This blog post written by Tiffany, Surrogate Mother
Let's start with the most important part, the babies. Baby A and Baby B have been very active and strong in utero. I have loved feeling them move and wake each other and "dance." They love music. At seven months pregnant (27 weeks), I can pin point their wakeful times of the day usually to the hour. Typically, Baby B is the wild child. He is the mover and shaker and loves to wake up Baby A. He is the one most people can feel (and see!) from the outside.
On Friday night, I drove from Bellingham to a friend's house in Maple Valley (about two hours). The following day, I was scheduled to photograph my last wedding of the season in Olympia (another hour south of where I was staying). A good friend, and fellow photographer, Todd Atchison had agreed to be my second shooter for the wedding, so I stayed with him and his wife, Lindsay, (one of my best friends) on Friday night. I arrived around 9pm and stayed up chatting with Lindsay until about 1am. When I went to bed, I realized, I had not felt Baby B move all day, and not since Thursday evening. I became concerned and tried several positions for over an hour to get him to move. Around 2am I posted in my Surrogacy group for advice. Was I being too paranoid? Was this normal for twins? I stayed awake until 4am with no luck of getting him to move. I slept in and out, waking every 20 min or so trying to get him to move. By Saturday late morning, it was time to call the doctor. I felt silly, but all my surrogate sisters had said it was better safe than sorry and for the peace of mind I should probably get checked and many of them had been in my position before. The on call nurse insisted I head to the nearest hospital to Labor and Delivery so I could be checked out, as Baby B could be in distress. At that point, I was a little worried. It had been so long since I had felt him, and I was trying not to worry. I called my brother and let him know that everything was okay, but they just wanted to check. They said they would meet me at Tacoma General Hospital. I felt so and for them, I did not want to scare them, even though I myself was worried and I knew they would worry too. Natalie told me later she felt like throwing up. :(
It was now about 11am and I had to be at the wedding at 1:30pm to start photos. I have never missed a wedding and started to panic a little about this. My second shooter, Todd, owns his own photography company and he offered to start the photos until I was able to get there. He drove me to the hospital and took off for the wedding. I met James and Natalie (and Hunter too!) in the waiting room.
I was anxious to be checked and make sure everything was okay and get back to the wedding. Of course it takes FOREVER, but the staff was wonderful. We were able to hear the heart beats right away which was VERY reassuring. And of course, once hooked up to the heart beat monitor, Baby B started to wake up and be more active. Of course. I was so happy to feel his strong kicks but felt a little sheepish.
Photo of the heart rate monitors checking on the twins:
Now, lots of people have asked me "How can you tell who is who?" This is a great question that I did not know before carrying twins. Each baby implants to part of your uterine wall and stays there. Whichever one implants a little lower, is Baby A, as typically (in most cases) baby A is born first. They stay there during your pregnancy. Every now and then I cannot tell who is who if the kick/punch/kung fu twirl is in the middle. Other than that, it is very obvious who is moving and where they are.
While listening to the heart beats, I made plans of escaping. I wanted so desperately to be at the wedding now that I knew Baby B was alive and well and punching me. However, the doctors had other plans. They wanted to see his heart rate increase by 10 for 10 seconds. Twice. Baby A had already completed the task and we were just waiting for Baby B to jump on the band wagon. Their heart rates were both averaging around 143 beats per min (this is normal for their gestational age). They wanted to see Baby B's heart rate jump 10 beats, up to the 153 range and hold their for 10 seconds. This would indicate normal neurological activity. Now I am sure there is some medical professional out there shaking there head at my explanation, so I will have to double check that my "terminology" is right, but bear with me for now as the weekend has been crazy! Baby B had already done this once, so we were feeling pretty confident he would do it again. He was just taking his time.
Can I show up to the wedding in my hospital gown? How much longer do I have to stay?
Baby B FINALLY cooperated and the doctor felt satisfied and I was discharged! He said it was great I came in, if Baby B had been in distress, they would have had to take action and it is better to check than to wait. Overall, I was happy too.
I was able to make it to the wedding, just over two hours late and busted it out the best I could! It was an adorable wedding. I cried at least three times, especially when the father of the bride gave his speech and started to cry. That gets me every time! The couple was so understanding about my absence and Todd did an amazing job while I was gone. I was very grateful for him. The bride and groom have been clients of mine for a while and it was such a pleasure and honor to be able to photograph their wedding. They are so very, truly in love. I loved watching them on their big night, the way they looked at each other, touched other, snuck in sweet kisses. Weddings always make me miss my husband.
Here are some photos from last night's wedding:
After the wedding I was excited to drive home and see my family. However, my body had other plans. Todd drove us home and I threw up most of the way. Poor Todd! What day for him. I was so very sick, I spent the night at their house again. Since I had barely slept the night before, I was able to sleep fairly well after the long day I had.
I finally drove home this afternoon. I got in the car and was so excited to go home to be with my boys. I called one of my dearest friends, put the phone on speaker phone, stuck it in my shirt and drove home, catching up with her about life, struggles, love, loss and much more. I was so happy to be catching up with her, and not worrying about anything else. Then.... the car started to slow down... on the freeway... oh my gosh, what was happening? I pulled over and it died. It had had trouble starting this morning and yesterday, it's an old car, but usually never fails like this! Well, since I am an AWESOME mechanic, I was able to diagnose the problem almost instantly: it just needed a little more gas. Apparently cars these days are super sensitive, if you are way below the E, it will no longer run. Strange right? So after feeling like and idiot, and being 40 miles from home, two of my friends came to my rescue. One was on her way to a photo shoot and could not be late, so she dropped off a delicious organic brownie and some water while the other brought gas! I have great friends who put up with my shenanigans. Next time, I will look at the gas tank before heading on a two hour trip. Talk about feeling sheepish!
Overall, I am happy to be home! I was able to color and paint with my boys tonight. Tomorrow I will see the doctor for a check up since my blood pressure was a little high on Saturday (which it never is), I also had trace amounts of protein in my urine, some extra swelling and we can also check babies one more time. The babies have been moving and kicking like crazy again and are back to their regularly scheduled program.
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