K: I was induced on March 3rd, we started with the miso pill to get things rolling since I wasn’t really dilated at all or thinning. Things got rolling but then it all slowed down and it took me forever to dilate. I was at a 6 for like 12hrs. It was exhausting. 2 nights of no sleep, it was a lot.
K: Turns out I don’t remember contractions at all from my first birth. I was able to handle them for several hours. They were like bad period cramps. And I could feel them come on, and then loosen up and stop. When I was finally not having a contraction it was like I could finally breathe. Contractions just make everything tense up. I think I handled them well, but I mean thank god for modern medicine! That took away all the pain.
K: I think my favorite part of the whole labor is when we got Burgerville for lunch. I was laboring on the ball and I would focus and rock through the contractions with a burger in hand and then when it was over i would go back to eating my burger haha
K: I honestly didn’t do anything to prepare for labor. I didn’t prepare for labor with my keeper either. Birth doesn’t scare me. It just never has, so going into this labor I was just ready, excited, anxious, eager to give birth to a healthy baby for his daddies. I just wanted to give birth! I knew everything was okay.
K: Labor progressed very slowly. I was in labor for 38 hrs. Went through 2 nights with no sleep. JJ wasn’t moving down into the pelvic area so the nurses had to move me and rotate my body every 20 mins through the night. I remained at a 6 for most of the time, we thought I was going to have to get a C Section there at the end. But all of the sudden my body finally took over and I shot to a 10 and it was time to push at 9am on March 5th.
K: The only thing I didn’t like about the experience was the whole no sleep thing. I love sleep!
K: We were blessed with beautiful sunny days while in the hospital, we would open up the blinds and just soak in the sun while I was laboring. It gave us all life. March can be unpredictable tho, because the day JJ was born it was of course the typical NW day, rain, grey sky, grey clouds, grey grey grey. And the week after he was born it snowed!! Then it was sunny and warm the next day.
K: During the birth I had my mom there with me the whole time. It was also important to me to have JJs dads in the room too. They were such troopers since it’s the first birth they’ve ever been a part of. They tried to distract me with jokes or fun talks, but when I had to focus through contractions I had to fooocuuus. My mom was super helpful through the whole labor, reminding me to breathe through contractions and protecting my privacy since it wasn’t just us girls in there. I’m so beyond thankful for having my mom there.
K: It was just a lot longer labor than expected. Everyone tells you the second one goes faster, well not with this guy! It took forever to get him out! Haha
K: From check in to having him, I was there for 38hrs total.
J&J: It was incredible watching the stages of labor as a spectator.
K: Birth was quick I felt. I pushed a handful of times and then things got serious. JJ has big shoulders that couldn’t fit through my pelvic bone, so the doctor had to reach for his arms to pull them up and through. Apparently this is a very scary thing, thankfully JJ was perfectly fine and healthy and he came out quick! Also a total chunk.
K: I feel like I’m a good pusher. I think I only pushed for maybe 15 mins? Since JJs shoulders were big they had to push the emergency button and NICU had to come in. I pushed a couple more times once the doctor got JJs arms out and that was it! Chunky man came out and was perfect. They had to check over him before I was able to spend time with him but he was perfect.
K: When I saw him, I said “Hi buddy” And I just remembered thinking he was all worth it. That I did this. I made him and grew him and took care of him. I also was so excited to finally hand him over to his daddies for the first time. We have been waiting for this moment for so long and it was finally here.
J&J: Having waited for hours and hours and what seemed like a very slow pace, when it was time, the delivery happened so fast! Within ten minutes of finding out, the baby had arrived. The delivery itself was scary though because he got stuck and we saw the panic/emergency actions of the medical team.
My family was very involved in the pregnancy and surrogacy process. They were all there for me and grew their relationship with the dads as well. So everyone was so excited to meet him and love on him. The guys didn’t just grow their family, we grew ours too by loving them. So we celebrated like we would with anyone.
K: The best part of the birth experience was seeing how in love the guys were when they saw their baby for the first time.
K: It was all worth it. Everything about it. All the medications, the shots I had to give myself daily for 12 weeks, the morning sickness, the uncomfortable pregnancy feeling at the end, the long labor, everything, everything was worth it for the moment to be able to complete a family.
J&J: We were in absolute awe watching Katelyn give birth. It was courageous and unlike anything we imagined!
K: I learned I’m a lot stronger than I thought. Emotionally and physically. Not a lot of people could have a baby and hand them over. He was never mine to start with though, I had the pleasure to grow him and take care of him and he was and always will be my buddy. So I’m happy to know I am as strong as I thought I was to see it through being a surrogate.
J&J: We were in awe and felt nothing but immense joy when we held him for the first time!
J&J: We were elated and relieved that the delivery went okay as we witnessed things be a little scary, but then we just felt love, happiness and awe about what just happened.
J&J: The best part hands down was getting to hold Benjamin!
Not all surrogates choose to breastfeed. Each parent/surrogate agreement is different. Katelyn was willing to breastfeed her surrobaby and she even pumped and shipped breastmilk across the country. Dads Jim and Joe wanted baby Benjamin to have as much breastmilk as possible for the health and immunity benefits it brings.
Natalie Broders is a birth photographer, birth filmmaker and birth doula located in Portland, Oregon. She lives on a farm with her husband and 2 kids. They raise chickens and love to garden. Natalie loves babywearing, cloth diapering and is passionate about her work as an advocate for birthing people. She had one of her babies at a birth center and her second baby was born at home, in water.