Hi, I’m Scarlett.
I’m a mother, wife, childbirth educator, birth doula, and last year I added one more title to my list: gestational surrogate (or gestational carrier). Gestational Surrogacy means that the carrier becomes pregnant with an embryo (or embryos) that are not genetically related to her. The baby or babies may be entirely genetically tied to the intended parents, or there may be donor eggs or or donor sperm involved. Interestingly, Oregon is one most surrogacy-friendly states in the United States.
So many things led me to such a journey: 1) As I watched friends and acquaintances struggle with infertility and pregnancy loss, I often wished I could spare some of my fertility to help them become parents, 2) My own pregnancies were quick to achieve and were uncomplicated (both in pregnancy and in birth) and I was healthy, making me a good candidate for surrogacy, 3) I enjoyed pregnancy and I LOVED giving birth. The same day I gave birth to my son, I wanted to do it all over again. I was sad that we were done with our family and I would never get to go through the process again. At least I thought I would never get to do it again.
But surrogacy gave me the chance to experience the whole process again, after my family was complete. And, of course, it gave me the opportunity to help another couple build their own family.
I thought about it for a very. long. time. before jumping into anything. I had long talks with my husband. We had talks with our children. Ultimately, it was something that we felt good about doing. We went to an agency and were matched with an awesome couple.
The surrogacy journey was a roller coaster. From start to finish, it took us almost 2 years. We got to know the other couple, did medical and psychological screenings and finalized contracts. We went through a crazy IVF cycle (including lots of medicine–much of it injected) and transferred 1 embryo. I got pregnant right away, but sadly that pregnancy ended in a missed miscarriage. So, after a waiting period, we tried again. Pregnant again! This one stuck!
On April 20th 2014 my water broke at 38 weeks and 1 day. The parents weren’t in town yet, so I called them and they drove through the night to reach us. They needn’t have hurried as my contractions didn’t start in earnest until after 5 pm. No matter! It gave everyone a chance to connect and rest up. Once the contractions did start it was a wild and crazy 5 hours until the birth. Of the three birth’s I’ve had, this was the most intense. But it was exhilarating! And watching the parents meet their child and hold him skin-to-skin was priceless.
I was–and am–struck by how many ways there are to make a family. Love brings it all together.