The following is going to give most of you the mega weirds. It definitely gives me the mega weirds. For so many reasons…but it must be shared for the sake of sheer weirdness. I apologize in advance for its sacrilegious nature, but let me remind you, you can’t control your dreams…(sorry to my husband and sister, who advised me NOT to post this, but I have been inspired by a super cool 10-year-old to "break dance in Hobby Lobby")...
Recently I dreamed that I was baby Jesus’ wet nurse. Yeah. I know, total sacrilege. Apparently baby Jesus came back again, but mama Mary was absent. I was helping to care for him. There was some bottle feeding at first, but then I was magically lactating. The end.
It obviously resulted from some religious ruminations, combined with thoughts on having someone else’s baby (surrogacy), but I’m all for peculiar dream interpretations if anyone wants to undertake its analysis.
On surrogacy. You may have heard me mention it a time or two before. It's been clunking around my brain for two years or more, and now it's happening. It doesn’t seem real quite yet, although I have been “matched” with a couple for awhile now; a few months ago I had a lovely day-long medical workup of blood draws, exams, and other oh-so-pleasant poking and prodding, and just this week we’ve finally finished negotiating and signing a beastly legal contract between “my” lawyer and the “intended parents” lawyer. I'm sure it will feel more real tomorrow, when I give myself the first shot.
If it all works out, I’ll be having someone else’s holiday baby in 2013. Hooray for summer pregnancy! Not really. Boo. Really boo. I know the whole thing seems super unusual and foreign to everyone, so I’ll try to explain how I came to be involved in something like this…
[Disclaimer: please remember that, for the most part, I am not a sentimental writer and this is more of a humor blog. Infertility, pregnancy, babies, surrogacy, etc., etc., are all very loaded and emotional subjects. My treatment of these topics in this post does not reflect the actual depth of my feelings; please don’t perceive my casual, joking manner as insensitivity or dispassion. I actually do have a soul, you know. For the beautifully written, poignant side of things, here is an amazing blog by another surrogate who is much better at expressing the soul-y stuff.]
When my daughter Tuesday was born, I made an offhanded joke about how I should make a living having babies because it was so easy. Granted, she was my second, and I was ALL about the epidural the second time around, but all in all, I sort of like being pregnant, in a way, and my deliveries were both relatively easy. But long before she was born, when we were dead dead broke, I came across a Craigslist ad for egg donation and thought, Hey, easy five grand! That’s when I became initially involved with the surrogacy/donation agency. However, the more I thought about that, the more I couldn’t fathom selling my eggs--my very own progeny--to someone else, knowing that I would be haunted by the possibly of one of MY children out there that I would never know…unless I became a crazy stalker and hunted him/her down to spy on them from the bushes, because how could you not?
It was Dooley who initially suggested—nonchalantly, because everything he says is nonchalant—that I go the surrogacy route, because A. You aren’t biologically related to the baby, and B. It pays more. It’s true. I will admit the money was a factor in the beginning, even though it’s no more than a really crappy first-year teacher’s salary (at least in Colorado, where we pay our teachers crap), AND it’s all taxable income. I think that’s total BS, but that’s neither here nor there.
I’m happy to say that now we don’t need the money like we did a few years ago. We feel like freaking ballers since being able to buy our shiny red front-loading washer and dryer. They were from the scratch’n’dent place, but still…our last set was $50 at a garage sale, which we kept for five years, even though you had to run the dryer three times. Anyway, the point I am very roundaboutly trying to make is that after meeting the couple, or “IPs” (intended parents), and hearing their story, there’s more to it than money. In fact, the money honestly isn’t a motivating factor at this point.
And it just doesn’t seem that weird to me. I am just the oven, baking their bun. It’s their baby—fully, biologically, theirs. I’m just holding it for them. Babysitting for nine months.
One big question is how I will feel after giving birth and handing the baby over to the parents. Other questions I have or have been asked are things like: What if I bond with the baby in utero? Will I bond with the parents? Will we stay in touch afterwards? Will I want to have my own baby immediately thereafter? Or even more thought-provoking, will I get super duper fat with this pregnancy? …What? Think I have answers? I don’t. It just feels like the right thing for me to do at this point in my life, and I’m going with it.
In any case, I’m dreading the hormone shots and extensive drug regimen that surrogates must undergo before the embryo transfer. I’m supposed to start meds tomorrow. Guess what fun things I get to start with? You know, to ease me into it? Aside from abstaining from alcohol, coffee, and sex, I have the pleasure of giving myself ABDOMINAL INJECTIONS (click on Lupron)! I’ll let you know how that goes. From a scientific standpoint (instead of the holy-crap-I-hate-needles standpoint), it’s fascinating to learn about the specific powers of these medicines, and how they can deactivate ovaries while activating uterine lining…but I won’t get too into it. (I alienated enough readers with that religious/political blog, and even more by mentioning that dream earlier in this blog. El. Oh. El.)
The very idea of surrogacy stirs up all kinds of thoughts and feelings for people…moral qualms, ethical dilemmas, medical concerns, insurance/financial quandaries, and of course, the weirdness factor. My parents just express their concern for my health, with poorly disguised discomfort over the whole idea. One or two of my close friends are enthusiastically supportive, which is refreshing. My sister is like "cool...but weird...okay then...!" My business whiz of a mother-in-law and a lawyer-y friend helped me look over the contract, but the former seems uncomfortable. Another besty of mine asks why I hate myself so much as to submit myself to pregnancy and fatness. You know who you are. I'm admittedly kinna nervous about telling some friends and family members, as I'm not sure how they'll react. I don't quite feel like it’s necessary to make a scene by announcing it to extended family, until of course I start puffing up with baby in the summer and have to explain that it’s not mine…or until they read this blog. ;) <--That winky face is for you, family.