I knew that agreeing to be a surrogate for Sam and Jean would make a significant impact on my life, but I had no idea just how life-changing delivering their baby would be.
Our birth story started when we were 41 weeks and one day pregnant. We had seen the midwife earlier that week and made a plan to break my water by this point—if things looked favorable—to start an induction.
I spent the morning feeling anxious about this decision, worrying that I may be pushing things too soon, but I also worried that if I let things go too long, I may not be recovered enough for our travel plans the following week.
The midwife arrived at my house, and we had a thorough and reassuring discussion about our plan. She checked me at 2 centimeters dilated, and the babe’s head was nice and low. At this point, we decided to start the induction. She easily broke my water. There was meconium present, but the baby’s heart rate was normal.
The midwife left after checking all our vitals and giving me an intravenous dose of antibiotics. She was going to return in a few hours for another cervical check and to start another round of antibiotics.
I got on FaceTime with Sam and Jean to let them know what was happening. I told them to nap and take it easy—and I gave them my order of spicy curry for dinner. They took off to finish their last-minute prep for their wedding the following week, and I spent the next four hours pumping (using a breast pump to stimulate contractions), taking homeopathy, bouncing on my birthing ball, and of course, watching Netflix.
Confronting Childbirth—Physically and Mentally
Contractions started coming in waves as I pumped. It was such hard work to get my body started, but it was doing it. I felt empowered and ready to achieve this birth. This was it. Today was the day we were bringing this babe into the world.
At around 5:30 p.m., the midwife, my husband, and the daddies all arrived. Contractions were steady, but I had to continue pumping to bring them on. We did another round of antibiotics, and the midwife did another cervical check; I was about 3 to 4 centimeters dilated.
My doula, Kelly, arrived around 7 p.m., and Sam and Jean brought me my curry. I ate quickly; the babe gave me a little rest while I ate. Active labor officially started after my spicy meal! My contractions were bringing me to my knees. Kelly was beyond amazing at reassuring me, rubbing my back, and making sure I felt empowered.
The guys were so respectful of my space and allowed me to labor freely and with ease. They hung around the house watching Netflix, chatting, and enjoying the atmosphere as I labored.
Before long, contractions started to get really difficult, and I decided to get into the birthing pool. It was a great relief. Keeping my body in labor was a challenge. We were in and out of the tub, pumping, sitting on the toilet, and bouncing on the ball. So much work … so much pain. The guys were right by my side and encouraged me each step of the way. Despite the intensity, it was magical.
Around 11 p.m. the midwife checked my cervix, and I was around 6 centimeters dilated, with a hard lip left. She had me push through it to 7 to 8 centimeters when her hand was there to stretch it. I was beyond exhausted and I just wanted to sleep—then contractions stopped. It was agonizing. As the hours passed, I had minor contractions on and off while I lay on the couch feeling defeated.
In the Throes of Labor
Eventually, the midwife came and talked with me. She felt that if things didn’t pick up, we should transfer to the hospital to get some drugs to bring on stronger contractions. This is where I broke down; this was not part of my birth plan. I knew that a transfer to the hospital and medications meant for sure I would get an epidural—and then what next?! I cried and felt broken. But I got up, got on the pump, and kept trying.
The midwife checked my cervix again, but there was no change. I was exhausted but we pushed forward. I drank some ginger ale and had a popsicle—this seemed to give me a burst of energy.
To help get things moving again, we decided a walk was a good plan. With the guys by my side, we wandered outside to the silence of the night under the beautiful moonlight. They showered me with praise and told me how strong I was. I shared my fears with them, and they held me up as the walk brought on very strong contractions. My back was killing me at this point. Jean had a brilliant idea and brought me a heating pad. It was exactly what I needed.
We then had to come back inside for another round of antibiotics. I sat quietly through this round and slept sitting up for 20 minutes. It was wild how truly tired I felt.
Kelly suggested we sit on the toilet for a while at this point. The contractions were so intense—so much pressure. But I knew this was the best bet to get baby to come down.
The midwife wanted to check me now as I was making some pushing sounds with each contraction. I made my way to the couch. She checked me, and to great surprise, I was about 8 or 9 centimeters with a small lip. She had me push, and I was at 10!
Finally Meeting Baby Valentin
The room erupted with excitement. I cried and hugged Jean and Sam. So much relief and joy overcame me. It was time to deliver the baby. All of the happiness seemed to make the exhaustion melt away.
I wanted to move from the couch to the pool for birth. As my doula was getting me a change of clothes for delivery, all of the sudden, I had a big contraction and felt the urge to push immediately! The midwife was frantically searching for her gloves, and with one push his head was out. After one more push, the baby officially arrived!
This whole pregnancy I was sure the baby was a girl. And as he emerged, I saw his testicles and laughed. I looked at Sam, who had predicted the baby would be a boy, and told him he was right this whole time!
Sam and Jean were near my head. Sam was bawling and saying, “It’s my baby,” as tears flowed down his face. Both dads surrounded me with love and hugs. The baby was on my chest, and I told him, “You are so loved.”
This moment was pure magic. I can’t even put it into words. After delivering the placenta and laughing about my now-ruined couch, Sam, Jean, and I headed upstairs to bond with the baby. We spent the next three hours nursing the baby, sitting in awe, and just enjoying these early moments together.
I never knew how much I needed this journey. These men are truly family now. They have surrounded us with such love, trust, and kindness. My heart and soul are full.
I am forever changed.
Welcome, sweet Valentin.
Images Credit: Meagan Adams