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A surrogacy birth story

THE BETS

Sarah: Im betting its going to be 8lbs 4ozs!!

Nick: Based on intuition, experience, or something else?!

Sarah: Dont feel too big and Georgina was 8lbs 2ozs and i think it might be a little bigger!! the fact i can still walk means its not going to be nearly 11lbs like alfie!!!

Nick: I honestly know nothing. But I’ll stick my oar in, why not? I’m gonna go lower. Just under 8… How many ounces in a pound?

Sarah: 14?

Nick: Okay then. I’ll say 7 and 13!

Sarah: Ohhh bets are on!!! it will definately have a flash of dark hair too!!

Michael: I LOVE this. I’m gonna go light hair and 8lbs 1 oz. tee hee hee!
But am now definitely going BOY
Just a hunch

Sarah: It’ll never be blonde!! I’d put actual money on it!!!!! Oh and I’m still going for girl!!!

Michael: Fiver says fair/blonde!

Sarah: You’re on matey!!!

Michael: Deal. <Shakes>

THE BIG DAY

So, little Elliot was born at 2.20pm on Thursday 7 March. He weighed 8 lbs 5 oz, has a beautiful head of dark hair (though Michael keeps suggesting he can see lighter hair in there).

His entry into the world was a very quick and easy one – the caesarean section proceeded without accident nor incident and was all over within under an hour. Sarah was comfortable and in great humour throughout, and has continued to be so ever since, going through all the right recovery motions – getting up and walking as soon as possible thereafter, and being as active as possible given the major operation.

GETTING READY

The day started for us with an early wake up (after very little sleep from the anticipation of it all). We headed over to Sarah. Sarah was there and waiting, having not slept much herself because of all the excitement and spent a good part of the morning chatting away to the midwives – she’s part of the team now, having spent a couple of weeks on the ward and even acted as surro-birthing partner to some of the ladies!

We cannot say enough how BRILLIANT the hospital have been with us – they had already delivered a wonderful birth plan that breached policy by allowing both Michael and Nick into the operating theatre for the birth, and stated clearly that we were to be provided a room. That room was there for us straight away – a wonderful room with and en-suite full bathroom. Amazing! Word of our surrogacy and the ‘gay daddies’ has obviously made its way around the hospital as we have been questioned every time we’ve gone to the cafeteria by the staff there – before to find out whether anything had happened and after there was insistence on showing some photos from the phone.

PLAYING A WAITING GAME

So we got our stuff, moved into the room, and started waiting. In the end it took five hours till we were called – just before 2. By that point we were going up the walls a little – the first three hours had been fine, we’d sat and chatted through things lots, it was wonderful. By the third hour we were getting a little less patient… we’d had confirmation that not only were we not the first to go for a planned C-section (we’d found this out at 9am) but there was also a likely emergency C-section and another operation to stitch up a lady who’d had a tear. Sarah was in her operating togs, just in case, but we looked like we were in for a really long haul! Poor Sarah was super thirsty by this point, having had nil by mouth since midnight! You can imagine how guilty we felt at lunchtime when we had to go and get a bite to eat to make sure we could make it through the afternoon – but, as with everything else in the day, Sarah was wonderful, calm and generous, sending us on our ways to get a sandwich with barely a peep!

THE BIG MOMENT ARRIVES

Finally, just before 2pm, our wonderful midwife Katy came to collect us all and take us up to the delivery suite. Until then, we’d been so busy in the waiting game that we hadn’t contemplated fully what lay ahead. But there was no denying it now.

For Michael and Nick, the moment reality hit was when we were ushered into a room to put our operating theatre gowns on. We had a good few minutes waiting in there while Sarah had the anesthetic administered, and they were fairly tense moments – lightened only by the knowledge of how silly we looked.

For Sarah, the moment of entry into the theatre was the moment of truth. With lots of people busy and working away, a lot of equipment beeping and doing things, it certainly was an intimidating site. As she went into the room, she stopped and had to be pushed in by the midwife Katy. There was also a brief moment of sickness.

By the time Nick and Michael entered the room, shortly after 2pm, the operation was starting and Sarah was 100% back to normal. In fact, her face was the picture of serenity itself. Nick can’t comment on the rest as he was firmly glued to her face, being really rather squeamish. Michael, however, allowed himself not only a peek over the curtain but every so often a good old stare!

While the doctors got on with things, we continued our chats of the morning. Sarah described how little she could feel, and every so often the bits she could feel. It was all quite surreal, as you’d imagine, but not in any way horrible or discomforting, everyone was doing a wonderful job, all was going to plan and the midwife was being amazing at updating and reassuring us all.

A NEW ARRIVAL

About ten minutes after Nick and Michael entered the room, Michael started looking much more intently. And then he saw it! Two feet being pulled out, followed shortly thereafter by some, er, meat and two veg .

This was wonderful news, but not quite happening in the order of the agreed birth plan, which was that we would be presented with the new arrival all as one and look for ourselves! So Michael ‘had to self administer botox’ (his words) to keep his face completely schtum until the right moment!

The doctors rotated the legs and the baby a little and then gave a massive tug – Michael looking all the time and trying his best not to show his shock at how much of a pull they needed. And with a plop, Elliot emerged!
His (purple) body was taken over to a table nearby by the midwife and he was given a rub down. She then presented the new arrival to us. Michael’s botox at that point could wear off, and the joy came over us all. There were tears from Nick, smiles from Sarah and incredulity from Michael.

Babies born by a c-section are understandably a little unprepared and though a little less of an ordeal for them than a natural birth can sometimes be, it is a massive shock to the system so they need to be kept as warm as possible and calmed down immediately. This made possible the most wonderful moment of the whole time – a good ten minutes or so when Nick and Michael took turns to hold their beautiful son, all right next to Sarah’s face so she had a perfect view of those first moments of parenthood.

Elliot was beautiful, perfectly formed and slowly taking on a nice reddish pallor as he warmed up and got used to his new environment – and the hold of his doting parents. He made a few coos here and there, but was generally really quiet and contented. With some strategic placement of hands to cover the lights of the theatre, the stunning brightness of the room was reduced enough to entice him to open his little eyes and look up at the world he had just entered. And look into the eyes of two people who were falling in love with him there and then.

SARAH – OUR SURROGATE

As this post is being written by Nick and Michael, albeit after a good chat over things with Sarah, we get to monopolise it for a while to talk about Sarah. Words cannot express our feelings for her, throughout the whole pregnancy and then the birth, she has been the most amazing person. She is so calm, so collected, so laid-back, so friendly and caring. She has put herself through a long and sometimes grueling process, all for two other people who she knew so relatively little at the beginning. In the process, she has made us two of the happiest people in the world, and made friendships for life.

She also has the most amazing family – who have taken us into their hearts and allowed us to take them into ours. Each of her kids is wonderful, each in their own brilliant way – even though we would rather have avoided a two week hospital stay for Sarah, without this we would never have had the pleasure and privilege of looking after her two youngest kids for a few days – an experience we will treasure, and certainly never forget – especially the lessons we learned about how to look after four and six year olds!

And Nick, her husband. The most noticeable aspect to his character is that he is a talker. Because of this, you soon discover he is also one of the most caring and sensitive men we’ve ever met. He is full of giving and love. We loved that we got a night in with him and a selection of continental beers to chat over things and set the world to rights. We can’t wait to do it again!

Truly, that is the gift of surrogacy, families being made, families coming together as friends, people providing evidence that the world is a kinder, gentler and more giving world than the sometime selfish, cruel and violent world that it can be portrayed as in newspapers or other parts of society. We are so proud to be part of something so good. We know Elliot will be too.

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