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Friday, September 30, 2011

One Week Ago

One week ago at the very moment of this post, Morgan called to tell us that her water had broken. 
That news changed our lives forever. 

We love this new life.  

Thank you Morgan.
For giving us life.
For giving us purpose.
For giving our lives meaning.

We love you.
JR and Jim

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Birth Story

Friday night started out like all the other Friday's for the past 7 weeks.   Morgan was doing well and we were preparing for our weekend.  In this case, we were preparing for our baby shower (which deserves it's own post...but what an Amazing event!).  Jim and his brother had driven down to San Diego to introduce my mom and her husband to Morgan.   They had a great visit and all was good.   Everyone arrived back in LA late that afternoon/evening.   Jim and I were in the middle of opening up the shower gifts from my mom/husband (which also deserve a separate post!) when our cell phones rang (around 7:30 or so).   Jim took the call in the other room.   All I could hear from his conversation was our doctor's name and I knew something was up.   When Jim came back into the room, he announced that Morgan's water had broken!   We were all in shock I think.    (Things afterward are somewhat blurry but I will try and get this right.)
As was the plan, we called Cora who immediately drove to the hospital to be with Morgan.  We were told to 'take our time' as nothing would happen that night.   So, we 'took our time' and packed a bag in 30 minutes.   Now, if you know anything about us, I can pack a bag in 30 seconds (I may look like hell, but I can pack a bag quickly) but 30 minutes is record time for Jim!  HA   We got on the road around 8pm.   Since SD is usually 2 hours door-to-door, we expected to arrive around 10pm.   Although Jim doesn't like it, I have a lead foot under normal, it was particularly ironic when he looked at me at one point and said "you're driving like a grandma!"   Ha.   So, although I promised my mom that I would drive safely, I do admit that I broke that promise for a few miles that night.
Cora kept us updated with texts along the way and here are the actual texts between Cora and Jim (Sean is our doctor):
9:12pm  [J]  Ok. Is Sean there?
[J]  Do they have the viacord kits?
[C]  Havent heard him but they put me in a side hallway...
[C]  Yes, the kits are there :)
[C]  I think he is in there now...
[C]  I hate that no one can be in there with her until the actual c-section part!
{J]  Ugh. That sucks. I'm sure she's scared. We are in san clemente. The Daddy is hauling
{J]  We're 45 mins out. 
[C]  He is here, just talked to Sean.. Giving her spinal now, will start in 5 
minutes. Will take pics from my phone.
Be safe!! 
Love you guys so much!!
[J]  We love you! Good luck. Let God be with Dr D and Morgan. Babies are in good 
[C]  Yes!! Everything will be great. He says they'll be just fine and to tell you 
dont worry...
[J]  K. We'll try. 
[J]  Can u ask where we go when we get there?
9:31pm  [C]  OR recovery...
[C]  Pictures!! :-)))
[C]  First spinal didnt work, Sean is doing it again...
9:45pm  [C]  So couple more minutes...
[J]  Ok Just got to the 805. 
[J]  Please tell Sean we're at the 805 and 5 so 13 miles away
[C]  Doing it now...
[C]  I told him...
[J]  Delivering now?
9:50pm  [C]  All done! 
[J]  OMG. How are they?!!!
[C]  OMG
[C]  They look awesome!!
[C]  C was the boy!
[J]  LOL. What order?
[C]  Travis was last. 
[C]  They are crying!!
[C]  Awww. We are laughing!!!!
[J]  YAY!!!!!!!'
[J]  We are daddies!!!!
[J]  30 fingers 30 toes? Everything good?  We're almost there!!!
[J]  Big hug to Morgan and dr d!!

Once we were inside the hospital, it took us about 5 minutes to get our operating room outfits on.  As you can see on Morgan below, they are quite sexy and will likely be all the rage in Paris during next year's fashion week.

As we walked into the room, there were 3 isolets in a row with about a dozen people around the babies working on them.   They were only minutes old and were still being cleaned and evaluated.  The Doctor told us that they were screaming when they were born so all had good lungs and that they were very happy with their weights and coloring (especially for their 30 week 1 day gestation age).

