Monday, May 14, 2018

7 Months Since

It's been almost 7 months (just a couple days shy actually) since one of the hardest days of my life: the day P & Z's sweet baby boy entered the world without breath. Each month has offered time to grieve, question, and begin healing emotionally and physically. I am making my way towards both.

Shortly after the birth, I began physical therapy at the suggestion of my OB, to restore my postpartum body. I attended twice weekly sessions for 6 weeks. My appointments consisted of functional exercises to retrain and restrengthen my abdominal wall, my hips, and my pelvic floor. I highly recommend that ALL postpartum women (no matter how far postpartum you are!) see a pelvic floor physiotherapist to offer guidance to restore strength and functionality to body after baby. I was released from PT with a clean bill of functional health, no diastis recti, and strong pelvic floor muscles. I don't even pee when I sneeze...after 8 babies, folks! Seriously, see your local physiotherapist. If you're in the middle TN area, I highly recommend Results Physiotherapy in Franklin, TN.

P and I had a lot of contact in the first couple of months following the birth, but it has waned quite a bit. P is ready to  move forward with her dream of having a child and I am in a holding period. I feel we have both made a peaceful acceptance of the passing of her little one; it's an experience that will connect us both: a story that we will each tell from our own perspective. My OB's recommendation is 12-18 months before attempting another pregnancy, and I of course need that time to physically heal. I also need the time to continue to process the experience and decide how I feel about carrying again. Initially, P wanted a commitment that I just couldn't give so soon after the birth. She asked for my blessing to search for another surrogate, and I happily gave it! I want so bad for her to realize her dream of having her very own little one in her arms.  Right now, we are both in different stages of our lives and waiting for different things.

In the waiting, I am continuing my exercises from PT and have seen much improvement. I'm at the gym on the regular and am slowly returning to a pre-pregnancy strength routine. My husband and I continue to run a local youth flag football league for our 4th season - that keeps us pretty busy in the spring and the fall! All my kiddos are growing up right before my eyes, leaving me with no more elementary school aged children at the end of this school year.

All of us together, for once!



I made a post last year announcing my jump into the real estate world. I have been working a little here and there, but I have to confess that I'm not convinced that this "job" is the right fit for me. I recently had the opportunity to speak with a local woman interested in surrogacy, as an intended parent. I have been able to share my experience and offer advice and direction. I look forward to helping her throughout her surrogacy process. I have also been able to encourage other women to care for themselves postpartum and teach them exercises that will help them along the way. In all this I realized that my passion isn't real estate -- it's my family and surrogacy and pre- & postnatal fitness. So perhaps I shouldn't have been so quick to make the realty announcement. But sometimes we don't know what fits until we try it on. Surrogacy fits me. 

The idea of carrying again has crossed my mind a time or two lately, as I move farther from the birth and farther to recovery. I still haven't decided if I'll carry again. I don't know where life will find me at the end of the year (which is the earliest I'd consider even talking seriously about it!). One day at a time around here. 

Summer is coming and we are excitedly looking forward to lazy pool days and back porch popsicles. I'll pop in more often and let you know where life is finding me.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

I have no words

Friends, I promised I'd be back on time with an update. I'm here as I said with an update -- but it's not a post I ever wanted to have to share. I feel the need to warn you readers that this post will be very long (and still not say enough) and may be hard for some.

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, Oct 17, I awoke with a fear and the notion that I had not felt the little guy move in some time. I searched my brain to to recall that the last distinctive movement I remember occurred the day before around 7:30a'ish. I hoped that I had just missed his movements throughout the busy day I had had. I poked the belly, gave a little wiggle, changed directions in bed all in an attempt to get some movement out of him. Nothing. As I laid in the dark, I tried not to worry - perhaps he's a hard sleeper. As time passed, all my prompts were met with stillness. I made a call to my office's emergency line. The on-call doctor encouraged me that sometimes little ones move quite a bit less in the third trimester. She instructed me to eat or drink something sugary and lay on my left side and do kick counts. I was to count at least 6-8 movements of any kind in that hour. I was back to laying in the dark trying to will his stillness into movement. After 45 minutes of waiting and praying, there were no kicks to be counted. It was time to head to the hospital.

I called P on our way as I thought it best to let her know what was happening, assuring her that all was fine and that I was likely being overly cautious. I even felt a little bit like a silly worrier going in, but better safe than sorry. And I told P I'd call her just as soon as I knew anything.

My husband drove me to my OB's office (he never left my side). We arrived at 9:15a and were immediately taken back to an exam room where I was promptly hooked up to a fetal monitor. The nurse could not pick up the baby's heart right away, so she called in another nurse "with more experience." She could not find the heartbeat either. She said to us, probably reading the concern on our faces, "We should just get the ultrasound monitor out. It'll be much easier." The doctor (although not MY doctor as she was out of the office that week) came in with the bedside ultrasound and began to scan my tummy. "I'm sorry. There's no heart activity," she said with tears in her eye. My first thought was for P and how I was going to have to call her and tell her that everything was not fine. Oh how I wished for someone else to make that call for me, but I knew it only right that I call - it was my place. "I don't know how to say this. I'm so sorry to tell you that there was no heartbeat." Tears.

A more detailed ultrasound was performed and showed nothing unusual. We began to prepare for delivery that afternoon, at 31 weeks & 6 days gestation. I began pitocin at 3p - how very odd it was for us to be in a delivery room as we had been so many times and not to feel the excitement and anticipation as before. Just stillness and grief.

