Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Q and A: Answers Pt. 2

Here is Part Two if the Surrogacy Q & A Answers!!

What advice would you give someone just starting out?
Definitely educate yourself on surrogacy and the process. Apply to a few agencies and definitely go with your gut feeling. If you are not getting good vibes from one agency, but great vibes from another, definitely go with the good feeling agency. Know that this is a "hurry up and wait" process. They will want you to hurry with forms and then you will have to wait until each party reviews it before proceeding to the next step. Just try to be patient and it will a work out! 

What kind of Meds did you have to take and what did they do?
I took a total of 6 different medications from the very beginning of my journey up to 11 weeks pregnant. 
Birth Control Pills – Sync cycles with the Intended Parent or Egg Donor. Only Active Pills.
Lupron - Lupron temporarily suppresses pituitary and ovarian hormone production and prevents ovulation from occurring prior to oocyte retrieval. This medication is generally started one week before the next expected period and continued until two days prior to the egg retrieval.
Delestrogen - Estradiol is a form of estrogen. Estrogen is a female sex hormone necessary for many processes in the body.
Endometrin – Vaginal Progesterone. Once placed inside the vagina, progesterone is absorbed quickly by the local vessels and brought to the uterus where it prepares the endometrium for the implantation process. The level of progesterone within the endometrium is highest with vaginal progesterone.
PIO - Progesterone is a naturally occurring hormone in the body. In women, the hormone is produced in the ovaries, the adrenal glands and in the placenta during pregnancy, and it is stored in the fat tissue. Progesterone is involved in a woman's menstrual cycle and supports pregnancy. It will help keep the pregnancy viable until the body can start producing it on its own around 10 weeks. 
Doxycycline - Doxycycline is an antibiotic to prevent infection from the retrieval and to ensure that the uterus is free of bacteria before embryo transfer.
Medrol - Medrol is a light steroid that is used to prevent ‘inflammation’ of the uterine lining that can cause it to reject the embryo.
Valium - Muscle Relaxer taken before transfer. It helps relax the body and uterus.

Were you nervous about how many embryos were transferred?
We had planned to transfer 3 embryos since the quality wasn’t that great. After the transfer, I found out that my RE placed all 4 embryos. 1 was good, 2 were okay and 1 was poor. I was really nervous after that. After everything was said and done, I had confidence in my RE and figured that he knew what he was doing.

How did you tell people about you wanting to be a surrogate?
With close family, I called/emailed and told them what we were planning on doing. With friends, I decided to start this blog and also a Facebook page. A lot of people were surprised and a few were definitely not on board, but we ultimately did what we thought would be better for us and our family.

Would you ever consider donating your eggs?
No. It would just feel weird knowing that I have potential kids out there. This is just my opinion on egg donation. I have had friends who have donated eggs, but could never be a surrogate. It’s just someone’s preference. I just could never do it.

How much does Surrogacy cost?
There are a lot of factors with the price of IVF/Surrogacy. Intended Parents can pay anywhere from $75,000 up to $250,000. Meds, Dr Visits, Lawyer Fees, Flights, etc.

Was it weird having everyone in the room when you delivered?
Absolutely not! With all of my deliveries, I have had friends and family in the room. With this delivery, I had my husband, the parents, my case manager and photographer. Once it was time to push, I honestly didn’t even realize they were in the room. I was in my own world and concentrated on getting this little girl earth side. A lot of people are different and feel like this is a very personal experience and only want their spouse/partner or mother in there with them and that’s perfectly fine also!

Do the parents still keep in contact with you? Do you get to see pictures of “Surro Babe?”
Yes! I get to see pictures of C almost daily, which I absolutely love! My family and I get to watch her grow and its great! We try to email each other monthly, but sometimes life gets in the way.

How did you pick the Agency you went with?
When my husband and I finally decided to start this, I googled “California Surrogacy Agencies” and got a lot of websites. I applied to 4-5 different agencies and West Coast Surrogacy was the first agency that actually called me. It was about 2 hours after I had submitted my application. From the very beginning of that phone call, I felt in my gut that this was the agency for me. I loved the family feel of the agency and it didn’t feel like I was going in for a job interview. I would definitely recommend them if you are in search for an agency, whether it be Surrogacy or Egg Donation!

