In honor of this fall’s Experienced Carrier Week celebrations, we reached out to our incredible surrogates to learn more about their experiences. We had a chance to connect with over a dozen Circle surrogate mothers from Boston and New York to the San Francisco Bay Area and everywhere in between who delivered babies in 2020.
We wanted to hear about their most recent delivery, their postpartum experiences, and their surrogacy journey as a whole. We received some amazing responses, all of which are unique to the specific surrogates and her journey. We love to discover more about our surrogates so we can learn how to best support their journeys and make their experience comfortable and special through delivery and postpartum.
During the beginning stages of a surrogacy process, like the application and initial screenings, much of the conversation surrounds getting medical clearance, matching with IPs, and trying to get pregnant. These first couple of weeks and months focus heavily on developing a relationship with your IPs and preparing for the transfer. While these times are very exciting, it is also so important to discuss what happens at the end of the journey.
How do surrogates feel after birth?
The delivery is not the end of the journey, and it is important that we discuss all aspects of the surrogacy journey, including delivery and postpartum. There is no one more qualified to share those experiences than the women who have done it themselves!
We wanted to know more about these critical moments of a surrogate journey, so we went right to the source. We asked some of our surrogates who have delivered in 2020 about their experiences and their responses are truly special.
What was the best part of your delivery experience?
Seeing the intended fathers hold their baby girl for the first time. I’m grateful I got to experience my delivery with them there. – Andrea, Circle Surrogate
The best part was being able to give my dads their sweet babies! They went through so much to get to this point. Having them early and them spending a week in the NICU made it extra special when I was able to hand them their babies for the first time at a week old. – Kristi, Circle Surrogate
The best part of my delivery was by far watching the excitement of my IPs, the looks on their faces as they waited, as patiently as they possibly could. They were beyond thrilled to finally meet their little girl and do skin to skin and feel her warmth and movements for the first time was such a fun moment to watch. Seeing them pace back and forth with anticipation of her birth reminded me of delivering my oldest son and all the emotions that go along with that unknown first moment you meet. Seeing them in that moment made all the difficult parts of surrogacy disappear and remind me exactly why I wanted to do it in the first place. – Tenley, Circle Surrogate
Seeing my IPs face and just life in general completely fall in love upon the birth of their son. From the moment he was born, they just had the purest love for him and they show it so beautifully. – Lindsay, Circle Surrogate
I think most surrogates who have completed a journey would say that the best part of delivery is seeing the baby you carried in the arms of his/her parents. This is certainly true for me. It was such a beautiful moment for me to see all of the excitement and the instant love. – Stephanie, Circle Surrogate
The best part of my delivery experience was sharing it with the intended fathers. we had grown such a great Bond throughout the surrogacy journey and to finally get to embrace them and give them their child was the most rewarding feeling. Because of COVID-19 I was limited to two people in the delivery room. I couldn’t imagine not having both intended fathers in the room while their baby was being born. so they were both there, holding my hand and supporting me through it all. They stayed in the room for a few hours afterwards, doing skin to skin with their baby girl and interacting with me (and eventually my husband when he arrived). – Amanda, Circle Surrogate
COVID threw everyone a curveball and having a baby during a pandemic is less than ideal, especially when that baby isn’t yours. My Dr. and the hospital staff went above and beyond to ensure both IPs and my husband were able to be apart of the delivery, even when rushed to an emergency c-section—we were all together. With any journey, the most amazing moment is when the parents meet their precious baby for the first time, I’m so thankful that moment wasn’t taken from us. – Ashtin, Circle Surrogate
My delivery was a bit more challenging this time around. Baby was sunny side up which increased my labor time. My IPs had been fairly adamant about keeping their distance during delivery just for privacy reasons. By the time I began pushing I had already been in labor for 28 hours and was exhausted. Due to baby’s position pushing was even harder. The parents were standing towards the wall away from the bed. I was really struggling but the thing that really turned it around was their encouragement. I could hear them cheering me on and saying really positive things. It was just what I needed to help get me going again. When the baby was born I encouraged them to come over and the dad was able to cut the cord. It was really special to have them there and involved. It was their encouragement that really got me through the toughest part of delivery. – Caroline, Circle Surrogate
