Tag Archives: Guest Post

That’s Our Baby In There (A Follow Up Guest Post Surrogacy)

May 19, 2017

Continued from this first interview on infertility and this follow up interview on surrogacy.

1. First of all, CONGRATS on a special delivery coming this fall. What’s the countdown?

THANK you! We are so grateful and excited to be so close to holding our baby girl, Finella Pearl. She is due to arrive on August 23, however Kim, our carrier, usually goes about 2 weeks earlier than her due dates. So maybe early to mid August for us!

2. What was it like finding out the sex?

We found out it was a girl at week 16 at a super cool ultrasound boutique place that let us see her in 3D/4D. It was our first glimpse at her little hands and feet and we totally melted. Kim brought her whole family to the appointment so we all had placed our bets (1 for boy, 5 for girl). I remember sitting there watching the tv where the ultrasound was displayed, waiting to hear the news. My heart was racing! When the ultrasound technician said “girl” we all cheered. I knew it was a girl from the very beginning and I’m 100% wrong at guessing genders. This was the first time I was ever correct! We had picked out her name the week before, so when we got in the car Nate said “so, it’s Finella in there” which all seemed so real and fun. We FaceTimed some friends in the car on the way home who helped us keep it secret and I immediately started dreaming up her nursery that night.

3. How has the surrogacy process been going?

Surprisingly, it has been going really well. And I say surprisingly because I was worried that somehow I would feel left out in this process or ill-attuned to Finella. But the opposite has been true. We see Kim and her family at church on Sunday, so we see her belly grow each week. She sends me videos of Finella kicking or bump pictures, and I send her crazy worst-case-scenario birth videos.

We also recently purchased Belly Buds which allow us to record ourselves reading books to Finella. It even allows for others to record and send their files to us, so we had both our parents read and sing to Finella. I think it’s the best thing for surrogacy pregnancies, especially since she is now remembering voices. Kim just places the little buds on her belly and hits play and Finella gets to meet each of us, one by one.

 

4. What’s been the hardest part?

I think the hardest part is not being around Finella all the time. I’m not sure how much you can tell about a child’s temperament in utero, but part of me feels like I’m always missing out. This feeling is not nearly as constant and pervasive as I imagined it would be, but it still happens enough and it’s hard.

5. What’s been the most surprising part?

Everyone knows someone who knows someone who has used surrogacy or IVF. Every time I walk into a baby store I get “are you expecting?” or “shopping for a new little baby?” Part of me wants to punch them in the face, because I want to shop in peace, but the other part oozes all over and says “yes! it’s my baby, I’m shopping for my baby!” Which then turns into me explaining that I’m not pregnant, we are using a surrogate, yes we did IVF, and yes, it’s our genetics. And so far, 100% of the time the person says, “you know what, my son/daughter/niece/best friend/neighbor went through IVF or used a surrogate.” That’s when the whole conversation changes and they are so excited to help me find the perfect little outfit for this miracle baby. Somehow Finella touches them and their history in a way that allows such a tender part of them to emerge. The best is when Kim is with me, and I can say “that’s our baby in there.” People melt. And if I can soften just one person’s heart towards IVF or surrogacy, my hope is that the others they come into contact with will be offered the same tenderness that I felt from them in that moment.

6. Do you have an idea of what you’d like the birth to look like?

I’ve really let this up to Kim. She will be the superstar that day. We have asked to be in the room and I’ve asked to pull Finella out, but other than that Kim calls the shots. She has free rein to ask for what she needs and birth this baby however it’s comfortable for her. We have a midwife and Kim’s husband in the room too, and hopefully a new room in the hospital that is supposed to be closer to a “home birth feeling.” As long as Kim and Finella are safe during birth, she can do just about whatever. I already know I’ll be in awe of her strength.

