Along for the Ride: A Birth Story
Well, we did it! The ride is over, folks! And two perfect little babies are now in the arms of their adoring parents because of this ride. Here’s a look at our birth story.
We started watching my blood and laboratory panels around 37 weeks as a precaution. We had no reason to do this beyond just standard of care with my OBGYN, but, we found my blood pressure to be higher than it normally is for me and my blood platelets to be slightly lower than they normally are for me. I wasn’t near a pre-eclampsia diagnosis at all, but given the sliding numbers and the fact that we had made it to full term, we decided that it’d be best to induce a labor and have the babies now, as opposed to
giving my body the time and opportunity to allow something to go wrong.
So, we set a date to have some babies.
And, they didn’t really want to listen.
Babies never listen.
The day before our scheduled induction I woke up with a minor headache and some minor dizziness. That was just enough to have the doctors move my induction date right on up to that day.
We started Pitocin, a labor inducing medication, and prepared for a long day. The medication did very little for the first 12 hours. Yes, I said 12. I labor long and prosper, folks. I was having regular, steady contractions, but I couldn’t feel them and I wasn’t progressing. So, 12 hours in we decided to break the water of baby A. This sped things up, and about five hours later we were ready to deliver!
Since all twin deliveries are completed in the operating room per hospital policy, I had to be wheeled into the OR, wait for the doctor to arrive, listen to the OR roll call, and patiently wait to push. Wow, that was an intense thing to sit through! But then it was time to push. And in three easy pushes, baby A, the girl, was here.
I looked across the OR to the woman I had just taken from wife to mother, saw the tears streaming down her face, and watched her lips silently mouth, “Thank you” as she embraced her daughter for the first time.
In that instant, that tiny moment, we were living everything that surrogacy is. A priceless gift given in love. In the words of John Bunyon, “You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
In that moment, I lived.
But we didn’t have time to get all sentimental. There was still a second baby to birth!
Baby B, the boy, was larger and higher in the womb. He was also breech. So the doctors had to manually flip him from inside! Sounds worse than it was, and it turns out that this was easily done. Back to work we went with pushing. And pushing. And pushing. He wasn’t moving. It happens, apparently, from time to time with twins. Maybe I was just tired.
After about an hour of pushing, and with me on oxygen, we decided it was time to change our plan of action from a vaginal delivery to a Cesarean delivery. I was prepped, but things moved so quickly it’s a bit hard to remember how things happened from here on out. All I remember is being cold, feeling them lift baby B out of me, and hearing that glorious first cry.
I didn’t get the emotional view across the room this time because of all the doctors working to close me up and secure my safety.
But here’s the thing about surrogacy; you don’t always need that moment where time stands still. I know it was happening just across the room. I know that, just 10 feet from where I was being worked on, a new family was being born. All the love, gratitude, and happiness in the world was happening just beside me, no matter if I could see it or not.
A few hours later once everything was stable I got the opportunity to see and cuddle the babies. About this time a florist arrived in my room carrying a floral arrangement roughly the size of New Hampshire. The card read, “Thank you for giving my daughter her family.”
I’m not so vain as to say that this family, these twins, exist because of me. If it hadn’t been me who birthed them, it would have been another surrogate. But because of women LIKE me, and because of organizations like Growing Generations, these twins exist. This family’s tree has new branches that will extend for generations to come because of my gift. Their future has changed in ways we can’t even possibly comprehend. All because of people like me who said, “I am able to help you, and I will help you.”
For a multitude of reasons, this journey marks the end of my days as an active surrogate. But it doesn’t mean that I’m done with surrogacy.
Just as I became an alumna when I graduated college, I now look at myself as a “surrogate alumna.” Because while you may only be pregnant for nine months, once you’ve been a surrogate, you’ll forever be a surrogate.