Delivery and Beyond
Delivery and Beyond
The greatly anticipated day of delivery took a bit longer to get to than we expected (nine days to be exact), but we were all very pleased that Jr. did not have to be induced! In fact, he came naturally on his own on the morning I was scheduled to be induced … kids really do have their own schedules!
It was an absolutely wonderful experience; my husband and I drove to the hospital and were greeted by the intended parents. The intended mother had been staying locally at a hotel for nearly two weeks waiting with great enthusiasm for her beautiful baby boy.
Jr. came into the world without any difficulties or complications. It was a very standard delivery. What happens next is the part of the story that everyone asks about … was it hard to “give up” or “let go of” the baby? The simple answer is, no.
The first moment that you see “your” child after delivery is one of the most treasured memories ever created in a family. Sharing that moment, when the intended parents first see their baby, that you have carried, is exhilarating and unforgettable. Seeing the look on the mothers face was tear jerking. This was her moment, the moment she became a mommy. Seeing the father hold his son with a tear in his eye, precious. Knowing that I helped to create that family, I helped them to become mommy and daddy. There is no greater gift that I could give and I would not have changed one moment of my experience with them.
As a surrogate, the most important question you should ask yourself before taking that step is “can I let go of this baby once it is born?” For me, this was never an issue I was concerned with. I know who I am and who “my” children are. Jr. was never my child, he is not genetically or biologically connected to me. Emotionally and physically I nurtured and cared for him as I did my own children. However, I never felt that he was “mine” or that I was connected to him beyond the gestational experience.
It was more important to me to connect with the parents and feel a bond with them throughout the pregnancy. We messaged or spoke weekly or more often if there were appointments. We discussed what was happening in our families and work situations. We discussed the growth of Jr. and his stages of development. Both mom and dad were present for my ultrasounds and when they were not physically present, we always face-timed mom in to the appointments. It was important to me that they were able to start to bond with their son before delivery.
On the other side of the equation, is my family. As my support system, my children and husband lived every moment of the surrogacy process by my side. These relationships need to be nurtured and respected throughout the process as well. It was important to me that my children were able to meet the parents before the delivery. This allowed them to form a physical frame of reference to who the baby’s family was and what kind of people they were. The kids met the intended parents about two weeks before delivery. They chatted about their interests, experience, work and what life would be like for them with the baby. We walked around a farmers market together and then sat by the lake. Having the first impression of the parents being in a social setting versus the hospital after delivery allowed my children the opportunity to see them as people versus parents. The kids then experienced the transition to parenthood with the rest of us once the baby was born. I think this allowed them to appreciate the process of surrogacy and the significant shift that a baby brings to an otherwise childless couple.
My children came to the hospital shortly after the baby was born and returned again the next day to bring me home. It offered them a sense of closure to be a part of that process and my separation from the baby and the parents. My daughter was especially pleased to have me home, safe and sound (and baby free!)
My relationship with the parents has continued on in its new form. They send me pictures and videos of Jr. Which I love!!! My son plans on face-timing with Jr. soon and playing him some music. Jr. went to over 20 concerts with us while in utero, most of them were performances of my sons. Needless to say, he was born with a love of music!
There is no way of knowing how the relationship will progress over time, that I leave in the hands of the parents. I hope that we can continue our friendship and stay connected, but to what level that is, I feel it is important that they do not feel pressured. Parents need to establish their own relationships and routines with their children. As a parent, I know how relationships can shift as we become busier and more engaged in our children’s lives. I have no regrets during this process and feel that my contribution to their family was one of the best decisions I have ever made.