Our Maternity Pictures: It Takes a Village

When I was pregnant with Teagan I had done a maternity photo shoot around 30 weeks pregnant. In her room, to this day, is the collage of her maternity pictures and she asks me about them all the time.

I wanted Tommy to have the same. Yes, his may look a bit different. And yes he may have a bit more people in his. But that’s what makes them so beautiful. I wanted to document his village. His literal “unicorn squad”. Please note the shirts 😉 Not to mention Brandi’s rock and support system in her hubby Bryan whose support made this journey possible.

I want to be able to point to these when he has questions. I want him to SEE the love and excitement leading up to his arrival.  All the credit in the world to Katy from Captured Glory Photography! She not only captured our families beautifully, but our story too…

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Daudelin Maternity-Daudelin Maternity-0054.jpgView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternityView More: http://capturedgloryphotography.pass.us/daudelin-maternity

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Happy Mother’s Day…at the 35 week mark!

Yesterday was a big day!  We made it to 35 weeks…which means anytime Tommy wants to meet his family, he can be born in Owatonna, not Rochester.  Much closer!  Although we want him to gain another pound or so!

It was also a big day in that it was Mother’s Day!  It’s a day that brings this journey around full circle for me.  I got to celebrate a day set aside for being a mom.  I have been blessed with four beautiful kiddos!  And with my husband by my side all day who helped make this day possible, I feel even more blessed and thankful for their support.  And on this Mother’s day, I am thankful that I can help in giving Tory another reason to celebrate this beautiful day!!

So how has the unicorn been?  Tired, sore, feeling like a whale…but so thankful that Tommy and I are healthy.  At 35 weeks he’s starting to run out of room.  He’s around 18″ and over 5 lbs.  However, it would be interesting to know exactly how big Tommy is…being that he’s measuring a week ahead!  But let me tell you, his kicks and butt movements are SO strong! And he still gets hiccups 4 or more times a day.

At this point in the pregnancy many people are asking me how I am feeling emotionally.  As far as handing Tommy back to Travis and Tory, I can’t wait to see that new bond begin!!!  When it comes to knowing the pain of labor is coming, I’ve decided to take the perspective that it comes with the journey, but the moments right after will make the pain so worth it!!

Physically, at this far along, there are things that I used to be able to do that I have seriously taken for granted.  A few examples (that you moms out there will totally understand) include, but are not limited to… Showering, doing dishes, sneezing (lol), folding laundry (with no lap), simply rolling over in bed, and more!  But once again, it’s all part of the journey.

I’m so thankful for the support we continue to receive from so many people!  It makes this journey so much more meaningful.  I love the questions many of you have been asking me lately. And if you have questions that you aren’t sure if you can or should ask, please ask away!!  I’m a pretty open book. 😊

Until next time…

The Unicorn

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34.5 weeks!

Yesterday was Tommy’s 34 week appointment. He is doing great and is measuring long and strong. At 34 weeks, his bump is measuring 36!

He sucker punched mom during the appointment. I literally leaped back it was so strong and was like omg Brandi are you okay?? I can’t imagine what that would feel like on the inside. 😲

This week tons of paperwork is getting prepped as we get ready for this little man’s big day NEXT MONTH!!!

Our doctors have signed affadavids and we all have signed the pre birth order. Now our attorney is filing it with a court in hopes a judge signs off and we can be done with legal stuff.

The social worker at the hospital also was in touch with us regarding how everything will work with legal and insurance. How we will hopefully get 2 rooms next door to one another assuming the matnerity ward isn’t full.

In super fun news…This past weekend we took our maternity pics. Both families met up at a park. V6 donned Unicorn Squad t shirts and all!

Next big to do is Tommy’s 36 week appointment. They will do one last ultrasound before the big day to ensure he and his placenta continue to be in a good location for birth.

The excitement is most definitely mounting!!!