The best part about my delivery experience was getting to hand my IPs back their baby boy. It was so sweet to watch them hold him for the first time. I had felt that same feeling when I held both of my daughters for the first time, and to get to be a part of that was so special. – Heather, Circle Surrogate
The best part of my delivery experience was of course the moment that baby girl was born. The doctor laid her on my stomach to clean her off, IM came over next to me and we held hands while we both looked and touched baby girls soft silky skin. IF got to cut babies umbilical cord and then they gave her to IM to do skin to skin. It was amazing to watch their whole world change and know I had a huge part in that. Right before they left to go to their separate room with baby, IM came and gave me a big hug and thanked me, of course, there were tears from us both. Then IF came and gave me a huge hug as well, he could hardly speak but did manage to say “thank you” as well and in that moment the entire room was in tears. – Whitney, Circle Surrogate
The best part of my delivery experience was when we were able to call in one of the dads to be able to witness the delivery and cut the cord. Originally, the hospital said it would not be allowed (during COVID-19) but they made an exception due to our circumstances. – Ronda, Circle Surrogate
Every surrogacy journey and birth is different, so it’s no surprise that surrogates all require different types of support during their postpartum recovery! We asked our surrogates about their support systems during their recovery, and the responses are truly beautiful!
Who and what was a big support to you in your postpartum recovery?
I noticed after this delivery I went from being super-hot to freezing all the time so having a nice blanket. and Chad he supported me through it all. – Andrea
My husband and my NICU nurse Sam. She was there for the delivery and was responsible for Baby A. Sam also helped with discharge and was there to help me hand the babies over to their dads. – Kristi
I have a wonderful OB team who has been with me through the births of both of my sons as well as the loss of a pregnancy, they were so supportive and caring after delivery. There was a beautiful moment right after delivery where all the focus was on the new baby, as all moms know once the baby is out doesn’t mean your job with delivery is over, I was struggling with those last few contractions and my OB Dr looked me in the eye and put his hand on my knee and said ” you did good” it gave me the energy I so desperately needed to finish my job. – Tenley
My IPs have been such amazing support to me. But also in my personal life, two close friends have truly been there in such an amazing way. They became so close too with the IPs while they were here. – Lindsay
My husband was super supportive postpartum. And surprisingly my kids were as well! They all helped to take care of my when I arrived home from the hospital, and checked to make sure I was feeling okay. – Stephanie
This was my second journey and most difficult pregnancy and delivery, so things were much different for me this time around. My IPs were amazing in giving me so much time to snuggle surrobaby girl, I don’t think I put her down the entire hospital stay. Knowing this was my last journey, it was hard— I love everything about being a surrogate and to close that chapter was extremely difficult for me. I’m so thankful for the Circle staff in continuing to make me feel valued and a part of a world only a handful of people get to experience. And of course, my husband, he’s my rock, my biggest support and best cheerleader. – Ashtin
My husband has been the best support in my postpartum recovery. The intended fathers we’re around for four days after delivery and they were also super caring and supportive period together. Those three men helped me more than I can say. Also the team at Circle checked on me and they have been supportive and never left me wondering during this whole journey. – Amanda
My husband was a huge support! He put in extra effort with watching the kids, making dinner, etc. to help me recover. I also loved being in the surrogacy and pumping Facebook groups. Whenever I had questions I always knew those women were there to help. – Heather
My husband was the best support person ever. Luckily I had an amazing recovery, super quick and pretty painless. Also, the Facebook support group was THE BEST!! My best advice is to use that group of women as often as you want! They are ALL amazing and so helpful! – Whitney
My sister Brittany and my son Ronald where my biggest support and help during postpartum recovery. My son, who is 13, will bring me meals, checking in on me, and do whatever it took to make sure I was OK and didn’t need anything. – Ronda
Each of our surrogates that have delivered in 2020 have done so in different states, in different hospitals, and with different sets of circumstances. While each surrogate can only speak to her specific experience delivering during these uncertain times, we have compiled their advice for future surrogates who are preparing for delivery.