Campbell Bruner was born at 9:48 weighing 3.4 lbs and 17.25 inches long

Piper Whitsett was born at 9:49pm weighing 3.3 lbs and 16 inches long

Travis James was born at 9:49 weighing 3.5 lbs and 16.5 inches long.

Shortly after seeing each of the babies for the first time (a moment we will never forget) we asked to see Morgan as she wasn't in the room with the babies.  The doctor pointed to what can only be described as a drive thru window.   The doctor raised the window and there she was, with Cora by her side,  looking happy and scared all at the same time.

Morgan immediately after delivery......Look at that smile!

The first thing she said was "Hi Daddies!  How are the babies?"  That is when I lost it.   Here she was.... in the most vulnerable position, still in the middle of her surgery with everything out on the table and all she can think about is us and our kids.   She is truly an amazing woman. . .
Doctor D said that Campbell had ruptured her bag and that there had been no stopping them from being born that night. 

I followed Campbell into the NICU and Jim followed with Piper and Travis shortly thereafter.   Once the kids were stable, we met up with Morgan in recovery and stayed with her until about 2:30 am.  

Although we missed the actual birth, it was an amazing night and we wouldn't have changed a thing.

JR/Jim in the recovery room

[We promise to post pictures of the babies soon....]

Monday, September 26, 2011

Circle of Life. . .

Travis holding Daddy's hand

They say having children is like having your heart walk outside your body for the rest of your life. . .I never knew how true that statement was until today.   Our hearts are full and our lives complete. . .

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Jelly Beans and Peanut have arrived!!!!

Morgan's water broke last night (30w1d) around 7:45.  As hard as she tried, Morgan couldn't stop the triplets from their journey to meet the world!

Campbell Bruner was born at 9:48pm weighing 3.4 lbs
Piper Whitsett followed at 9:49pm weighing 3.3 lbs
and Travis James finished the journey at 9:49 weighing 3.5 lbs

Morgan was a star (naturally) and did amazing during the birth. 
The babies are perfect and beautiful and healthy.

Doctors are taking good care all of them and we couldn't be happier.
More details later....the Daddies need some sleep.  It's been a crazy 24 hours.

Thank you to everyone for all their support!!!!
JR and Jim

Thursday, September 22, 2011

30 weeks.....Let them eat Cake!!!!!

Beautiful. . .

30 Weeks!!! (Hospital - 49 days)

Can't believe that we made it to 30 weeks.  Or, should I say, I can't believe Morgan has made it to 30 weeks!!!   Wow.   Looking back 7 weeks to the day Morgan was admitted into the hospital and then to the emergency cerclage a few days later, the thought of making it this far in the pregnancy was a mere fantasy.

We are so thankful to be here at 30 weeks and are humbled at all the love/support that we have received from so many people (some of whom we have not met).  We are thankful for our doctor(s) and nurses who have kept Morgan and the babies safe; to Cora and Maria at Modern Family Surrogacy for always being there for Morgan with food, support and girls movie night!; to all the volunteers who have stopped by to visit her or send her food; and to Morgan's family for taking such good care of her son and/or visiting her so often (even though some live 5 + hours away!).  Most of all we are thankful for Morgan who has continued to amaze us with her positive attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes to keep our kids safe and sound.   Forty Nine days of bedrest is a LONG time and she has survived it with grace and confidence and she is cheering us on for more!

Thank you Morgan.  Your willingness to go the extra mile for us has turned 30 weeks from fantasy to reality and 32 weeks from a pipe dream into a real possibility.   We hope the time will pass quickly for you......and for us.   Although we know that the jelly beans and peanut need to stay right where they are for as long as you can carry them, we are really anxious to meet them......and to stop calling them the jelly beans and peanut!!  ha).  So here we go towards 32 weeks.  Just remember the motto. . .

"Keep Calm and Carry On".

