I know, you want to see the Birth Story not the Birth Plan!  But I’m not there yet. Healing is hard work and I thought you should see the birth plan anyway.  It’s different when it’s a surrogacy situation. 

This is a copy of our birth plan.  Part Two pertains to more of the legal and logistical aspects of the birth and was prompted by a birth plan our agency had made for us.  Apparently they don’t get a lot of surrogates doing their own birth plan so they went ahead so they could let the hospital know about the whole situation.  It had a lot of valuable things in it but not information that I needed the nurse to be reading while I was admitted to give birth!  So I made this a two part birth plan.  Part One is a short and sweet version for active labor and delivery that the nurses could read in a minute. 

This took me quite a while to put together and was not without guidance from my doula, Kristina and discussion all around with everyone.  The agency had included in their version that while I would be responsible for all medical decisions regarding my health during labor and delivery, Marce and Chris would be responsible for medical decisions regarding the baby during and after labor.  This was extremely frustrating to me because it felt like they were creating a me versus the baby situation.  Also to give another person control of a baby inside of me is the farthest thing from what could be upheld in court.  If someone other than me said, “use forceps” and I said “do not put forceps in me” and Kaiser without my permission put forceps in me they could be sued without a doubt.  

I am so extremely aware of the powerlessness that Intended Parents have over the baby in gestation and I feel like I have done everything to try and include Marce and Chris and make sure we are a team despite our somewhat differing views on some things, but to leave that clause in the birthing plan to me was just begging for trouble.  When I talked to the attorney at the agency she agreed there is no way legally that that clause could ever be upheld.  I’m hoping she is just completely unaware of the dangerous situation that clause could create.  I was surprised to see it come from an actual attorney.  You can see in Part Two how I ended up wording everything. 

In the beginning, middle and end all I want is the same thing Marce and Chris want which is a healthy baby!  There is nothing I would ever do to inhibit that.  Despite my strong beliefs about the benefits of natural birth, there is no way in hell that if the baby needed to be born via forceps I would not consent to that!  Furthermore, Marce and Chris already have legal recourse if I were to go against doctors’ orders as outlined in our contract. 

The other bit of conversation was around how little I wanted to be monitored, which was the least amount that the hospital would allow, in order to have a freer and less stressful birth.  This is one of those things that I was coming at from having had two children and being involved heavily in the birthing community and reading books like those from Ina May and, “Birthing From Within,” while Marce and Chris were coming at it based on their experiences which are in general pretty trusting of medical professional and more hands on when it comes to risk management.  In the end I believe we were all at peace with the birthing plan, but it did come with some dialog.

IP’s and Surrogates do birth in many different ways.  Some IP’s want to be heavily involved; others just take over after the child is born.  Sometimes IP’s are brought their child after he or she is born and are not present for the delivery.  Sometimes the IP’s or one IP is brought in just when the baby is being born.  All of this depends on the surrogate and the parents.  It is something that should be discussed in the contract phase!  

I discussed the birthing plan with a midwife, as it turns out the first midwife I liked during all my prenatal appointments.  She basically scratched out half the plan and simplified it!  She told me what I would need to advocate for actively like to have my support team meet anesthesia at the door to tell them to go away because they routinely visit everyone regardless of the birth plan.  She also said that while they rarely do episiotomies especially the midwives, I should make sure and have the nurse and my team actively communicating to the doctor or midwife during pushing that I am not to be cut!  She totally supported my birth plan which was refreshing.  She also told me the chances were very rare that more than one person would be aloud to join me in case of a cesarean but that it would be up to the doctor and anesthesiologist but not to worry anyway because I’m not going need a c-section! 

Part One

Labor and Delivery

Dana Davis  (Surrogate) – Birth Plan                                                                 
The parents of the child are Marce and Chris ____.
Birth Team:
My Husband – Jason Davis, The baby’s parents – Marce and Chris, My Doula – Kristiana Kruzan, My Sister – Jodi Hisey who may be attending my kids Anthony, 11 and Caitlin, 7
Hoping for minimal intervention.  I’d like to wear my own clothes or no clothes at all if that is most comfortable for me.
Exams only w/ permission.  Please tell me just what will be done during the exam and do no more than what is discussed.
Freedom of movement for labor.
Intermittent monitoring only, not continuous.
No IV or heplock.
Feel free to talk to my Doula or husband about non emergent concerns or things that could interrupt my peace, fortitude or confidence.  They can decide if or how to share with me. 
Pain Management –
Don’t offer pain meds.
Feel free to tell me I’m amazing, call me sweetie, remind me to save my energy for the baby or suggest different positions you think might help.  🙂
Pushing –
Spontaneous Pushing Please.   Please don’t ask me to move or change positions if at all possible.
Please NO EPISIOTOMY under any circumstance without my direct consent and only then in case of an emergency.  I’ve birthed two 9+ pound babies before with no tearing.  I’d rather tear than be cut anyway.  Please don’t cut me.
Birth –
Marce or Chris would like to hold the baby first! 
Marce or Chris would like to cut the cord if they are present otherwise we would like the hospital staff to cut the cord.
Placenta –
I’d like to keep the placenta.  Please keep it for me to take home.
In Case of Cesarean:
If any way possible I would like to have my husband Jason and the baby’s parents Marce and Chris present. 
If it is not possible to have three attendants I would like for Marce or Chris to be present unless I decide I need my husband.
If possible we would like to see a screen of the surgery to view the birth.
If possible we would love to get a description of the surgery as it is happening.  
Please allow Marce or Chris to hold the baby just as soon as possible.

