Surrogacy feels like a string of giving ups at times. Not that all the things you have to give up are bad. I will not have to experience morning sickness, which is great because I hate to vomit. Then there are the huge things. I will never feel the kicks coming from inside my body, and I might not be there to hear the first heartbeat. All these things I have come to terms with, it is all a part of how I get to become a mother and I will give up anything to make that a reality.
Hospitals have policies and procedures that are in place for a good reason, but these same policies and procedures could cause us to have to give up even more. If our child has to be delivered by c-section, we would have to give up being there when our child is born. Most hospitals only allow one other person to be in the operating room, and I could never imagine going into surgery without my husband. Each time a situation comes up where I have to make a decision I always try to think what I would want if I were the one who was pregnant. For me my husband is the world's best painkiller, just knowing that he is there makes me feel a thousand times better.
Recently, a surrogate that I know had this situation come up and she was afraid to tell her intended parents that she wanted her husband to be with her. My reaction to this was of course you would want your husband to be there. Sure, this is another thing that I may have to give up and this one seems huge compared to some of the other things, but there are other people to consider here and it is a fact of surrogacy that this journey is not all about me. In fact very little of this journey is about me. This is a concept that is difficult at times, not because I am that conceited, but because having a child has been the center of my universe for so many years. Without our dream of completing our family our child would not exist. The child our surrogate is carrying is not just a child; he/she is the culmination of years of dreams, heartache, tears and a lot of hard work. What helps me remember that this is not just about me and my family is that without this amazing woman our dreams would never come to fruition. In addition, this wonderful woman and her family will forever be tied to my family and disrespecting her and her family would be disrespecting a part of my child.
From the moment, we decided to involve all these other people, our surrogate and her family, our egg donor and whoever else shows up, in our quest to become parents we started redefining what family was going to mean for us. Possibly not seeing our child(ren) take their first breath of air is part of our new reality. Not only because of hospital policy, but also because babies have a habit of being born on their own schedule, it is entirely possible that we will not make it to the hospital on time.
Like I have said before surrogacy demands flexibility. In my opinion she is the one who is pregnant therefore she is the one who gets to decide, within reason, how the birthing process will be conducted. Of course should everything go as planned I will bite anyone who tries to keep me out of the room. My friends who are surrogates have also taught me that they all dream of seeing the look on the parents face when they look at their child for the first time. So not having the intended parents there and not being able to see the look on their faces when they first see their child means that she is forced to redefine her dreams of how the birth would be.
This post has taken me forever to write. These words have been deleted and re-written more than I care to admit. An issue this important seems too big for words at times. Frankly until this came up in someone else's life I had given the issue very little thought. Hearing a surrogate say that she was nervous about telling the parents, something that was so important to her made me sad and scared. I never want any surrogate to feel like she does not have a voice when it comes to something that is so big in her life, and so little in mine.