Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Blub Fortuna

The best part of Christmas? Pulling your baby around in a diaper box instead of playing with the gifts.





Monday, November 3, 2014

First Snowfall

We got a bit of snow in Tahoe on Halloween, so we took Aidan up to Squaw Valley to see his first snow. We didn't make it very long, and definitely weren't prepared with snowproof clothes, but he seemed to enjoy his first time in the fluffy white stuff!







Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First Foods

It's been a while!

Aidan is 4 months old and thriving. At his last appointment he weighed 18 lbs (90th percentile), 27 inches (97th percentile) and was hitting all of his developmental milestones.

He's a very happy, easy-going baby. Sleep is still not the best, but we're hoping for longer spurts after the 4 month sleep regression he seems to be going to.

Our pediatrician said that since he's showing major interest in food, able to sit up, and has great head control, that we could start introducing solids. He ate his first few bites of rice cereal like a pro!

 

Truth be told, rice cereal wasn't his first food. He stole his first few bites at a rib-cookoff when he decided to make a grab for my watermelon a few weeks earlier.

Looking forward to adding some fruits and vegetables to his meals and seeing how that goes!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Shipping Breast Milk - Our Process

We are so incredibly fortunate that our surrogate offered to continue pumping for Aidan. In most surrogate contracts, the surrogate chooses whether or not they'd like to pump for the intended parents, and there is usually a fee associated with it. The fee varies, though in most situations I've encountered it's about $1 per ounce of breast milk. In the beginning of our process, I had researched induced lactation and had hoped that I could nurse Aidan myself, but once Aimee offered to pump for him we decided that the cons outweighed the pros for induced lactation.

We're still ironing out the process since we had one shipment that came a day late (and boy did we freak out!), but this is what has been working for us so far: Aimee pumps and stores breast milk in Lansinoh bags, which are then put in her deep freezer. Once she has enough for a shipment, she puts the bags in a Styrofoam cooler with dry ice packed on the top. She has been shipping overnight through USPS, so I receive before 10:30 the next day. We did attempt to ship via FedEx, but they will not ship breast milk.


Once I get the shipment, I take all of the milk bags out to our deep freezer, which I purchased before Aidan was born. This has been such a good investment for us. When we are preparing milk for the next few days, we take about 8 bags inside to our freezer to start defrosting. When we need milk for that day or the following day, we take about 3-4 bags of milk and place them in a Ziploc bag to continue defrosting in the refrigerator. When they've defrosted enough that the milk can be broken up, we take the bags out, and put the contents into a mason jar to be stored for the day. It sounds like quite the process, and to be honest it's not as easy as putting formula in a bottle and having it instantly ready, but we really feel it's worth it, and are incredibly lucky to have a friend who is willing to provide this for him.

Friday, July 4, 2014

First 4th of July With a Baby

I love 4th of July for many reasons. I love America, BBQing with friends and family, traditions, themed outfits, pie, and fireworks. Oh, and it's Mr. Bee's and my dating anniversary. Cheesy, but we like to celebrate it 10 years later.

Growing up, I have so many great memories of 4th of July with my family. My grandma would always come visit, we'd grill, play with sparklers, go watch the fireworks show on the hill, and then get ice cream at Friendly's. Nothing too much, but definitely memorable to me. I hope that Aidan has just as many good memories of this holiday while he's growing up.

Our poor little fella has been battling a double ear infection (at 6 weeks - not fair!) and has been pretty fussy for the past few days, which now all makes sense. He started sniffling over the weekend and Sunday night had a little cough. After using my "mother's instincts" and Dr. Google, I was panicked. I even used the good-old rectal thermometer since I was convinced something was wrong, but no fever. My husband thought I was a little nuts, but thought it would be good for me to take him in for peace of mind the next day. So happy I did since he ended up having a double ear infection, and we caught it right before he got a fever. Incredibly grateful I listened to my gut with that one! And, he's already 13.3 pounds. Such a chunk!

This all leads up to me saying we didn't do anything significant for the holiday. In Reno, there are pretty much two options - the fireworks show in Sparks and going to Lake Tahoe. Since neither of those is extremely convenient with a fussy 6-week-old, we decided to go low-key. We celebrated with lunch at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in Midtown, then spent the majority of the night wearing Aidan around the backyard to calm him down.

First time straight-ironing my hair in 7 weeks! 
We did get several smiles from him throughout the day, and had two outfit changes due to...unforeseen circumstances.


