Baby L’s birth was a planned induction. I remember waking up that morning and everything was calm. I watched as my cousin Jamie, the intended mother, walked around the house frantically attempting to ensure she did not miss a single item she may need. I sat on the couch with her husband just realizing they would not come back home the same couple.
They would come home as a family.
We drove the forty-five minutes to the hospital as the sun was rising. I rode in the car with the intended father, Jake, and Jamie rode with our friend Jill. Jill is a photojournalist that I have known for years. She was kind enough to capture our journey and be there for the birth. The photos she provided were breathtaking, time-stopping and indescribable. They are photos that Jamie and Jake will always have.
The labor went very smoothly. The epidural was my biggest fear. What if it did not take? What if I felt all the pain of labor? I wanted to be numb and not feel the birth. I wanted to fully experience labor and delivery and be focused on the moment. I did not want to be in pain and upset to the point I missed Jamie’s precious moment of holding her son for the first time.
That moment is exhilarating, hair-raising, mind-boggling, and stimulating.
There will never be enough words to describe that moment but the best word is complete.
My journey was over. He was here and I’m watching him being held by his mother. Her face is pure bliss and relief. Relief that he is here in her arms. She had longed for a child for as long as I could remember. As kids, we would play house, she taught gymnastics to kids, and she went back to school to be a teacher. Kids have always been a big part in her life and having a family was always the ultimate goal.
I watched as they were released to go into their personal room after his APGAR. I laid on the bed as they birthed the placenta and stitched me up. Jill came back into the room and showed me a photo of baby L. He was so handsome. He was spitting image of his father and my heart burst open. How could that be the little 8 pound 5 ounce boy that was just kicking my ribs an hour earlier?
I quickly learned that Jamie and Jake wanted me to be the first to meet baby L. They walked in and handed him over to meet me and my heart burst open once more. Here he is wrapped up so tight as a tiny baby burrito. This chunky baby was the one who I have grown to love the past 37 weeks since he was transferred into my womb. The
intended parents went back into their room to grab a shirt since they were practicing skin to skin contact his first hour. We wanted a group photo.
During the brief sixty to ninety seconds I got to examine this little boy. I held him out, glanced over his features while counting his ten little fingers. I breathed in the fresh smell of baby scent and smiled as tears rolled down my eyes. I look over and all I could say what that I felt nothing. I did not feel the maternal urge that mothers feel. I did not want to take him home and call him mine. But there was a bond that was indescribable.
I cannot explain truly what happened on April 3rd 2014. You cannot put into words what happens during your surrogacy journey. There are so many emotions and experiences that it is hard to explain to others who do not understand. The outside world finds it hard to believe that a woman can walk away from the child or children that she just gave birth to with no motherly urge. For the most part, surrogates understand the task at hand and give birth to these child(ren) with ease.
I am forever grateful for Jamie and Jake to allow me to be the one to carry their precious cargo into this world. The outside world may think it is strange for me to be thankful but I am. They did not have to choose me. But they did. Baby L brought something to fill my heart that no one else could and without them it would not be possible.
For me baby L was never my child and even after birth I knew he was not mine. While we sat in the hospital room we saw him react to my voice. Of course he recognized me because he listened to me for the past several months, but then something amazing happened. His mother walked back into the room and spoke. His eyes flashed as he was looking for her.
In that moment I like to think that he understood as well that she was always his mother.