One of the biggest questions that we have is how is Coco dealing with the new arrival? Leading up to the birth, somedays she was brimming with excitement, and other days she didn't want her to come. Coco loves babies. She rarely leaves the house without a doll tucked under her arm and if she sees a stroller accross the street, she will want to cross over to see if there is a baby inside. She can also be very maternal with younger children. All of these are great signs.
The day that Kiki was born, Jenny, our Nanny, woke Coco up from her nap by saying, "Come on Coco, lets go see Kiki!" Normally, Coco would be groggy and a little cranky for half an hour after her nap, but she bounded out of bed with excitement. On the car ride over to the hospital, Jenny explained that her Daddy and Papi would also be Kiki's Daddy and Papi and that Kiki was coming home with us. Coco said, "no, Kiki has Kira". Uh oh...all the explaination has not seemed to sink in. Jenny corrected her and she seems completely happy sharing her Daddy and Papi with Kiki.
Coco can not get enough of the park. She would be there all day playing if she could. Now that Kiki is here, she wants to be home with her. Yesterday we went on an adventure to take her to her favorite park on Robertson in West Hollywood. When we got there, she said, "I want to go home and see Kiki!"
Welcome Kiki!!! Our lovely daughter arrived at 1:26 pm on Wednesday May 2nd at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks California.
Here we are waiting for the doctor. He was about 30 minutes late, but we forgave him...fortunately we didn't have somewhere more important that we needed to go. Kiki weighted in 8 pounds 1 ounce and was 20 inches long. Her head was a little over 14 inches which was off the chart in terms of the percentile (good thing she was C section)!
This is Kiki's Rocky Balboa pose - Free at last!!
Giddy Daddies at the warming table about 30 minutes after Kiki was born.
With less than 24 hours before
the scheduled birth of our second daughter Kiki, I thought it might be
interesting to try to describe what is going through my head right now.It is a lovely mixture of fear, excitement,
elation, anxiety and anticipation which eliminates any hope of a good night sleep
and does a number on the digestive tract.When we were anxiously waiting for Coco to be born, our friends Scott
and Ron used to tell us, “just enjoy the feelings of uncertainty and mystery as
you sit at a major crossroads in your life”.Definitely not what I wanted to hear at the time, yet sage advice
nonetheless.This may be the last time
in my life I am feeling this, so I might as well enjoy it.
The feeling of being past the 38th
week of pregnancy feels a bit like the week before Christmas when I was 8 years
old, times 10.There is so much
anticipation that I could implode.I
remember being a kid and wishing that I could magically transport to the
morning that Santa arrives.Over the
years I learned to just not focus on it, because I could drive myself
crazy.I am channeling those tools a lot
The difference between Xmas and
pregnancy is that the latter can come at any moment; it is not a fixed date.So I need to not obsess over the due date,
lest I go insane, but at the same time, I need to ready to rush to the
hospital at a moment’s notice.I used to
pray that I not get the call at 4pm in the afternoon and need to battle the 405
traffic during rush hour.It could take
three hours to get from Century City to Thousand Oaks at that time.
The other difference with Xmas is
that we are not unwrapping a present that we will forget about 6 months from
opening it, we are going to meet our daughter, who will be one of the most
important people in our lives!! So many unanswered questions:
·Will she be healthy?
·Will there be complications to the delivery?
·What is she going to look like? (she is going to
be a mixture of three different races and could have a wide variety of physical
·What is her personality going to be like? Will she and Coco get along?
·Are we ready for this?
·Will she discover the cure for cancer?The first female president of the US?
I can’t imagine what it must be
like to be a woman giving birth through all of this.They probably have all of the above emotions
plus need to worry about pushing an 8 pound bowling ball through their crotch.
Experiencing a birth and the
anxiety leading up to it are one of the true joys of life…but I am ready to be
on the other side of this and meet our precious little Kiki!
Last Friday we had our 37 week doctor's appointment. We had previously been told that Kiki had flipped over and was head down, but when they did the ultrasound, it was clear that she was still head up.
The doctor referred us to a specialist nearby who might be able to help Kiki turn head down. After examining Kira and taking this fabulous ultrasound pic on the left, the doctor said would not do the procedure becuase the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice. He mentioned that it is very unlikely that Kiki would turn and that we would need to do a C-Section.
