The Organization of Parents Through Surrogacy
 




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Gurnee, IL 60031
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What Surrogacy Meant To Me
by: Camille Davis

 

Being a surrogate meant a lot to me. First let me write a little about myself. I am a mother of 2 wonderful children. I have a beautiful daughter and cute son a year and a half apart. After my son was born, my husband and I both agreed that we didn't want anymore children. And I had a tubal-ligation performed. It took me awhile to adjust to the idea of never being pregnant again. I didn't want anymore children, but I wanted to enjoy being pregnant again. A year after my son was born, I started thinking about being a gestational surrogate. At that time, I didn't know the technical name for gestational surrogacy. I thought about gestational surrogacy for a year before I even mentioned it to anyone including my husband. I wanted to make sure this would be the right decision for me and especially my family. I thought about donating eggs first, but my mother pleaded with me not to do that.

A little while later, I ran into a friend who is infertile. We were discussing her options, and she mentioned finding a surrogate. It surprised me to hear that she needed a surrogate and that I blurted out I wanted to look into gestational surrogacy myself. Soon after the conversation, we met for lunch, and we started discussing possibly working together. Later that night, I told my husband about being a surrogate for my friends. My husband said he didn't think he would mind, but he needed time to think about surrogacy and how it would affect his life. My husband, Craig, talked with his family and his friends about me being a surrogate. His mom thought it was wonderful that I wanted to be a surrogate. She confided in me she would have loved to have been a surrogate when she was younger, but the technology wasn't available at the time. The rest of his family wasn't as enthusiastic about the idea. Craig's friends decided they thought it was neat. And Craig relented to the prospect of me carrying someone else's' child.

In June, Amy, the mom (not her real name for privacy reasons), and I met with my OB doctors about taking care of me. We both wanted to make sure they didn't have any problems with taking me as a patient. A few days later, when we called the office, they gave their approval and said they would be pleased to take care of us. In July, we met with her infertility docs about doing a transfer with me. They seemed very enthusiastic. The nurse said how about we start next month. Amy and I were excited and nervous about the transfer. In August, Tom, the dad (not his real name). Amy, and I went up to the infertility office and had the transfer of frozen embryos done. The next two weeks were the most stressful of times for me, and I went into have the pregnancy test done. We waited all day for the results. And finally when I saw the results, I was completely disappointed. The results were negative. That was at the end of August.

Amy talked with her infertility docs about why the embryos didn't attach, they told Amy that when they retrieved the eggs, they were too immature to survive. No matter what we would have done no pregnancy would have occurred. This was disappointing to hear, but in another sense it gave us hope.

In October, Candy Amy's sister and I began to start the cycle of infertility drugs together. Candy was giving Amy some of her eggs, so the chances of an implantation were greater. This was a stressful time again. My husband was having to give me some of my shots ( and he was use to giving cows shots!!) And he didn't realize that it didn't take much to pierce the skin. This second round of injections was easier on me because I prepared better for the raging hormones and drastic changes that would begin happening to my body. November 28, 1995, was the day of the transfer. And can you believe I overslept!!!! I woke up and Amy was pounding on my door. I got ready as fast as possible and off we headed to Indianapolis. It was very exhilarating to think that in a few hours I would probably be pregnant, again. The transfer happened at 9:37 a.m. The following 2 weeks were hard to deal with again more injections and waiting. This time though, I was exhausted and was suffering from migraines almost daily. When I called the docs they said it was a side effect of pregnancy not of the drugs!! I didn't tell Amy this because I didn't want to get her hopes up or jinx our luck.

On December 12, after work, I had the pregnancy test drawn and run STAT; I received the call at 10:20 a.m. that I was pregnant.

Amy had stayed home from work that day waiting on the call, when I called her and told her she was a mommy she started crying, too. I gave her the details and that there was a 50/50 chance of twins. And in 72 hours, I had to have a redraw of the pregnancy test to verify the results were actually real. Amy was afraid to tell Tom because what if it wasn't meant to be. Finally, she was convinced that she could tell her husband. What a wonderful Christmas gift!!!

At 5 weeks, we had the first ultrasound and discovered there was only one embryo. And at 8 weeks, we saw the baby's heart beating and we watched the baby move. The ultrasound tech was nice enough to continue the ultrasound a little longer for us to watch the baby bounce around.

