It was 2010 and I wasn't trying to make any kind of statement, other than I refused to be considered a washed-up surrogate mother. I had the desire to once again be pregnant and help another couple become a family, so I pursued it. It was much more difficult that I imagined it would be.
I'd had seven prior pregnancies and the most recent one had ended in a stillbirth. It had nothing to do with me, the baby had chromosomal abnormalities that occurred during the in-vitro process, days before the embryo was even transferred to my uterus.
But even still, it made people nervous and skittish to work with me. Particularly at my "advanced age" and all. (insert eye roll here)
In addition, I was really hoping to carry a baby for a male couple this time around. Talk about the deck stacked against me.
I was turned away from several agencies and fertility centers as well as independent couples I'd contacted (nervous and skittish about sums it up). Some couples liked me and felt comfortable with me and my "history" but when they floated it by their fertility center, they always said no. One couple dropped me like a hot potato because of my age.
After months of getting stonewalled, I hesitantly pursued a contact I wasn't all that sure about, but I didn't have anything to lose at that point. She had a lead to a fertility center that would consider my whole medical history (which was outstanding) and not just a couple of data points.
She also knew of a male couple looking for a surrogate.
And as they say, the rest is history.
And it really was history in the making, for all of us.
The guys had been together for about five years. They weren't married, because that wasn't an option in Washington DC at the time. Doug and I met them for dinner and immediately liked them, so we proceeded.
We transferred two embryos and one took. It was another healthy, comfortable and easy pregnancy.
A few months into the pregnancy same-sex marriage was legalized in Washington DC. Not only did the guys have a baby to get ready for, now they had a wedding to plan!
As you might imagine, the wedding was a major affair. It was definitely special to watch them become lawfully wedded husbands, so much in love, while carrying their baby. The guests all knew the guys were expecting a baby soon but didn't know I was "the one." When word got out that I was their surrogate, people were so effusive with their excitement and anticipation.
It was pretty surreal, to be honest, and probably not much different from how the guys were feeling as newlyweds just months after Congress allowed them to marry.
A month later I went into labor, on my due date (of course).
It was a quick labor, about 5 or so hours, though it ended sooner than I expected. The baby's heart rate was getting dangerously low during the contractions and not coming back up very quickly. My doctor told me to push her out NOW.
"But I don't have the urge to push!" I said.
"I don't care, push her out anyway, right NOW" he said.
So I did.
And five minutes later she was born.
After some initial intervention and observation, Julia was declared perfectly healthy about an hour after she was born.
(though that hour ticked by very, very, very slowly I must say)
She latched on like a pro and nursed like a champ all day and all night.
All. Night. Long.
It was a long, exhausting night of nursing and wet diapers and it wasn't even my baby. One daddy was at home and the other was sleeping in another room down the hall. But you know what? That night was the best part of the experience, to be honest. It was an honor to spend that long day and night with sweet Julia nestled in my arms and pressed into my breast. I wouldn't have had it any other way. I remember it with such fondness.
It's still a bond I have with her today, forged from holding her nearly non-stop from the time I delivered her until she went home, her belly full of my milk.
And making the two newlywed dads into a family, recognized by law? That's what makes my heart full.
Happy third birthday, sweet Julia!