So here we were late Wednesday morning, Michelle settled in at the hospital, ready for a pretty long siege/labor process lasting well into the night.

I was planning on getting at least 7 or 8 new entries onto www.guestwomb.com describing the whole process. In fact I was doing a little preemptive internet research trying to find sound byte files of famous actress screams in film/tv. You know….so I could provide some frame of reference for the noises I was expecting to last until Midnight or so.

Michelle’s doctor comes into the room and arranges for a quick ultrasound check, and I took a few moments to stretch my legs in the hallway.

When I strolled back in five minutes later, everything had changed. A flurry of five nurses were working all over Michelle. Doctors were running in and out of the room.

“Have they told you,” cried Michelle, eyes wide in shock?

“Told me what?, I asked.”

“C-Section!”

The ultrasound showed the kid’s head was jammed right up against the umbilical cord. During a long labor he would squeeze it down even further. It really WAS go time, technically an emergency C-Section although neither Michelle nor the kid were in danger at that moment.

But I guess they only have one speed when the order comes down from the doctor. 

One of the nurses threw me a package of scrubs and said, “Dad, put ‘em on….we’re going over to the operating room right now.”

Now there were two big problems with that nurse’s statement:

  1. I  was not the Dad. I have made that painfully obvious through the previous 94 entries of my blog.
  2. Me in operating room, around skin shredding scalpels and blood would create an entirely different medical issue. Operating table for two, please?

However when it was known that Michelle would have a general anesthetic, that ruled me out of being another casualty of squeamishness in the operating room. One crisis averted.

But then another loomed: the intended parents hadn’t even arrived at the hospital! Michelle had called them at 5 a.m. when we were on the way to the hospital, but told them it was going to be hours and hours of waiting. No rush. Take your time. Driving in from north Jersey, they wouldn’t arrive until noon or so.

So as Michelle was being quickly prepped and rushed to the operating room, I quickly dialed them on my cell phone to give them the news. Before I had a chance to say hello, one of the mom’s said: “We’re here. In the elevator”.

“Get in here fast. She’s having a C-section right now!”

……………… I’ll save the next hour of details for another time…………………………..

As they say, best laid plans and all that. But the outcome was the same. And just what we hoped for.

Cole Lewis Martino came into  the world at 12:03, about 20 minutes after that seemingly routine ultrasound check. Born with 10 little fingers, same amount of toes. Absolutely perfect condition.

Michelle’s doing great, after a pretty bad 90 minutes following the surgery because the post procedure pain management was woefully slow.  

As for me, I suffered a really annoying paper cut Thursday morning while reading the newspaper in M’s hospital room but I’m told I’ll make a full recovery.

And I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t get to use some of those movie sound bytes on the blog to provide a vivid description of the big event…..


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Today I spent a lot of time thinking about the first Indiana Jones movie. Remember the climatic scene, where Harrison Ford and Karen Allen are tied to a stake, back to back, while the Nazi bad guys are opening the Ark of the Covenant?

“Marion, don’t look at it,” warns Indy. All the evil guys are enjoying the amazing view of the sprites and angels floating around…

Suddenly the spirits change into demons, and lightning bolts shoot right into their eyes, and out their skulls in wonderful Spielburgian fashion. Even in these modern CGI days where filmmakers can create absolute miracles on screen — like making Keanu Reeves seem like he’s actually an actor — the melting face thing still looks pretty cool.

Which brings me to today’s big event. Michelle and I went to the IVF Clinic today, where she was successfully implanted with two tiny microscopic embryos.

And I got to watch the whole thing. OK, not the whole thing.

In fact, I was just holding her hand and watching the doctors/nurses/plumbers/oceanograhers work on the…err…..business end.

And while there were no lightning bolts shooting into my eyes, no face melting or screams (OK, I wanted to scream a couple of times but didn’t) it has to be about the most unforgetable 20 minutes of my life. And frankly I didn’t expect to be there.

I had asked Michelle who she would like to have accompany her into the operating room, and she thought M and B would want to be with her through the procedure. Per the rules of the clinic, only two people were allowed in to witness the transfer. As I think about it now: I’m sure she was protecting her ultra squeamish husband; I’m not sure exactly who she wanted holding her hand. But I wasn’t exactly stepping forward on my own.