We love you
JR and Jim

Thursday, September 15, 2011

29 Weeks (Hospital - 42 days)

Happy 29 Weeks to Momo!   She is doing great and we are getting closer.   We are only 3 weeks away from the 'average' delivery date for triplets.   Morgan has always said that she wanted to 'beat the average' so let's see what happens.  She still has such a positive attitude (which is 90% of the game) and is the favorite resident of the 4th floor at Sharp Mary Burch so we couldn't ask for anything more.

Since we are in San Diego every free weekend, Jim and I are trying to do as much as we can during the week to get everything ready.  We still have nursery furniture on back order and have yet to buy bottles/diapers/formula etc as we want to buy the brands used by the NICU. 

Still test driving SUV's to see if we (I) can avoid buying the dreaded MV.  We have selected the Honda Odyssey....but I swear I will find something that works better for least I am trying.

Our friends are hosting our baby shower next weekend and we cannot wait for that.  Ours will be the third shower among our group of friends (twins for M/C 5½ years ago and twins for D/R 2½ yrs ago) and if it's anything like the last two, it's going to be a really fun shower (and unique for those who have never been to a shower hosted by gay men).   The guys really know how to throw a party and a baby shower is another excuse to have a good time.   We have a lot of entertaining friends and we are very excited to see what they have cooked up.  My mom, her husband and Bubbles (all from Phoenix) and Jim's brother (from Dallas) are coming to the shower and we are really looking forward to having them here with us.  

We are on our way to 30 weeks!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Big Weekend in the Princess Suite at Sharp Mary Burch!

Morgan's younger sister got married this weekend.  Morgan was to be the Maid of Honor so this weekend was likely to be a difficult one.   We did our best to make it special for her.   Cora from Modern Family came up to the hospital and did Morgan's hair and make up (she looked beautiful), her Mom surprised her with the bridesmaid's bouquet and we all (dressed in red/black like the wedding party) watched the ceremony on Skype.   It was touching to watch Morgan glued to the computer watching for her son (a ringbearer) and her sister with her groom.    I think we cried as much as she did!  

We also took Morgan outside for the first time in 5 weeks!   There was a NICU Graduates Fair on the hospital grounds so we got to see many prior patients with their healthy babies enjoying the day and talking about their stays in the hospital.  Several women came up to Morgan (the only 'current' resident of the hospital to attend the fair and the only one in a wheelchair with IV's hanging from the IV pole!) and told her that they had spent weeks and weeks in the same room before they delivered.   There were several parents with set of triplets and parents with babies born at 24 and 25 weeks....true Miracle Babies.   We were fortunate to have been there to see how happy they all were and how truly talented the doctors and nursing staff are at this hospital.    It gave us hope that everything will be ok. 

Although Morgan wasn't the Maid of Honor on Saturday, she was the Guest of Honor at the NICU Fair.  She showed such grace and confidence proving once again that she is the true Star in this journey...

We had another growth ultrasound this past Sunday and all the babies are growing fast: 
                                         Baby Boy B is 3 lbs 1 oz
                                         Baby Girl A is 2 lbs 11 oz
                                         Baby Girl C is 2 lbs 9 oz
The Doctor saw plenty of fluid around all three babies (to the point of ordering another Glucose screening on Morgan).  If Morgan were to have Gestational Diabetes, the babies would be increasing their 'output' of fluid (thus explaining the extra fluid in their sacs).   Women pregnant with triplets are significantly more at risk for GD than women pregnant with twins or a, needless to say, we were all a little worried.   If found to have GD, Morgan would have test her blood sugar every couple of hours and live on a very restricted diet for the remainder of the pregnancy.  Telling a hormonal pregnant woman with an extra 50 lbs and three very active babies inside her that she can only have some lettuce and a lemon wedge is not the way to keep her happy!  Needless to say, we were hoping for a negative test result.

Morgan woke up at 5:30 to drink the nasty glucose drink and had her blood taken for the next 3 hours.....and she passed!   No Gestational Diabetes!!!   She proved the Doctors WRONG.....again......and then she promptly ate the snickers bar I left with her on Sunday!   HA. 

