We heard from this surrogate earlier this year, but now that her journey is complete I wanted to share her full story. The good, the bad, the beautiful.
I have always loved children. I became a social worker, in part, because I love children. They are our future, and the success of our world is determined by the next generation. Because of this, in December of 2019 I made the decision to be a surrogate. After much research, internet consultation, and talking with those in my closest circle, I contacted Abundant Life Surrogacy and 2 other agencies. After talking with Kiki from ALS, I made the decision to go with this agency as I did not feel confident in my abilities to navigate the medical and legal aspects specifically unique to surrogacy without their specific knowledge. What I am most sure about in my surrogacy journey is that I couldn’t have done it without Kiki’s support through this journey.
Covid hit when it was time to take my IUD out and naturally between this and other medical hoops, it took a little longer with that global uncertainty. As we navigated through the process and got to transfer, I was one of the lucky ones and embryo stuck on the first go.
As with my daughter, pregnancy was relatively mellow. Naturally, there’s the low energy levels, the mood swings, and the nausea – but that’s every pregnancy that’s going to have those moments. While it’s mildly uncomfortable, moderate at times, knowing the purpose of the journey is more than worth the temporary discomfort.
Let’s fast forward past the details to arrive at 34 weeks pregnant and I began bleeding. I knew I was beginning to have a placental abruption and went to Boise. I spent several long days in antepartum. My partner is currently living overseas, and who really has a hospital bag packed and in the car before 34 weeks? I had the clothes on my back. Kiki, my surrogate coordinator, came to see me after a day or two in there (but I will tell you, it felt like weeks!). The Intended Parents came in as well with their first baby, born at only 33 weeks – about 6 weeks earlier. And one friend came in with support and much needed clothes.
While in antepartum, one of my biggest fears was confirmed, that I was having an abruption. They gave me the medication to develop everything as much as possible if baby was going to be born early and went over the birth plan. I tried not to cry, but not being much of a poker player and my face showing that, I’m not sure that I convinced anyone that I wasn’t terrified. When Kiki came in, I couldn’t hold that in anymore. I cried. I was terrified. I know how dangerous placental abruptions are for babies and the women carrying the child. 34 weeks is enough that baby would be safe, but he needed to stay in for a few more!! I cried. I felt guilty and ashamed. I felt scared and alone. I didn’t know how to navigate this. My person was 5,000 miles away on a different continent. My best friend agreed to come if I needed her, but she was in another state. Kiki was my person in that time of fear when I needed someone who understands my fear the most.
Thankfully by some work of what I can only believe to be a higher power, baby was in no distress and the tear stopped. I was put on restrictions but allowed to go home and go to work. But after talking with at least 7 different doctors, all of them said the same thing, I would need to have another c-section. I have hated this option from day 0. This was never supposed to happen this way. I was planning on having a VBAC. But, as we know, babies do what babies do. More than anything, this baby needed to stay as safe as possible. The entirety of this journey has been about keeping this baby safe and getting him safely to his parents.
I’m thankful that baby decided to wait until time of scheduled surgery. Surgery is terrifying. No one wants to have a c-section. No one thinks how easy it must be to recover from so many layers of tissue and organs being cut through. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many hours I spent crying and how afraid I was waiting for those next 5 weeks. I had to continue to talk with others and tell myself, over and over again, that an emergency c-section (like with my daughter – her heart rate was down to 10 beats per minute and I was hemorrhaging) is so much different than a planned one.
Here’s where I will never be able to express my gratitude enough for ALS, they knew this could be a possibility the whole time. My coordinator was patient and kind and rode through those emotional waves with me. There was some confusion about who would be allowed into surgery and I am so thankful that they knew to look for this before we ever got to this stage. My support person was able to be in the room. I’m so thankful for that as I was going in and out of consciousness, vomiting, and crying. (TMI? Sorry!)
Within minutes, daddies had their healthy baby boy! He arrived and is, if I do say so myself, one of the most adorable child I have ever seen.
Here I am, writing this almost 3 weeks postpartum, recovering from surgery, and getting to build a relationship with this family that I got to help grow. I feel great. I have been able to reach out to my coordinator when my postpartum hormones kick my butt, I have been able to take time to rest and recover. And to answer my own question from a month ago – planned c-sections are so much easier but, in the moment, no less scary.
My significant other went back to Europe with my daughter and I will follow before long. We have been geographically separated for 10 months now so that this family could have their own children. Part of believing there is good in the world is to foster that through my own actions. I believe that putting my own wants temporarily to the side to make the dreams of others come true, to build a better next generation, is core to building a better world and loving children. When people ask me if I would do it again, my answer, complications and all, is absolutely 100% I would do it again.