May 19th….the big day! I’ve been meaning to post and just haven’t gotten to it yet. I had a beautiful labor and delivery and a quick and full recovery as I have before. S & A arrived on Friday, May 18th and we met up at my scheduled doctor’s appointment at 9am on the 19th. When I got there, I was 5 cm dilated and was having sporatic contractions, so my doctor sent us straight upstairs (her office is in the hospital). Due to having a prior c-section (with the twins), their policy is to have a mandatory epidural in place in case the need for an emergency c-section arises. Our plan was to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarian), which my doctor felt I was the perfect candidate for considering I had had a 10 lb. 2 oz. baby at home previously with no problems at all.
Shortly after arriving at labor and delivery, the doctor came in to place the epidural, which I was petrified of. I had a bad experience with the spinal block for my c-section and was really (REALLY!) nervous about the epidural. The doctor did a nice job, but it still hurt and felt weird, kind of like getting hit in the funny bone. They ran a test dose of medicine through it to make sure it was going to work and pretty soon I was numb from mid-belly down. It wore off quickly and my contractions got closer together and more intense. As many of you know, I had battled with the idea of using the epidural or not. I’ve never had one before, but have also been at liberty to labor and deliver however I wanted to due to having homebirths. I didn’t have the luxuries of home with this birth and quickly decided that if the epidural was already in place that I would go ahead and use it. I’m used to having quick labors and this one was quite different. It took all day to dilate completely and I didn’t feel much of anything. I could feel a tiny bit of pain with each contraction, but after having the epidural, I can understand why some women like them!
I hadn’t eaten since the night before when we went out to dinner with our dear friends, so needless to say I was starving! My nurse told me that I couldn’t eat in case I needed a c-section, but I knew I needed to eat, so S & A ran out and picked up the best burger ever and a strawberry milkshake for me from a local joint we’ve grown to love. While my sister blocked the view to the door, I downed the burger and milkshake. S & A were with me all day, as well as my husband and my sister. We all had so much fun together. Lots of laughs were shared and we all spent the day in anticipation of the little guy who would soon join us all! Toward evening, I was tired and wanted to rest before it was time for delivery. Everyone went to the waiting room and I was able to rest and focus on the task ahead of me.
Around 8:30pm, I suddenly felt the urge to push. My nurse said she “could see it in my eyes” that I needed to push RIGHT NOW! She hurried and got the doctor and it was a mad rush to get everything ready in the delivery room. My husband and sister were with me at this point and S & A quickly joined us. They stood back behind my head in the corner of the room and graciously allowed me my space. I pushed a couple of times and then knew I needed them to leave for a minute or two so I could totally focus on pushing the baby out. They were gone for a few minutes and then I wanted them back in the room. With my homebirths I have typically not been laboring on my back, so this was totally different for me. I felt like I was not making progress on pushing him out, but everyone assured me that I was definitely moving him! Soon he was crowning and I remember pushing so hard that I thought “If I don’t stop clenching my teeth, I am going to break a tooth!”. The epidural was still working its magic, and at one point baby M’s head was lodged “in the chute” as my husband referred to it and I said to everyone “That is a really weird spot for a baby’s head to be stuck!”. With my homebirths, I’ve just pushed right past that point, but my doctor wanted me to wait on another contraction to push his head out. With the next contraction his head was out (15 inches!!). One more push and his plump little body slid out and he was laid on my chest. I’ve never cried with any of my other births, but tears instantly filled my eyes this time. I was so happy for S & A, who stood in the corner in disbelief. I motioned for them to come over to us and A looked at me with tear-filled eyes and mouthed the words “thank you” to me. The moment my couples see their baby for the first time is still magical. It’s like I’m a fly on the wall in a place where I shouldn’t be. It is the most intimate moment a couple can experience and I’m privileged to be a spectator. I will always be thankful that God has allowed me to help bring these babies into the world.
Baby M weighed in at 9 lb. 6 oz. and was perfect in every way. We all spent a couple of days in the hospital before parting on Monday and going our seperate ways. S & A were anxious to get home and had two days of travel ahead of them to get there. I was ready to get back home and be with our children. My sister had taken care of them for 2 straight days and she was ready for a break too! Goodbyes are always sad and saying goodbye to S & A and baby M was no different. As we packed up our belongings in our hospital rooms, I knew our time was coming together was coming to an end. My husband and I went down to S & A’s room so our nurse could take a few photos of us all together. After the photos, I could feel the tears coming. As I held baby M, A hugged me for a long time. The end of a surrogacy is an odd one. For the surrogate it is an ending of a pregnancy that is so anticipated, hoped for, dreamed of. For the new parents, it is the beginning of the life they’ve always wanted.
I carried baby M out of the hospital, placed him in his carseat and buckled him in. I kissed those soft, full cheeks and told him how much I loved growing him in my belly and that we would see him again someday. S & A thanked me again for the gift of their baby and told me that this was not a goodbye. Our lives will be forever intertwined and this is just part of our journey together.