Tommy Turns Two Months!

Eight Tuesdays ago our little boy made his entrance into the world! Hard to believe this week we can say we have a 2 month old!

His biggest milestone this month is that he went from sleeping only 2 hour stretches (it was rough) to through the night?! This kid now goes down at 10:30 pm and sleeps until 8:00 am in the morning. How is this possible might you ask? He cluster feeds big time from 4-10:30 at night. But we don’t mind. You do what you gotta do to sleep through the night Tommy. Your parents are very happy campers.

Tommy continues to be the sweetest gentlest big teddy bear of babies. His smiles are much more frequent these days and we love getting to know him better now that he is awake more during the day! He loves swatting at toys on his tummy mat and mimicking mommy and daddy. Sometimes he will try to wave back at you! Or click his tongue back at you.

Tommy’s two month stats:

Weight: 15.7 pounds!

Jammies: 9 month size

Diaper: Size 3

Clothes: 6 month size, moving into 9 months

Socks: 12-24 months

HE CONTINUES TO BE A TANK. The cutest, sweetest tank there ever was. We are so in love.

Tomorrow is his 8 week check up for shots and to see where he is on the growth chart. Last time he was at 99% in all categories…

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Our New Normal

SO I thought this blog was over. My last post I wrapped it up – at least on my end of things now that baby is here. Tommy was born on June 12th. We got our happy ending and what an ending it was. T4 happened. Our miracle somehow happened. Our unicorn made our dream come true.

BUT…

Apparently I was totally off base. I have been receiving a lot of comments of people not too happy with me (in the nicest way possible) for ending the story just when Tommy got here. As they have put it people are invested in this love story. One comment said this was the greatest love story I have ever been apart of. Another said I am so sad this is over. It was good in my feed when right now there is so much bad. And yet another was from a mom wondering what its like after the baby is here as an intending mother.

SO…

I have been trying to find an hour to write an update. An hour is basically unheard of with two kids 3 and under, so bare with me as posts will be a little bit more spread out. But I will try to do posts every couple months!

I have so much to say. Where to start?

So what is our new normal?

Well Travis took 6 weeks off  for paternity leave and it was glorious!!! We really got to establish our family as T4.  We alternated nights so someone was well rested for Teagan. We had so many fun adventures like the pool, a deer petting zoo, and even a trip to a cabin for a family reunion!

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He just went back this week and oh my gosh do we miss daddy! It was a wonderful and I am so grateful. Tommy is basically a Travis mini me in looks and personality. They are the best father son duo! Just like daddy Tommy is a chill little boy who is quiet and loves his sleep, ha! Just in time for daddy to go back to work Tommy slept through the night for the first time. How considerate is he??

Tommy sleeps from 10 – 6. You feed him and he is back down until 9:30. Then you feed him again and he is down until 11 ish. Then he sleeps again until 4. At which point he really “wakes up for the day” and cluster feeds until 10pm. We see Brandi and family about once a week to visit and pick up the milk Brandi is pumping for him. When we can we try to have the meet ups somewhere were the kids can get together like the park! I love having another person to share all his milestones with and send pics all the time to Brandi.

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I have been getting A LOT of questions now that I am walking around with a baby! Here are the top 3 questions I get!

The number one question I get is, “Can you believe he is here?”

Now, yes. But it took a while to fully let in.

I still tear up and get emotional.  I am not sure I will ever NOT be when it comes to Tommy.  I am coming to realize that I had a lot of walls up to survive this process. How could you not? SO many times I thought we might loose him. That we might not get him here at all. That I needed to come to terms with having one child. And because of that – he doesn’t seem real sometimes even still. Although the walls are coming down and it feels like the biggest weight has been lifted off my chest and shoulders. Like for the first time in nearly 1.5 years I can take a deep breath again.