We spoke to our doctor and he mentioned that he would like to conduct the C-Section at exactly 39 weeks, which is next Tuesday, May 1!! Just one week left until we get to meet Kiki (assuming Kira does not go into labor before that) and squeeze those chunky cheeks!
Social changes usually comes gradually, but sometimes it comes quickly. The night that Coco was born, we were surprised to be asked to leave the hospital when visiting hours ended. We were initially told that we would be allowed to stay, provided a room was available. While disappointing at the time, our incident appears to have raised the awareness of how unfair the hospital's surrogacy policy is. The family of the surrogate was allowed to stay overnight, but the intended parents were not, while the newborn sat alone in the nursery on the first night of its life. There was a very strong reaction to our letter and we were assured that the policy had indeed changed.
For those of you going through the surrogacy process, this is an important thing to talk through with the hospital before the birth. If the overnight policy is not in writing, it is subject to the discretion of whoever is on duty that night in the Labor and Delivery wing.
Mr. Greg Angle President and CEO Los Robles Regional Medical Center 215 West Janss Road Thousand Oaks, CA 91360-1847
Dear Mr. Angle,
I am writing to bring to your attention some unfortunate practices that occurred at Los Robles during the birth of our daughter, Coco Lee Fraley Self on February 4, 2010 that led to a negative impression of your facility.
A few hours after our surrogate, Kira Sanders, gave birth to our daughter Coco, my husband and I, her legal parents and the only people who had a band to remove her from the nursery, were told to leave the hospital. A member of the hospital administration stopped by the following day attempt to explain the policies of the hospital, but it was clear that there were a number of loopholes and inconsistencies in the policies and practices of the hospital. I am writing to understand if any progress has been made to clarify those practices.
When we had our initial interview with the hospital staff, it was clear that we could not be guaranteed a room to spend the night, but that they would allow us to stay in an extra room if it were available. We had been assigned a room before we were asked to leave around 10 pm on February 4, 2010 and that room was still empty when we returned at 6:30 am the following morning. The hospital administrator who stopped by the morning of February 5th told us that we were not allowed to stay overnight because we were not registered patients. Ironically, our surrogate’s husband was invited to stay.
We understand that our situation is not typical. The execution of a very clear policy of overnight visitation rights would remove the possibility of prejudice or discrimination, and avoid turning a moment that should be one of the most beautiful moments in a parents’ life, into feeling as though we are second class parents.
I would be happy to meet with you or one of your staff to discuss this matter further. We are expecting to have a baby on or about May 8th under the same circumstances. We are hoping to use your facilities and it would be helpful to hear if this procedure has been clarified.
Yesterday we headed up to Thousand Oaks to meet Kira for our 31 Week checkup and ultrasound. Everything looks great. Kiki is tracking a little on the bigger side. Her estimate weigt is 3 pounds 9 ounces. Kira says she is starting to get a little more active, especially at night.
We stll have not gotten a great ultrasound photo of Kiki. This was my favorite from yesterday. You can see her chunky cheeks. I can't wait to meet her!
So we finally decided that we are going to name our new daughter... Kiki!
As some of you may know, we had originally thought that we were going to name her Bunny(i). Victor and I both loved the name, and Coco sounded so cute when she said it. We had lots of bunnies running around our yard in Rye and Coco used to love to scream "Bunny!" whenever she saw them. Nene loved to take off chasing them too...much to our dismay.
Coco got very accustomed to referring to her sister as Bunny(i). Around 25 weeks, Victor brought Coco with him to Kira's doctor appointment and she got to listen to her sister's heartbeat. She clearly understood that her sister was inside of Kira. We would ask her, "Coco, what is your sister's name?" and she would say "Bunny!" Then we would ask her, " Where is Bunny(i)??" She would say, "Kira's Tummy!" One day, we heard her screech from the backseat of the car, "I want Bunny(i)!" She clearly can not wait to meet her new sister.
