On November 21, 2007, I posted a new ad in the Gestational Surrogacy classifieds at SMO.
On December 2, I received a reply from a European potential intended mother (IM) named Mia explaining that in the last ten years, she and her husband Urs had only achieved four pregnancies, all of them lost to miscarriage, to include a devastating loss at 22 weeks. The culprit – an immunological incompatibility which causes her body to attack the placenta. Her tone was warm, kind, and enthusiastic. The email was short, but I was already getting the feeling that things would be moving in a positive direction. In one of the next few emails, Mia said this:
I hope that our surrogate will become a close friend of us and that we have a lot of contact, during the surrogacy- journey and later on. I think it is very important for the child to meet its bellymommy (I don’t know if this is the right expression in English). I would tell the child very much about the surrogate mother (of course, because she is a member of our family) and I very much hope that there will be a close relationship between surrogate mother and the child. It is also her child- without her loving gift the child wouldn’t exist. This kind of thankfulness I want to mediate to our child.
It is difficult to exactly define, but to me, my relationship with my surroson Baby M and any future surrobabies feels more like that of "aunt" (for lack of a better existing word) than "mother." Many intended mothers (IMs) quite understandably are uncomfortable with a surrogate feeling as if the child they carry is also theirs. This idea of Mia’s and Urs’ child borne through me also being my own reaches far beyond my personal viewpoint on the relationship between me and my surrogate children. But the fact that they have this concept as a part of their expectations is tenderly endearing and comforting as a surrogate. Many of us fear being cut off completely after the delivery. "Thanks for the baby, it was good while it lasted. Sayonara, sweetheart, you’re not needed anymore." I have unfortunately seen it happen many times over the years, and a primary cause of this is intimidation of the surrogate’s continued relationship with the child or children. The fact that Mia and Urs not only expected, but encouraged a close relationship between surrogate and child spoke volumes. I was smitten.
Email exchanges over the next few days led to us getting an exchange of many pictures, of getting know more about each other, our families, and our widely varied individual battles with infertility. We quickly felt as if we were each talking with old friends, someone on the same wavelength who could relate.
On December 9 we had our first phone conversation to continue the "getting to know you" process and to discuss some of the finer points of embarking on a surrogacy journey. Mia and Urs were on speakerphone, and given the language difference, the conversation went very smoothly. Thank God they can speak English fluently, because in their language I can only count to 100, say a few polite phrases, and a few choice curse words. I don’t think that saying, "Good morning, 86 shitheads" would have gotten me very far. At any rate, the conversation flowed and talking with Mia and Urs further enhanced my gut instinct feelings that they were loving, kind, and considerate and completely prepared for surrogacy in aspects both technical and emotional. The questions they asked and answers they gave were thoughtful and furthered my sense of being completely in sync with their journey expectations. Their extended explanation of how they hoped to have a close, familial relationship with their surrogate matched my own desires in my hopes for IPs. We agreed at the conclusion of the phone call that we were a match, and my heart soared at the initiation of the new journey.
We busied ourselves over the next couple of weeks with researching and selecting a clinic within reasonable driving distance of my location. The clinic was chosen in a record-breaking 2 weeks and we were given an appointment date of February 5. EVERYTHING would be compounded into that one appointment – medical and psychological screening, meds class (which is kind-of redundant seeing as how we’ve both been down the IVF road a couple of times before), and calendar review. We were told that we would likely be able to transfer in March. Everything was moving quickly, and we were grateful for it. We got started on the paperwork – they had to begin the translation of their lengthy medical records, and I had to get records from my OB, former RE of GS journey #1, and psychological screening sent to the clinic for review. We also got the ball rolling on the legal end, choosing to work with the same attorney I used for my previous journey. Mia, Urs, and I continued the growth of our new friendship with daily emails and weekend phone calls.
Within a week of the clinic selection, Mia and Urs booked their flight and the countdown began. Now, Mia and Urs will be here in approximately 2 days, 6 hours, and 48 minutes. We will finally get the chance to physically give the hugs that we express in the closings of many of our emails.
I am about to ready to burst with excitement. How I will be able to stay focused on the things that I need to do between now and then (like clean my house AGAIN) is beyond me. This is the beginning of what I pray will be a fantastic voyage and a turn of the tides into calmer waters for my friends.