Oh my goodness, Baby K is here and he is the sweetest little thing on the planet right now (this has been confirmed by multiple parties)! He was born April 4th, and since then life has been a little difficult, and a lotta crazy, so in true Laci fashion this post is late, but settle in...It's birth story time!
Here I am on April second, one day before I turned 38 weeks, being forced to take photos. I did not feel good AT ALL, and Jonathan had been saying for days that we needed to get some pictures before I went into labor; which I did not believe would happen for another two weeks. Needless to say, I am appreciative that he forced me to take these last photos, because 12 hours later my water broke at 5:30 AM. My water has never broken ahead of time, and I guess I kind of expected it to be like the movies...ya know, dramatically...it was not. I woke up to a small gush feeling, stood up and a tiny bit of water ran down my leg. I told Jonathan that I thought my water broke, but I was so unsure - the backstory is that when I was pregnant with Lila, I thought my water broke early, and when I went in, they said I had just peed myself while sleeping. It was very comical, but also embarrassing, and I wanted to avoid repeating that scenario, especially since there was another couple involved who had to drive from New York City. I called the midwives and they told me just to rest and to come to the hospital in a couple hours for them to check. They also informed me that I officially had started the clock on my 24 hour countdown to induction if labor did not start naturally (BOOOOO!). I called Baby K's parents (C and E) and told them that I thought my water had broke, and they excitedly said they were heading up, even if I did just pee myself!
Fast-forward to 10:30, and nothing has started, no contractions, no more water leaking out, and I was 100% positive that I had just peed. Baby K's parents had just made it to town, so we decided to head to the hospital to get checked out. Once we arrived, the urination story became more likely; the nurse could see no water, I was having zero contractions, and she kept telling me that she did not believe it had broken. Thankfully they decided to do a paper test where the paper would turn blue if amniotic fluid is present, and it did! His parents where so excited, and there were high-fives all around!
I was pretty disappointed to find out that they wanted to admit to the hospital then and there as I had spent the last 9 months dreaming of how my labor would go. It would start early in the morning with contractions, I would shower and spend the day laboring at home. In this fantasy labor and delivery dream, I would get to the hospital to find out I was at 7 centimeters, and would deliver within the hour. My real birth story obviously varied wildly from that, so needless to say I was disappointed to find out that due to my water breaking, I was not going back home to labor. The silver lining was that Jonathan and I were getting to spend time with C and E! We had decided ahead of time that they would be in the room with us during labor and delivery, and we made the most of it! Upon arriving to our labor suite the men promptly ran to Bueno Y Sano and brought us burritos! We spent the next several hours walking the halls, eating popsicles, and answering random 90's trivia questions, ordering in more food from Cana (the best Korean food in the country); but guess what we did not do...have a baby!
After months of painful Braxton Hick's, my uterus decided to take a sabbatical and chill. My amazing, midwives kept checking on me and asking if I wanted to start Pitocin, but thankfully respected my choices (mind you all day) as I said "no thank you!". Unfortunately by 11 PM that night, nothing had started and we decided it was time to try and give my uterus a hint to get going. I had never had to be induced with my own girls, and therefore had never had to have Pit...the stories are true, its awful!
When you have a natural contraction your body releases oxytocin during contractions that take the edge off, and they are not as painful. Your body does not release oxytocin when you are receiving synthetic Pitocin through an IV. The contractions came on pretty quickly and were painful.
I was planning a natural birth, while using Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) during contractions, which when timed right could be helpful, but could also be useless. To make this long story a little shorter, we spent the next 9 hours laboring through the night. I would go on and off the Pitocin, and would get into different laboring positions, I was pouring sweat, racked with pain, and discouraged to find that I was dilating at a very slow pace; also this entire time amniotic fluid is literally pouring out of me every time I change positions, during contractions, or just for no reason at all. Come to find out later, my water had a small tear very high up, and therefor water came out for hours! The hero of this night time story is Jonathan. My husband stayed up with me all night, through every contraction, he was there. He spent every minute comforting me, practicing pain techniques, bringing me water, and just holding my hand. I needed him, and I would have suffered more if he was not who he is. I am so thankful to have married a man who is patient, full of grace, beyond giving, and a rockstar of a labor partner three times strong!
