As I reflect on my first surrogacy journey, it is hard to put into words how remarkable and life changing it was. Over the course of 2 years, I experienced more than I ever imagined and learned more about myself then I knew was possible. By the end of my journey, I had not only grown a baby for the best intended parents, but I also grew as a person.
The beginning of my journey was slow and steady. My Surrogate Coordinator at IARC guided me through the screening process while I worked tirelessly to lose those extra pounds required for the BMI restriction. It was a slow journey, but in 6 short months I was able to lose 25+ pounds and get on track for matching.
The day came when I received the email with my “perfect” match. I was so nervous to read my intended parents’ information. Would they be domestic or international? Would they be first-timers or looking for a sibling? I opened the email and read and re-read their profile over many times. I tried to imagine what our future would look like and where our journey would take us. After careful consideration, we agreed to a match call. I can remember our match call clear as day. I was so nervous… it was like a first date. The call came, and we all spoke on the phone for over an hour. By the end of the call, we all agreed it was a PERFECT match. I would officially be helping an international couple complete their family with a sibling for their daughter.
Over the next month or so we spent long hours going over our contact. I will not bore you with the details, but in the end we all felt confident knowing that we were on the same page and would make it to the finish line… but we had one more hurdle left before transfer… medical screening.
My medical screening trip was a culmination of many firsts including my first time flying alone, my first time in New York/Connecticut, and my first time taking an Uber. I was anxious for this final obstacle. Would my uterus be “perfect”?… (of all the questions…. that one kept popping up in my head.) After successfully carrying twins to full term and undergoing a c-section I was just hoping there was no residual scar tissue or lasting effects. The moment the doctor relayed the news that my uterus was in fact “perfect” was so relieving. I was ecstatic to share the news with my intended parents.
Next step in our journey was the medication protocol and transfer. Our medication protocol included birth control, Lupron, Estradiol, and the dreaded PIO injections. I left the administration of my injections to my partner, Marty. I read him the instructions thoroughly and did every technique in the book… heating, massaging, and movement. I did sustain a few bruises and an occasional appearance of blood, but overall, the excitement of our upcoming transfer outweighed these small discomforts.
The day finally arrived. On a cold March day in 2018 we had our transfer. All decked out in my “lucky” attire, I was ready to get pregnant. Marty filmed and took tons of photos for our intended parents since they were half way around the globe. Two beautiful embryos were transferred and then came the hard part…. the “two week wait” (or 4/5 day wait since we started testing at home with the approval of our doctor and intended parents).
After several home pregnancy tests, one digital, and three positive/doubling betas, we were happy to celebrate the exciting news. A few weeks later, it was confirmed with an ultrasound that I was carrying one perfectly healthy baby.
It is amazing to reflect on those marvelous firsts that I was able to share with my intended parents: sending them the video of our positive digital test, the pictures of our first ultrasound, and the sound of their baby’s heartbeat. I had the honor to not only experience it all first hand, but, through the power of technology, I was able to share it with my intended parents instantaneously. We shared in the excitement together which made our bond more special.
My pregnancy went very smooth overall (in comparison to my pregnancy with my twins). I felt great and took advantage of the extra time in my daily schedule to nap. In my free time, I made sure my little belly buddy knew just how much he was loved. During our journey, I made sure to document my growing bump in all its glory. We attended our local pride festival and even did a maternity shoot to capture this special time during pregnancy. Additionally, my intended parents and I utilized Belly Buds, and they spent time recording stories and songs for the baby to listen to. Even though they were thousands of miles away they made sure that their baby and I felt supported, loved, and cherished. We were in this journey together after all.
As our due date approached, my intended parents packed their bags and headed for Minnesota, and after over 24 hours of traveling, Marty and I surprised them at the airport. This was the first time we had all met each other in person… it was magical. There was so much love in that moment. We were all together and soon all our lives would be changed forever.
On cold day in November, we got together to enjoy breakfast and relish in our final days before Baby’s birth, but Baby had other plans, so…
Shortly after breakfast with our intended parents, we went back to their place to spend the afternoon with each other. I began having consistent contractions, so I messaged my OB, and she said to pack up right away and head to the hospital. Once we arrived, the nurse checked me, and I was not dilated at all. So, they hooked me up to the monitors, placed an IV, and gave me fluids. After 3 hours, my contractions continued to progress and became more painful. The nurse came back to check me again, and I still had not dilated at all. After speaking with the doctor, they decided that since labor was not slowing down, and we already had a c-section planned, they would go ahead and get us prepped…. Baby was going to be born that day.
We were prepped and taken back to the OR. One of my intended parents accompanied me, and the other waited in their postpartum room with their daughter. The delivery was perfect and exactly what I had imagined. The baby went right to his parents, and after I was out of recovery, they all came in to my room so I could meet the baby.
Our journey was officially complete, and all our hearts were overflowing with love. We rejoiced with each other and spent the next several days bonding with our intended parents. They became a part of our family, and we became a part of theirs.
Throughout the entire process, my Program Coordinator Rebecca and the entire IARC team worked meticulously behind the scenes guiding our path down the smoothest road possible. They worked together with the reproductive clinic, monitoring locations, lawyers, OBGYN, and hospital staff, and in the end, I had the most beautiful, effortless, stress free journey possible.
I have since become a part of the IARC team so that as a Program Coordinator, I can offer that same care, support, and guidance to other surrogates and intended parents during their journeys.
Thanks to my IARC family, I will forever be connected to a beautiful family half a world away…
For that, I am forever grateful.