The cashier at Target ran around and hugged me and started crying when she saw me come into her line today with a baby carrier. She had seen me buy all of his clothes and knew the whole story. She was in shock – she couldn’t believe it was him. She stopped and just soaked him in – you could see it in her eyes. Like she was seeing a miracle – and she was. She turned off her light in her aisle and we held hands and hugged for a good couple minutes tearing up in the middle of target together. This journey brings you together with people. People that you don’t even really know. People love, love. And Tommy and his story – it is the greatest love story I have ever been apart of in my lifetime too.  

The second question I get most often is,  “How is Teagan handling it?”

I have never been more proud of my daughter. Seeing her love for her brother is the other piece to this love story. This morning she said mom I will feed him his bottle. You make me eggs and I will feed him his bottle. Every morning she parks herself next to brother and gives him a paci or his bottle. I don’t ask her to do this. She just does. She swoons over him and “pets” him and just recites, “Tommy. tommy, tommy, Thomas the Tank…” On days when she sees me stressed trying to juggle it all (he is the easy one, she is more clingy these days) she gives me hugs and tries to feed me haha. She is taking care of mom and brother. She waited half her little life for the title of Big Sister and she is rocking it.

The third question I get the most is, “Can you believe this became your story? That surrogacy would be so fundamental to your life?”

No. Not in a million years did I think surrogacy or this would be in my life story. This blog reached 88 countries. What a crazy ride seemingly out of nowhere. But I have to say being on the other side of it – I am just so honored to be apart of this surrogacy community. Like goosebumps as I type that kind of honored. No one asks for infertility. No one asks for this and you question why you a million times. But looking back – wow. It enriched my life in the biggest ways.

I am still part of the surrogacy facebook groups. Every day I see people pouring their heart and soul into posts trying to find a surrogate or vice versa – a surrogate trying to find a family. The people on these sites have TRAGIC stories – I mean gut wrenching things have happened to them and not only are they sharing their story with the world in hopes to find a surrogate but even after all their pain they are still trying and determined, and HOPEFUL. And then you see in real time as a woman comments that she may be a good match. And then a couple months later you see this couple post that they are pregnant! My feed is full of miracle after miracle happening in real time. And I get to be a fly on the wall for all of it!? Its an honor. Lifetime could not come up with better love stories.

The other day a same sex couple uploaded a video of their 10 year anniversary party. At the party they let everyone know they were expecting. It was a surprise to everyone in the room. And then they had the surrogate come on stage and they did the gender reveal! But then in a awesome crazy twist they say, we have one more surprise. And they bring another pregnant lady on stage. Their other surrogate!! They were essentially having twins – 2 boys 8 weeks apart. I remember months ago reading their story. Their first surrogate had not panned out and they were looking for a match –  they got their happy ending x2!

Tommy and Brandi have enriched my life beyond anything I could have ever dreamed. I have learned so much from Brandi. And Tommy you have already done so much with your short little life. I am so proud to be your mama. Not to mention you give the best little snuggles ever.

My favorite love story – signing off as T4 with our first ever family pic!

I will be back as time allows – if you have anything you are curious about or would like me to share please comment!

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Ten Days of Tommy

Ten days ago, on June 12th Tommy was born.  And T4, became a reality.

If you have been following Tommy’s story you know it has been chock FULL of the highest highs and lowest lows. And his birth followed suit. After his valiant unicorn tried to bring him into the world for 42 hours he made it very clear a c section was the only way he was making his debut.

During that 42 hours all of V6 and we were together. My husband keeping Brandi’s boys distracted with his Nintendo Switch. The girls and I going through Tommy’s diaper bag picking out the perfect first outfit for him to wear. Bryan being the ever devoted husband to Brandi through all of it. And Brandi, fighting with all her might to get him here. Her strength was amazing to witness. Truly.

When the time for the c section came, both Bryan, my husband and I were in the OR.  We were there for the moment the OR literally gasped and froze. Tommy was HUGE (10 lbs 4 oz). His head? Way too big to fit through a pelvis. The 42 hours all made perfect sense. Brandi’s body knew he wouldn’t fit, thus the no progression.