7. At this point, would you consider doing surrogacy again down the road?

Wow, big question and one we’ve talked about a lot. If we had another embryo in storage, yes, absolutely. Unfortunately, we do not have any more embryos which means we would be starting IVF all over again to get some and my body is already cringing at the thought. So the short answer is no. But if there were embryos, then most definitely, yes. For now, we are going to enjoy Finella and if we feel another baby would fit well into our family, we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

 

8. What’s the one thing you get asked about the most?

How did you find Kim? and Did you know her before this? This seems to be the most asked question since this process began. And I get it, it’s a unique arrangement though I often think people are also just asking themselves if they could do it. I imagine they are quickly flipping through their mental rolodex of people, wondering who they would trust to carry their child. I give them the story of how we met, which is usually followed up by, “When is she due?” and “Will you be there for the birth?” Or “What’s her name” then “How do you spell it?”

 

9. Do you recommend surrogacy to others when they ask?

Yes. I know it sounds so foreign (or at least it did for me), but it is so beautiful. I just walked with another woman this past month as she prepared for her embryo transfer to her surrogate. It is such a unique experience and I’ve had women contact me from all over the country asking for me to walk them through the process.

10. What advice do you give them?

After losing so many pregnancies, I often tell them that allowing another woman to carry your child is the most loving thing you can do as a mother. I lived with that reframe for months until I was ready to pursue surrogacy. After so many miscarriages you begin to think that maybe your uterus isn’t the most safe place, and I felt guilty for all the embryos my body couldn’t give life to and the potential future they would have had. And ultimately I came to the conclusion that if I ever wanted to give our frozen embryos a chance, the most gracious and motherly thing I could do is have them carried by someone else. Once I viewed it from that perspective, I warmed up to the idea pretty quickly. If you are dealing with protein in your urine like I was then check out the protein causes and how you can help fix it.

Whether you’re a mother to embryos, a growing fetus, or a baby in your arms, you would go to the ends of the earth to ensure their survival and wellbeing. This is no different.  It’s definitely a long journey and one of many sacrifices, but also one of much beauty and treasure.

Check back this fall for an update on Kristy. We can’t wait to meet Miss Finella Pearl!

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Beholding You Photography by Nicole Bressler

You can make donations to help fund Kristy and Nate’s miracle here.

Smart Women Speak: On Going Back To Work

May 15, 2017

This is my friend Kelly. Kelly is a hard working nurse practitioner living the farm life with her husband and two children in Eastern PA. She is smart, kind, and always makes the best book club drinks.

Q: What is something you’d say to a new mom leaving their baby for the first time to go back to work?

A: The first thing I would say is: it will get easier and it never gets easier. Leaving a baby for a career outside the home is tough. It takes commitment. It takes help from a lot of people. Give yourself grace as you adjust to being a new mother, learning a new normal, and finding a new routine.

When I had my first baby, I didn’t make it easy for myself. I chose to go back to work full time at a brand new job in an entirely different role as an nurse practitioner. I wanted to quit almost every day. However, I vowed to make it 6 months, and with the help of some really great people in my life, I did. 3 1/2 years later I’m still working in that position and I just transitioned back to work after my second baby.

I still struggle with feelings of guilt for being away from my babies. That part never gets easier. However, I know they are loved so much when I’m away by their grandmas and I can love them more when I am home. That’s the sacrifice I’m choosing to make right now for them.

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This is Emily. Emily is a military ER doctor who recently returned from a 6 month deployment to Afghanistan. She is one of the bravest people I know.

Q: What would you say to a new mother who is about to spend a lot of time apart from their child to go back to work?

