Having decided to become a surrogate and carrying the baby for 9 months, this surrogacy story comes to its conclusion with the arrival of a much longed for baby, but was what should have been the best day actually the hardest day?
I’d had the odd braxton hicks, and even a while night of regular contractions but nothing much happened for a week after that. On the due date I had a sweep, and again a few days later. We had lots of walks, pineapple, curry etc etc. And of course the tried and tested – sex method (midwife recommended!!). I swear none of these things work, the baby comes when it’s ready! But finally on a Friday evening the contractions started thick and fast.
We called the parents as soon as I’d been admitted into the labour ward. They were sharp and painful and I’d already agreed that to keep things calm I wanted an epidural. So after an hour on the gas and air I was ready for some total pain relief. As soon as that was in the parents arrived (after a frantic journey racing to get here asap) and I threw up everywhere (so dignified!). I continued to be sick (nice!) but everything calmed right down. From frequent productive contractions, I had less and less strong ones.
We were in for an all nighter (although I kind of knew that as my other 2 labours lasted ages). We had an amazing midwife who stayed with us. At one point she told us all to get rest, my hubby on a beanbag and them in their car. All this resting had put the baby in a funny position (where before the head was down and back just right). So a change in consultant resulted in a change of pace. There was talk of a c-section as my last cm of cervix was not going anywhere. The baby was completely fine, no stress or change of heartbeat, I just wasn’t dilating that last bit. I suggested letting the epidural wear off and trying to get gravity to lend a hand as I really really wanted to avoid a c section and I’d birthed my other two vaginally. The midwives advised the IPs to get some grub as they thought it would take a while longer. Almost as soon as they’d done this I felt the head and was ready to push. So they sent someone to find them. With just a couple of pushes little bean arrived, and at the exact same time the new parents had rushed in.
A new life
This is the moment I will remember for the rest of my life. Their faces, as they took in the sight of their baby girl. She was perfect, 6lb 3 and looked just like them both. There were tears, smiles, hugs. It was just amazing. They did all the baby checks and I was stitched up and had a cuddle. There was a room prepared for them to bond with baby next door, and hubby and I were left to rest after a nice bit of toast and tea. I love that the hospital arranged this, they got to have skin to skin and family time straight away.
After 7 hours we were all able to leave, not before taking a keep sake photo of the 5 of us. They left with little bean to start family life and we returned to continue ours. We kept in contact and they sent pics of her first smile, a cute outfit, and lots of thank you messages! We were glad to come home to quiet nights and family time. A few days later we registered the birth in my name and the biological fathers name as parents. This gave them immediate paternal rights to do things like register her at a GP surgery. Our midwife team had arranged for support and handover to them locally too. People ask how I felt ‘giving up’ a baby. She was never mine so it never felt like that. It felt great to know we had done something amazing and our life was pretty much the same.
Adjusting to real life
Things were going great until I got a random postpartum infection. They still don’t know why, or how or specifically where even. But I went down quickly, about 6 weeks after she was born. At first it felt like flu, so I rest for 2 days and barely ate. Then there was excruciating pain in my left side of my womb. I was admitted to hospital and stayed for 9 nights. I was very close to having to have surgery to find the cause, but luckily the strong antibiotics began to work, but then they also found I had a blot clot in my left thigh. It really was a tough time. I think I blocked most of it out, it was hard in hospital, I missed my daughter’s first sports day, and they cried every time they left after visiting. Then I had a few months of being on Warfarin which I hated. But that’s over now too and I feel fine. Hubby had to take a while off work, he was amazing. The parents kept in close contact and after it was all over and I was recovered they arranged for us to go to Eurodisney – which was so thoughtful and just what we needed after a stressful few months.
All the while they had been stressed out themselves with all the paperwork to arrange the parental order. This has to be done after 6 weeks to legally register the biological mother as having parental responsibility. They struggled to find a court who knew anything about this. We all had a visit from a Cafcass officer who asked various things about the surrogacy journey and wrote a report to support the parental application. And after a couple of visits to court, everything was finally complete – the Parental Order was granted and baby girl became legally theirs. We shared a bottle of champagne to celebrate!
Surrogacy: the end….?
It has been an emotional ride. It’s over 2 years since we met them and started this journey. We’ve had highs and lows. I have to give credit to a lady named Yvonne at COTs who supported us during the difficult stages of the pregnancy. I have made lifelong friends and helped bring a person into the world. I don’t expect photos or contact or any of that, it’s their choice how they raise their girl and who they involve in her life. But I do get a wonderful feeling when they send over a photo with her beaming smile. We’re planning on meeting over Easter, but life is busy – I won’t hold it against them if we don’t get a chance. We’ve all talked about the possibility of trying surrogacy again in the future for a sibling, but it really is a risk that I’d have to talk through with my family before we made any decisions.
Seriously, surrogacy rules. If you’re judgmental about it, don’t be. If you’re thinking about it as a surro or IP but worried or confused, don’t be. If you want to know more, there’s a whole world of fantastic people helping and supporting each other through in this surrogacy community. I would strongly recommend googling Surrogacy UK and joining for free.
Having been through one journey, I don’t know it if is necessary to go through it again with an organisation. There are loads of wonderful women out there who have helped others and would consider helping others but that simply go through the journey as friends without being a ‘member’ of an organisation. At the very least there’s a wealth of information and groups, just start chatting. I think more people could be surrogates. It’s not so unknown now and more understood. So seriously, if there’s the slightest bit of curiosity, look into it. It’s not all smiles and warm feelings, there are risks, but it’s amazing to have helped make a family.