Gestational Surrogate Becomes The Milk Lady

July 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Kelly Rummelhart, Surrogacy

By: Kelly Rummelhart

My surro baby, Alexander, made it out of the NICU July 8th and then headed back to his home July 13th. He is doing so well and is even up to six and a half pounds! One of the issues with international surrogacy is that you can’t ship breast milk (it would melt and go bad during shipping/in customs). However, I was able to pump for Alexander for the first two weeks.

Here was my final gift before they left:
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And here is the last time I got to feed him:
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Now, anyone who has ever breastfed knows how much it sucks (ha!) when you stop. Your boobs get rock hard and hurt so bad! This time I decided instead of quitting cold turkey I’d slowly start pumping less and less and then finally end it. Since my own surro babe has left the country, I asked my surro group if any of them needed my extra milk.

Tomorrow, after eleven more days of pumping, I’ll be sending over 3500mL to a precious baby girl who was born to two marvelous dads several weeks ago. She will be heading back to her home (also overseas) in about a week but not before I get to supplement what her own marvelous surrogate has been giving.

I started to get it all packaged up to ship…
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After this, I have eleven more days with my rented breast pump. I am down to pumping only 2-3 times a day now and by the first week of August should be completely finished. I do have plans for any milk pumped during the final days -a friend of mine is going back to work and is a little worried about her own pumping, so I’m planning on giving the milk to her and her wife to help supplement.

Just call me The Milk Lady.

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When Do You Feel Like a Mom?

June 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Family, Kerrie Olejarz, Surrogacy

By: Kerrie Olejarz

 

After all we had been through it was difficult to feel like a mom, whatever that was supposed to feel like.  I cared for this little girl with love and concern, but did this make me a mom?  I often felt like Cailyn was on loan to us, not ours to keep.  Finally at the six-month point we decided to have professional photos taken of Cailyn and us.  It was at this point, seeing the final photos of us as a family, looking so happy and complete that I think…I felt like a mom.  Upon receiving the online proofs, I would sit and stare at the family shots in awe.  This was it, finally, we were a family. But is being a family and feeling like a mom one in the same?   Despite being a family, what was a mom?  I decided not to wear high-waisted mom jeans and white runners.  I didn’t drive a mini van and not every conversation I had was about the baby.  Sure, I looked disheveled and didn’t bathe for days on end, but did that make me a mom? I proudly wore clothing covered in spit up, my hair was always tied back, and I didn’t care that the crotch in my yoga pants was full of holes. I don’t think moms give up on their appearances, maybe just go on hiatus for the first few months with baby due to lack of sleep and routine.   I am not sure, other than in the dictionary, that there really is a true definition of a mom.   When I googled the word mother, I find ” a term of address for a female parent or a woman having or regarded as having the status, function, or authority of a female parent”, so by this definition I was, and am, a mom/mother.  I guess I struggled with becoming “mom” because I didn’t have the nine months to feel this little one grow.  Instead, I received frequent emails from India with ultrasound pictures; I was having a baby by email! I held off on all things baby until 32 weeks in fear that something would go wrong.  I spent almost fifteen years shielding my emotions and covering up how desperately I wanted to be a mom.  The turning point for me was when Cailyn reached for me randomly one day; this meant she wanted or needed me, and it was at this moment that the reality of who I now am was very clear.  I am a mom, I feel like a mom, and my baby calls me Mama.

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Oh How Quickly Things Can Change

June 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Family, Kelly Rummelhart, Surrogacy

By: Kelly Rummelhart

I am 31 weeks along in this pregnancy. In my mind, I know that pretty much anytime after 36 weeks I could go into labor. I say 36 weeks because that is the earliest I have ever given birth. I also know that it could be as late as 39 weeks, when they will schedule my c-section . . . but as I move my business and move my house I’m trying to not over do it so I don’t push myself into an early labor. Sometimes you can do everything right and still things can happen.

I have a few surrogate friends that are due around the same time as I and three of them are currently in the hospital. One is about two weeks or so ahead of me. She is having issues with toxemia and has been in the hospital for the last few days. Her IPs, who are from another country, have arrived and looks like they may be delivering Monday or Tuesday.