Would you ever do an “Indy” Surrogacy Journey?
I honestly don’t think I would. I like that the agency does the work for us and makes sure everything gets done correctly! Again, some people have better experiences going Indy, I just feel more comfortable with an agency!

Thanks Again!!!! If you have any other questions that were not answered, please don't hesitate to email me!

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Q and A: Answers Pt. 1

Thank you so much for the questions! I can't believe how many questions I received! Since I received over 20 questions, I have decided to split them into two posts! Here is Part One!

Would you consider doing it again?
Absolutely!!! My IP’s have asked if I would be willing to carry for them again. We have a great relationship, so that will be a plus if I help them with a Sibling Project! If we decide to wait a while, I will be updating my profile and hopefully get matched with another couple soon!

What if I don't have Medical Insurance or My Insurance doesn't cover Surrogacy?
I didn't have medical insurance when I applied. Once you are matched, they will have you apply to an insurance company that covers Surrogacy. I do know that Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser cover Surrogacy!

Did your Tincture work/help? What about the capsules?
I haven’t used the Tincture yet. The longer it ferments, the better! I took my placenta capsules for about 4 weeks and now I take them during my monthly cycle. They have helped tremendously! In the beginning, they helped a lot with my bleeding and my hormone levels.

Did you notice anything different compared to your other postpartum experiences?
This postpartum was a lot easier on me! I contribute a lot of that to the fact that I didn’t have a newborn to take care of and I had a lot of help with my kids.

Has your family been supportive (during and after)?
In the beginning, a few family members weren’t on board and that was okay. During the pregnancy, a few of them started to come around and by the end of the pregnancy, they were very proud of what I was doing. I know that Surrogacy is not for everyone and that is absolutely fine with me, I just won’t talk about it while you are around. The one person that I was terrified to tell was my Gramma. She is very old school and I wasn't sure how she would react. When I was 12-14 weeks pregnant, she called me and asked me about it! She was fully supportive of what I was doing! She said that if she was guaranteed a girl, she would have paid someone a long time ago! Hahaha!

Did you experience any PPD after carrying Surro Babe for 9 months and then having to hand her over to her parents?
No. I knew going into this knowing that this child was not mine. I had the perfect mindset and am very grateful. Once I delivered, I was a little hesitant about holding her, but after I had her in my arms, I knew I would be fine! It felt like I was holding a friend’s baby and I didn’t feel any sort of emptiness. She wasn’t mine to keep, I was just giving her back to her parents!

What was the process like?
Surrogacy is a “Hurry Up and Wait” process. Once we were matched, I flew back down to L.A. and had another medical appt. After I got the go ahead, we started contracts. Those took about a month and then I was able to start my meds. First Birth Control Pills, then Lupron, Delestrogen, Progesterone in Oil and Endometrin. 3 weeks in a row, I had to have my blood drawn to check my numbers. I then flew down to L.A. for my transfer!

How did you do with the shots? I am terrified of needles, but I don’t want that holding me back from being a surrogate.
I was very nervous about the intramuscular shots. The Lupron shots were easy since they were tiny insulin needles and those went in my belly. The Intramuscular shots were a little harder. My husband is not a fan of needles, but I made him watch some you tube videos and have him watch a friend give me my first shot. He got better at it after about 3 days. The needles are very intimidating, but once you do the shots a few times, it will get better. Make sure you heat your injection site and the medicine and then rub the area after the shot. You will get knots, but rubbing the area will help disperse the medicine.

How are your kids doing?
My kids are doing great! They understood from the very beginning that the baby was not ours. I told my children that my IM’s tummy was sick and couldn’t carry a baby like mommy can. I am grateful that my IP’s loved our children and were so excited to see them and include them in everything. They love seeing pictures of Surro Babe almost daily!

