Having made the decision to become a surrogate, with the couple chosen and the legalities all arranged, the next step is to get pregnant…
The surrogacy process begins…
I had decided on a natural journey as I didn’t want to go through a drug cycle and our IPs had frozen embryos which made it possible. This meant that form the start of my menstrual cycle I was monitored by blood test and scans to determine the optimum time to unfreeze little embies and implant them. I had what’s called a scratch which basically encouraged lots of new cells to grow in my uterus as its thought to help implantation. I had to go clinic a LOT those first 2 weeks to monitor my uterus lining. And then we were all in contact daily, almost hourly while the clinic monitored the embryos development.
We got the call Saturday morning, The embies were a day old and looked good. 4 were unfrozen, the best two were implanted carefully by our Doctor. Some people choose only to have one embryo transferred, the clinic will advise of the options. But we’d agreed on 2. This procedure is quick and painless. The partners stayed outside and us ladies handled this exciting part, she was there to hold my hand and we had a good old cry when the ultrasound showed them both on board inside me.
The next part was super hard, waiting to do a pregnancy test, and also hearing the news that the other 2 embryos didn’t make it (There’s an option to re-freeze any surviving embryos at day 5 for future cycles). I was desperate to give good news, but really there is very little you can do to assist the outcome. Lots of old wives tales about things to eat, things not to do. I basically took it easy, not doing heavy lifting or hot baths. (This meant not heavy lifting my kiddies too). We did a few sneaky tests on some basic pregnancy strips and slowly a little line began to darken. I called them to say I thought it had worked and dashed out for a good blue branded DIGI test and sure enough ‘Pregnant 1-2 weeks’ appeared!!! We were all thrilled, it had worked first time!!! Lots of happy tears and OMGs. I went into clinic a few days later to have a blood test to confirm the pregnancy. And then we all went in for a 6 week scan which showed a teeny tiny heartbeat flickering. It was amazing.
Shortly after this I was hit with some extreme morning sickness. Extreme. Maybe lasting from week 8-14 which I know is lucky – some people get it the whole way through. This was our first hurdle as a journey as we’d been so lucky up until this point. I’m sad to say we crumbled a little. I felt so awful giving the same updates that I was still unwell and struggling, and they felt awful for me and longed for more positive parts of the pregnancy. I found it hard to receive the ‘Have you tried eating…You could do this…’ and I think they found it hard to realise how bad it was. I kept fainting and my blood pressure was low as I really struggled to keep anything down. We’d all agreed that I wouldn’t take anti-sickness medication, but this was hard as I knew it might help. We had the NHS screening scan which thankfully showed a healthy little bean in there which helped. We got through the yucky bit and soon enough the second trimester was upon us.
Telling other people…
I started to show early and so began explaining the surrogacy to the people that asked. My daughter started school and in hindsight perhaps this wasn’t the right time to be doing a surrogacy journey – I felt like an oddball in the playground but was lucky to find a nice group of parents who seemed not to fazed about me being a surrogate (believe me you get ALL sorts of responses, ranging from pure nosey “does the father have to have sex with you then?”, to really insensitive “I just don’t think its right”).
The second scan came and again we were all there for it. I think this 20 week scan makes it all become so real, you can see so much of the little baby and they’re moving and kicking. So it really was an amazing time. We planned it so that the sonographer told them the gender while hubby and I covered our ears and eyes, so it was theirs only to know. Our IPs sent us flowers which made my day, I really think it hits home you’re at the half way point and this is happening for them. They were busy trying to move house and weren’t able to come to most of my midweek midwife appointments, which was fine as they were brief anyway. But again – things like this are important to consider – we were lucky, there was nothing unusual that came from midwife appointments, but how would you (or they) feel if something important arose and they weren’t there. Towards the end I started to measure small for dates and we they became concerned that the baby wasn’t growing. So an additional scan was arranged and showed everything was fine thankfully.
Towards the end of the pregnancy I was still very mobile and feeling great, though I had lots of early nights as I was very worn out by the evening. We arranged a meet with the hospital to talk through what would happen on the B-day. Annoyingly (but understandably) as the baby is legally the surrogate’s, the baby has to stay in hospital if the surro does, and the surro does if the baby does. It’s frustrating but we all just agreed to do whatever was needed should any problems arise after the birth. We met up again and planned (and planned) all the ifs, buts and maybes and chatted about the hospital bags. It was getting so close to the end. Our IPs were so excited to meet their little one, the kids were excited to have mummy back to her spritely self and I think hubby was keen to have me back too as I was sleeping so much he rarely got any action!