A: Leaving your baby for the day to go back to work feels like an impossible thing to do. Leaving your baby for six months to deploy to Afghanistan feels like it might actually kill you. I know. I’ve done both. The two practices that have served me best as a working mom are gratitude and perspective. A dear friend gifted me a gratitude journal while I was in Afghanistan, instructing me to find one thing to be thankful for, every day. It was hard. Some days, the only thing I could find to be thankful for was that the day was over, meaning I was one day closer to going home. Other days, practicing gratitude shed light on just how great I had it, even though I was 8000 miles away from my family, watching my baby grow up over FaceTime. I had my health and all four of my limbs. I had a family to miss. I would be going home eventually. These were luxuries not afforded to everyone. My time in Afghanistan has shone perspective on all of life since. Once you’ve survived six months away from your baby, an 8-hour shift in the ER is no big deal. It’s still not nothing. It still hurts to miss milestones and firsts. It still destroys you to see the disappointment on their faces when they see you in your uniform and know you have to go to work. No amount of perspective makes being away from your baby ever feel totally okay. For me, knowing I’ll be home in a few hours—instead of in a few months—takes a little of the sting out of it. It still hurts, but you wear that hurt like a badge of honor, as proof that you love your babies well.

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This is my sister Kelly. Kelly has a lot of different roles in life that are wonderful and noteworthy (wife, mother, professional, friend), but if I had to choose my favorite it would be: Life Of The Party. Which is why I chose this photo of her soaring like an eagle instead of something beautiful and posed that she would probably prefer. Funniest person I know.

Q: What is something you’d say to a new mom leaving their baby for the first time to go back to work?

A: I almost turned around. How could I possibly leave the baby I just met with someone else for 40 hours a week? It seemed unthinkable. The fear of having to leave my son at daycare started months before he was born. I knew I’d have a short six weeks with him to learn how to be his mom, learn how to be awake during the day after being awake all night, learn how to deal with postpartum hormones in public, and learn how to walk up and down a flight of stairs without wincing. It was overwhelming. It was hard. In my case, it was unavoidable.

Things to remember: It’s harder for mama than it is for baby (baby won’t remember; they don’t even know where their hand is). Don’t focus on the 40 hours away. Focus on the weeknight cuddles and those blissful 48 weekend hours. Focus on how you’re supporting your family and how it’s okay if that means being away from your baby during the day.

It will get better. It will get better. It will get better.

I treat my daycare provider as a third parent. She’s there all week to help me raise my baby. It’s takes a village and I am so grateful for that.

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#smartwomenspeak on IG

Smart Women Speak: On Sexism In The Workplace

May 9, 2017

This is my friend Liza. Liza is an animal welfare activist and Capitol Hill professional in Washington D.C. She is also one of my oldest and dearest friends. If I had to describe her in one sentence, I would just steal it from Tina Fey. “She could go to a party and get a number from a wreath.”

Q: What would you say to a young woman facing sexism in the workplace?

A: Grow thick skin. Find yourself mentors. If you’re in a room full of men and women equals, don’t take on the role of getting everyone water or making copies. That’s not your job. Don’t take on the assistant role unless you’re an actual assistant. If someone makes a sexist comment as a “joke,” put on your best poker face and move on. Most of all, lift other women up. Sometimes we can be just as harmful to each other, and the best way to to change other people’s bad behavior is to model the better way ourselves.

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This is Bekah. For the past seven years she has worked in a cultural institution in Germany. From Bekah–> “Work in the cultural field tends to be more female dominated, however, all too often it consists of female staff with male dominated positions of power. I experienced structural and cultural sexism on a near-daily basis: unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate comments, degrading expectations, and devaluation of work.”

Q: What advice would you give to a young woman facing sexism in the workplace?

A: First decide what causes are worth fighting for. Outrage for every slight is exhausting. Spend time thinking about what is worth the emotional fight. For example, I decided that getting worked up every day because women were often stuck doing “housework” jobs like unloading the dishwasher in the staff kitchen was too much to fret about. If I was bothered by the state of the kitchen and chose to do something about it, that was my choice. On the other hand, I refused to let my ideas and contributions be commandeered by male co-workers in meetings. Thoughtful consideration of the causes worth going to bat for saved me from expending too much emotional energy on the subject and put me in control – I proceeded more thoughtfully and powerfully when I moved away from giving the same weight to all forms of inequality in the workplace.

