About Me

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I'm Alison, a thirty-something, married, mother of two girls, with a passion for animals of all kinds. My family adopted our goofy, lovable dog {Charlie} from a local shelter. It breaks my heart to know there are countless animals out there being mistreated {to say the least} and I would love more than anything to help even one animal find a loving forever home. Think adoption first. Find a local animal shelter or animal rescue... don't buy your next pet... rescue him/her!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Getting back to me...

Well, now that things have settled down and I am pretty much back to normal, I thought I'd share a bit more about me and my family.  : )  We live in sunny Southern California and are very thankful for the wonderful weather and outdoor activities we enjoy here pretty much year round.  I am married to my best friend, S, and we have two beautiful little princesses of our own, B & O, who are 6 1/2 and 5.  We love to go camping, usually to the beach in the summer and the desert in the winter- and then some parks and campgrounds here and there through out the year as well.  We also love to take the boat out to the lake on nice spring, summer, and, heck- even fall days (it is So. Cal. after all)!  Our girls are girly, for sure, and love to dress up and play with make up (I wonder where they get that?) but don't mind getting dirty and running around out side, too.  We have a lovable pit bull/great dane mix dog, C, who we adopted from a local shelter, and we are possibly looking for a brother or sister for him.  We also have chickens... 12 hens at the moment, that provide us with fresh eggs and the occasional entertainment watching them run around the front yard just being chickens.  The dog and the chickens have not met... nor will they ever... I don't think it would end well for the chickens.  ; )  Luckily we have plenty of room for the dog and chickens to have their own space.
Now I thought I'd share some pictures of my family!

 Here we are on a camping trip to the desert.

B, age 4 (she's now 6 1/2!)

O, age 2 (she's now 5!)

C, our 4-legged baby

Can't leave the girls out, here are some of our chickens.  : )

Crazy O & B (ages 5 and 6 1/2)