The reaction to our choice of names was a bit more dramatic than we had expected. At least five people (some extremely close friends and others that we did not know that well) exclaimed when we mentioned our proposed name, "OH PLEASE DON'T DO THAT!" Others thought it was kind of cute and charming. The main concern seemed to be that she would not be taken seriously with a name like Bunny. We do want to make it clear, however, that the decision to change her name was purely our choice and we are not succumbing to social pressure!! :)
Victor and I were having a difficult time agreeing on the spelling of the name. I wanted to spell it Bunny, Victor was really stuck on Bunni. It looked as though we were going to settle on Bunnie.
One morning last week, the three of us were sitting in our den in LA. I was reading a book to Coco that was illustrated by a woman named Kiki. I realized immediately that I loved the name. I said to Victor, "What do you think of the name Kiki??" Victor loved it and clearly Coco did too. We asked Coco if she liked the name Bunny(i) or Kiki for her sister, she said wildly, "Kiki! Kiki! Kiki!" And so it was settled.
Coco, Kiki and Nene...it does have a ring to it....doesn't it??
I am writing this so that one day Kiki will understand the story behind her name, lest we forget. She might get a kick out of understanding that she was almost named Bunny. I guess she can always change it to Bunny if she wants and she can spell it however she would like. My parents told me that if I were a girl, they were going to name me Daisy Marie. Thank goodness for that male chromosome!
Here we go again!! The countdown to daddyhood is back! Next week we will will be 30 weeks pregnant!! We are due on May 8th. The journey has been great so far.
The embryo transfer took place on Friday, August 19th. We had three healthy embryos from the retrieval and fertilization. Normally, the transfer would take place after six days, but our doctor recommended that we transfer on the third day. Given that we would have been happy with the higher probability of twins, the doctor recommended that we transfer all three.
Here is Kira on transfer day. Kira gave birth to Coco and we are soo fortunate that she and her family agreed to go through the process again. After the transfer, Kira needed to be on two days of bed rest, so we checked into a nice hotel nearby and we tried to pamper her as much as possible. We must have watched 10 episodes of "Living with the Kardashians"!
Yipee!! It worked. Here was the six week ultrasound. At first, the doctor thought that he heard two heartbeats, but on the second check, there was only one. At twelve weeks, at the first trimester checkup, the doctor said, "would you like to know the gender?" We were a little confused because we thought that you could only tell at 16-20 weeks. We said, "of course!" He said, "It's a Girl!" We were thrilled, but a bit suspect because we have had friends that were told it was a girl at 12 weeks, but later told it was a boy. In any event, it was all good news.
Here is our daughter at 20 weeks. She was a little camera shy. Dr. Poliakin kept trying to get her to take a good picture, but she kept rolling over. He did say that she is tracking to be a big girl.
Kira had been very nauseous in the first trimester, but it had subsided by about this point and she started to enjoy some movement. She was kicking and moving a little bit, but was nowhere near as active as Coco.
Kira is all ready for the embryos! Where's the doctor?
Home Pregnancy Tests (HPTs)
Well, lots of people in the surrogacy industry (doctors, & agencies) don't like HPTs. There is a chance that a HPT can indicate a false positive so blood tests are the best means of verifying pregnancy. That said, the 2 week wait between the embryo transfer and the blood test, is excruciating so many IPs (intended parents) and surrogates rely on HPTs to get some clue as to whether they are pregnant or not. HPTs can detect HCG (the pregnancy hormone) fairly early on, often several days before the surrogates missed period. 4 days after the transfer of our 6-day old embryos, our surrogate took a HPT and got a positive. As she has gone further along, the tests have gotten darker (that's good!). In the pictures, the control line is on the right and the pregnancy indicator line is on the left.
HPTs: 5/26, 5/27 & 5/28
HPTs getting darker...5, 6 & 7 days after transfer
HPTs: 5/29, 5/30 & 5/31
16 was taken just before our first beta test - beta was 305!
HPTs: 6/2 & 6/4
18 was taken the day of our 2nd beta test - beta was 985!
Chris, Kira & Victor after dinner
We had a great dinner at Cafe Firenze on April 2nd
We are two Dads documenting life with our wonderful daughters, Coco and Kiki and our two super cool dogs: Shih Tzu, NeNe and terrier poodle mix Snowball. This is going to be the adventure of a lifetime and we invite you to share it with us!