Second, find your allies and stick up for your sister friends. There is power in numbers and in knowing that someone has got your back. Finding other like-minded people in my workplace (both male and female) empowered me to take action when necessary and appropriate.

And finally, change your changeables. Sometimes the greatest thing you can hope to change is the future. Live as an example of a strong, equal worker and those who are open and learning will see and accept. I worked with many interns in my job and saw that as an area in which I could influence job assignments and create a culture of workplace equality. We are the hope for the future.

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This is Betsy. Betsy is a hard working feminist living in Eastern PA. She has faced gender discrimination and sexual advances by two different managers in her career in the last decade. 

Q: What advice would you give to a young woman facing sexism in the workplace?

A: Always walk into the room projecting confidence and operating under the assumption that you’re (at least) equal to every other person. Always try to address sexism, big or small, directly with the person in private. Sometimes people are clueless, so try to teach. If that doesn’t work or it’s not safe, be brave and report it. The next woman might not be as strong. Don’t let anyone tell you to lighten up or get a sense of humor. It ain’t funny. Find a mentor you trust, male or female. The only way to change the culture is by being part of the change. Trust yourself. I’m lucky, I was raised by a career Marine.

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#smartwomenspeak on IG

Smart Women Speak: On Career & Motherhood

May 2, 2017

Photo by Chris Keels

This is my friend Candis. Candis is the founder, owner, and creator of The Jones MarketShe is also one of the warmest and kindest people I’ve ever known.

Q: What advice would you give to a young woman who wants to pursue both a fulfilling creative career and motherhood?

A: I would ask them to define what fulfilling means to them. I would tell them that there is nothing on this earth worth having that doesn’t come with sacrifice. Decide what fulfilling is and then decide what things you are willing to sacrifice to get there. If you know what those things are you will see your goals, you will be able to reassure yourself why you are giving up things. I was willing to sacrifice sleep, personal time, home cooked meals, a clean house and time with friends to pursue my creative career alongside motherhood. I was not willing to sacrifice being home with them in their formative years until their Dad could quit his job and be home with them. So I worked late late nights and weekends and every time my body felt frail and sick from the lack of sleep and self care, every time I felt like giving up I reminded myself of what fulfilling means to me and what I was willing to sacrifice. And I carried on.

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This is my friend Carrie. Carrie is a writer, director, and student at Studio 4 in NYC. Currently she is writing a film with James Franco. She is also one of my best friends. When I’m with her, I feel known and understood. I also probably feel a little sick, because she is constantly forcing me to do things I never would have done otherwise.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is trying to be a full time mother while also pursuing a career in the arts?

A: You can do it! You don’t have time or energy to do the things you think you should anymore – so just do what brings you life, what burns in your gut, no matter what others think. And prioritize. Cut out anything and everything that you don’t need or really really want. Your family, your passion, your spiritual life – those come first – those are what you and the rest of the world need you to focus on. We don’t need more people out there just floating along trying to look like they have it together, we need people with drive, with hope, and honest pursuit. We need people who are a total hot mess of life. We need people to wake us up, stir us, show us a broken stereotype that we are also capable of. I have so many people shocked that I’m both a mother of a toddler (and pregnant) and pursuing my crazy dreams. Many people love it, others don’t get it. Stand up for yourself. You have a backbone! You know what you want, who you are, who you love, what’s important – so just go for it. I’m not saying risk everything all the time – but know when risk is okay and take it. Even if other people don’t understand why- they don’t need to! Also: help other women. Do kid swaps or give script feedback, tell everyone about their art show or text them with encouragement. And stay determined. Rest when you need to but don’t you dare let go when you find something that sets you on fire. We all need to see it!

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This is Bethany. Bethany is one of those people who does a little bit of everything with great joy. The first time I met her I thought: please calm down. Now she’s one of my closest friends. Our shared interests include not making dinner and ordering complicated appetizers.

Q: What is something you’d tell someone who just left their career to stay home with their children?

