In this episode, we look at birth stories from the unique perspective of a surrogate mom. Susan Fuller has had three children of her own and has been a gestational surrogate seven times. Her stories includes two sets of twins, two Cesarean births, three water births, two home births, four VBACs, three inductions, and four unmedicated births. Listen to her insights as she looks back at all her births.
What we talked about:
- Susan personal statistics, and how they mix-and-match for really interesting stories:
- 12 children
- 11 births
- 9 vaginal births
- 5 VBACs
- 5 unmedicated
- 4 inductions
- 4 epidurals
- 3 water births
- 2 sets of twins
- 2 Cesarean births
- 2 homebirths
- 1 stillborn
- initially experienced infertility
- What does ‘gestational surrogacy’ mean
- Which birth impacted her the most
- What she learned was important during a stillbirth
- Considering how the intended parents will experience the birth
- Susan’s #1 tip: choose your care provider wisely!
- When you know better, you do better
- Pitocin definitely makes it hurt more!
- Susan’s favorite comfort measures (hint: there’s water involved)
- Surrogacy and breastfeeding
- It’s much easier without the baby: recovering from a surrogate pregnancy
Susan reading “I Knew You Could”, in Listen to Your Mother.
(Note: this is the story about her stillbirth experience. It is incredibly moving.)
Related Birthful episodes:
- Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, with Nancy Wainer
- Your Birth Hormones, with Dr. Sarah Buckley (where we speak about the difference between Pitocin and oxytocin)
- Choosing Your Care Provider, with Robin Elise Weiss
- Birth Intuition, with Lesley Everest
- Milksharing and Milkbanking, with Amber McCann
- Stillbirths and Infant Deaths, with Amy Wright Glenn
About Susan MZ Fuller
Susan MZ Fuller struggled to get pregnant with her first child and while researching fertility treatment options, came across the idea of surrogacy. About a year later she and her husband did end up getting pregnant without intervention, but the idea of surrogacy stuck with her and within 20 minutes of giving birth for the first time, Susan breathlessly exclaimed to her husband “I can’t wait to do that again!”
After completing her family of three children, Susan pursued gestational surrogacy as a way to help others achieve their dreams of parenthood but also as a way to continue enjoying pregnancy and childbirth without expanding her own family.
Her first surrogacy was a set of twins, as was her second one. Her third surrogacy was a single baby who was born via homebirth in the intended parents’ home. Her fourth surrogacy was a stillbirth due to genetic abnormalities.
Her fifth, sixth, and seventh surrogacies all resulted in single babies. With the exception of her stillbirth experience, all of her pregnancies were full term and resulted in healthy babies.
Noting that there was very little information about the relationship dynamics that develop between intended parents and surrogate mothers and drawing on her years of personal experience as well as the experience of other surrogate mothers and intended parents she knew, Susan Fuller wrote “Successful Surrogacy: An Intended Parents’ Guide to a Rewarding Relationship With Their Surrogate Mother” to serve as a step-by-step guide through the surrogacy process, from a surrogate’s point of view.
Susan lives outside of Washington DC with her husband, three children, and a menagerie of pets.
You can also catch Susan’s musings at FullerByDesign.com
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