Editor’s Note: This post is Part 2 of a 3 part series, written from the perspective of a surrogate. We are so grateful to have this unique and personal glimpse into surrogacy. Click here to read Part 1.
Making the decision to be a surrogate is not something one should decide overnight. Researching, learning the language, following other surrogate’s stories, asking questions, and for some- praying – are the first steps to learning if becoming a surrogate, or IP, is something you’re prepared to do. While the process of surrogacy is relatively the same across the board, the relationships that are created in situations like this vary considerably. Fortunately for Brian and I, we found not only one, but 2 couples that we are simply smitten with and are excited to consider a part of our family. While our relationship with the first couple did not end in me successfully carrying a baby for them, we still maintain regular contact with them and we each continue to support one another. Bonus – after 15 rounds of IVF smattered with miscarriages and failed transfers, the IM unexpectedly carried their own beautiful daughter to term and they are proud parents FINALLY to a miracle baby girl. THAT’S definitely a way better ending than had I carried their baby myself. Oh and the couple we’re currently pregnant for? Grandslam. We couldn’t have asked for more. They’re going to make amazing (doe eyed, exhausted, bewildered, first time) parents the day this little one enters the world.
How Does This Work?
Do the parents go to appointments with me? YES! They do not live in Rochester, so unfortunately they have not physically been at each appointment, but Brian skypes them in and they are able to meet our midwives, ask questions, listen to heartbeats and hear all about my heartburn, cramps, and weight gain! Fortunately, one of the parents was able to be here for the 20 week anatomy ultrasound. I can’t speak for him, but I was so grateful to have him there to see his baby on the screen in person. There are many many joys in surrogacy, but sitting next to someone while they’re seeing their baby move – yeah, that’s one of my favorite things.
Will they be at the birth? We hope so! Again, since my IPs are not local, we run the risk that they could miss the birth if I were to go into labor early. The plan is for them to come before my due date, join us in the delivery room and be as involved as they can be as their son enters the world for the first time. THAT is the moment that will make all of this worth it. All of it. All the injections, swollen feet, kicked ribs, stretch marks, and nausea are for that incredible moment that this baby meets his parents.
Will I be able to give the baby up? Umm, yea. Cuz it’s not my baby yo. In fact, I won’t be giving anything up, I’ll be giving him back. He’s not mine.
His place is with them. I have pages and pages and pages – over 100 pages – making sure that I understand that this baby that I carry is not mine, lest I forget. But this spring my youngest son graduates from high school and there isn’t even a teeny tiny part of me that is interested in going down the baby path again. So, after he’s born, I’ll sleep. For days probably. (I miss sleep)
What if I change my mind? I won’t. What if they change their minds? They won’t. They’ve gone to great lengths – searching for and interviewing REs, creating embryos, researching and interviewing agencies, lawyers, and surrogates, I won’t even touch the financial piece of things. Trust me- they want this baby.
Am I worried about bonding with the baby during pregnancy? This was Brian’s biggest concern in our initial conversations about becoming a surrogate. Wouldn’t I bond with the baby? And you know what, I am. I’m protective of him. I want him safe. I am responsible for every single one of his needs. I don’t take that lightly. This baby kicks and moves and responds to my voice. That’s an incredible feeling. Getting pregnant was a medical procedure with no fewer than 5 people, along with my husband, in the room and 2 people skyping in by phone just 2 feet from my head. Every decision is made as a team with 2 very involved parents many miles away. His name, his future, his bedroom, and healthcare decisions are all being made by people other than me. I’ve more than once forgotten that I was pregnant – until I catch a side glance in the mirror – yikes! However, I have never ever forgotten that this precious cargo is loved and cherished by two parents who are not named Jodie and Brian. Don’t get me wrong, I tear up when I hear his beautiful heartbeat. I worried for weeks when I had consistent cramps that I couldn’t seem to stop. I work out and walk – even when I really don’t want to because I know it’s best for him. I GAVE UP WINE. I spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to catch his kicking on video with my phone to send to his parents. I spend my evenings with belly buds on my stomach with baby’s parents reading books, or singing songs or telling stories to him so that he may recognize their voices when he enters the world. Our immune systems are syncing. I’m prepared to pump milk to nourish him for as long as his parents would like me to… I do love this baby. And his parents. I want him healthy and safe. I pray for him. For his future. For his well being. For their family.
I love my life with my husband and boys. I love being the mom to 2 young men who are navigating the world in new ways. One who is figuring out how to decide what ‘the rest of his life‘ is supposed to look like, and one who is wrapping up his high school years and making those ever difficult decisions about college and career. My husband and I are dreaming of the next phase of our lives. Our boys are closer to their own weddings than their days in diapers. This baby doesn’t fit into the day to day future that we’re planning. He’s loved by many many people. He has parents dreaming dreams for him and making plans and holding their breath for his arrival. That’s what surrogacy is all about. Becoming a GC isn’t about getting a baby of my own, it is all about helping a couple who has exhausted all other options of becoming parents.