Thursday, 2 January 2014

I'm Pregnant...But It's Not Mine: A Surrogacy Journey.

I am 14 weeks pregnant. Please, before you roll your eyes and think "Pregnant again?! She's already got 4!" there is something extra special about this little one.  This baby does not belong to me, this baby belongs to my friend and her husband.  It is 100% their baby, no genetic relation to me or mine, and I am the incubator protecting it until it is ready to come out and meet it's, already adoring, parents.

My friend, T, had cancer in her 20's.  She was diagnosed when her baby (who's obviously not a baby anymore), Little M, was just 4 months old.  Nasty, aggressive cancer that very easily could have got the better of her if she wasn't the awesome chick that she is.  After her diagnosis she was told she would never be able to carry another pregnancy, and that her and her husband ("F") should think about possibly having some embryos created and frozen.  So whats they did, they had 10 little embryo's created and put into deep freeze for another point in time they could not even bring themselves to think about whilst T was facing such a huge battle with with her illness.  Fast forward 4 years and T, after some truly horrible treatment, a hell of alot of support from all that love and care about her and a great positive attitude, is now well. The cancer is gone and she is feeling good.  

On the 10th October 2013 two of T & F's precious embryo's were defrosted and transferred into my care, and 2 weeks later we found out the treatment had been successful and I was pregnant.  At 8 weeks we had a early scan back at the clinic which showed it was a single pregnancy, the chance of a twin pregnancy was quite high as I had 2 embryo's transferred.  I must admit I was kind of relieved when there was only 1 pregnancy sac on the screen at that very first scan, because although I was prepared for a multiple pregnancy as I agreed to a double transfer I only did so as I wanted to give them the best chance possible of 1 of the embryo's taking.  A multiple pregnancy is not an easy thing to go through and I knew it would have put extra strain on everyone should it of happened.  At 12 weeks we had the normal NHS dating scan and the faces of T&F were a picture I will never forget, for me it was a bit odd...detached almost.  You don't get the same feeling as you do seeing your own baby on the screen, and although I was so pleased all was well, it was their faces that truly gave me joy. I do not take for granted how hard it must have been for T too, because as much as she was overjoyed to see their baby dancing around on the screen, there still must have been a sadness that she was not the one carrying it.

Why would I volunteer to have someone else's child? I volunteered because I know how precious my children are to me.  I volunteered because that if my children weren't in my life it would be incomplete.  I volunteered because they are amazing people that have had some really awful times and they deserve, more than I can ever explain, to have this baby in their arms.  I volunteered because their beautiful daughter deserves to have a brother or sister (I already know a brother would be her preference ;-)).  I volunteered because I knew as soon as I had my youngest daughter, who is now 4, that I do not want any more children of my own but I am young, fit and able to carry a pregnancy.  I volunteered because 9 months of mild discomfort and niggles is nothing compared to the joy that that baby will bring to it's parents, sister, grandparents, family and friends through the years to come.  I remember years ago watching a documentary on surrogacy in the UK and thinking what a wonderful thing it was for someone to do for another person, but little did I know at that time that in the future that would be me.  Since I have been on this journey I have been lucky enough to find some great support groups for surrogates and their IP's (Intended Parents) and it has really opened my eyes to some of the heartache and problems that some people go through in the pursuit of having children, something so many people these days take for granted.

So basically that is where I have been hiding for the past few months...I have been dealing with turbo charged pregnancy symptoms due to the amount of extra IVF hormones that have been pumped through my body, a necessary evil when undergoing frozen embryo transfer unfortunately.

I will write lots more about surrogacy and our journey over the coming months, it seems to be kind of a unknown quantity here in the UK (and programs like the recent "Indian House of Surrogates" do not do very much to help!) in  and the more I can educate people the better.  I must admit though, I was a little bit apprehensive when I started to think about how people would react to my news, not exactly a "normal" announcement is it, but so far I cannot tell you how wonderful the response has been.  My husband, family and other friends have been amazing and I could not have even thought about undertaking this journey without them.  The kids have been awesome two youngest quickly grasped the fact that the baby in mummy's tummy is not their brother or sister and is Auntie T's & Uncle F's, but mummy needs to look after it as Auntie T's can't carry the baby in her tummy because she was poorly.  

I don't take for granted how wonderful they ALL are and just how lucky I am to have them.


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