This month’s story comes from a surrogate who delivered before the world shut down. As things are slowly starting to normalize she is sharing her story. While there might be a happy, healthy baby at the end, that doesn’t mean the journey to get there was perfect… but overall, in her words, “absolutely worth it”.
My journey to surrogacy took several years. It’s something I started thinking about during my pregnancy with my daughter. You see, my husband and I were never supposed to have children of our own, much less be able to help a family add a soul to theirs. I was told our miscarriage was a fluke, that in all likelihood, we would never give birth to a living child. Yet here I was, pregnant with a beautiful little girl – our second baby!
This bit of information is just a little insight as to why I couldn’t stop thinking about surrogacy. To be able to give this feeling to someone else – being a parent – was a thought I just couldn’t get out of my head. After a lot of research, and 2 years after our daughter was born, we found ALS at a local fair. My husband and I spoke extensively about it, knowing it was something that was in both of our hearts to do. I contacted ALS the next month and filled out an application.
Another 6 months passed with mounds of forms, emails and screenings, and there was finally someone interested in my profile… and then another. Making that choice was the one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. How do you choose between 2 wonderful couples who have waited soo long to add to their family? How can you predict what might happen? How will you connect with them over time? Whether or not this journey will end with a baby? We finally made our decision and found out just before Christmas that they chose us as well!
My IP’s were very attentive right from the beginning, always texting to make sure I was getting enough sleep, asking if the side effects from the meds were out of the ordinary or troublesome. It was very sweet and truly comforting knowing my well-being was a priority to them. The transfer was a surreal experience and I was so excited to start testing at home. My IP’s said they wanted me to test as soon as I was able to. Everyone was very anxious! About 6 days after transfer I took my first test.. it was negative. A little disheartening but no big deal, right? “Don’t be too sad, guys, it’s still pretty early. I’ll test again in a couple of days and let you know.” HPT after HPT came back negative and I was heartbroken. I explained to the dads that Beta was coming soon and we should wait until we hear what the results are, but in my mind, I was already looking at the calendar to see when the next transfer could be scheduled. The Beta results came back a few days later and I was pregnant, but my HCG results were lower than they were hoping for. I was upset, thinking that this transfer would end up as a chemical, but two more Betas later and we were confirmed with a healthy pregnancy! The dads were as involved as they could be from halfway across the world – checking in often, Skyping with every ultrasound and asking how baby was doing after every appointment. Everything was great until the end of August when I started bleeding. After a couple of hours at the emergency room, I found out there was a sizeable SCH. OB ordered pelvic rest for a few weeks, then a repeat ultrasound. We were all anxious and I was doing everything I could to keep from stressing out. After several ultrasounds and nearly 4 months of pelvic rest, it was finally gone.
The pregnancy going forward was pretty uneventful until I hit the 38 week mark. I went in to get my blood pressure checked because it had been slightly elevated in the previous 3 appointments and it was bad… really, really bad. They called it “sudden onset pregnancy induced severe hypertension”. Translation: my bp was 212/110 with no obvious explanation. For those of you NOT in the medical field, that’s stroke/seizure/brain damage level. I felt perfectly fine and couldn’t begin to imagine what had happened aside from the stress of escrow issues, but surely it wasn’t affecting me that much, was it? After a very tearful phone call to my husband on the way home to pack, I called Amber and let her know what was happening.
I was admitted to the hospital and immediately put on high dose magnesium (wouldn’t recommend lol) and several other meds that made me feel like garbage. I was dizzy and nauseous and overwhelmingly tired. My OB was there and very supportive of trying to get my bp down so I could trial labor (2 previous c-sections). We contacted the Dads immediately and they found the first flight out, but it wouldn’t get in until Saturday (3 days away). We got ahold of my mom that evening and she was able to get a flight out pretty quickly. She showed up the next afternoon to help with our kids and I was truly grateful for the extra support. After a few hours of meds, my bp was finally under control, though I wasn’t able to leave the hospital bed. Every time I stood to go to the restroom or tried to sit on a birthing ball, my bp skyrocketed. I did everything I could think of, but with no sleep, strong contractions and no progress with 20+ hours of pitocin, I made the decision to have a c-section. My body was just not ready to birth this baby on its own and keeping him in longer was only making my blood pressure issues worse.
Yllan was born on Feb 28th at 6:31pm and was absolutely perfect! We had cuddle time that night and for most of the next day. Even though his Dads weren’t there, there was no lack of love in his first 24 hours! My mom, my friend and doula, Kiki, surro-sis Bree and a few others all got to spend some time snuggling this precious boy. Yllan’s parents were finally able to get in late Saturday evening after spending nearly 20 hours in airports and on flights, and 14 hours on the road from Vegas because their flight into Spokane was cancelled. They were exhausted and delighted to meet their little man for the first time.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all rainbows and kittens. There were scary parts and moments when I wondered why I was putting myself through it all. There were lots of times that I just wished it was over. Karen left the company right after my transfer and I worried about my care being overlooked, but thankfully Amber pulled everything together quickly. Communications with my IP’s started to waiver after the SCH resolved and I wondered how our relationship would progress towards the end of the pregnancy, whether they just weren’t as anxious anymore or if they were just too overwhelmed to talk about it. We had to change escrow companies less than a month after transfer (SEAM to the rescue!). My IP’s, despite being wonderful men, weren’t always able to keep the escrow account funded properly because life happens and there are bills that are still unpaid today. I’ll never be able to carry another child because my uterine lining now has severe weak spots and it’s unsafe…
But in the end, the look in their eyes as they held their baby boy for the first time is a memory I’ll hold in my heart forever. And the way they looked at me because I was able to give them such a precious gift was worth all of the stress, pain, anxiety and loss I endured. Absolutely worth it.