Lisa’s Surrogacy Story

profileLaw Office of Lisa Deldin
79 Pine Hill Road
New Fairfield, CT 06812
Telephone 203-241-5675
Fax 203-546-8221
Email: lisa@lisadeldinlaw.com
Disclaimer

I was very fortunate to get pregnant within only a couple months of trying. However, my pregnancy was not typical from the moment I found out I was pregnant. I started spotting early on (5 weeks) due to a low implantation and weak cervix. If my son did not grow up into my uterus the doctor would have to take him to save my life. Luckily, my son followed directions and we were in the clear for roughly the next 4 months. At 26 weeks my son wanted to make an early entry so I was put on complete bed rest.

Finally, at 36 weeks my beautiful baby boy was born healthy and happy. I had a somewhat typical delivery until it was time for the afterbirth. My placenta somehow imbedded into the wall of my uterus and after a few tugs by the doctor I passed out from loss of blood. Unbeknownst to me, I was hemorrhaging and was rushed into surgery to have an immediate hysterectomy to prevent my bleeding to death.

When I woke up in the ICU I realized something had gone really wrong. The doctor explained what happened to me. My first reaction was sheer joy that my baby and I were alright. As a new mother, and a person with a new lease on life I did not yet comprehend the sense of loss that being infertile can bring. I was happy my son and I were alive!

A couple weeks after I was released from the hospital my husband and I met with the doctors so they could explain in better detail what happened. My OB/GYN mentioned surrogacy as an option. I had never heard the word before and wasn’t sure what it meant. He explained it to me generally and told me when I was ready to think about a larger family I should look into it as an option along with adoption.

When my son turned one I began my research into surrogacy. The internet provided me with so much information that at times I was overwhelmed. However, I began to feel a sense of need – need to know more combined with a need for another baby. I did not want to my son to grow up without a sibling, constant companion, and hopefully, a best friend.

I spent the next few months searching the internet and surrogacy websites for a gestational carrier. We did not have enough money to use an surrogacy agency so I told myself that I could do this on my own. I called various fertility clinics to find out exactly what the procedure would be and the costs involved. Then I read through hundreds of surrogate adds. After many hours online, I finally found a prospective surrogate, Heather. We emailed a few times then talked on the phone a few times. Things were really going well and I was getting really excited. Just to add to the emotional roller coaster ride called Surrogacy, Heather called and said she was no longer interested in working with me. She was apprehensive since we lived a 2 hour airplane ride apart from each other. I cannot describe in words the devastation that I felt except to say that a swift kick in the gut would have been better. I tried to be strong and kept telling myself that I can handle it – it will be worth it in the end when I am holding my precious baby. So I persevered ahead. After a few more telephone calls to Heather I calmed her fears and she agreed to work with us again.

Finally, it was time to meet the woman we might be entrusting with our child. My husband and I met Heather in an airport. She came with one of her friends. We talked for a few uncomfortable moments then got right down to why we were there. We talked about what we both wanted out of our possible surrogacy arrangement. After about 45 minutes we agreed to meet again in a couple days with her husband and two boys. As my husband and I drove away from the airport that day I was nervous and unsure. Choosing someone to nurture and care for your unborn child was somewhat daunting. The fear of making the wrong choice swam around me constantly during this initial process.

A couple days later we met Heather and her family at a McDonalds Playland. It was reassuring to watch her and her family interact with each other. We had a pleasant conversation and began to feel at ease with one another. Upon leaving McDonalds that afternoon I was ready to commit to working with her. I felt more comfortable that she would take care of my child the best she could. Fortunately, we all felt the same way and contracts were drawn up.

The excitement of actually beginning our surrogacy journey was almost uncontainable. My friends and family, who were always supportive, were forced to listen to me go on about what was happening in our journey.

The next time I saw Heather and her husband we were at the fertility clinic for our orientation meeting with the doctor and surrogacy coordinator. After going through preliminary testing, she and I were given our instructions and prescriptions. Once we both got passed the initial trauma of giving ourselves shots we were steam rolling ahead. From this point forward Heather and I spoke on the phone 1-2 times weekly, and instant messaged and emailed more often. Slowly an unbreakable bond was beginning to grow. We were strangers living two different types of lives, yet we had something so important that we were working on together. I did feel it was as important to her as it was to me. She was fully vested in our common goal.

As a roller coaster has ups and downs so did our progression. We were so very fortunate to get pregnant the first cycle. I will never forget the moment when the fertility clinic called and said the test was positive. However, shortly after that Heather started spotting and had to go for an ultrasound. We all feared she might be miscarrying but tried to stay positive. Since I was in NY and she was getting an ultrasound in IL I sent my parents, who live in IL, to attend the ultrasound. My mother was in the room while the doctor did the ultrasound and gave me the play by play on the cell phone. Everything turned out to be fine. My poor father had to wait in the waiting room with the nervous father’s to be waiting to give their donations.

