Beth's Surrogacy Story

I just wanted to share how lucky I feel. I first met my couple in August 2000, my IM (intended mother) came to my house with an armful of photographs and a heart full of hopes. We spent hours that afternoon talking about our families and our lives, we just clicked so well. My couple already has a son - at the time he was 7 and I could see he was the center of their lives. They had books of photographs and each one was a picture of love - I knew that first day that I wanted to work with them.

A few weeks later hubby and I met them and went out for a meal, at that point we were all sure about working together.

A little while after that, we hit our first stumbling block. The clinic my IPs (intended parents) were using would not accept me. I was thought of as too much of a risk as I was young, not finished with my own family and had suffered elevated blood pressure with my previous pregnancy. My IM was not sure what to do. She wanted to work with me but was worried for me. After talking for a while I left the decision with them - I assured them I knew what I was doing and that I knew the risks, but that in the end it was up to them - the most important thing was that they got their child. I am very pleased to say that they decided to find another clinic and we went ahead.

The other clinic gave me the go-ahead, provided I talked things over with their two psychotherapists and that they thought I was mentally prepared. After two long meetings going over every little detail I was passed.

My IM had eggs retrieved on December 5th and I had 3 wonderful embryos transferred on the 8th. I got my first faint positive only 4 days after transfer but it was so faint that I did not believe it. I got a definite positive 10 days after transfer and it was an amazing feeling. My IPs did not want to know the results of any HPTs (home pregnancy tests) so 14 days after transfer we went to the clinic for a blood test. Seeing my IM's face when the nurse said it was positive was one of the most wonderful moments in my life, I can still picture it now!

I was really sick for the first part of the pregnancy but I still felt wonderful knowing how much the child I was carrying was wanted. I was quite tired too and I do think my son suffered because of that but I think overall he will have gained - I hope he learns that real happiness comes from thinking of others and that some sacrifices are worth making.

Throughout the pregnancy, my couple made me and my whole family feel very special. We got together regularly and talked on the phone often. My IM in particular was very involved in the pregnancy. She came to every visit, felt kicks and recorded stories for me to play to the baby. I was quite prepared that my IM would feel jealous about the pregnancy but she was just great.

Before trying surrogacy, my couple had been through a lot. IVF treatment, miscarriages and a lot of heartbreak. I don't think they could believe that it was going to work out for them this time. They held off telling people they knew until after 20 weeks and then gradually told family and friends. When they had told people, then called me to let me know how delighted everyone was - they always made me feel good about what I was doing.

Towards the end of the pregnancy they became anxious to greet their much-awaited child. I felt a certain amount of pressure as I knew they wanted their son to spend time with the baby before going back to school but everyone accepted that baby would come in his or her own time and there was nothing I could do.

The school holidays came and went and the focus became the safety of the baby. Induction was booked for 10 days after due date but we all hoped things would happen before that on their own - they didn't.

The induction was actually great. I felt calm and in control pretty much all the time. My IM was there for a lot of it and was very calm (she is a nervous person by nature).

When my IPs held their baby it was wonderful, that moment was beautiful and I knew every day of sickness, every night of heartburn, every minute of labor was worth it.

Even since the baby was born they have been great. My IM and I still talk a lot on the phone. I have seen the baby four times already. They even named their son after mine – wow!

My IPs are very private people, I have not been able to name them but that does not mean that we are not close. I wish I could share with you the pictures of my IPs with their son but I can't all I can share are my thoughts and feelings. The past year and a bit has been an amazing time for me, it has not always been easy but I feel I have come through it a stronger and more compassionate person and I want to thank all of those who have followed me through it.

Part 2 - The labor and birth

As I was to be induced, they put the gel in at 11am and it took about 15 minutes for the contractions to start but when they came they were every 2 minutes and they stayed that way throughout the labor. I could breathe through them fine as long as I kept relaxed. My mum was there with me as she was to be my birthing partner. An hour after the gel was put in I was put on the CTG machine (fetal monitor) and the midwife was surprised by the frequency of the contractions. I was a little worried as baby's heart rate seemed to drop a lot at each contraction but it recovered well after so it did not seem to be a problem. After the trace was done we pottered around for a bit just reading and talking and the contractions got stronger.

