I’ve always been the crazy lady who loved being pregnant. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I never had morning sickness. I can remember filling my boss’s trash can the morning I found out I was pregnant for the very first time. And I had the usual aches and pains that come with putting on a good 40 pounds. But the entire idea of growing a human being is completely magical and fascinating to me.
I got baby fever walking down the aisle at my wedding, but since we were poor college kids we waited four years before trying. I’ll never forget how nervous I was looking down at that little stick and imagining that I saw a little pink line.
But it wasn’t my imagination. That little pink line started to darken and with it came an adrenaline rush that almost sent me flying through the roof. I was thrilled, and sick, and overjoyed, and sick and eww I was really sick, and so excited to start my journey to motherhood.
The Hub's face was pretty awesome when I slammed that pee stick down on the table at lunch. We were going to be parents!
But 10 weeks later I was laying on an operating table tears streaming down my face.
I went in for a routine exam to hear my baby’s heart beat for the first time. After a few silent minutes of poking and prodding with the Doppler, my doctor sent me down for an ultrasound.
I was stoked because I thought I was only going to HEAR my baby that day. I was pumped to get a sneak peek.
My husband held the video camera steady as my uterus appeared on the screen. The first thing I noticed is that there were two sacs.
The second thing I noticed is that they were way smaller than they were supposed to be. At this stage in the game they should have at least resembled tiny babies. But they just looked like still, silent little nuggets.
The ultrasound tech told me not to fret and that she was still looking for heartbeats. I turned my head and my husband shut off the camera. I knew there would be no heartbeats. I knew the date and probably the hour of conception.
After measurements and calculations they determined that one baby died at 10 weeks 2 days and one died at 9 weeks 4 days. That was weeks ago.
My babies didn’t make it, but my body didn’t get the memo. I opted to wait for the longest seven days of my life until we could do one more ultrasound. At the second ultrasound the babies measured even smaller and still had no heartbeats. I was given the worst batch of choices a mother should ever have to make – how to end my pregnancy.
One choice was to wait to miscarry, which could be several months, meanwhile I have morning sickness and have already started looking pregnant.
The other two choices were to either take a pill to kickoff a mass exodus of my uterus or have a procedure called a D&C to “clean out” the “products of conception”. Those products were my children. They were my hopes and dreams, and on April Fools’ Day I lay on an operating table in tears waiting for them to be sucked out like dust bunnies.
After I got home and out of the fog of anesthesia, my hubs informed me that the doc said I was two drops away from needing a blood transfusion. So I guess my D&C decision was the right one. But all I wanted to know was why.
Why didn’t my babies make it? Why me? Why them?
I had some pretty well-meaning but insufferably annoying people tell me it was God’s will. It was all part of some sick plan apparently. I was supposed to feel the elation of knowing I would be a mother only to have my hopes dashed to bits. That just didn’t seem legit. I wanted answers dangit.
They threw out my ultrasound pictures along with my products of conception. My husband deleted the video of the ultrasound because he thought it would be best, but I needed a way to memorialize the babies that I had already begun to love.
I got the okay to try to get pregnant right away, and I jumped right in. But it didn’t happen the first month. Or the second. Or the third or fourth. By the fifth month a good friend of mine called to tell me she was pregnant. I held it together on the phone. I took the punch in the gut when she said "Girl you better hurry up and get pregnant!"
I held it together okay the next month when another good friend cautiously told me she was pregnant as well. She was so amazingly sweet and mindful of my feelings, but as soon as she got out of the car I melted down into a puddle of tears and despair.
For a brief period of time we were faced with the thought that we might never have our own biological child. We talked about adoption, but I wasn't ready to accept that. Just like it takes a special person to be a teacher or a nurse. It takes a very very special person to handle all the challenges that adoption brings.
I am so incredibly glad there are people out there who do because there are very deserving children in need of homes. But ask any parent with a biological child why they didn't adopt instead. Because given the option, many mommas just want to pass on their genes.
I remember vowing that if I was able to have a biological child I would find a way to show my gratitude, and I feel I found that through surrogacy.
Years ago I laid in a hospital bed clutching my empty belly asking Why? What sort of plan would include so much heartache?
And Sunday I got my why.
Sunday I met a woman who has endured more heartache than I can imagine. Cancer stole the most primal right that we as women are given.
My Hubs had been pretty nonchalant about the surrogacy stuff. He was kind of like whatevs. Your body/Your choice... that whole bit. Until he met the couple who needed my help.
He couldn't shake the sadness in her beautiful blue eyes. Or the way the husband lit up when he talked about becoming a father.
This couple is my why. Why did I have to lose my babies? Why didn't I get pregnant right away?
Because I needed the perspective of loss and knowing what it means to not know if you'll ever see your mother's almond eyes staring back at you through the sweet chubby cheeks of your toddler.
Because I needed to fully appreciate what a gift each child is. Because I would one day meet a couple who experienced more loss than I had.
Surrogacy isn't about buying babies, or glamorous women being too vain to be bothered with stretch marks. It's about making families.
And it's my Why.