A: Our society places value on the work that we do; all of our different jobs have literal and cultural capital. Being a stay home mom doesn’t rank high on either front. Let’s face it, there’s very little that’s sexy about staying home to care for kids. When I made the choice to leave my full time teaching career to stay home, I was pretty worried about how others would perceive me. For example: What will I contribute to dinner party conversations? Will I become…boring?

Listen, your work isn’t what makes you an interesting or engaging person. I had to stop telling myself my life had become boring. It hadn’t. Every day I have an opportunity to pay attention to the world and to my kids. Engage in it all. Be curious. Listen to podcasts. Pick up side hustles (I’ve done everything from cleaning houses to working in food trucks to teaching evening classes) and begin to see them as ways to learn about people and other types of work.
Staying home with my children has been hard and trying yet ultimately meaningful. It is a privilege to have the choice to do so and I’m learning to see this all as an opportunity to love and to learn.

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#smartwomenspeak on IG

Don’t Lose Heart (A Guest Post On Surrogacy)

April 19, 2016

Last July I interviewed my friend Kristy about her and her husband Nate’s journey through seven years of infertility in a guest post titled “You Are Not Forgotten.” At that time they were going through what they believed to be their final round of IVF before exploring other options. You can read that interview here.

Almost one year later, so much has changed. Kristy’s Etsy shop for couple’s trying to conceive is taking off, her time spent trying IVF is over, and her and her husband have found a surrogate to carry their sweet embryos.

Last week I reached out to Kristy (who is now comfortable using her real name) wondering if she’d like to do a follow up post on surrogacy since there’s so much mystery and confusion surrounding the process. She said yes, and I’m so excited to share her story again today.

Ten questions on surrogacy for Kristy and her honest answers below.

From Kristy: Don’t lose heart.

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1. The last time we talked, you were on your final attempt at using IVF to get pregnant after seven years of trying. What has happened health wise since then?

Our last attempt was in December of 2015 after three months of prepping my body for that final transfer. Our doctor returned from a medical conference in July 2015 and had a new plan for our next round. It included several months of prep, a mock round using all the medication, and a super painful test to examine my uterine tissue (without anesthesia!). It took three months to get those results and prep for the real thing. Finally in the beginning of December we transferred one beautiful genetically normal embryo into a thick and fluffy uterine lining. The bases were loaded and we were basically “guaranteed” a home run. It felt like a sure thing, even our doctors prepared for success. We waited and waited, then finally went for blood work. Nothing. Completely negative, it didn’t even try to implant or stick around. That was the end of IVF, we felt so strongly that we and our last precious embryos could not survive another round of that madness. It was time to move on.

2. What led you guys to choosing surrogacy over other options? 

Our doctor mentioned surrogacy in June of 2015, which led to a complete breakdown on the way home from his office. He actually called and apologized later for bringing it up that early in the process, but it was too late I was already swimming in the fear that surrogacy was where we were going to end up. I tucked it away in the back of my mind as we prepped for our “miracle” round (above) and put all my hope in that. But there were times when I brought the idea of surrogacy out to the forefront and thought about it. I couldn’t keep it there long though because it was tied to so much grief and questions on my end. What would it be like to never carry a child? What will I tell my child if they ask about being in my tummy? How would I get through 9 months of seeing someone else grow my child? 

So many questions and so much grief. Grief was a huge part of this process. I had to shed all my dreams of being pregnant, having cravings, and most of all–giving birth. It still makes me emotional knowing I’ll never know those intimate feelings so many women/mothers get to experience. After our failed round in December, we decided to take some time off to simply pray about our next steps. We were tired, weary, and felt so weak. It was Christmas time so we filled up on family, our precious nephew, cut out cookies, and laughter – which really did help.

We returned home in January and left our hearts open to whatever/whomever walked into our life. We were leaning towards surrogacy ONLY because we had  embryos left in storage. It felt uncomfortable to both of us to leave them permanently in storage, especially since they had an 80% chance of life with the right uterus. I did ask Nate if someone approached me in the grocery store and said, “I know of this baby you should adopt,” — what would we do? We both agreed that while this was obviously unlikely, if something that dramatic came along we would most definitely go in that direction.

