I was the youngest of three girls, raised in a small central Wisconsin town. My family believed in working hard, being loyal to your family and friends, and treating others as you want to be treated yourself.
My husband, Dan, and I met while students in Minneapolis, where I became pregnant with our only child, Sky, who was born in 1992. When he was three years old we decided to go home to Wisconsin where we settled in Milwaukee. I loved my husband, surrounded myself with great friends, enjoyed my work, and reveled in the pleasure of watching my son grow.
It was when one of my friends had trouble conceiving that I thought of helping another couple have a baby for the first time. I didn’t act on it; I had no knowledge about how to proceed, so it went no further. But over the years, I sustained wonderful memories of my own pregnancy and would talk to my sisters at length about how happy I would be to help another couple have a baby.
Then, in 2008, I took it further. There was no single force or influence that led me to make the decision. I thought, “I’m ready to have a baby for someone,” and that was that. For weeks I researched online and at the library what it meant to be a gestational carrier and the process involved. I knew this decision wasn’t mine to make alone, so I talked with my husband and son to see if they were willing to take this journey with me. After receiving their support, I began investigating surrogacy agencies to represent me. It was a tedious process of navigating through promotion after promotion from agencies promising huge monetary payouts to be a carrier. It was difficult to find an agency that provided a sense of truly wanting to provide only the best guidance and support for their clients. I moved forward with what I thought was the best agency I could find at the time.
After submitting my carrier profile, I was informed that a couple was interested in learning more about me. A call was arranged, questions were asked and almost immediately after talking with Blair and George I knew I had found the right match. The journey we began together was one of joy, uncertainty, blind faith and caring. I soon discovered that no amount of research or planning could prepare me for each phase of the surrogacy process, and at times I didn’t know where to turn for advice.
I needed to know how to interact with Blair and George, as they did with me, and in the beginning we were timid. We both had questions regarding how often we should speak, how to handle updates on doctor appointments, and whether or not it was appropriate to discuss things beyond my pregnancy. The entire process was new to both of us, so there was no sense of how our relationship should evolve, or if it should evolve at all. However, Blair and I naturally formed a relationship that worked for us and it started by having open communication. The timid conversations became a thing of the past and we were able to freely talk about our concerns, ideas on the birthing plan and how we were feeling along the way. I can see now that this ‘give and take’ was critical to the success of the surrogacy.
In August of 2009, Blair’s and George’s baby entered the world. The time we took to discuss our expectations and work through any uncertainties made the birthing experience pure joy. Carrying a child for someone else was a huge honor for me. Seeing Blair and George with their new family was a moment I will never forget.
After returning home from the hospital, I felt a unique mix of emotions – great happiness for the new parents, a sense of satisfaction that I was able to give this gift to a loving couple, but also loneliness. The loneliness did not stem from separation from the baby. I think it was the extreme of going from months of planning and excitement to now it all being over. Alone in my bedroom, I began to cry.
I felt better after letting the emotion out, but I wondered why there was no support group to assist carriers after birth. No one prepared me for the fact that my body was still producing milk or helped me come up with an answer for the local store clerk when he asked, “How is your baby doing?”
My family was very supportive before, during and after the pregnancy. However, I was completely surprised by Blair’s support. Her compassion and concern for how I was feeling was amazing to me. She couldn’t begin to understand exactly what I was feeling, but she did know she wanted to be there for me anyway she could.
From all of my research and the conversations I have had with other gestational carriers, I know that Blair and I have a very unique story. Each relationship will vary depending on the intended parent and gestational carrier’s expectations and feelings.
I am very proud that in 2012 I was able to help another family achieve their dream. On April 17, 2012 I delivered twin boys for a couple. The joy and happiness I had for them will be with me forever.
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