a full house!
On that note, back to laboring...

I was scared to get my epidural.  I don't know why, but I was.  I also knew that if and when the contractions became too painful, that fear would no longer be there.  When the contractions became intense, the nurse asked if I was ready, and at that point, I told her no.  The fear was still greater than the pain.  Then the contractions became even more intense and much closer together.  It became more and more difficult to maintain my calm, deep breathing, and I had less and less time to "recover" between contractions.  The nurse had a heart to heart with me.  She let me know that she thought now was a good time to get the epidural in place.  She felt that things would be moving at a rapid pace from here on.  I asked to be checked.  I was only 4 cm. dilated.

I caved.

And boy am I glad I did.  She ended up being exactly right.  Things moved rapidly.  The anesthesiologist came in and placed the epidural.  Once in place, they checked me again.  I was 6 cm. dilated.  They predicted we would be ready to deliver in an hour.  They were wrong.  Half an hour later, I was checked again and I was complete. 10 cm. dilated.  It was game time.

Things began to move quickly.  The Doctors and nurses began preparing me.  Jill and the guys were brought in scrubs.  They all looked SO cute!

Once we were all set in the OR, it was "pushin' time".  Now let me just say this about that.  I am a pusher.  A pretty kick ass pusher.  I have never really had to push more than once.  So these twins...which were bound to be much smaller than my own children should be no problem, right? I could give it a good grunt and out they'd fly, right?  Wrong.

I pushed.  Hard.  Like Julia Roberts vein bursting out of the forehead hard. And still it took 4 pushes to get tiny little Milena out.  And what an amazing moment that was!  I remember saying "Oh my gosh!  She's SO cute!"  And she was.  Her Daddies thought so too.

Milena.  4 pounds and 10 ounces of pure sweetness.
Born November 6th at 7: 02 PM

Once Milena was out, Gustavo took that as his cue to get his butt in order.  Or should I say, his HEAD in order.  The Doctors were thrilled that Gustavo was turning his head right around, just as they hoped he would do.  They gently held him in place, head down, from the outside, while his sac moved down closer to the birth canal.  I pushed through several contractions to get that sac to come further down.  Finally, his bag of water burst and he was ready to make his entrance.  Again, cue the Julia Roberts vein in forehead.  

I hope that this photo isn't too graphic.  It really was such a beautiful moment.
George holding his daughter, watching his son being born while Farid supports me
and the Doctors work their magic. 
And let's not forget Jill who took AMAZING photos and video of the whole thing.

Gustavo.  5 pounds, 4 ounces.  Absolutely precious and such a content baby!
Born November 6th at 7:36 PM.
Gustavo and Milena meet for the first time, outside the womb.

What an amazing day! What a beautiful moment!  What an incredible journey!
Cheers to healthy babies, happy Daddies,
and a surrogate who feels an overwhelming sense of Joy, Pride and Love. 
Yep. That just about sums it up perfectly.


Monday, November 7, 2011

November 6th Was A Great Day

I can't wait to share the story with you,
 but for now I'll just say that everything was great and we have
2 beautiful babies and 2 very happy daddies!! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

We're In Labor!

Gotta keep this short as I'm writing in between contractions.

Water broke last night at around 10:30. 

No real labor started so we just hung out until the guys arrived from NY at 1:00 this afternoon.

Now the Pitocin has been at work for 3.5 hours and may I just say...


Stay tuned!  We'll try to keep you posted!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ding! These Turkeys Are Done! :)

Can you see it?


My belly button popped!!!  Yay!  I've longed for this event!  :) 
 In truth though...the inside of my belly button is not attractive. 
Clean....but not attractive.  :)

So does this mean that Gustavo and Milena are fully cooked?  Who knows.  But I DO know this.

George and Farid will be here ON TUESDAY!
OMG, Right?!?!?!

It's Game Time, Baby!

A Letter From The Management

Dear Milena and Gustavo,

We hope that you are continuing to enjoy your stay at the JENI HOTEL (5 Star).  Although your stay here is nearing it's end, we regret to inform you that you are still not permitted to leave the facility.  May we remind you of all the amenities we have to offer here at the JENI:

  • Not so All-You-Can-Eat Buffet
  • Plush mattresses with Premium Bedding and a nightly mint left on your pillow (Shhh...don't tell your Daddies)
  • Swimming Pool which we recognize is more the size of a hot tub these days.
  • Full Gym complete with 2 lungs perfect for kickboxing and a bladder that doubles as a punching bag.
Ok...so maybe the JENI isn't seeming so "5 star" to you anymore, but you only have a very short time before we will unlock the front doors, and send you out into the real world.  At that time, you'll have two of the finest Tour Guides available who are very ready and anxious to meet your every need.

Until then...be well, sweet babies.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

35 Weeks!

Oh my goodness!  Does anyone else think it's crazy to think that these babies will be here in LESS THAN 21 days?!

Remember that the Dr. told us that 35 weeks was our green light, meaning that at this point, if we go into labor, they will not attempt to stop or delay labor...babies should be ready to go!  Am I ready?  Well... my body is showing more and more signs that it's ready.  I am in a good place both physically and mentally, so I guess the answer would have to be Yes...I am ready!  That being said, George and Farid are obviously not here yet, so there will be NO laboring.  Not yet.  Soon...but not yet!  :)

At our appointment yesterday, the babies looked great!  Milena, who is Baby A and will be born first had a heart rate of 158 and is weighing in at 5 lbs. 7 oz.!  Her brother, Gustavo, had a heart rate of 148 and is weighing in at 5 lbs. 10 oz.!  Although Gustavo still has loads of amniotic fluid (enough for him to have turned back around to a breech position), Milena is running a little on the low side. So they've requested that I have a fluid check at next week's appointment to make sure her fluid levels aren't dropping too low.  I'm 1.5 cm. dilated and have basically put myself into "it's time to chill" mode until the guys get here.  The countdown is definitely on at this point.  :)

For all of my fashion savvy readers (ahem...yes Kevin, that means you),
I am aware that this shirt is too small.  But honestly, I grow tired of the 3 shirts that still fit
 and well, let's face it, even they look pretty stretched to the limit! :)
35 Weeks

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November 1, 2011

Today is Tuesday.

Tuesday, NOVEMBER 1st.


Gustavo and Milena will be welcomed into this amazing world this month! 

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