For those of you that haven’t heard, I have some big news: Once again, I’m carrying a life. This life is a kicking, somersaulting little boy who, when born, will be handed back to his parents, two Dads who live in Utah. He is due on May 3rd or thereabouts.
I might be crazy, I’m not sure. But this has been an amazing journey so far and one that is still teaching me.
One thing that everyone wants to know is what made me choose to be a surrogate. It’s a fair question, but one with an understandingly complicated answer. There are a few parts to it.
A) I’m one of those women who liked being pregnant (and if I could skip the first trimester, I would like it even more) and I loved giving birth. I know that’s weird, but I absolutely loved the birth process. Author and anthropologist, Sheila Kitzinger, once said about birth, “Now this is a sport I can do!” and I completely relate to that. Besides that, I had my children at 23 and 28 respectively, so at 35 I’m totally done with my family, but have still felt the itch to go through the process again.
See! Here is how giant my children are now. There’s no trace of baby left in them.
B) As a doula and childbirth educator I work with women that are pregnant and giving birth, and while some of these women had an easy time getting and staying pregnant, many of them had a long road of miscarriages or infertility before they got to the point of carrying a full-term pregnancy. Many women in my personal sphere have also had their hearts broken over and over in their attempts to have a child. Many times I have wanted to hand over some of my own fertility to these families.
C) Putting A & B together made me realize that I would be a perfect candidate for helping someone have their own biological child. I had no trouble getting pregnant or staying pregnant and had had uncomplicated pregnancies and births. In the end I was matched with a wonderful gay couple (rather than a heterosexual couple, with a mother unable to carry a child) and I wouldn’t change a thing. I feel lucky to be matched with these great guys and they say they feel the same about me.
D) Professional development- It’s no secret that I live and breathe fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Being a surrogate would allow me to experience IVF (crazy!), ultrasounds and hospital birth– all things I did not experience in my own pregnancies and births. What I got was even more than I bargained for. I went through the IVF process once, got pregnant, had the easiest first trimester I’ve EVER had and at almost 10 weeks found that the baby had no heart beat and had stopped growing at about 8 weeks 5 days. It’s hard to explain the shock of finding that out (I was supposed to be taking care of this baby!), but even after I had accepted that the baby was gone, I still wasn’t done because I had to deal with the reality of “birthing” this baby that was no longer with us. Too many of you have experienced this. For me it was the first time and I will never forget it or take for granted the difficulty of that piece of the process. Luckily, the second embryo transfer also resulted in pregnancy and this one has stuck despite a rocky beginning with some scary bleeding (and this time the first trimester was much more like what I remember with my own children, namely, nauseous).
Here’s me just after the last embryo transfer in August.
Here’s me after I’m pretty sure I’m pregnant, but before I’ve gotten a blood test to confirm it.
E) Compensation- I really should mention that I’m being monetarily compensated for this pregnancy. For me that was important, though not at all the sole motivation. This “job” is a 24/7 endeavor and one I’ve been working on for more than a year. It has affected my work and my family, so it feels important that I’m not making those sacrifices for nothing. It’s giving our family a little boost, but really, if I just wanted to make some extra cash there are far less laborious ways of doing that.
I knitted some booties while on bed rest after the embryo transfer for good luck with this baby sticking:
It’s exciting to be pregnant again. It’s also a little strange too to figure out how to be excited about a baby that doesn’t belong to our family. We’re figuring it out.
In the mean time, I’m totally back in the world of maternity jeans, round-ligament pain, slow digestion, you name it! And it’s reminding me of all sorts of pregnancy tidbits that I had long since forgotten. This is good news for my clients–it’s a refresher for me! So while I’ll be off work for most of April, May and a little bit of June, I can already tell that I’ll be excited to take on more clients for the second half of the year.
I’m wishing you all health and wellness this winter and through the year!
These are some ultrasound pictures from the anatomy scan at 19 weeks. I never did this with my own children!
And here’s a recent picture of my growing belly. Babycenter.com informs me that my uterus is the size of a soccer ball now, which seems huge to me! But it’s only going to get bigger…