All photos by Jen Conway Photography
My last week of work ended on 11/17. I had a membrane sweep that morning while I was working in the office and again in the afternoon just for good measure [doula note: Maureen is a CNM at a busy midwifery practice]. I was 3 cm in the morning and 4 cm in the afternoon and contracting more uncomfortably than normal. We went out to dinner that night to celebrate my birthday and the mild contractions kept on. I wrapped up a few more things for work that night before bed and had a great night’s sleep.
11/18 – The events of this day will be best explained in a time line. This was the day before my due date and was my birthday (the day I had been saying all along that I wanted to deliver).
0600 – Wake up for the day. The kids are still sleeping so I relaxed my sore pelvis in a bath. Blake woke up shortly after and hung out with me while I soaked. I told her I was hoping to have Oliver that day (we planned to do some at home induction techniques that day) – I even shaved my legs just in case!
0645 – Contractions are more painful, starting to think I might be in labor
0715 – Get the girls out to the carpool for school
0717 – Feeling scared, crying a little – text my incredible life changing doula Julie for advice on how to get my head ready – tell my husband to plan on working a half day and maybe after lunch we’ll be ready to head in
0718 – Text to the intended parents to let them know that I think I’m in labor
0725 – Text to the parents to let them know to head this way and just hang around town until things get real (they live 2.5 hours away)
0727 – Text to the doula to maybe start heading to me even though I’m still not sure – text the midwife Miranda to let her know I’m pretty sure it’s labor
0746 – Text to the doula to meet me at the old birth center instead (across from the hospital) so that I can labor there for a while and be closer for when it’s time – Confirmed the birth photographer Jen is coming too!
0804 – Text to the doula to meet me at the hospital instead because things are really intense
0814 – Leaving my house – called the intended parents on the way to let them know things were really intense all of a sudden – I get the reassurance that I needed from them that they won’t be upset if they don’t make it – their reassurance made me cry – the midwife (who’s not actually on call today) let’s me know she can come in for me!!!
0827 – Text the awesome nurse Caitlin that I requested to take care of me my birth preferences
0843 – Text asking the doula to meet me in the parking lot with a wheelchair and praying I make it there
The car ride was so intense! I had the cold air blasting and the windows were completely fogged from my breath – the “oh shit” handle did it’s job and I begged my husband to drive faster. He did a great job staying calm and reassuring me the whole way
0850 – we got to the hospital and I was wheeled up to a delivery room – I told my husband if I was only 6 or 7 that I was getting an epidural.
0900 – The amazing midwife and awesome nurse were in the room waiting for me, tub filled. I asked for an exam and was 9 cm!! I got right into the tub and I broke my own water in hopes that things would progress quickly. I labored there for what felt like hours but was apparently only 20-25 mins. I tried to bear down and the pain was so intense I knew I wasn’t ready yet. I asked for help getting to the bathroom so I could labor there
0935 – I climbed onto the bed and quickly started involuntarily pushing – it was so intense I didn’t know who was there or what was happening. I don’t think I ever opened my eyes after arriving. At one point (while I was crowning I’m told) – I asked the midwife to push him back in!! The prolonged crowning was too much. His shoulders didn’t come out right away and I was (I think) a terrible pusher because it hurt so bad – the midwife flipped me over onto my hands and knees and Oliver was born at 9:40 am.
0943 – We facetime the intended parents and they meet their baby for the first time – they’re still an hour away
- At one point I said “I’m going to die” and when a room full of birth workers and my supportive husband reassured me that I wasn’t I said “well I want to die”.
- When my husband was helping me walk from the bathroom his arm was in front of me as I was bent over contracting – I threatened to bite him and bit my own shoulder instead.
- There were lots of F bombs and “I can’t do this” but I made it.
- 3 hours from “maybe I’m in labor” to birth. 2 hours of sure labor and 5 minutes of pushing 9 lb 3 oz baby Oliver was born.
The parents made it an hour later and I got to hand Oliver over to his mom for the first time with her husband and Oliver’s big sister all together. This moment makes it all worthwhile.
It was an amazing journey and I’m so grateful that I was able to bless another family in this way. The pregnancy was really hard (thanks to a 6 cm hiatal hernia causing pain and vomiting), the recovery was my worst yet and I can finally say that this baby factory is closed for good. I got the birth I wanted (aside from the parents not making it in time) and am excited to claim my body as my own again. I was able to provide 5 weeks of breast milk for Oliver and am back to focusing on myself and my family.
Thanks for sticking with me! While I still have hiatal hernia surgery to look forward to in the coming months (this pregnancy broke me) I know that 2023 will be a great year for my family. My girls keep saying “never again, right mommy?” My family knows first hand the toll this pregnancy and recovery took on our family and I am grateful every day for their patience and understanding.
This birth was Maureen’s second surrogacy. You can read her previous birth story here. This story was originally published at Maureen’s blog, Infertile Blessings.