For several weeks we sat and waited without expectation or a plan. Just simply waited and listened for what’s to come. It was refreshing and terrifying.

3. Was it hard to find someone? What does that process look like?

This is the first question everyone asks (literally 100% of the time). Finding someone to carry your child is not an easy process, you don’t (shouldn’t) post it on Craigslist or your local Facebook “for sale” site. It’s a whole new kind of matchmaking. During our time of waiting “without expectation,” we called a surrogacy lawyer to find out legally what’s required. It was very helpful to know the requirements for carrying (it varies from state to state). So many friends and family volunteered their wombs. I got texts saying “my womb is your womb” or “I want to give you this gift’ and emails from people feeling so called to help us create a family. It was so beautiful and moving to know we were so so loved. We had to make some hard decisions, there are many complicated layers to gestational carrying and it’s often recommended not to use a close friend or family member because of the complex relational dynamics that could arise over the next 9 months (and the years after). So, we were back at square one, but I was so sure someone would present themselves. I started praying for this women, for her heart, her courage, and her family. I knew she was out there, I knew I was about to meet her. I can’t explain the feeling, but it still gives me chills to know I was so certain her appearance was coming soon.

Long story short, Nate went out for a beer with someone from church and I ended up meeting them later. During our conversations our friend said, “You know K (that’s what I’ll call her) from church did this for someone else years ago.” Nate and I paused and looked at each other. I asked our friend to make sure he had the story right and demanded he call his wife to confirm. Within minutes we had confirmation that K had indeed been a carrier in the past. I asked for our friend to put me in touch with her. We had only been going to this church for a few months and even though I knew what she looked like, I didn’t know her well enough to talk to her.

A week went by and eventually I had her number. I called her, heart pounding, feeling awkward about talking to someone I didn’t know AND still figuring out how to ask her to carry our child. She answered and all my nerves disappeared. We talked about her experience in the past, what it was like to carry a child and hand it over after birth, and about all the prep and requirements to be pregnant with someone else’s child. She was so open and easy to talk to. We laughed a lot, and at times I was talking so fast–not just out of excitement, but because this was someone who was speaking to the dark and hard places of my heart. She was rapidly softening the parts that I had protected, grieved over, and kept hidden.

Then it came time to ask the question. It rolled right off my tongue with no hesitation. I knew she was the one. I asked, “Would you consider doing this again?” She paused for a second and then readily said, “Absolutely.” She went on to tell me she just told her husband a few days before that she would like to get back into surrogacy and then I called. K said she has felt called to be a surrogate since she was in high school and has always wanted to help couples have a family. She agreed to carry twins and to pump us breast milk for 6 months after birth, thank you Jesus! I basically ended the phone call with “You’re hired” to which she said “Do you want to meet me before moving forward?” It was then I realized maybe I need to slow down a bit, but it just felt so good to finally find something that feels so good.

After I hung up, I filled Nate in. He was vacuuming (bless his heart) upstairs and just happened to be in the future baby room. We were so overwhelmed by what just happened that we weren’t sure what to do with all the happiness. We hugged and cried and looked around that room, feeling more hopeful that one day it would look much different. 

4. Now that you’ve found someone, what happens next?

Once we all met and decided to move forward, we contacted our lawyer and started the paperwork process. It’s been over three months and we are still in the contract phase. It takes a while to move through all the little details involved in this. After we get a contact drafted and everyone signs it, we have required counseling to do together, medical preparation for K, and then comes the transfer!

What I didn’t mention is that when K agreed to do this she had a 4 month old! So before moving ahead with anything medical related, she needs to be finished breast feeding. She will be done this Fall which is why our transfer isn’t until then. It’s great timing because we can move through all these steps and stages of the process without feeling rushed. 

