The Organization of Parents Through Surrogacy

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As I would watch my 6 year old struggle with the experience of kindergarten or my 17 year old becoming a confident adult, I felt a desire to help another couple become a family. This desire had been with me for several years but I did not know how to get involved. Then I read an ad in the LA Times, "Give the Gift of Life to an infertile couple." As a full-time student, full-time mom working part-time, my life was pretty full and I would really have to think about it. I broke the news of my interest to my husband while we were on the freeway, my rationale being he couldn't get away and would have to listen to the whole story. After a long silence he said he was willing to support me in this crazy idea of mine.

We were impressed with the screening process the surrogate center puts all prospective surrogates through and as we learned more about the program we felt more positive about what we were getting into. having raised 3 teenagers already and one more child to go, my husband and I knew for sure that we did not want to raise any more children. However, the same question kept coming back to me over and over, could I carry a baby for 9 months and then let it go and be Ok, would my husband and children be OK and how would the baby feel later on. After much thought and discussion we decided to follow our gut instinct and just go for it. We met Sherman and Elaine in February and in April baby Mark was started. One of the positive things for the surrogate is being the bearer of such good news. Fro the beginning, the call telling them that they were going to be parents, that the amniocentesis results were perfect, that each doctor visit was uneventful, and on and on. For the surrogate this all comes naturally, my other two pregnancies were just as natural and "uneventful" as my doctor calls them. While I realized the concept is difficult for a couple who has experienced so much hurt and disappointment. I felt they missed some of the joy and excitement of the pregnancy by being so cautious with their heart. Nothing could change that so I just tried to reassure them that their baby would be perfect and to trust me. They did their best.

I did not experience any negative reaction to my being a surrogate. I feel strongly that my own positive feelings projected to others and they responded in like to me. I am a nurse and the medical community is more understanding of such situations than the general public might be. My peers supported me throughout the pregnancy, changed assignments with me when we had measles, or AIDS patients in our unit, insisting that I not lift patients, even though I was quite capable. My husband is a landscaper, and we weren't sure how his peers would react, but again, our positive outlook projected and they too responded in a like manner, after they for used to the idea and asked all the usual questions, "did you let your wife have sex with the guy or how is "it" done", to the common one of "are you getting a lot of money for this?" Nausea, vomiting, fatigue, a leaky bladder and shortness of breath do not equate financially.

Throughout the pregnancy the phone calls from Elaine were wonderful and seemed to come at just the right time. Like right after I had thrown up for the third time that morning or towards the end when I was so big and awkward that I could hardly get to the phone before teh machine would answer. She was so thoughtful and concerned that I always felt well cared for. I felt she had resolved any issues she might have had regarding not having a pregnancy of her own. I enjoyed a very privileged status both as pregnant woman and as surrogate. As birth neared, the couple seem to be at a beginning point and the surrogate is at an ending. I felt sadness and relief at the same time.

But as I would lay in bed at night and feel this baby kick, I would hold him and wonder if it was really going to be OK. I always felt he was Sherman and Elaine's child and deliberately did not think of him after the birth to protect myself and my own heart, but I loved him just the same. I felt I had bonded to the couple instead of the baby. The birth itself was just fantastic. I think that helped to make the transition for me. Sherman and Elaine were perfect labor coaches. Sherman cut the cord as is the father's right and Mark was first handed to Elaine as is the mom's right. I felt a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction at their happiness and excitement in the birth. At that moment I knew he was finally a reality for them.

Being that we lived as far apart as is geographically possible and still be in the United States, most of our contact was by phone. Sherman only saw me at the doctor's off the day of the insemination and then in the labor room. Elaine was able to come out for one of the doctor's visit and hear the heartbeat and see my enlarging belly before birth. Looking back i would have liked to have more visual contact. I wish we had sent pictures to each other of our families, our homes, and other everyday activities. At times I would try to visualize Sherman and Elaine putting together the crib, shopping for clothes and doing other preparations. For the surrogate to see and hear about how the couple are getting ready helps her to feel at peace and know that the baby will be well cared for. In the first few weeks after the birth the surrogate is going to be told the baby is doing well, that she did a good job of caring for him in utero and that she is still thought of and not forgotten now that the couple have their baby.

It's been about 10 weeks now since Mark was born and my life is getting back to normal. I'm physically recovered and back to work, riding my horse and all my other activities. And yes, we are all OK with the experience. Being a surrogate has changed out lives, my husband and I are closer than we have been in the past few years, the kids seem happier and life in general seems more positive. All from the birth of one precious baby.

2007 OPTS - The Organization of Parents Through Surrogacy