This is a guest post from Laurie, an amazing woman, mother and friend who, with her husband, is raising their bright and gorgeous three year old daughter, Georgia. Like her half-brother Max, Georgia was conceived and brought into this world by our selfless hero, Christie, through the incredible gift of traditional surrogacy. Thank you so much Laurie for sharing your story with my readers!
For the first nine years of my marriage, I insisted that becoming a mother was as much about the journey as the destination. In other words, I thought that unless my body was involved in the process, I could not be a mother. When telling our story, I often say we tried everything but voodoo, and that was next on the list. The list of acronyms for the various medical procedures I endured is a long one.
Four pregnancies, along with four miscarriages, made me think I'd never experience motherhood. After my final miscarriage, I was ready to try voodoo! When I was grieving over the loss of another baby, I was still making plans to continue treatment. I wanted to try a controversial medical procedure to try to increase my chance of carrying a baby to term. My family, my husband, and finally, my doctor, told me “enough.” My doctor was totally against me trying the procedure, called IVIg.
I was gently, but firmly, told it was time to make a decision: stop treatment and accept living my life without becoming a mother; adopt; or find a surrogate mother.
After many long talks, lots of research and soul-searching, my husband and I decided to continue our quest to become parents through surrogacy. A few missteps in the beginning eventually led us to Christie, the woman who changed our lives forever just four years ago. She said, “trust me” and I did. She showed me that being a mother is about so much more than carrying a baby in your body. With her help, I did get to experience both the journey and the destination.
|Laurie, her husband, and Christie pregnant with Georgia|
This month, we celebrate our daughter's third birthday. A very girly, very pink, party was held in her honor a few days ago. I've been reflecting a lot lately about how much my life has changed. There are days when I long for the old days, when I could come and go as I pleased, when I could go to the bathroom without an audience, when I didn't have to be “on duty” all the time. But only for a moment. I wouldn't trade the reality of my life now for what it was approximately three years and nine months ago, give or take a day.
|Georgia turns 3!|
My life these days begins with a lively little girl saying “Good morning, Mommy! I had a great nap!” as she crawls into the bed with me, warm and smelling of sleep and wet diaper. Then we watch cartoons for a while, usually Dora The Explorer. We snuggle and talk during these mornings together, time I treasure. Next, we get up and begin our day. Our days involve staying at home and reading, coloring, playing dress up, dancing, singing, making crafts with lots of glue and glitter. Some days we have play dates with a local group we found online at http://www.meetup.com/, or we shop for groceries, or run other errands. Sounds pretty boring, right? Not to me. Every day is an adventure and an opportunity for me to learn more about this amazing child. We end our days by reading books, snuggling with Daddy, and gathering up the six or more stuffed animals (the babies) that our little one insists she has to sleep with, and saying goodnight. Before I go to bed myself, I will tiptoe into her room several times just to look at her.
When people hear our story, about using a surrogate mother to help us become parents, most will begin to regale us with a horror story of “The Surrogate Who Kept The Baby.” They always want to know if we ever worried about that. The short answer is “NO.” Sure, it has happened to some couples, but it happens far less often than the horror stories everyone seems to know would indicate. Most surrogacy stories are really boring and wonderful. Like ours.
Another funny question we are often asked is “So, how does that work?” I guess what they want to know is the mechanics of “how” our surrogate mother got pregnant. Artificial Insemination. Google it.
People also want to know if my eggs were used. No. They want to know if we used donor eggs. No. We decided to combine the egg donor and gestational carrier into one neat (and attractive, I might add) package. This is called Traditional Surrogacy. They want to know if we used my husband's sperm. Yes.
Certainly these are nosy questions and sometimes somewhat inappropriate, but I feel that in order to educate people about surrogacy, you have to be prepared to be asked these kinds of questions. I don't mind; I'm proud of the fact that four adults (my husband and I, Christie and her husband) and two children (Christie's boys were an important part of this journey, too) came together to create a child.
|Laurie keeping a watchful eye on her newborn|
This child that I love so very, very much, has absolutely zero biological connection to me. And guess what? I'm okay with it. More than okay with it. She and I have a connection that goes beyond biology and always will. She will always know the story of how she came to be. She will always know that she has two handsome and loving half-brothers who are older than she (our surrogate mother's children), and an adorable half-brother who is younger. That would be Max, son of Jacob and Stewart. We have created not only a child through surrogacy, but a large extended family.
|Laurie and Georgia meet newborn Max|
These days, my relationship with Christie is exactly what she and I had both hoped it would become...two friends who are also moms. The only thing I'd like to change about it is to live closer so that we can spend more time together. And my husband and I are working on doing just that. We want to live closer not only to our own families, but to our extended families as well.
There is one other thing I'd like from Christie: that she honor the part of the surrogacy contract that states that she will potty train my child. She insists that she never saw that part of the contract. It is there, in very small print.
Is motherhood everything I thought it would be? Absolutely not. It is more. So much more. Happy Birthday, Georgia Grace. You are everything I wished for. Thank you, Christie, for making my dream come true. And, finally, thank you, Jacob, Stewart and Max, for being a part of our wonderful, extended surrogate family.
We love our new extended family too, Laurie!