Friday, June 14, 2013

Check Out Hello Baby Tv! Honest product reviews for every parent and baby.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

View Clips From The Upcoming Los Angeles Surrogacy Center Documentary

How the project was born!

Clip: Dawn vs ASRM

Visit the Los Angeles Surrogacy Center blog to learn more about the project!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Help Us Encourage ASRM to Change their surrogate mother c-section guidelines!

American Society of Reproductive Medicine aka (ASRM) sets the medical guidelines for surrogacy. Currently the guideline says "Ideally a surrogate mother should have no more than "3" C-Sections." Surrogate mothers are women who carry multiple pregnancies to assist others create or expand their own families. These surrogate mothers carry for individuals or couples who are often suffering from infertility or other health-related issues that prevent them from becoming pregnant independently. When a surrogate mother (a) becomes pregnant and (b) she has already had multiple mixed with multiple c-sections, these two factors together can lead to death in either the surrogate mother and unborn child. This further devastates a parent who is already emotionally fragile from being unable to have children on their own, and now suffers additional financial devastation due to the extraordinarily high cost of the surrogacy process, which can often cost upwards of $150K from start to finish.

Please consider helping us encourage change by signing our petition

Monday, April 22, 2013

MOTHER’S DAY 2013: True Faces of Rising Number of Over-40 Moms Revealed

MOTHER’S DAY 2013: True Faces of Rising Number of Over-40 Moms Revealed
In a bid to dispel unfounded, negative stereotypes regarding maternal age and uncover the real benefits to children of the dramatically rising population of women having children after 40 is launching the”The Over-40 Mother’s Day Album”, via social media. A leading advocacy website for later mothers. says the free online gallery is set to reveal the true faces and authentic voices of the growing ranks of women creating a mother of an evolution² at the very heart of the Western nuclear family.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Not Being Down For Co-Sleeping!

Last night at 2:30 am, my 17-month-old decided she couldn't sleep. After a diaper change, numerous attempts to rock her back to sleep and offering her a bottle, she and dad slowly made their way down the hall and into our room and got into our bed. Our daughter then relaxed for a bit, resting her head on my stomach. At that point, I picked her up and returned her back to her crib, and tucked her in and returned back to bed.

Within 10 minutes, she was crying again hysterically, wanting to be up and not in bed. Her dad once again left to check on her and brought her back into our room. I snapped to him, "Why did you not leave her in the crib? Its time for her to be in bed, not up playing. He responded with, "Be a mom! She doesn't want to be in her crib!" This, of course, lead to us exchanging words about whether or not I was being a good parent by not letting our 17-months-old-daughter sleep in our bed.

What I did do was let her have her bottle while she was sitting between the two of us in our bed, and once again, put her back in the crib. This time, she was content and went to sleep. When our son was four, we went down a similar path, where every night he would wake up in the middle of the night and climb in bed with us, where he would sleep until the morning. This lasted for nearly a year.

With our daughter, I want us to instill in her that she need to sleep in her own bed now before its too late, but am I not being a compassionate parent by not wanting my 17 month old in our bed? I know other parents struggle with this as well.

 I am all for attachment type parenting. We still use the appropriate baby carrier so we can carry her around at the chest when we go places. She is held a lot because she's the baby and has three much older siblings.  When she was born, our second youngest was already six and our oldest nine. We incorporate nurturing in many ways with our kids.

When you have a child, from the very beginning, babies are up in the middle of the night and you're tired. I know I was with our most recent baby, and we would take her, who would often want to be held in the middle of the night, place her on our chest, and fall back to sleep until she awoke again.

Now that she's older, I really don't want her sleeping in bed with us, unless she's not feeling well or had a bad dream. This is kind of where I draw the line and say, "Hey This is Mommy's Space!"

To me, my bed is my own personal space of comfort and peace. I only want to do two things in my bed sleep and get frisky. I have never had  T.V. in our bedroom for this reason. To me, my bed isn't even for watching a movie. Nor is it for co-sleeping, at least not at my house.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Tales of Two C-Sections That Led To One Placenta Abruption

In 2010, I had my first c-section during my third surrogacy. This was my sixth pregnancy. All of the children before were born vaginally.  After five vaginal births, you could say, without question, even if your not a doctor, I had what they call a proven pelvis. Even though I wasn't pregnant with twins, and didn't have any medical condition during my pregnancy.