Outfit #1

Outfit #2
Can't wait until next year when Aidan can really appreciate the fireworks and enjoy the festivities with us!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Baby Bee Newborn Essentials

In the first week Baby Bee was born, we were just surviving. We had our bundle of love home, and now we had to nurture him and keep him alive. Well-intentioned friends would often tell me things that worked for their babies, which was appreciated, but ultimately, this is our list of what worked for us the first crucial weeks.

Disclaimer: Collage created by the talented Bee Kim of HelloBee.com.
  1. Rock N Play Snugamonkey - We bought this on a whim while we were in Portland, and Baby Bee has decided that this is the one place he really wants to sleep. Since he has a little bit of reflux, our doctor recommended that he sleep in it. We try to keep him out of it was much as possible and re-position his head so he doesn't get a flat head.

2. Summer Swaddle Me Blankets - As someone who would have failed out of swaddle school, these are great. You just put the baby's legs in the pouch and wrap the swaddle around. The velcro keeps them in. The baby goes into a happy trance.

3. Happiest Baby on the Block - Mr. Bee and I watched this video the night before Baby Bee was born. It's filled with invaluable knowledge. I can't recommend it enough.

4. Soothie Pacifier - I heard that these were great, and they're the only pacifier that Baby Sea Otter really prefers. I know a lot of people enjoy Wubbanub pacifiers, which are basically Soothies with a stuffed animal at the end, but our dogs have made it clear that those will not survive in our house for longer than an hour.

 5. White Noise Machine - A lifesaving sound machine. Switch on the Dohm and get ready to zen your baby out like no other.

 6. Zip Up Onesies - I mentioned these in my last post, but the zip-up onesies were essential. When you're so tired you don't know if you're changing your baby or knitting a quilt, these are a no muss, no fuss way to change your baby quickly.

 7. Dr. Brown Bottles - We tried several bottles since we are feeding Baby Bee breastmilk. These worked the best and significantly reduced the reflux issues he was having since he could gulp down the contents like they were going out of style.

 8. Boon Lawn - If your counter is going to be taken up bottles, they might as well be displayed on a cute green lawn. The larger lawn fits the bottles and most of the bottle parts. If you're only using bottles for supplementing, I'd recommend just the Boon Grass, which is the smaller version.

 9. Yoga Ball - Not just for strengthening your core, the yoga ball is perfect for late nights when you don't know what to do with your crying baby. I spent most of those nights bouncing him and singing sorority recruitment songs, since those were the only things I could remember at 3am. What got you through the newborn weeks?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Newborn Photo Highlights

We've taken hundreds of photos of our little fella so far, but couldn't resist a newborn photo shoot. I'm in love with how all of these turned out! There are just a few of my favorites, but they're all amazing, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a proud mama. Ok, maybe a little.





















Sunday, June 22, 2014

Birth Day Photography

I mentioned in my last post about Aidan that we were fortunate enough to have a photographer there to capture his birth. It was an extremely emotional moment for all of us - for me and Mr. Bee who have had to overcome so many hurdles to finally become parents, and Aimee and her husband who sacrificed so much the past year to help us complete our family. I had originally thought that birth photography would be awkward and intrusive, but everything was so tastefully shot and captured every feeling we had that day.

Most of the time we didn't even know that she was there, and now we have an amazing keepsake of this special day in our lives. Thank  you so much to Rachael May Photography for being there with us during this life-changing day!

Click here to view video

[/caption]

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Aidan's Story

It's been a while, but I wanted to update and give the details on the birth of our son, Aidan. During an elective ultrasound at 34 weeks, we discovered that Aidan was breech. This was a huge surprise for all of us. Our surrogate Aimee had all of her four children vaginally, and dealing with a breech birth, external version, or C-section was something we hadn't thought much about. We spoke with her doctors, and I did a ton of my own Google research, which mostly just caused panic attacks. We all talked and decided that the best option would be to plan the c-section. In the meantime, our surrogate tried spinning babies, acupuncture, and had several chiropractor appointments. I also got several photos from her with her best upside-down poses. Despite all efforts, it looked like this kid was stubbornly breech.

