From Shanghai to Sudbury - A Surrogacy Story
Photographer: Emily Lamb
Photographer’s Service Location: Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
From Shanghai to little ol' Sudbury, Ontario - this is the journey that two incredible dads took to meet their long awaited son.
When Josh and Fan first contacted me via email, I was overjoyed! I thought it was too good to be true. I myself hope to be a gestational carrier for two dads in the not-so-distant future, so you could say this was a dream birth for me.
If that wasn't enough to make me excited, their personalities sealed the deal. From our initial emails, to our first Skype interviews, I could tell these were special people.
We hit it off, they signed the contract, and before I knew it they were here, on the other side of the world, to meet their son.
We met at Starbucks to get to know each other better, along with their gestational carrier Dayna.
We had a wonderful time laughing and joking around. While we were there, Josh excitedly told us that his mom would be flying in from Nova Scotia to be here for the birth as well. Fan's mom had flown from China with them. It was a family affair in the most beautiful way! Such incredible love and support!
The day of Dayna's induction came and I couldn't wait to get the call to head to the hospital. I arrived earlier than I normally would have and spent the first three hours in the lobby with two very excited grandmas!
Fan's mom doesn't speak English, so she and Josh's mom, Lynn used and app on their phones to communicate. It was beautiful to watch.
I spent those three hours really getting to know Lynn. She was absolutely hilarious. She reminded me very much of my own mom and I just immediately loved her. She has such strength and wisdom about her paired with a sarcastic sense of humour and a touch of trucker mouth! We hit it off and she made me feel like part of the family!
I finally headed up to the delivery room where Dayna, her partner Randy, Josh, Fan, and their midwife Natalie were. Each time i enter a birth space, I carefully read the room and adjust to the energy. I had just been laughing downstairs with Lynn so I was preparing myself to tone it down for the sometimes serious environment of birth.
Well, I was a bit taken aback when I walked in to what felt like a party! Everyone was laughing and joking around, sharing stories. It was the most lighthearted birth space I had ever been in. Just an incredible amount of love and joy. It was absolutely beautiful!
After hours of getting to know each other, the atmosphere never becoming serious, it was time for Dayna to begin pushing!
Josh was set to catch his son. He removed his shirt so he would be able to do skin-to-skin immediately, even before the cord was to be cut.
Baby Parker joined us quickly and arrived a bit stunned. Josh caught him and held him skin-to-skin only briefly while Fan cut the cord and Parker was whisked over to the warmer.
The midwives worked to stimulate him and he pinked up quickly but he never did let out that first big cry! He was quietly content, observing everything around him. Once it was clear that he was ok, The tears began to flow. First from Fan, then from me. Parker settled in cuddled up to Josh for more skin-to-skin.
Fan watched in awe and texted the grandmas to come on up! Josh whispered to Fan in complete disbelief "we're dads".
Once the grandmas entered the room, we all erupted into tears. It was the most emotional moment I had ever witnessed and I struggled to see through my lens as tears welled up in my eyes.
The incredible joy and the beauty of that moment is something I will never ever forget.
Once everyone stopped crying a little bit and the realization of what had just happened began to hit them, everyone surrounded Dayna. The gratitude for this gift she had so selflessly given them poured from all four of them. Hugs, tears, laughter, and joy. That was Parker's birth story.
I should add that In Canada, you cannot be paid to carry someone's child for them, so Dayna had done this entirely out of the goodness of her heart.
Josh and Fan hope to have their second child in the summer of 2020 and Dayna has already offered to carry for them again. They have also hired me in advance to capture the birth of their second chid and I cannot wait for all of our paths to cross again!
Images edited with Birth Becomes Her Lightroom Brushes.