Two other friends both had their water break pretty early . . 28-30 weeks. Both are on hospital bedrest and the staff is keeping an eye on their fluid levels and contractions. So far, so good . . . . I’m hoping they can make it for a few more weeks.

So good vibes headed their way . . . for healthy surrogates, healthy babies, and happy IPs.

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Ahhhhh, They Love Me!

April 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Family, Kelly Rummelhart, Surrogacy

By: Kelly Rummelhart

We’ve made it to 25 weeks and to celebrate, my awesome IPs sent me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and some chocolates. It totally made my entire weekend!

Time is flying by this pregnancy. Before I know it I will be placing their little man in their arms . . . brand new parents. They are getting really excited and plans for a baby shower are being laid out. Of course, I can’t make it to Australia for it but we have discussed me Skyping into it so everyone can see the belly and meet the person who is caring for their child while he is developing.

Regarding our progress in this pregnancy, everything is measuring perfectly and little man is doing great. He is moving around a lot and some of the kicks can be seen from outside the belly now. I did end up changing not only my OB but also the hospital we’ll be delivering at. My OB had decided to move to Southern California, so I took the opportunity to switch back to a Sacramento-area hospital. I am excited to meet the new OB; I have heard good things about him.

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Time Flies!

March 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Family, Kelly Rummelhart, Surrogacy

By: Kelly Rummelhart

Once I had my own children, I was amazed how quickly time went by. Even now, Ruby is ten years old and I swear it feels as if she were born only a few years ago. I think about my marriage . . . I spent thirteen years with my R. and now in the “remains” of it all, it didn’t feel like that long at all. Hell, my twenty-year high school reunion is this year and NO WAY has twenty years passed.

I am sure I am preaching to the choir. We all feel the same way, especially those of us that are parents but I will tell you that one thing makes time fly even quicker . . . having surro-babes. My friend mentioned that today was her laborversary; one year ago she was in labor with her surro-twins. I would swear she just gave birth . . . if asked I would’ve guessed maybe six months ago? Even my own surro-kiddos . . . I’ve blinked my eyes and Natasha and Anjali are a little over 3 years (39 months) and Gideon and Harper are 17 months now . . . . again, didn’t I just give birth to them all?

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99.996789% Paternity!

February 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Family, Kerrie Olejarz, Surrogacy

By: Kerrie Olejarz

Knowing the DNA test results would take about a week, and then an additional 3-4 days for Cailyn’s passport, we knew we were in for a long 10 days ahead of us. A couple days after the DNA test, a local couple invited us for lunch at the “Embassy”. We were really stoked to get out of the B&B and meet Chad and Doug. We were not quite sure what they meant by the Embassy so we asked, and yep, the US Embassy in New Delhi! We had to bring our passports and Cailyn’s local birth certificate to be granted “friends of the US” entrance. We packed up Cailyn and all her supplies and headed to the US Embassy for lunch. Doug met us out front and escorted us in. After we passed security, we were hit with a scene similar to a vacation resort. We passed a pool, with lots of families swimming and enjoying the afternoon. Tunes were cranked, and it felt very surreal to witness this in India! We walked into the main building where we passed a bowling alley, a small shop and then entered into the dining room. Ah, such luxury! We were seated and had a wonderful meal and exceptional conversation with Chad and Doug. The commonality that brought us together was babies, and surrogacy. These guys live and work in New Delhi, and were expecting twins via Indian surrogacy. It was really great to hang out with them and share our week’s worth of parenting knowledge! We were very excited to follow their journey as their twins were due in November, and we were all anticipating boy or girl combos. Mark enjoyed an all-beef burger and Cailyn was an angel during our lunch. The guys invited us back to their home for tea which was just a short walk. They live in paradise. A gated Embassy property with lush gardens and gorgeous landscaping. We enjoyed tea, seeing the soon-to-be-finished nursery for the twins, and meeting their yellow lab. This is such a fond memory for us, making new friends on a wonderful day out with our daughter. Tuesday we heard from the DNA Company in Canada that our samples had been received and they were working on processing them! This was great news, one step almost completed, one day closer to going home. Cailyn had been showing some signs of gas, fussiness, colic -who knew- so we decided to take her into the doctor for a quick checkup. Dr. T could hear the gas in her, and also noted that her nose was a bit stuffy. He told us what to buy at the hospital pharmacy: a bottle of saline nose drops, and an eye dropper bottle of colic remedy made of fennel and dill. The whopping bill for these two items was less than two dollars! When we returned to the B&B, the family from Ireland whose baby was born two days after Cailyn, had also purchased the same saline drops for their little boy’s blocked tear ducts. It was really nice having them stay at the B&B and swapping baby tips and commiserating on the whole going-home process. Also staying at the B&B was a wonderful woman of Nigerian descent, relocated to the UK. She was in the midst of IVF stimulation and waiting on her husband to arrive in the next week. Despite us all having our stuff to do, we managed to spend time together, and sometimes, enjoy a glass of wine! Late in the evening we received the DNA test results. We never doubted what the results would be, and as expected, Mark was allegedly Cailyn’s father at a probability of 99.996789%!  This was a great relief, to receive the results so quickly, which now meant we could finalize our baby’s passport!  My sister joked that she was going to get Mark a t-shirt made that said “Cailyn’s alleged father”. This was Thursday, and the coming Monday was a Canadian holiday, so we knew there was a chance of a delay in processing the passport.  We opted to make plans to busy ourselves over the next 5 days so that we would not be sitting around going stir crazy!  Monday we were set to have a photo shoot, weather permitting, at Lodi Gardens, and Friday we were going to head to a beautiful market area called Haus Khaz as recommended by Chad and Doug.  It was the first of September and it was still very surreal that we were in India…with our daughter!

