Even though you may not be giving birth to your child, you and your surrogate should have a birth plan in place to make sure everyone is on the same page as to how things should go on the big day. A Birth Plan is not a contractual agreement, but more of a wish list of how you would like things to go in an optimal situation.
While this decision will be left up to the OBGYN to determine what is safest for everyone, having a conversation with your surrogate about preferences is recommended.
Will the labor be induced so that the parents are able to be at the birth? Once the OBGYN provides a date for induction of labor, it is still ultimately up to the Labor and Delivery unit if they have enough capacity that day for the delivery. So while you may have a particular date in mind, it can still fluctuate depending upon capacity of the unit.
Who will be in the Delivery Room
Discussing who is going to be in the delivery room throughout the day and active pushing is an important discussion to have with your surrogate. In addition to the parents will there be a birth photographer or doula?
If having a c-section, normally only one additional person is allowed in the OR. Who will be in the OR in addition to the surrogate?
Cutting the Umbilical Cord
Will Dad and the Surrogate feel comfortable if Dad cuts the cord? Discuss this with the OB, as they are pretty slick and can coordinate so that everyone still maintains their privacy, yet allow parents to cut the cord.
Will you collect cord blood and tissue?
If you are interested in preserving the cord blood and tissue in a tissue bank, this has to be coordinated weeks prior to delivery. The cord and tissue bank will send the surrogate a kit in the mail to have on hand at delivery.
If you chose to delay the clamping of the umbilical cord you cannot also collect the cord blood and tissue.
Baby Is Here
The long awaited moment is here - so the big decision is, who will hold baby first? Does the hospital allow for parents to hold the baby immediately post delivery, or do they measure and weight the baby first?
Will you do Skin to Skin?
Studies have shown that skin to skin with mom and dad helps to regulate baby’s body temperature, blood sugar, and increase the bonding relationship.
Will the Surrogate hold the baby?
After months of having the most important job in the world, what will be the plan for your surrogate to hold the baby?
Will the Surrogate nurse or supply breast milk for the baby?
As we mention in our Feeding Your Baby Born Through Surrogacy blog post, discussing your wishes for your surrogate to provide breast milk for the baby should be discussed months prior to the delivery of baby.
Where will you stay after the Delivery?
Understanding what space the hospital has available for parents after the delivery of baby is important for your rest and transition to parenthood. Hospitals may offer a Nesting Room where parents can bond with baby, but this room may not have all of the amenities of a normal patient room.
Hospitals may also offer parents a patient room at a reduced rate, sometimes cheaper than a nearby hotel.
Where will Surrogate stay after the Delivery?
Surrogates may or may not stay on the same floor as parents and baby. This decision is determined by the hospital and how they classify the surrogate’s recovery.
Where will Baby stay after the Delivery?
Depending on the room the parents have at the hospital, the baby may be able to stay with the parents during the hospital stay. If the hospital does not provide a room for the parents, the baby will most likely be in the nursery.
Just like any event that takes a lot of time and preparation, having several solid alternative plans for when your original wish list doesn’t go as expected is always your best bet. No matter if your Birth Plan goes as expected or not, know that you have the rest of your life to spend with your precious baby to love and to nurture and to grow and encourage in this world!