Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween


Friday, October 24, 2014

Let's Talk About Money (Surrogacy)

Now that our journey is over and I am adding up ALL the bills (God, there were a LOT OF BILLS!!) and going over what we spent, I wanted to give some tips to those that are still embarking on this journey on ways to SAVE money or even MAKE money! 

This will be most helpful to IP's (intended parents) who live in TX BUT there are many companies out there like what I found. The BEST way cut costs is to take out (or have your surro take out) a hospital indemnity policy (A.FLAC or another company). Why you ask? Because you know for a fact that your surro WILL BE SICK. I say this because they classify delivery as A SICKNESS! The $30-$80 you spend monthly will more than pay itself back once your surro delivers. Another reason this is important? THE POLICY COVERS YOUR CHILD FOR THE FIRST 31 DAYS OF LIFE! That means you will also be paid for THEIR HOSPITAL STAY. If like me you end up with a baby in the NICU, this can be a lifesaver. 

Indemnity policy's pay you for being "sick" So each day you are in the hospital you are paid for that and also you would receive a lump sum payment for being in the hospital in the first place. The plan that I researched and ultimately went with exclusively covers people in TEXAS. At least the company I purchased it through ONLY covered people in TX. The parent  company is huge and I'm sure probably covers other states as well. Anyway this is what our scenario looked like:

GS c-section- (fee paid for surgery)
GS hospital confinement (lump sum fee paid)
GS hospitalized 4 days (daily fee paid) 
GS received anesthesia (fee paid)

NEWBORN is added to policy and has same coverage as "mother" for first 30 days

Newborn hospitalized (lump sum fee)
Newborn in 6+ days (larger lump sum fee)
Newborn in 23 days (daily fee paid)
Newborn boy circumcision (fee paid)

This was a HUGE help to us and allowed us to pay all the hospital bills after delivery for both GS and Baby as well as allowed us to pay off some of the bills we incurred from even doing this last surrogacy journey. The policy is paid for by the intended parents and the monies while paid out in the GS's name belong to the IP's. This is where you would need to have explicit TRUST in your GS that she would turn over the monies to you and it would be extremely wise to put the payment structure in your contract for these funds, so there is no confusion. I probably paid $1100 for this policy over 12-14 months and as you can see, it MORE THAN paid for itself!

I won't put the company name on here BUT if you want more information, feel free to email me if you are doing a surrogacy journey with a GS in TX! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Caiden Rhys Birth Story Pt. 2

OK here is the second part of Caiden's birth story. (RECAP) So Caiden was born at 10:12am on August 28th. He was born via emergency c-section at 34w3d gestation (about 6wks early). Once he was born he was doing well... For about THREE MINUTES. Then he turned blue and had retractions (respiratory distress where the muscles are pulling hard in the chest, showing you are having a really hard time breathing) and intermittent apnea (stopped breathing for 15-20 seconds repeatedly over several minutes) with persistent cyanosis (TURNING BLUE). He was immediately put on cpap (continous positive airway pressure= that big mask) and his color improved immediately. He was then taken to the NICU for further evaluation of possible RDS (respiratory distress syndrome) and to manage the apnea of prematurity. Once he was taken to the NICU we got a few more pictures of him

After being admitted to the NICU, we figured he would be checked out and maybe spend a few days there. NOT....EVEN....CLOSE....

Once he was there, the apnea or "periodic breathing" continued. He also had something called Bradycardia (drop in heart rate) in Caiden's case his heart rate was dropping below 80. This was NOT a good thing. His normal heart rate was anywhere from 130 or higher. If his oxygen dropped (desat) or his heart rate dropped (bradying for short) below 90 his monitors would go off. Once this started happening you are in the NICU a mandatory 5 days from the day of the episode. We lived and died by those monitors! We would make it as far as 3 days and then he would haev an episode and that would "reset the clock" for us. It was devastating. The first few days it was expected for him to have this problem after the cpap was removed. He was on the cpap for maybe 24hrs and then transitioned to a nasal cannula as shown here:

He had a tube in his belly to keep air from being trapped and also to feed him tiny amounts of breastmilk. He had an IV in his head since the one in his hand blew and had his little hand swollen. These were dark days. He got down to a low of 4lbs 8oz (he was 5lbs 1.5oz at birth). The nasal cannula came out after about 12hrs

His main jobs were to eat, maintain his body temperature and gain weight. In order to do this, the neonatologist decided to increase his feeding amounts (he went from a tsp to an ounce pretty quickly!) and remove his tube and IV. We also decided to enclose him in the incubator so he didn't have to work on keeping his temp up until he gained some weight.

  Once he started gaining, he gained well. This was mostly due to him being given human milk fortifier and then neosure formula mixed with breast milk so he could get extra calories. This is when the waiting game started. He was getting bigger and doing better but he kept having brady episodes so we weren't able to go home. We went 3.5 days and I came to check on him and saw this

EXTREME BRADY... This reset the clock on us.. We did this over the course of 2wks.. reset. reset. reset. 

FINALLY on September 19th after a 10hr sleep apnea study (3hrs of this conducted in the car seat to make sure he would not have any trouble sitting for that long period of time) we found out he passed the study and we were able to be discharged!! It was SUCH a relief! Knowing that the ride was going to be long (37hrs!!) the nursing supervisor suggested that we get a car bed for Caiden to ride in. I had NO IDEA they were even a thing! I quickly searched Ama.zon and found one and ordered it!

