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Surrogacy and the Breastfeeding Connection

a blog by Jamie Pursley, January 23, 2013

Being diagnosed with infertility is difficult, but finding another woman willing to carry a pregnancy for you instills a sense of hope, otherwise lost. Jamie and her husband are fortunate to be approaching parenthood as a result of gestational surrogacy. Some intended mothers feel concern and anxiety over their ability to bond with the baby they were unable to carry. Many of these mothers learn that they can form a strong with their baby through breastfeeding. Jamie shares her experiences of surprise and elation as she prepares for her baby's arrival.

Today was my first “breastfeeding stimulation” experience. My friend/lactation doctor came over this afternoon, equipped with a breast pump and all kinds of herbal supplements and teas. We discussed the process and options regarding herbal supplementation, medical supplementation, and pure stimulation. I was warned, the herbal supplementation may not be the “tastiest”. After an in depth conversation about my hopes and goals for my breastfeeding, we dove straight into stimulation. So basically, this entails “nipple stimulation” as well as pumping (using a regular breast milk pump). I am fortunate enough to have amazing friends who lend/give me their supplies, so I am the proud owner of a beautiful (and “top of the line”) hospital grade breast pump! Thanks, Amy!!

So, I began pumping, just to test the waters – so to speak. I had discovered weeks ago that apparently my milk supply from my pregnancy with Robert hadn’t dried up; I still have milk, albeit a very small amount. I wasn’t sure if I was finally over the edge of sanity, or if it really was milk I was seeing. Sure enough, my doc confirmed after a one minute trial-pump that I am producing colostrum!!! She had warned me before we pumped to not be disappointed if I don’t see any results from the pumping for a few weeks; low and behold, I had a beautiful showing of colostrum after only one minute of pumping. Not enough to freeze and store, but enough to see that our bodies, as women, are nothing short of amazing. More than a year after losing Robert William (at 16 weeks gestation, due to uterine rupture), my body still amazes me. As if surviving through the near impossible wasn’t miracle enough! I am just blown away by what God gives us.

After reveling in the awe of the human body for a while, I made myself a cup of the “mothers milk” herbal tea. Wow. I knew it wouldn’t be pleasant, just from the list of ingredients listed. Among them: fennel. Who puts – fennel – in tea? That’s a spice used in Italian sausage!! Needless to say, it was not a tasty cup of tea, but I held my nose and downed it; then I promptly chased it with orange gatorade.

Nothing will stop me from this bonding opportunity with my son – this is my chance to nourish him and help grow his little body after not being able to carry him myself. Thank you, Lord!

Yuck. Anything for Liam!

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