Friday, April 5, 2013

I wonder if I'll ever be a surrogate again.

During the last trimester of my surrogacy, I swore I would NEVER EVER IN A MILLION YEARS EVER be a surrogate again.  EVER.  I was miserable beyond belief, both physically, emotionally, and mentally.  I was done.  I begged my husband to never let me put myself through it again.  Yes, the last couple of months were pretty tough.

As with any pregnancy, the physical pain was expected.  The emotional and mental toll that carrying someone else's child took on me, however, was a little unexpected.  I never grew weepy thinking about handing the sweet boy (whom I'll refer to as "Baby") over to his parents.  I never got that attached to him (and when I told a coworker that, she promptly told me that I had "a heart of stone."  I bit my tongue so hard to keep me from telling her to suck it, but that's another story for another time.).  Although I love him dearly, I never developed that Mama Bear maternal instinct for him.  Our relationship was (and still is) more of an Aunt/Nephew relationship.  What nearly did me in emotionally and mentally was dealing with his parents.

The relationship I had with the intended parents (IPs) was different from what most surrogates experience.  Most surros are matched with IPs through an surrogacy agency.  In my situation, I'd known the IPs for years.  The IM (intended mother) was a sorority sister of mine.  In fact, she was a bridesmaid in my wedding and I in hers.  By the time we decided to go on this surrogacy journey, we had known each other for 16 years!

For the most part, she was wonderful.  She never questioned what I ate or if I took my prenatals or if I was taking care of my body.  She was very vocal about the fact that she trusted me 110% with Baby and never - not for 1 second - felt the need to check up on me.  I sincerely appreciated that.

What eventually got on my last ever-loving nerve was the fact that she's a control freak.  And for those of us who have had babies, we know that Baby calls the shots, not us.  I nearly went insane trying to make her to realize that no matter how much she planned, we could not control when Baby would arrive.

A few weeks prior to Baby's arrival, everything came to a head.  She was stressing me out with a number of issues and I couldn't hold it in any longer.  We had a serious Come to Jesus talk after a doctor's appointment (and a few emails after we parted ways) and I let it fly.  I may or may not have said some pretty nasty things to her.  I may or may not have dropped the f-bomb on her quite a bit.  Suffice it to say, my words were a verbal smack in the face which she (in my opinion) most certainly needed.  It was long overdue.

Amazingly enough, life got much better after I got everything off my chest.  A few weeks after the blow up, Baby arrived and life was so good.  The day he entered the world was amazing and my heart was full.  It feels weird to say, but the whole experience was even more mind blowing and spiritual than when I had my own daughters.  Knowing that I helped to create a family still makes me feel all warm inside.  I simply burst with pride when I see pictures of him, receive texts about him, or visit with him.

And while I feel 87% certain that I will never do it again, there is that other 13% that I can't stop thinking about.  The thing is - they have 1 remaining set of embryos that are still frozen.  One, solitary set of embryos (they are frozen in pairs) waiting for someone to bring them to life.

It kills me and I think about it probably more often than I should.

We've all discussed the fate of these 2 tiny embryos between ourselves.  Here's where everyone stands on the topic:

Jason (my incredible husband who supported me 100% while I carried someone else's baby): No way, no how.  End of subject.  (Of course, the other night while we were having dinner with friends, I overheard him easing up on that position.  I'm still in shock.)  If the IPs want to use a surro again, they need to hit up one of the IM's sisters (and she has several that didn't step up to the surro plate).

IF (intended father):  The last I heard, he was on the No Thank You bandwagon.  Having a baby is hard and I think he would be okay letting Baby be an only child.  He has made it clear, however, that if they decide to use a surrogate again, he wants me to do it.  No pressure, right?

IM (intended mother):  I honestly can't get a good read on her.  Sometimes she'll talk about wanting another baby and other times she says they just can't swing it financially which I get.  Good Gosh, IVF if so freaking expensive.  She has mentioned donating the embryos to a childless/embryo-less couple a few times.  Obviously, they are hers to do with as she pleases, but I did tell her my thoughts on the subject.  For me personally, there is no way I could go through life knowing that Jason and I could have another biological child being raised by someone else.  My life would feel so incredibly incomplete.  But, of course, it's not my call to make.

Me: Oh boy.  I'm a nutcase and all over the board.  Depending on the day, I could go either way.  I've told the IM that I'm done and that I'm officially off the surro market.  If she wants to try with the last set of embryos, she can count me out.  I have really, really, really encouraged her to use that last set of embryos on herself.  And while it seems medically impossible, I think she should give it a shot.

But, what if she doesn't try going through IVF herself?  What if she decides that she doesn't want to or can't mentally get herself to do it?  I know those embryos aren't mine, but I feel an incredible sense of responsibility to them.  I feel like I'm their only hope of living outside of a petri dish.  I'm their only hope for a shot at Life.  They can't stay frozen forever.  As you may have picked up by now, I'm pro-life.  The thought of them just letting those embryos die because I didn't do something makes me sick to my stomach.

But, the choice is not mine.  It's not my question to wrestle with, but I still can't stop thinking about it.

I guess only time will tell.  Perhaps in another year or so we'll be closer to an answer.  What I do know, is that I'm pretty proud of what I did for my friends as well as Baby.  They are all 3 so special to us.  Our lives are forever entwined and I am very, very blessed.

(PS. If you have questions about my surrogacy, please don't hesitate to ask.  I am an open book and will answer any and all questions you may pose.)


G Love said...

I always thought surrogacy would be harder on the emotions than the body, but I never imagined for this reason! I suppose it was hard for both of you - for her to cede control, for you to feel like someone is trying to control YOU after you've made such a selfless gesture. I am so glad you were able to vent and thereby maintain your friendship!
I have a question - how long did it take you to recover after the birth? I've always wondered how much more quickly I'd have fared after my births if I didn't, you know, have a freaking needy infant to consume my every waking minute, but instead could sleep and rest. I'm also interested in your wackiest reactions, when people found out you were a surrogate.

super jane said...

Recovery was a breeze. I delivered Baby at around 9pm on a Saturday night. I left the hospital around 5pm on Sunday evening. On Monday morning, the girls and I went out shopping, to a movie, and out for lunch. I took a week off of work, but more to spoil my girls than to recover. It is amazing how quickly you recover when you can sleep and really, truly take care of yourself.

I never had any wacky reactions. If we were in public, I would just act like Baby was mine. It was much easier that way. The only reaction that I even remember was my coworker who told me I had "a heart of stone" for not really feeling the maternal instinct with Baby. I honestly wanted to smack her. I physically ached just thinking that someone would feel that way.

Everyone at church and work (AKA the most important people in my life) were 100% supportive. In fact, I was amazed at how many people shared stories of family or close friends who were thinking of it or had done it.

Wicked M said...

How lovely to be able to sleep and recover as you did! That part makes me jealous!

I still think that you are an incredible person for doing this. There is no way I could do it. For one, I HATED being pregnant. Two, I just...don't think I could handle it emotionally.

I am so, so proud of you. For making the decision to do this and for having the Come to Jesus conversation when you felt it needed to happen. :)