Baby V’s 1st Birthday!

By: Julie Stromwall

Today is a special day!  Today is the day the surrogate baby I delivered turns 1! Time has flown by, and it has been amazing to watch this little one grow this past year through pictures and visits. He is such a little stud!

It’s hard to put in words how special that day was to me as a surrogate for Baby V.  To this day, people still ask, “how did it feel giving up a baby?” I understand not everyone feels the same way I do, but let’s set one thing straight: He was never mine to begin with.  This little baby was created out of love through an IVF process, which did not involve my biology.  I was the lucky one chosen to help bring him into the world (via my womb!), to his loving family.

For months, I wondered how it would feel when the baby I was carrying kicked for the first time. I worried about the Intended Mother’s heart because she wasn’t the one feeling him. Was she up at night with worry and concern?  As the relationship with my Intended Parents grew (and the baby grew), it became clear that the IPs trusted me. My Intended Parents knew their baby was safe with me, and relaxed more into the process, knowing that I was their best chance to carry and deliver their child.

The day I went into labor, I texted the Intended Mom at 5:30 am! I told her I had been having contractions all night and that “I think today is the day!” July 14th, 2015… 11 days before baby’s due date. We had an OB appointment at 10:00am that day so we went with some anticipation! The doctor examined me, and said, “you’re 3 cm dilated, and it’s time to head to the hospital!” I made eye contact with the Intended Mom and started crying. I said, “You’re baby is coming today!!!”

At 1:59 a.m. on July 15th, with my husband, the Intended Mother and Father all in the delivery room, the baby was born! One of my wishes and deepest desires was for his mommy to do skin to skin contact immediately after he was born. She also wanted delayed cord clamping, so the doctor said the baby would have to be placed on my chest. My heart sank. I did NOT want to be the first one to hold him. I was reminded that things don’t always go as planned!  Our brilliant doctor suggested the mother catch her son as he was born, therefore being the first human contact he would have outside the womb!

What a surreal moment in my life… to see the mother’s eyes light up with hope, anticipation, joy, excitement, elation all at once was something I will never forget. I couldn’t see his father as he was standing behind me (his decision!), but I later heard he was moved to tears.

My year as a surrogate was more amazing than I thought it would ever be. Here I am, one year post-partum, and I’m gearing up to do this all over again for another family! It is a joy to get to know another couple, to give them hope, and to experience the gift of surrogacy together.  Happy birthday, Baby V. You are so loved!

The mother got to catch her baby as he was being born! #2 Mom prepares to do skin to skin with baby V, pictured here with my doula. #3 Mom & me with baby V a couple hours after he was born. #4 Mom & Dad have precious bonding time with baby V immediately after he was born.