😊😊😊😊😍😍😍😍

The Legal Side to Surrogacy: Becoming Recognized by the State of Minnesota as Tommy’s Parents

As we approach Tommy’s due date the legal side to our surrogacy journey is very much ramping up. If you have been following from the beginning you know that Brandi, Bryan and us have a 38 page Gestational Carrier Contract. Brandi and Bryan have an attorney and Travis and I have an attorney. This contract declared that we are in fact Tommy’s biological parents and Brandi and Bryan are not his parents, amongst many other things that protected both parties.

You would think this would be enough legally to declare Tommy as ours at birth…

But no it isn’t.

Surrogacy law’s differ wildly in every state. Some states are very progressive and it’s more easily done. In others it’s straight out illegal. In most states, including Minnesota, it’s a huge gray area.

Parentage, aka who are the parents, is defined in many states by who births the baby and then who that woman is married to. So you can see the confusion by the state.

In states like Minnesota you file something called a PBO, a pre birth order. Basically all parties sign it and a judge signs off ahead of the birth that Tommy is our child. This means at birth Tommy would be ours in the eyes of the state and we would be done with the legal hoops. We would have legal right to be there during his birth, could bring him home and have our names on his birth certificate.

However in the state of Minnesota it is becoming more and more common that the judge will NOT sign off on a PBO. If the judge doesn’t sign off ahead of Tommy’s birth then we have to file a post birth order.

A post birth order means that we all have to go to court, yes a woman that just gave birth and a newborn included, (can you sense my frustration with the state?) and go before a judge to be declared Tommy’s parents. We would also have to file for temporary custody of Tommy in the interim between his birth and our court hearing to legally be able to leave with him from the hospital and and to keep his birth certificate blank until the hearing. (You can see why having such an amazing team and partnership in Brandi and Bryan is so crucial. We are so lucky and beyond grateful to get to do this with them.)

The pre birth order is currently in draft form. We will know in the next couple of weeks if the judge signed off so we don’t have to go through the hoops of the post birth order.

One of my biggest hopes about trying to bring awareness to surrogacy is that stuff like this STOPS. States need to be more progressive and evolve in their definition of what makes a family.

We will be Tommy’s legal parents one way or another (if the pre order doesn’t work, then you do a post order and if that doesn’t work you do an adoption), but our attorney has NEVER had a post order NOT work so I have zero concerns there. In the end it know it will all be fine.  But the hoops you have to jump through…man.

Source: Google Images

Teagan’s Toddlermoon and Tommy’s 32 Week OB Appointment!

This week was big for both kiddos! Teagan went on her toddlermoon (think babymoon but for an only child before a new baby comes) and Tommy hiccuped and kicked his way to 32.5 weeks along as of today! 😉

Travis was sent to Seattle for 10 days for work, so we bummed 5 nights of his 10 day trip and joined him for a fun trip to Seattle and made it Teagan’s toddlermoon!

We used to live in Seattle for 4 years and Teagan was born there. She hadn’t been back since she was 18 months old. My husband regularly travels there for work and I have been back to visit a couple times in the last 2 years since we moved, but Teags has never been back since the day we moved away…

So we took advantage of the opportunity and took her while it was still easy enough to do 😉 Well okay with a three year old it was still a lot of hard work but you get where I am going…

We spent our first day running around Downtown with her friend Zoe from babyhood. The girls especially loved throwing rocks in the sound.

The second day we drove to Portland and Teagan got a tour of the city from her buddy Noah on the back of his red trike.

The third day we showed her her old house, park and the mountains we used to live in. Then that night we took her on a street car to Amazon’s campus and showed her where daddy works!

The forth day we spent picking flowers on the top of a mountain with old buddies Luca and Sophia and having a picnic with Ellie.

And on the last and final day we spent it with Ava, Luca and Sophia at a farm.

Tommy had a big week too.

He is officially head down and squirmed for mom during his OB appointment today! The end is getting so close and Brandi and I are so excited for all that is to come. The reward after so much work to get him here!

She showed up to the appointment with the sweetest gifts for both kiddos.