At 13 weeks, we visited the OB docs for the first time. We had to visit the nurse first about prenatal care and vitamins and info about everything....We tried to explain to them at first that I was a gestational carrier; the nurse didn't understand the terminology and gave us a funny look. Finally, she asked what we were talking about and we explained our complicated story to her. The nurse thought it was wonderful. At the next visit, while I was in with the doctor, he asked how the office staff should call everyone. I was straight forward that she was the mom and I was an incubator for her baby. The doc even marked it on the chart. At 20 weeks, there was another ultrasound and we discovered they were the parents of a girl. Even at that gestation you could tell the baby's features were her mother's. During that ultrasound and doc's visit, the surge of emotions went extreme. I think that seeing their baby and counting her fingers and toes ( which they did do) made the reality so close, yet so far away it was hard. They couldn't feel the baby move in the middle of the night or discover when she was hiccupping. That was hard for me. I wanted to give them the joy of pregnancy of their baby as much as possible. But Amy said it would get her hopes up, and what if something happened. I tried to reassure her that the baby was fine and she would be fine, but she wasn't the one feeling the baby move all the time. Amy couldn't even touch my belly in the beginning because of jealousy. Amy never showed it to me, but I could tell it hurt her that I was experiencing her pregnancy for her. All I wanted was to give her the joy of a baby. Amy came with me to every appointment and heard the baby's heartbeat every month.

When I was 28 weeks pregnant, I had to be tested for diabetes during my pregnancy. Amy came to the test with me. I became so sick throughout it, but she stayed by my side and even held me up some as we walked. After the test, we went out to breakfast together. While we were eating, the baby woke up and started hiccupping. I offered Amy the chance to feel the baby hiccup, and she agreed to feel her hiccups. It was the first time Amy had ever reached out and touched her baby. She was amazed at the strength of the hiccups. It was a perfect moment shared in the middle of breakfast in a little restaurant. The weeks and the summer sped by us.

My husband began having difficulty dealing with the pregnancy because I was showing a lot. Friends and acquaintances would say, oh, I see you're having another. It was hard for him to explain it. We didn't go out much together for about 2 months. Eventually, he got the hang of it. Towards the end of the pregnancy, whenever someone would say, "Oh, I see you're having another." Craig would reply, "Yea, and it's not mine." After the look of horror went across their face, he would say, "And it's not hers, either!!!" Can you imagine the fun we had with people????!!!!!

It was a blast. We would let that settle for a minute, then we would explain that I was a surrogate mother. Usually people would walk away shaking their heads. By the end of 9 mos. of being pregnant, it was about time to have a little fun with everyone.

Then, there were everyone's questions:

"Won't it be hard to ‘give' the baby up?" No, she isn't mine to give away.

"Do you know these people, I mean the parents?" Yes, they are friends of mine.

"Why are you doing this?" Lots of reasons.

"Are you getting paid?" That is none of your business.

In the last month of pregnancy, the docs kept telling the mom and I that they thought I should be delivering any day. They said the baby was really low and there was just a matter of time for the baby to come. It was exciting but very nerve wracking. The mom and I both wanted the baby born, I was getting tired of the pregnancy and she just wanted to feel her baby in her arms. The docs continued to say that I would probably go early. It never happened. Finally, 4 days after my due date, at exactly midnight, the first contraction came. I waited and 6 minutes later another one. 5 minutes later another one and harder. I was beginning to use my breathing skills already. My husband came home at 12:45 a.m. and he asked why I was up, and told him I couldn't sleep. A few minutes later, he realized that these contractions were definitely not fake. He looked at me and said, "Go to the hospital."

I called my sister because she was to be my birthing coach. She got to my house around 2:15 and off we went to the hospital. After I was checked in, and it was definite that I was in labor, we called Amy and Tom. Amy's parents were to come to town the next day, but for some reason unknown at the time, they came down a day early. Amy's mom told me later that after they received the call Amy and Tom were running around the house crazy with excitement. With Amy at the doctor's side and Tom standing behind me, the baby, Charlotte, was born at 4:20 a.m. I can still remember the moment when they laid Charlotte in Amy's arms. It was perfect. It was the most beautiful sight in the world. Everyone in the room was crying. The nurses, the doc, my sister, the parents, me, and the baby were all in tears. I don't know how to explain the emotion that was there, it was so right. I don't know if anyone can understand that unless you have been there, to see someone become a parent and to know you were lucky enough to have had the privilege of aiding in the special occasion.

Amy, Tom, Charlotte, my sis, and I are doing fine. It was literally a match made in heaven. We continue contact. It is nice to watch a baby grow up.

Through everything, I have decided to be a surrogate again. I don't know for who, but we will meet and know it is right for all of us.

For me, surrogacy is a choice made out of love; not of consequence. And the end result a child(ren) is a gift from heaven.
 

© 2007 OPTS - The Organization of Parents Through Surrogacy