No, it took the prodding of B and M to make that happen. They just ‘assumed’ I would want to be there, saying how wonderful I am to be so supportive, how lucky Michelle is…… Argh. I was trapped. If I said ‘no thanks’ at that point, I’d look like a schmuck….

And before you know it, I was gowned up in a yellow cloud of cotton with a mask, hair net — even foot covers — walking into the darkened operating theater.

And there was Michelle, lying back in the…uh…action…position. I’m not going to go into much detail here. (Hey guys, check out this home movie I made of the whole thing! Get your popcorn!)

Suffice to say that the team of doctors and nurses swarming over Michelle were efficient and professional. This clinic has been in business for over 25 years and they obviously know their business. Michelle was made comfortable, kept informed of everything that was happening and came through this short (20 minute) procedure with flying colors.

Of course the huge valium pill she took 15 minutes before arriving at the Clinic didn’t hurt either.

They ‘defrosted’ a total of four embryos. (God as I type that word, defrosted: It’s like they’re thawing out some ground round for tonight’s meat loaf). It turns out the two had somewhat disintegrated in the thawing process. Leaving two very healthy mini-mini-mini people. I saw a picture of them snapped under an electromicroscope and it was heart stopping. (More on that in a later post.)

 So potential person no. 1 and potential soul no. 2 were placed in their new, temporary home. And just like that: our journey is officially started.

This is obviously a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life. But I recall thinking as I was driving the car closer to the door to pick up Michelle….it was just so simple. Almost routine.

For God’s sake, two potential lives were just given a jump start. You would expect some kind of miraculous flash of light…marching bands… something more than it was.

And yet it seemed to be no big deal, a routine out-patient procedure like fixing a hernia or a nose job. 

Driving home from the Clinic, we stopped for a leisurely late lunch at a Mexican joint. Michelle was about to order her usual lager to go along with her tacos…..and then realized very quickly: Life had changed.

Or so we think. Now we await a blood test in about 10 days to confirm that she’s pregnant.

The success rate is pretty high for this clinic.


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So: On to the heart of the matter. Or, more accurately, the uterus. (ugh….it feels creepy just typing that word.) Because this simple blog is centered around one main theme — Michelle’s upcoming adventure of growing a child.

What exactly is a gestational surrogacy and how does it involve us? Well if I was putting this on 140-character Twitter, I’d Tweet: Michelle is going to be the GuestWomb, have an embryo implanted for the purpose of growing a baby (or babies) at the behest of a local couple.

But it’s really going take about another 144,000 characters to describe what’s going to happen this next year or so. I could write post after post and probably not do the science of this subject justice.

Nor would I really want to, and that’s because: My middle name should be: OH MY GOD I NEED TO COVER MY EYES Squeamish. If I had to type in some of these more delicate medical details that I’ve learned over the past 4 months, my fingers would be breaking out in a rash. I get red faced even THINKING about writing these intimate details down. 

So it’s a good thing this blog is going to be less about facts, figures and details, and more about how our lives are going to be influenced and affected. From the mundane to the profane. And all the laughs, tears, frustrations, reflections, joy and satisfaction that come in between.

But we need a common knowledgebase. So lets start with the more clinical and work our way around to ethical and moral issues.

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So you could see this movie pictured above. (Which wasn’t too bad by the way — I’ll give the full Siskel and Ebert treatment later on)

Or you can sample some more informed viewpoints.

  • Here’s a basic Gestational Surrogacy 101 right here.
  • And another one from a Surrogacy agency.
  • And if you’re really interested, I recommend checking out this site. This is the organization that we’re involved with — you’ll read much more about them later.

And now for some opinion-laden spaces.

This article from Newsweek is informative but infers that carriers are mostly desperate, poverty threatened women. Especially wives of military men who have been shipped overseas.

Then there’s this story from New York Times. It’s a first person account of a woman who turned to a Gestational carrier as a last resort. Some of her comments rub the wrong way — you’ll find them I’m sure. But most of it typifies why couples are turning to women like Michelle to perform this special miracle.

Oh….be sure to read the comments about this story. Obviously this article struck a nerve!

As I come across more articles and resources I’ll share them from time to time.

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