At 8 AM it was time for the midwives to change shift, and so we said goodbye to Anastasia, and hello to Emily. Emily was a take charge kind of midwife, and immediately wanted to check my cervix...come to find out, I was at 9.5 centimeters and had a bulging bag of waters. During change over, Emily had heard the entire story of how my uterus never started labor on it's own, and how everything was progressing really slowly. She explained that if she ruptured the bag and the baby's head descended into my cervix everything would start working better and I would have this baby in no time! She popped the bag and nothing happened, my uterus would not move past 9.5 centimeters. After and hour or so, she decided to try and move the last half a centimeter manually which brought on some unbearable pain. I went from super low, deep noises, to just trying to breath. Every time she tried to push that last lip back, it would just move forward again. During this time she thought that Baby K was face-up, so the doctor came with an ultrasound machine and confirmed that he was sunny-side up. The doctor said that he would have to insert his hand and manually turn him face-down; they believed that this was why labor had been progressing so slow, and he could not get down past my pelvic bone. At this point, I was so tired, and unconsolable. I was 11 hours deep into my hardest labor, I was exhausted from only getting to sleep for about 1-2 minutes between contractions, and I did not want to have an entire hand inserted into me. While I wanted to have a natural birth, I caved and said that I could not go any further without an epidural. The best part about this moment was that Jonathan (remember how encouraging and wonderful he has been this entire labor), tried to comfort me by quietly telling me that the doctor had "skinny wrists". While it brought me no comfort then, it has brought a lot of joy and laughter since. Seeing me in pain, and knowing that he could do nothing to physically help me then, he did what he could.
Waiting for the anesthesiologist felt like hours. By this time my contractions were on top of each other with maybe a 10-30 second break between (thank you Pitocin!), so when the beautiful lady anesthesiologist walked in the room, haloed in glowing light with her needle in hand, I wanted to cry tears of joy...of course now came the hardest part. I had to attempt to stay still while she inserted a needle into my spine. I couldn't even pick up my own legs to get into the right position, the nurses had to help me, and Jonathan helped to keep me still. Once she was done she informed me that she gave me the strong stuff, and within 5 minutes I was numb and asleep. The doctor came back in and spun the baby, and I did not feel a thing...it was amazing! After awhile, Emily informed me that I was at a 10 and could start pushing with contractions, and I was so excited to finally be at the finish line. I could not tell you if I pushed for 25 minutes or an hour, time is so weird during labor and delivery, but at 12:03 PM, he was finally born! This was one of the most amazing times of this whole process. Not only was mama E able to watch her son be born, and encourage me, but my Mom was able to watch the birth via Facetime. I was surrounded by supportive and encouraging midwives and nurses, I could hear my mom and E reassuring me, my loving husband was right there with me, and C was up by my head supporting me...It was one of those "it takes a village" moments, and I was thankful for every person in that room.
The moment I will never forget, and will always cherish (pictured above), was when mama E sat next to me and was immediately able to have skin-to-skin time with her son when he was born. I was so grateful that she sat with me, and let me share in that moment when she absolutely did not have to. Once the cord was done pulsing, and Dad was able to cut the cord, they were able to move to the recliner and enjoy their sweet baby! C and E stayed with me the entire night...I don't know if they managed to sleep at all, but I was happy just to know that they were there. There are so many little funny stories that I would love to share, things that made that day memorable, and that will make me laugh for years to come, but this story is already way too long. I cannot believe that my journey as a surrogate is over...If you want to make a year fly by in a blink, become a surrogate. While this pregnancy and delivery were my hardest (I am 32 now, I am not a spring chicken), I would change nothing. From my first Lupron shot, to last push, I would do again. I am so happy and proud to have been a surrogate; the memories that I will hold onto, the bond that was created, the moment that baby was handed to his mother and father, I will cherish forever.
Above: Baby K's first photo, to the sweet miracle he is!
Thank you for sharing your surrogacy birth story, @Laci Compton! 🙌🏼