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Grace's Journey 9

JUNE 2016

 
It’s hard for me to believe that as of mid-July my experience as a surrogate will be over! It has me reflecting on why I decided to become a surrogate, and why I believed it so important to be able to do this for my friends.

Anyone who’s visited this website can clearly see the words “Family Matters” underneath the firm’s name. For me, it’s more than a motto, and it doesn’t just apply to my family. Because family matters, my heart broke when my sister’s son was stillborn. My brother and I wracked our brains trying to find some way to help her through something no parent should ever have to experience. Gift cards were sent, we were in e-mail contact with her local friends to try to arrange for meals to be dropped off to her and her husband, all while trying to respect my sister’s wishes to be left alone to have time to process their loss and grieve the death of their son. And, with nothing else to do – we waited. Waited for contact from our sister. Waited to hear from someone that she was crawling out of the dark abyss of despair. And, we wondered. Wondered if she would have the strength to try again to have children. Wondered if this experience had so scarred her, that she would shy away from the possibility of it happening again. My brother and I discussed what wonderful parents they could be, and how we hoped they would find the strength to try again – even knowing the ensuing pregnancy until delivery would be torturous for them. All of these things brought to the forefront of my mind again how important family is; how family matters.

My sister announced her second pregnancy in June of last year – right before I started actively discussing becoming a surrogate. She had passed her first trimester and believed it “safe” to start telling everyone she was again expecting. I was overjoyed for her, and could picture the family holidays and events with her and her child throughout the ensuing years. Unfortunately, she lost the baby in November. I am not sure why, and with her heart now completely destroyed, have veered away from asking questions, instead focusing on trying to help her make it through the day, every day.

A few months after my sister’s son being born stillborn, my heart again broke, this time when my friend’s newborn daughter lived for one hour before passing away. My mind could not fully comprehend how something like that could happen, especially to someone who would be such a wonderful parent! It made me fully appreciate my daughters, and how I had them with no complications; how they are happy, healthy, and normal. I wanted my friend to have that too, and as information became available, it became apparent that her chances of having a baby by traditional means were slim without significant risk to her.

That is why I volunteered to be her surrogate. At first, she wasn’t ready to believe that to have a baby she would have to miss out on the experience of carrying it herself. As time went by, the desire to have a baby outweighed the desire to carry the baby herself. She began to actively look into having someone carry her child for her. Again, I volunteered to be that person.

I did not volunteer because I love being pregnant; nor is it because I’m young and my body will bounce back quickly. I volunteered to carry her child because I am in the unique position of being able to give my friend the one thing she cannot get for herself. The amount of time the process takes for me is a small price to pay in helping to give my friend her heart’s desire.

I did not go into this process with rose-colored lenses over my eyes. I knew it was not going to be easy. But, I cannot help but believe my friend’s joy will far surpass anything negative I may experience, including the swollen legs and feet I’m currently experiencing! I knew I would have to answer an unprecedented amount of questions throughout this process to friends/family members/business associates and others, especially as it became evident I was pregnant (personally, I love telling people that the baby isn’t mine when they question me being pregnant). I knew I would have to find effective ways to explain this to my children, who are still young enough to ask a plethora of questions, but who have dealt with this process far better than I ever dreamed they would. My youngest DID tell her teacher that her mommy was pregnant, but when questioned about what we were naming it, was quick to say that it wasn’t our baby and we weren’t keeping it.

Family matters. Not just words on a website; words that encompass all I believe in. If my sister could be brave enough to try to have another baby, and unfortunately lose another baby, I knew I could brave pregnancy and delivery in my 40’s.

Grace’s Journey Part 10

July marked the end of my journey as a surrogate. I had forgotten how miserable I am the last few weeks of pregnancy. My family and co-workers were amazing at putting up with my shortened temper, frequency to nap (to clarify, I napped at home, not at work), and lack of appetite, along with a myriad of other things.

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Grace’s Journey Part 9

It’s hard for me to believe that as of mid-July my experience as a surrogate will be over! It has me reflecting on why I decided to become a surrogate, and why I believed it so important to be able to do this for my friends.

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Grace’s Journey Part 8

May was actually an uneventful month as far as this pregnancy goes. Baby is busy growing, wiggling, kicking and moving, all of which I feel with more and more clarity as she gets bigger!

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Grace’s Journey Part 7

As of the last two days in April, I’m officially in my last trimester! For whatever reason, my second trimester seemed to last an eternity. Every week I look at the app on my phone which tells me how big baby is, what her approximate weight is, and what trimester I was in, waiting for the day it said I was in the third trimester. And, thinking about how close July is, I think this last trimester will go much faster than the second!

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Grace’s Journey Part 6

I thought I had considered everything, discussed everything with my husband and the intended parents, and had all the details of being a surrogate figured out! I knew how I felt about what I was doing, knew that my husband was onboard with my decision, but I never considered how my pregnancy with another couple’s child could possibly mentally affect him.

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Grace’s Journey Part 5

On February 8, at my routine OB/GYN appointment, I was taken off pelvic rest, as it appeared the tear I had between my placenta and uterus had healed and I was no longer bleeding. Being cleared medically did not mean that I immediately resumed walking the dog, as I had been doing before placed on rest, but it did mean I no longer had to rely on my husband to do it all.

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Grace’s Journey Part 4

In my mind, the New Year was going to be great! I had pregnancy confirmed, better yet I was almost out of my first trimester, and I received all the instructions to be weaned off the hormones by the end of the first full week in January. Unfortunately, my expectations were not my reality.

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Grace’s Journey Part 3

I have to admit I was amazed at how quickly you can find out you are pregnant through surrogacy. Twelve days after the transfer date, I was confirmed pregnant. Inevitably, after the pregnancy was confirmed is when the questions started: “Do you feel pregnant?” At first, no, I didn’t, which in itself was amazing. That was short-lived. Within two weeks after confirmation of pregnancy, morning sickness set in. Oh, the joys of being nauseous all day every day! The intended parents tried to sympathize with me, but they were so overjoyed at this visible proof of pregnancy they had a hard time!

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Grace’s Journey Part 2

The first week in November marked the date of the embryo transfer. Leading up to the transfer date, my friends and intended parents did all they could to “increase the odds” of a successful transfer, by having me get acupuncture, as well as massage. Prior to this process, I had never had acupuncture done. When we met with the acupuncturist (who was also a “M.D.”) he told the intended parents and me that he does a lot of fertility treatments, and would do a session on me right before the transfer, and then come back after the transfer and do another. He believed that by adding acupuncture, it increased the chances of the embryo taking up to 10 percent.

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Grace’s Journey Part 1

Making the decision to be a surrogate isn’t easy, and it encompasses more than just the person who will be carrying. It requires numerous detailed conversations not only with the intended parents, but your partner. It is not a process that should be taken lightly, or on a spur of the moment. For me, volunteering to carry my friends’ baby was simply the right thing to do. Fortunately, my husband agrees and is supportive of this process and all it entails. Without his consent and support, I could not even consider going through this process.

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