What advice would you give to future surrogates who are about to deliver?
Cherish all the moments with the parents and baby. It goes by quicker than expected and looking back I wish we would’ve had more time. – Andrea
Don’t just focus on the small details. Soak in every moment you can and cherish it. And take pictures if you can. They are priceless for your IPs if they can’t be there due to COVID. – Kristi
Don’t be afraid to let your IPs know if you need something, they want to help you get through delivery with as little stress and pain and possible and its OK to ask for help if you need it! This journey is new for most people, IPs and surrogates, and we are all just trying to do our best. Let them be part of it if you are comfortable with that, they might be afraid to ask you because delivering a baby is such a personal experience, but letting them be part of it is such a beautiful moment they will cherish forever! – Tenley
Stay positive! Listen to your body and just know that you will do exactly what you were destined to do, and that is to be and do amazing things! – Lindsay
I never expected what postpartum hormones would mean emotionally. But because of this, I would like future surrogates to know that this process is over a year long. It changes you period. It is so much bigger than just a pregnancy. Essentially, you are the most important person in the intended parents lives and a part of this major event, and then it ends. That is something to prepare for, the end. Even if you stay in contact with your intended parents, the relationship shifts. – Amanda
My biggest advice it to control the things you can and prepare yourself for the things you can’t. I’m a person who loves to be in control always, but sometimes the comfort comes when we allow things to just fall into place. – Ashtin
Take your time! Don’t rush any part of the process. Don’t waste energy being anxious about the outcome. Everything will work out. – Heather
My best advice for surrogates about to deliver would be to advocate for yourself and make sure whomever you have for your support person is 100% on your side as well. Talk to your doctor ahead of time at your appointments and make sure your doctor knows all and any of your concerns ahead of time. – Whitney
My advice would be to listen to your body, take your time healing, and don’t compare yourself to others because we’re all different and our bodies are created differently. We heal and recover on our own time. It’s OK to not feel like yourself right away. You will get there. – Ronda
While not all of our surrogates who have delivered in 2020 did so during the pandemic, we chatted with a few that did! While each experience was different, there was certainly one common thread running through all of these COVID delivery stories: support. Read more about delivery during COVID below.
If you delivered during COVID-19, how was delivering during a pandemic?
Our hospital made our delivery as great as could be, they helped accommodate the parents and made sure I was taken care of. The only way it could have been better is if Chad could’ve been there as well. – Andrea
The planning of of the labor & delivery was a little scary because if there would have been more spikes, things could have definitely changed. But as for my actual experience, everything was great considering! Both IPs were able to attend the birth and have their own room. We were able to go back and forth and visit. So although it could be very hard at some hospitals, my hospital and L&D went so well! – Lindsay
I didn’t think delivering during the pandemic was much different than my previous births. The hospital was great about allowing both of my IPs in the room. My husband wasn’t able to join it, but I didn’t mind. And of course they asked us to wear masks whenever we could but overall the experience wasn’t wildly different. For me, carrying during the pandemic was a little more stressful than my own pregnancies though. There were just a lot of unknowns and that could seen a bit daunting every now and then. – Stephanie
I delivered August 5th, 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic. Thankfully my hospital was awesome about our special situation. They allowed me to have 1 support person and baby was allowed both parents and we were all able to be in the room for delivery. They were all asked to wear masks while hospital staff was in the room, but didn’t have to when they weren’t. I was told they recommend that I wear a mask if possible but not required. – Whitney
Having a baby during COVID was annoying. Delivery went really quick although I was induced. I really only wear my mask when it was time to push and that only lasted about 10 minutes at the most. – Ronda
While delivery and postpartum might seem like the end of a surrogacy journey, there are still incredible bonds that have been made throughout the journey. These bonds may be between a surrogate and her IPs, a surrogate and her own family as they support her through her journey, a surrogate and her community of fellow surrogates, or a surrogate and her support team here at Circle. We wanted to hear about how these relationships grow and change post birth, and the answers are truly lovely.