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We were quickly ushered out of the OR. We had no idea what was happening for the next couple hours. But we knew something must be going on. Brandi should have been out by now. And we desperately wanted her to meet Tommy.

You see once Tommy was out of Brandi – we no longer had rights to know about her health. Which I guess makes sense legally. But I don’t think the nurses realized just how close we are and they figured that out pretty fast. We quickly learned of the placenta acreta. And we we’re shocked. Oh what Brandi went through. 😩😲😰  We were constantly in each other’s rooms in the time that followed. Tommy getting Unicorn time and Brandi Tommy Time.

And in that time without a doubt Tommy and Brandi knew each other and definitely recognized one another.  Tommy listening to her voice and Brandi feeling the HUGE feet that had been kicking in a certain part of ribs. Her kids were some of the first people to give him bottles, change diapers, and burp him…

And it was beautiful. Like tears in my eyes beautiful. Our son was so loved. By so many people.

What a gift. And we couln’t thank Brandi and V6 enough for all they did for him (and us).

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Leaving the hospital was hard. I think for all of us. What a journey we had just been on and for nearly a year and half! But what made it bearable was knowing this was see ya later (we saw them a week later for the first time) not good bye. The first chapter of many.

Tommy came home to a big sister, who to put it lightly was over the moon. SHE IS OBSESSED with her little brother. She has been waiting half her life for him to get here.  She wakes up every morning asking for Tommy. She has learned how to give him a bottle, a paci, and go get diapers. She is genuinely a super helper.

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Tommy, himself, is the CHILLEST baby ever. Just one laid back little dude! Does he cry? Yeah a little if you could call it that? Its more like a grunt..like hey feed me! The boy is 99 percentile across all measurements. He went right into size one diapers and is in 3 month clothes. He downs bottles like a guy at a frat party guzzling down a beer (don’t judge that comparison but it makes me laugh just how much he guzzles down his milk! – gulp, gulp, gulp.) He eats DOUBLE that of an average newborn. TANK. Thomas the Tank is right! Check out his report card!

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His days  are spent sleeping, eating, burping, pooping, smiling, and even doing tummy time! He loves hanging with mom on the deck, laying on dad video gaming, dozing in his newborn lounger.

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At night he wakes up every 2 hours for more milk 😉 As the doc said, its hard for him to maintain that figure (and triple chin) of his with out eating that much 😉 (Brandi is working her butt off pumping milk for him and we do milk runs down to Owatonna every few days.) On the latest one we were even able to capture a very special chalkboard picture…

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Every time we look at him we cant believe he is real. That he is actually here. He is showered in kisses on the regular, sniffed because he smells so dang good, and held as much as humanly possible.

One of the first posts I ever wrote for the blog I wrote the following…

Follow our journey in real time – before a pregnancy announcement. Ride the highs with us. Hunker down with us for the lows. I can’t promise a happy ending. It will be real. It will be raw. It will be real life. But I can promise you it will be a story of love. Of perseverance. Of a village of people trying to bring Baby Daudelin #2 in the world. And IF that baby does come into the world – you got to be here for the whole thing. ❤

And with tears streaming down my face and a baby on my chest, I get to say…

You got to be here for the whole thing. ❤

(Thank you from the bottom of my heart for following this journey. This blog saved me. Well Brandi saved me, but this blog saved me as well. Surrogacy is not for the faint of heart. It was SO therapeutic to write and to have so many people care.)

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Tommy’s Arrival Journey by Brandi

It’s been a week since Tommy was a bun in my oven.  The journey ended in the most unpredictable way we could have imagined.  And honestly, a little scary.  It’s taken me this last week to really process what exactly happened.  And for me it’s deepened my faith! There is no way that what happened is anything short of what God had planned according to His perfect will!

So this is the last picture I took at exactly 39 weeks, just before heading into the hospital to get checked and start the induction process.

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We knew Tommy was pretty big. We knew this since our 20 week ultrasound.  But I don’t think we knew just how big until the end.

