Today's post is done anonymously for now. This doula/mama/surrogate may share her information at a later date, but she is currently working with a family that has requested she maintain a low profile...so let's call her Z. I was aware of Z from an online doula board we have been a part of for years. I asked her thoughts about her decisions and feelings as she extended past doula work to surrogacy, and I am happy she has this to share with us.
I have been a doula loving my work with families for over 10 years. It was accidentally that I even became familiar with what doulas are. In college I took a womens’ studies class in college and this lady came to talk to us about birth as a tool of the feminist movement. She listed many of her credentials but didn’t talk much about them (I had them on her handout). A couple years later when I graduated and was sorting through old papers and books I came across her handout. I wondered what (CD)DONA meant and that began my search. I was hooked! The idea that someone could kind of walk you through the birth process was amazing to me. Little did I know that two years later I would find myself pregnant with my first baby and you can guess the first thing I did (behind telling my husband I was pregnant)! Find a doula.
Six years and 2 kids later I was finally a certified doula and I loved it! In my community there was one small hospital. Things are slower paced and we don’t have that many terrible birth interventions. The doctors are friendly and there isn’t much trouble working in the hospital. After I had been doulaing for a couple years I heard from a college roommate that she was having trouble getting pregnant. She and her husband were trying in vitro and after that they were going to look into adoption or surrogacy. About a year later after failed IVF she shared they had a surrogate they were working with.
Now I was curious. Again. I looked up surrogacy agencies in the bigger cities around me. I read stories. I learned about traditional and gestational surrogates. My husband had a vasectomy and we were done with our family. I thought how incredible it would be to help a family start even though mine was finished. I contacted an agency and it wasn’t long after that I had a couple interested in me as a surrogate.
One thing I wasn’t prepared for was how long things can take. It was a number of months before I finally found myself pregnant and things were looking good (I did have a miscarriage the first time around). The parents lived about 5 hours away and we would email frequently. “Dena” (the mom, not her real name) tried to take the train down to my appointments, and sometimes “Steve” came with her. We all seemed to get along pretty good. I created my plan for birth on my end while also trying to include Dena and Steve’s wishes. Also I hired a doula (or course!). It happened to be my friend who is a L&D nurse.
The day of the birth was perfect. It was the Tuesday before my due date at around 4 pm and I had an appointment. Dena had arranged to be there. The doctor checked my cervix and then he looked at me. Then he looked at Dena. Then he looked back at me. “You’re 4 centimeters dilated. You need to go to OB.” I didn’t believe him. This is the same doctor I had for my daughters and I knew him from doula births. He is kind of like Patch Adams the way he jokes. “I am serious. I am calling over there to tell them you are coming.” I had been feeling kind of off, my stomach was giving me some trouble and I was having some bowel issues but I thought I had eaten too many apricots or something.
Steve was just leaving work when Dena told him and he grabbed their bags and drove like a maniac to make it. My husband also came to the hospital, and Christina our doula. Labor went fast and we all laughed a lot. I don’t know why but everything was funny (and laughing helps you cervix dilate).
At 11:34 pm a sweet baby girl was born. Her mom and dad were in the room and Dena actually helped catch her. When I saw how Dena and Steve looked when they saw their baby girl I felt I had just done the most amazing thing in the world! I helped them become parents! It was incredible and besides having my own two girls it feels like the most miraculous thing I have ever been a part of.
I love being a doula and being a woman. Surrogacy for me was a way to extend that to feel good about doing something so amazing for a couple who couldn’t do it alone.
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♥ four young boys and a boy dog (offspring)