5. What are questions you are finding people want to ask but don’t know how?

 1. Will your baby(ies) look like you?  Yes. All the genetic material is ours (it’s our embryo). She is the vessel that will help bring them to life. 

2. What is the difference between surrogacy and gestational carrying? Traditional surrogacy is when the surrogate uses her eggs and they are just fertilized by sperm. So the child will have some of the surrogate’s genetic material. Gestational carrying is just that, carrying. It uses none of the carrier’s material, just a nice cozy womb.

3. Isn’t all of this just weird and uncommon? Yes and no. There are pieces of this process that are weird, sure. But believe me, some of the things I was doing before to get pregnant were even more weird. This actually seems legitimate. Uncommon? No. Surrogacy and gestational carrying is actually very common, you just don’t hear about it that often. Since finding K, I’ve heard of several other women in my area that had children via surrogacy and others that were gestational carriers!

4. Is it hard to know you won’t be pregnant? Yes, of course. Birthing a child is something I think is so beautiful, so I grieve that I’ll never know that feeling. I was always told I would be such a cute pregnant woman (believe it or not, I’ve been told that many times in my life. Who says that?) and when I was young, I used to stuff pillows up my shirt to see what I’d look like pregnant. All things I’ll never see in real life. I’ll also never nurse a child, another hard thing. However, I do know what it feels like to be pregnant. I was pregnant three times, not for long, but long enough to know what it feels like to puke, crave all things fried, and never want to get out of bed. That is the closest I’ll ever get and I’m okay with that. There are also pros to not giving birth, for one, that dreaded post-partum poo. Sounds absolutely horrifying, no thanks. 

6. What are your fears going into this process?

Surprisingly, I don’t have many fears. I feel K was brought into our lives for a reason and no matter what happens, this experience was meant to be. There is always the fear of what if it doesn’t work and what if something happens to the baby(ies), but those fears were there when I was carrying. Knowing K has a healthy cozy uterus that four other babies enjoyed in the past brings me so much more hope than fear. 

7. Will you and Nate attend or be part of the birth? What does that look like? 

Good question. I want to say yes! At least we hope to be. Those details we will work out with K, but I’m hoping we (or at least I) can be in the room and experience the birth process. 

8. What happens after the baby (or babies!) are born? Will K remain a part of your lives?

K will always be a part of our lives. But this is one of those complex issues that goes with surrogacy. It’s one that we had to talk about together and write into a contract. Our lawyer has all kinds of “worst case scenarios” of people who haven’t fully thought this through. However K is so respectful of us and our desire to be parents. She is always saying things like “you’re the parents,” never trying to take ownership over this process. We have no worries about K’s involvement in our child’s life. She goes to our church so I imagine she will see them every Sunday and she mentioned having a “aunt-like” relationship with them. We need a village to raise children and sometimes we need a village to make children and we are so so thankful she is a part of our village.

9. If you’re comfortable sharing, what is the financial strain that goes along with surrogacy?

Surrogacy is not free. It comes with a price, monetarily and emotionally. K and I hate talking about money, however it’s a part of the process. As K says, it’s like day care for nine months. Exactly, it’s just like that. There is also cost for all the required testing, the medications, prenatal appointments, and the birth. But as cliche as it sounds, this process is priceless. 

10. Any advice or words of encouragement for parents who are considering surrogacy? 

Call me. No seriously, talk to someone who has been through it. Find someone to share their story and answer your questions. I was following several blogs which helped me (us) make some important decisions. Be brave. This is not an easy option, or a quick fix. It comes with new and different challenges to push yourself through. But if you’re considering surrogacy then you’ve been through a lot already and you know how to do hard things. You know what it’s like to not have answers, to grieve what will never happen, and to put your trust in someone else.

Surrogacy is not the end or the last resort, which is how I saw it for so long. For us, it’s just the beginning. The beginning of something so much more beautiful than we could have ever imagined. You can have that too. As our embryologist told me in our last phone call, “We [the medical team] are all looking forward to your time in the sun.”

I can feel the warmth already.

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