"There's no way I could ever do that"
That's what I hear over and over from people when I tell them I want to be a surrogate. I am not sure where it came from, but I have always thought about being a surrogate. Before I had kids, before I was married. To me it just seemed like something I should someday do. Years back Brandon's aunt and uncle were going through infertility and it had occurred to me that I could have a baby for them. Of course they chose the route of adoption, but had they come to me and asked, I would not have hesitated in saying yes. (as a side note, when I refer to surrogacy, I am talking about Gestational Surrogacy, as opposed to Traditional Surrogacy. With gestational, the baby has no genetic link whatsoever to myself - traditional would require the use of my own egg. My genetics are reserved for my own children :) ) But it was always in the back of my mind.
Shortly after getting married, Brandon and me started trying to start our family. It only took a few months and we were pregnant!! I was thrilled - overjoyed at how lucky we were to get pregnant so quickly. I told EVERYONE about it right away - people I had not seen in years knew. And then sadly at 11 weeks when we went to go hear the heartbeat for the first time by doppler, it wasn't there. A horrifying ultrasound showed a tiny lifeless baby that had stopped growing at 9 weeks. I had a D&C the next day. I was devastated. Actually, devastated is an understatement. I really did not have any other friends who were getting pregnant at the time, and did not know anyone who had lost a pregnancy before, so to me I was the only person this had ever happened to (although later in life I have found lots and lots of people it happens to - it is terribly common). It took us about 7 months after that to get pregnant with Leo, which may not seem long, but when you are desperate to have a baby, it seems like a lifetime. Fortunately my pregnancy with Leo was totally uncomplicated and 9 months later we welcomed our healthy beautiful son.
During that time, I vowed that if I was able to carry a pregnancy and have a healthy baby, I would help someone else who couldn't have that. During that time I didn't know if I could ever have a baby. It makes it extremely hard to imagine couples who have gone through what we went through in that short time for years and years. It is heartbreaking, really. You can't get away from it. It is impossible to leave the house, turn on the TV, open a magazine, without being reminded what you don't have.
So my answer to that, is how can I NOT be a surrogate? How can I go on knowing that I am totally capable of carrying a healthy baby and not share that gift with someone who cannot? Especially after having my son, and then my daughter. Anyone who has children can tell you, having kids is hands down the most amazing thing one can go through in life. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful and grateful for all of the moments I get to have with my kids. Yes, some times are rough, and there are days I feel like I am going insane :) But at the end of the day, they are mine, and I am theirs, and there is nothing in the world that can replace that.
So here I am starting out on this journey to start a family for somebody. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving! People tell me they are shocked that there are women out there who are willing to be pregnant for somebody else. Well, if there weren't women like me, there wouldn't be an opportunity for these babies - these babies that are wanted so extremely badly by their parents - these babies that will go on and hopefully do great and amazing things for our world. By being a surrogate, you are opening up a whole world of opportunity that just would not be there otherwise. Of course, it may still not happen. I have to go through several evaluations before it is decided I can do it, by health professionals. But it is a really exciting time. Brandon is surprisingly extremely supportive. I say surprisingly because it is not like it is total fun for him for me to be pregnant :) But he agrees with me that in the scheme of things, it is a very short period of time to give somebody a lifetime of having a family.
And yes, there is a compensation. I will get paid for it. That is typically the first thing people ask about when I tell them. But anyone who has been pregnant can tell you, it is HARD to be pregnant. There are many easier ways to make that amount of money in a year. It is NOT about the money - it's just a bonus. For those who are wondering (and I know a lot are!) if all goes well and I get to be a surrogate, the money will probably go into Leo and Carmela's college accounts, or it will go to grow my business. So it's a win-win. A couple gets a baby, and I help out my family too :) In many ways, I feel like money cheapens the whole process. BUT (and a big but) I will be giving up a lot to do this - I will be taking time and energy away from my own family to give to this baby. So if everyone can benefit from it, why not?
So it begins - we will see where it takes us. I am hopeful it will all go smoothly and I will get the chance to actually go through with it! And I will keep this blog to hopefully inspire others who may have ever thought about being a surrogate as well!