June 30, 2015

Baby Gear

We have had a lot of fun {and have done lots of research and have had lots of debates} while picking out gear for baby. I always love seeing what others have picked out, so I thought I'd share some of the bigger pieces we've decided on so far.

Our nursery is...under construction. The crib is here {in a box} and we have about a third of the room filled with baby's clothes and other sweet things. Oh, we also need to have a wall put up to make the nursery an actual room, but that's a minor detail, right? We have been waffling between staying in our current apartment and moving, something we still haven't quite figured out yet! I know it will all be fine.  Good thing the baby will be staying in our room for the first 18 years or so. ;)

So, to the fun stuff! Our parents have helped us with the crib and stroller, of which we are SO grateful.

Everyone told us that we'd spend a lot of time in glider, so make sure we get a comfortable one. We chose this one because it is super comfortable, and we like that it is a glider and can be a recliner, as well. I would still like to get an ottoman (I'm envisioning a navy and white patterned one) to go with it.

This is our crib! We love it.
Since our situation is a bit unique, a lot of the things we've been thinking about purchasing are 'travel friendly'. Figuring out sleeping arrangements, in India and at home, has been a big one. Something like a pack n' play is great, but can also be heavy and bulky. SO, we've been looking at bassinets that will work for travel but also can be used at home. The two below are about 13 pounds, can be switched to rocking or stationary legs, and are compact. Both are safe and pass all of the requirements there, so it's really just a choice between the two. I am leaning towards the babyhome because 1) I like the way it looks, 2) It has a changing station that can attach to the top. That would be nice in India to have a little set up in that way. Both seem great, and we would use in our room when we returned from India for as long as baby fit. :)
Ahh, the stroller. In New York, since most people do not have cars, your stroller is your vehicle. It has been recommended to us that we get an all-terrain one, with big wheels and a huge basket. I love the buffalo because of the various ways baby can sit and lay, the extended canopy, and the fact that the bassinet/seat can come off and sit on a stand at home or elsewhere. Our car seat will clip in, too. I'm pretty obsessed with this stroller, and the color is gender neutral for our sweetie. We can change out the fabric easily, should we wish to do so down the road.

The car seat came and we LOVE it. It has wonderful reviews and is as safe as safe gets. That's the number one priority, of course!
 When we go to India, we plan to use this as our travel stroller. It folds up so easily, with one hand, and is lightweight and compact. We'll bring this and our car seat, and baby can use it long after we come home as a lightweight option/travel stroller.
 There are still lots of things (big and small!) that we need to do and set up, but we are making progress and are so excited. Although I know all babies are different, I'd love to know if there are any must-haves that helped you and your little one at home, traveling, etc. Thank you, as always, for your love and prayers!

June 25, 2015

Dear Baby--27 weeks

Dear Baby,

Hey, sweet baby. You are 27 weeks +1 day today! This week you are over 2 pounds and about 14 1/2 inches long, the size of  a head of cauliflower! You are sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing your eyes, and maybe sucking on your precious fingers. Your lungs are getting stronger everyday, and your brain is super active, with more tissue developing all the time. Apparently this week is a big growth spurt week, and you'll grow an entire inch this week alone! You won't have that kind of growth spurt again until you're a teenager....a LONG way away from now! :) As your lungs continue to develop, you might have hiccups more often. I can't wait to ask A if you've been having hiccups, and seeing them in person will surely be the cutest thing. Your taste buds are very well developed now and you can taste the difference in the food coming your way!

This week, Mama has been in full-on nesting mode. With this being the last week in the 2nd trimester and us now being less than 10 weeks from leaving to meet you, we're so excited! We ordered your crib and glider, which should be here next week. I have been pumping twice a day, and will increase that next week. I've also returned one hospital grade pump for another, and bought a 'hospital strength' pump when I realized that my insurance would not cover it for me. I had lots of frustrated tears on the phone (I felt bad for the poor customer service lady at the insurance company who had to listen to me) as I explained that I was a mother preparing to breastfeed my baby, and she explained that 'never in her 10 years had she seen this'. It made me feel less than, and I wanted to scream because my insurance covers a pump, and because I am not carrying, I do not qualify for it. Anyways, off of my soap box now! I've got all the pumps I need for home and travel, and I'm fully committed to getting you the best start possible.

In other news--We are pretty sure we've got your name figured out! Well, of course we have a boy name and girl name, not knowing which one you are. We spend a lot of time talking about your name, and it's a lot of responsibility naming a human! I'm thankful that it's 'feeling right' and we are confidently moving forward with your name. It's such an important part of who you are!