It's basically a bed that straps in like a car seat so they can lay down flat while riding! Brilliant thing. I highly recommend them for anyone traveling with a preemie or even a newborn on a long trip. Our total NICU stay was 23 days (3.5wks) and I would NEVER want to do it again. We made it home safely and have been working on getting a routine down ever since. Caiden is 6wks 1day old today

These are from yesterday for 6wks old:

 He is now 8lbs 9.5oz (as of Monday anyways) and eating 4oz every 3hrs. He's a little sweetheart. I am STILL pumping breast milk and a WONDERFUL surrogate friend of mine donated 500oz to him with another 400-500oz coming so he will have breast milk for a while and I am thankful for that! He is also supplementing with formula to keep him with the higher calorie intake. Hopefully he will be able to just take breast milk but we are taking baby steps..

As for me? I have good days and bad days trying to adjust. NOTHING about this journey went how I thought it would and I struggle with our time in the NICU. I am getting there though. THANK YOU for following along on our journey to build our family. I am SO THANKFUL that we were able to complete our family via surrogacy and that it is an option we could afford. MANY cannot and that makes me sad. This closes the chapter on our surrogacy journeys but not on my blog. I will continue to update on the kids and with whatever else we decide to under take (buy a house? renovate a house? a job down the line for me?) the possibilities are endless!!!

Until next time!!

<3 <3 <3

Monday, October 6, 2014

Caiden Rhys Birth Story Pt.1

I figured I would write this while it's kind of fresh still and I have a minute to breathe.

First let me backtrack to my 30w2d POST where I talked about the placenta issues and the tech saying Christy had partial placenta previa. Well the OB was going to check this at the 35wk appointment and assured us it was going to migrate away from her cervix and we shouldn't worry. Fast forward to 33wks and Christy calls me one evening to say she had some spotting. She said it wasn't bad and that she would keep me posted and she had a call in to her Dr office. After lots of waiting she went back and forth with the oncall and never actually got the Dr to call back. 

She started "spotting" some more and I asked her to send me a pic. It was NOT spotting, she was BLEEDING. I told her to go to L&D. When she got there they were actually waiting on her and told her her OB was there and busy with several other patients, hence no callback. After a long wait and some labs and urine sample she called to say she was getting discharged with NO ULTRASOUND BEING DONE. I was NOT HAPPY. I was scared and worried about my son and my SIL. The first thing that popped into my head was the placenta previa and maybe the placenta was tearing away and I knew that was bad. I asked her to have them call me. She called me back when the nurse was in the room and the nurse was snippy and condescending. She basically said "OB said NO sono, it's not warranted since the bleeding has stopped" I told her about the previa and that it needed to be checked. She said "OB said it has migrated away he checked it again" I said "NOPE, he didn't" she said "I'm pretty sure he remembers what's going on with his patients" I said "I'm pretty sure I remember what is going on with my son and NO he didn't, he was going to check it at 35wks and that hasn't happened yet" She still said NOPE. So I informed them that if something happened to my son I was going to sue.

 Christy called me back and said she was on bedrest and had an appt on Wednesday (this was a couple days away so I was ok with this compromise) Wednesday rolls around and the OB checks her out and then does an abdominal sono. We both ask him about the placenta previa. He said "the placenta is fine" I said "you can't tell unless vaginal sono is done" Christy says "LET'S DO THE VAGINAL SONO SO WE CAN EASE OUR MINDS" reluctantly he agrees. He sends in a tech. She starts looking and clicking and is SILENT. I knew right then it wasn't good. I say "It's still there isn't it??" She's quiet a while longer then finally says "yes, it's still there and I'm going to go get the Dr so he can see this for himself" I felt vindicated BUT scared too. This is NOT something you want to be right about.. 

The Dr checks for himself and backtracks and does lots of "Uhhh... well yeah it's there" So new plan is bedrest until 9/8 for her then she could go back to work since she would have been 36wks and they wouldn't stop labor then (this confused both of us because they kept saying she couldn't go into labor!) Christy called her Dr a few more times after her appt to clarify questions we both had and in the end he decided she needed to see a MFM the following week (34w3d) for a second opinion. She rested in her recliner and in bed during this time and also had two steroid shots to mature Caiden's lungs. We felt comfortable that we had a good game plan and were waiting it out. I had our bags packed and after her MFM appt I was going to determine when we would head out for the birth which was looking 100% like a c section now.

The morning of August 28th I get a call around 8AM EST and it's Christy. She informed me she was in the parking lot of her OBs office and she was bleeding quite a bit. She was going to get seen and see what they wanted to happen. They didn't even check her, they took her bp and weight I think and then the OB said he would meet her across the street at the hospital. She said she would call me back once she got checked in and was in a room. I waited on her to call back and she said apparently she was contracting as well and didn't even know it, since after all this was her 6th pregnancy! She had me on speaker while she talked with the OB and he asked her when the last time she ate was. She said "last night at dinner" he said OK good c section is more than likely today. We both kinda went "whaaat?!" I told her I would head out right then but obviously we weren't going to make the delivery since we were 37hrs away (by car and we HAD to drive) I hung up to make arrangements to leave and call hubby so he could leave work. Christy called me back and said "C section in 1 hour" I asked her if she was OK and tried to reassure her that everything would be OK (this was her first c section)

The c section was scheduled for 9AM CST and we were in the car by then heading their way. I got several texts from my BIL keeping us informed of what was going on. Based on the time it appeared that they were about an hour behind schedule. I got a text around 11:20AM 

it read "He's hear and he's LOUD!" I cried... I was grateful BOTH OF THEM were OK and sad that I missed my sons birth.. I was also happy Caiden was doing well. Little did I know that he was going to take a turn very quickly...I should also point out that he was born ONE HOUR BEFORE HER SCHEDULED MFM APPT.

Part 2 coming soon!

Check it out