National Infertility Awareness Week recognizes the 1 in 8 couples who struggle with infertility. This describes many of the intended parents (IPs) who turn to Surrogate Solutions for help in creating their family. Once IPs are expecting a child via a gestational carrier, they may experience dual emotions – joy for the impending arrival of their long-awaited child but also a sense of loss for not being able to experience the pregnancy themselves.
New mom Brenda, whose daughter Viviana is four months old, says, “It’s such an emotional process not being able to carry a baby because you miss the connection that comes with pregnancy. Whenever I hear that one of my friends is pregnant, part of me is happy but part of me hurts at the same time. I would have given anything to be able to carry my child.”
Her husband, Ricky, adds, “It’s hard not being able to be part of the process and watching it as an outsider. We were grateful for the opportunity to have a child through surrogacy, but it’s hard not being part of it all.”
IPs can experience infertility for a variety of reasons. In Brenda’s case, she was diagnosed with a rare form of uterine cancer in her early 20s and required a partial hysterectomy. Given her medical history, Brenda and Ricky knew surrogacy would be in their future, but they waited until they were both on the same page and ready to start the journey.
What they wanted in a surrogate
The number one criteria Brenda and Ricky had during the match process was finding someone who would communicate openly with them. They found what they were looking for with their gestational carrier, Susie, who remained transparent throughout pregnancy even when she had difficult news to share.
“Something came up on Viviana’s ultrasound, and Susie was scheduled for a follow up appointment the next week,” Brenda explained. “Susie told us about it, and we attended the next appointment. Of course, she told us because it was required in the contract, but she did it because it was the right thing to do. That’s what we love most about Susie – how transparent and open she was with us.”
Brenda also shares how Susie was in tune with their emotions and desire to be involved in the pregnancy. “She would record videos of Viviana moving in her belly and send them to us at least once a week,” Brenda explained. “She also had a doppler and would check Viviana’s heartbeat. Susie made us feel like we were part of it as much as a possible. She was a fantastic surrogate and set the standard really high.”
When it came time for the delivery, things moved much faster than anyone anticipated with Susie only pushing for eight minutes. Brenda had gone into the room to check on Susie, who said she thought it was time and asked Brenda to get the nurse.
“The nurse came in and said, ‘it’s go time,’” Brenda recalls. “I woke up Susie’s husband, Brian, who was asleep on the couch, and then went to go get Ricky. It happened so fast.”
Both Ricky and Brenda describe the experience of watching their daughter being born as “surreal.”
“I was so happy,” Ricky says. “I couldn’t believe it was real.”
Brenda had set up her phone behind Susie to record the birth and shares a special moment that was captured on camera.
“I was watching the video and saw that after Viviana was born, Susie’s husband grabbed her little hand and kissed the top of it,” Brenda says. “It was so sweet. I just love that he did that. I never would have caught it if I wasn’t recording because I was so focused on Viviana coming out.”
Finding the right routine
Like most new parents, Ricky and Brenda were exhausted the first few weeks after bringing Viviana home as they adjusted to life as a family of three. Now, Brenda says, they have found the right routine. Rather than trading nights getting with Viviana, they split the time equally each night.
“Ricky is a fantastic dad; he is fully hands on,” Brenda says. “I get up with Viviana the first part of the night between 2-3 a.m., and Ricky gets up with her between 4-6 a.m. It’s a system that works for us as long as we’re communicating well. We’ve learned a lot by watching other people who haven’t had an equal parenting relationship.”
Advice for other IPs
When asked if they have any advice for IPs who are just starting their surrogacy journey, Ricky says, “Communicate with your wife whenever you have questions because most of the interaction will be between the intended mother and the surrogate.”
Brenda adds, “Have an open mind because the person who will end up being your gestational carrier will do some things differently than you would. That’s the hardest part – letting go and relying on and trusting someone else to take care of your baby.”
Planning a second journey
Ricky and Brenda plan to grow their family and start their second surrogacy journey when Viviana is
6 months old. For now, they agree that the best part of their journey is where they are at today – enjoying every moment as parents to their sweet Viviana.
“Finally having her with us and getting to be a dad is the best,” Ricky says.
“All the heartache and all the pain that it took us to get here was worth it,” Brenda says. “We just look at Viviana, and no matter what we went through, we wouldn’t trade it for anything. We just love her so much.”