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Waiting and Waiting and Waiting and Waiting . . .

November 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Family, Kelly Rummelhart, Surrogacy

By: Kelly Rummelhart

Okay, so maybe I have failed this whole “patience” thing. I don’t do well just waiting. I was supposed to fly to LA Thursday and be back Monday, however, our egg donor was not ready so we got pushed back about four days. We have our revised dates. Looks like I’ll be flying down Monday evening and transferring either Tuesday morning or Thursday morning. Yes, that’s Thursday, as in Thanksgiving. We knew this was a possibility and to be honest, I’m totally fine with it. Again, my biggest goal, besides making my IPs parents, was to transfer by the end of November . . . and here we are.

This blog was supposed to be about my transfer, but instead it’s about me still waiting for it . . . typical surrogacy. Remember, if surrogacy teaches us anything, it’s flexibility and patience, whether you want it or not.

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Screening Time!

July 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Kelly Rummelhart, Surrogacy

By: Kelly Rummelhart

 

So I have made my decision to proceed with a third, and final, surrogacy.  Since I’m no spring chicken, time is of the essence.  I actually have several years before I can no longer be a surrogate, but I’d rather not be pregnant at my twenty-year high school reunion (which is coming up sooner than later), so it’s time to get the process started.

At the end of June I flew down to Los Angeles to complete my physical and psychological screening. I gave a photo play-by-play on my own blog but will give you a quick summary.

The physical screening only took about two hours. When I arrived at Dr. Kolb’s office I checked in and filled out several new patient forms.  Later, they took several vials of blood and urine samples.  Next, I went into the doctor’s office and we discussed the process of IVF.  It was more of a summary since I have been through it twice already.  However, the first time you go in, usually with your husband/partner, they will explain everything, so you know what you’re signing on for.

After our discussion, I followed Dr. Kolb into the exam room.  I undressed from the waist down for my pelvic exam and transvaginal ultrasound.  This is when they fill your uterus with saline to see how it’s looking.  He told me that it looked great.

Lastly, I spoke with the nurse and she informed me that I should hear back in a week or two.  She also gave me birth control pills, so that they get my cycle synched with the egg donor, when the time comes.

My husband didn’t have to come down this time (only the first) but he had to have his blood drawn locally for his part of the screening. I assume our physical screening results will all be okay since not much has changed since the last two journeys.  Rick and I are still monogamous and still don’t use drugs.

