Baby girls hands and feet

Little Bruiser is growing!

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Thursday, 26 July 2012


Today, the Rafterys came over for a short visit, and gave me a gift. Well, ostensibly, Hamish gave me a gift. I didn't open it immediately as I wanted some cuddles first :D But after the cuddles, I had a look, and immediately had tears in my eyes... 

It is a necklace with a round two-part pendant - on the inside, there is a 'tree of life', and on the outside, a silver ring with the names of the three children that I carried and gave birth to - Benjamin, Sophie, and Hamish. Needless to say, this is something that I will cherish forever. Teary as I type this.

As I was putting it on, I realised that I had it all wrong from the very beginning. When I named this blog, I gave it a subtitle - A Journey to Surrogacy and Back. I don't know what I was thinking. This journey has changed the life of many people, my own included. It has brought a new life to being. There is no 'back' to go to... The only direction to go from here is forward. Ahead. Beyond. 

I am a tummy mummy. I grew and gave birth to Kylie and Adrian's child. I am proud, happy, fulfilled. 

And as of today, this blog has a new subtitle.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

And now for the compulsory bit...

yes, the birth story :D

We went for the pre-arranged monitoring appointment on Wednesday. We met our midwife first, who took us down to the clinic and sat us in the waiting room. The appointment was supposed to be at 10.45am. Time goes by, all the people who came before us have gone, people who have come after us have gone, yet we are still sitting, waiting... Our midwife came by at one point to check, was surprised to see us still waiting there, and I think she went to speak to the nurses at the front desk. More waiting. And more. Finally, shortly after about 12pm, the registrar who saw us on Monday walked past and had the good sense to ask us if we were waiting to be seen. As it turns out, they misplaced our paperwork, and the doctor who was supposed to see us actually finished her clinic half an hour prior to that... Great!! Glad we wasted our time in these oh-so-comfortable chairs (not!).

We then went in to see the doctor, who took my blood pressure (high at the first reading, normal at the second), felt the baby (well it isn't small, she said), and noted my lack of composure. She went to consult her supervisor, who said that induction would in fact be a good idea, and then we all went up to the antenatal ward to see when we can get in - after being warned that all the induction spots are booked out for the next five days, but there is a possibility of transferring to a different hospital. After about 5 minutes of consultation with the midwives upstairs, the doctor emerged victorious - we can induce today! In fact, we can induce as soon as the rooms are cleaned, as there was a cancellation literally in the last half hour or so! So, as it turns out, misplacement of paperwork can be a beneficial thing - had we been seen on time, we would have gone to the antenatal BEFORE the cancellation, and would have been sent home with an induction date of 23 July (5 days later, on my husband's 40th birthday...)

Anyhow, we went down to the cafe to have a quick bite to eat, and returned shortly after. At about 2.30pm, our midwife broke my waters. I wanted to see if this could bring on labour on its own, but the doctor (different one) who was looking after us said they wanted to put the drip with synthocinon in straight away as well. So about 15 minutes later, after doing some walking around the ward, I was plugged into the drip, and put onto the contraction and heartbeat monitors, none of which came off until after Hamish was born... Contractions started soonish, just little cramping here and there. In a couple of hours, they started getting a little stronger and more regular, enough so that not talking through them was a good idea. I kept upright, standing or sitting, for about the first two or three hours. Then I sat down on the bed for a bit, and then stood up again. After that, it was all over the place for about an hour - one strongish contraction, followed by three not so strong ones, and so on. Then, all of a sudden, bang! One really good one that I had to breathe through, and then it just never stopped... One after the other, getting stronger and stronger. I can't remember much from that point, except that I know I did a lot of screaming, and hung onto Kylie's hand for dear life (Adrian wisely exited after he made some silly joke and I didn't react favourably) - that never happened to me before, with either of my births. I can only surmise that it was the synthocinon - really, really intense. I went from 4cm to 8cm in about 40 minutes, and somewhere around there I begged the midwife for an epidural. She did go out to ask, but as she came back, the pain changed from completely unbearable to something that I could control a bit better - she started getting everything ready for the baby coming, and I started thinking that I could make it without the epidural after all.

