Tuesday, October 8, 2013

This is our story...

It wasn't long after my fourth baby was born that surrogacy was laid on my heart. It's true that my last pregnancy was easy "ish" and his birth, a home VBAC, was life changing. It was the sort of birth you want to do over and over again. Problem was, our family was complete. We knew we were done growing our own babies when we all sat in bed admiring our newest addition last March.

I spent many months battling my longing uterus and the reality that our family was ready to move on to the next chapter. I desperately wanted to do that day again, the day Baby Finn peacefully and calmly joined our family. The day that my Mom, Mother-in-law, and our three older children watched sweet Finn come Earthside in a birth tub filled with water in the center of our bedroom. I wanted to be in the center of all the love again. Surrounded by my birth team who walked my HBAC journey with me. The women who shed tears with me as his chubby body emerged from the water and I held him tight exclaiming, "I did it!". Ahh....just thinking about that day makes me smile. It makes me cry. It makes my heart full; overflowing. How could I ever not experience that again?

In the months that followed Finn's birth, my life changed. My passion for natural birth and for serving women during pregnancy and birth deepened. The flame in my heart burned brighter than ever before. That day, and really the care I received throughout my pregnancy with him, lead me to midwifery. I wanted to help women believe in their bodies, trust birth, experience that "I did it" moment, just like I had. But there was something else being laid on my heart. Surrogacy. Yes, I wanted to birth again; but not for myself.

I wanted to help another woman become a mom, just like I am. In the same way I had; through natural birth. I wanted to walk the journey through pregnancy and birth with a woman, just like me. Only one who could not bear her own child, one who is far stronger than I could ever hope to be. One who would bless my life and leave me changed.

And so this is how our story goes....

Late last year I contacted a surrogacy agency for information. Finn wasn't even a year yet and we were in the thick of nursing, I knew I wasn't ready. I just needed information. I needed to feel like I was working towards meeting the woman who was waiting for me. The woman I'd be honored to walk this journey with. Surrogacy and this woman, who I didn't know yet, tugged at my heart daily. The agency shut me down at midwifery care. I shrugged it off, held on to faith, and went about enjoying my baby.... I'd come back to this.

Finn turned one earlier this year, in March. I knew I was closer to meeting her. I posted in a local birth networking group, asking for advice. Had anyone known of someone having had a home surrogate birth? Was this even possible? The posts were positive, they gave me hope. And then I got a private message on facebook from a doula. She told me about her wonderful friend, Erin. Erin had experienced loss. Disappointment. Pain. She had experienced cancer in a way that left her unable to bear children. Her loving friend shared their blog with me.

I read Erin and Jose's blog that night. Every single word. I looked at every single picture posted, in tears. It was her. I messaged her friend back and told her I would love to talk with them. I knew that the last blog post, the one filled with happiness as they prepared for a transfer, was never realized. I knew they had just experienced another loss. A family acquaintance had offered to help Erin and Jose discover their dream of parenthood. They were thrilled. Erin's amazing sister donated her eggs! Yes, she donated her eggs to her sister to help her realize her dream of motherhood, before she was yet a mother herself. (that still leaves me with goose bumps) And then the night before the egg retrieval and the transfer, the to-be surrogate left. She left in the middle of the night, without word. She left behind sadness and questions, false hope. She left an almost discovered dream a distant memory.

I didn't hear back from the super sweet friend and I didn't hear from Erin. Months passed. I busied myself with my family and my midwifery apprenticeship, always thinking about her. I watched beautiful, natural, out of hospital births weekly. I loved on beautiful mommas and adorably squishy newborns. I talked about my surrogacy. I talked about how amazing it was going to be. How it would be filled with love. How it would bond two families forever.

During this past Summer my mind could no longer convince my heart (and my uterus) to wait. I started actively "looking". I called another agency and again was shut down at home birth. I didn't really want to use an agency. I hated that it didn't seem warm and personal. I didn't like the fees associated with it. It seemed unfair to charge a couple who has experienced such pain and loss that kind of money. I'm not judging those who do go through an agency. It is a safe and effective way to go about surrogacy. I just wanted something different. Something more. But, at the same time, I didn't know how to do it independently.

I posted once more in the same birth networking group. I was feeling discouraged.... Several doulas commented, giving suggestions, people to talk to. My doula (from Finn's birth), Maria, suggested I join a Texas surrogacy group. And so I did. I immediately posted a bit about myself and what I was hoping to do. I got several responses, one from a woman who worked for an agency. She commented that she had sent me a message. I checked and found nothing. I remembered hearing about an "others" folder on facebook and so I fired up my laptop to check it out. Sure enough it was there. And under it was another message. One that had been sitting in there for weeks and weeks... My heart dropped. It was her.

I messaged Erin back as fast as my fingers would type. Yes! I'm still interested in being a surrogate. No! I haven't found anyone yet. What about you? Where are you at in this journey? It had been over six weeks. I felt a twinge of excitement, but it was layered in disappointment. How could this message be sitting here for so long?? The next day she replied and we decided to talk on the phone that evening. That conversation went on for hours. We talked and laughed and cried. She was on board, even if a bit hesitant, with a home birth. It felt so right.

From there we messaged on facebook, we sent texts back and forth. The following weekend we went to dinner with Jose and Chris, to meet in person. We spent hours talking, getting to know each other. Their story, our story, their expectations and ours. It was one of my favorite dinners ever. It was easy and fun and full of so much hope.

It was clear that I had found her.


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  2. So enjoyed reading this! I linked up from your doula's facebook page. Looking forward to following along on your journey. I would love to do this one day when I'm done having my own babies.

  3. This makes me cry the happiest tears!!! As a friend of Erin's, I have prayed for this...for you!!! So excited to follow your story and theirs. My heart is so very thankful for you and Chris!

  4. I'm so happy to be on this journey with her!! And to be typing this with a little bean inside my uterus!!! Thanks for reading! :)

  5. I love to read stories like this, I have only one child and was unable to carry a second. Until just a few months ago I dreamed of having another child whether through adoption or with a surrogate with donated eggs. But my dream was shot down with my age and the fact that my own son is now 18. Good Luck and Congratulations!!!