After years of fertility heartache and failed adoption efforts, this couple decided to take one last leap of faith, finally becoming parents with the help of a gestational carrier.
We are late 40-something, first-time parents through the emotionally and financially expensive process of IVF. Our precious daughter came to us in 2012 via a dear friend who became our gestational carrier. We are navigating the world of parenting and enjoying the ride immensely (mostly!).
Our road to parenthood makes for a long story, but here’s the short version: I have a diagnosis of endometriosis—one of the most severe cases my specialist has ever seen. I underwent numerous difficult fertility preserving surgeries. Since 2004, we had became pregnant many times through IVF, but never took home a baby. We had multiple miscarriages, and to top things off, a ruptured ectopic pregnancy that very nearly ended my life. Adoption efforts had failed, both domestic and overseas. In fact, we were told we were too old to adopt domestically, and we never did get a child referred to us from Thailand, from where we had ended up choosing to adopt. We were spent, done, bitter, angry.
A friend watched our struggles over the years, and she repeatedly, kindly, offered to carry for us. But we were not ready to take that final step. She stepped forward one last time, but said that beyond a certain point she would not ask anymore and would move on with her life. We had resigned ourselves to a child-free life and didn’t feel we could ask such a thing of her, so we said no. But the problem was there were still frozen embryos from our prior IVF cycle, and my husband, more so than myself, just couldn’t quite get them out of his mind. After much soul searching, (asking ourselves, is this right? is this fair? are we being selfish? etc. etc.) and thinking about the sacrifice my friend (and her family) was offering to make for us, we all decided to set the wheels in motion.
My husband and I didn’t really think it would go ahead. After all, there are many hurdles in this process and maybe my friend wouldn’t be found able to proceed. But it seems some things are meant to be. After a lengthy screening process, including numerous tests as well as counselling, we were given the green light to go ahead. In July 2011, we all took a giant leap, and after having two frozen embryos transferred, my friend became pregnant with our daughter, who was born March 2, 2012. In my mind, I think of it as our surprise pregnancy. Because I was just so surprised it worked. And we think of our daughter as our surprise baby. Once you’ve had as many losses as we had, your view of pregnancy becomes a bit distorted. It isn’t a joyful time, but rather the beginning of an interminable period where you are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. And this pregancy was no exception. It was a rocky, wild ride to the end, with a few scares and complications along the way, but in the end, the delivery room (and the OR) was full of wonderful people who helped make our family happen. It was just incredible. And now we are a family of three!
Wow, reading this back to myself, I think of those “easy buttons” from Staples. “That was easy,” said no one who has been through a fertility journey ever. It was the hardest scariest, most emotionally wrought thing we have ever done. It was hard to give up the idea of carrying my own child, and enjoying that with my husband, and we often reflect on all the sacrifices made by everyone involved in getting our daughter here. While we will never ever forget the wonderful gift of a friend, my husband and I were glad to leave all we went through to have a family behind us, and move forward into “normal” life as parents—learning about feeding a baby, diapering, sleep schedules, toys, and more recently, that swim diapers have tear-away sides. Of course the happiest discovery of all is that our toddler daughter thinks her parents are the greatest people in her world (at least for now).
Our road was not without its challenges, but we wouldn’t have wanted to miss a chance to be parents, especially now that our daughter is here.
This is #1000families post number 44. Do you have a family story of your own to contribute to the 1,000 Families Project? Or do you know a family that might want to do so? Learn more about how the series got started and how to get involved here. You can find all of the #1000families posts here.