Today is Mother’s Day. I just got off of the phone with the intended mother of the unborn child I am scheduled to carry. There has been a setback. The egg donor they want- the same egg donor they used for their first child- is no longer available. They’ve looked through other egg donor profiles. They don’t have a good feeling about any of them. She is calling me to tell me they no longer wish to have another baby. They don’t need my services anymore. They can be content with one healthy child. After three years, our journey together is officially over.
I met them for the first time in Spring of 2014 in Carlisle, PA. We had lunch at a place called Café Bruges. It was raining when they walked in. They were nervous. I was hungry. They had struggled for years with infertility. I was not fully convinced this was all happening. Do people really pay other people to carry a child for them?! His mother, whom recently passed, was from Bruges. It was serendipitous that we chose this place to meet. I charmed them with my single teenage mom stories. I wore a nice dress and brushed my hair and came prepared with a list of questions. They loved me. They were unassuming and kind and I loved them, too. It was decided- we were going to make a baby together.
I did not become pregnant until one year later. My time with the fertility clinic was prolonged and painful. They scheduled appointments during times I had to be at my job. They did not give me full instructions on how to administer the many, many drugs I needed. They blamed me when they didn’t work. They were rough and abrasive when completing medical tests. I left each visit with bruises on my arms and cramps in my abdomen. They paid no concern to my emotional health and I had never felt so subhuman before. They decided they didn’t like my demeanor- I asked too many questions. They left me a voicemail saying I was no longer welcome to their clinic as a patient.
I called the mother, hysterical and crying. She had been through so much already, I was quickly becoming a burden to her. I was ashamed and fearful for what she might say to me. I was shocked when she expressed empathy. I was messing this all up for her and she should have been furious with me. She talked calmly to me and told me she knew I was doing my best. She validated my feelings and vowed to fix it. She made me feel worthy again. The next day the doctor called me, this time to say that I would be allowed back as a patient. Great.
Nine months later we were together again. She was not so nervous meeting me this time. I was 6 months pregnant and still hungry. We were looking for lodging near the hospital for when the baby would be born. I was helping her tour different Airbnb’s. I took her to a local museum. We ate lunch and had a walk along the river. We talked about our lives and realized we had more in common than we had differences. I admired her strength in life and I know she admired mine back. We went on a hospital tour. We got to see the labor and delivery rooms we would soon be occupying. On the drive home she began to cry. She had been through this all before- it did not have a happy ending.
This time I was able to console her. I assured her I was healthy- the baby was healthy. Yes there was loss in the past, but these are different circumstances. Better doctors, better testing, better support. Something could go wrong, something could always go wrong. But look at how much has gone right so far! Everything will be okay this time.
When the conversation was coming to an end earlier today, she paused. She told me that she would still like to keep in contact, to send me updates on the baby as she grows older and to share in my life stories as well. She asked if I would also like this. I told her I would.