Being that all surrogates have been through labor and delivery with their own children before, these women know what to expect and how to prepare for the big day. However, surrogacy is a bit different in how you will prepare and pack your hospital bag. Honestly, it’s much easier this time around because it’s all about you!
Since you’ve already given so much of your body and energy to the intended parents who want to experience the joy of parenthood, it’s important to be as comfortable as possible. Therefore, you should have a ready-to-go surrogate’s hospital bag to make yourself relaxed and calm when the baby decides to make its big debut.
In this guide I’ve made a list of items you’ll find handy for your hospital stay when you go into labor. Remember, although you’re not going home with a baby, you will still have to stay in the hospital for a day or two. Mostly likely an overnight stay for sure. So, when you start preparing your bag, make sure you have the following items packed.
Everything a Surrogate Needs for Her Delivery Hospital Stay
Pack Postpartum Supplies
You’ve delivered a baby already, so you know the post-delivery drill. There’s plenty of bleeding and lochia afterwards. You may already have a preference on what kind of postpartum underwear you want to use. You can opt to use whatever the hospital has available for you, or you can pack more comfortable options. From hefty disposable underwear (aka adult diapers), to super maxi pads with very stretchy underwear, pick you favorite. I personally never liked the post-delivery supplies the hospital gives you, but that’s just me. But at the same time you may not want to spend extra money if you don’t have to. Just keep in mind, these kinds of items will keep you cozy under your clothes during your recovery.
Wear Comfy Clothes
There’s always a conundrum about what to wear after giving birth in the hospital. The one thing I can say for sure is that hospital gowns are super lame and I can’t wait to get out of it after baby is born!
Relaxed and easy to wear clothes are a must after surrogate labor. You’ll also definitely need some comfy attire for your trip home once you are released from the hospital. I always recommend some sweats or joggers because they are the coziest choice, plus they won’t show your giant pad. If you wear leggings home, I suggest packing a long tunic top over it so that your butt is covered.
Breastfeeding Bra and Tops
When it comes to breastfeeding and surrogacy, it goes on a case-by-case basis. As the due date approaches and the pregnancy comes to a close, the surrogacy agency case manager should facilitate a conversation between the surrogate and intended parents about breastfeeding expectations. Some intended parents will be comfortable with it, while others won’t. Same goes with surrogates. Some intended parents really want their baby to get that early dose of colostrum and breastmilk. Pumping and bottle feeding is also an option.
If you’ve made the decision to breastfeed and/or pump, then you’ll need to pack a nursing bra and nursing tank tops. Easy and quick boob access is the name of the game with breastfeeding. You can also opt for a nice robe that opens in the front.
Don’t Forget the Chapstick!
There’s something about labor and delivery that makes your mouth super dry and your lips very chapped. I remember chugging water after delivery and applying chapstick frequently. It’s a small thing to pack, but very much needed. Sometimes the hospital will provide chapstick, but I wouldn’t say it’s a guarantee.
Don’t Get Bored and Stay Entertained
The biggest difference between a regular hospital delivery and a surrogate delivery is how you spend your time after the baby is born. The intended parents and the baby will almost always have their own room, so the surrogate will get her own room with peace and quiet. After you’ve gotten all your rest and sleep, you may have another 12 – 24 hours left in the hospital.
Being a surrogate means you don’t have to care for the baby after the delivery. This will give you lots of free time while you’re staying in the hospital during your recovery. So, remember to pack something that will keep you entertained while you’re there.
Self-entertainment looks different for everyone. You can pack a new book to read, bring your laptop and binge your favorite show on streaming services, listen to podcasts or music while you get artsy with an adult coloring book, etc.
Chargers for Your Devices
Whenever you go somewhere, you probably count your chargers as essentials, so you would pack them first. However, packing for a surrogate’s delivery can happen in a rush, so you can easily forget them. Therefore, make sure you put chargers on your list, so you can easily check them off when you put them in your bag. This is the most certain way to not leave without them when labor starts. Being stuck in the hospital with a phone and laptop with no charge would be less than ideal.
Sleep Essentials for Your Hospital Stay
As a surrogate, you won’t have to take care of the baby, meaning you’ll have plenty of time to rest and sleep. Nonetheless, sleeping in a hospital isn’t always easy. You might find the bed uncomfortable, or you may be disturbed by surrounding light and noises.
So, take some earplugs, a sleeping mask, or even your own pillow. Some women find it hard to sleep on pillows they are not used to, so pack yours just in case. If the noises in the hospital disrupt your sleep, you can download a white noise app, or pack a portable sound machine.
Stay Fresh with Showering Supplies
After labor you’ll most likely be feeling kinda sweaty and sticky. That first shower after delivery is a must to feeling comfortable. Although some hospitals provide showering items like body wash, shampoo and conditioner, you might feel more comfortable if you pack your own. Especially if you have beauty brand preferences. In your bag also include face wash, facial lotion and makeup if you prefer. After shower body lotion a must because your skin may be feeling dry and itchy. Also, remember to take a toothbrush and toothpaste for a fresh feeling.
Snacks and Treats
Every hospital provides food for its patients, but not many people like it. After all, you’ve been through pregnancy and labor, so it’s only natural that you’d want to snack on something tasty. Therefore, pack a few bags of healthy snacks and use them as energy boosters.
Important Surrogacy Documents
When you arrive at the hospital, you’ll need to provide registration forms and identification. It’s also important to bring your health insurance information and birth plan. In your birth plan it can outline surrogacy particulars, such as hand the baby to the intended parents after it’s born for skin-to-skin. If circumstances prevent the intended parents from being present at the time of delivery, then the surrogate will usually do skin-to-skin until the parents arrive.
The intended parents and surrogacy agency will have already registered for the baby’s care, so you won’t need to worry about providing that information. In most cases, the pre-birth order will already be sent over, and the intended parents’ names will be on the birth certificate.
In rare cases, there might be some pushback from the hospital staff on the surrogacy procedures. Not everyone is familiar with how surrogacy works and it can cause some confusion and concern for the nurses and admin workers. It can’t hurt to have copies of your legal surrogacy contract and parentage documents for the intended parents establishing them as the legal parents.
Giving birth is the last big hurrah of your journey, but it’s still not easy, so good preparation is mandatory. By packing your surrogate’s hospital bag properly, you’ll ensure that your hospital stay will be a more enjoyable experience. I hope this list will help you bring everything you’ll need after giving birth.Learn More