“I gave birth to a beautiful Chinese baby on April 8, 2019, with whom I share zero genes.
I opted to be an egg donor for a couple that would not have children on their own about six years ago. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I adore the fact that half of me is out there, living their best life. What an incredible honour it is to know that I could assist one individual/couple in starting their family. I learned about surrogacy as part of that process, and I knew it wanted to do someday. One of the prerequisites for becoming a surrogate is to have had at least one healthy pregnancy of your own. I didn’t have any of my children at the time, so I knew I’d have to wait.
Now fast ahead four years… I was freshly divorced and had a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old. It wasn’t long after my ex-husband, and I decided to dissolve our marriage that I considered the prospect of becoming a surrogate mother. After two pregnancies, I knew I loved being pregnant and that most aspects came naturally to me. I wasn’t intending to have any more children anytime soon, which would allow me to assist both my own family and another. If you knew me well, you’d know that once I make up my mind on something, I don’t back down! I got right to work on my research – which agency did I want to work with? Was I going to be able to deal with giving a baby away, even if it wasn’t my own? ‘How were you give up the baby?’ that was the primary question I asked other surrogates. The response I received from every surrogate I spoke with was the same… ‘The attachment with the child is COMPLETELY different right from the start.’
After speaking with several agencies, I decided to work with one in San Diego, California. The application procedure was lengthy. I felt like I signed my life away in stacks of documents, along with a three-hour psychiatric assessment. Of course, they wanted my complete family history and medical background (which they deserved). They wanted to make sure I wasn’t going insane and claiming the baby as mine — laughing! A ‘Support person’ is required for every surrogate. This is the person who will accompany them when they implant the embryo, and most importantly, this is the person who will accompany them into the delivery room. When they asked who would be my support person, I told them it would be my ex-husband, Gattison. Even if our marriage ended, he’s still my best friend, and I knew I wouldn’t want anyone else by my side except him.
My agency called me a few weeks after I received medical and psychological clearance to be a surrogate, telling me that a couple in Shanghai, China, wanted to e-meet me via Skype phone conversation. I said yes to being their surrogate, and the fertility experts quickly started me on drugs to prepare my body for pregnancy. This was the most time-consuming procedure (besides the 9-month baby growing part). We had an embryo transfer scheduled (aka, getting pregnant day). Still, it was cancelled only hours before I boarded my flight because my uterine lining wasn’t as thick as they wanted it to be, giving the family a 10% lower chance of the embryo attaching. It would be an understatement to say I was devastated. I’d been looking forward to this simple yet life-changing operation for WEEKS, and now I’d been told we’d have to restart our drugs from the beginning. This process took place two times before my uterine lining was ready for the embryo. These disappointments took an emotional toll on me since I was just thrilled to be pregnant again. I had to immediately convince myself that everything would fall into place at the proper time.
Finally, Gattison and I travelled to San Diego on transfer day on July 12, 2018. What the other surrogates told me was completely accurate… I could sense this embryo/baby would have a special relationship with me, but it was nothing compared to being pregnant with my children. I knew it was my role to protect this little one growing inside me as soon as they implanted the single embryo, and I would have the honour of passing him on to his parents when the time came. Thankfully, the embryo implanted successfully in my uterus on the first try, and I was pregnant immediately! This was my third pregnancy, and it went by just as quickly as the first two.
I guess that time flew quickly because I didn’t have anything planned. When you’re expecting your children, you’re thinking about their nursery, potentially a baby shower, their name, and their entire future… however, in this case, I had nothing to plan for other than preparing my thoughts for the birth. Baby boy’s due date was March 30, 2019, and I fully expected him to arrive on time, if not ahead of schedule…HE DIDN’T RECEIVE THE MEMO. I loved it when both of my keeper kids were 2-3 days early! This tiny guy made me wait nine days past his due date…and I honestly thought I’d be pregnant for the rest of my life.
You know what I’m talking about, all the other mamas out there who have gone past their due date! I did everything I could think of to get him to leave on his own… But all he wanted to do was take his time! I believe he was waiting for his parents to arrive. His parents were intended to reach California two weeks before he was due, but they were delayed owing to visa complications, and his mother arrived two days after he did.
The parents requested I give him his American name a few weeks before I delivered. That was a true honour for me, and I enjoy choosing meaningful names! I finally decided on Emery after a couple of days of searching. Emery means ‘powerful,’ and I wanted to speak that over his life (not to mention his kicks were mighty!) Emery arrived on 4/8/19, weighing a whopping 8lb 9oz (2lbs bigger than each of my babes – yikes!) He was my third unmedicated birth, and it was an honour to have my best friend by my side. As a woman who has given birth, only those closest to you can witness you at your most vulnerable during one of the most agonising and exhilarating times of your life.
My journey as a surrogate was beautiful, full of ups and downs, halts and goes! It’s something I’d suggest to everyone who appreciates being pregnant. It’s unusual to encounter a surrogate who completes only one surrogacy adventure… Most go on to achieve many surrogacy voyages, giving the family siblings in the process. I want to go on another journey, this time for an LGBTQ couple or individual. I am an LGBTQ ally who would love nothing more than to encourage and assist a couple or individual in realising such a great goal.”
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