The Big Day: What to Expect in the Hospital as an Intended Parent
After years of anticipation, the birth of your child is finally on the horizon. As your surrogate mother looks ahead to delivery, how do you prepare for the hospital as an intended parent? Though the situation is unique, nearly every detail of the big day will be laid out with your surrogacy team, surrogate mother and the hospital far in advance.
Preparing for a calm and healthy delivery as well as a smooth transition are the top concerns of the day. By understanding how to best prepare for your surrogate mother’s delivery, you can both fully prepare yourself for this incredibly emotional time. This allows each member of your surrogacy team to care for the wellbeing of your baby, family and the surrogate mother with ease.
Whether you’re just beginning the surrogacy process or a few weeks away from delivery, explore all the details that go into making sure your hospital stay is as comfortable as possible.
Months Before Delivery
As early as the surrogate mother and intended parent matching process, delivery day details are solidified by your agency and legal team. Each preference comes down to the comfort and agreement between the parents and surrogate mother. Your surrogacy agency is also there to make suggestions for the safest and most ideal conditions. For example, though you as the parent prefer to be in the room for the delivery, certain changes in delivery—such as an emergency C-section—could shift requirements in the moment. Each of these possibilities is laid out in your surrogacy contract to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Other details determined during this phase may include:
- Hospital location
- Contact procedure when your surrogate mother goes into labor
- If you and your surrogate mother prefer a birthing center, the backup hospital and doctors names in case of complications
- If the surrogate mother will breastfeed or pump after the baby is born
- Who will cut the umbilical cord
- Preferences in the delivery room in various situations
Simple Surrogacy also requires surrogate mothers to complete paperwork that includes both the names of intended parents and their agency when entering the hospital.
Weeks Before Delivery
It is important to emotionally and logistically prepare yourself for delivery date. In the weeks leading up to the big day, head to the hospital and arrange a tour of the area where you’ll be waiting. Intended parents are normally assigned a separate hospital room for an easy transition after the baby is born, even if you plan to be in the delivery room for part of the process. By getting a lay of the land before delivery, you’ll require less time to feel settled and oriented on the emotional day.
Also, take this time to clarify any questions you have about final paperwork with your agency. In some cases, some final legal details occur just after birth. Speak with your legal team about everything you need to bring to the hospital visit.
Packing for Your Surrogate Mother’s Delivery
Packing for a several-day hospital stay is all about staying comfortable and organized. If you’re traveling out of town for the birth, you may end up staying several days in the area, as the baby is often kept for observation for 1-3 days. When packing your delivery day bag, remember to include:
- All legal paperwork with copies
- Contact information for all related parties
- Books and entertainment for passing the time as you wait
- Hygiene items for long hospital stays
- Comfort items like slippers, travel pillows and sweaters to feel comfortable in during waiting periods or overnights
- A front-buttoning shirt for skin-to-skin contact just after the baby is born
- Special blankets and items required for comforting and transitioning your baby home
Once you check into the hospital and take a moment to settle into your room, you may be asked to immediately enter the delivery room or wait until the team is ready. At times, your surrogate mother may request some time with her family or doctor alone. This is not a personal reflection on you, but simply a common situation to allow the surrogate mother proper space for a healthy delivery. The most important thing is creating the right atmosphere for a safe birth for all.
In the event of a C-section, most hospitals only allow a small number of people in the room with the medical team. No matter your arrangement in the traditional delivery room, the medical requirements of the hospital come first. Either way, a support person or nurse will remain in constant contact with your family throughout the delivery.
After the baby is born and the doctors have spent a moment to ensure everyone is stable, the medical team will bring the baby to you in the room or side room. The details of the transition are determined beforehand, as it’s a very important moment for you, the surrogate mother and the baby. Skin-to-skin contact is often recommended at this point, even for a brief moment before doctors take more time with the baby.
After Your Baby is Born
For a smooth transition process for all, it is important for the surrogate mother to spend time with the baby. You can help in this process by also preparing yourself for this moment. Bring the baby back into the delivery room with joy, marking the celebratory moment of the transition. Your surrogate mother will greatly benefit by being able to hold the baby for some time, as well as introduce the baby to their own children. By meeting you and witnessing the transition, young family members can fully comprehend that the baby is not coming home with them and why. They can meet the baby, meet you and connect how this whole process worked.
Your baby will be ready to go home with you typically within 1-3 days in the hospital. Parents often spend time at a nearby hotel during this transition period. You may also invite close friends and family at this time to meet the baby.
If you’ve agreed to stay in touch after the birth, now is the time show your gratitude for your surrogate mother with a personalized gift or by setting a plan to stay in communication. Sending photos on a regular basis is a wonderful way to keep your surrogate mother involved after delivery, and most surrogacy agreements ask for this specifically. You may even set times to touch base on the phone, easing out of the regular schedule you’d grown accustomed to during the pregnancy.
From the moment you match with your surrogate mother, your surrogacy agency will guide you toward a smooth delivery day. There is no question that this is an emotional transition but understanding what to expect at the hospital can quell any anxieties about the process. Welcoming a child is always a collaboration. Speak with your surrogate mother and surrogacy agency as the big day gets closer to guarantee a smooth day of celebration.