Surrogacy had never even crossed my mind. The urge however to be pregnant and give birth again was strong and real. A kind of primal urge. But I knew my family was complete, with a husband, a daughter and a son. We were done. My body had other ideas though.
I knew it was probably a bad idea to have a third child just for a birth experience! So when my friend Stacey asked me what I knew about surrogacy it was like a light bulb actually went off in my head. Here was a bone fide way to scratch my pregnancy and birthing itch but without adding to my family. With the added bonus of helping another couple to start or complete their family. What a head spin.
I was all for it. When I mentioned it to my husband however he was not keen. Never one to let these things stop me I set about researching everything I could. Stacey had mentioned that the couple were involved with Surrogacy UK, a not-for-profit charity who help families and surrogates alike. The information was very interesting, there were so many questions. I hadn’t realised that my husband and I would be the legal parents until the Parental Order was issued, which can only happen six weeks after the birth of any baby. What if they changed their minds about wanting it? What if I found it too hard emotionally? SUK answered all these questions and more with their motto, Surrogacy Through Friendship. By insisting on a minimum time period to “get to know” your Intended Parents and for them to get to know you, the potential for upset is greatly reduced.
This all seemed like a good idea so after much talking and debating we decided to have a chat with Stacey’s friends. Martin and David turned out to be the loveliest couple ever. We met up with the nerves of a first date and spent a brilliant year getting to know each other, planning and generally really enjoying ourselves. After our family holiday we were ready to start treatment in September 2017. Martin and David had already created embryos and I had opted for a natural cycle. Round one ended in a chemical pregnancy, HCG levels not high enough to sustain the pregnancy. I started my period on time. Gutting, but no one expected to be lucky first time. Second attempt a few weeks later, nothing felt right for this one. I didn’t feel pregnant I felt so guilty, I felt upset that I was wasting their precious embryos and money. But we were strong together and we got through.
Attempt three just felt so perfectly right all the way through. David was sadly not able to make the transfer day due to work commitments, but Martin had made a super photo card cut out so he could be there in spirit. The sun shone, the little flash as the embryo was delivered into my uterus, the cup of tea and cake afterwards, everything said YES this is it! After the longest two-week wait ever we got the fabulous news that I was indeed pregnant with HCG levels high enough to mean I was carrying a viable pregnancy. Stage one was done. Now the really hard bit – growing someone else’s baby! I felt hugely responsible, I felt like I needed to do everything right. This was after all, a bit like extreme babysitting. I was careful to be aware of movements (tough with an anterior placenta) but if I was much mistaken this baby seemed to sleep all night and wake up with us during the day, was I growing them the perfect baby?! Time would tell.
We had an early scan to confirm the pregnancy and were discharged from the brilliant ACU at Jessops in Sheffield. I had said from the start that I wanted a homebirth so I was referred to the one to one midwife team and given excellent care throughout the pregnancy. Martin and David were able to be involved at every step along the way, I sent them video of baby bump moving and they send me recordings of them reading stories and poems for playing through belly buds.
At last the final stretch was in sight. The hottest, driest summer known since 1976 as mums kept relishing in telling me. I was so ready for birth! Finally on the hottest day after a week of almost going into labour, we were ready at 38+4. I set my home birth scene, my kids were on hand to help, as was my husband, Martin and David too. It was perfection. Nine hard hours later, with nothing but the strength of the team to get me through I birthed their baby boy on my bathroom floor, expertly guided by Midwife Sarah with the dads watching on and emotion over flowing from everyone. I was exhausted but incredibly happy. It felt such a relief to see this wonderfully loved baby boy in his dads arms just where he was meant to be.
My part was done and now there was another family that I’d help to create. Surrogacy rocks.
For more information about Fi’s journey, read her blog here.
Find out more about National Surrogacy Week here.