And on another HUGE note, Tommy’s future best friend was born this week. Remember my twin sister was expecting a boy, her first, only 9 weeks apart from when we are due? Well she had him this week. Presenting Baby Ben! The boys will grow up together and the whole family is just over the moon.

Sometimes it’s hard to be a Unicorn

31 weeks. Crazy to think about, really. But to think two months from today is our due date! And at this point we have appointments every two weeks. Before we know it we will be seeing the doctor weekly! Tommy is so very active, and between myself and my family, we are enjoying watching him have the hiccups and try to find a comfortable position. Watching Tommy stretch is quite an amazing thing, too! It brings me to the miracle that life truly is. How at only three pounds, he is strong enough to make my belly move.

As we get into the final stretches of this pregnancy I am realizing how much of a sacrifice it is being a Unicorn. I think in the beginning, as people commented on how amazing it is that I am doing this, and how much of a sacrifice it is, I didn’t share the same thoughts. I thought, eh, it’s pregnancy. I’ve done it four times and survived. And actually most of my pregnancies have been enjoyable…until about the stage I’m in right now. To quote Celine Dion, “It’s all coming back to me now.” I am so grateful for the experience so far and I know the sweetest part is yet to come!! It just seems like it’s going to take forever to get there.

The restless leg syndrome is getting better as I have upped my iron supplements. The insomnia, however, is rampant as ever. And you all know what happens to your emotions when you are perpetually tired…. As Tommy continues to grow into a healthy, young baby boy, I am finding it harder to breathe, walk, exercise, be comfortable, sleep. Sometimes I wonder where he is going to find room in this belly to grow. Lol. It will be fun to watch! And I’m thinking soon I will have to make a few appointments with a massage therapist to help with my back and hips carrying the extra weight.

Then there’s the physical appearance that is making it hard for me. I haven’t gained a whole lot of weight (thanks Heather!) but I am at the point where I feel huge. I can see it in my face, hips, butt…which I know is normal for most women. Just doesn’t make it easier to experience again. And I know I will bounce back…it just takes time.

And the real sacrifice for me is the opportunities I feel I may be missing out on. Due to lack of energy, feeling emotional, the point I am in the pregnancy. Again, I know the best part is yet to come! And in the few conversations I have had about these feelings I feel like I need to clarify that I am SO thankful to be on this journey. To be following my heart dream. And most importantly that I am blessed to be a Unicorn for Travis, Tory and Miss Teags!!! But even with all the beauty of this journey, there are sacrifices…all worth it.

Only 9 weeks. Even for me it truly has gone fast! And I know these next two months will go as fast. But if you pray, please pray that my perspective stays on the blessings this journey is bringing to so many, including T3, almost T4! And please pray that I can see through whatever sacrifices I may be feeling at the end of each day. As I continue to pray I am in awe of of my family. This journey they are on comes with their own sacrifices and I am so thankful they are supportive of my heart dream!

Thank you for your prayers and support! And stay tuned as we get closer to bringing baby Tommy back into the arms of his mom and dad!

We enter the 30 club: Tommy and his Unicorn hit 30 weeks!!!

T- 10 weeks until we are T4! WHOA. This little boy is coming SOON. Mama is so ready! Tommy is now approaching 3 pounds and 15-16 inches in length. The size of a cabbage.

This morning Teags and I drove down for his 30 week OB appointment…

I am happy to report, everything is looking great! One glowing unicorn and one healthy happy baby…oh and one very excited big sis! She was all over Brandi’s belly talking to Tommy, feeling him kick, and giving him hugs. Video below 😍

I also want to thank everyone for the amazing response we received to the babble video. So many of you commented and even shared it on your walls. The support was unreal. As a result it’s been viewed 75,000 times. Which is quite literally INSANE to think about.

Much to my amazement it also resulted in the director of the National Infertility Association, reaching out to me asking for permission to use the video for education and advocacy purposes.

This is truly the little blog that could.