BB Surrogate Elisha Shares Her Surrogacy Birth Story
Every birth story is different, even without the additional aspects of surrogacy, and a momentous occasion. Here, Elisha, a surrogate with Brilliant Beginnings, has written an account of her experience of giving birth as a surrogate, offering a first-hand look at how those final hours go before the intended parents get to meet their child.
Elisha’s Birth Story
Around 5am I woke for a wee, I had got back into bed to settle back down before the school run at which point, I heard a pop sound then I felt this warm sensation between my legs. Lacey, my Daughter was fast asleep in my bed but darted to the bathroom to get me a towel. This was it; my waters had gone.
Into the lounge I go with this towel between my legs, Lacey fetches me some fresh pants, huge pad and some new PJ trousers. Little do I know whilst doing this she uses her watch [as previously instructed] to call the intended parents and my friend to say that my waters have gone. At the kitchen table, I called labour line to inform them and see what my next steps are. She said they wouldn’t intervene within the next 24 hours, for me to keep out for signs of labour but carry on like normal. I’m excited I can attend my hair appointment….
Lacey comes in and says the intended parents are on their way and that Donna, my birthing partner is getting ready to leave. [My thoughts: It’s 5:30 am… I have 24 hours yet…omg, I have my hair appointment at 12:00pm!]. Lacey had my hospital bag by the door and started getting herself some breakfast. I go to the bathroom to clean my teeth, I’m expecting guests!
The intended parents arrive, I see one running towards the door and the other, casually strolling across the road from the car. This is a representation of exactly how they have both been throughout this journey so far. After making me a cup of tea they ask me how I am and noticed that I am not quick to respond [I warned them I was like this when I had Lacey, I think it’s when my body is ‘busy’ that my voice just stops working!] So they call labour line and just say that Elisha has lost her ability to speak momentarily and that I have this dull ache. They invite us in. All systems go.
I waited for a friend to arrive to support Lacey, getting her ready for school etc. When they arrived they made sure I had everything and we were out the door.
Headed to hospital around 6:30/7:00am. I’d text my manager saying ‘Waters broke 5am on my way to hospital now. Sorry can’t work today lol” – why am I like this?!
We arrived at the hospital, they had the room ready. We went into a low risk suite and got straight onto the bed for an assessment. Both intended parents and Donna were in the room. All wearing masks and had previous or on the day lateral flow tests confirming they were negative for Covid-19. They confirmed I was in established labour after a few hours decided it was my time for a Covid test. Well, guess what happened there, I was sick! I did look at the midwife in that moment with pure disgust and an eye roll, it was never going to end well.
Both intended parents throughout labour were mostly on the left hand side of the bed and Donna on the right. The intended parents took turns rubbing my lower back, fanning me [until we were given a plug in fan] and holding my carton of apple juice as I sipped. I’ve never felt so dehydrated in my life, all I could do was drink. Midwife at some point was concerned as I must have drunk around 1 litre but no output.
Due to her concerns and the discomfort of my bladder during labour, they insisted I went to the toilet but I couldn’t bring myself to get up off the bed at that point. I wasn’t willing to deliver the baby in that tiny cubicle. So they insisted on a catheter to manually empty it, this was not remotely comfortable, 1/10 trip advisor, I do not recommend. This was unsuccessful after many attempts unfortunately. However, when the baby’s head was delivered… yeh, you guessed it. Absolute relief. I had not spoken throughout labour, every question asked to me, I would squeeze Donna’s hand and she answered. During one attempt where they were checking my cervix and bladder, whatever they were doing in this moment, they were wrist deep and I was HURTING. I grumbled out, “WT* are you doing now?!”
Rewinding, prior to the head being delivered. The midwives were commenting throughout say that my cervix had a lip just over the baby’s head, they tried getting me into different positions to shift it but it wasn’t happening. Midwife asks if I had any snacks with me, that I need some sugar. I get offered a chocolate hobnob, I’ll never refuse a hobnob. However, worst idea ever. I was so dehydrated even with drinking regularly, this biscuit hit my lips, I took a bite and just spat it out everywhere. It was like licking sand in the Sahara. I just flapped my hand and was passed my apple juice – heaven in a carton I’m telling you. But after a couple of paracetamols later, some more sugar and it eventually came away. I was thinking in my head, my body can’t do this, the babies too big, I can’t get him out, I’m going to end up in theatre.
At 13:13 his head delivered, I was relieved and the midwives were both preparing for the delivery of the baby. Intended parents to my left and Donna on my right, I’m holding their hands, I’m squeezing them tight and with every contraction I had, I would shut my eyes and draw their hands closer to my chest. Midwives telling me to push, try for a big one, do 2 pushes, big pushes. I wanted to, but I just was listening to my body. Then Donna says “Go Leesh, a big one. Well done. Another. Go again. COME ON. GO AGAIN. PUSH ELISHA. GO. PUSH!” In my head I’m thinking, AHHHHHHH She’s shouting at me! So I give it everything I’ve got, deep breath and push so hard again and bam, baby’s here. Phew.
Baby goes straight into the arms of the intended parents, they have skin to skin and announce his name, I was officially the first to know. Lots of tears in the room and pure happiness. A very healthy and happy baby weighing 8lb 9oz. They got to feel that last pulses of the cord and cut it. They saw the placenta – kinda gross but fascinating at the same time.
The hospital had a private room prepared for the parents to take the baby to, the midwives let the parents know that this was ready at which point they asked me what I wanted them to do. I felt selfish for saying it, but I could see they were genuinely happy either way, so I asked that they stayed, this I didn’t realise was important to me until that moment. But it was perfect, they stayed and I watched and captured their first few hours whilst I was recovering and being checked over. It was just absolutely perfect.
We were discharged around 8 pm due to staff change over and paperwork. All was okay, no concerns for either myself or the baby. The parents drove me back to mine as Donna needed to get her stuff so she could stay the night with me.
When we got back to mine, I practically ran inside to see Lacey and I held her so tight, I was SO grateful to be home with her, as I pulled away from Lacey, behind me was the parents with their newborn.
One of the parents placed baby in Lacey’s arms and wrapped their arm around her and said “Thank you, thank you thank you thank you…” and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
Brilliant Beginnings supported the discussions with the birth plan and involving my local hospital to ensure that on the day it should run smoothly and stress free. With their help our experience could not have been more perfect. We were all made to feel welcome at the hospital. There was no stress, the parents remained close to me throughout and they were very well supported in their first few hours with baby.