The doctor also tested Morgan for the presence of Fetal Fibronectin.  Fetal fibronectin (also known as fFN) is a “glue-like” protein that bonds the developing baby to the uterus.   Fetal fibronectin is detectable in the birth canal at the end of pregnancy when the body is getting ready to deliver the baby.  Having a positive test result for fFN means that you have a higher probability to deliver within the next two weeks.   Having a negative test result for fFN means that you have about a 1% chance of delivering within the next two weeks.   Doctors typically don't test women carrying multiples as they most often have a positive test result for fFN throughout their pregnancy so the test results are not necessarily determinative of impending birth.   Although Morgan is carrying (very active) triplets she beat the odds (again) and has NO fFN in the birth canal!!!   We hope that means that she is sailing through 29 weeks and on to 30.....Go M!

Very Big Weekend in the Princess say the least.....

Congratulations Sharlene and Tyler! 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

28 Weeks (Hospital - 35 days) - Happy 11th Anniversary.

           Morgan                                                                            Jim  
       Thank you                                                                        Thank you 
 We made it to 28 weeks                                                   We made it 11 years 

Two of the most generous and loving people I know.  I am so grateful and thankful to have you in my life....forever.

I Love You

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

27 Weeks 3 days

Spent the weekend with Morgan (and the jelly beans) in San Diego.
Ursula is still in control and she let us know it Saturday night.
Morgan's contractions spiked so the doctor on call (more conservative than our regular doctor) increased her Magnesium from 3g to 4g for two hours.  This increase scared us all as we were told by one of the nurses that this hospital never goes above 3g of Mag.   We since learned that, on rare occasions, the doctors will increase Mag up to 6g....but only in very rare instances.   The two hour increase slowed everything way down for the rest of the weekend.

Morgan had a really good day on Sunday as her Mom, Dad and two brother-in-laws (well, one brother-in-law and one brother-in-law-to-be as of this saturday!) were in for a visit.   It was really nice to meet her Dad (whom we had never met) and to see how much he loves his daughter and how he respects her and is proud of what she is doing.   You never know how a surrogate's family is going to react to the news of her decision to be a surrogate.  After all, their daughter is going to put her life on hold (at minimum) or her health in danger (at worse) for strangers.   We were a little nervous to meet her Dad but quickly realized that he was just like the rest of the family.   As we have said many times on this blog, Morgan's entire family is wonderful.  They are supportive, loving, respectful people and have made us feel part of their family from the start.  We are really blessed to have them in our lives. 

Here is another belly shot of Morgan at 27 Weeks 3 Days
Two more days until 28 weeks!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Egg Donor

In most of the blogs we follow regarding Surrogacy, the focus is on the surrogate (for good reason) but rarely a mention of the Egg Donor.  However, in our case, a lot of people have asked us about our Egg Donor.  How did we choose her?  What did we look for in an egg donor?   Did we meet her in person or was it anonymous?  What does she look like etc etc.   To respect her privacy, we will not mention her name or show any photos.  However, given that without her, none of this would have been possible, we feel it's important to tell.that part of the story.

It all started a little over two years ago when Jim and I decided to move forward with surrogacy.  
We had already secured an amazing surrogate "CJ".  We had become good friends with her and her husband as she was the surrogate who carried twins for our friends D & R.  We knew immediately that we wanted to work with her if she wanted to work with us and we were thrilled when she offered to be our surrogate.  She stuck by us through not one, but TWO attempts from which we withdrew out of (my) panic.  UGH!  When we finally decided that we were really ready to move forward, she said that her surrogate days were over (and who could blame her after the roller coaster we put her on!) as she was going to start her own surrogate agency and would not have the time/energy to start a new business and be a surrogate.  We understood.  Although she isn't carrying our babies, we are very happy to say that CJ is still our good friend, the owner of our surrogate agency (Modern Family Surrogacy Center - we are her first clients) and the person who introduced us to Momo.   We owe a LOT to her and we love all that she has done for us....we will never forget our CJ!

