You’re Welcome

Every Surrogate Mom tells me that they are at a loss for words when their Couples praise them for their generosity throughout their surrogacy experience.  Even before the pregnancy is achieved, the Couples thank them for their efforts.  But at the delivery and thereafter, needless to say the “Thanks” is said with so much more emotion and profound gratitude.  So, what do you say to that?  That is the question every Surrogate Mom asks me.  They want to know how to respond.  I have always said there are no words to respond especially because I believe the Surrogate cannot possibly grasp the magnitude of what she has just done.  She has changed not only these people’s lives forever, but their families, their community and quite possibly the world.  In 20 years from now, some of Building Families’ babies will be in their upper 30’s.  Maybe they will be the President of the United States or leader of their own country.  Wow, huh?!!  Anyway, I don’t want the point of my statement to get lost in the multitude of possibilities that the future will hold for all of my BFI babies.  The point is that when you have done something so profound, what is the proper response?

Well, I want to share my two days with Britni and her family as I believe it answers this question.  Britni delivered on April 2nd and it was an incredible day.  The delivery was planned so we were supposed to arrive to the hospital at 8:00am.  Late the night before, the hospital called to say they were booked and we had to wait until noon to come in.  That was just fine as that gave us more time to visit at the local Starbucks.  I have to say in my 19 years, I have not met with the Surrogate Mom and her Couple at a Starbucks a few hours before their baby was to be born.  But it was fitting for this case.  Britni comes from a small town and I think that everyone, literally, knows each other there.  We sat at a table that had 8 chairs, maybe 10, and slowly each chair was filled.  Besides us, Britni’s family came to wish everyone well, then friends, etc.  It was such an incredible show of support not only to Britni, but to her Couple too.  Britni was keeping track of everyone’s guesses for the time of the birth and also Emma’s weight.  There were 20 people in that pool!

I had to break up the party and remind everyone that we had a baby to deliver.  Not that Emma wasn’t the topic of many of the conversations, still time was flying by as it usually does when you are having fun and we had to be at the hospital in less than 15 minutes!  It was very cute to see a side to the Dad-to-be that I had not really seen yet.  It took me a while to come up with an adjective to describe him as he was nervous, excited, deliriously happy and did I mention nervous?  So, I said to his wife that he seemed giddy to me.  We both laughed as she completely agreed.  And she said too that this is a side she rarely has seen and it warms her heart to see his excitement about becoming a Dad.  Now don’t think for a moment that Mom was all calm and collected.  We were completing paperwork and at some point she asks me, “So, Carol, what floor are we on now?”  I thought she was kidding so I laughed.  This was a small hospital and there were no floors but the one we were on.  Then I realized she was serious.  I laughed even harder.  I told her she needed someone to pinch her as she needed a reality check.  It was then she realized how nervous she was.

It seemed like we went from checking in to the hospital to delivery in no time.  The new parents were by Britni’s side awaiting Emma’s arrival.   Dad was ready to cut the cord and he did a fine job.  Mom couldn’t stop hugging Britni as tears streamed down her face.  Britni finally had to tell them to go be with their beautiful baby girl.  Mom reluctantly left Britni’s side as it was obvious she wanted to make sure she was okay and was torn between her and her new baby.   There was not a dry eye in that room! I had guessed that Emma would arrive at 6:15pm, but I was off by 30 minutes.  Britni predicted it to be 6:45pm and she was exactly right.  Go figure!  I think there was some cheating going on there.  Ha!  But I guessed Emma’s weight exactly at 7lb 2oz.  So, I won $20!!   Check out my picture holding my winnings.

After everyone got settled in after Emma’s arrival, the party that started at Starbucks that morning resumed.  Pizza was delivered and the visiting continued into well into the night.  The only difference is there was one more person in the room; the person who brought us all together in the first place.  She didn’t have a name yet or even a planned date for her arrival two years ago when I first met her parents.  But she was in their hearts when I first met them and when I left them that evening, she was in their arms.  All thanks to Britni!

So, the next morning I came in to check on everyone and to say my good-byes as I needed to start on my 3+ hour drive home.  I stopped by Britni’s room first and her husband and father were visiting.  We decided to go next door and visit the new family.  The new Dad looked a little tired, but still had that huge smile on his face.  He was feeding his daughter and had music playing on his I-Phone for her.  He insisted she liked his music.  The new Mom was asking Britni how she was feeling and as soon as Emma finished her bottle, she gave Emma to Britni to hold.  Britni’s friends and family stopped by during the day yesterday and also that morning bearing gifts.  I think that new Parents must have rented a U-Haul to take everything home!  It was amazing how much support everyone was given throughout our journey together.  Even I got beautiful flowers and a thoughtful gift from Britni and her family.  They thanked me for what I do.  I was at a loss for words.  What was I supposed to say?  I told them the truth.  I was honored to have worked with such beautiful people and having lived this past year with them has enriched my life.  It wasn’t a direct answer, but it was how I felt.

Then I got to hold Emma.  So many memories came flooding into my head as I looked upon her sweet, little face.  I remembered vividly when I first introduced her parents to Britni & Nate.  How after 3 hours I finally had to leave and they stayed talking for I don’t know how long.  I remember how nervous the Mom-to-be was when she was meeting Britni’s parents for the first time.  But they were so warm and welcoming we were both at ease in no time.  We went to their local Mexican restaurant and many of their friends and family joined us.  And it remained this way throughout.  I couldn’t help but smile.  I realized when I got home that I still had that smile on my face!

Well, let me get back to the point of sharing my entire two days with you besides the obvious fact that this was a beautiful story that I wanted to share.  I realized I didn’t have any pictures of Nate holding Emma and he was happy to oblige.  Now remember, throughout their entire journey this grateful Couple constantly praised Britni and Nate for their efforts in making them a family.  They said thank you probably a million times and that may not be an exaggeration!  So, I hand Emma to Nate and he gazes into her beautiful face and says to the new Dad, “You’re Welcome”.   The Dad and I looked at each other for a moment a little puzzled as he hadn’t said anything.  We looked back at Nate.  He didn’t say anything else at first, but then he got an excited look on his face.  He began to tell him about all of the cool stuff that he would be able to do with his new kiddo and how great life will be.  And he just wanted him to know right now that it was his pleasure to be a part of it and he didn’t know what else to say.  He went on to say, “So, when you’re up at night with a sick baby or videotaping her first dance recital, just know that “You’re Welcome.”

We laughed at the simplicity of it and we even joked about it a bit.  But truly it is the right answer.  Our mothers taught us when we were little to say “Thank You” and to always respond with “You’re Welcome”.   So, listen to your mothers and follow their advice.