A beautiful birth day

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On Friday, 28th March 2014 the world became a more beautiful place, our family was made complete and our hearts were filled with unconditional love as our miracle babies were born.

Our baby girl, Micayla Leigh, weighing 2.2kgs was born at 5.44am and our baby boy, Connor William, weighing 2.9kgs was born at 5.45am, both via a c-section. Their first breaths took ours away. They are perfect in every way.

Sometimes pictures tell a better story than words so I have posted a few photos of the birth. We hired an amazing birth photographer, Jenny Elliott, to capture every special moment so that we could be fully involved in the birth. The below is our birth story:

Getting ready for theatre

Getting ready for theatre

Walking hand-in-hand with hubby into theatre

Walking hand-in-hand with hubby into theatre

Watching in amazement as my babies are being taken out of surrmom's tummy

Watching in amazement as my babies are being taken out of surrmom’s tummy

Micayla taking her first breath as she is pulled out of surromom's tummy

Micayla taking her first breath as she is pulled out of surromom’s tummy

Seeing our baby girl for the first time...no words can explain the feeling

Seeing our baby girl for the first time…no words can explain the feeling

Connor coming out feet first. The most beautiful little foot.

Connor coming out feet first. The most beautiful little foot.

Our baby boy's first breath

Our baby boy’s first breath

Overwhelmed with happiness

Overwhelmed with happiness

The pediatrician getting Micayla to breath as she came out blue. The nurse checking Connor.

The pediatrician getting Micayla to breath as she came out blue. The nurse checking Connor.

Hubby cutting his son's umbilical cord.

Hubby cutting his son’s umbilical cord.

Me cutting my baby girl's umbilical cord. Very important for me as it symbolizes their new life with their parents.

Me cutting my baby girl’s umbilical cord. Very important for me as it symbolizes their new life with their parents.

My precious baby boy

My precious baby boy

My perfect baby girl

My perfect baby girl

Very emotional. I have no words to describe the feeling of holding your babies after waiting for them for such a long time.

Very emotional. I have no words to describe the feeling of holding your babies after waiting for them for such a long time.

Overwhelmed with emotion...fear, happiness, gratefulness, thankfulness and love

Overwhelmed with emotion…fear, happiness, gratefulness, thankfulness and love

An emotional birth for surromom too

An emotional birth for surromom too

I'll be forever grateful to this amazing woman who brought our babies into this world

I’ll be forever grateful to this amazing woman who brought our babies into this world

Our first family photo. From 2 to 4 in 2 minutes.

Our first family photo. From 2 to 4 in 2 minutes.

 

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D-Day plan

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Tomorrow is the day our lives will change forever, it’s the day our twins will be born. Surromom is scheduled to have a c-section at 5.30am. It’s bright and early but I couldn’t even imagine having to wait the entire day to meet our precious babies. At first I thought they could have at least let us have one final night’s sleep but whom am I kidding? I haven’t been sleeping properly for the last month. Perhaps my body has been sleep training itself for the no sleep that’s about to come.

We will take surromom to the hospital this evening and she will spend the night there. At about 4am tomorrow we will then meet her in the labour ward. The nurses will then prep us for theatre and we’ll have to suit up in those lovely blue scrubs. Hubby and I will both be in theatre for the duration of the c-section. We will be standing close to surromom’s head so that we can’t see the gory bits as they cut away.

As the Doctor delivers each baby he will lift them up so that surromom can see them and will then hand them to hubby and myself. I get teary-eyed just thinking about that first moment we will get to hold them. We will stay in theater until they have finished stitching her up. Surromom will then get moved to recovery and after that she will be taken to a general surgical ward where she will spend the next four days.

I have been booked into the maternity ward. Hubby and I will stay there with the twins in our room until the Doctor is ready to discharge us. If all goes smoothly he sees us coming home on Sunday.

So that’s the grand plan for tomorrow. I hope and pray that all goes smoothly for surromom, the babies and us. Thirteen hours and counting until we become parents.

Our baby bump progression

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It’s always interesting to see how a baby bump has progressed during the course of a pregnancy. For me, watching our baby bump grow has been fascinating.  I’ve loved looking back at photos to see how much bigger the bump has grown, to see if it’s sitting high or low, to see if it’s just a neat little bump or if it’s filled out on the sides. At 37 weeks our baby bump looks swell 🙂

Here are a few snaps over the past few months:

Bump at 37 weeks

Bump at 37 weeks

Bump at 36 weeks

Bump at 36 weeks

Bump at 35 weeks

Bump at 35 weeks

Bump at 34 weeks

Bump at 34 weeks

Bump at 33 weeks

Bump at 33 weeks

Bump at 31 weeks

Bump at 31 weeks

Bump at 30 weeks

Bump at 30 weeks

Bump at 21 weeks

Bump at 21 weeks

The last lunch

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On Sunday we held a special lunch. It was a good opportunity for our immediate family to meet surromom and to be able to see her growing bump. I know for some it must have been quite strange, even surreal, to think that our babies are inside her belly. For me it was comforting to know that our family have now met her and can put more than just a face to the name when we talk about her.