What was the Psychological Process like?
My husband and I had to drive to San Francisco and do our Psych Eval there. I had to complete a 200+ multiple choice questionnaire. Some of the questions were really strange and I actually laughed at a few! After that, my husband and I were called into a room and we talked to a Psychologist about our lives and what surrogacy meant to us. At the end of the appointment, she told me that we seem like a sane family and was going to approve us!

Why did you become a surrogate?
I have always wanted to be a surrogate. I love being pregnant and pregnancy is very easy on me. I told my husband that after we were done having our own kids, I wanted to apply to be a surrogate. After weighing our pro's and con's for about a year, I applied. I feel that if my body does well during pregnancies and that I love being pregnant, why not help a family who can't have children. It is a true gift of love in my opinion!

Well, there ya have it!! Come back tomorrow for Part Two!!

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Nurse Goodie Bags!

While I was pregnant with Surro Babe, I was thinking of ideas for Nurse Gifts. So I hopped on over to Pinterest and started searching for Nurse Goodie Bags. Oh Em Gee, I found some really cute ideas and couldn't wait to start mine!

I decided to pick things that I would like if I was a nurse. I also asked friends who worked in the hospital field. So, here is what I decided to put in the goodie bags!

Bottle of water
Hand Sanitizer
Luna Bar
Crystal Light Energy Powder Drink
Jolly Ranchers 
Hershey Kisses
Breath Mints
Thank You Card

I purchased the bags (10 for $5) and Thank You Cards at Target. The String, Tags, Stickers, Stamp and Ink were purchased at Joanne’s Craft Store. Assembling them was a breeze and they looked really cute!

I decided to add a few things to my Photographer, Midwife Friend and Case Managers Bags!

{Picture of my Friends Bag}

Bottle of Water
Crystal Light Energy Powder Drink
Lindor Truffles
Jurgens Lotion
Milano Cookies
Hand Sanitizer
EOS Lip Balm
Thank You Card

I made 15 bags to take to the hospital, 3 for my friends, 6 for L&D Nurses and 6 for Postpartum Nurses. I had my husband put them on the counter in my room and let every nurse that came into my room and helped us, could grab a bag! I’m not gonna lie, the nurses that came into my room and were a part of this day were incredible! It could have been from the goodies, but either way, they were so caring and that made our day that much sweeter! My Postpartum Nurses were very grateful also. From what I heard, they always get left out. I wanted to make them feel appreciated too! I wish I would have thought of this when I was pregnant with my own kids!

I purchased the hand sanitizer, mints, gum and tissue in the Travel section of Target. The Luna Bars were 6 packs and were on sale. Milano Cookies were a BOGO! The candy was on sale because of Easter!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ask Anything!

So I have received a lot of questions regarding my Journey!

I would like to answer those in a blog post! So if you have any questions for me, please leave me a comment on this post or email me at Smith.Breanna3{at}Yahoo{dot}com

Surro Babe is already 2 1/2 months old and is doing fabulous! She has already doubled her birth weight and is so alert! Her parents are in love and are amazing parents!!

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Surro Babe: Birth Story!

It’s hard to believe that I delivered my Surro Babe 1 week ago, thursday! It was such an amazing experience and I can’t wait to do it again for another couple!

On Wednesday, I had my 39 week appointment. My dr was across the street with a delivery, so I had to wait about 20 minutes. Once she was in the office, she did the usual measuring and listened to the heartbeat. Afterwards, my IP’s went out into the waiting room and my dr checked me. I was between 3-4cm and about 60% effaced. She also swept my membranes. After that, I went into the waiting room with my IP’s while she was deciding on what day was good since I was starting to show signs of Pre-E. They called me up and told me it was going to be the next day! I was shocked, excited and nervous all at the same time. My IP’s got really nervous also! The nurse told me to call in the morning to see if they had a bed for me and then to go in! I called my husband, case manager and photographer and told them that tomorrow would be the big day! After getting home, I got the rest of my bag packed and checked off the last bit of stuff on my to-do list. That night, I slept wonderfully! I thought I would be a ball of nerves, but I was surprisingly calm!

