Tuesday 8 May 2012

From the beginning

We decided on surrogacy in August 2011, after I experienced an ectopic pregnancy which ruptured while I was at my families shack, in the middle of nowhere. I nearly lost my life. 
We had seen a couple on 60 minutes that had twins using a surrogate from SCI.  After googling surrogacy, looking at many different clinics, we came across the SCI website.  We sent a request off, and later that evening, we received a phone call from Meg. We had a long conversation about all things surrogacy and by the time I hung up, I had decided that this is what we were going to do.  My husband Steve and I discussed it that night, and the next day, we had sent all the relevant forms off.  By November we were in India.  

I had a son when I was 18.  I met Steve 8 years later and we married and started trying for a baby almost immediately.  We both desperately wanted children, and lots of them. Unfortunately, over the next 6 years, we experienced 12 miscarriages.  All around 7-9 weeks.  We tried IVF, acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, chemical free skin.  For anyone out there that has gone through a similar situation of trying unsuccessfully, you will know what I mean.  You try anything.  I would have gone to a Witch Doctor if one was available.
Finally, in 2010, we had a baby girl, Ivy. It was a miracle.  Needless to say, she is one spoiled little girl.  Wanting to jump straight on with the lucky vibe, we started trying straight away.  Had a few miscarriages, and then, the ectopic pregnancy.

So here we are today, awaiting the birth of our new baby, with a due date of early August. Obviously, we were extremely lucky.   Here is my surrogacy story.  I have only decided to start a blog today....so here is our story thus far....

The moment I decided to go through SCI, was like a weight off my mind.  Finally an answer to a seemingly unanswerable question...'will I ever be able to have another baby'.  Finally...yes!

A good friend came to Delhi with me for the first 10 days, before Steve joined us.  For anyone thinking about surrogacy, I suggest that you make the most of your time in India.  Treat it like a holiday.  My friend Kirsty and I had the best time.  We traveled around a bit, saw all the sights, ate all the food, and made every minute between my hormone injections count.  The nurses at SCI even packed my injections up in a freezer box so we could fly down to Jaipur and then travel on to Pushka.  It was easy, and defiantly worthwhile.

The legal side of this was very easy.  We met with the SCI lawyer who explained the contract perfectly.
Meeting our surrogates was one of the best days ever. It was nerve racking, because I really wanted them to like us, but it is also a bit tricky communicating through the translator as it takes time.  But the translator did an amazing job, she translated everything we said and everything they said.  I loved them straight away, although now I must admit, I did have more of a connection with one of them, as she was more confident and chatty.  Her name is S.  I had a feeling then and there that S was the one.  

Just like normal IVF, there are many injections and scans, pretty much every second day.
When my eggs were ripe for the picking, it was just a 15 minute procedure under GA.
Steve and I had decided on using 2 surrogates to optomise our chances.  Unfortunately, I did not have the amount of eggs I was hoping for.  Out of the 9 seen on the scan, only 4 were able to be collected.  Out of those 4, only 2 fertilized.  Out of those 2, there was an A grade embryo and a dodgy looking embryo.  But not to worry, Dr Shivani had one embryo transferred into each surrogate.  Now all we had to do was wait.  The day of the transfer was my birthday, so I was feeling confident.

Back home in Australia, I could not get to sleep.  It was around the time I was expecting an email from SCI, and like anyone, waiting for those emails is torture.  I was up every hour checking my phone for new emails.  Finally, I decided that it was not coming, and I got up and took a sleeping tablet (not normal behavior for me, but I was stressed out!).  Drifting off into a deep sleep, I started dreaming that my phone was ringing....but it wasn't a dream.  It was a private number, and prior to going to India, my initial thought would have been that it was an Indian calling to try and sell me something, but I don't have those thoughts anymore!  So I answer, and its Meg.  We are pregnant!!......she is shouting down the phone. I couldn't gather my thoughts.  It was the best news ever.  

Then came the waiting game...waiting for the 5 week scan...all fine.  Then waiting for the heartbeat scan...all fine.....  Now I can relax and start feeling positive.
I have to admit, that it took a fair bit of positive thinking to make me realise that S will not have a miscarriage.  That was my uterus' problem, not hers.... but finally, around 8 weeks, I felt safe. This was really happening.

So here we are today, at 27.5 weeks, and on the count down.  I would recommend this to anyone, and although I realise that not everyone is as lucky as us, that there are times when it doesn't work straight away, or times that there may be a miscarriage, all in all, there is hope.  Hope that all the couples out there in the world that have struggled to have a baby, are able to try, and if they are able to keep going, then the outcome will be more than wonderful. And hope is a wonderful thing that keeps us all going when we feel as though things could not get any worse.  SCI had given us hope, and are now giving us a baby.

But the surrogacy road is always a bit bumpy (and expensive), but if we all stick together, it gets smoother.  I have met the most wonderful people through SCI. People that I know are going to be in our lives forever, and people that I now consider close friends.  These are people that I met in the hotel we stayed in, that are also on the surrogacy journey, people that I have not yet met, but will be meeting when we pick up our babies.  And everyday when I turn my computer on and see an email from one of these beautiful people, I feel as though I belong to a select group, a family that helps make the process that much better.

Speaking of family, we could not have done this without the support of ours.  We are one of those lucky people who have gorgeous, supportive families, that are always interested in our surrogacy story, and who help where ever they can.  This is great for us, as we are not taking our 16 year old or our 2 year old to India for baby pick up.  So we can go over, knowing that our children will be loved and cared for, and this is a big thing for me.

So for anyone reading this that is in the process of thinking about surrogacy, I say DO IT.  Don't wait unless you have to.  Once you have made up your mind, there is nothing else to think about.  Meg and Margarida have made the process that much easier again with providing information, and putting you in touch with the right people.  

India is one of the greatest countries I have visited.  It's people are just like my surrogate....kind and giving.  It is a brilliant place to go for a holiday and SCI is an outstanding clinic.  I especially loved the nurses. They are funny and sweet and make you feel very special. 

We are actually going to try again for another baby when we are there in July to meet and bring home our little baby.  So fingers crossed, we will be back again in 2013.

Stay tuned.....