What was your relationship like with Circle and your IPs post-birth?
We feel like we’ve gained extended family and couldn’t be happier with that relationship. – Andrea
My relationships with both sets of parents is amazing. One is almost 2 years old and the other is almost 5 months old. Circle has been amazing with checking in and being there. My dads or IPs have been amazing keeping me updated and sending pictures. I love my Circle family! – Kristi
I loved being a surrogate and part of the Circle family. Anytime someone asks me about possibly being a surrogate I tell them to look into Circle. The process was made so simple for myself and my IPs. I feel so lucky to have had the IPs I did and I don’t think our journey as a whole could have gone any smoother. I am incredibly thankful for Circle and my IPs! – Tenley
I am still in contact on a weekly basis with my IPs. Planning a trip for surro babes first birthday to go and visit. Loving that Circles has still been a constant in my post surrogacy journey. – Lindsay
I really couldn’t ask for anything more! There are team members with Circle that went out of their way to make a genuine connection with me, they made me feel important and valued… I hope our relationship only continues to grow, I’d love to stay connected any way possible. My IPs are amazing and we have a friendship beyond just baby talk. They share important details in their life and want to know what going on in our family too. I’m so thankful to be amongst truly amazing people in this beautiful world of Surrogacy. – Ashtin
Amazing! We still talk with our IPs often. They were so sweet and supportive after the delivery. I came home from the hospital to beautiful flowers from Circle. And I had people checking in on me and calling me to make sure I was doing good. I still talk to my social worker and I love being on the FB group for surrogates. – Heather
Since baby was born in August my IPs added me to a Google Photo album that they add pictures to almost daily. IM and I still text often and we’ve Skyped with them a few times as well. We love our IPs and baby girl and always will, even if life gets in the way and we don’t stay as close forever, they will forever be in our hearts 🙂 Circle and the entire staff has been amazing during this entire journey and postpartum as well. My coordinator Anna was by far the most helpful, sweet, kind, thoughtful person I have ever had the pleasure to work with. And my social worker Dylan, how do I even begin to express what an awesome person she is!! She was there for me in the beginning when I needed a coach/cheerleader/trainer/friend and helped me through the difficulty I faced just to begin this journey. She was there for me throughout my entire pregnancy and postpartum as well. She sent me a text the morning baby was born cheering me on and asking me how I was doing. She always made me feel like I was her friend and never just part of her job. This experience would not have been the same without her. These two women are amazing at their jobs and I will miss their emails more than any other part of my journey because they always put a smile of my face and made my day so much better 🙂 – Whitney
Psych did a great job checking in with me after birth. My IPs were in town for an extra two weeks after delivery so we got to spend more time together which was really special to me and my family. – Ronda
At Circle Surrogacy, we pride ourselves on having the most incredible surrogates! Our surrogates are kind, empathetic, understanding, patient, and all-around amazing women! We are very grateful for all of the surrogates who gave their time and energy not only being a surrogate but for sharing their journeys with us. Keep an eye out for a follow-up blog post where we continue this conversation with our 2020 surrogates and share more of their answers to the most asked postpartum questions!
Are you interested in becoming a surrogate at Circle Surrogacy? If you’d like to learn more about gestational surrogacy and working with a Boston surrogacy agency with offices in San Francisco and NYC, you can visit our surrogate page on our website, or you can apply today! We’d love to have you!
Thank you again to all of our experienced carriers for all that you do. Are you an experienced carrier interested in coming back for another journey? You can learn more on our Experienced Carrier page on how to initiate coming back for another journey and what steps you can take to move the process along whenever you’re ready!