These are the top 10 do’s and don’ts we’ve heard from previous Forward Fertility matches about the hospital and delivery experience.
A mix of small talk and silence is good. Don’t just stare at her for hours on end or offer non-stop banter. Also, it’s ok to read a book or step out, too.
Let the gestational carrier control the temperature of the room and the TV/lights/radio/noise.
Carriers often feel the need to ‘entertain’ the parents if labor is going slowly. You’re not hostessing a party. No one expects you to entertain others.
Many laboring women cannot eat. Please don’t eat in front of the gestational carrier. If you’re hungry – step out and have something, but no need to share how delicious it was when you return.
Don’t assume children of the gestational carrier can hold or touch the baby. Every new parent has their own feelings about this topic – talk about it ahead of time.
Don’t assume children of the parents-to-be are welcomed into the delivery room. Find childcare for your children so you can be present for the birth.
Expect lots of emotions present at delivery: joy, fear, pride, sadness, loss, guilt, shame, jealousy, confidence, relief, worry, hope, appreciation, gratitude, love, exhilaration, frustration, tension, etc. Each person will have their own burrito of emotion they bring to the day. Unwrap your feelings burrito gently and give yourself space to experience whatever comes over you. Be kind and forgiving to each other and to yourself.
It can be hard to see someone in pain and feel ‘helpless’ – ask the carrier’s partner/support person or a nurse if there’s anything you can do or where you should stand or be. Sometimes, there is something you can do. Other times, just asking if you can help is enough.
It never hurts to re-confirm where you should be standing/viewing the baby’s birth. Take cues from the gestational carrier’s support person. They should be helping you know where to be, where to go, and where not to go.
If you’ve all agreed ahead of time to stay towards the head of the bed during the actual birth, then it’s best to follow that plan. Sometimes in the excitement of the moment, the doctor may invite the parents-to-be to view the baby being born. Remember that it’s not the provider’s place to be making that invitation.
In the absence of a medical reason, the gestational carrier should be deciding if there is an induction for ‘convenience.’ Many gestational carriers prefer to let the baby come naturally. Please do not ‘guilt’ the carrier into having an induction if she does not want to. The carrier will always follow medical instructions. Induction for convenience can definitely cause emotional trauma to the carrier. It’s hard as the parents-to-be to wait a few more days. That is understandable. Discuss induction vs ‘waiting’ for the baby to come so you both have a good understanding of how the other party feels.
Experience makes a difference. That’s why Forward Fertility shares these tips and more with gestational carriers and parents-to-be to help them prepare for delivery day.