A few weeks later, we found out together, via FaceTime from the doctor’s office, that I was carrying twin boys. In that moment I felt the power of what a gift I was bestowing on this couple, and the amazingness of the puzzle we had made, putting a baby together within the human body. Finally, this couple – who’d been secretly stockpiling diapers and hiding them in their attic since before they had even met me, hoping one day to need them – could look to the future with hope. They decided to keep me and the process a secret from everyone except their parents, who were helping to pay for it, until the birth.
It’s easy to forget that raising a baby brings many stresses and worries, so one surprising pleasure I got from my whole surrogacy experience was not having to think about the future. Before the birth of my own children, I was nervous about choosing the right name, desperately trying to get the nursey finished, buying supplies.
This time, I got to enjoy the pregnancy. I could lie around being lazy and not have to nervously anticipate the next stages. And I was lucky to have cool intended parents. Some won’t allow carriers to dye their hair, wear nail polish – but mine were totally fine with the already healthy lifestyle I was living and didn’t say I couldn’t do anything. No rules or regulations. I just added a pre-natal vitamin to my daily diet.
We kept in touch via Facebook and text, I’d message them photos and tell them if the twins moved, and FaceTime them from doctor’s appointments so they could feel like they were there, then at 25 weeks they flew in to Utah from New York to attend a doctor’s appointment with me.
The hardest was explaining my bump to my little boys, telling them that these babies weren’t their little brothers and that they’d be moving to New York as soon as they were born. The biggest relief was finding out I was carrying two boys. I already had my two boys so handing over two more was easier on everyone than if they had been girls because I’ve always wanted a daughter.
On the day of the birth, I hung out with the intended parents in a hospital room until I had to go into the operating theatre for the C section. I was only allowed one person in with me and I chose my husband, which I felt guilty about. But I needed him, and they got to watch the birth through a window, and they were the first people to hold the boys. They took them home after two days, while I stayed in hospital for two more recovering.
I was prepared to say goodbye to them and hadn’t got emotionally attached to the babies while I was carrying them so I didn’t cry or feel sad. A fellow surrogate told me to think of it as an extended babysitting job that would end after nine months and that was invaluable as I watched this new family of four walk away. I was always clear with myself that I was doing this for someone else, but my sister, who’d been staying with us to look after my sons, was an emotional mess.