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The Birth of Clara Louise Philomena

..as told by her proud surro-mommy, Michelle!



The birth of a child is always a momentous occasion, but when that child is not your own, it takes on a whole new meaning.


I began having very mild, crampy type of contractions around 3 a.m. on the morning of Thursday, February 17, 2005. I had been having contractions on and off for several weeks prior, but something inside me told me that these were different. I tried to relax and drift back to sleep but sleep averted me and I decided to head downstairs for some water and to see if moving around would stop the surges. When that also failed to stop them, I decided that I should probably give my intended parents a phone call and have them start the 4-1/2 hour drive to be here with me. The excitement in their voices is something I will never forget as I explained to them what was going on and how I thought that day was going to be the day that they finally got to meet their new little daughter. It was 6:15 a.m. and I told them that after I spoke to the doctor’s office I’d give them a call on the cell phone to update the status.

My doctor’s office opened at 8:30. I explained to the nurse what I was feeling and that even though I had an appointment scheduled for 9:45 that morning, I thought I should come in to be seen right away to see what was going on. I told her I was in very early labor and didn’t want to head to the hospital just yet as I planned on practicing hypnobirthing and wanted to remain in the comfort of my own home for as long as possible. However, because this was not my child and nothing about this pregnancy had been ‘ordinary’ I wanted to take extra precautions to make sure everything was o.k. The nurse put me on hold, came back and said that they wanted me to go directly to the hospital, mainly because of my history of fast labors and deliveries. I was not happy about that to say the least, but I relayed what the nurse had said to my husband, finished packing my bag, made arrangements for our kids and off we went. I rang my IP’s and told them that the doctor wanted me to be assessed at the hospital and we would call them as soon as we knew what was going on.

The Labor and Delivery staff were all ready for me when we arrived and quickly hooked me up to the monitor in the non-stress test triage room. My IP’s and I had met with the hospital staff when I was 7 months pregnant and were all well aware of the gestational surrogate arrangement and were very excited that this may be the day that we were all so patiently waiting for, however, these first few happy moments of anticipation quickly turned to concern and worry.

The baby’s heart rate was far too high, in the 180’s to 190’s at some points in time, and the nurses became increasingly worried about the baby’s health. They started an IV drip citing that sometimes when the mother is dehydrated it can have that particular effect on the baby. After several minutes of IV fluids, the baby’s heart rate was still sustained in the 180’s. The nurse called my doctor to advise him of what was going on and he instructed the nurses to prepare me for an emergency c-section. When they delivered the news to me, I immediately began hysterically crying. I had never had a c-section before and in fact had avoided even the thought of it earlier in my pregnancy when at first the placenta was far too low. At 29 weeks had resolved itself and we all breathed a very heavy sigh of relief. This was NOT what I had pictured as my ‘perfect surrogate birth experience’ and I was just destroyed. I was petrified of the surgery as I have never had any type of surgery at all….not even a catheter!  My husband was by my side the entire time, reassuring me that everything was going to be fine, and in the meantime, relaying the news to my intended parents, who were still en route.

The doctor arrived, the nurses inserted the catheter, and before I could so much as blink we were in the operating room. I was shaking uncontrollably with fear. My husband and doula were both dressed in scrubs and my husband was standing outside the OR while the anesthesiologist administered the spinal. One quick check several minutes later to make sure the anesthesia had taken effect and the doctor made the first incision. My husband came to my side and both he and my doula were telling me exactly what was happening and trying their best to help me to remain calm. I felt a ton of pressure and tugging and pulling and then my doula announced that the baby was out! The doctor held her up over the screen so we could all see and all my husband kept on saying was, “Holy cow! She is HUGE!”

That first cry that she let out was something I will never forget. I kept asking if she was o.k. as I didn’t hear her making any noise, and almost as if she heard what I said, she let out a little squeal. I began to cry. I was so very happy and relieved. There was a team of doctors on stand by for her because of the concerns with her heart rate, but she was just perfect. The neonatologist exclaimed that she was perfectly healthy and quite a BIG baby!

My IP’s still hadn’t arrived at the hospital. I was stitched up and wheeled in to the recovery room where I stayed for about an hour. My husband had called them as soon as I was wheeled in to recovery and told them that their daughter was here and that both she and I were doing just fine. When they walked in the room 20 minutes later, the expressions on their faces was precious.

They came right to my head and gave me a kiss and asked me if I was o.k. In my drug induced state I told them that I was simply numb and asked if they had been to the nursery yet to see their baby. The new mommy explained that they came straight in to see me as they were so worried about how I was doing both physically and emotionally so they had not been in to see her yet. I was stunned. The fact that they were more concerned about me and my well being and put me first, ahead of this incredible little person that they had waited so very long for, spoke volumes to me. I just couldn’t believe that they came to see me first before meeting their child. I told them that she was HUGE, with a head full of dark hair and then encouraged them to run to the nursery to be with her. I was quite sad that I wouldn’t get to see their faces when they saw her for the first time, but my doula was in the nursery with the baby when they first walked in and not only got still photos but VIDEO of the entire moment. It is something I will be forever grateful to my doula for!

Shortly before we were transferred to our rooms (IP’s stayed in the hospital with us in their own room, directly across the hall from mine), they wheeled the baby in to see me. They hadn’t held her until they picked her up out of the bassinet while in the recovery room with me. They were so happy and just giddy with excitement and I was so proud. IM kept on repeating over and over again…”look what you did, Michelle! Look what you did! She’s really here!”

Clara Louise Philomena weighed in at 9 lbs. 9.5 oz. and 21” long!


We got settled in to our rooms and later that evening, after the anesthesia had worn off and I was able to sit up a bit, my IP’s presented me with that famous blue package from Tiffany’s. It is a 16” gold necklace by Designer Elsa Peretti entitled ‘BEAN’. IM explained that it reminded her of me and our journey because I ‘baked the bean’ and it also looks like a swaddled baby. I cried, immediately put it on, and have not taken it off except to shower ever since. I will always think of them and their sweet little girl every time I look at it. Of course it is one of my most treasured pieces of jewelry, not because it’s a piece from Tiffany’s, but because of the events that surrounded the time in which I received it. I call it my little Clara Bean necklace.

Our hospital stay was a dream. I nursed the baby on demand, we had visitors come and go often, IP’s got some alone time with their baby in their own room and I got some much needed rest during those times that they roomed in with the baby. The hospital staff could not have been more accommodating and the entire experience was more that I could have ever dreamed of. I’m not sure that I would carry again for a different couple and start from scratch all over again, but if there is ever talk of a sibling for Miss Clara and my doctor gives me clearance for another pregnancy I will be the first one with my hand in the air, volunteering to do it all over again, c-section and all!


This story written and submitted by Michelle
User name: michellemomx5


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