My IPs arrived at around 1.30pm and we went and got lunch at the hospital cafe at about 2ish. By this stage I had to stop walking through some of the stronger contractions but as long as I kept focused I was okay. My IPs asked when I thought the baby would be born and I said I thought it would be the early hours of the morning. I had a sandwich and an apple before we headed back to the ward. IF (intended father) went to take the bags to the hotel and said he would be back later. My mum, IM and I went back to my room and I decided I needed to lie down and I used a few visualization techniques to get through the pain. Every time I had a contraction I would imagine a large daisy with it's petals closed, each slow breath I took allowed one petal to open and I counted them as they opened, each contraction had about 15-25 petals and each one took about 3 seconds to open. The visualization really helped and I think I will take a proper hypno-birthing course before I have another baby.

The contractions soon started to feel quite painful though so I went into the toilet, I know it is daft now but I did not want my mum and IM to see that I was in pain as I felt like a real wimp to be cracking up that early on. I tried to check my cervix and felt the waters bulging, I did not feel any more as I did not want to break them. After a while I needed to walk and I felt strangely like pushing so I went to the day room with my mum and had two pretty strong contractions while there. We came back to the room and started to lose it a bit in there. My IM said something that for some reason annoyed me and rather than snap at her I hit the wall. It was at that point I had the realization that I could not do it - I needed the epidural and I really felt I had let myself down.

My mum got a midwife to come and check me to see if I was far enough along for pain relief. The midwife came in and asked about the pains and said she thought they were just pains from the gel but checked me anyway (my mum was with me but IM was outside the room). When she checked they found I was 8cm and rapidly getting to 9. Chaos from that point on, my mum told IM to phone IF as things were happening. I was taken down to delivery suite on my bed while trying not to push. While we were in the lift my waters went and it was really hard not to push. We got to a room in delivery suite and I had to move from one bed to another (arghhh). Within a couple of minutes of getting onto the new bed, the baby's head was out (boy did that hurt) and with the next contraction he was all out. He came out with his hand on his head (which is why it hurt so much I guess) and he took a minute to start breathing but he was fine.

We were having cord blood collected so that was being done while a midwife and IM saw to the little man. My IF arrived about 5 mins after baby came but I don't think he was too disappointed to have missed it as it was not long afterwards that he arrived. My IM was in tears and I think she was very shocked by the speed of things. Baby boy arrived at 3.55pm on Friday 7th September 2001 and he weighed 8lb2oz. The official length of labor was 19mins!

Unfortunately taking cord blood means that they can't give the drug to help with the placenta until they have as much blood as they can get and by that time I had lost a lot of blood and I was still bleeding after they gave it. I was given another stronger drug but that did not stop it either so they put a drip up to help. An hour or so after delivery the Dr came in and had to manually remove some clots so I got my first taste of gas and air (weird stuff). After he had done that I got up and walked around and the bleeding slowed down. I was starving by that point but I could not eat anything as they wanted me to be prepared to go to the operating room in case the bleeding did not slow enough. It ended up stopping on its own. I was offered a blood transfusion but I declined it, I am a bit nervous about them. I also managed to damage my back/hip at some point so now I have to hobble around but hopefully that will resolve itself.

My IPs are delighted with their son and they got to take him home at about 8.30pm that day. The staff was great and treated us all really well, a lot of the paperwork was more difficult but they did not moan at all and were very sensitive about everything. I had to stay overnight for observation but I stayed in a private room which made it easier. My mum came up to the room with me to help me settle in and the midwife I had seen for all my appointments came up to see me. The midwife was saying that she could not believe it had happened, this was the first surrogacy she had been part of and she was surprised how smoothly it had gone. After she had left my mum gave me a ring that said 'you are special'. It meant a lot to me as I knew she was not keen on me doing this in the first place. I did not sleep very well as my mind just kept going over the events of the day, during and after the delivery there was too much happening for me to enjoy it but in my bed that night I could marvel at it all.

I have been very lucky, my husband has been the most wonderful supportive man - I could not have asked for more from him. Despite initial reservations my family has also been very supportive and I hope they now understand why I did it. Over all I would say it was a very worthwhile experience, the feelings I have from knowing that I have helped bring so much joy to a family are indescribable. I hope to have another child of my own next, but after that I would love to do another surrogacy. I am planning to wait a bit between pregnancies though, I do feel my body needs some recovery time and my hubby and son deserve some time and attention.