Two weeks before the scheduled c-section, I got a text from Aimee that she was feeling a lot of pressure and decided to go to the hospital to get checked. Her doctor had warned her to come in if she felt pressure, since this could mean that Aidan had gone further into the birth canal, which could cause issues with a breech baby. After waiting what seemed like forever, she let us know that he'd decided to flip at 37 weeks, and was now head down! She had felt some minor contractions, and was 3 cm dilated. The OB said that he could come at any time. Since she usually had fast labors and we wanted more than anything to be there, we quickly went home and packed, and the next day booked plane tickets, a rental car, and hotel accommodations in Portland.

A lot of people often asked me what my plans were for being there during the delivery. The truth is, we didn't completely have a plan, other than waiting for "THE CALL" and then booking the first available flight. My ideal thought was to fly up a week before the due date and not miss a single moment, but with my work and my husband's job, it didn't look like that would be possible.

We arrived in Portland on Friday night, checked into our hotel, and made our way down to the hotel bar to celebrate what could have been our last night as a family of two. I stared at my cell phone anxiously the entire time with the ringer up extra loud just in case. That night, I slept with one eye open. My gestational surrogate and I are very close and text constantly, so every time I got a text I was grinding my teeth thinking it was time. We made it through the weekend with no baby calls, and decided to stay in Portland until her appointment on Tuesday, where we'd hopefully get more information. Unfortunately, the appointment didn't give us any other sort of timeframe, although they decided that if he hadn't made his grand appearance by that Saturday that they wanted to induce due to his size. He could still come at any moment.

What we thought was "the last supper"

Because of this, we made the decision to stay in Portland, telecommute for work, and enjoy a nice (albeit anxiety-ridden) babymoon. There really is no better place to have a babymoon than Portland. It's no secret that if I had my way, I'd move there in a heartbeat. We spent the weekend at the Japanese Gardens, walked downtown, ate amazing food, and did a fair share of shopping. Even though every second was spent thinking that we'd get "THE CALL," it was wonderful being able to spend time with Otter Pop and celebrate our impending bundle of joy every moment we got.

 

Two nights before the induction, we had dinner with Aimee and her family. I'm sure I've sang her praises a lot before (although it will never be enough), but I might not have mentioned how amazing her family is. She has 4 great boys and a hilarious husband, who is about as immature as I am. We had the best time catching salamanders with the boys in the backyard, talking on the porch, and spending time with them. They are truly wonderful, giving people, that I am thankful for every day. It was so lovely to have that opportunity before Baby Sea Otter's birth to spend time with them.

Backyard Fun

After an amazing and long week, Saturday finally came. We all met at the hospital and walked upstairs together to start the induction. We spent a lot of time in the beginning laughing and hanging out with members of both their family and mine. It was heartwarming to see how much support she had through this entire process. To ease the anxiousness, we passed the time texting each other silly internet pictures and trying not to disturb Aimee, who decided that she wanted to have a med-free birth. I asked her before the process started what I could do, and she let me know that she'd get to a point where she didn't want anyone to talk to her, which I completely respected and became incredibly protective of her when people came in the room.

I don't even have the words to describe the birth of our son. Every time I've tried to write this, it sounds incredibly contrived and corny, but here is my best attempt. I knew that Aimee was in hard labor because she had stopped focusing on Treehouse Masters and looked completely zen with her eyes closed. She had one great nurse who would check on her and was quiet and gentle with her. The nurse said she'd turn the pitocin down a bit since the contractions were so close, but not hard enough to cause her to dilate more. The last check I remember she was 7 cm. A photographer friend of Aimee's had come, and was documenting everything for us to treasure later. At one point Aimee looked like she was in pain and asked if I'd fan her, which I was happy to do. Here's a tip: bring something good to fan someone with. A People magazine will not cut it. It was flimsy and I felt like I was doing a terrible job. Once she had cooled down a bit, I sat back down with Mr. Bee and Aimee's husband.

It was very tense in the room, and I was incredibly anxious. At one point, I saw Aimee pick up the call button and just knew that this was it. A team of doctors came in the room to help Aimee start pushing. I was literally so scared that I sat helplessly on the couch until her husband told me to watch my baby being born. I sat on a stool watching everything happen, and asked Mr. Bee to come over and watch with me.

