Surrogacy

Part 14: A happy 24 Week Update!

24 weeks......seriously how did we get to 24 weeks?! The past month since our 20 week scan has absolutely flown by.

Emiliana Hall

S: 24 weeks……seriously how did we get to 24 weeks?! The past month since our 20 week scan has absolutely flown by. Bump has been getting bigger every time I see Em and shes glowing as always.

E: I thought time was slowing down as we had less appointments in the diary, but when I realised that we’re nearly out of the 2nd trimester it became apparent that wasn’t the case at all!

S: It’s amazing what discussions crop up when Em and I talk about baby Smith together. We started talking about what we thought he would weigh and I hadn’t really thought about it being anything other than genetics and related to what Jack and I weighed as babies, but actually after doing a bit of research its also linked to what Em eats (I mean of course it is but it’s not something I had thought about before). If I was carrying our baby I wonder if he would weigh different to what he will eventually weigh at birth having been carried by someone not genetically related? An interesting thought and one I won’t dwell on too much as no pregnant woman is 100% in control of this regardless

E: Baby’s weight in pregnancy is a little annoyance of mine! As a hypnobirthing teacher I hear of so many women being told that their baby is ‘big’ or ‘small’ from scans, and then go on to have an average sized or opposite-to-what-they-thought sized baby! So I’ve encouraged S not to think too much into it if we get told a weight at a scan! But of course it’s totally natural for her to wonder what he’ll be like, in every way!

S: We had a couple of big appointments in just before Christmas. The first was our booking in appointment at Stoke Mandeville hospital and the second was our 24 week midwife appointment. This was exciting as we hadn’t heard baby Smith’s heartbeat for 8 weeks. Em’s daughter Mollie came along with us and her little face hearing the heartbeat was so special. It definitely sounded more like a steam train this time!!

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E: It was really lovely taking Mollie to this appointment. She loves anything to do with the doctors (she actually came to a pre-transfer clinic blood test appointment once and the nurse let her take my blood, assisted, but still, she was fascinated!). Lots of people ask me how she is during the surrogacy journey, and honestly it’s just going to be a part of her life. One big loving part of it where she’ll hopefully one day feel proud that we as a family helped our friends have a family too. She has asked a couple of times when S&J will be taking the baby! I don’t believe it’s in a way that she particularly wants them to- it’s more just knowing they ARE going to, so when is that day actually going to be!

S: I feel like after the 20 week scan the baby’s room became my biggest focus (I say mine as Jack really has just seemed happy that I am finally in a good place and able to plan things which is my absolute favourite thing in the world to do!). I created moodboards on Pinterest, saved hundreds of images on Instagram and must have looked on every online shop going from all around the world until I had the perfect idea of the room in my head. It’s helped me massively to create a vision of where he will be eventually and I guess some people call it nesting.

We live in a 3 bedroom house and had left our smallest ‘box’ bedroom empty for about 8 years since we moved in, just waiting for the moment when it could be used for a baby. Last year I decided enough was enough and I was in such an angry place so hastily decorated it and put a day bed in there so I wouldn’t walk past anymore and get sad! Low and behold we now need the room!! But actually have decided to decorate the second (slightly bigger) bedroom instead to give him some more space.

E: I love hearing about S&J (maybe more S at this point ha!) prepping the baby’s room. It’s another way they’re able to bond with him and I think it’s all just so lovely.

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S: I really enjoy asking Em what her plans are during the week when I’m not seeing her to hear what the bump will be up to! I’m in awe of how she just carries on with her busy schedule whilst there’s a baby growing inside her! In fact I’m in awe of every woman who has carried a baby – I think you are all just absolutely incredible!

E: I have been really fortunate with not experiencing sickness or aches and pains so far. Carrying on with day to day life is a big part of the surrogacy process for me. I get asked on a daily basis how I’m feeling by lots of people (which is so nice!) and my answer is always along the lines of ‘I’m feeling fine, it’s a very different mindset to prepping for your own newborn and the months that follow birth with them, because I think that can be quite mentally draining in it’s own way’. But as I won’t have that stage once baby is born, I’ll be focusing on my hypnobirthing teaching, doula work and digital marketing consulting… which is what I’m busy prepping for at the moment!

S: Another thing I don’t think I’ve ever written about is the change in the dynamics of our girls friendship group. Over the past 10 years our closest friends have had their own fertility journeys and I’ve always been aware that it’s been difficult to be totally normal with me during their own pregnancies and the early baby days. I did the best I possibly could to be the friend I wanted to be (each baby born into the gang I loved so so much from the minute they arrived) as well as having to use self protection methods where I needed to ease my own pain. I knew it was very difficult for them and I’m sure conversations would happen when I was out of earshot a lot of the time to protect me which I was always very grateful for.

It’s been so lovely recently to become a part of these conversations that I never imagined I’d be able to. Even the little discussions about babies being awake all night or playing up or needing constant feeding. My friends seem more relaxed talking about things around me which is great to see. When you lose both tubes you have a 0.001% chance of ever conceiving naturally and I’m sure the girls prayed for me every time I miscarried. All of them knew from the very beginning what Em had offered to do for us and were fully supportive and I almost think relieved that maybe I would actually get a chance of becoming a mum. So it’s lovely they get to enjoy a happy Sophie now and not the one they’ve known these last few years.

E: One of our good friends said ‘thank you’ to me when we found out the test was positive. Of course mainly because of relief that the pain was finally over for S&J but also for them to be able to include them in their own motherhood journey, which as S just mentioned was very (understandably) difficult to do before.

S: Our next big diary appointment is at the start of January when we meet with the consultant to discuss our decision for an elective C section. Em has given us a book so we’ve had some homework to do as she firmly believes that knowledge is power and Jack and I need to know all the risks (not going to lie I’m pretty sure J hasn’t read it yet!). As I’ve said before whatever Em had decided we would have fully supportive of so I’ll be in there to back up anything she says.

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Up next

Abdominal Birth Mind & Body Preparation Tips

As we head into the 3rd trimester (!) of our surrogacy pregnancy, I’m starting to think about what planning for an abdominal birth (both before and postnatally) entails.

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