Once I got checked in around 1:00 we started on cytotec.  This was given about every two hours, for up to six doses, to start the softening of my cervix and begin contracting.  The doctor and nurses, based on their experience, told us it may take 2-3 doses, then we would start the pitocin.  This is where the long journey began.  I had all six doses. 😕

My body was responding, but quite slowly.  Our original plan was for Tory and Travis to come down to the hospital  when I started the pit.   But they were too excited so they came down around 8:30!  At that point I was getting my fifth dose of cytotec.  I was 50-60% effaced but still only 1.5 cm.

At 12:30 am on Monday I got my last dose of cytotec and went back to sleep. At 2:00 a doctor check showed my cervix was still unchanged.  Around 2:30 our doctor started cervidil, which could be in for up to 12 hours. This would help soften the cervix.  I was checked again at 9:30 (Monday morning…) but had not dilated any more.

Fast-forward to 1:00 pm (now 24 hours in). We started yet another man-made solution to bring Tommy into this world. A foley balloon catheter.  This would be to dilate my cervix manually.  It did help to bring on some pretty strong contractions, and close together, too!  So we started the pitocin.  I was having some pretty good pain but wasn’t ready for the epidural yet so the nurse gave me a dose of fentanyl.  With fentanyl, pain relief only lasts one to two hours.  But with the contractions I was experiencing we thought that may be ok.  Maybe things were actually progressing!  But of course, just as my body had been showing throughout the last 24 hours, it was not ready to respond fast enough.  So in goes a 2nd dose of fentanyl.  Most common side effect – nauseau and vomiting.  So now I was given zofran to help with the nauseau.  I was checked at 3:30 pm only to be dilated to a 2-3.  But my pain was strong enough that we decided to start the epidural.  It was working enough to help me calm my body that I was now at a 3 at 5:30!

Maybe things were finally starting to progress and we were going to go quicker.  This is what my body had done four times before with my kids; once I got the epidural my body steadily moved right along!

But just kidding.  A 7:45 pm check still had me at a 3.😢. Our doctor continued to up the pitocin.

11:30 pm, still only 3 cm dilated.

It was at this point where my emotions started getting real.  I was exhausted at this point.  Almost 36 hours into forcing labor on my body, with very little sleep, and nothing to show for it. Our doctor decided to gather Travis and Tory into our room for a conference about where to go from here.  We had a few options yet to explore.  We could

1) stop everything and send me home.                                     2) break my water and continue to up pitocin, committing us to being there for another 24 hours, ending with a baby somehow.                                                                                            3) c-section now.

So let me interject here.  From about 34/36 weeks on, the one thing I kept saying to others, my doctor, God, was that I did not want to labor for a long time, have Tommy get stuck because of how big he was, THEN have to have a c-section.  In fact, I pleaded with God and asked whole-heartedly to NOT have a c-section. Now it was on the table as a real option.

I cried.  My one fear was staring at me.  I had to be able to bounce back after having Tommy.  I wasn’t going to have a baby to “force” me to sit and heal.  I had four kids at home whose lives didn’t stop just because I had to heal.   Other than a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, I had never had a surgery.  I was scared of the actual procedure as well as the recovery time.

We decided to break my water and continue pitocin.  We got to the highest dose of 20 units (probably not the right term, but whatever…lol).  That took us to 2:00 am, where there was still no significant change.  I was very nauseous, experiencing chills and still having contractions.  So signs of active labor!  But nothing actually happening.  So at 2:30 am our doctor had one more thing to try – an intrauterine contraction pressure monitor.  See, the monitor could tell us when I was having contractions.  And they looked like pretty mountains, and I could feel them even with the epidural.  So you would think strong enough to produce a baby!  But the IUCP would give more information on the strength the contractions actually had in dilating my cervix.

During these last several hours is when I went into prayer.  Complete prayer.  Bryan was sleeping so it was the perfect time to converse with God.  At this point I knew He had a different plan for how this all was going to play out.  My prayer at this point was for safety for me and Tommy, as well as peace about whatever He was planning.