At the time it felt incredibly intrusive, but I know that I had everyone's blessing, and in the aftermath, I wouldn't have wanted to miss it for anyything. I knew that Aimee was in pain and I wanted to do anything I could to stop her from hurting. I know that sometimes partners say that they can't bear to see their spouse in pain during the labor process, and I felt the same way times 100 for having someone in pain who was giving us such a blessing. Pushing seemed to go by so quickly, and in the one second that our son was born, I completely lost it. The longing, pain, fears, waiting, and finally entrance of Aidan pushed me over the edge, and I broke down crying hysterically. Mr. Bee held me in his arms. I didn't know what to do until Aimee's husband yelled at me to come get my baby. I collapsed on him and Aimee, and just remember saying, "thank you, thank you," over and over. I would have stayed there crying all over her if the nurse hadn't told me to sit down so she could bring him over to me.

 I had bought a cheap Target sweatshirt the day before so I could do skin to skin contact. The nurse brought him over and I couldn't believe how beautiful he was. I held him and wept. I am an ugly crier, and I apologize to Aidan in advance for his first moments being branded with the images of my ugly cry face. I held him and everyone came over to meet him. I barely even remember what happened after that, except that I finally had my son, and for the first time, everything in my life felt right. I can't describe the joy of holding him, I can't describe the incredible gratefulness I feel for the family and woman who helped bring him home to us, so instead, I'll have to just say that it was the best day of my entire life.

Meeting him for the first time

Without any more waiting, meet Aidan.

Aidan James 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Meet Aidan

Here's the fella that we've been waiting for. Born 5.17.14.





Friday, May 16, 2014

My Last Letter to Baby Bee

My dearest baby boy,

I can't believe we're finally meeting you tomorrow. We've been through so much together, and it's amazing to me that our dream of you is finally coming true. It still seems so surreal that all of the kicks I've been feeling in Aimee's stomach are really "our baby".

Sometimes it feels like this journey has taken years, and sometimes it feels like no time has gone by at all. We've been so blessed to have Aimee take care of you for the past 9 months. I can't imagine going through this with anyone else after the kindness that she has shown our family. I know that you've been well taken care of. So taken care of, I might add, that you seem to have no intention of coming on your own time.

Aidan, I want you to know how extremely loved you are. By me, by your dad, your grandparents, aunts and uncles (even the ones who aren't related), and all of the wonderful people around us who have helped us come to this point. Know that everyone has your back, and that you will always be surrounded by so much love.

My wish for you is simply to be happy. Know that we will love and accept you no matter what your choices in life are. I won't want you to make your own decisions, but I know that if you're anything like me, you'll have to make mistakes in order to grow. And that's ok.

Know that we will always be here for you. We will always love you. And you are so wanted. It's sounds weird, but the time that I haven't been with you and Aimee I've missed you, and I'm looking forward to feeling complete with you in our lives.

I love you so much, my little baby bee, and I'm so excited to meet you tomorrow.

Love,
Your Mama



Monday, April 14, 2014

3D Ultrasound

Our surrogate surprised me this past weekend by coming down for my baby shower. We had a 3D ultrasound done before the shower, and if was the most amazing experience. I recommend everyone gets one if they're able to. I know that for me and Mr. Bee, it made everything incredibly real. You can tell he has Mr. Bee's ears, my nose (sorry baby!), and a whole bunch of cuteness.

I know it's cliche, but I love this boy so much. I look at his pictures and my heart actually hurts from loving him so much. I would already do anything for him, and let's face it, he's the cutest baby of all time.

Aidan: We are so excited to meet you in a few weeks. We've waited so long for you to join our family, and the wait was worth it. We needed to find the perfect person to help you become a reality, and we're so grateful that Aimee was meant to help us have you.

I can't wait to look at your face all day, kiss those chubby cheeks, and be the best mama for you. With those looks, I hope to somehow have 10 more brothers and sisters for you one day.

I love you, and we're already the most proud parents in the world.



Thursday, February 13, 2014

There's a Crib in my....Crib

We were so excited today to get the crib delivered! I ran home from work to make sure I was there just as the delivery guy pulled up. Mr. Bee also wanted to be here when the crib came, which was an adorable cute moment when he came through the door.

I think he was a little disappointed to see that it didn't come fully assembled and ready to put a baby in, but now we have fun weekend projects ahead!


We were fortunate enough to have the furniture purchased from my mom and Mr. Bee's mom and grandma. Actually getting the furniture was a bit more difficult than I thought it would be. This was the way my conversation went down with the delivery company:

::Me returning a message::
Me: Hi, I'm returning a message I received about a delivery.

