My first glimpse into the world of surrogacy was back in 2011, when my very good friends were told they were not able to have anymore children. They were desperately looking into adoption and surrogacy, and when they spoke with me about their struggles, I offered to carry for them without even having a second thought. A few short weeks later, they found out that they had indeed successfully gotten pregnant on their own, and at that point surrogacy was put on hold for me. But it was never too far away from my thoughts.
Fast forward to 2016, my youngest daughter had just had her first birthday, and I knew my family was finally complete. It seemed to me that I was ready to start looking into surrogacy again. In August 2016, I signed up with SCO to be a surrogate. I immediately was contacted by so many couples looking for a surrogate. My heart was breaking, because I wanted to be able to help every single one of them. But I unfortunately was only able to choose one. After a week of talking to different people, I decided to choose R&C. We had the most amazing connection, like we had known each other for years. I offered to be their surrogate, and they graciously accepted.
In September, we started our screening process. Everything went well, and we had planned a transfer for November 25th, 2016. Everyone was so excited and happy that day. We decided that we didn't want to do any home pregnancy tests, so that we would be surprised when our blood work results came in. We had all the hope in the world that in a couple of short weeks, we would be getting the news that it was successful. Unfortunately that ended up not being the case. Our blood work came back negative. Everyone was crushed. It had always been so easy for me to get pregnant, that it left me questioning why it didn't work. There is so much riding on us as surrogates, that it is so hard not to feel like you failed the parents, many of whom had already experienced this many times on their own. But, our doctor had high hopes for us, and we scheduled another transfer.
On January 9th, we went in for our second transfer. Both R and I were super nervous, wondering if this one would be successful. On January 18th, over a video call with R&C we decided that this time we would do a home pregnancy test. It was the longest 5 minutes of our lives. But, it was POSITIVE! It was the most wonderful sight, seeing their faces when they realized they were going to have a baby!
We had a fairly uneventful pregnancy, in May of 2017 they came to see me for the 20 week Anatomy Scan. We found out the amazing news that they were having a GIRL! They were so happy to finally be able to see their baby for the first time, and to find out they were going to be having a daughter.
Our due date was the end of September. That day came and went, with no signs of her arrival. R&C were staying in town nearby, just waiting for the call. Finally, on October 2nd in the afternoon, my contractions started, but they were very mild and far apart. This went on for several hours, keeping me awake most of the night. Finally, at 6am on October 3rd, my contractions were close together and strong. I called my midwife to come check my progress, and she decided it was time to give R&C a call and head over to the hospital. Labour was also very uneventful, but long. My contractions had started the previous day around 4:30 pm, and baby S was born almost 24 hours later, just after 3 pm.
It was the most amazing feeling. There was so much love in that room, and seeing R&C officially become a family was the one of the most amazing moments of my life, just behind my own children being born. It was everything I had hoped for when starting this journey, and everything that has encouraged me to continue helping people this way.
Can you share one special occasion or moment during your journey that left a lasting impression?
Absolutely the moment S was born. There is no feeling in the world like it. There was so much love, between everyone in the room. The saying "it takes a village" comes to mind to describe this moment, and it had never felt more true than it did watching R&C hold their baby for the first time.
How is your relationship with your surrogate mother/egg donor, intended parent(s) or recipient couple?
We have an amazing relationship. Even with the business of parenthood, they still message and send pictures at least once a week. Its been so wonderful seeing baby S grow, experiencing her first smile, her first Halloween, and her first Christmas.
What advice can you offer to others considering surrogacy and/or egg donation or embarking on their first journey?
Don't overthink things. Live every moment of this experience. It is absolutely life changing, for both parties. The most important thing of the journey, is if it isn't successful at first, to not try to blame yourself. It is a situation where it is not anyone's fault, it was just not meant to be. The stress is not worth it to wonder the what-if's or to question what went wrong.