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.

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