Another time, the fertility clinic called me with a concern that my surrogate was smoking, which was prohibited by our contract. She was very upset because they did a surprise nicotine test on her that day. She called me up crying saying she was very hurt and that the clinic was treating her like garbage. I calmed her down, called the clinic and smoothed things over. It turned out that her husband had been smoking in the car on the 3 hour drive to the clinic. He smoked outside after that incident. At about 12 weeks into the pregnancy Heather was given permission to see her own OB from that point forward.

We planned a trip out to see her for the big ultrasound at 5 months to find out the sex of the baby. I thought it might help me to bond with the baby even though it wasn’t growing inside me if I could think of it in terms of a boy or girl. We were also going to have our parentage hearing in court that same week. A couple weeks before our visit Heather had a bladder infection and went to the ER. The ER doctor told her what sex the baby was. She immediately called me to ask whether I wanted to know right then and there or wait for the ultrasound. I quickly called my husband at work and we decided to find out right away. My husband’s first response – I have to pay for a wedding- it was a girl.

The next trip out we did ultimately attend the ultrasound so we could get our first glance at our daughter. We did get pictures to bring home. We all went out for dinner that night before our court hearing the next day. Everyone was a bit anxious for our day in court. But, it turned out to be quite harmless. We each stated for the record in front of a judge why we were there and what our intentions were to be once our baby girl was born. My husband and I accepted full parentage rights and responsibilities for her. Then Heather and her husband relinquished all parentage rights and responsibilities. The court called the fertility clinic and took their statement as to what was done in the clinic to create our baby. The court ruled that my husband and I were to be the baby’s parents once she was born. The wave of relief was overwhelming and tears welled up in my eyes.

Due to my age and the alpha-fetal-protein test numbers we needed an in depth ultrasound to make sure everything was okay with our daughter at about the seventh months of pregnancy. On this trip out for the ultrasound we visited Heather’s home with our son before heading to the hospital. Then we all went to the hospital together for the ultrasound. I wanted our son to see the pictures of his sister. Everything looked good during the ultrasound.

It was somewhat smooth sailing from that point forward. It was just a matter of waiting for our daughter to be born. I fly out with my son about 2 weeks before the due date and stayed with my parents. My husband was on standby at home waiting for my call. We eventually brought him out just before the due date. Of course my daughter was taking her time as we all waited. We finally convinced my surrogates OB to induce her on the 5 day after the original due date.

My husband and I drove to the hospital early that morning and met Heather and her husband. The four of us waited in the hospital room for the inducing drugs to take effect. Everyone was very excited, including the doctor and his staff. My daughter was the first surrogate baby he delivered. Before 2pm that afternoon I was watching my baby be delivered. Al four of us were there to welcome her. It was strange being on the other side of a delivery as an observer. As she took her first breath in this world I was overcome with emotion. I couldn’t believe that after this long emotional uphill battle that I was going to have another baby. The doctor handed her right to me and then I watched as the nurses checked her out. I cut the umbilical cord. Then I just held her in my arms with tears trickling down my cheeks. It was the most miraculous event that I had witnessed.

For the two days that we remained in the hospital my husband and I were the sole caretakers. Heather signed the appropriate documents so that the hospital would look to my husband and I for all the care my daughter might need. The nursery woke me for her feedings. The next day our surrogate and her family visited with my daughter. My husband went to court to get the Parentage Order signed finalizing that she was ours to take home forever. We spent that day floating on cloud nine.

My surrogate and I still email a couple times of year. We exchange pictures of our children during the holiday season. And, I email her pictures of my daughter every year on her birthday. She has since delivered another surrogate baby and is currently due with another surrogate baby. We occasionally talk regarding her other surrogacies. I try to give her support and provide her with an idea of what her intended mother might be feeling.

We did find another surrogate a couple years later in an attempt to have a third child. Our previous surrogate was already engaged with another surrogacy. It was not successful after three transfers. We have agreed that our family is just perfect as it is and have stopped trying to expand our family.

Overall, I feel extremely lucky to have two beautiful children, both miracle babies in their own right. One who had a difficult journey in the womb and another who was a surrogate baby. Given the chance I would give almost anything to feel a baby growing inside me. I feel for women who have never had that experience. In the end, I am thankful everyday for the beautiful family that I have. I want to help others create their family by helping them through the emotional and sometimes complicated journey of surrogacy.