Meeting Harrison: A Surrogacy Birth Story
This is the story of meeting Harrison and the unforgettable journey of growing and birthing a healthy baby for our best friends.
Reduced movements overnight bought me into the hospital around 5.30 am. Unfortunately, I'd had a horrible night with my little one, so I was already tired.
Because it was my second presentation to the hospital, my team had discussed the potential of an induction. After a scan, check, weighing up lots of little risk factors and speaking to partners, I decided this would happen anyway, so it's best to do it today. This also meant Shane (my husband) would be home with me tomorrow.
Dr Sarah was super informative and very focused on what I wanted and what was best for me. The midwives also pushed that it was my birth and that I could say no to anything. They ensured me that I had a large time frame, not just what the doctors had told me.
Shortly we moved to the birthing suite, where Chris and I waited for Thane and Shane to arrive. I slapped some makeup on to make myself feel better from having a fair few tears earlier about not saying bye to my boys and losing my ideal birth plan. I knew everything was up for discussion and knew we'd do what we had to, but it still hurt me.
Shane and Thane arrived with KFC for all of them ( 🙄😂😂), and then Doctor Jessie came in to break my waters. I had Uly as our main midwife, who we'd already met in the outpatient clinic. I loved her gentle and calming manner.
The team broke my waters at 12.30 (I think), so so much liquid came out, which just continued. Every time I moved, more would gush out. It was one of the weirdest feelings. It took a while for bigger contractions to start, but they seemed to be 13ish mins apart. They got closer together, and the back pain really kicked up a notch. I felt this with my boys but nothing this intense.
That morning the team had also ruled me out of having my water birth, so sadly, I didn't have the bath to relieve some of that pain. Uly guided me to do calm breathing and constantly reinforced that I could do this. She showed Chris pressure spots on my back and hips to help. Shane was always close by, either holding my hand and believing in me. He was calm and supportive.
The contractions got closer together and more intense, and I felt the need to push. This went on for around an hour, maybe more. Every contraction I felt so strongly in my back more than ever. Moving positions was so painful, and nothing felt right. I started to doubt my abilities about getting this bub out.
With my own boys, I didn't have to work like this. A few good pushes, and they were out. This was so different. I couldn't feel him going further. I kept saying I couldn't do this anymore. I'm tapping out; just cut him out of me. I was exhausted and felt like there was no hope.
Dr Jessie came back and assessed me. Bub was posterior and no descending. I knew it. My body knew it. My mind knew it.
I was fully dilated, but bub just didn't want to cooperate. This broke me.
We decided I would go down to theatre and have a spinal, and hopefully, they could help me birth this bub out. I hate needles. I've always sworn I would never get that, yet here I was, facing such a big fear. It was hard to even transfer to the bed to go down to theatre. Every contraction hurt my back so much. Every move hurt me. I knew I needed to move, but it hurt so much. I just wanted it over, but I was so scared too.
I was rolled downstairs with Shane and Chris with me. They were allowed into theatre for the birth. Thane would wait in recovery. Once I was taken down, I spoke with the anesthesiologist. I was then rolled in and had to move again and sit up. I was terrified and in so much pain. I told them several times I needed to stop because it was hurting. The contractions felt so close together. Dr Jessie was right there with me. She told them I needed a minute and was there as 'my person' as she said it.
She held my hands and me when they did the needle. I squeezed her hands and focused on her face, albeit with a mask on. I then was lying down on the table and instantly felt that weird feeling come over my body. I couldn't feel my back anymore, and that was all I ever wanted!!
From then, Dr Jessie asked me to push. They wanted to help me birth him. I said to her I couldn't push. It's impossible. I can't feel anything. I don't know how to push with no feeling. The team did another assessment, and she said that I was right; I did need to have him cut out. She apologised, but I was just so happy my back wasn't sore anymore!
Chris and my husband Shane came in. They were both nice and close to me.
It was a very weird, odd feeling. I tried not to focus on what was happening. I could feel movements and pulls but no pain.
Then, suddenly, the doctors lowered the drapes, and Dr Nat said, "here is your baby!" and bought Harrison up to my face. I got to hold him for a minute and talk to him. He almost did a wee on my face!
Chris went over to the crib with him and Uly. Soon after, Uly came over to me and told me I was terrific, and I'd done so well. She also said she was now going home and had a few days leave so she wouldn't see me again. She stayed well beyond her shift to help me see it through. She was amazing.
Harrison was born at 21:21 on 21/8/21. He weighed 9 pounds 7 oz.
It felt like a long time being stitched up. Just laying there knowing people were sewing me back together. Dr Sarah came into the theatre too. Dr Jessie told me that if I had birthed him vaginally, I would have torn all the way and that this recovery is much easier and shorter than what that would have been.
Once all stitched up, I was wheeled into recovery and saw the new dads with their baby 🥰
We attempted a feed, but he was so drowsy. The boys soon went up to the room to give him my colostrum I had expressed over a few days. I stayed there for a while as my anaesthesia was wearing off. The nurse there was lovely too.
Back up to the room, and I was so so hungry! I ate some sandwiches as it was 11.30 at night. We tried another feed. He latched and was there for a little bit, but again he was tired. They had to keep an eye on his blood sugars.
Shane stayed for a little while but then headed home for a good night's sleep and be with our boys. Before he left, Chris and Thane gave me a card and a beautiful diamond ring. The card explained the nine diamonds. One represented each one of our family members and the connection and bond we now share for life. It was beautiful and such a lovely moment.
The boys spent some time with me, and then we all decided it was time to sleep. I definitely had that high wave ride. But also felt like a failure for the way it all played out. My end goal was achieved, though! I grew and birthed a healthy baby for our best friends. Something I will never forget, ever.