As I near the end of this surrogacy journey I've been turning my attention to how I can prepare for the birth of this baby. In many ways making arrangements for this birth has been completely different than the birth of my own children. Usually having a baby is pretty straightforward: you show up at the hospital (or stay home if you're having a home birth), labor, push, and snuggle the little newborn. Congratulations, you're a family now.
But this isn't my baby, and because of that the way I prepare legally, practically, and even emotionally changes drastically.
I met up with the representative of my agency and we went over a few things that need to legally happen at this birth. We already have a contract in place and all parties involved have their respective lawyers. Thankfully I won't have to worry too much about the legal side of things as my agency representative will be there to speak with the social worker and make sure all necessary documents are in place. But every state is different and laws can vary. It's important to double check the laws in whichever state you're birthing in to make sure everything is squared away. Some states require a Pre-Birth Order (PBO) that must be signed by a judge.
Practically speaking, I only have to worry about myself at this birth. When I pack my hospital bag I only have to think about my own clothing, toiletries, and other necessities. I don't need to plan a special going-home outfit for baby or have a name picked out. At our hospital the parents and baby will get their own room and I will have a private room as well. I think it'll be nice to recover without having to care for a newborn.
My biggest concern with this birth has been how to prepare emotionally. I know from firsthand experience how hormonal a woman can be after labor and delivery. Emotions run high, baby blues are common, and, in this unique situation, other people may not know how to deal with your delicate state.
I went into surrogacy knowing that this would be the outcome, and I'm completely okay with that. There's not an ounce of me that wants to bring home this baby (or any baby!)
At this point I feel fine with everything. I went into surrogacy knowing that this would be the outcome, and I'm completely okay with that. There's not an ounce of me that wants to bring home this baby (or any baby!) I feel that seeing the parents cradling their daughter for the first time will bring immense satisfaction and joy. But that doesn't change the fact that hormones will still be running rampant and I may be in physical pain which could aggravate my emotional state.
So I recently asked two-time surrogate Cara MacLean about how she felt emotionally after the birth of the surrogate children she carried. She shares, "Because I can mentally view this pregnancy differently from the beginning of the process, my emotions have always followed my mind. While I care deeply for the well-being of the child in utero, I am not maternally attatched. All of the journey's ups and downs are worth it when you see that look of love, wonder, and gratitude on the parents' faces. I have always felt relieved that my part is done, that the dream we all had and worked towards was finally realized. There will always be a special place in my heart for my surro families."
Christie Roberts, a case manager for a surrogacy agency and surrogate who completed her first journey recently, had this to say about her experience, "Once the baby came out my eyes were on my Intended Parents to see their reaction. I had no attachment to the baby at all. They were very sweet and let me hold the baby whenever I went to their room to visit, but it was like visiting a friend."
I've spent time listening to the thoughts of experienced surrogates, which I believe has helped me know what to expect. I know some surrogates are weepy after delivery, not because they miss the baby, but because it's normal to be teary with the flood of hormones. Having their experiences to drawn on has helped me prepare my husband as well. I want him to be aware of what could happen so that he can be helpful and understanding after birth.
And so, as the birth day of this baby girl approaches, I feel comfortable and ready to welcome her into the world and into the arms of her parents. I've taken the time and steps necessary to be truly prepared. Now we just wait.