What it feels like to carry someone else’s baby.
I’m currently five weeks pregnant with a baby I will not keep. In fact, it’s my fifth pregnancy–and my third as a surrogate.
My first surrogacy journey is as vivid as it was yesterday. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of surrogacy for quite some time, after learning that my sister-in-law might not be able to get pregnant or carry a baby to term on her own. I thought of her and all the others that might need help creating their family. The choice seemed obvious.
Once we decided to move forward with it, I got in touch with Family Source Consultants, a surrogacy agency based in Chicago. I filled out the 20-page application and expected things to take some time. I was shocked to get a call the day after I submitted the paperwork. The coordinator said she already had a couple in mind for me. All of this was moving fast!
I went in for an interview a week later. I was nervous. What if I did everything that was asked of me, and was then told that I was not going to make a suitable surrogate? But once I sat down with the coordinator, my mind was at ease. She gave me two Intended Parent profiles to review and I knew immediately that Xavi and Xavi were my couples. When I got word they accepted, my heart was overfilled with joy.
Xavi and Xavi lived in Barcelona so we set up a Skype meeting. I didn’t know what to expect during my first meeting with these fathers-to-be. Despite the language barrier, all went well. I couldn’t wait to start our journey together.
After a medical screening and extensive psychological evaluation, we started preparing for the transfer. I was vigilant about my schedule of what medications and made sure to do everything by the book. I wanted to have a successful outcome. All the while, Xavis and I kept in contact through email and Skype. They were becoming part of our family. It was as if we had found family members we never knew about.
We agreed to transfer two embryos, one from each father. A week later, I learned I was pregnant with one of the embryos. I told Xavi and Xavi the news. “Estoy embarazada!” It was the one thing I knew in Spanish. They were thrilled. They had already been through 3 transfers with another surrogate, none of which took. Things were finally looking up for them.
At my 21-week ultrasound, with both of my daughters there, I learned we were having a girl! When I Skyped with the guys to tell them the news, they had tears of happiness. They told me her name would be Bruguers.
As my belly continued to grow, so did the bond between our family and the Xavis. I took weekly pictures of my growing belly and posted them to Facebook for all to see. I wanted to include my friends and family and their friends and family in our journey.
My girls, 2 and 5, affectionately started calling the baby Bru. They would both talk to her all the time. I told both of the girls from the beginning that I would be growing a baby in my belly, but the baby would go home with Xavi and Xavi, and not with us. But I began to really think about how this all would work itself out once I gave birth. Would they wonder why Bru wasn’t coming home with us? Would they understand what happened to my belly? How would I be emotionally after I gave birth? I knew this experience would be different because I knew the baby growing in my belly wasn’t mine.
A week before my due date, the Xavis arrived in Chicago. They went to my appointments, and it was touching to see how emotional they were now that they could be part of the process.
On my due date, my doctor scheduled an induction for a few days later. But the next day, I started having contractions. I sent Xavi and Xavi a message to let them know I was heading to the hospital. They asked if they should come, and I said yes.
My husband and I went to the hospital and were quickly joined shortly by Xavi, Xavi, and a translator. The Xavis promised to stay quiet and keep in the background until they were needed. The nurses asked them questions about the important things for after the delivery, like who was going to cut the cord, if it was okay to give Bru medications, and likewise. The doctor asked me where I wanted Bru to be placed after she delivered her, and we all agreed that she would be placed on my belly.
Finally, it was time to push. And then Bru was out! I looked over at Xavi, and asked, “Can I touch her?” He nodded his head through his tears and replied, “Yes.”
Moments like this remind me what a precious gift I have given Xavi and Xavi, and the gift I have given to the other couples since. The gift I hope to give another couple shortly. These moments aren’t the end; they’re just the beginning of something wonderful. Being a surrogate has introduced me to a new part of my family that fills a part of my heart that I never knew was empty.
Written by Megan Steinecke, who is now program coordinator at Family Source Consultants.