A Surrogate Birth Story

Surrogate Birth Story
It’s been three days since the beginning of the end of my first journey as a surrogate (when I wrote this).  On Friday, October 7th, 2016, I was 39 weeks pregnant with a baby boy whom I had no genetic relation and soon he would meet his dads for the first time!  Myself, my husband, and Baby’s parents were anxious and nervous in our own rights.

At my 36 week check up, we discovered that Baby was still breech.  He never did turn and the decision was made to have a scheduled c-section.  This was all new territory for me.

First time surrogate. Different OB provider and hospital from my previous pregnancies.  First breech baby.  First c-section.

This was shaping up to be a very trying group of first time experiences that had me relieved that we were nearing the end of our journey but also nervous.  The expecting parents arrived weeks in advance and were basically just bored and waiting around for Baby to arrive.

Their presence caused me—mostly self-inflicted—extra pressure, but I finally let myself be honest with them that I was exhausted and had a lot going on the last few weeks before delivery.  I was still trying to maintain being a halfway decent mother and wife.  They were totally understanding, per usual.

My husband absolutely sucks at saying all the right things, apparently, and I think I should have probably banned him from commenting on the whole procedure leading up to it.  Looking back, I’m fairly certain he was nervous himself and word vomiting not-funny-jokes related to the birth and what it was going to be like.

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At 7:50AM, two blocks from the hospital, I get a phone call from the woman who would be my nurse for the day to come. 

“Amanda, are you coming to your scheduled c-section today?” was her question. 
“All of my paperwork said to arrive at 8AM.  I’ll be there in about 5 minutes.” I confirmed and we disconnected.

My husband and I laughed and considered all the alternative answers.  Had people actually decided not to show up for a scheduled c-section before?  The labor and delivery unit had been expecting me at 7:30AM, apparently.

We arrive at the same time as the expecting dads and make our way upstairs to labor and delivery, where we are shown to my room.  My c-section is schedule for 9:30AM.
It’s almost time.
Surrogate Baby Delivery

Here We Go!

The next 90 minutes are a whirl of personal questions—mostly for me, but some for the dads—and prepping for surgery.  I am wearing an always-fashionable hospital gown, surgery cap, my glasses and an IV in my forearm.

The anesthesiologist is a curt Asian man whos social skills left something to be desired.  He’s telling me about long lasting pain relief and side effects and benefits and I’m signing consents, while my husband is being given what I lovingly call the ‘bunny suit.’

Then the nurse is putting the ugly, tan no-slip hospital socks on my feet and I’m walking across the hall to the OR.

There are already several people in there, and I sit on the edge of the OR table as everyone bustles around preparing.

I’m nervous.

There’s a lot going on, though, and Mr. Personality—the anesthesiologist—soon is giving me the spinal pain medication. 

Back of knees against the OR table.
Hunch over.
Hold still.
Here come’s the stick and burn.

In just a few short seconds, my feet are warm and tingly.  It’s time to lie down, which I do mostly unassisted.  Someone is placing my legs for a catheter, while someone else is instructing me where to put my arms.  I don’t need to have them dangling over the side like that. 

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Nurse R. mentions that with everything going on at once, I don’t get time to be nervous.  She’s right, and I’m thankful.  Another nurse and I chat about surrogacy.

I briefly register and find some humor in the fact that I’m pretty sure I’m exposed to all 100 people in the room and I could care less.

I’m nauseous.
So nauseous.

Even with all that has happened, it’s really only been mere minutes—maybe 5?—since I got the spinal.  I tell them I’m feeling very nauseous and the OR Mom—or maybe ‘the gofer’ is a better term, I had been jokingly told earlier—stands next to the side of my head with a green barf bag.  Mr. Personality gives me a dose of Zofran in my IV.

I spend the next few minutes imagining having to suffer through an hour of being sick to my stomach and, surely…eventually barfing all over myself.  Because how does someone even barf to the side of their face while lying flat on an OR table without it being an awful, miserable mess?  They don’t, right?  It simply can’t be.  Just great!

Oh and the nausea is gone.  Thank god!

OR Mom can go back to goffering and Mr. Personality is wrapped in a warm blanket somewhere—yes, literally—and Dr. B is in the room now.  I’ve been wiped with iodine and there’s a tarp in my way.  Hubby is in his bunny suit next to me.
Delivering Surrogate Baby

Then There Was Baby

A large part of me had been very thankful that Mr. Personality hadn’t felt comfortable with any extra people in the room, because I was nervous as heck.  However, I realize around this time how little I actually care now that everything is started—I think they’ve started, right?—and am a little sad that the expecting parents are anxiously waiting in their own room for Baby to be brought to them.

I talk to Daniel, my husband, for distraction.  Part of me is a little worried about focusing too much on what is going on.  What is going on, anyway?  I really can’t tell.  Between the pain meds and the tarp, it really is hard to tell.

I ask Daniel if he’s going to watch.  Yep.  He’s sitting on a stool next to my head.  He’s too short to simply stretch his neck and look over the tarp.  He makes a joke about it.

