Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Loss and Surrogacy

On the morning of December 14th, I woke up to use the restroom and discovered I was bleeding. "Oh crap.." I said to myself as my daughter twirled around the bathroom since she followed me there as she always does. "Whats wrong mommy?" she asked. "Oh its nothing..just a little bleeding but this always happens to me. Its ok." But I wasn't convinced everything was ok.

I texted my IPs, and finished getting my kids ready and headed to work. I emailed my nurses and waited patiently for a call. At around 10:30am after still having not heard from the office, I called and put in an emergency request for the Dr to call me. About 15 mins later I got a call from the nurses saying to stop Aspirin and Lovenox and I asked if I could be seen for an ultrasound. They were able to fit me in at 11:30am. I jumped in my car and headed to the appointment. At the ultrasound we could see Thumper's heartbeat, (the nickname we came up for him at his first heartbeat confirmation ultrasound.) He was flickering away and the Dr said his growth looked good. The only problem we could see was that his heartbeat was a little lower than normal. It was beating at 83BPM instead of the 120 it was a week ago. This was concerning but all we could do was wait. I still had an ultrasound appointment on the following Tuesday so we would check back in a few days. I went back to work and finished the workday.

When I got home, things continued to get worse. I passed a liver-sized blood clot and almost passed out I was so shocked. I called for Jason and we decided I needed to go to the ER. Jason called my mom and she came into my bedroom while I got ready. "Sweetie, are you ok?" and I started to sob. "No I'm not ok..this feels like a miscarriage. I've had bleeding mom, but this...this is different. This feels like before." "Before" being my first miscarriage I had in 2009 with the baby I was pregnant with before I had Hunter. We drove to the ER.. I was now bleeding so much it was soaking a pad every 30 mins-1hour. I couldn't even sit down for the Triage. They called me back and ordered blood work and an ultrasound. My IPs were on their way from SF, and wanted to be with me. They were very clear to me that they were there for my health. They were there to be supportive of me no matter what the outcome would be. I was called back to the ultrasound and it was an uncomfortable, and silent 20 minutes. My IM sat by my feet, watching the screen, looking for a flicker, movement, anything. Every now and then I would look over hopefully at her and she would shrug as if to say "I can't see anything.. it doesn't look good." We all sat in the waiting room, waiting to be walked back to my new room, in silence. No one felt very hopeful at that point. My IPs were hugging, my mom sat next to me, our heads touching, as we just felt empty.

The Dr came into my exam room, she was pregnant (sigh....), and she told us all that they did not find a heartbeat. I felt like the room went fuzzy, it felt like in the movies, when you can barely hear or remember anything else they say. I just remember nodding, and then everyone leaving so she could examine me for hemorrhaging. "Why did you become a surrogate?" she gently asked me as she pulled her gloves on and rolled closely next to me. I answered my short answer, about how women like my IM try for years, and how if I am capable of helping, then I should. But then the tears started to flow.. "...but I guess not this time. It's just another let down for her." My Dr rolled even clower and she looked me in the eyes. "Hey..No...now you listen to me. YOU have done something amazing for her. You gave her hope. Sometimes even when we have the best of everything and the healthiest embryo..sometimes things just don't work out, but you have done something selfless and incredible, and I am just in awe of that." Then she squeezed my arm gently. When she left, my IPs came back into the room, and I started crying saying "I'm so sorry...I'm so sorry.." and they both hugged me from either side, our arms wrapped around each other. IM was apologizing to me, and aI was apologizing to her. We laughed at how sorry we both were to each other, and hugged again. I told them they should go home, since it was 1am and I knew they were exhausted and sad. There was nothing to do now but wait for my body to begin the natural process of expelling Thumper's remains.

Jason stayed home with me on Friday, and brought Hunter to school. I had Jason bring my secret Santa gifts, and the gifts for my team at work. I was very sore, and very tired, and very sad. But the bleeding had stopped. I was worried that my body was going to try to hold on to this pregnancy the way it did in 2009 when they had to give me medication to get things moving. On Saturday, Jason and the kids and I all went to the Dickens Fair. We laughed and ate cinnamon almonds, Emma and I even danced the waltz! I had such a fun time, it was a nice break from the pain of everything, and I also hoped that all the walking would get things moving again.. I was right. At 5pm on our way home, the pain of labor began. It was quick and a milder replica of actual labor. I couldn't sit still, I had to move. I tried laying in bed, but I was cold, and clammy and dizzy. I decided to start the shower to help with the back labor pains. I turned on my "Relax" playlist, filled with calming piano tunes, and crouched down in the shower while the hot water hit my lower back. I took long deep breaths, and worked through the pain. Jason would come in and periodically check on me. I could tell the pain was changing and I breathed more slowly before I delivered Thumper's lifeless tiny body into my hands. I sat in shock. Holding him. I started to weep, apologizing and sitting there, unsure of what to do with him. Where to put him. I called for Jason. Jason crouched down with me and held me.. "Where do I put him? I have to put him somewhere.." Jason went to get a plastic bag, and we wrapped him in the bag and covered the bag nicely with tissue paper. Jason brought him gently to my bed while I finished showering and dried off. When I went to turn off my music, I noticed the song that played while I delivered him was titled "Life and Death." Ironic. After discussing with my IPs what their wishes were, and talking to Jason about what we should do, we decided to bury Thumper's tiny remains. We laid him down, I covered his body in offerings of tobacco and sage, and we covered the earth over him. The next day I cut flowers, and made a bouquet and placed a single white feather and tied it all with a red ribbon on top of his grave.

This whole experience was traumatic and difficult, but it strengthened in me the desire to continue to help couples have a child. Whatever my IPs decide to do moving forward is up to them, and I am fully supportive of whatever decision they make. I am here, and ready to help if they call upon me, and if not, I am ready to help the next couple God sends to me. No matter what, I am at the ready to do Creator's will.

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