You and A had an OB visit this week (and an ultrasound which we're waiting on the report) but the OB visit went great and you're measuring right on track! A is gaining weight healthily and thank God, all looks wonderful. We are going to buy our plane tickets in the next few days, and Daddy has been spending lots of time researching the best options.

You're doing such a wonderful job, sweetie, and we are so proud of you. You keep growing big and strong and know how excited the whole wide world is to meet you in about 10 weeks! We love you, we love you, we love you so, dear baby.

Mommy and Daddy

June 17, 2015

Dear Baby--26 Weeks

Dear Baby,

Hey, love! This week you are 26 weeks. You are as about as long as a scallion, around 14 inches long, and weigh 1 2/3 pounds. This week our prayers were answered when we received the results of your echo heart scan--perfectly normal! And, mommy has been worrying incessantly about your femurs (sorry, honey) and they were measuring on track at your ultrasound! We praise God and are so incredibly thankful. Your heartrate this week was measured at 139 bpm. This week, your eyes are open and your ears are becoming consistently more sensitive to sound. You are taking small breaths of water, practicing for the air you'll breathe when you are born.

 I had another dream about you! This one was pretty funny because Daddy, for some reason, had the inside knowledge on whether you are a boy or a girl. We were in India for our latest appointment and he proudly announced, "our baby is a boy!" And I was overjoyed! A sweet baby boy! I told him I was surprised because I thought you were a girl. Then he said, well, baby is a girl but I wanted to make sure you'd be excited either way! So silly. Of course I will, and he will, too! We are absolutely thrilled beyond belief to meet you, sweet darling. We can only guess at whether you're a boy or girl and it doesn't matter one bit to us--all that matters is that you are happy and healthy and in our arms. We will surely be in shock even after we meet you! You are perfectly you and we cannot wait to meet you in approximately 11 weeks!
You are doing an absolutely fantastic job, sweetheart. Keep growing big and strong and know how proud of you we are. We love you, we love you, we love you so, dear baby.
Mommy and Daddy

June 16, 2015

Feeding the Baby

One question that has come up when talking about our surrogacy journey, is how we plan to feed the baby. Well, let's rewind. I don't exactly hear questions until I mention how I plan to feed the baby. I thought it might be helpful to post about it here in hopes of helping someone else who is in the same boat!

First, I'll just say that this is just our plan, and I understand and respect that everyone has a different path when feeding their little one.

Prior to researching gestational surrogacy, I didn't know that breastfeeding would be an option for me. It was always something I had hoped to do, but I just assumed I'd have to let it go in our case. As it turns out, it is actually very much an option!

With something called induced lactation, it is possible for mommies like me to breastfeed. Basically, it's one of those things where you don't know how much you'll produce, but I figured if I could provide any at all, it will be worth it. After doing lots of research and talking with an American mom from our clinic in India (who is currently having success with feeding her twins through induced lactation), I felt really encouraged.

So, to answer the question "how is that possible?,"I met with a lactation consultant yesterday and we made a plan. There are some variations on this, but here's what I'm going to try:

+I am starting by pumping twice daily for two weeks, and sipping on raspberry leaf and nettles tea twice a day. (I began this yesterday)

+We will gradually increase the frequency of pumping, adding in different herbs and one medication until it is about 8 times a day before the baby is born.

+Once the baby is here, I will try a combination of breastfeeding and pumping, and we will be prepared to supplement with formula, as needed. For that, I think we will use Honest.

+The hope is that my supply will catch up and keep up once we get into a routine. I know even for moms who carry, breastfeeding can be a real struggle. So, I'm expecting it to be a challenge, but one I'm willing to take!

+When we come home, if I'm not able to supply enough, then we plan to supplement with donated breastmilk from a generous friend who has graciously offered hers. It just continues to show that it takes a village!

That's the plan! It feels really good to be able to prepare in this way, and I'm excited to begin this chapter of our story. If you have any tips about what worked for you, or any questions about this, please let me know! I'll also update along the way. Hope you're having a happy Tuesday!

June 10, 2015

Dear Baby--25 Weeks

*Hey, Everybody! Please continue to pray for our little baby! This week we are waiting on the echo heart ultrasound, to look closely at baby's heart. Please pray our baby's heart is perfectly healthy and everything is completely normal. I feel as though it is, and just want to ask for prayers every step of the way! Thank you, thank you, thank you!*
Dear Baby,

Hey, darling. This week, at 25 weeks, you are about 13 inches and 1 1/2 pounds. Your hair is growing in color and texture, and your body is packing on more fat and muscles. Your senses continue to develop and become more sophisticated. You're doing such a wonderful job!