We received a heartwarming poem from hubby’s brother and sister in-law. It was funny but at the same time had us all in tears. It’s a poem I feel I have to share with the world:

Mally and Cands flew home from Dubai,
To create a cargo too precious to fly,
Then an angel named Nola,
Tucked it inside ‘er
And waited for nine months to go by…

Her growing belly becoming less stealthy,
She’s kept the cargo so safe and healthy,
Attending the scans,
And being quizzed by Cands,
For a regular update ‘n selfie…

By now we know there’s not one but two,
Bundles of “B” to chase and pursue!
But for us the best
Is that we have b’n blessed
With both a niece and nephew!

Nola your impact can never be measured,
But know these babies will always be treasured.
Mal and Cands you’re gonna do great,
Although you’ve prob’ly had your last date
And soon you’ll look much older and weathered!

***”B” replaces our surname

I feel you from the outside

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What’s the best part of your week? Mine is when I see surromom and get to put my hands on her belly, talk to my babies and feel them move. On lookers might think I’m a crazy lady but for those few precious minutes it’s only me and my bubs. I don’t care about what others might say or think, when you are engulfed in your own little world with your miracles you can totally block out the rest of the world.

Yesterday our baby girl was active and giving me a lot of kicks. As surromom lay on the Doctors bed for the scan her belly was moving all over the place. I think the babies were doing a happy dance inside her belly, putting on a show because they knew I was just about to see them onscreen.

I still wish that I could feel them inside my tummy. I wish I could feel every little kick, elbow, hiccup and somersault.

In eight days time I will get to feel their hearts beat against mine. I can’t wait to hold them in my arms, I just might not ever let them go.

“Hormonal” mom-to-be

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With our pregnancy nearing the end my emotions have been running high. I can’t blame hormonal changes or imbalances for causing me to feel like this. With any major life-changing event your emotions are bound to bouncing up and down, irrespective of pregnancy hormones playing a role or not.

The way people respond to these changes differ from person to person. I have always been an overly emotional person; I cry when I’m happy, I cry when I’m sad.

These past few weeks have brought out a vast range of emotions in me. From all-consuming excitement to niggles of anxiousness that are causing me sleepless nights. I worry about whether I am prepared enough – have I read all the right books, have I bought everything the babies will need? I feel stressed at times when I think about the possibility of the babies arriving earlier and hubby missing the birth because he is still 4,000 miles away. I feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to care for two other helpless, fragile human beings when I’m so use to it just being the two of us. There are days when I feel at peace, confident in the thought that “we can do this”. Most days however I am just blissfully happy! It feels like I have little wings on my shoes and I have found my smile again.

A beautiful baby shower

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When I knew that I would never have a baby bump, I thought I would never have a baby shower. I would never be that woman who is glowing, beautiful with her big belly, being celebrated at a shower honouring her and celebrating the imminent arrival of her baby.

In my head I had turned the idea of a baby shower into something so negative because of my own insecurities. I felt awkward and uncomfortable at the thought of a baby shower as I do not have a big pregnant belly… I felt like a fraud. I did not like the idea of playing silly pregnancy games like guessing my waist size. Games like that would only remind me of what I would never have.

It was not until my mother lovingly convinced me that I was every bit as deserving of a baby shower as any other pregnant woman or mom-to-be.  Whether I was carrying the babies myself or not was irrelevant. I am going to be a mother and that needed celebrating.

The most beautiful baby shower was thrown for me on Sunday afternoon. It was magical, breathtaking and perfect in every way possible. Some of my closest female family and friends from Johannesburg were there to honour me. I felt overwhelmed with love and I was very emotional during the shower. It was a culmination of thoughts from the past few years, the agony we’ve endured, the anxiousness about what lies ahead and the total happiness my heart now feels, that left me teary eyed throughout the day.

My mom made a speech and I wept as she spoke about my strength over the years, told me how proud she is of me and reaffirmed that I am going to be a wonderful mom. She is so gracious and if I’m half the mom she is I know I’ll be the best mom there is.

Thank you to these amazing woman in my life for making me feel so special.

