the day she was born.
A year ago today, the day she was born:
After waiting six years, nine months it was surreal to go to the hospital early one Monday morning so our gestational carrier (Meaghan) could deliver our baby girl. But that’s what we did on the morning of June 27, 2016. With baby clothes and car seat in hand, we drove to the hospital at 6 a.m. One of my good friends works at the hospital where we went, and she turned into the parking garage at the same time as we did. She offered to take a photo of us on our way in; she was so happy and excited for us. We were mostly nervous.
After checking in, we got settled into our room, all four of us: myself, Edder, Meaghan and her husband Jeremy. We were all prepared to hunker down for the entire day and didn’t anticipate a baby to arrive until late evening. While the nurses prepped our GC for her day of labor, we filled them in on our story. It turned out one of the nurses also dealt with infertility. For seven years. Coincidence? I think not. The support and love we received from the labor and delivery nurses, toward ALL of us that day, exceeded any and every expectation I could have imagined.
One of my biggest fears through the entire process of using a gestational carrier was that my husband and I wouldn’t be treated like the “real” parents of our baby girl while in the hospital. Nothing could have been further from the truth. We were blown away by the kindness, understanding, and support we had from everyone taking care of us.
For a good portion of the day, we all just hung out, sitting around talking like the four of us usually do. Only this time we had the contraction and heartbeat monitors going on as background noise. Since our gestational carrier is wonder woman it was funny to see that she was contracting every three minutes, dilated to a 5 and she was all “Nope, don’t feel the contractions, just a little tight when they start.” Perhaps one of the reasons why my friend is such a champ at being pregnant and giving birth, she is a beast when it comes to growing and delivering babies.
Around lunchtime, Meaghan’s contractions started to get a bit more intense and she, along with her husband, elected for an epidural. I want to mention here that as intended parents Edder and I left any and all labor and delivery decisions up to our GC. It IS her body after all! Plus, she knows what she’s doing and knows what is best for her. And, of course, she’s done it twice before.
Edder and I left the room for quite awhile while the doctors were giving Meaghan her epidural. When we were finally able to return that’s when everything became a roaring blur of activity. From the time of Meaghan’s epidural to the time of our daughter’s birth, it was a span of two hours total. The quickest two hours of our lives.
Those two hours were spent intently listening to the nurses and residents while doing anything and everything we could to make sure our GC was comfortable. Unfortunately, the epidural wasn’t kicking in as we had hoped. I can not describe to you the helpless feelings that washed over Edder and I as we stood there watching our best friend labor in pain to have a baby for us. I wanted so badly to take the epidural medicine and jack it up to an 11 to ensure my friend was in no pain. I was so incredibly worried for my best friend and surrogate, all while being in total awe of her.
My favorite story to share about the delivery is this one: The nurse decided to check Meaghan for progress, at this moment I decided it would be a good time to hop into the bathroom for a minute before things got crazy. As I walked into the bathroom, I overheard the nurse say “She’s dilated between six and seven.” Please note, I was in the restroom all of two minutes.
I walked out of the bathroom to Meaghan saying she really needed to push. What? And then I heard the resident saying “we’ve called Dr. Lopez in.” The nurses were bustling around doing what L&D nurses do. To say I was a little confused is an understatement. I had been in the restroom two minutes. In those two minutes, Meagan went from being dilated to around a six or seven while laboring on her side; to being prepped to push my baby girl out.
Tears were streaming down both my face and Edder’s. I don’t know that we have ever shed so many tears as we did that day. Happy, grateful, overwhelmed tears. And tears of fear because we had never witnessed a birth and holy goodness it was intense. Thankfully Meaghan’s husband, Jeremy, took control of everything. He told us where to go and what to do. Edder and I both stood behind Meaghan’s head while the nurses rapidly prepared her for birth. Our Dr. came in, Meaghan started pushing, and after about five minutes I saw my daughter’s head from behind Meaghan’s shoulders. The tears started falling harder as Edder and I hugged. I remember us vaguely saying “this is what we’ve been waiting and fighting for so long.”
Seconds later we heard the best sound we’d ever heard in our lives, our baby girl screaming her healthy head off. We had a beautifully healthy, pink baby! With lungs to prove it! Next thing I know Jeremy is shoving me down past where he was standing so I could cut my daughter’s cord. I think a nurse put some scissors into my hand and told me where to cut. I was crying and shaking so hard I didn’t realize what I was doing and tried to cut the cord too high. A nurse guided my hand to cut in the right spot. Meaghan said later on, that brought some levity to the birth, seeing me shaking so hard I could barely cut the cord. And with that our baby girl was whisked off to be checked, toweled off and diapered.
Jeremy was a life saver through the whole birth and process. He took control of the situation, and we were so grateful for that. He told everyone in the room the baby went straight to me; he made sure it happened too. When the nurses told me it was time for me to hold my baby girl I had such a hard time leaving my friend’s side. I stood there crying asking the doctor and nurses, and my friend herself, if she was okay. Over and over. I didn’t want to leave her side. That was something I didn’t expect from the day at all. Once I finally felt confident I could leave my friend’s side, and after lots of coaxing and assurance from the nurses, I went to get my baby.
MY BABY! My tiny little girl, I’d waited so long to have. It was overwhelming. One nurse helped me strip down so I could hold my baby next to my skin, another nurse got my girl ready for me. Then while I was sobbing incredibly hard the nurse handed me my baby. I immediately took her to show my husband, and we marveled at her. All while crying our eyes out. Then I walked over to Meaghan and said: “look what you made, look what we did, thank you thank you thank you, she’s perfect.” The nurses had me sit in a rocker where I just kept crying uncontrollably. I was crying so hard I asked a nurse if I was hurting my newborn. She assured me I wasn’t hurting her one bit. So I sat back, soaked in my baby girl and cried.
The Day She Was Born
It was as if seven years of pain, heartache, worry, loss, struggle and fighting washed away in that 30 minutes of non-stop tears. When things finally settled down I crawled into bed next to my sweet babe’s surro mama. I laid back while Meaghan held the amazing gift she grew and delivered for us, and I felt complete relief. It was such a sense of relief that I had just to sit there awhile and enjoy it. I kept saying “it seems like I just cried away seven years of infertility.”
So just like that, I was a mama, and my husband was a papa.
Norah Elise Robinson was born at 2:05p on June 27, 2016. She weighed in at an incredibly healthy 8 lbs, 4 oz and was 19.5 inches long. We spent the next 24 hours starting at our little miracle, showing her off to family and good friends and hanging out with her surro family. It was beautiful and exhausting and perfect.