Thursday morning I got up, took a shower and helped my husband get the kids off to school just like a normal day. I called L&D at 7am and they had a bed for me!! So it was a go! I had to be there at 8am for my induction. Since I knew that my husband was coming up, I only brought my purse and Nurse Goody Bags. Once I got up to the L&D Desk, they were ready for me. Once they found out that I was a surrogate, everyone was so excited for everyone involved. My nurse was absolutely amazing and I was so grateful I got a good one!! Once I got settled in, my IP’s arrived but had to leave again.

My husband, son and mom arrived right before they left. They started my iv at 10am and Pitocin soon after. My contractions were moving along about 2-3 minutes apart. They were starting to get pretty intense, so I decided to get some pain meds through my iv. After that, things were pretty good for about an hour. During that time, my dr came in and checked to see how I was doing and then left to do her rounds. Around 3pm, I got another bump of my pain meds and had the nurse check me. I never liked being checked, it’s so painful! I was only a good 4cm and about 70%. I felt pretty defeated since I was having some good contractions for about 3 hours. My IM prayed for a good 2 hours and then took a nap.

At 3:30pm my nurse told me that my dr was going to come in between 4-5pm to break my water. I got really nervous and had been debating on whether or not I wanted to get an epidural. I had horrible experiences with my epidural for my 1st and 3rd birth. Finally I told my nurse I wanted one before I had my water broken. So they pumped 3 bags of fluid in me and around 4pm the Epi Cart was in my room. When the anesthesiologist came in, I got really nervous. While he was doing my epidural, I was just concentrating on my breathing and tried to go into a happy place. I just kept telling myself that everything will be okay. Once I got laid back down, I was feeling a lot better. Everyone came back in and we chatted for about 15 minutes and then my dr came in and kicked everyone out so she could break my water.

After she broke my water, I went from 4cm to 6cm. The contractions were rolling in and I could feel that this was going to happen soon! My dr kept checking me during contractions and within a 10 minute period, I went from 6cm to 9cm and 100%. It was go time! I was trying to breathe through the contractions while my dr and nurses were getting things ready. After the bed was set up, they let my husband and IP’s in, that way they could get into position. They then let my case manager and photographer in the room and got them into position. I gave 2 good pushes and out popped baby C’s head. I looked over at my IM and she was smiling from ear to ear. One more good push and out came a tiny 5lb 6oz peanut! I couldn’t get over how small she was! She was over a pound smaller than my tiniest baby. I looked around and there were tears in almost everyone’s eyes. My IF got to cut the cord and after Baby C got cleaned up, my IM got to do skin to skin. At that moment in time, everything was so calm and peaceful. I looked at my husband and he was already updating everyone. I told him to call my friend to come and pick up my placenta. My nurse came up to me and said that this day will forever hold a special place in her heart and that she was so glad that she was able to be a part of this. That definitely made my day!

After delivery, everything went so smoothly. My IM brought Baby C over to me and I got to hold her. To be completely honest, I had no idea how I would feel holding her. I knew everything would be fine, but there was always that “what if” in the back of my mind. Once I had Baby C in my hands, it was like I was holding a friends baby! After everything calmed down, my IP’s went to their private room to start their new lives with their baby girl and I stayed in my room until I got feeling in my legs enough to walk to the bathroom. Once I was able to walk to the bathroom, I was on my way to my private room. After I got settled into my room, my friends came over and we all went to see Baby C. I got a few pictures with her and then it was off to bed for me. I was completely exhausted. The next morning I had a few visitors and my boys got to see Baby C. They were okay with looking at her, but they didn’t want to touch her haha.

At around 3:30 I was being discharged and was so excited to be heading home to MY babies. I missed them so much during my 36 hour stay. So far, my recovery has been pretty good. My milk is finally coming in and my boobs are hurting. I know that will pass soon. Emotionally, I am doing pretty well. I have this overwhelming joy come over me whenever I think of what I did! I can’t wait until I am back to normal 100% and just focusing on my kids and family.

{22hrs Postpartum & 38 weeks}

**All Photos are Copyrighted by myself or Kathleen Galloway Photography.**

Thanks for reading!!!!!

