Since I was little, I knew what I wanted my family to look like – me, my husband and three children. Fast forward. I already had a fantastic husband and two beautiful little blond girls, but I didn’t feel complete. I knew I wasn’t done creating my family.
Not only did I have to grieve the potential for my future, I needed to grieve my expectations of family – or so I thought.
So when I was diagnosed with breast cancer – it was a double whammy. Not only did I have to grieve the potential for my future, I needed to grieve my expectations of family – or so I thought. Being a strong woman who doesn’t give up, I researched everything. When I found that I could pursue fertility treatment before my hormone therapy and chemotherapy to retrieve my eggs and create embryos, I was ecstatic. I was going to beat breast cancer and have the family that I always wanted!
When my doctor said I was cancer free, I immediately started pursuing my family building options. My reproductive endocrinologist encouraged me to start the surrogacy process, as I knew I wanted my kids close in age. She encouraged me to contact a professional surrogacy agency. I felt comforted by the referral, but in all honesty, I was still very emotional. I wanted to carry my own pregnancy, and had to continue to remind myself that it takes a village, and it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. I greatly appreciated the emotional support I received throughout “our” pregnancy.
I wanted to carry my own pregnancy, and had to continue to remind myself that it takes a village.
We pursued my egg retrieval; another emotional rollercoaster. We ended up with one little embryo. I rationally know that it only takes one, but my fear was through the roof. There was a lot at stake, meaning a lot of pressure on all of us, including my surrogate.
Enter our surrogate, Erin, who the agency selected for me. I was terrified to meet her. This meeting was unlike any other. I was asking someone to carry my child, a role that I had always wanted to play. I had so many emotions. More than fear, anger and sadness, I met her and felt immediate comfort. I knew she was the person to help us, and luckily, she felt the same. She was the first and only surrogate who we met. Erin is simply an amazing woman. Her husband was so supportive of her and my husband and me. They genuinely wanted to make us feel as if it was “our” pregnancy. We attended prenatal visits together, and our families connected immediately. They feel like an extension of our family, and I am so grateful.
For Erin and me, communication was really important. We built our relationship on trust, respect, and simply gratitude. We called and texted each other often, and still do. Erin and her family attended our daughter’s baptism. We get together for family dinners as time allows. We both understand that we have busy lives, but the bond is strong and forever in our minds.
Before we agreed to proceed with our journey, the counselor who coordinated our match meeting assured me that we agreed on many values, logistical aspects, desires and expectations. Knowing that we share all of these beliefs, there is still fear of the unknown. Would surrogacy work? Would the baby be healthy? Would Erin carry the pregnancy as carefully as I had carried my own pregnancies? The agency assured me these were normal fears that dissipated incrementally as the journey continued. And they did.
After what seemed like an eternity, we had our pregnancy test. Our one little embryo made it, and we were pregnant! Everything was going as planned. My fears lessened, but did not disappear until I was holding our baby girl.
Later my daughters met Erin, and I knew I wanted to be open about our journey with other family members. Some were skeptical, but most greeted us with love and support when they spent time with us.
Everything went as smooth as it could. The medical, legal, and emotional aspects that once seemed so overwhelming- seemed like a blur when I was holding my new daughter. Looking around the delivery room filed with anticipation, was our village, helping to make our dreams come true. When I think of what Erin did for us I get overwhelmed with emotion, overwhelmed with gratitude.
Enjoy the ride on this amazing journey because the experience reveals the best side of humanity.
If I can offer advice to anyone considering surrogacy, it’s to not be afraid. Line up the right support, and then let go. Enjoy the ride on this amazing journey because the experience reveals the best side of humanity.