Back to the Egg Donor:  Jim and I were given a catalog of available egg donors to pick through.  We decided to each pick our top 5 choices and go from there.   Although we each had different characteristics/criteria that we were looking for,  we both wanted someone smart, attractive, athletic and with a personality.  Basically, we wanted someone that we would want to hang out with.  Out of all the girls we looked at (and there were many), 3 girls were in each of our top 5 and we both picked one girl as our number 1!  Given that, we had to see if she would 'match' with us.  When we told CJ who we wanted, she was ecstatic.   CJ said she was perfect for us in that she was smart, had the sweetest personality of all the girls she had met before, and the added bonus was that she was beautiful inside and out.    Although some IP's (Intended Parents in the surrogacy world) don't want to meet their egg donor, Jim and I felt that it was really important to meet the woman who would provide the 'beginning' of our family.  Obviously, superficial characteristics (height, weight, race, eye color, hair color etc) are important to most people when choosing an egg donor.  But in our case, personality and disposition were equally important as we felt those characteristics would likely appear in our future children.   As they say, "The Apple doesn't fall far from the Tree".  Also, if our children were to ever ask us about who she is or what she was like, we wanted to be able to give them honest answers to their questions.  For all those reasons, we had to meet her in person if she would agree.

CJ organized a breakfast and we all met in San Diego one morning in August of last year.  We were SO nervous.   We wanted her to like us and we needed to like her.  When she arrived, we were immediately struck by how beautiful she was.   We wanted pretty but we got Hot!  We couldn't help but think how our kids might look if she were to be our egg donor.   I guess that's how it starts in the 'real world' so why would this be any different?    That said, during the course of the breakfast, her inner beauty was what sealed the deal for us.  She explained her personal reasons for egg donation and what it meant to her to be helping families like ours become a reality.   She talked about her family and her friends and how much they meant to her.  She talked about the loved ones in her life and how she wanted to be a mother herself one day.  Needless to say, we fell in love with her that day.  She has an amazing personality.  She is very fun and playful.  The kind of person that everyone wants to be friends with.   She is funny and likes to laugh.  And, although she is all but 5 ft nothing and 100 lbs dripping wet, the girl can eat a steak...for breakfast!  Ha  (coming from Oklahoma, that was important to me)  She has a kind, sensitive and thoughtful spirit and seems to put others before herself.  She is close to her family and friends and sees to it that they are having a good time when they are with her.   Basically, we had found the kind of girl you bring home to Mom (the old fashion way) and she was perfect. We were thrilled when she chose to work with us.   Since that day, we have kept in touch.   She is, and will always be, a part of our lives.

CJ, Momo and our egg donor have given us THE most amazing gift and we will never forget who they are and what they represent in our lives and the lives of our children.   God Bless These Women. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

27 Weeks (Hospital - 28 days)

We have made it to 27 weeks with one week to go until we reach our current goal of 28 weeks!   Momo is doing great.  We had a little scare Sunday night as "Ursula" (Morgan's name for her uterus) got a little angry and started acting up.  Seems Ursula was contracting on regular intervals and, where Morgan hadn't felt any contractions since being admitted, she was feeling contractions this time.  The Dr ordered her Magnesium increased from 2.5 to 3.0 (which is the highest it can go).   After an uncomfortable night Sunday,  Ursula calmed down and the contractions have all but stopped again.  Whew!   They say this is going to be a roller coaster from here on out, and they are Right!   After having such a great ultrasound on Sunday, we were all very excited about the progress we were making and then Ursula let us all know that SHE is in charge here....!

Morgan took it all in stride (natch) and is back on her regular schedule.   Cora/Maria from Modern Family had to reschedule their weekly Movie Night with Morgan due to Ursula's temper tantrum but they are back on for Thursday night.  The Hospital food is still terrible.  When you have three babies to feed, you need up to 4000 calories a day....and Momo isn't getting that so we now have people signing up to take Morgan food on a daily basis so she has something to look forward to!

Thank you to those that have reached out to Momo by email ( !.   Keep them coming.  Although she can't respond (it's really uncomfortable to email while on your side/back), she reads every one and they have really brightened up her days/weeks in the hospital.  

This Monday is Labor Day or, in our case "No Labor Day", and we will be celebrating with Morgan in San Diego.   Hope you all have a safe/happy holiday.