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Surro Babe: 38 Weeks!!

I can't believe we are 38w1d right now!! We are hoping to set an induction date of either Sunday the 6th or Monday the 7th. Since IF will only be here for a few days, I hope my dr will approve it! I have my 38wk appt tomorrow, so we will see!

Today is: April 2, 2014

How far along: 38 Weeks 1 Days!!! 13 Days to go!!!

Total weight gain: 12lbs

Baby is the size of: A Pumpkin

What is going on with this baby: Surro Babe has really plumped up. She weighs about 6.8 pounds and she is over 19 1/2 inches long. She has a firm grasp, which you'll soon be able to test when you hold her hand for the first time! Her organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb. Wondering what color baby's eyes will be? You may not be able to tell right away. If she's born with brown eyes, they'll likely stay brown. If she's born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time she's 9 months old. That's because a child's irises (the colored part of the eye) may gain more pigment in the months after she's born, but they usually won't get "lighter" or more blue. (Green, hazel, and brown eyes have more pigment than gray or blue eyes.)

Baby is a: GIRL!!!

Maternity Clothes: Oh Yeah, and loving it!!

Sleep: Eh... I am waking up around 3x a night to go to the bathroom and my hips are killing me. 

Movement: She is a Mover and loves to kick my ribs. She is mostly active in the mornings and late afternoons.

Symptoms: Lots of Contractions. I am currently 2cm and hoping these contractions are doing what they are supposed to do! Really getting uncomfortable.

Food Cravings/Aversions: A lot of Fruits and Veggies. Froot Loops. Cheerios. Ice. Lots of water!

37 Weeks!!

38 Weeks!!

Best moment(s) this week: 
IM got here on Monday!!! 

I'm looking forward to:
IF will get here tomorrow!!

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Friday, March 14, 2014


So a few months ago I was on Pinterest and stumbled upon a pin about “Padsicles.” I was really intrigued about the whole thing. With my first, I had a 3rd degree tear and needed 15 stitches. I don’t think my lady parts had ever hurt that bad before. I didn’t have anything to use except some Dermaplast and Witch Hazel Tucks Pads. My other two deliveries were a piece of cake and only needed a few stitches. Since I will be delivering my Surro Babe within a month, I thought to myself, why not make a few of these for when I get home from the hospital! They are so easy to make and you only need 5 Items!

Pads: I used the Always Maxi Overnights with Flex Wings. They are big enough to hold the liquid, but small enough that you don’t feel like you have a mattress between your legs.

Aloe Vera Gel: You need the gel, not the liquid.

Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel: You can use the regular Witch Hazel, but make sure it is Alcohol Free! The Rose Petal was the only one that the store had.

Lavender Essential Oil or Tea Tree Oil: I grabbed both. I used the Lavender a lot more than the Tea Tree, just because of how strong the smell was.

Ziploc Freezer Bags: I was able to put 12 pads in a bag. I am sure you can squeeze more into them, I just didn’t want the stuff to ooze out of them.

***I have a Midwife Friend who also said the Herb Sitz Bath is great on the pads instead of the lavender and tea tree oil. So you can use either one!


Step 1: Open the pad, but make sure you keep the backing intact.

Step 2: Squirt about 2-3 teaspoons of the Witch Hazel onto the pad.

Step 3: Add a few drops of the Lavender/Tea Tree Oil onto the pad. (Optional)

Step 4: Add a liberal amount of Aloe Vera Gel onto the pad. Make sure you rub it around evenly on the pad.

Step 5: Wrap the pads back up and put them into the Ziploc Freezer Bag. Once your bag is full, stick it in the freezer! Make sure that if you are making a lot, put the date and the order of the bags. (1st Batch, 2nd Batch, etc..)

When you are ready to use the Padsicles, make sure you let them defrost for about 5-10 minutes. You don’t want it freezing to your skin! I am really excited to use these after the birth. I have heard a lot of great things about these little suckers! These are supposed to really help the healing of your lady parts. You will want to sit on a few towels while wearing these. They will leak a little. 

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