The End of Something

It was around this time of year in 2009 when Chance and Apollo left their lives behind, made the long, long journey south, and made Georgia their home for six months. Their surrogacy journey was quite literally exactly that – they sold their house they’d been renovating and left Canada without a place to call home or even jobs to answer to.

They arrived here with just the love between them and the painful memories of four infant girls, each lost between 22-26 weeks of pregnancy, resting in their hearts. They knew they would either return as parents, or they would return emptier than they were when they left. There were no other options, no Plan B. I was Plan B.

Chance and Apollo defined living on a wing and a prayer. Not many people will throw all caution to the wind and go to such extremes to try to have a baby, but they did. I was their chance, and their arrival here signaled the start of what we hoped would be the tides turning for them.

In late January, we had our first transfer of two 3-day embryos. 10 days later we celebrated my positive pregnancy tests. The very next day, our hopes crashed when my beta came back much too low; it was the start of being in a long, drawn out beta hell to see if it would end up being a viable pregnancy.

I had one of my betas on the day after my birthday. Chance and Apollo met me at the lab, as was the routine. The tension of the day was palpable. Would the results of the blood work seal the end, or would we be offered another tenuous step forward towards a healthy pregnancy?

Before we parted ways, they gave presents to me. One was the cherished jar of hearts that Chance made for me. Another was a book of Ernest Hemingway’s short stories, given to me from Apollo.

On the night of our transfer three weeks prior, Apollo and I stayed up until 3 in the morning talking about music and literature. Apollo, whose favorite author is Hemingway, was surprised that I, an English teacher, hadn’t really read too much of Hemingway’s work. I was touched that Apollo had thought back to our conversation and gifted me with the book. Inside, he’d placed a handmade book mark on which he’d written a note:


the collection of stories I was talking about, “In Our Time,” begins with “On the Quai at Smyrna” and ends with “The Big Two-Hearted River Part II.” The rest is icing. Enjoy, and happy birthday. 


P.S. Maybe read “The End of Something” for the first taste. 

When I finished reading the bookmark, Apollo said, “Y’know, I wasn’t hinting at anything with that postscript…it doesn’t have anything to do with this.” He motioned a circle among the three of us and nodded down at my belly, where the essence of him was fighting to stay alive.

“I know,” I replied with a smile. “I’ll start with that one, like you suggested. I’m sure it’s a good story.”



I haven’t heard from Chance and Apollo in almost two years.

Emails, which I stopped sending long ago, after a while went unanswered.

And so it goes with all of Chance’s friends, who bonded to her with their own stories of loss and grief.

I’m not angry or hurt. None of us are.

I expected that this might happen. I knew when we said our goodbyes at the end of our second chemical pregnancy, that rebuilding their lives with their empty hands would mean first boxing up the shattered remnants of their broken dreams. Sometimes in the interest of self-preservation, that which is good and whole and true gets swept up and closed away with what is damaged and used.

I miss them. I miss her.


We could feel the tears pricking the corners of our eyes, but somehow we found the strength to keep them at bay.

We hugged each other tightly, not saying, but somehow knowing that we’d probably never see each other again. She whispered into my ear, “This is ‘See you later.’ Let’s not say goodbye.”

I blinked hard and whispered back, “But just in case…I will always understand, and I will always be here if you want to say hello again.”


Rikki, don’t lose that number.

23 thoughts on “The End of Something”

  1. How sad it is when we set out to heal a broken heart and end up feeling like we’ve crushed it into ever smaller pieces. I’m so sorry for you and for her. I hope they have found a way to achieve their dream though I bet that if they had she would contact you and let you know. If only surrogacy could be full of happy endings for everyone.

    1. It’s a good story. You find it online somewhere, I’m sure. It’s sort-of fitting to the situation – it’s about the break-up of a relationship.

  2. Sometimes it’s easier to leave all the hurt behind…but even when you understand it, it still stings a little.

    Hoping that Chance and Apollo have found some happiness somewhere.

  3. How heartbreaking. I know you understand where they’re coming from, but I’m still so sad for you too, that it had to end that way.

    I hope that they have somehow found happiness.

  4. There is such grace and kindness in your words: “But just in case…I will always understand, and I will always be here if you want to say hello again.”

    I am in awe of you. Your strength, generosity, heart.
    In every way.


  5. I love this story. Not because I love tragedy or loss. I love this story because of the hope and understanding. This bond you had… have with them, regardless of the outcome is so beautiful.

  6. Brittany {mommy words}

    Wow. What an amazing story of love and totally open hearts. I am so sorry for the losses suffered by all but still, I smile quietly when I know there are people full of such love in this world. Thank you for sharing.

  7. What an amazing gift you gave to them, the gift of a chance and the gift of your understanding. This is my first time here, what a story you have, I hope they are able to come back to it someday.

  8. Pingback: Because Keeping a Box of Sadness is Totally Normal

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