They had a baby without me.
I mean, it’s not as if they owed me anything, they didn’t. They definitely didn’t. Our contract was fulfilled with the birth of their first baby.
Our experience together was a good one, I thought, and we’d spoken during the pregnancy about them having a second child. They thought they wanted another, they’d said, and I asked if they’d consider me to carry that child for them as well.
“Let’s wait and see how we all feel after this baby, OK?” they said.
The remark caught me off guard, and stung a little bit.
It stung a lot, actually.
I thought the experience went well. We visited many times after the birth and they seemed to enjoy our time together.
But time went by and I’d email to set up another visit and the replies turned into “We’re really busy now, how about in a few months?”
That stung too.
Just before Julia turned two, I met a traditional (read: hetero) couple who needed a surrogate. They were lovely and sweet and my heart was taken with the prospect of carrying for them.
But I’d already offered to carry for the guys again, once they were ready.
So I wrote them an email asking for their thoughts about having a second baby.
We don’t know yet, they replied. We don’t know if we even want another baby at all, they added.
I told them there was this other couple. They said I should go ahead and carry for them.
And I did. And it was a gorgeous experience.
I emailed the guys again at some point during the pregnancy and asked “Hey, can we put a date on the calendar for a visit?”
And they replied with “We’re really busy for the next several months, can you check back with us?
I didn’t end up checking back.
I didn’t get a Christmas card from them this year, which surprised me but then I again I wasn’t surprised in the least. It’s funny how at times your brain can so easily hold two completely conflicting thoughts, isn’t it?
Then something came in the mail in mid-January.
It was a combination holiday card and birth announcement. Four months prior they’d had another baby, and I had no idea.
Except I kind of did have an idea, just one of those faint ideas that’s really more of a shapeless inkling and impression mixed with some feelings rather than concrete thoughts or actual suspicions.
But I was right, they’d had another baby, and I found out through a holiday card.
And yes, this stung too.
So today Julia celebrates her fourth birthday, but her first birthday as a big sister. I bet she's feeling like a very big girl now.
I think of her often – every day in fact – just as I think of all of my surrogate babies.
Julia’s parents gave me a wonderful bracelet at her birth. It’s just perfect for me, very simple yet exactly my style, and I wear it nearly every single day, even four years later.
I’m grateful for Julia, and for them, and for the bracelet that brings me so many fond memories.
And I hope they feel the same way about me.