E: When I first suggested this blog topic to Soph, she won’t mind me saying that it made her feel a little fearful/tense. But we both agreed that writing about it could be cathartic and help us all to understand what we could do to make baby Smith’s entry to the world the best for him and S&J as a family.
Bonding with a baby can be quite hard to do when you’ve never seen them before- even for mums carrying their baby. For some it’s easier- for others it takes some work and being really thoughtful about what’s happening inside of you (or in Soph’s case, inside of her surrogate aka me!). Being proactive earlier on can really help this process so it doesn’t feel like lots of hard work at the end that all feels a bit odd. We’ve put some things in place that Soph will tell you about- but they’re all relevant for straight forward pregnancies too.
Becoming parents is probably the biggest life change someone will ever go through, so prepping yourself and doing some enjoyable things to help you all with that transition is never going to be a bad thing 🖤
S: Before we decided to take Em up on her offer of carrying our baby there was obviously a long process of consideration involved. A big part of this for me was whether I’d be able to bond with my baby when I hadn’t carried him, felt him move or given birth to him. Of course I wanted all of the above more than anything but we had tried everything we possibly could and actually after the second ectopic I knew surrogacy was our best option for our own genetic baby. I just wanted a baby whatever it took.
I know how important it therefore is for Jack and I to do whatever we can to bond pre and post baby being here so here’s a number of things we are putting into place after lots of research and advice from people. They may not be right for everyone but they seem right for us and our situation.
- Finding out the gender – this was really important for me. Jack didn’t really mind but I knew I needed to know and so glad I did. I can picture him now as a baby and not just an embryo. Plus it was better to have the shock of it being a boy before we got to the theatre!!
- Shopping – I work as a buyer in the retail industry so shopping is a massive part of my life. Once we found out the gender I went a little mad buying baby boy clothes just because I felt it was safe to. This was actually a major thing for me because I genuinely never expected to ever buy anything but girls clothes. Man I loved it though! His little outfits make me smile every time I pull them out the bag. Jack and I also went out together to choose his pram which felt surreal!
- Stories out loud – Em wanted us to record our voices reading some stories so she could play to bump to get him used to them. Of course we see Em as much as we can and I imagine this will increase the closer we get but we can’t be with bump everyday so voice recordings are the next best thing.
- Choosing one song for before the birth, during c section and after. This was something Em asked us to do which I had never really thought about before. Em wanted to play a song to bump daily that we could then play in theatre and then Jack and I could play to him afterwards. Music makes us both emotional but actually it ended up not being very difficult to choose! More about the choice in a later blog.
- Name choosing – I guess a positive of it taking so long to have a baby is your list of favourite names gets shorter as everyone else has children and takes them! Luckily our favourites have never been chosen by anyone close to us. Jack and I started talking seriously after the 12 week scan and then after 17 weeks finding the gender out we knew it was down to two boys names. I love both but there’s one In particular that Jack favours and when I told my dad the name his eyes lit up. Again this is another way of us being able to visualise him arriving as a little person.
- Lola our little cockapoo is obviously not going to know what’s hit her after being our baby for the past 7 years so it’s important we get her used to bump and also baby as soon as he arrives. Luckily Em loves her so a few cuddles with bump should do it!!
- Em daily updates from week 30 ☺️ – Em feels from this time there will be lots more to tell us on a daily basis. How often he’s kicking, what music or food makes him move, his position etc.
- Skin to Skin – This will be something we will discuss with the consultant and midwives at the hospital as Jack and I will initially be in scrubs but as soon as we can skin to skin seems to be the most important way for that initial bond with baby.
Am I still scared that even after all the bonding preparation I might feel like he isn’t mine because I didn’t carry him? Or that he won’t like or know me? Without a doubt I’m shitting myself!!! But I also imagine this is how every father must feel as they don’t carry their child and still have the most amazing bond once the baby is here. Also not every mum who carries experiences this bond during pregnancy. So when I get scared I remind myself of this…
A zillion injections, 5 egg retrieval’s, 4 transfers, a whole lot of miscarriage prevention medication, a whole lot of miscarriages, double ectopics, and prior to even all of that, years of trying naturally (not the worst thing in the world for a while then you start to see it more as a job rather than having fun!) and that one little embryo just needed a safer place to grow and luckily for us our bestie offered to help. The last painful 6 years I guess are my version of a kind of labour! I can’t imagine going through much more pain than we have and it’s made us resilient. WE MADE HIM. We absolutely made him and we are ready for him and whatever that brings with it.