Saturday, September 14, 2013
I was a little naive when I first started talking about my plans for this surrogacy journey - I just assumed my family and friends would think about it the same way that I did. But I was wrong.
MOST people were really curious and interested about it. I'd usually get the 'but is it even legal!?' (yes it is) or the 'how will you be able to give the baby up?' ( it's not mine to keep) or the 'how much will you get paid?' (it's illegal to be paid) questions. Some friends thought about it a little more and threw doozy questions at me like 'what happens if there's something wrong with the baby?' (we will deal with that if/when it happens) or 'what if the Intended Mum gets sick again?' (seriously?! Anyone could get sick or be killed living their basic, boring life. This does not make one person a more worthy parent than any other) ...
We covered a LOT of scenarios in the hours of counselling. Some were quite hard to talk through, so I can only imagine how horrible they'd be to live through. But for the most part the IPs and my hubby and I agreeded on all the major aspects. I approached the scenarios in the same way I would have if this was my own pregnancy, with common sense and decency. Until we hit the next question...
This was the one that I found hardest to get my head around: what if my life is in danger health-wise, and the baby needs to be delivered early. I found myself getting bogged down in the hypothetical details (ie. how far through the pregnancy am I), arguing that if we had any avenue to delay the delivery to give the baby the best fighting chance, I'd want to take it (this is what I'd do in my own pregnancy. If it meant bed rest for weeks/months, or hospitalisation or a cocktail of drugs...I'd do whatever it took to give the baby extra days/weeks to grow). The IPs were horrified and explained that they'd never want to risk my life over their unborn child and would deliver as soon as necessary. I wanted to argue with them... but I also got a glimmer of seeing it from their perspective too. I wouldn't risk leaving my kids without a mother. And neither would they.
This is why you have counselling! With this awareness, and with eyes fully open, I realised that this wasn't going to be 'just like one of my own pregnancies'. This was different. And it would be treated differently by not only medical staff, but by friends and family as well.
I think this was most noticeable for me when we got the positive pregnancy result after the first blood test. I remember struggling a bit with how different things felt, and recording some of my thoughts in the pregnancy journal I'm keeping for the bub (and his mum)...
" 28th July 2013
So... we got a big fat positive on the pregnancy blood test 2 days ago. I cheated a little and did a pee-stick test before the blood test - and it told me you had stuck. So I already knew the good news. We do another blood test tomorrow to make sure you're growing well and getting stronger.
At this stage I don't want to get used to the idea that you'll be there for the long-run because we're all aware that things can go wrong (especially because you spent a few months frozen)... but we have to be positive.
At this stage I feel like this is it - that you ARE here for the long-run... I also feel like you're a little boy. (But you can't trust my 'feelings'. I don't really know what you are! We all just want you to be healthy).
So at this stage, once we've had a good second blood test tomorrow we'll then have a scan following that and I'll get to see you. I look forward to being able to feel you move in there too.
We told our kids that you are in my belly. I don't know how much they really understand though. My daughter woke us up at 6am this morning to ask me if I had 'squeezed the baby out yet?'
I think the hardest thing to get my head around so far has been 'how and I supposed to feel?' If this was my pregnancy with a brother or sister for my children I would be feeling excited, and scared. And I would be imagining my life with a third child.
Because you're not my baby, there is no 'what will the future bring' thoughts beyond imagining you growing up with your mum and dad and big brother. It's a bizarre situation to be in the middle of.
You spend your whole life surrounded by and reacting to people's announcements of pregnancy and there's a social etiquette for responding. This situation is so new, and so strange that there is no 'norm' to follow. So I think that has left me feeling a little lost for the last few days.
This is really happening now. It's VERY real. But how do I feel about it? How am I supposed to feel about it?
I think I'm still excited, but it's a different form of excitement. I'm excited to watch my body do 'it's thing' again, to see you moving on the scans, to have my belly expand to make space for you... but the excitement and anticipation of a newborn in the house/another member of the family is missing. So it's almost like an incomplete excitement.
Maybe that's what I've been trying to understand over these last few days - why I feel different this time? It's silly though, because of course I'm going to feel different! This situation IS different!
I am looking forward to being able to give birth to you, then being able to hand you over to your parents and jusr SLEEP! (That was my biggest desire after delivering my own two babies, but the last thing you actually get to do!). I think I may struggle a bit with the emptiness of not having you inside me anymore, and also not having you in my arms. I think that will be a challenge - but I know I am strong enough to face it. And I will be ok in time.
And on that note I need to get up and get ready for a family lunch. I think they're all a bit confused as to how to feel about this as well though. They're happy, but the excitement of a new family member isn't there. So they probably feel a bit confused about it all as well. "
Things have changed and developed in the months since this post though, and nearly everyone of my friends and family members have gotten their heads around this bizarre situation - as have I.
I have no illusions that it's not going to be especially hard for my parents seeing their daughter pregnant, but there being no grandbaby at the end of it for them. But I am buoyed by a simple comment one of my brothers made recently... 'really proud of you for doing this Em'. And I have to admit, I am too. Proud, and scared and excited and curious and honoured to be on this unusual journey.