Unfortunately, when the midwife checked the cervix, she discovered that I had the same thing happening as I had with Sophie - something called 'anterior lip'. This is basically when the top part of the cervix (the one closer to the stomach wall) does not dilate at the same rate as the rest of the cervix and there is a little 'lip' leftover, where the cervix is thicker than it should be. Not sure exactly why this is, but possibly it has something to do with the placement of the baby's head. It also means that at that point labour slows way down, and the cervix takes quite some time to dilate fully. Bummer. So I did end up with an epidural in the end, although I had to wait for one for about an hour and a half. When it was put in, all was bliss for a little bit, and then I spiked a fever. Again, not sure why, possibly some sort of infection, as my waters were broken by then for a good while. Hamish's heart-rate went way up (mostly around 180bpm, but Kylie said it was over 200bmp at one point), then it slowed right down (all the way to 80bpm)... Anyway, it took about 3 hours on the epidural for the cervix to dilate fully. When I started feeling a bit of pressure, I started pushing, and he was out in less then 20 minutes - came out crying, straight into Kylie's hands. Adrian got to cut the cord, and there were some tears from all of us. It felt wonderful to see them all together.

Hamish on day 1

I'm sure I would have enjoyed the whole thing more if I was a little more with it. I felt completely exhausted, and this wasn't helped by my somewhat lazy uterus - apparently it wasn't contracting after the delivery as it should, and I lost some extra blood and had to be put on an extra drip with something or other to help it along. My fever also declined the invitation to leave me alone and persisted in hanging about, so I was left on two different types of antibiotics for almost 36 hours.

We all transferred into the postnatal ward, and as I had the fever, Hamish was kept in the hospital for 24 hours as well for observation. We were all discharged the next day, but unfortunately Hamish got a bit of a fever that night, and ended up at the emergency. The fever went down pretty quickly, but they put him on IV antibiotics and put him through all tests imaginable (bloods, urine, X-ray, ultrasound, even attempted a lumbar puncture), but found nothing except elevated leukocytes in his urine - possibly indicating urinary tract infection. Last night, the little man and his family were finally allowed to go home.

Throughout all this, Hamish has been a delightful little thing. He barely cries (except when his nappy or clothes are getting changed), and when he is upset or just not too happy, he makes tiny little squeaky noises - he sounds like a little mouse :D With the exception of the first day/night, he consumes his formula with relish and keeps it down without much spewing up (of course, the one time that I gave him a feed, he spewed most of it back all over me... probably my fault though, that was one of the very first times I ever attempted to bottle-feed a baby, my technique must suck!).

Hamish and I on day 4 - fortunately wearing a dark top so that  you can't see the spew stains... :D

I have been doing quite well. Up until yesterday I just had to deal with a little tiredness - alas, yesterday early morning I woke up in pain and realised that the milk fairy has been... My boobs are absolutely killing me, and for some reason my back got rather painful as well - I imagine it might be related, as I am noticeably top-heavier now! So I've been popping Panadol and padding my bra with chilled cabbage leaves. Frankly, it is hell... but the midwife says it shouldn't last for much longer than 48 hours.

As a side note, while physically I am still recovering, emotionally I have been completely fine. Not even a little tiny bit of the blues that one normally gets on day 2 or 3 post partum. The only thing that makes me a bit sad is that I have all this milk and it's getting wasted! :D

And that's about all. Actually, there are bits and pieces that I haven't written about, but this is now so long that I might leave that for another time. I apologize in advance for any typos or grammatical errors - not proofreading this!

Before I go, I want to thank all of you who have been following the blog or just stopping by to check on me. Although the primary purpose of this blog was to have a journal of my journey, I really appreciate knowing that there are many people out there who have been here with me all the way. In particular, thank you for your comments - you have been great support! 

Friday, 20 July 2012

My work here is done...

Hamish Donavan Raftery was born at 3.36am on 19 July, weighing in at 8 pounds 14. We are all well, recovering in the hospital but going home soon.

