MRKH and Surrogacy: The Birth of Bram Hopewell

MRKH & Surrogacy: Bram’s Birth Story

On September 29, 2015 at 8:43am our son Bram Hopewell was born into this world.  Our lives changed in an instant, it was love at first sight and the beginning of a new journey in our life.

MRKH and Surrogacy: The Birth of Bram Hopewell

The morning of the 28th we had our 39 week midwife appointment. When they checked her and she was 2-3cm dilated. Heather requested the midwife “sweep her membranes” to help possibly induce labor as we were all a bit concerned with his estimated large weight causing a difficult labor if she stayed pregnant much longer. Well it worked!

MRKH and Surrogacy: The Birth of Bram HopewellHer contractions began around 2:00pm that day. By 8:00pm she was taking them seriously and by 9:00pm we were on the road to her house (its an hour long drive… but somehow Lee made it there in the longest 40 minutes ever). We waited for Heather’s Mom to arrive to watch their son before heading out and we arrived at the hospital at 11:11pm.

When we got there her contractions were about 2-4minutes a part and intense. They had us waiting in triage for almost two hours without even checking her, although she had monitors on….. neither of us were very happy about this, we wanted to know if it was the real deal or not! I was with her during that time, Lee and Stephanie stayed in the waiting area. Once they checked her she was 4cm dilated and decided to admit her… We were going to be leaving with a baby!!! We had already called the birth photographer, Laura Short, who arrived while we were in triage. The delivery suites at BWMC are ginormous! Like seriously huge which is great since we were a large party.

We walked the halls of the hospital for over an hour, stopping for each contraction and laughing and talking like normal in between. ​There were only 2 other suites occupied so it was a very quiet, at one point we walked past a room with a closed door and hear the beautiful cries of a newborn baby which was an amazing sign of things to come. The nurses smiled at us each time we walked past their desk and were very helpful and understanding of our situation.

MRKH and Surrogacy: The Birth of Bram Hopewell




MRKH and Surrogacy: The Birth of Bram Hopewell

Around 2:00am they broke her water and the contractions got stronger, she ended up on all fours on the floor several times but mainly stayed on her yoga ball bouncing through them. Stephanie was an amazing coach and partner, always by her side, rubbing her back, holding her hand and lending support in any way Heather needed. I surprised myself by feeling overwhelming guilt. I did this to her… I know she volunteered for it, but I felt incapable of providing any support more than a smile and a quick encouraging word, something I feel horrible about, but I guess you don’t know how you will handle something until you are there. Thank  goodness for Stephanie.

MRKH and Surrogacy: The Birth of Bram Hopewell

MRKH and Surrogacy: The Birth of Bram HopewellMRKH and Surrogacy: The Birth of Bram Hopewell

Around 4:00am Heather made the decision to get an epidural. This is something she says she was more afraid of than the labor/delivery since her experience with her son was not pleasant. Thankfully this one wasn’t nearly as traumatic, and actually worked. Once we were allowed back in the room everyone else took a much needed hour long nap, while I traversed hospital bureaucracy to get a drug test taken so I would be able to nurse my son once he was born. Drug testing is something they do routinely on pregnant women at this hospital, so I understand why they would want to for me but going through so much to have a child do they really think I have a drug problem??

Around 8:00am Heather said she felt pressure and wanted to be checked, and she was 10cm dilated but in -1 station (head was still far up). The midwife said lets get the table ready and see if you can push, if not we’ll check back in a bit. So after some prep we all assumed our positions. Stephanie was on one leg leg, the midwife was on the other leg, Lee and I were by her right shoulder and the birth photographer had wiggled her way behind the bed’s headboard.

MRKH and Surrogacy: The Birth of Bram Hopewell

MRKH and Surrogacy: The Birth of Bram Hopewell

Well Heather is a rockstar because she was able to push his down quickly.  Lee and I were able to take a peek and see his head making its way down.  She pushed and pushed and within 25-30 minutes he was born. Crying… more like screaming! Head full of hair and just as precious as could be. It seemed like an eternity with him laying on her belly while we fawned and kissed over him. We opted for delayed cord clamping, so after a few minutes I cut the cord then made my way over the recliner chair. The midwife brought Bram to me and under warmed blankets we had over an hour of uninterrupted skin to skin bonding time.  He continued to cry and cry for a majority of that hour and was doing “the breast crawl” so eventually I helped him latch. He nursed for a good 20 minutes all while the nurse did her initial tests on him. Lee then sat down and got to spend about 30 minutes cuddling with our miracle baby.

MRKH and Surrogacy: The Birth of Bram Hopewell

MRKH and Surrogacy: The Birth of Bram Hopewell

During this bonding time is when Lee and I decided to announce our chosen name for him. We had a short list with a particular name at the top but wanted to wait until we met him to make a final decision. Bram Hopewell. Bram is a Dutch version of the Hebrew name Abraham, my ancestory is partially dutch and being Jewish we thought it was a good fit…plus its a pretty awesome name. And we always knew we wanted “hope” to be part of the name in some way as that has always been the “theme” to our journey. “H” was the middle initial we wanted to honor both of our paternal grandfathers “Herman” and “Hans” so it fit very nicely. And if he ever becomes famous he can drop the Fleishman and he has a rockstar name already!

MRKH and Surrogacy: The Birth of Bram Hopewell

The nurse then took him over to the bassinet to get his weight and measurements. He was 8lbs, 8oz and 21″ long! It was then I decided to call my mom and give her the news. I had decided not to tell anyone about Heather going into labor so we could experience this all on our own without people asking for updates or interrupting or pressuring us to visit. We know this is a special experience, and one we will most certainly only be experiencing once so I wanted to fully soak it up. My mom completely lost it crying when she heard Bram crying in the background. I know many people have been on this journey with us and were just as excited for as arrival as we were.

MRKH and Surrogacy: The Birth of Bram Hopewell

There are literally no words to express how grateful we are to Heather and Stephanie to volunteer so selflessly to allow us to achieve our dreams. They are truly special people and I hope others see how awesome they are. They will forever have a place in our family and our hearts. And we have no intentions to alter our current relationship with them, they’re awesome people who wouldn’t want friends like them!

MRKH and Surrogacy: The Birth of Bram Hopewell

Around 12:30pm the nurses moved us to our own separate rooms, next door to each other, where we would be staying in overnight. With a very uneventful night (Bram’s cries only woke Heather twice!) We were all discharged around 12:30pm the next day!

When I was first told I wouldn’t be able to have children I didn’t give up hope. If you want something bad enough you find a way. So never give up hope, you’d be surprised what you can accomplish with a little bit of…hope.