Me, cousin and sister in-law (the pretty maker, baby shower organiser)

Me, cousin and sister in-law (the pretty maker, baby shower organiser)

Delectable high tea

Delectable high tea

Bubbly with berries

Bubbly with berries

Pretty flower arrangementsPretty flower arrangements

Table arrangement

Table arrangement

Thank you favours - pink and blue elephant shortbread

Thank you favours – pink and blue elephant shortbread

Guests guessed our babies names...time will tell if anyone was correct

Guests guessed our babies names…time will tell if anyone was correct

A bittersweet day

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This past Saturday marked the end of one chapter and the start of the next exciting chapter in our journey as I left my home in the Middle East and jetted back to South Africa.

It was a strange feeling saying goodbye to my home, it is my place of comfort and peace, and I will not be back for another 2 and a half months. I was so sad to leave my hubby behind. It has been just the two of us for so long and the next time I return to the Middle East we will be a family of four. It is almost an unrealistic thought and difficult to comprehend.

I arrived in South Africa only to be surprised at the airport by our surromom. How wonderful to see her and to be able to put my hands on her belly and say “Hi my babies, mommy is home.”

I'll never be able to travel lightly again. The big red bag is the pram/stroller - had to purchase excess baggage for it

I’ll never be able to travel lightly again. The big red bag is the pram/stroller – had to purchase excess baggage for it

Saying goodbye in the airport, just before the tears started
Saying goodbye in the airport, just before the tears started

The best surprise "welcome home" at the airport - my babies came to say hi to their mommy

The best surprise “welcome home” at the airport – my babies came to say hi to their mommy

Maternity leave

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You would think that mothers across the globe should all be entitled to the same amount of maternity leave, only seems fair doesn’t it? My employer gives a whopping forty-five days maternity leave, yes you read correctly forty-five days! How is any mother meant to recover and adjust to this new life in forty-five days? And as for paternity leave, pff… what’s that in this country?

But what about maternity leave for a surrogate pregnancy or adoption? My employer is overly generous (I couldn’t be more sarcastic if I tried) and gives the mother a whole ten days maternity leave for adoption, and well surrogacy is just unheard of so that confused the system. Yes I understand that as an “intended” mother we wouldn’t need time to “physically” recover from the birth but emotionally we go through exactly the same as a “normal” birth. With surrogacy and adoption there are also the logistics surrounding the birth that we need a lot of additional time for. In many cases, as in mine, you need to travel to fetch your baby/babies. I need to be in South Africa one month before the birth as that last month is so unpredictable. I won’t risk not seeing my babies being born. We will also need to stay there for about six weeks after they are born to arrange birth certificates, passport and visas. Time, you see, I need time.

When I rejoined the company four years ago I joined on a temporary basis. I knew that our main priority was to have a baby, it was not my career. Being on a temp contract meant I would only have to give one weeks notice and I knew that once we were well into our pregnancy I would resign. The maternity leave they offer is just not enough, I really would like a full year off with the babies.

Many people have said to me that a year is too much. The thing is, I don’t get the nine months of bonding with the babies before they arrive and so once they are here I want to be able to spend as much time with them as possible. I need that time to get to know them, to form that special, close relationship with and to just love them wholeheartedly and unconditionally. The more I think about it the more I feel I should actually get two years off…one for each baby. I think that’s fair, after all I’ll never have the opportunity to take any form of maternity leave ever again.

I had my last day at work about 12 days ago, I’m officially on maternity leave waiting for my babies to arrive.

Open for discussion

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My lack of a baby bump during our pregnancy has been quite hard at times. When you are pregnant and people can see your growing bump they ask questions about the baby, about you, about the pregnancy. I haven’t had the luxury of a bump and so the majority of people, even those that know we are expecting twins, haven’t asked much about our pregnancy. I don’t know if it’s the whole “out of sight, out of mind” theory but I find this sad.

Just like any other expecting mom I also want to talk about our pregnancy. I’m bursting with excitement, anticipation, anxiety and fear. I’m a very proud, first-time mom-to-be so naturally I have plenty of questions, concerns and ideas that I would love to chat about.

Perhaps people don’t know what to say or what to ask. I would say treat a surrogacy pregnancy just as you would any other pregnancy. Ask all the normal questions and talk about all the normal stuff. A word of caution though, just don’t refer to surromom as “the mom”.

I have tried to be as involved with our pregnancy as possible. Yes the distance between us and surromom has made it ‘physically’ impossible for us to be there all the time but technology really is a wonderful thing. I can tell you at any point how the babies are doing, how our surromom is feeling, how the plans for the birth are coming along, how the babies nursery is progressing, how the nesting is fun but exhausting and how hubby and I are bonding with our twins through the “airwaves”.

Don’t feel scared to talk to intended mothers and intended fathers about their surrogacy pregnancies. After all it is still our pregnancy, we are just experiencing it in a different way.