Surrogate Story: November
What month and year was your surrogate baby born?
What originally inspired you to look into surrogacy?
"My best friend was a surrogate years ago. It was a really rewarding experience for her and it always intrigued me. After I had a child of my own and I was eligible to become a surrogate, I started doing more research and decided to pursue it."
What was your favorite or most memorable moment during this whole process?
“There have been many, but hands down, the MOST memorable moment was having the baby! Mom got to hold her immediately after she was born and Dad got to cut the cord. The baby was gorgeous and it was so moving to get to see her meet her parents for the first time.”
What was the most unexpected part of this process?
“Going into labor five weeks early. My pregnancy with my daughter was really uneventful and she was over a week late, so any complications at all were totally unexpected. It was hard knowing that baby was going to be premature and there was nothing I could do about it. Happily, baby was healthy even though she was early.”
How was the matching process?
"Wonderful. We had one match that fizzled because the parents decided they wanted to postpone their surrogacy, but our second match was perfect. We knew pretty quickly after meeting them that they were a great match for us. They have become dear friends and we spent a good amount of time hanging out with them during the pregnancy just because they are wonderful people."
How was the pregnancy and how involved were the Intended Parents during the pregnancy?
"The pregnancy was easy and pretty much just like my pregnancy with my daughter right up until the end. Other than mild morning sickness in the first trimester I felt pretty normal. The parents were great. They were a couple of hours away, but we texted usually once or twice a week throughout the pregnancy and we saw them in person several times as well. We had a great time going to visit them in their cute little mountain town over the summer."
How did you talk to other people about the process, like your friends and family? Even strangers?
"Before I started showing, I didn't really mention it to anyone. My family, of course, knew about it long before I actually got pregnant and they were supportive. Once I started showing, I'd quickly explain to friends and acquaintances "I'm a surrogate!" before they got too far into congratulating me, but for strangers, I'd usually just smile and say thank you. Everyone that I explained surrogacy to thought it was a really cool thing. Some people even said "oh I've always wanted to do that!" and some people didn't really know much about it. Others thought I was "giving away my own baby" :-) until I explained the science of it."
How did you talk to your kids about surrogacy before, during and after the birth?
“I have a 6.5 year old stepson and a 2.5 year old daughter. My stepson knew exactly what was happening and that the baby wasn't "ours." I actually didn't tell my daughter about it, since she was too little to notice the growing belly and I didn't want to confuse her when the baby in my belly didn't come home with us. Now that I am pumping breastmilk, though, she didn't bat at an eye when I told her the milk was "for the baby" and she was in awe the first time she met the baby. They have both handled it really well.”
How was your delivery and post-pregnancy?
"Delivery was actually great and much better than my delivery with my daughter. I had really wanted a natural birth with my daughter, but after 24 hours of difficult labor and no signs of progress, I eventually got an epidural and was induced with her. With the surrogate delivery, I again had to be induced due to premature rupture of membranes at about 35 weeks (cause unknown), but this time labor was quite manageable and I was able to have the drug-free birth I wanted. It was such an empowering experience and my recovery was much easier, too!"
What were your feelings when you saw the IP(s) hold their baby for the first time?
"So incredible - words can't really describe. Mom and Dad were both so emotional and happy to meet their little girl. Everyone was all smiles. I'll never forget that feeling of sheer joy."
What was one thing you wished you would have had in your hospital bag that you forgot?
"Ha! I went to the hospital on a weekday evening just to get checked since I suspected a slow amniotic fluid leak, but I expected to be sent home and put on bed rest--so all I brought with me was my purse! Luckily my partner brought everything we needed."
What did your kid(s) and/or parter say when meeting the baby?
“My partner was just as overcome by joy as I was when he saw the baby being born. When the baby was discharged from the hospital, the family stopped by our house on their way home and my kids got to meet her for the first time. They were all smiles and didn't want to say goodbye.”
What is your relationship and contact with the Intended Parents now?
"We are all good friends and have been keeping us regularly updated on baby's progress since she went home. We hope to be able to visit them often."
What were some of the benefits of working with an agency?
"I've only been a surrogate once and it was through Colorado Surrogacy, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but given how complicated the legal and medical aspects of the process seemed to be, it was really nice to not have to worry much about all that. We had to come to appointments and sign paperwork but other than that, the process was relatively burden-free for us."
What words of wisdom would you share with other/newer gestational carriers?
"Enjoy the process! You are doing something really amazing for another family. Take care of yourself and know that it is all 100% worth it."
If you decided to be a gestational carrier again, what would be the reason?
"I would have loved to be a gestational carrier again and was really saddened to learn that I can't be due to baby being born early. Even so, I'm so glad I got to have the experience that I did have - it has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done."
Is there anything else you want to add about your experience?
“I would say that if surrogacy is something that appeals to you, then look into it! It is such an amazing gift to give to someone else if you can. For me it was the experience of a lifetime.”