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I've been reminded recently how precious life really is and how important children are to many people. Some of you may have read this on my other blog, but this is an update of sorts too. After posting the original two-and-a-half years ago, another woman in our area has decided to become a surrogate mother and help a couple bring a child into this world. That is awesome. Now, here's our story.
My wife Lisa and I have been blessed with three (relatively) happy and healthy children. With the exception of a blighted ovum, all of Lisa’s pregnancies have been wonderful experiences. I know that is not the case for everyone. We have friends and family members who have and continue to struggle with infertility. In fact, that’s how we ended up where we are today.
In 2005, our daughter (and third child) was born. Lisa and I both wanted a third baby, and I was quite honestly hoping for a baby girl. My wish was granted. After that, we both felt like our family was truly complete. About 18 months later I got a vasectomy to “seal the deal” among other things. All the while, Lisa and I had talked about her one day carrying a child for another couple.
At first, I thought it was simply talk and it wouldn’t go much further than that. In the fall of 2007 Lisa had contacted an agency in the Chicago area that matches woman who want to be surrogates with couples looking to have a baby. We met with the woman who runs the agency in St. Louis on a Friday night in October. By November, we were meeting a couple looking to have a child.
I’ve blogged about that experience in the past. So here’s the Cliff’s notes version. Lisa carried and delivered a healthy baby boy in January 2009, providing that couple with a second child. This little one has no biological connection to Lisa. She was “just the oven”, as we explained it to our kids.
Because she has had four successful, problem free pregnancies, Lisa was sure she wanted to do another surrogacy. Besides providing a couple with a child, the compensation for doing so is a bonus, I’m not going to lie.
Once she made the decision to carry again official, the agency contacted Lisa about another couple that was eager to meet us (yes, I’m part of the equation too, however I pretty much just sit back and help when I’m needed) Anyway, in April 2009 we met the couple for lunch in Springfield, the half point for each of us. Immediately we knew these people were loving and caring and wanted so much to be a mommy and a daddy. They must have liked us too, because Lisa still had a couple of months before the doctor would even clear her for the transfer and they wanted her to be their “belly mama.”
The process itself is quite complex. The surrogate (and her husband) speak with a psychologist, so do the IPs (intended parents). Then there’s a battery of blood work and other tests that are run to make sure everyone (even the “belly daddy”) are healthy. Because the couple in this case lives up north, this required travel to Chicago for the transfer and testings.
The first transfer this time around was not successful. It broke our hearts (yes, I’m invested emotionally in this too) to tell the IPs that Lisa wasn’t pregnant. But everyone in this process was determined, and a short time later doctors did another transfer. And this time it worked! Very well, I might add. Lisa was carrying twins. Soon this wonderful couple would be blessed with two bundles of joy.
Again, Lisa’s pregnancy was going well. The twins had nice, strong heartbeats and were active. Things were pretty much flawless until about 30 weeks into the pregnancy. Baby boy apparently wasn’t content with where he was sitting and decided to do some moving around. Little did we know at the time, but that’s the move that sent Lisa into labor.
She was about 9 1/2 weeks (cue the Mickey Rourke jokes) out from delivering, but these babies didn’t seem to care. Also, the IPs were bound for Europe when I called and told them Lisa was at the hospital, but the doctor said it could be weeks before the babies arrived. Long story short, 3 1/2 hours later, the babies were here.
Lisa delivered via C section, something new for her. I was in there with her and can’t tell you how good it was to hear baby boy come out screaming and crying. A minute or two later, his sister arrived, but she wasn’t making any noise. That worried me, but in a matter of seconds, she too was crying.
The IPs landed in London, and literally turned around and got back on a plane for another 8 hour flight. They arrived safely and have been enjoying their babies ever since. The twins are still in NICU, but they are getting stronger every day.
Update: Both families remain in contact with us. The first family still sends flowers on each birthday of their child. We just got the four year bouquet a couple of weeks ago. We also get a Christmas arrangement from the second family and photos of their family each year.
I am so very proud of my wife. Over the course of 18 months she provided two wonderful families with three children, and her sacrifices have also helped our family. I love her.