There are a lot of unknowns when you’re a surrogate. The only one I worried about CONSTANTLY was what would happen after the birth. I want to give an honest look at what REALLY happened. So I remember and do others know what they might experience.
Because he was born at 36 weeks things didn’t go exactly as we’d planned.
After an incredibly short 2 hours Baby Chuck came barreling into the world. Into a room FILLED with a NICU staff. He was whisked away pretty quickly and I was left alone with my doula and doctor. While Baby Chuck’s family went with him. Immediate breast feeding didn’t happen like I’d hoped. Instead I lay in bed as they tried to prevent me from hemorrhaging, and I worried about Baby Chuck. Eventually (about an hour or more) I was wheeled to my recovery room and the nurse was sweet enough to take me past the nursery so I could see the baby getting his first bath. Everyone ran out to ask how I was doing and to make sure I was ok. It meant so much to me that they cared do much about me still.
It was still awhile before they all came into my room with the baby. But I was so happy to see him well.
I grieved a little that he was drinking formula and too little/sleepy to breast feed well. But we still tried. And I started pumping right away.
The evening approached and the family went to their room beside mine. There was no one with me. I was all alone in my room at the end of the hall. I was exhausted but still had birth endorphins. Before I realized it was 1am. I didn’t sleep much the first night. Maybe sneaking in an hour or two between nurse visits.
The second day was good. I had friends visiting, baby snuggles and good times with everyone. The day FLEW by.
Saturday night it hit. I knew I was going to experience some sadness but I didn’t know when it would come. The second night was it for me. Everyone left my room after dinner and the tears started. Not just small cute tears. The big huge ugly snotty kind. I cried and cried and cried.
It was hard for me to explain (even to myself) but I WASN’T crying because I missed the baby or WANTED the baby. I didn’t. He was right where he belonged. I was sad it was over. I wasn’t ready. (though, frankly, I don’t know if I would have ever been “ready”)
I got out of bed Friday morning, after not sleeping well and went to my doctors appointment. I was only 36 wks. I wasn’t supposed to be in labor. 2 hours later a baby was born. I never had time to process it. I wasn’t ready for it to be over.
I never got to that uncomfortable part of pregnancy. I never got huge. I wasn’t ready for it to be over.
I knew it would happen but the shift of attention was hard for me.
While his family was still so concerned about my well being, their attention was no longer completely on me, like it had been for the 36 weeks before.
I knew their attention was right where it belonged. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard.
As the nurses rotated in Saturday night they all were taken back by the breakdown going on in my room. And surprised as they made their second visit and I was STILL crying. They weren’t really sure what to say or if there was anything they could say to make things better. There wasn’t. It was just something I had to go through. I was mourning the end of this journey and the unknown if what would happen in the morning when we said our goodbyes. They smiled and nodded as I recounted the whole 36 weeks over and over and how happy I was.
I didn’t sleep one minute of Saturday night. I told one nurse that I secretly hoped Sunday just wouldn’t come. She told me it didn’t work that way, but she’d be there for me when it happened.
Of course Sunday came.
And it was such a healing day. I was so worried about crying in front of his family. Worried that they wouldn’t understand why I was crying and it would scare them.
There was not a single tear on Sunday. The sweet nurses gave us time to “check out” instead of making us leave at the normal 11am. As much as I had dreaded the “pity eyes” after delivery, I was actually thankful for them because the pity was giving me more time.
I was able to spend my first alone time with the baby. Time I thought I so desperately needed, but when it came down to it, It was already so evident that he was no part of me. My voice, my smell, it didn’t sooth him like I thought it would. It was like he was never a part of me. Never inside of my body. He was THEIR baby. As I dressed him in his going home outfit I looked at him, told him thank you for choosing me. And for being such a good baby. But that I was so glad he was with his mommy now. I truly was.
My family arrived. We packed up, cleaned up. I put on real clothes for the first time too. I hugged everyone. We posed for pictures then I carried my big boy as we walked down the hall and out of the hospital where I officially became a surrogate mother.
I eagerly texted a few friends from the lobby that I was so happy and didn’t have a single regret.
While I still hadnt come to grips with it being over so quickly I was so happy that I got to be the mom to my own little boy again.
I’ll cherish everyone of those moments that weekend and everyone of those tears because they were all a part of my amazing journey. But I’m thankful to know what to expect for next time. (YES, next time!!)