Delivery Company: Who did you speak to?
Me: Alicia.
Delivery Company: There's no way you could have spoken to Alicia. She hasn't been here FOR A DAY! (In all honesty, I was expecting the horror movie response where Alicia called from beyond the grave.)

Me: Yes, she called me yesterday. I just wanted to set up a delivery time?
::Delivery Company places me on hold::
Delivery Company: Ok, when do you want us to deliver the package.
Me: I'm sorry, I'm not sure what the package is.
Delivery Company: Well I don't know what the package is! What's your tracking number?

::Gives tracking number::
Delivery Company: It's something from Toys R Us.
Me: Great! I think it's the crib!

Delivery Company: Ok, when do you want it delivered?
Me: Do you happen to do evenings or weekends?
Delivery Company: No.
Me: Are you usually good about getting here around the time you say you will since I'll be at work?
Delivery Company: Absolutely not. (Really??)
Me: How about Thursday?

Delivery Company: Ok, we'll be there sometime between morning and late afternoon.

Well, ok then. 

The great part is that the crib is physically here now, and may one day resemble a crib our son will sleep in, and not a giant box. This is all so exciting!

In addition to all of this exciting-ness, we've been enjoying getting videos and photos from Aimee of our little guy growing and kicking around! Since we're not physically close, this is definitely the next best thing. They make everything seem so real, and I am so appreciative that she sends these to us so we can see our son grow up!

All belly, no toes!

All happy things to report here. We really are so incredibly blessed!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Portland Trip - 20 Week Ultrasound

We’d been planning to go to Portland for the 20-week A/S ultrasound, and were so excited to have an opportunity to spend time with our surrogate and her family, see our baby, and explore Portland.


We arrived on Saturday afternoon, and after getting settled we met up with some of our friends who showed us the city. I’m not kidding when I say that I literally ate my way through Portland, but everything was so good. Fortunately, we did a ton of walking, so I’m hoping that justifies some of what was eaten. I think we hit all of the touristy foods including Voodoo Doughnuts, Salt & Straw Ice Cream, and even sampled the food trucks. By the way, I’ve never seen so many food trucks in my life. We got coffee one day from a truck and the barista made me a Pine Latte, which was made with simple syrup that he created with pine needles from a tree in his yard. Talk about daring dining!
Exploring With My Pine Latte

On Sunday night, we met up with Aimee and were able to spend time with her entire family at dinner. They are truly such amazing people. Her four boys are polite, well-behaved, and have incredible senses of humor and adventure. We had a great time joking around with her husband, and just had the best time with all of them. I was so thankful to be able to spend time with them and really felt like we were all part of a huge, happy family. It’s so important to have the support of your family while you go through surrogacy, and it’s truly a blessing to be connected to this them.
We met at the hospital on Monday for the A/S appointment. I had no idea before going into the appointment that it would be done by a tech and not a doctor, and was really surprised when I asked how everything looked that she wasn’t able to tell me. I completely understand that she didn’t want to give me any wrong information, but when someone has gone through as much as my husband and I have to finally make it to this point and have someone scanning our baby’s brain, I was really just hoping for a thumbs up or a smile to reassure me. The ultrasound is very in-depth and we were able to spend about an hour looking at our little guy and watching him move around.

Hello World!
After the ultrasound, we were able to take a tour of the hospital and the labor and delivery floor. It’s crazy to think that we’ll be there in just a few short months! Everyone was so nice and patient with us, and very understanding about surrogacy. If they have enough room, they’ll even let the intended parents have their own room that the baby can sleep in overnight with them. I get excited just thinking about having our baby just an arm’s length away from me, getting ready to come home with us.
Me and Aimee at the Hospital
Aimee and I said our goodbyes, and Otter Pop and I headed for the airport, where we’d spend the next 6 hours while waiting for our delayed flight. After getting back, I got a text that the ultrasound tech wasn’t able to get all of the photos needed of his heart, and Aimee had to go back again for a repeat ultrasound. Turns out that he’s a stubborn guy and wouldn’t get into a good position, which is common during the A/S ultrasound. For me, this was an excuse to freak out. I waited nervously until this week to find out that everything was A-OK, and Aidan is actually almost a full pound! I’m so relieved to find out that he’s doing well.
We truly had an amazing time in Portland and I can’t wait to go back soon to spend more time with Aimee and continue getting excited that our little one will be here before we know it!