Me and S  <3

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Delivery Day

Long overdue, but I am finally here to tell you all about the day we welcomed my surro twins into the world!  So, first let's recap a bit.  
This was my second twin pregnancy (in a row) and these girls were measuring big.  I had been in the hospital once already for pre-term labor that they stopped with multiple doses of two different medications.  I was still having contractions on and off.  There was no way I was making it to 38 weeks this time.  Or so I thought.  ; )
I had my last NST and OB appointment on December 27th and I was 37 weeks.  I thought for sure the NST would show contractions that would send me to L&D.  Nope.  Borderline, but she said she was ok sending me on my way since I was going straight to my OB appointment.  Then, I thought, for sure they would check my cervix and I would be dilated more than last week and they would send me on over.  Nope.  Still 1cm and 90%-ish, no need to go anywhere.  What were all those contractions doing?  How could I not be dilated more than that?  Oh, that's right... neither baby is head down so there is nothing pressing up against my cervix, causing it to dilate with all of the contractions.  So I'm having them for no reason.  Fantastic.  lol!  : )  Really, I was glad to be heading towards 38 weeks.  The longer they bake, the better the chances of them being big and healthy with no NICU time.  Plus, wouldn't it be so much easier for everything to go as planned and on schedule?  ; )
New Year's day came and my IPs were in San Diego.  We thought of going to dinner, but I decided that I would eat a big lunch and light dinner in preparation for my c-section the next morning.  My IPs told me that they would be at the hospital at 5am with me to check in, even though they didn't need to be there until closer to 7am.  If I had to be there that early, they would too.  So, the next morning, January 2nd, we all met at the L&D check in desk so early it was still dark out.  We got the paperwork filled out and copies of insurance forms and legal paperwork all in our files.  Everyone had it straight that I was the surrogate, my husband was my husband, and the IPs were the babies' parents.  The staff at this hospital (where I've delivered all of the babies I've carried, my own included) is wonderful.  They are sweet, caring and very surrogate friendly, if I might add.  I got my hospital wrist band and was off to a room to get ready for surgery.  My husband and the Daddies were to wait in the lobby until they were called in by the nurses.  
After changing into a stylish hospital gown...ha!...and some poking and prodding, I had my blood drawn and an IV in place.  I had filled out the anesthesiologist's questionnaire and my husband and IPs were called in to join us and wait for the OR to be ready.  As we waited, my IPs started asking about the possibility of them being allowed in the OR.  I have to admit, I got a bit nervous.  I had warned them that since it was a c-section, my OB only allowed one support person in the operating room, and that would be my husband.  This was the way it had been done with my last surrogacy as well.  Since my PIPs were not in the OR, as soon as the babies were out and wrapped up warm and cozy, they were brought into the nursery where their daddies were anxiously awaiting them.  There they were cleaned up, weighed, measured and evaluated in front of their parents, so they wouldn't miss a thing.  But, now my IPs were asking and telling every nurse around that they wanted to be in the OR when their babies were born.  I was afraid they would be disappointed or upset if they weren't allowed in, so I was getting more and more nervous the more nurses they asked about it.  Finally the anesthesiologist came in to talk with me about the process and surgery, and while he was there the nurses asked him.  He said that he didn't think it was a good idea to allow any more than 1 person in the room, but that it was not only his decision, so he'd talk it over with my OB.  Then they took me into the OR to get ready for surgery to begin.  
Now I was out of the loop.  I wasn't there to know what decision was made or to hear the discussion going on, so I had no idea who would be joining us.  Luckily, the anesthesiologist came in shortly after and told me it was all settled.  After a few mix-ups with who wanted to come in and who would be allowed in, they finally had a plan.  I was given the spinal and laid on the table, ready to have some babies!
Anyone who has had a c-section knows that they wait until the very last second to allow your husband (or support person) in the room.  I remembered from last time that I was laying there wondering if they had forgotten to bring him in.  They are pretty much already cutting you open by the time he's by your side.  Well, it was the same this time, but I was prepared, so I just waited.  Soon enough they were starting surgery and there he was, by my side.  Well, actually by my head.  ; )  Along with him was one of my IPs, J.  They had agreed to allow one more person in the OR, so J & T were going to take turns.  J would be in for the first part of delivery and they would switch and allow T in for the end and to see the babies.  It ended up working out perfectly.  Since they were there for delivery and in the room, the babies were cleaned up and weighed, etc. there in the OR.  It was wonderful, because I was able to see them meet their babies for the first time, hear the weights as they heard them and witness it all.  That was pretty exciting.  J was able to cut baby A's cord (well, not when she was delivered, but he "trimmed" it up once she was with a nurse in the warmer) and T did the same with baby B.  As I was being put back together...lol...I heard the nurses announcing the weights.  "baby A, 6 pounds, 4 ounces"  Ok, not bad, I thought.  Pretty good size for a twin.  Then I heard "8 pounds..." and didn't hear the rest.  "Did they just say 8 pounds?!"  I asked my husband.  He confirmed that the nurse had, in fact, said 8 pounds 6 ounces.  Baby B was one healthy girl!  They were bundled in their little hospital blankets and had hats placed on their heads, then T and one of the nurses brought them over so I could get a better look.  Next, J, T and their new baby girls were off to their room to get settled in, and I was all sewed up and off to recovery to wait until I could feel my legs again.  : )
Later that day I was able to visit with my own girls and my mom (who my girls were staying with), and they were able to meet the babies and their Daddies.  I was also able to meet some of my IPs friends, who came down to meet their new baby girls as well.  One of the visitors was the egg donor for the babies, who happens to be a good friend of my IPs.  It was great being able to spend time with them while they were in the hospital.  Their stay was a short one, and the day after delivery the babies were released.  They didn't leave until the afternoon, so we did get some more time in with them and I was able to feed and hold the babies while they packed up to drive home.  While I am thrilled that the babies were healthy and didn't have to stay in the hospital at all, I do wish they had been around a bit longer for some visiting time once I was able to be up and around a bit more.  The time we did have was wonderful, though!  I'm so happy to have been a part of making J & T daddies.  Just like my first surrogacy journey, this part is the best... seeing the people you've gotten to know over the last year (or more) become parents and have this dream come true, and you were a part of it.  It is truly amazing.    
So, as for me and my hospital stay...in recovery (right after surgery) my blood pressure had gone up very high, very quickly and I was put on magnesium to prevent a seizure or stroke.  My OB explained that it was pre-eclampsia, which is more common before delivery, but can sometimes happen after.  Because they are not able to cure it by delivering the baby/ies like they do when it happens during pregnancy, we just had to monitor it and manage it with medication... then wait it out and hopefully it wouldn't last long.  I ended up being on the magnesium a little over 24 hours and having very high blood pressure even when given medication, so my hospital stay was extended to 6 days.  I was sent home on BP medication and, unfortunately, now at 7 weeks, I am still not off of it.  I am weaned down quite a bit, though, and hope that next week I'll be off of the medication completely.  : )
I am so thankful that you have all been here to follow and share in the experience of my second surrogacy journey!  It is so wonderful to not only be a part of this, but to also be able to share and, in turn, hear about other's experiences in surrogacy, IPs and surrogates alike.
Now for the fun part!  PICTURES!  Here are the beautiful girls, Sophia Catherine and Emily Anne at 8 days old... 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