At 4:30 am Tuesday morning, our second day on this delivery journey, our doctor came in to share the news that the IUCP wasn’t giving accurate information. And the next decision to be made was to have the c-section.  The crazy part was, I had totally surrendered to God’s plan and was at total peace.  I knew He had this!  (I’m crying as I type this…even a week out it’s still so fresh in my heart.)

And what followed was, in my opinion, nothing short of God’s amazing grace and provision!!  We went into surgery after switching my epidural out for a spinal.  (Can I say, being a control freak, this was NOT something I liked…not having ANY control of my lower body.)  They started another IV line for me in case anything was needed.  Then they started the surgery.  I could feel the pressure but no pain, just as they had told me.  And all of a sudden I hear the whole room gasp and comment about the size of Tommy’s head!!!  Saying there was no way that head was coming out vaginally!  Lol.  And then another gasp and more comments when the doctor pulled out his shoulders!  Tommy was here!!!  And he was healthy!!!!

And then things changed.  I had what is called placenta accreta. 1 in 2,500 pregnancies experience this. It’s where my placenta was growing into the uterine wall.  Another doctor was called in.  And the scraping began.  They had to scrape away my placenta from the muscle of the uterus.  I could start feeling pain, not just pressure.  So they put more of the spinal medicine in.  I lost a fair amount of blood due to this – 900 ml.  But once again God’s grace was shown.  Out of the 2,500 women who go through this, only 10% of them do not have to have a blood transfusion.  I was one of the 10%!

A surgery that should have taken about 30 minutes took almost an hour and forty minutes.  My older daughter later told me she was concerned.  Bryan, my rock through all of this, was scared he was going to have to make the decision for me to have a hysterectomy…something we had not discussed.  It was a scary moment in this journey.

Once I was in recovery and was told what happened I knew the exact reason why God grew Tommy too big to birth vaginally.  Why He gave me peace about having a c-section, even though it was the ONE thing I asked not to have.  He knew better.  He knew what the doctor couldn’t have found on any ultrasound.  God knew that if I were to try to fight like hell to push Tommy out vaginally (although it kind of feels like we tried) and the doctors found the placenta accreta blindly, that there would have been a lot more blood loss, and I would have been rushed back in for emergency surgery anyways.

God is good.  His provision is full of grace.  And His ways are higher than our ways.  Always.

The recovery has been good.  And the pain I experience through the healing is worth every second now that I get to see the family I helped create.  I am healthy.  Tommy is healthy. And he is beautiful.  My heart is full!

As far as another surrogacy journey (which many of you have asked me about along the way), I was told I cannot.  A c-section with placenta accreta increases the likelihood that I would have it again.  In this case it would be too dangerous for me to be pregnant again, mine and Bryan’s or a surrogate baby.  So after a heart dream that has been stirring in my heart since 1998, I have been blessed to achieve that heart dream.  To bless another family.  And for that I am beyond grateful!!

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38 weeks and Tommy’s LAST ultrasound!

Tory here!

We are a whopping 38 weeks this week! His due date is June 17! Today we had his 38 week appointment and his final ultrasound.

The next time we all see him, he will be on the outside 😱😍!!!

The ultrasound tech referred to him as a sumo baby, I call him Hercules! This kid’s head is measuring in at 41 weeks, 3 weeks ahead of schedule. His legs and stomach meaure in at 40 weeks. Overall he is measuring exactly 2 weeks ahead in size!

Over at the Daudelin household, cellphones are on constantly waiting for “the call”.  The dog days of pregnancy, as our OBGYN put it, are well under way for all involved. Brandi in discomfort and us in anxiety for that call!

His last ultrasound pics! A very squished little Tommy!

Tommy you have been in the works for 18 months. Yup, a year and a half. You can choose to come any time now… 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦

36 weeks through the Unicorn’s eyes

It’s usually around this time that pregnant women start feeling like they are done. That it’s time to meet their baby. I am, once again, no exception to this. The last week or two I have answered the same to questions of how I am feeling. I’m ready to be done. I’m slowing down. It’s harder to do the daily things like getting dressed, taking a shower, shaving (yeah, not happening), doing the dishes (as they still sit on the counter). And sleep seems like a thing of the past.