For your viewing pleasure, here is 'First cuddles from mummy - Kylie and Hamish, at 1 minute of age'

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Would you believe...

that Bruiser still has not deemed it appropriate to grace us with his presence? You betcha! I am starting to feel like this is never going to happen!! Really, really anxious now as I keep thinking that every extra day only increases the possibility of something going wrong...

Off to monitoring at the hospital clinic tomorrow... You don't want to know what happened on Monday after I cracked it and called the midwife in tears saying that I can't deal with the pressure anymore (emotional, not physical) - but I'm going to tell you anyway. We went for a monitoring then, the result of which was 'baby is doing fine, your cervix is progressing beautifully, no space for you now so come back on Wednesday and we'll talk then'. That made me feel even more stressed than I already was and I burst into tears in front of the midwife, the registrar, Kylie and Adrian and both of my kids (who were thankfully fully immersed in the joys of iPad games and didn't pay any attention to my display of theatrics) - feel very bad for K & A though witnessing that, as I'm sure it's only made them feel guilty. But that, folks, wasn't the worst part. About a minute after everyone left the room to give me space to get myself together (and about two minutes after I acknowledged the registrar's statement that the baby is doing fine by saying that I am aware of that fact, just as well as I'm aware of the fact that this can change in a matter of minutes), some poor woman in the room next door started wailing desperately and crying 'my baby, my baby'... Kylie and Adrian, who were by then in the waiting room, of course heard it as well, and there were apparently midwives crying and doctors bustling into the room... Obviously, this is someone else's tragedy. But for me, and I imagine particularly for K & A, it was the absolutely worst possible end to our little outing. Depressing day followed. Today I had another really crappy, and rather painful, day. While I would love to entertain the notion that the full-on crampiness could be a sign of impending labour, I am not overly optimistic...

Come on Little Bruiser, 41 weeks tomorrow!! Stop this nonsense and get your butt out!

Friday, 13 July 2012


still nothing. Nada. Niente. No movement in the station. Hmph.

Little Bruiser should get a Little Busy before I get a Little Batty.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

One day shy of full term

... and LB is still taking full advantage of free board.

I am getting a little (well, maybe a bit more than little) worried about the size - seems rather heavy, and is definitely long. The midwife today didn't think that the baby was too big (although she did comment on the length), and said that I might have a lot of amniotic fluid, which would account for the heaviness. Not sure about that one, hoping she knows what she's talking about... but at the last largish ultrasound we had (the 3D one at 34 week) the sonographer said that the fluid amount was on the low side of normal. So I don't know.

At this point I am really over it, and I just wish that he hurried up and came out to meet his parents already! The idea of carrying him for, possibly, another two weeks, does not exactly fill me with happiness - it would make things rather difficult from a lot of points of view. Also, and this is probably just the 'over it' bit talking, I feel like I've been on this surrogacy journey forever now, and I am quite ready for it to be done and dusted. It has been a huge part of my life for, well, at least the last year and a half, and in a smaller way for much longer.

So, it is time, Little Bruiser! Get your gear ready and make your grand entrance! Anytime soon would be good!!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


And yes, again, still 2 in 1. Ugh...

The day after I posted last week we had a midwife appointment, and as part of it she did a 'stretch and sweep' - for the uninitiated as to this particular loveliness, the midwife (or doctor) inserts their finger/s into the vagina, finds the cervix, and if that is at all dilated, tries to stretch it a bit and separate the membranes of the amniotic sac just past its entrance from the uterine wall. At the time the midwife said that I was 2cm dilated and my cervix was anterior and thinned out a bit. Well, needless to say, nothing eventuated from that little adventure but a little bit of cramping on the day. Today's appointment brought another stretch and sweep and not much in terms of encouraging news - still 2cm, although cervix apparently a little 'softer', so I guess at least we're moving in the right direction. However, LB was, for the first time, not behaving himself quite as nicely as usual, and was slightly posterior (his spine facing mine), which, while not a huge problem, could mean longer and more painful labour, if s/he stays that way. Again, ugh...

So, for the time being, no movement at the station - although everything is all set for the grand entrance, what with both Kylie and Adrian being here and settled, and hubby off work to be able to watch the kids while I'm otherwise occupied. 

And so we wait.