Creating a Birth Plan For the Surrogacy Journey: Prep Your Body For the Surrogacy Process From Delivery to Post-Birth
Perhaps you’ve recently become a surrogate for the first time. Congratulations!
You’re doing something wonderful and selfless for another couple who are going to be grateful to you for the rest of their lives.
Whether you’ve done surrogacy before or you’re looking into becoming a surrogate, there are quite a few fine details to figure out before you’re ready to carry another couple’s baby.
Besides a healthy pregnancy, one of those aspects that you should consider is a birth plan.
The birth plan is basically either a written or unwritten agreement about your desires for the birth. It ensures that when the time comes, everything runs as smoothly as possible according to that plan.
So, what should you include in your plan? This article will offer up some ideas and must-haves to include.
Initiating the Plan
First, you should take the time to create the plan.
Perhaps in the early stages of the pregnancy or even before the surrogacy takes place. You should sit down with the intended parents of the baby and discuss what is desired and appropriate for everyone.
This can be written down in a journal that you keep with you. It’s not a bad idea to have a few copies made for the intended parents as well.
If you wish to add some legal strength to the document, then you can always have it notarized or have a lawyer make it an official document.
Not all plans need to be legally recognized, however.
Typically, intended parents are quite happy to go along with the plan of their surrogate. Especially because not doing so can cause problems with the pregnancy and the surrogate mother, herself, by adding undue stress.
Once time has been set aside and you’ve discussed whether to make the document legal or not, it’s time to get into the gritty details.
Who Do You Want To Be Present?
Perhaps one of the biggest questions that you’re going to face is who you actually want in the room when you’re giving birth. Understandably, when you become a surrogate, you may have some beautiful idea of your partner and the intended parents being present at the birth.
Sometimes, this doesn’t always work out.
The intended parents, for example, might be uncomfortable with the idea of your partner being present. Not all do, but it is a conversation that needs to take place.
For example, if the intended parents are uncomfortable with your partner being present, perhaps they may be more amenable to someone from your family being present. Your mother or sister or even your brother, perhaps, maybe a more comfortable choice for them.
Besides familial support, you may also want to consider whether you want the intended parents there at all.
Becoming a surrogate does mean that you will eventually have to give the baby to their actual parents. Allowing them to be present at the birth is a wonderful decision.
Since they were unable to go through the process themselves, being able to stand there while their baby is brought into the world is the next best experience for them. However, not all surrogates are comfortable in a crowded room.
Even the hospital, itself, may have rules or regulations about how many people can be in the room with you.
It’s important to know what the hospital allows, what the intended parents wish, and what your own comfort and wishes are.
Another aspect that you might want to consider is whether you want a doula present or not. A doula is, historically, a woman’s servant during birth.
They’re trained to treat and coach women during the birthing process. A doula can provide strength and guidance while giving birth.
If you wish to have a doula present, then you should include that in your plan.
Again, you should also speak with the intended parents on how they feel about having a doula present.
Some of our surrogate mothers may also have the want for a birth to happen with a midwife.
We always encourage our surrogates to use who they may like in order to birth the child, as well as have the advice of a midwife.
At Made in the USA Surrogacy, we have a nurse-midwife team that is always available to provide advice and services for your surrogacy journey if you are able to negotiate the ability for those services to be had through your Gestational Surrogate Agreement with the intended parents.
Procedures During Birth
One part of becoming a surrogate that you might not have considered are all of the procedures during birth.
For example, when it comes to giving birth, how do you want to do it? Do you want to be standing? Laying on a bed?
If you’re not going with vaginal birth, and instead choose a C-section, is that alright with the intended parents? Would that actually be in their presence?
These are all questions that you need to consider for your plan.
When it comes time to give birth, you’re not going to be thinking clearly. Neither are the intended parents due to their excitement!
You’ve had a healthy pregnancy the entire time.
Now that it comes time for the birth, you also need to make sure that you and the baby are taken care of in a way that you’ve agreed to.
One of the biggest questions that you’ll need to consider is the use of an epidural.
Many women prefer to use it as it helps alleviate a lot of labor pains. It can make birthing a lot easier. However, the intended parents may not be comfortable with the use of an epidural.
After all, in rare cases, it can sometimes make a healthy pregnancy suddenly not so healthy. Complications can arise.
Knowing if you can use medication to help ease the birth should be discussed and written down in your plan.
Your plan should also include details about what should occur once the baby is removed.
Is the first skin-contact going to be with you or the intended mother? Who is going to cut the umbilical cord? Will you all take turns cutting the cord? Will everyone’s hand touch the scissors? Or is only one person going to cut the cord?
Because that tradition is a vital part for many parents, intended or otherwise, discussing what is appropriate is important. It can help keep a situation from becoming awkward when the doctor offers the cord to the wrong person.
Once the baby is born, your needs still need to be met, too. Do you want a bath or a shower? What happens if a complication does arise post-birth?
Those steps should be laid out carefully so everyone knows your wishes.
Do you want to have a massage after giving birth? Or do you simply want to be left to the care of your doctors?
Feeding the Baby
Feeding the baby is another aspect of your plan to consider.
While the doctors will typically tell you when and how to feed the baby, it should be discussed with the intended parents all the same and included in your plan.
If you plan to feed the baby at your breast, how often should their meals occur? Where would you like to feed the baby?
Make sure to discuss the details of how your intended parents wish the baby to be fed before the birth takes place. Some will want and encourage you to breastfeed (though some will be worried about attachment issues) and others will be wanting a combination of breast milk and formula.
It’s important to remember you will be compensated as well for the feeding of the baby and production of your milk as part of your surrogate benefit package.
Contact After Birth
Finally, while the baby is held in the hospital, are still given visitation rights while you’re both there? What will the goodbye process be like?
Understandably, as a surrogate who’s grown this baby for several months, you’ll feel some attachment to the baby. Being able to say goodbye is an important part of finding closure.
In so doing, the intended parents can take the baby home with them, and you can rest and prepare to surrogate another baby.
Clearly, a vital part of pregnancy is creating a plan for the birth. Because you’re carrying someone else’s baby, having a plan can prevent awkwardness from occurring at the birth.
Instead, everyone’s focus can be on a successful birthing process and the joy of greeting a new, beloved, family member.
If you are interested in becoming a surrogate with Made in the USA Surrogacy, please inquire by filling out our form here.
If you are an intended parent or hopeful parent trying to find a surrogate in California, please inquire here.