You might wonder what it’s like for a surrogate mother to share a hospital room with her intended parents and her surrogate baby once the birth is over. Is it awkward? Crowded? Natural? Uncomfortable? Well, based on my experience I can sum it up for you in one word – magical. But sharing a room is only one of many options.
I’ve had seven different surrogate birth experiences and each of them has been very unique from the others:
In my first surrogacy, I had twins. The parents did not stay at the hospital and the babies stayed in the nursery.
In my second surrogacy, I had twins and the parents, the two babies and I all shared one (very crowded, but joyous) room.
In my third surrogacy, the parents and the baby all stayed in my room.
In my fourth surrogacy, we had a homebirth at the parents’ house. I gave birth in their loft guest bedroom, and stayed there for a few days after the birth. The baby slept downstairs with her parents, though they brought her to me to nurse and we spent much of our time during the day together.
In my fifth surrogacy, we had a stillborn baby in the hospital (she was sick and we all knew she would pass) and we spent all of our time after the birth in the room together.
In my sixth surrogacy, the baby stayed in the room with me the whole time, though the parents didn’t stay at the hospital.
In my seventh surrogacy, the parents and the baby had their own room across the hall from mine.
So just as you might say about surrogacy itself, no two of my post-birth arrangements were alike – each was a very unique experience and seemed just perfect at the time. Though truth be told, I wanted to share a room with my surrogate baby and intended parents every time, even though it didn’t work out that way.
Although I never had any desire in the least to keep or even significantly bond with any of the surrogate children I carried, I was eager to hold and get to know them “on the outside” and sharing a room easily facilitated that.
But as eager as I was to spend time with the newborn I’d just given birth to, I was even more eager to watch the couple I had just carried a baby for grow into a family during those first few days. This is really the most satisfying part - after having such an intimate relationship with the baby for the past nine months, feeling every kick, hiccup and roll, watching my intended parents discover their baby for the first day or so is incredibly satisfying and it feels like such a natural transition after the birth.
Is it restful for me? No, not in the least. The hospital rooms are usually small, the nurses are cycling in and out both day and night checking on me and the baby, and there’s a lot of commotion. It’s anything but restful, honestly.
But the truth is, I’m going home in a day or so to a quiet house – I will not have the needs of a newborn consuming me day and night. I can sleep as much as I’d like for the next several days, so losing sleep for the first couple of days is really a small concession, one I’m more than happy to make, and one that comes with great emotional rewards.
In fact I don’t really view it as a concession anyway, I see it as a gift and I’ve always been honored that my intended parents wanted to share this time with me. I can’t imagine a higher compliment, that they’re willing to share this fleeting and intimate time with me is incredibly special.
I don’t know if sharing a room during the hospital stay is common not – I’ve heard of several different arrangements (and obviously I’ve had several different arrangements myself). For me, sharing a room is a lovely conclusion to the surrogacy experience, and one you might explore with your surrogate mother if it’s something you’re open to.
In my next blog post I’ll share what it was like not to share a room with my intended parents and the reasons that we didn’t. But I’ll give you a hint – it was also a pretty nice experience!