They are here!

Of course they are...and this post is way over due!  I am so sorry!  It's been a bit of a bumpy road to recovery, nothing too bumpy luckily... but I am pretty much recovered and ready to get back to myself. And back to you in lovely blog-land.  This will just be a quick update- and I will get back here to post a full birth story soon, with all of the details.  For now...
My surro twins were born, as scheduled, January 2nd (at 38 weeks) and their stats are:
Baby A, Sophia Catherine, weighed in at 6lbs 4oz and measured 19"
Baby B, Emily Anne, weighed in at 8lbs 6oz (you read that right...8lbs!) and measured 20"

They are healthy and happy girls, home with their so-in-love-with-them Daddies!

Sophia (left) and Emily (right)

 A few hours after they were born, the first time I got to snuggle them!

Friday, December 28, 2012

We made it!

I am excited and relieved to say that we made it past my "black out dates"!  I did not spend Christmas Eve or Day in the hospital and that makes me very happy.  I did spend those days incredibly uncomfortable and swollen... but I'll take that over a hospital room any day.  I was able to get up with my husband and our girls on Christmas morning and see their faces when they looked to see if Santa had come, and that was what I was afraid to miss.  So... now these babies can feel free to come any time.  Did you hear me babies...ANY time now would be great.  I am HUGE!  ; )  We've made it past 37 weeks now, which is wonderful for twins, and I am just waiting for something to tell me it's time for them to make their grand entrance.  But, if nothing does happen, I will be checking in at the hospital Wednesday morning for a scheduled c-section (bright and early, might I add...5:30am!).  4 more days to go!
My NSTs have shown contractions, but not regular enough to be "active labor" and at my OB appt yesterday there had been no change to my cervix since my hospital visit a couple weeks ago.  Still 1.5cm and 50-75% effaced.  So, there's nothing saying I will go into labor before our scheduled date, but we all know that it doesn't necessarily mean it won't happen.  I've seen people be 1cm at an appt, and that night go into labor and check in at the hospital at a 5.  You just never know with babies!  They will come when they will come...or when we decide it's time.  On Wednesday.  ; )
I hope you all have a safe and Happy New Year's Eve and New Year's Day!  It looks like J&T will be daddies in 2013 after all!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Let the countdown begin!

We officially have a date!  Not that it necessarily means anything, because as we all know, babies make their own schedule... but, if all goes according to plan, these babies will make their grand entrance on January 2nd, 2013!  With the (estimated) size of these babies and the contractions I have every day, there are many people betting that I won't get to that date, but you just never know.  I went in to my scheduled c-section at 38 weeks on the dot with my last surro-twins, so it is possible... though every pregnancy is different.  At my OB appointment today, she measured my belly (fundal height, like we talked about in the last post) and said, "yep, they are still growing!" they don't seem to be slowing down any time soon in that arena.  ; )  I'd love to just blackout any dates between December 20th and 26th, and then let the babies come whenever else they'd like- but since there's no blackout option, I'll just have to take my chances.  I'll start twice-weekly NSTs (Non-Stress Tests) this week.  These are where they monitor the babies' heart rates and any contractions I have for about 45 mins to an hour, as well as a quick ultrasound to make sure the amniotic fluid levels around each baby are good.  It's a good thing these didn't start sooner, since we're up to 3 appointments a week now!  My schedule is filling up.  : )  Plus, add in the fact that it is the Holiday Season, and everything gets that much busier.  I hope you are all having a great beginning to your Holiday Season!
Any guesses on when the babies will come and how big they will be?  Let's hear 'em!    

