Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What to Expect on a Hospital Walk Though… When You Are Un-pregnant

I was very fidgety that day.  “Well, this is awkward” I thought to myself as we waited in the lobby along with two other very pregnant couples.  I found myself time warping back to that first day of grade school. When I was a scrawny kid with stringy hair and always a day late and a dollar short on the latest fashion. Don’t get me wrong, I had nice clothes but for some reason we would take a “family” trip right before Labor Day weekend and fore go back to school clothes shopping until later in the school year.  I also had a sweet “Dorothy Hamill” home-cut at one point.  Yep, I didn’t even get the pleasure of a Rudy and Kelly special.
It was one of those 80’s hairstyles that shall remain forever locked in the past never to resurface again. OK, so I know I got off track here, but the point is I was a bit of a sloppy mess. It was like the first day of school and I was the kid that  stood out. I was not like the others.

We were different. 

We stood out from the crowd.  I am pretty sure the other couples were wondering why we were even in the hospital walk through tour to begin with.  More so where was my belly bump? I did not have a bump like the other women in the group. For Chris, he would be the newly nervous expectant dad, the coach on the side lines if you will. For me, I stood there walking the halls watching the expectant mothers rub their growing bellies with a bit of unwarranted envy.  The real shocker took place when the nurse who was conducting the tour asked each couple when their due date was. The Q&A finally panned to us after stating our due date which was around the same time as others, we watched their eyes scroll from my face to my stomach and back to my face again. After a long pause we then explained our unique surrogacy birthing situation.  It was then that everyone on the tour had an 'AH HA!' the light bulb has turned on kind of moment. 

That is when we realized our nurse-guide was incredible. For every step of the tour she would in great detail, talk through two separate situations.  How a birth would go for other couples and then what Chris and I should expect with our surrogacy birth. As you can imagine we had a lot of questions. This is what we learned:

Well it’s not as dramatic as in Indiana Jones but there are only 4 bracelets. 2 for baby, 1 for the person giving birth and 1 for a guest.  Although Chris and I could have played paper-rock-scissors (which I always beat him in by the way), it was understood that the last ticket would go to me.  These tickets are like the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory golden tickets into the nursery.  No ticket means no getting to see the baby.  So, where does that leave Chris?  In the hallway looking at his shoes?  Well, we don’t have all of the answers for this yet but we are hoping that when delivery day comes, we will be able to get everything squared away with the maternity ward to make sure that Chris has access to the nursery.  We will let everyone know how that goes …

 Natural versus Cesarean
Speaking of a limited access situation, what about natural birth vs cesarean?  It turns out that with natural birth the limitations on number of people allowed in the room are much more relaxed relative to a cesarean situation.  Now that is not to say that you can have an entire roller derby team in there in full roller derby regalia, but both Chris and I would be able to be in the room when our Jelly Bean takes her first breath.  Not the case if our surro needs a cesarean.  In that case she gets (1), not (2), not (1.5), not (1.1) people, NO she gets (1) person.  She wants that (1) person to be her husband.  Can you blame her?  Chris and I are totally supportive of this.  It’s a big deal to get a cesarean and she wants her husband by her side to help her through it, wouldn’t you?  We are trying to work our mojo to see if we can sneak into where the baby will go right after being extracted from our surro but that is TBD.  Stay tuned.

Name Changer
Have you had that conversation yet … what your baby’s name is going to be?  Chris and I have.  You know what, we haven’t been able to narrow it down to one.  We are down to 2 and that is going to be what we walk in the hospital with.  One thing that we didn’t need to work to decide is what our Jelly Bean’s last name is going to be … she will be born with our surro’s last name.  WHAT?!  It won’t be your last name?!  Nope.  In Virginia, the baby will be born with our surro’s last name and we have to file some paperwork to have the name changed.  Crazy right!  Turns out that it will take a few months, up to 6 actually, to get her birth certificate changed to our name.  I’m guessing that during that 6 months we may have other things to occupy our time, but still, crazy.

 Paperwork to Release Care to Intended Parents
Yep.  Although it is spelled out explicitly in our contract that once the child is born the custody will be transferred to us, we still need our surro to sign some paperwork indicating her compliance with us having custodial responsibility for our Jelly Bean.  Although we do not anticipate any issues here, it is yet another hoop both us and our surro have to jump through.  No worries, we have jumped through so many hoops at this point we get calls daily from Ringling Brothers asking us to join their act.  Sorry folks, the only circus we are going to participate in will be the one going on between our room, our nursery, and our living room.  That’s enough for us.

Paternity Test
“That ain’t my baby!” Jerry Springer anyone?  Turns out that yet another hoop to jump through is a paternity test.  We gotta make sure that our baby is our baby, or at least Chris’s baby.  Makes sense right.  We need to make sure that our surro didn’t happen to get pregnant at the exact time that we did our blastocyst transfer.  Chris has told me that he has good information that this is simply not possible.  

Surrogacy births are not a common occurrence; as a matter of fact only 2 others have happened at our particular hospital and my surrogate’s previous gestational birth was one of them.  Just as we had questions, so did our nurse-guide. She took this as an opportunity to learn more. She also took a substantial amount of time to answer all of our questions, and trust me we had a lot.  I am unsure how Jellybean’s hospital birth will be since I am not giving birth physically. It will not take away the sting that I cannot experience birth. I am sure some of you reading this are probably thinking “Is she nuts?” Labor is painful, it is messy and it is awful! This is the constant struggle with life; we all want what we cannot have. The grass is greener mentality.  Instead of being the quarterback making the touchdown I have trusted someone else with our precious ball. I will stand hand in hand with Chris on the sidelines as the co-coach, as equals.  I know it will not be typical in the business of birthing, I know it will be different. I know it will be part of our very unique journey to parenthood and I cannot wait.

HEY YOU! Yes you!

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  1. Wow! So many things to think about. I really hope Chris gets access to the nursery without any problems. What a hassle for all the paperwork involved, but it will be well worth it.

    1. Lisa it is A LOT to think about. Adoption had a mountain of paperwork involved so I guess we are a little less paper shocked? Regardless just a little bit more red tape but totally worth the hassle if it means the ending is rainbows, unicorns and our little mini.

  2. You are doing a phenomenal job of educating as you go and including everyone in your journey. I had no idea there was that much paperwork involved... hind of a hassle but I can understand. What a joy it will be when you can finally hold your baby.

    1. Thank you Leighannn. Our thought is we had no idea about this stuff. Yeah the interwebs is a open sea of info but some of us this information is no where. We have been lost in the dark and have had to feel our way around things. So why not share what we learn???

  3. Wow! So much to think about. You guys are such an interesting "fast forward button" on our situation. Love following your story!

    1. Kate keep reading then because soon things will really get real for you! Hopefully we will be able to share more that we have learned.