Trigger warning for anyone who can’t handle the word breast or boob…
We had a baby! I recently birthed a little boy for his two dads, here in southern Tasmania.
At the end of February we went to the Hobart Private Hospital and my little passenger disembarked his womb ride via the sunroof. Or, a la caesar, if you prefer a procedure with a little more pizazz ( definitely been watching too much Drag Race with these gays ? ).
Anyhoo, the day we welcomed surrobub was AMAZING! Both dads were able to be with me every step of the way, and for once I had a birth experience where everything went to plan! Woo! My Legend of a husband manned the fort at home, happy in the knowledge that my aforementioned passenger did not have a return ticket. It was no mean feat for him – wrangling our children and keeping them on a normal tack towards the end of this wild surrogacy ride. Seeing my husband hold the baby a few hours after birth made me so happy. WE did this!
We live about 45 minutes drive away from The Dans (the dads). I spent a week staying with them prior to birth, to isolate away from my own kids’ daycare/school germs. I got spoiled with yummy food and lazy time to myself, and it was so nice spending that period with them pre birth.
In hospital we had rooms next to each other and benefited from a recent change in Healthscope’s surrogacy policy, whereby surrobub was able to room in with his dads, and not with me. (Did I use whereby correctly?! Baby brain is real…)
I did some direct feeding on the breast immediately post birth, and then about once a day whilst in hospital. But not much more after that, because my word does it Hurt Like Hell (this is my personal experience anyway ). Direct feeding was helpful for retracting my uterus and to help bring my milk in. But I actually really enjoyed it too. It felt really normal to feed this baby, and I’m really stoked I got the chance. It had nothing to do with wanting to “bond” with him or anything like that. Perhaps it’s just nice to do a normal birth related job in what is quite an unusual birth setting.
Direct feeding brought back so many memories of having my own children. Like surrobub did big farts and sharts whilst on the boob, just like my kids . And he was really sleepy, and tedious to feed, also like my kids. He made all those cute and bizarre noises that only a newborn makes. I loved being transported back to so many good, and not so good, memories of having my boys. I got real joy out of that. And also relief! Such relief that I wasn’t about to embark on parenthood again myself.
Watching Dan & Dan with their Tiny Dan (this was bub’s nickname in utero) was just the best! And so emotionally fulfilling. Actually, maybe getting more sleep than them was the best. I reeeeally enjoyed that bit .
I went to stay with The Dans after hospital, and my family came down for a night to meet the baby. My eldest son got a snuggle, and my youngest couldn’t have cared less (good outcome!). After a few days it was time for me to head home and find my new groove. That has certainly been a challenge. Trying to find my place in the new norm, amongst all the 4th trimester hormones, covid, kids etc.
Dan & Dan have an open door policy, so I can come and go as I need, as can my husband and kids. And I did go back to spend another night with them, and will again. I think this open door has been really great for my mental health.
As you all know, surrogate’s spend 9 months, plus all the previous planning months, focussing on creating this other family. Despite the previously mentioned joy, I still find myself mourning the end of an era. I initially had a bit of separation anxiety from this new, hot off the press, family – as much from the parents as from surrobub. I think that resolved fairly quickly with the easing of acute post birth hormones, and also because I knew I was able to see them as needed.
Sadly my family has all come down with covid, so I haven’t seen as much of surrobub as I would have liked. But I’ve actually been ok with that, as I really got my fill during the week post birth. I got lots of cuddles, and some alone time to just hang out. One morning I minded bub while his dads got some jobs done. We were just two wombmates living the good life – I got my milky coffee brought to me in bed, he got his milky bottle pumped straight from this surro-cow. And then we both napped side by side without a care in the world*.
*baby was in a fancy infant bed thing, because he has ALL the stuff. Did you know you can get a formula dispenser these days that’s basically a milkspresso machine for babies? Say what now?! Kettles are just so 2018 I guess…
Now it’s back to reality, and we still haven’t got our centrelink payments (a common issue with surrogacy families), and we have to get the parentage order sorted at some point. And now that I think about it, I haven’t received the decorative birth certificate I ordered weeks ago. This will just be a momento for my family, although sadly it’s quite a hideous design. Not sure what that’s about Service Tasmania? But it will always remind us of this epic journey to create a human. And of the fact that for almost 9 months we had another little human riding aboard the D’Arcy family wagon.