 I was duped into having a c-section by being told I was pregnant with a "big baby".

Looking back at the situation, there were warning signs during my pregnancy that this care provider was intending on c-sectioning me. "If the baby is large, you're going to need a c-section" was mentioned a number of times during my pregnancy. I heard that statement made as a hypothetical situation, and I would always respond with, "I have never previously need a c-section, and I'm sure this pregnancy will be no different from the others." When we had a second ultrasound, I was told I was suddenly carrying a "big baby" and should be tested for gestational diabetes, which I did. The screening came back negative.When they were attempting to put a medical diagnosis with "big baby", it sounded totally legitimate. 

After that, even though I had no medical issues, the talk about "needed a c-section" kept increasing, and as fate would have it, I ended up having c-section because I was told that I was carrying a "big baby." I'm tall and gave birth vaginally without any complications to five babies previously, the biggest weighing nearly 9 lbs.  The doctor was adamant that I needed this procedure. But even the staff at the hospital knew I didn't need a c-section, and were gossiping about it while I was laying on the operating table prior to the doctor come in to preform the surgery. 

What was the weight of this "big baby?" Only 8 lbs, and it was already a few days prior to 40 weeks.  A few days after my c-section, I had to return to the doctor's office to have my staples removed, where the doctor and I exchanged words about what had just happened. 

The response I was looking for was, "All of the ultrasounds lead me to believe you were pregnant with a large baby. I'm sorry I made a mistake."  What I got was, "Some women prefer c-sections to avoid vaginal changes." I thought, "Oh ok, great.  I just had unnecessary surgery, and I'm in a ton of pain, but at least you saved my vagina. Sorry I'm not more grateful for that."  

Months later I found myself pregnant again; this time, not as a surrogate mother, but with my own child. I wanted nothing more than to avoid having a c-section. Google led me to VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section) At the time I was living in Los Angeles, and had no problem finding a doctor who was willing to agree I was a excellent candidate for a VBAC. At 25 weeks, we moved out of L.A. to area where there is a ban on VBAC. I found a midwife that lived about an hour north from our house. But she would  only take me as a patient  under the condition that I have a homebirth, since VBACs were not suppose to be done at their birth center. 

I had no idea how off the radar VBAC was. It was almost like I was asking for a experimental medical procedure. Though all I was asking for was to have a vaginal birth.

At 35 weeks, we learned I had low fluid. Our midwife then referred me to a doctor who was supposedly open to VBAC,  but the doctor really wasn't, and we spent almost two weeks bickering back and forth about whether or not I should have VBAC or a C-Section. At the time, my son was playing soccer and one of his teammate's mother, who was a nurse, had heard from one of our other kids that I might need to have the baby a little earlier that we planned. 

She was very supportive and had two c-sections herself. She went on to tell me that  it was better for baby that I have a c-section because I could have a uterine rupture if I had a VBAC, and it could be catastrophic if the baby somehow ended up in my abdomen. After her doctor told her that could happen to her baby, she immediately agreed to the second c-section. Having a second c-section wasn't that bad, she said,  and I would be just fine and should consider agreeing to the c-section the doctor was suggesting.

It was then that I realized OBs really have complete control of your birth experience because they went to medical school and you didn't. You trust they only want what's best for you and your baby. After my fluid was back up and stable for almost two weeks, it suddenly dropped significantly again at 37 weeks. I listened to medical advice, and I had c-section number two.  My daughter arrived in this world perfectly healthy, weighing just over 6 lbs at birth.

Shortly thereafter, I was again asked to be a surrogate. The recipients agreed that I could yet again attempt to have a VBAC, should this be a viable medical option. Once again, I did what I had with my previous pregnancy and hired a different VBAC friendly medical provider. This time, he was not a midwife, but a actual OB whose office was an  hour and a half south of our house. Everything was great until 36 weeks. It was Sunday during a long weekend. We were with friends for a BBQ, had Chinese food for dinner, and I thought I would enjoy the rest of the evening watching "Magic Mike" (for the incredible story line... Just kidding!)