I can feel movements and I’m listening to comment being made on the other side of the tarp.  Daniel is standing now, watching.  Nurse R., who’s also in charge of taking photos for the parents, tells Daniel he has to sit back down if he starts to feel faint.  He says he will, bot not to worry because he’s not going to pass out.

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There’s a brief discussion of all the people who she’s seen pass out, including doctors.  I can feel movement—that’s Baby, wiggly ‘til the end—pressure and tugging.  It’s very weird and literally feels like a baby is being pulled out of your insides…y’know, minus any pain you might expect to be associated with such a thing.  Who would have thought, right?

Here we go.  Baby comes out butt first. Oh, he must be big.  They’re all commenting on it.  His head is briefly “stuck.”  And he’s out…I guess.  I can already tell my stomach feels deflated.  There’s some suctioning going on.

Baby starts crying at some point.  I can tell Daniel is glowing and grinning even though he’s wearing a surgical mask.  I tease him and tell him he’s weird.  He tells me that Baby is cute.  I can’t tell because Daniel’s arm is in my way.

He sits back down.

There’s a chubby cheeked, pink baby boy across the room being evaluated by nursing staff and a nurse practitioner.

Yep, he’s definitely cute.

Dr. B. is guessing he’s around 9 pounds, but Daniel doesn’t think he’s as big as Luna, our daughter, was.  She was 9 pounds, 3 ounces.  I tell him I think Baby is probably close.


Dr. B. is putting me back together.  It’s…different…then the taking apart process.  It doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t feel very good either.  Just…weird.

Someone—maybe Dr B.—makes a comment about how most people get nauseous at this part and how good I’m doing.  I break the news that I got Zofran about 7 minutes after I entered the room, so I’d already been there, done that.

Oh.  And we’re done.

I’m being slid onto my bed.  I get rolled around some—this is weird because I’m usually the one rolling people around—and they put the abdominal binder on me.  I like the way it feels immediately.

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Back to my room we go.

The next few hours all blur together, mostly.  My pain is very well controlled, minimal even.  Nausea is awful and it takes a while for me to not be lightheaded anytime I’m sitting up even a little bit.  At some point I become itchy.

I have some brunch and a second dose of Zofran.  I keep saying I’ll take a nap and don’t.  I don’t see Baby and his dads until mid afternoon, sometime after I’ve pumped the first dose of colostrum for the little guy.

Bed Time Expectations vs Realities

Bed Time Realities
Bed time.  You know…  That glorious time of the day where your children fall into their innocent dreams and you finally get some much needed peace, quiet, and alone time—probably at the expense of your own sleep.  Yeah, well, I hate bed time, and I know I'm not the only one.
Sure, some nights are exactly like that mom fantasy.  Some nights the kids are even asleep early enough where I’m not sacrificing too many winks of my own for a little me time.  However, there are many nights (like tonight) that I loathe bed time.

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We shared a bed with our youngest for most of her infancy and a large majority of her toddlerhood.  She’s two and half now and still sleeps with us…whenever.  There’s no real “rule of thumb” here for whether or not that’s happening one night a week or all seven.

Sometimes my expectation for bed time are met, but with three kids, it feels like there’s always that one that has to make it difficult at the end of the day when I’ve almost hit my max moming limit or it’s a day I just really need the munchkins to go to sleep.

Here are some expectations versus their alternate realities at my house.
Night Time with Kids

Cosleeping Expectation

Toddler and I (and maybe one or both of the boys) snuggle in together and loll into a dreamy, loving sleep surrounded by those we love.

Cosleeping Reality #1

Toddler rolls around for 30 minutes, cries about not being able to find her cup of water, kicks me in the rib cage, argues over whose pillow she’ll sleep on (mommy’s or daddy’s), and an hour later I’m wondering why I didn’t just put her in her own bed and will I ever get to sleep?
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Cosleeping Reality #2

All of #1 plus add in one or two more kids, being hot and squished and possibly peed on and really thinking that going and sleeping on the boys’ bunk bed is a better idea.

Crib Sleeping Expectation

Put toddler in her bed with her sippy cup of water, pillow, blanket ,and probably a baby doll.  Sit in chair next to crib for 10 to 30 minutes while she settles and falls asleep, possibly requiring you to hold her hand.

Crib Sleeping Reality

Toddler cries because she wants her sippy cup (it’s right next to her).  She practices her awesome jumping skills.  She might even be quiet for forty five minutes but starts crying the second I exit the room.  An hour and a half later and I wish I would have just waited an hour to put her to bed.
Bed time with Kids

Older Kids Bed Time Expectation

Tell six and ten year old boys to go to bed.  They have bunk beds but prefer to share a bed and will chat for awhile before falling asleep.

Older Kids Bed Time Reality

Wrestlemania is happening but only after each have taken their turn peeing, getting a drink, interrupting you trying to put the toddler to bed, and so on.  They are acting like they each just had an energy drink and being so loud you have to separate them to their own beds as punishment, but in 45 minutes they’ll come ask to be reunited and actually go to sleep like you told them to the first time.

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When it’s good, it’s great.  But bed time can be a real PIA and days like today, I’m feeling the struggle.  I just want to say forget it and let them run rampant until they’re exhausted and we all pass out.  Unfortunately, I have to be up at 5AM and bed time has to happen.