This past week was really sweet. On Friday, we went to dinner at PJ Clarke's and then to Empire rooftop to take advantage of the beautiful weather.

Then, on Saturday, we went to register! Now, this may seem like an exciting, albeit expected activity to do during pregnancy. For us, though, it is something we have never done. It was really surreal, and very precious. Afterwards, Daddy and I stopped and watched American Pharaoh win the triple crown. We went to the Boat house for dinner and he said that today felt like the day of impossibilities with those two events. Improbable, but now very much real! 

Then, on Tuesday, I went in to meet my sweet co-worker and friend, Kate, for what I thought was a morning meeting. She had {beautifully} and secretly organized a surprise shower for us and another expecting mama! I can't even tell you my surprise. As soon as I walked in the door and saw so many colleagues standing there, smiling, I realized that they were there for us. Happy tears were shed immediately, as I was so deeply moved by the beautiful gesture. I also realized I was in tears because, again, I've never experienced that before. And, because there are not physical reminders there, being able to celebrate you like that was just beautiful. You're so loved, sweet baby, and your mama is so grateful. 
 On another school-related, cute note, telling students we are expecting has been sweet and interesting! They look at me, look at my belly, look at me again quizzically. I've heard "but I don't see the baby!" and "When is the baby coming? September! Your're just telling us now?" They are very sweet and happy for us and also probably a little confused. I didn't get into the whole thing and just pretty much told them "We're having a baby! Have a great day!"  :)

Tomorrow is the last day of the school year, and what a year it's been! Then comes my next full time job, which is preparing to meet you, my love!

Keep growing big and strong, my darling baby. You are the most precious gift and we are so proud of you. We love you, we love you, we love you, dear baby.

Mommy and Daddy

June 3, 2015

Dear Baby--24 Weeks

Dear Baby,

This week you are 24 weeks! I can't believe it. You're about as long as an ear of corn, and weigh about 1 1/2 pounds. Though it's scary to think about, the biggest milestone this week is that you could be born, and survive, outside the womb. We pray you stay put and keep cookin' for as long as possible, but my heart is thankful that we're getting closer to meeting you each and every day.

At 24 weeks, you've got some hair growing on your head! Your beautiful face also has eyebrows and eyelashes, and your face is almost fully formed. We wonder what you will look like, the perfect mix of your daddy and me.  Your lungs continue to develop and grow strong. Your brain activity is close to that of a newborn, which means you can develop conscious thoughts and, most likely, memory. Your auditory system is rapidly advancing, which means you can recognize and be calmed by sounds when you're born. You're still packing on the baby fat, so your skin is becoming more and more opaque each day.

My nerves went from being wracked to being much more at peace this week. I suppose there will be moments forever when I'll be more of a mess than others! Feeling the support of your whole wide village, lots of prayer, and acupuncture, of course, helped me remember that you are perfect. Sometimes having too much information can be a double-edged sword. Helpful, but also can be not such a good thing, at the same time as it can cause unnecessary anxiety.  There has never been another you, so why would I expect you to conform to any kind of statistic, or measurement, then worry about it? Your little legs, and your heart, are just perfect. I won't doubt that anymore.  You are ours and we love you more than words can possibly express, and then more. We realize we can only fathom we love we will feel when we meet you face to face.

This past weekend we went to California for a very quick visit! While it was a whirlwind, we were able to see so much family, Naomi graduate and become a doctor, and meet your cousin, baby Julian. We were terrible about taking pictures of everyone else, but here are the few we snapped!

                                                         Congratulations, Doctor D!
We had a fun trip seeing everyone! They are all so excited to meet you and send their love, prayers and hugs to you non-stop. Daddy and I are going to register this weekend. There hasn't been one moment that has gone by in which I'm not abundantly grateful for every day. Registering, planning your room, reading books and taking classes about how to care for you, these are all things I never take for granted. Thank you, God, for choosing us to be our child's parents. I realize how many people, dear friends even, who yearn to be where we are. We're so grateful, and so blessed by you.
My darling baby, keep growing big and strong. We are so proud of you. You are our miracle baby and we love you, we love you, we love you so, dear baby.
Mommy and Daddy
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