Monday, December 26, 2011

Generosity of Spirit

The holiday season is my favorite time of year. Ever since I was a little kid, I have loved giving the perfect gift to my friends and family. Sure, I love getting presents-who doesn't?? But I really live for that moment when you see someone open up the gift you picked just for them and seeing that reaction. We usually see who can make my grandmother cry the most when she opens her presents :) (We are a family of criers)
This year has been especially fun because the kids are both at that point where they really get the Christmas magic thing, and let me say, it warms my heart and makes me soooo excited I feel like I'm 5 again.  As the nurturer that I am, I usually get much more out of giving than receiving, and I don't say that to try to sound super altruistic, it is the truth. So I can't really explain how I felt when I received gifts in the mail for my children from the couple I will be a surrogate for.  REALLY nice gifts. Did I mention that they have never met my children? I was blown away to say the least. I'm not even pregnant yet, and here they are, thinking of MY children and family. It just cements the feeling that I know that they are the perfect couple for me to help. This isn't something they were in any way obligated to do; they are just generous and loving. This post is really just about me needing to have an outlet for the emotions this simple gesture caused. It may not seem like a big deal, but I can't stop thinking about it, and about the utter joy delivered to my children on Christmas Eve. I know gifts come in all shapes and sizes, and as this journey progresses, I am realizing more and more that the intended parents are not the only ones who  are receiving a gift.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Ok, so I am not a legal expert by any means, nor do I pretend to understand politics. So consider me shocked when I found out that surrogacy for compensation is illegal in several states and highly restricted in others. Yep. I've done a little research on the subject and from what I gather, surrogacy has been likened to prostitution if a woman receives money for the use of her body. Wow, I had no idea I was such a trollop.
My new friend Kelsey (whom I met at a Birth Matters event and met the goddess of birth herself, Ina May Gaskins) is very knowledgeable about this subject, as she has written a massive paper on it in her field of study. She is the one who informed me that my own state has highly restricted this practice. Which would explain why the company I am working with is based out  of another state. Obviously there are people out there who agree that compensation for surrogacy should be illegal, perhaps even some of you reading this blog. I am assuming (hoping) there are legal reasons OTHER than the hooker comparison that these laws exist. And as I stated, I am by no means a legal expert. But in my humble opinion, let me explain why I believe surrogacy is NOT the same thing as prostitution.

1. Prostitutes get paid to provide someone instant gratification of a physical desire. Surrogates get paid to provide someone with a child that they have been, in most cases, trying to have on their own for years. Call me crazy, but I find it difficult to equate getting your rocks off to creating a life, even though the first can result in the second :)
2. Prostitutes do no go through the extensive screening, interviews, psychological/medical testing, paperwork, education that surrogates do. If they do, that is a damn selective pimp.
3. While surrogacy can be entered into for some women by the "lure" of compensation, it involves and requires MUCH more than most people can imagine. Medical procedures just to get pregnant, traveling, opening up your entire personal history to be analyzed, BEING PREGNANT FOR 9 MONTHS, all the issues associated with pregnancy, labor and delivery, handing over the child you've carried...these things are all sacrifices. Entered into willingly, yes. Deserving of compensation, yes.
4. Just because genitals are involved in both "services", it does not mean they are the same thing.

So hopefully this doesn't cause too much controversy, or piss of too many people who think that I am wrong on any of these 4 points. If it does, that won't change my opinion. I am honored to be able to help an amazing couple realize their dream of having a child, and if that makes me a prostitute, then bring on the hooker heels and fishnets.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Face to Face

There really isn't much that makes me nervous. I tend to be a pretty confident person. But tonight my husband and I went to meet the intended parents that I plan on being a surrogate for. I have to say, I felt like I was going to throw up. Seriously, my stomach was in knots. This felt like the most intimidating job interview ever. I have spoken with them on the phone and truly felt as though this was the couple I was meant to work with. But I was worried that maybe they didn't feel that connection, and I was about to find out if this relationship was going to progress.
Dad and Mom (I'm not going to write their actual names to maintain their privacy) drove 2 hours to come and meet us for dinner. They are a lovely Nigerian couple, both hardworking professionals. They have been married since 1997 and have been trying to have a baby since then. Suffering through several miscarriages and failed fertility treatments and procedures could have made them bitter, but it has not. They are sweet, funny, optimistic and gracious. And they are thankful that I am willing to carry their baby.
The meeting was wonderful, better than I could have hoped. Russell and I both adore them and I believe this is the beginning of a lifetime friendship. We are moving forward on this incredible journey together.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Conversations with my children

I am fortunate enough to have been blessed with two of the most affectionate babies on earth. Their sweetness melts my heart, and sometimes I can't even stand how lovely their love is. I ache for them when they aren't with me, even on the days when they are driving me so crazy that its best they not be in the same room with me. My sweet Stella is a spitfire, but a nurturer, like her mama, and she is a dreamer. My precious Roy has BIG emotions, feels everything so deeply that it amazes me.
I sat down with them to try to explain what I am doing with regards to the surrogacy. This is the conversation that ensued:
Me: "Ok guys, I have told you this before, but I really want to talk to you about something. Mommy is going to carry a baby in her tummy for another mommy and daddy. When the baby is born, it will go live with its real mommy and daddy. "
Stella: "We don't get to keep it?"
Me: "No, the baby won't be ours. It will go home with its real parents."
Stella: "I wish we could have a big basket with a hot air balloon, then we could fly to the new parents house and give them the baby. Are they nice?"
Me: "Yes, they are very nice."
Stella: "Well, I wish we could keep it, but ok"
Roy: "Yeah, ok"
Stella: "I guess we will have to deal with it tomorrow"

Well all right then, I'll take that as a favorable response. Roy is such a mama's boy that I think he would have a hard time with me paying too much attention to another baby in our house; Stella would love it. But unless God intervenes and reverses Russell's vasectomy, that is NOT happening :) So we will see how things go as I progress in the pregnancy. Our goal is to keep having honest, open discussions with the kids so that they understand that families are made in lots of different ways. It is important that we keep things age appropriate, so I'm not planning on overwhelming them with too many details. In all honesty, I think it will affect Stella more than Roy, since odds are that she will remember it whereas he may not. Only time will tell, but I'm encouraged by their responses so far.