Today’s appointment confirmed why I’m feeling so sore and more tired and more swollen than I remember feeling at this stage in my other 4 pregnancies. At 36 weeks 3 days, Tommy is measuring 39 weeks!!!! Holy buckets is right! He’s healthy and still active, which is the most important part. But boy oh boy is he big! And the pressure he’s putting on my southern hemisphere makes total sense now!

So you readers may be thinking the same thing: Brandi still has 3 ½ more weeks left. Tommy is NOT done growing! Yep. And cue some unicorn tears. Where else is he going to grow? And him growing AND continuing to move south means there’s more pain and pressure to come. Oh boy! Lol. And now we’re talking a potential 10# baby! My biggest was 9#2oz. And I don’t have gestational diabetes. And my blood pressure is great – 114/68! Stay tuned I guess.

Tonight my hubby and I went on a walk. We try to do that as often as our schedule allows to help things keep movin’ right along. Between Tommy being big and Tory researching that IVF/surro babies tend to come a little early, I’m thinking there’s hope I can lovingly return this little (big) miracle back to his parents sooner rather than later. I’m just concerned now at the potential of a c-section. Although after having lunch with a friend today, she assured me it’s not bad. There’s pain, just in a different area than if it was a vaginal birth.

And I have to give my hubby and family props! They are so supportive and understanding when I have to go sit and not clear the table after supper. Or when I come home from picking up the kids from school and have to lay down and take a nap bc I’m exhausted. They are as much a part of this journey as I am! And for that I am thankful and blessed!!!

Oh, and I haven’t mentioned yet that we are moving in a week and a half!! Closer to where we will deliver which will be nice. A friend I chatted with tonight said calling this “ambitious “is an understatement. It sure sounds better than the term I use…CRAZY!!! But with the help of friends and family we will get ‘er done!

So as I am coming to a close on this heart dream I feel so blessed to be called to do this. I am so thankful for Tory, Travis and Teagan. And even though I feel as I do, there are NO regrets! I have seen God work throughout this journey. And I know He’s not done moving through us or our story.

 

 

 

Our 36 Week Ultrasound: Our Little Boy Is NOT So Little After All…

Tory here!

This week we are 36 weeks!!! Tommy is healthy and doing wonderfully! Normally I would tell you at week 36 Tommy is the size of a honeydew melon. However, Tommy is actually the size of a pumpkin. Yup. A pumpkin. He is measuring 39 weeks on all fronts – his brain, stomach, down to his legs. He is measuring 3 weeks ahead.  He is estimated to weigh 8.5 pounds already.

I can attest that none of us were expecting that news. To put this in perspective, Teagan was late and weighed 6 pounds 14 oz. Although Brandi’s kids were bigger than Teagan – they weren’t this big.

So what does that mean? Honestly not a whole lot.  (Just that we have a big baby on our hands! Dad is 6 feet 4 inches so I am not in total shock I guess…)

It does not mean he will necessarily come early. It DOES mean that all the newborn clothes I JUST took the tags off of and washed are probably going to be replaced with 0-3 in his hospital bag….because of course LOL.

This week marked tons of preparation for Tommy from putting the car seat in the car, packing hospital bags to sterilizing bottles! The Daudelin household is prepped and ready!

On some crazy cool notes some really exciting things happened this week regarding the blog. Our story was published by Love What Matters and we have a bunch of new followers this week – welcome to all of you by the way! And for the first time ever we were recognized out in public together!!! A woman who follows the blog recognized us leaving the hospital and introduced herself. UM, COOL.What a fun moment!!! (If you are reading you made our day!)

The big day is fast approaching and to everyone that is new and to everyone who has been here for the whole thing we cant thank you enough for your joy and excitement leading up to our little, I mean NOT so little, man’s arrival!

xoxoxo