Part Two

Legal & Logistical Information

Dana Davis (Surrogate) – Birth Plan                           
Kaiser Permanente of Oregon ID # for Dana:  ____
Dana Date of Birth: ____
Estimated Due Date:  5/18/2013
Dana Davis is pregnant as a result of a gestational surrogacy arrangement.  The parents of the child (Intended Parents) are Marce and Chris ____.
Surrogate’s Name, Address and Phone:
Date of Birth: 
Emergency Contact:
Attorney’s Name, Address & Phone:
Intended Parents Names, Address & Phone:
Intended Parents Attorney’s Name, Address & Phone:
Birth Certificate:
The child’s name on the birth certificate will be as determined by Marce and Chris.
Marce, Chris and Dana understand that the hospital will report the birth to Vital Records under Dana’s name as the woman who has given birth.  A birth certificate with the correct parent names will be created after Marce and Chris’ attorney completes their legal proceedings.
Newspaper Release
            There will not be a newspaper release about the birth of this child.
Dana anticipates spontaneous onset of labor, and hopes for an unmedicated natural delivery.  She will be attended by her doula Kristian Kruzan, husband Jason, sister Jodi as well as the hospital medical staff.
            All medical decisions regarding Dana’s health are to be made by Dana.
All medical decisions regarding the baby’s health after delivery are to be made by Marce and Chris.
Major decisions about changing the course of labor will be discussed between Dana, Jason, Marce and Chris. 
Dana has signed a release of information so that medical staff may discuss medical care pertaining to her and the baby with her husband Jason and the Intended Parents Marce and Chris.
Birth of Baby:
            Dana has invited Marce and Chris to be present for the birth of the baby.
Marce or Chris will cut the baby’s cord, if they are present.  Otherwise the doctor is to cut the cord.
            Marce or Chris will hold the baby first to facilitate bonding.

Hospital Stay:
            Marce and Chris are to be given security bands.
Marce and Chris will be jointly responsible for caring for the baby during the hospital stay.  Marce and Chris would like a room to stay in at the hospital with the baby is space permits.  (See attached Agreement for Temporary Custody.)
Medical decisions for the baby after birth will be made by Marce and Chris.  (See attached Power of Attorney.)
            The baby is expected to be a girl.
Dana has offered to pump colostrum and breast milk for the baby after birth.  Marce and Chris plan to provide a professional grade breast pump for Dana, and request the assistance of the lactation staff in providing support to Dana.  The baby will be solely bottle-fed, with formula to supplement as necessary.
Marce and Chris have invited Dana to visit with them and the baby during their time in the hospital.  They will also welcome a visit from Dana’s children, according to Dana’s discretion.
A Power of Attorney and Agreement for Temporary Custody are being signed by Dana and will be provided to the hospital.
            The baby will be discharged to Marce and Chris.

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  • sarah

    I just found this blog. I am 26 wks gestational carrier as well to a great couple. Thanks for posting your experiences so others like myself can learn

    • Dana

      Sarah! If I’m figuring it correctly, we are on a similar timeline! I was 37 weeks December 25th. I hope you are doing well!

  • Cindy

    Thank you so much for this. My gestational carrier is due in Jan. This is a huge help for intended parents and our amazing gestational carriers, thank you. Good luck to you as well!

    • Dana

      Congratulations! You are getting close, like us! I’m glad this was helpful! If you have gone through an agency, they probably have this covered, but if not, you might call the hospital and set up an appointment with a hospital social worker in order to establish ahead of time, what will be going on and make sure they are prepared to accommodate your family. If you have any legal paperwork like a Power of Attorney or Agreement for Temporary Custody, they should get a copy as well as you bringing one with you to the birth just in case! I think hospitals are getting somewhat used to surrogacy situations but it never hurts to be overly prepared! Best wishes and keep me posted if you think about it!

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