Although, I did have one fear . . . when my surrogate friends and I were at San Francisco Pride this year (two days before my screening), it was on the same weekend as the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup.  Let’s just put it this way, I hadn’t smelled that much pot since I was a Resident Assistant in college!  I even tweeted about it:

The pot convention is happening the same weekend as Pride . . . I am sick of smelling it. 1:08 PM Jun 26th via Twitter for Android

If it shows on my surrogacy screening Tuesday I am going to be pissed. 1:09 PM Jun 26th via Twitter for Android

With the physical screening complete I then left the doctor’s office and took a cab to Growing Generations to complete my psychological screening.  For that part I spoke with Fertility Counseling Services.  Next, I took the computerized psychological assessment.  Some of the questions are pretty funny and it’s something that a lot of us surrogates talk about after the fact.  Once we even created a list of questions (that are true for us) that could sound crazy to others: “I have a habit of carrying gay mens’ babies”.  The psychological screening can take about 2 or three hours.  The computerized part is almost 600 questions, so the difference in time may depend on how long it take you to answer all those.

It’s been about 2 and a half weeks since I screened and I’m just waiting for my results. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.  I was supposed to hear back Friday but the doctor’s office never emailed me.  Hopefully by the time this hits the Internet I’ll have my answer.  And of course I’ll let you know how it all turns out.

Kelly Rummelhart writes about her experiences as a two-time gestational surrogate for gay couples. She calls herself a “Uterine Activist” and will be the first to tell you that her uterus is an ally. Kelly also writes at Just The Stork

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More Than a Village – a Tale of Procreation

July 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Family, Kelly Rummelhart, Surrogacy

By: Kelly Rummelhart

More Than a Village- A Tale of Procreation

Last week, I talked a little about the lack of positive media regarding surrogacy.  It is an ongoing battle and one that I hope to change bit by bit, the more I blog for The Next Family and at my own blog, Just the Stork.  One of the things I do on a weekly basis is check out what people are saying about gestational surrogacy.  I have set up a Google Alert for “surrogacy” and I search Twitter using key words.  Usually, I try to help dispel myths or answer questions that are posted.  But the other day I found a rather interesting tweet.

edwardmcdonald I’m directing a feature doc about two gay men attempting to start a family through surrogacy. Please support!

5:45 AM Jul 8th via web

Hey!  That’s right up my alley.  And once I visited the link and read through the proposal I was SOLD!

Two men trying to start a family- CHECK!

Interracial Couple- BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!

Surrogate named Kelli with 3 kids- WHAAAA????

Then I watched the video.

I think I LOVE them all.  Ian and Tony need a baby, Edward needs to make this documentary, and I need to see it all unfold!

I pledged $50.  My new goal is to get this project funded! I’m letting everyone know!  If only I had a place to spread the word . . a blog . . . or two . . . If only I had time to Tweet and Facebook about it . . . if only at the time of me writing this,  “More than a village: a tale of procreation” is 5% funded.

Challenge Accepted!

Kelly Rummelhart writes about her experiences as a two-time gestational surrogate for gay couples. She calls herself a “Uterine Activist” and will be the first to tell you that her uterus is an ally. Kelly also writes at Just The Stork

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Happy Father’s Day . . . and Happy Fathers’ Day!!!

June 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Family, Kelly Rummelhart, Surrogacy

By: Kelly Rummelhart

 

I LOVE the third weekend in June for several reasons:

*For the last 37 years I’ve taken part in celebrating my father on this weekend.

*For the last 10 years I’ve been celebrating my husband’s fatherhood.

*Half of my son’s birthdays in the last eight years have fallen on this weekend.

*For the last seven years, my daughter’s dance recital has been the third weekend of June too.

But Sunday June 21, 2009, the day and its punctuation changed forever.  That’s the day that I also started celebrating Father’s Day as Fathers’ Day . . . because I gave birth to my surro girlies in November of 2008 and the following Father’s Day marked George and Sanj’s first Fathers’ Day! Now, fast forward 2 years and it’s N and D’s first Fathers’ Day.

I am having a special art piece made for my 2 surro families for Fathers’ Day this year.  They haven’t arrived yet, so they’ll be a little late but I’ll make sure to share them at some point in time.

Oh- and only one more week until San Francisco Pride! So excited to go and show off our new shirts!

 

Kelly Rummelhart writes about her experiences as a two-time gestational surrogate for gay couples.  She calls herself a “Uterine Activist” and will be the first to tell you that her uterus is an ally.  Kelly also writes at Just The Stork

 

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