Friday, February 7, 2014

More FAQs... Surrogate Side

Just as there were questions about the logistics of becoming a gestational carrier and actually being a surrogate when I was going through my journey with K&J, there are still lingering questions from many regarding the "conclusion" of the surrogacy.  Many of you (mostly close friends and family) have expressed an interest in knowing some of the finer details of the delivery experience itself and the after-effects of giving birth, but not going home with a baby.

Q: Were the IPs in the room with you when you delivered?
A:  Yep, they were!  They were with me every step of the way; always offering to help make things as easiest as possible for me.  I was hell-bent on delivering their baby that day and that was clearly not a problem with K&J!

Q: Did they cut the cord?

A:  Yes!  The original plan was to have J cut the cord, but in the heat of the moment, he got just a bit queasy.  No worries, though, K stepped right up and cut the cord.  J was able to cut the cord shorter after Charlie was assessed by the nurses.  (It had to have been a lot to take in.  Both J and my husband had to leave the room at one point or another to refrain from passing out.)

Q: Who held the little guy first?
A:  This part is just a lil' bit fuzzy for me...  Although I am not 100% sure, I believe it was J who held the little man first.  After seeing Charlie make his beautiful debut to the world, I was relishing in the absence of pain while doctors poked and prodded me during the unspoken afterbirth events...  Good times (wink, wink).  I do know that it was K's wish to have J hold the baby first.

Q: Do you miss  baby Charlie?  (Did you have a hard time "handing him over"?)
A:  Because I went into this journey with such a strong mindset that I am just the "jar" for K&J's "sauce", I was able to get through this entire pregnancy without developing a mother/child bond with Charlie.  Don't get me wrong - I cared for Charlie and his well-being A LOT, but that particular bond was never established.  Like I have said before, our bond had more of a best friend vibe than that of mother/child.  I wanted to grow a healthy baby for K&J and did everything I could to make that happen.

That said, I can honestly say that I did not have any problems delivering that baby and "handing him over" to his parents.  In fact, it was the most amazing feeling to be able to do that.  It was that very moment that made this whole journey worthwhile.  Seeing Charlie enter the world and be given directly to his parents, seeing K&J cry tears of joy and mouthing the words "thank you" with the look of sheer joy and gratefulness in their eyes will never be forgotten.  To this day, I can easily say that (apart from the births of my own children) this journey has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of my life.

Q: Was the baby still in the hospital when you left?
A:  Yes.  I was torn about leaving early.  On the one hand, I wanted to get back to my family and rest/relax peacefully at home.  But, on the other hand, I wanted to spend more time with the new family.  I ultimately decided to go home early; the very next morning/afternoon.  It was hard saying "goodbye" to the brand-spankin'-new family, but I know in my heart that they will always be a part of my life. 

Q: Did K&J fly home with Charlie or did they have to drive back?  How does travel go with a brand new baby?
A: Given the weather at the time, K&J's plans for heading back home were in a bit of disarray.  They had initially planned to stay for some time with J's family in Boston, but when they met with the pediatrician, he advised them that Charlie really should be seen by his own doctor within the first week.  The doctor explained that flight travel is completely fine with a newborn.  They decided to spent a day or two with J's family and then fly back home.  The weather caused them to stay a bit longer than expected, but they made it back home just fine.  Charlie was a doll during the flight -- I was told he slept most of the way. 

Q: Were all the legalities figured out?
A:  YES!  Thank the heavens above!  I appeared for my court hearing to request a post-birth order the Monday morning after giving birth.  We were worried that we would have the same Judge who denied our pre-birth order, but were pleasantly surprised to see that he had since retired.  The Judge overseeing our hearing was delightful; very understanding of the situation and clearly an advocate of surrogacy.

Q: Was it strange when it was all over? (Like leaving the maternity ward without a baby?)
A:  No, not really.  I actually had some experience with leaving the maternity ward and hospital without a baby.  When I was pregnant with my daughter, an ultrasound revealed a mass in her abdomen.  My delivery room was chock-full of doctors, specialists and nurses ready to examine her upon delivery.  She was immediately taken for an ultrasound to determine our next steps.  The doctors expressed a concern that it may be cancer and ultimately decided that surgery was necessary to remove it right away.  My baby girl was taken in for major abdominal surgery just 6 hours after she was born and I had only been able to hold her in my arms for 3 minutes (which I had to ask for) before they swept her away for testing/monitoring.  So, I knew what it was like to be without a baby; my own baby.  This time around was cake compared to that!  This wasn't my baby!  Charlie was with his family, completely healthy and so very loved.  Leaving him with his family wasn't hard at all.  

Q: Was it strange being home with all the postpartum stuff happening, but without a baby to take care?  (Or, was it simply amazing to give birth and then go home and SLEEP and just work on getting your body and life back to normal?)
A:  This was where it got strange.  I was healing very quickly and sleeping nicely.  Overtime, I had "forgotten" how recently I had given birth.  I didn't have a baby at home to remind me that my flabby belly was okay because I just gave birth only a few short weeks ago.  Here I am now, 5 weeks post delivery, and I am still thinking that my belly should be firmer.  That is the strange part.  I have to keep reminding myself that it's only been a short time since bringing Charlie into this world.  I have to give myself some time!  Healing so quickly has contributed to my warped sense of time, too. 

Q: Do you still keep in touch with the family? 
A:  Yes.  I anticipate that there will always be some sort of communication amongst our families.  Maybe not as much as there is right now, but it definitely will continue through the years.  They are an extension of my family.

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