(In part 1 of “Me and my almost surrogate” I describe how, after years of trying to have a baby, the hubby and I found ourselves a wonderful woman willing to carry our child.)
Despite finding the ideal surrogate, I kept feeling oppressed by the time that elapsed throughout this baby-making process. A few close friends and family members knew of my struggles but I didn’t share the information widely. It’s not that I’m shy (hey, I’m blogging about it, aren’t I?) but with each subsequent miscarriage, my sense of failure kept rising. I would literally bargain with the fetus every time I visited the bathroom.
“Be good,” I’d beg “and I promise you I’ll be a great mom.” I started to hate my body for not doing what it was suppose to. I even believed that there was a Darwinian influence at work here and my DNA wasn’t meant to hang around.
Compounding my distress were comments and observations directed at me over the years about having *only* one child. Here are some highlights:
1. A friend’s husband once remarked, “I am sure your baby making days are over. The factory is closed, right?” he laughed. (My son was 5 and I was 35.)
2. ”You’re probably too focused on your career to want more children,” said a parent at my son’s school, when he was in Kindergarten.
This working mother scenario came up frequently. The general assumption was that I was too busy with my career to bother with more children. Yes, I loved my work and I spent long hours at the office and on my BlackBerry. Since when are only stay-at-home moms allowed to want children?
The hardest slap came from a distant family member. The ’would-be’ and I had known each other for about a month when my son spent the day with relatives who had two children. Before I left to pick my son up, this distant family member remarked: “I guess he’ll get spoiled, seeing what it’s like not to be alone all the time and to have loving siblings.”
Ouch. Still hurts. But there is so much wrong with this statement that I refuse to remark further on it.
I decided on the drive home to call the fertility clinic first thing on Monday to start the process of getting my would-be surrogate and I on the same menstrual cycles. Which got me thinking: when was my last period? Crap.
A quick pregnancy test confirmed my biggest fear. I was pregnant.
“I’m so sorry,” was my hubby’s initial reaction.
I couldn’t believe it. Years of tracking my cycle made me quite the expert on my ovulation schedule. I was certain that my ovulation window coincided with a week-long business trip I took. Despite having a surrogate in hand, the idea of birth control remained mortifying to me. And after finding a surrogate, hubby and I rediscovered sex.
There are few things less satisfying than sex for the purpse of procreation. For those who have never been there, imagine eating non-flavored rice cakes while watching the finale of “Lost” again and again . Worse than procreation sex is fearful pregnancy sex, when you irrationally worry that the slightest twinge could cause a spontaneous miscarriage. So yes, we engaged in unprotected sex and I was surprised by my pregnancy. After 4 years, when nothing worked the way it should, the basic concept that sex=babies caught me off guard.
For a couple of weeks, I decided to pretend I wasn’t pregnant. After all, the chances were never in my favor. Petrified that she would quicky jump ship and find another family, I couldn’t bring myself to tell our would-be surrogate. I decided to keep talking about the day when we would start the process. Eventually, the inevitable would happen.
After a couple of weeks, I started to panic. I couldn’t keep stringing our would-be along. With each conversation, I kept thinking ‘this is wrong. You’re suppose to be pregnant.’ While she couldn’t wait to get knocked-up, each day of my pregnancy seemed like the end of the world. I felt certain that I’d lose the pregnancy, and her, the moment I confessed.
One night in bed, under the cover of darkness, I suggested to the hubby that we consider the A word. Don’t get me wrong: I’m firmly pro-choice but given my experience, it’s still hard to spell it out. “(The surrogate) is a sure thing,” I insisted. I wanted to place my bet on a winning horse.
“Nothing is a sure thing,” he argued.
I dragged my heels for a couple more weeks before I confessed to her, via email (I’m a coward.) I sent a gift to her home but she didn’t respond for at least a week. I felt horrible, believing that we were meant to have this baby together and confident that my pregnancy would fail. Eventually, she emailed me back and congratulated me but I wasn’t ready to celebrate.
We already developed a bond so we kept emailing each othe regularly. She wanted to hear about every part of my pregancy. I wrote about my daily fears and couldn’t help shake the feeling that somehow things were backwards. “You should be the one talking about your pregnancy,” I insisted. “This doesn’t seem right.”
When the surrogate coordinator matched our would-be with a different family, my sense of loss compounded. Still, I wanted to hear about her experience, her thoughts on the new family and how her new boyfriend took the news.
One day, I spotted some blood. I left a panicked message for my obstetrician and called a cab to take me to his office. I felt certain that the dreaded moment has arrived but a Doppler confirmed that everything was fine. “You need to have faith,” my OB told me. I didn’t believe in faith at that point. I wanted cold, hard facts. I rented a Doppler that evening and checked the heart-rate once a day for the next 3 months.
That wasn’t my last scare and once I called the surrogate coordinator. “If things don’t work out, you’ll find me someone else, right?” I sobbed.
“You won’t be happy until you hear ‘I see the head,’” she joked, in an effot to console, and agreed to help me out if it ever turns out that I still need her.
I thought of her words when, five months later, the obstictian said she saw the baby’s head crowning.
I took a deep breath. I was finally done.
Category: Family 2.0