It was 3:09am on February 7th when my phone rang. This, in and of itself, was strange as my phone is always on silent. But, for some reason, earlier that night I decided that I needed to change my phone settings to make sure the phone rang just in case our surrogate called. It was a week before our scheduled C-section and our doctor gave us no reason to think we would be welcoming our baby any earlier than the previously scheduled date.
"I think my water broke. No wait, it definitely broke," our surrogate tells me.
"Your water broke?" I replied helpfully. "Should we head to the hospital?"
"Um, yeah. Get in the car and drive. I'll meet you at the hospital."
As soon as he heard "water broke," Miguel launched out of bed. We are showered and ready to go in less than 10 minutes. After dropping our dog off at my mom's house in the dead of night, we embarked on the three hour drive to our surrogate's local hospital. The adrenaline was pumping and I remember listening to Kelly Clarkson the entire way there. It felt fake. I hadn't even packed up my office yet, the nursery wasn't totally ready, and we hadn't baked cookies for the nurses yet, but our baby wasn't waiting any longer.
We arrived at the hospital just before 7:00am, took the elevator to the third floor and rushed to find our surrogate in the maternity ward. She had already been admitted and was surrounded by nurses checking her blood pressure, baby's heart rate and completing other diagnostic tests to ensure neither was in any distress. We were then visited by the on-call doctor who let us know that our baby would be born today, likely within the hour. My heart raced as I entered into a phase that my husband would describe as "being annoying." I was giddy, terrified, and excited at the same time. When the nurses brought in our scrubs, I did a fashion show (though I think I was the only one paying attention to my sweet catwalk moves).
At 9:30am, we met with the surgical team who would take us through the birthing plan and surgery. The anesthesiologist was determining the pain management plan with our surrogate while we listened intently. Everything was set and it was go time.
We entered the operating room once our surrogate had been prepped. We were relegated to a corner to the left of her head featuring two metal stools. Not exactly front row seats, but we were just thankful to be in the room to witness the birth of our child.
It turned out that I couldn't take a video as it is a surgical procedure (I tried anyway until I got in trouble), but I took as many photos as possible. We talked to our surrogate the whole time to make sure she was comfortable while also sneaking peeks of the surgery over the sheet (thank God for my giraffe-like neck).
It happened fast. Within 20 minutes, the surgical team were making the incision into the uterus and prying it open large enough to get baby out. Everything appeared to go into slow motion as the doctor put his hands into the uterus and lifted our child out into the world. I can't even describe the emotions that were swirling through my head. While I know it's not medically possible, I felt like my heart stopped beating for at least a minute while I watched in disbelief. I listened for the crying. After what felt like hours (it was likely closer to 10 seconds) we heard our baby scream and I couldn't have been happier. The tears started to flow as the doctor brought our child around the sheet for us to get a closer look. I went into full-on tourist mode taking as many photos as possible while also trying to "be in the moment." He was perfect.
They brought him over to our little corner where Miguel did skin-to-skin right away. We smiled through our tears as we stared at this beautiful child. Our child. We were in love.
We stayed in the O.R. with our baby while they began stitching up our surrogate. We were overcome with feelings of gratitude. To the doctors, nurses, our surrogate - I probably thanked just about everyone I saw for the next hour.
We returned to the birthing room when I took over skin-to-skin duties. I am holding him. I am laughing and crying simultaneously. It is surreal. I am staring at him. Blonde hair, long legs and severely inflamed testicles (which we were assured was TOTALLY normal). This is him, our child. We called him Jasper.
Let the adventure begin.
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