P and Z arrived at the hospital around 4p and my water broke just before 5p. I received an epidural shortly after as we all agreed that we had enough pain already. My mother was able to arrive to be with me at 6p. She was looking forward to meeting P one day but certainly not under these circumstances.

Baby boy arrived at approximately 8:30p, weighing 4lbs, 3oz. The irony of an eerily quiet room after the birth of a child was not lost on us.

An examination showed that this sweet boy's umbilical cord has become wrapped and tangled creating a kink or knot that stopped the flow of blood and oxygen to his little body. We are told this is very rare and was nothing anyone could have seen coming therefore could not have been prevented. His cause of death will likely be recorded as a cord accident. Although we are thankful to have a reason, the pain remains the same.

We all got to spend some private time alone with him: P and Z alone and Theo and I alone. He was such a beautiful boy, a perfect mix of his mom and dad. I am so humbled by the trust given me to carry him for every second of his precious life.

He was laid to rest forever a baby in a private service with his family on October 19.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

I totally forgot about you

I completely forgot to update after our appointment a week and a half ago! I thought I had updated, but hopped on today to discover that I actually did not make a post. I guess I only shared with you all in my head. Sooooo, pregnancy brain? 😆

this is my life now
Super sorry about that one, friends! My last appointment went great. P was able to come and see her little guy. And we were fortunate to get some great 4D pics.

isn't he cute!
My blood redraw came back normal - no anemia. Yay! Our next appointment is in about 5 days, and I promise I won't forget about all my readers again. At this point, I begin appointments every 2 weeks, then will begin weekly check-ups in 4 weeks. We are really in the homestretch!

I am currently 31.5 weeks. My last belly pic was taken at 30 weeks, so I definitely need to take another. I'll leave you with the 30 week bump...

more than a bump!
I swear by my pregnancy brain to come back NEXT WEEK with an update!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

28 weeks - almost there really!

We have made our way into the THIRD and FINAL trimester! Tomorrow will be the official 28 week mark. We have 12 more weeks until due date, 11 more weeks until the max date for delivery (according to my OB), and possibly only 9 more weeks until actual birth given the last delivery that came early at 37 weeks. This time will pass fast, friends!

My last doctor's appointment was great! I'm happy say that I passed the glucola test and the sugary drink was even tolerable until the sugar rush hit! Thankfully it was short lived. My blood cell count came back low which could be a sign that my anemia may be returning as we head into the homestretch of the pregnancy. I'll be retested next month to determine if any action is needed. On the brighter side, we got to see photos of the little guy in 4D. His face is pressed against the placenta; he must think it's a nice warm pillow since he never turned from it during his photo shoot. I love how you can see his sweet little fingers!

super cool!
I was able to text the photos to P before popping them in the mail to her since she couldn't be there that day. She is able to come to the appointment in October so we are looking forward to that. I hope the little guy is more cooperative for his pictures! We plan to tour the hospital next month as well.

The legal side of things has been quiet since the initial contracts. Yesterday we received the final draft of the parentage documents for all parties to sign and notarize. Those documents, when submitted and accepted by the courts, will legally name P & Z as the parents and their names will be placed on the birth certificate at birth. We know the baby is all theirs, but having the legal paperwork complete is a nice bonus! 

I made an announcement in the last post about my entry into the world of real estate, and that entry has been quite successful already! I spend most of my days in training classes at my brokerage firm - even though I passed the exam, there is still SO MUCH to learn. I also host open houses on the weekend for other agents where I get a chance to meet potential buyer clients. I currently have my first ever buyer client and we are working on finding him a home for his family. Such an exciting time! If you are in the market in middle TN or know anyone who is, you can find me on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/RealtorTashaBrown/

This belly I have now also makes for quite a talking point at the open houses too! Take a look at these bump pics........

26 weeks
27 weeks
28 weeks
The pics don't seem to show too much change but I feel like I grow every day! I'm not able to get as much good quality sleep as I'd like because it's so hard to get and STAY comfortable at night. I'm a natural stomach sleeper so that means I may not sleep well for the rest of the pregnancy.  I'm still at the gym every morning and my energy is still good at the moment. I have no weird food cravings to report, but I've never really had those in any of my pregnancies. I guess I have "boring" pregnancies! 😃

Our next appointment is October 5 - I hope to have a very boring update then as well, aside from some cute baby photos we hope to get! I'll check in then, friends!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bigger bump and an announcement

25 weeks down already and we are just bumpin' right along! (See what I did there)


I grow a little bit more each week, as is to be expected of course. I'm still in non-maternity bottoms although I am having to fasten the button together with a ponytail loop. I'm in maternity tops a bit more regularly although I find that some of the looser, flowy tops and dresses do just fine.

If this little guy decides to arrive early like the last one (and it's very likely he could!), we may only have 12 weeks left in this pregnancy. I think that will go by super fast as the holiday season approaches. I know P is super anxious to meet her little man!

I have nothing really interesting to report as far as the pregnancy goes - everything is pretty much par for the course: too much peeing and never-ending baby kicks. However, I do have some BIG personal NEWS...

During this journey, I have been considering what to do with my time after this little one arrives. This will be the 8th child that I have carried and delivered, and it's very likely he will be my final carry. As my little ones are growing, I am finding myself with some free time on my hands. With the support of my family and friends, I decided to get licensed as a professional realtor! I am officially working for my local Keller Williams office while completing this surrogacy journey. It's definitely a change of pace and a new venture I'm very excited to begin.

Thanks for letting me share this news with you all! I'll be back next week with an update from the next ultrasound as well as that awful glucola appointment.