I got up to go to the bathroom, and heard something "pop", and suddenly, I was gushing blood all over the floor of my bathroom. I screamed at my partner to get me a towel and said we need to go to the hospital... Now! He rushed in with a roll of paper towels and saw all the blood. I said, "No, a real towel! Hurry." We got into the car and rushed as fast as we could to the nearest hospital. I arrived to the ER and told them what happened, and was whisked quickly to an examination room. I was bleeding every where.  Unknown matter was falling out of my body on to the floor. 

I asked the nurse, "Is the baby going to be ok?" 

She responded, "Let's hope so." 

The doctor on call arrived at the hospital, examined me, then asked why I had opted to hire an OB who lived an hour and a half from my house instead of using one of the local doctors in our area. I finally confessed I had two previous c-sections, adding that I wanted a VBAC. He kind of chuckled and shook his head.

"We don't do that here and don't have the available staff to support that," he explained.  Then, he continued to tell us that he believed my placenta was starting to pull away from the wall of the uterus, and I needed an emergency c-section as soon as possible to save the baby. He then shook my hand and introduced himself. Two hours after arriving at the hospital, the baby was born via c-section weighing a little over 5lbs. 

He spent a little less than a week in the NICU at a nearby hospital. His parents are proud to report he is growing like a weed and doing very well. That c-section was a 100% necessary and saved the life of myself and the baby. C-Sections, like other surgeries, are wonderful life saving tools. It is a medical procedure we should be thankful for when needed, and is an option to save the life of a pregnant woman or unborn child.

However, unlike other surgeries, they are often done for no real medical reason or purely for convenience. As with my first c-section, I had no diagnosis or medical condition that warranted c-section. 

I was duped with  "If you don't have a c-section, the baby could die or suffer complications from getting stuck." Lets face it--  lots of other women have this same story. I'm not the first woman and I will not be the last women to have this happen.

Long term risks are something more women should think about prior to agreeing or asking for the first c-section. Maybe even consider getting a second opinion. 

You wouldn't just agree to go have open heart surgery. Most of us would get a second opinion. C-Section should be treated the same way. Looking back, a second opinion is something I really wish now I would have taken the time to do prior to having my first c-section.  

In my case, it only took two c-sections before I had a placenta abruption. I also had no warning signs. It just suddenly happened. The doctor who preformed the c-section was unable to tell what caused the abruption. I was told sometimes things happen. I assume it was multiple pregnancies mixed with the c-sections that lead this to happen. 

Though I agree most women will not go on to carry eight pregnancies in total, and be a four time surrogate mother like I was. Some doctors who are pro c-section will say my case is extreme, and having a repeat c-section is best for baby. Maybe it is extreme to some extent. 

What isn't extreme, though, is that you can have serious complications, and even you or the child can die from having repeat c-sections mixed with multiple pregnancies. If you are thinking you want to have more than one or two children, this risk of serious complications should be something you discuss with your OB prior to agreeing to your first c-section. Know that with the medical system we have in place, VBAC is not a common practice. It's like speaking a foreign language a very few understand. 

Its best to attempt to avoid having a c-section in the first place, if possible.  As women, all we can do is educate ourselves, just like we do before eating sushi or taking medicine during pregnancy, or like we  would before having any other major medical procedure that nowadays isn't seen as routine as a c-section. 



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Multiple C-Sections And Surrogate Mothers. A Cautionary Tale

I wrote this about my last surrogacy as a cautionary tale about the risks of multiple pregnancies and c-sections. I think it's an important conversation for a recipient parent to have with a potential surrogate mother prior to matching with her. I also think it's very important for a potential surrogate mother who has had c-sections to talk about the risks of multiple pregnancies after having a c-section with her OB prior to becoming pregnant again.
This, of course, also applies to any woman who has had a c-section and is considering having multiple future pregnancies.