I Have Heard the Phrase "Life Is a Gift" Before, But It Has an Entirely New Meaning to Me Now
"I have heard the phrase "Life is a gift" before... but it has an entirely new meaning to me now. I've had the pleasure of witnessing and photographing my best friend Sam go through the entire process of being a surrogate start to finish over the past year. From reading the stories of Intended Parents who are looking for the perfect surrogate and taking countless injections, ultrasounds and appointments, to meeting the amazing parents and seeing their bond grow through their almost daily conversations. Towards the end we even went through several potential early labor scares! This was a roller coaster already and we weren't even in labor yet! The parents were going to be flying in Thursday, Aug 10th just one day after she had reached 37 weeks, and we had actually joked a few times that Sam would go into labor the day they landed. Little did we know...
The day before they flew in we went to lunch and got pedicures. I again joked that hopefully the pedicures wouldn't throw her into active labor. Come 5 AM the next morning, I woke to a phone call telling me she'd been admitted for a rupture in her water and that it was go time! She'd already been there for several hours and would be starting pitocin soon! I rushed in not wanting to get stuck in traffic and potentially miss anything. The Intended Parents weren't flying in until 7 PM the next night!! At this point we weren't quite sure how this was going to go. Luckily - they went slow. VERY slow. It was hard watching her be given higher and higher doses of these contraction inducing drugs and seeing her go through all this pain but not getting any progress. On the up side - we wanted the parents to make the birth of course! Sam had an amazing Doula (Hatch Diego) helping her through her contractions and we were able to keep everything relatively calm until finally the Intended Parents arrived!! We were hoping baby Sandra was holding out for her parents and would make her way in soon! Unfortunately she didn't want to come out, but with a ruptured water she had no choice. Over 36 hours later and we still weren't getting to where we needed to be. It was exhausting and so hard to watch the parents' worries grow and Sam's frustration and feelings of defeat become stronger. The risk for infection was very big at this point as well. The nurse checked her dilation once again, and found that she still hadn't dilated much further. She headed out to call Doc and see what we should do next.
Within minutes her contractions grew in strength, pain, and pressure. I ran out and informed the nurse and everything got very real, very fast. Just over a half hour later, Sam's nurse was on the phone with the Intended Parents (They're from Spain) and a translator informing them of the post delivery process. Her Doula was taking a moment to brush her teeth and I was subbing in to help get her through a contraction. As I am talking Sam through a contraction, she all of a sudden looked as if she'd seen a ghost. She then stated that the pressure felt different and reached down under her blanket. She said she felt the baby's head! WITH HER HAND! I all but screamed 'There's no way!' and as she lifted her blanket I saw the scalp of this baby girl making her entrance, clearly on her own terms! I at this point did yell - 'The baby is coming out!' and rushed for my camera that I had literally just put down. Sam's nurse hung up the phone and the Doula ran to her side and I took my place and began snapping shots like crazy! As her nurse caught the baby, the parents watched in awe. Because there was no doctor or anyone there to assist, and baby was attached to the cord, she immediately placed baby Sandra on Sammy's chest. I was shaking and crying, everyone in the room was. This was NOT what we had expected. Sandra was here, she was safe, and the parents were radiating with new love, and relief. Once the cord was cut, Sandra went straight to her mom. And Sam watched - with the sweetest smile I think I have ever seen. They hugged. They cried. We all oohed and awed over the beautiful baby girl. It was a moment I will never forget.
Sam gave her all and I could see the love she had for surrogacy and why she does it. The parents were in sweet bliss. There is no greater gift than life - we need to live it, cherish it, create it, and for those who have special souls such as Sam, they help give it. Life is a beautiful miracle."
More at, Credit: New Edge Images
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