My surrogacy journey started out much like any other. I wanted to develop a bond with my intended parents and was struggling to find a way to do it. We had awkward texts and awkward silences. But I was just so determined to help them that I knew I couldn’t give up. I decided to use humor to build a bridge from my home in Idaho to theirs in Europe.
Another sensitive subject that is frequently visited with surrogates is money. Not only the amount of compensation you will receive, but also the financial status of the intended parents you’re working with.
No one likes to talk about how much money they make. It is perhaps even more uncomfortable to be asked to speculate on the amount of money someone else is spending on you or for the service of surrogacy. Considering news stories and tabloid articles highlighting only wealthy celebrities as having used surrogates, you can hardly blame inquiring minds for immediately assuming that the intended parent(s) are in a very good place financially.
The big day has arrived and you’re off to the hospital to give birth. Here’s a look at what the next several days typically look like for our surrogates.
When you arrive at the hospital you’ll likely be processed through check in much the same as you were with your own births. If this is an unplanned (spontaneous) labor you’ll want to call your case specialist and/or intended parents right away so that they have the best shot possible at making it to the hospital in time for the birth. Continue reading
Bleeding during pregnancy can be incredibly scary. Bleeding during a surrogate pregnancy can be doubly worrisome as so much care has already been taken to attain the pregnancy.
Pregnancies obtained through IVF often have a higher rate of bleeding than a conventional pregnancy. Roughly 40% of women carrying an IVF pregnancy will experience bleeding. The elevated instance of bleeding could be blamed on a number of factors including more vaginal exams and medications being taken to increase blood flow. The blood flow can range from light pink to dark brown and everything from light spotting to menstrual like flow.
The baby blues. It’s a term used to explain the anxiety and sadness that can come along with the rapid hormone changes following childbirth. While not all women will experience this anxiety or sadness, many will. Surrogates are no exception. In fact, surrogacy may be the first time you experience these feelings.
The first thing you should understand is that, especially as a surrogate, it is incredibly normal and acceptable to be feeling a variety of emotions following the birth. One minute you’ll probably be feeling on top of the world and bursting with pride and self-worth. Then, mere hours later, you could be crying for what feels like no good reason at all. Many of our surrogates tell us they’ll start crying while experiencing no sadness at all. They tell us they’re quite happy, but crying anyway. It’s not uncommon at all.
The moment you give birth a lot changes. In an instant the whole world changes for your intended parent(s). They go from planning a family, to creating a new one or growing a larger one. Their attention shifts and you go from being the star of the show to a very important supporting actress.
This shift can hit some surrogates hard, especially as it is compounded with hormone surges and emotions of your own. So how do you manage all of these emotions while preserving this bond you’ve spent the last nine plus months building? As with every other step in your journey, this step takes compassion and patience.
Our surrogates tell us that the day their medications arrive in the mail feels two-pronged. First they feel the excitement to begin the cycle, and then they open the box and feel completely overwhelmed. This is normal. Most of our surrogates will not be on any daily medications, so when a large box shows up filled to the brim with bottles and bottles of pills, needles, boxes, blister packs and even a sharps box, that feeling of total bewilderment is completely acceptable. In fact, we’ve heard from more than one woman that she put the box in a closet for the day, resolving to look at it again later.
So what comes next? How can you transform this daunting box of medications into a manageable task? Here’s a couple of pointers:
Telling your children that you are becoming a surrogate can seem almost as scary as telling your parents. This is news that will impact their lives in a big way, and how these young people handle the news will impact your life in a big way.
How you approach the topic will vary greatly based on a number of factors including your children’s ages and personality types. The overriding theme should always be to provide open, clear, and age appropriate information in an honest way that encourages empathy and communication.
Telling your boss that you’re pregnant can be stressful. When the baby you’ll be carrying isn’t your own, telling the boss your big news can seem overwhelming. Depending on your relationship with your boss and the workplace atmosphere, you’ll first need to decide if you’re an early sharer or a late sharer.
If you have an open relationship with your boss and you don’t feel as though the news would be ill received or put you in jeopardy, then sharing news of your surrogacy hopes early may be beneficial. Early sharing inspires open communications and trust while allowing you to be honest with your boss over the upcoming absences you’ll be taking for the transfer and monitoring appointments. Your boss will also be clued in to any tiredness or moodiness that tends to come with early pregnancy.
Many women do not feel comfortable sharing their goals until much later in the process. Some wait until a positive pregnancy test and others wait until the end of the first trimester. Delayed sharing allows you to keep their secret a bit longer in the sad possibility of an early miscarriage. Some women also feel as though their bosses would not authorize time away from work for these important medical procedures. If this is your situation, feel confident knowing you are not required to tell your boss why you’re missing work for medically related absences.
Whenever you choose to tell your boss about your surrogate pregnancy, it is probably best to schedule a time for the conversation in advance. A good call would be a time when this can be a one on one discussion without many distractions. A lunch break or other time when you’re off the clock is probably best.
Be sure to ensure your boss of any intentions you have for time off following the birth and, if you intend to return to work following the birth, ensuring your boss of this intention can help create calm. Finally, ask if he/she has any questions. Giving your boss the opportunity to ask questions about the process and what it means to your job performance is important.
Women entering surrogacy are typically placed on a regimen of hormone therapies to aid in preparing the uterus for the embryo transfer and aid in maintaining the pregnancy. Some of the medications you can expect to be on during your medical cycle include:
- Estrogen– You are likely to be on at least one form of estrogen supplement. This is to build the uterine lining. Common forms include a small oral pill (Estrace) and/or an intramuscular injection (Delestrogen.)
- Lupron– This medication is given primarily to women who are planning on transferring a fresh embryo as opposed to a frozen one. It is used to help suppress the ovaries while waiting for the transfer.