Thursday, November 29, 2012

33 weeks and wow!

Are these babies growing!  I had a super quick check up with the nurse practitioner today and when she measured my fundal height she said she was surprised and that these girls had grown quite a bit.  The fundal height measurement is when they measure from the top of your pubic bone to the top of your uterus (as felt by pushing slightly on your belly).  With a singleton pregnancy, the measurement is usually close to the number of weeks you are in gestation.  With a twin pregnancy, however, there is no "right" number- they only use fundal height to track a steady growth pattern- no matter what the number.  So, back to my visit, this number had apparently gotten quite a bit higher since my last visit.  We heard the babies' heart beats (130s and 140s) and did another FFN test due to the contractions I'm still having (it came back negative again).  Our visit was cut a bit short because the ultrasound technician was ready for me, so I moved along to her room to have a look at these girls.
It appears that the fluid levels have evened out a bit and neither baby has a lot more than the other.  They are also pretty similar in size now, instead of the 20% gap in size we recorded about 5 weeks ago.  We couldn't get a view of either baby's face, as they were both being incredibly camera shy, but the ultrasound tech was able to tell me she could see lots of hair on both babies!  I've never heard of seeing the hair in a ultrasound, so that was a surprise to me.  Once the tech had everything she needed, she told me the size and gestation estimates, based on all of her measurements.  Both babies are measuring 35+ weeks and about 6lbs each!  I think it's safe to say that these girls can slow down a bit in the growth department if they plan on staying in there until 38 weeks.  I don't know about carrying 2, 8lb babies!  I know it's only an estimate, but still... they are looking very good in size.
I, on the other hand, am looking pretty big in size.  I no longer walk, I officially waddle, and it's hard to put on my shoes.  Luckily, I live in southern California and can wear flip flops every day, even in December.  ; )  I'm still being told to take it easy, stay off of my feet, and lay down as much as possible, although with the holiday season here that is increasingly difficult.  I did finish all of my Christmas shopping early, though, so there will be no more big shopping trips for me.  Now to figure out how to wrap it all when I can't sit on the floor or reach very far in front of my belly.  lol

Thursday, November 15, 2012

31 weeks and counting...

Here we are, 31 weeks and moving right along.  I will be having OB appointments once a week and my next ultrasound will be in 2 weeks.  My appointment this week went well, the babies' heart rates were great, as always, in the 130s and 150s.  I have been having more and more braxton hicks contractions (kind of like "practice" contractions) and they tend to come a little more often than they should when I am up and around.  So, I've been told to take it easy, stay off my feet as much as possible, and lay down a few times during the day for an hour or so.  I am still allowed to work for now, since I sit most of the time at work, as long as I also try to lay down a bit in the middle of my work day.  This didn't happen with my last twin pregnancy, so it does make me a bit nervous, but my cervix has still been measuring great at the ultrasounds, and as long as that keeps up- we're doing good!  My OB did do a fetal fibronectin test during my appointment to check for an increased risk of pre-term labor,  but the test came back negative, so no extra worry there.  The fetal fibronectin test is a swab of the cervical canal.  If it comes back positive for the presence of fetal fibronectin, you are at risk of going into labor within 1-3 weeks.  We didn't go into the actual odds of this happening, since my test was negative and we are not at this increased risk.  At my next ultrasound, in two weeks, they'll measure my cervical length (like always) and we'll know more then as well.  Every little bit of information helps to tell us how my body is holding up to this second twin pregnancy.  So far everything is looking pretty good!  I'll get a new picture up soon so you can all see the huge belly!  If I'm not back here before then, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I doubt I'll be blogging much with the kiddos off of school for the whole week.  ; )  Enjoy!