For a year of my life, being a surrogate consumed me. Things changed. Everything revolved around my health, the babies inside me, and the Intended Parents. I went into surrogacy wanting to do something great for another family, and my family was put on hold because of it. I don’t want that to come off as bitter, because it isn’t. It’s just the way things went.
Two embryos were transferred, and when one split into identical twins I found myself pregnant with triplets. Suddenly I was put on high risk status. I was no longer able to pick up my kids; my activities were restricted, and then eventually put on bed rest. My little ones were having babysitters watch them for my many appointments. They even had to go to bed a few times (and wake up) without their mom at home because I was in the hospital. This was something they had never had happen before and it was scary for them. My youngest became clingy and cried whenever I got near the door, gluing herself to me every chance she could.
I spent days in the hospital for health reasons, and my days after the c-section mostly alone stuck in a hospital bed with my husband going back and forth between me and our four children. It was times like this I wished we had family close by to help us out because really, who wants to be alone in the hospital? Not me, that’s for sure. It became normal to be poked and prodded at nearly every appointment, bruises here and there from blood draws and IV’s, fertility medications and steroids.
My husband shouldered everything without complaint. We always did everything as a family and he quickly found himself doing it all because I couldn’t. It was up to him to cook, clean (with help 3 days a week by a housekeeper via the surrogacy agreement), get groceries and take care of everything for the kids on top of working a full time job. I felt helpless. I watched my family do things without me and my heart ached to join them. I yearned to do the simple things I used to take for granted, like working alongside my husband making dinner and cleaning up after, baking cookies with my kids and walking to the park.
People kept tabs on what I ate, how much I ate, when I ate and always tried to shove more at me. No one understood that there was physically NO room left for my stomach to eat a full meal. Three bites into just about everything set before me and I was done, and gagging. I wanted food, but my circumstances didn’t allow me to eat much at all. The babies were growing perfectly, but when the doctor would mention another week without any weight gain I would see looks of panic on the Intended Parents faces. I felt under fire. I knew I was doing the best that I could, but I felt watched. Who am I kidding? I was being watched. By everyone.
Then suddenly, as quickly as it all came about, it ended. Once those babies were born it all went back to the way it was. I no longer had help after returning home from the hospital. There weren’t people checking in on me every hour or asking what they could do to help me out. Aside from meeting once a day with the IPs to hand off my pumped breast milk we were a family of six again, relying on each other to get through, just like we always did. The IPs got the family of their dreams, and I had mine back completely.