Their Lovin, My Oven

My Journey as a Gestational Surrogate

The Real Deal.. February 24, 2012

I know it’s taken quite some time to get this “emotions” blog up and I apologize. I needed time to get back into a normal, day to day routine that didn’t directly involve my surrogacy journey, and time to compose my thoughts…. Some of these thoughts I’ve kept completely to myself but those private thoughts are also an important part of my journey so I’m choosing to not hold anything back. This is probably going to be a very long post, but complete honesty has always been a huge part of this blog so here goes…

 

This surrogacy journey was by far one of the most amazing things I have EVER done in my life. I always wondered what drove surrogates to go through multiple journeys and now I understand it without a doubt. One of my surrosisters on a private forum said it best – She can tell I’m not a “One and Done” kind of surrogate. I’ve been asked probably one hundred times if I will be a surrogate again. I was asked a lot before I gave birth to the twins, but it wasn’t until after that when my hormones settled down that I knew for sure. Though I had heard plenty about people’s struggles to have children, being a surrogate opened my eyes in a way that nothing else can to the number of people experiencing these struggles. So, what’s my answer? Yes. I would love to be a surrogate again. A sibling project might be something Esteban & Michele want to do in the future so I won’t pursue another surrogacy journey until I’m sure they are done with their family. It’s important to me to help them with bringing another angel into this world if they want to and though complications of a pregnancy resulting in an inability to carry again are rare, they do happen and that’s not a risk I’m willing to take. I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I did another journey with someone else and something happened that made it impossible for me to carry for Esteban & Michele again. I know that if I wanted to do another journey, I would have their blessing, but this is my choice. Their family is also part of my family and I want to make sure they are finished building that family before I move on. I don’t know for sure what the future holds in regards to a sibling project, nor am I rushing Esteban & Michele to make any decisions right now. They are focused on their sweet baby boys and that’s exactly what they need to do for right now. If in 2-3 years they decide they don’t want to do a sibling project after all, I’m completely okay with that and won’t have any reservations about having waited for them to make that decision. Some people might think I’m crazy to “save myself” but I don’t see it that way and that’s all that matters.

I also get asked how I’m feeling. I know the majority of people don’t necessarily want to know how I am feeling physically. People want to know how I handled everything emotionally. This surrogacy was emotionally charged, that’s for sure.

Working with IFs was probably completely different than working with a “traditional” couple. Though I obviously don’t know that for sure, here’s where I’m coming from. Our journey didn’t begin with Esteban & Michele considering surrogacy as a last resort or their last chance at having children. Being a same sex couple and the laws in Italy regarding adoption (not legal for same sex couples or a single male) meant that they really had no other options for building their family except surrogacy. Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t choose surrogacy lightly. They did TONS of research (I’m pretty sure Esteban has read thousands of books) and TONS of thinking before making the decision, but the decision wasn’t based off prior struggles with infertility or prior heart ache from failed adoptions, etc. Our journey began with the excitement of them seeing their dreams of parenthood begin and my dreams of helping someone create their family beginning. We got to experience joy and excitement from the very beginning and that excitement and joy rarely went away.

 

The most trying time for me (and for the guys) was finding out about Davide’s heart condition. The pediatric cardiologist was trying to prepare everyone for worst case scenario, but in doing so he spoke about things that probably weren’t anything but a remote possibility and caused many painful thoughts and discussions. The possibility of Davide having DiGeorge syndrome was devastating to Esteban & Michele. The doctors mentioned termination and it wasn’t something anybody ever wants to think about but Esteban & Michele had to. While I haven’t been in their shoes before, they have always been open and honest with me and I know that was one of the most difficult times they have ever gone through. I can’t imagine the anguish they went through. It wasn’t easy on me as their surrogate either. Since they weren’t at the appointment, that phone call was one of the hardest I have ever had to make. How do you tell someone that their child has the remote possibility of a syndrome that could severely affect their quality of life? How do you hold it together when all you want to do is fall apart because you know it’s 1000 times harder for them than it is for you? When we had first matched, we agreed that termination would be their choice unless it was a situation that threatened my life. This is a choice I made as a surrogate – The child(ren) I would carry wouldn’t be my own and therefore I felt like any choices for termination, etc needed to be that of the intended parents. Everyone hopes that such a decision never needs to be made, but going through this journey really drove home how important it is for each surrogate to make a decision regarding their feelings of termination and know that no matter what, they will be able to stick to that decision. I don’t regret my decision at all, and will stand by it for any future journeys but that is one piece of advice I will always give to someone considering surrogacy – Know where you stand and be absolutely sure you are comfortable with that stance just in case. Esteban, Michele and I had several heart to heart conversations and somehow, I just knew that Davide didn’t have DiGeorge syndrome. To this day, I can’t explain how I knew but something was telling me that while he may have to have surgery to repair the holes in his heart and the issue with his aortic arch, he would be just fine afterwards. I am so thankful that Esteban & Michele took that to heart and stayed strong. I know it wasn’t easy for them, and it wasn’t easy for me, but it brought us that much closer together.

 

It’s impossible to predict how you will feel after delivery and my journey was no exception. I thought I knew how it would feel to deliver the twins and hand them off to their Daddies, but what I thought didn’t hold a candle to what it actually felt like. Did I feel like I was giving the boys away? Did I want to keep them? No and No. I didn’t give the boys away – I gave them BACK to their Dads. And that moment is one that I will never forget. Handing Gabriel to Esteban & Michele was one of the most amazing things I have ever had the privilege to be a part of. To see them hold their son for the first time… to know that all the struggles during the pregnancy, all the sleepless nights, aches & pains and the difficulty of delivery resulted in this beautiful family and that I got to be a part of that, was nothing short of a miracle. I relive that moment over and over in my mind every time someone asks me about it and it’s just as vivid as it was that day. I always knew that they would be great parents – And I could always tell how much love they had for their children even before the twins were born. Seeing the love on their faces though… Seeing the look in their eyes as they stared at their newborn son… Seeing them stare at each other and realize that their lives were forever changed… I don’t even think there are words in the English language to describe how amazing it felt to be a part of that moment. I always tear up when I tell that part of my birth story and I think I always will. That day, not only did Esteban & Michele’s lives change, mine did to.

 

Once the twins were born, I knew my relationship with Esteban & Michele would change. I have to admit that I was afraid things would be drastically different once I wasn’t pregnant anymore. If I wasn’t carrying their children, would they still talk to me every day? Would they still check on me to make sure I was doing okay? Or would they be so busy as new parents that I would slowly become less and less important? Don’t get me wrong – The guys never, ever gave me any reason to believe that our relationship would end once the twins were born. My fear wasn’t realistic but it was real. I had read blogs of surrogates that had these amazing pregnancies and relationships with their IPs only to be cut off completely once the babies were born. Though things were different, I was never left out or cast aside. Esteban & Michele were so amazing once the twins were born. They allowed not only me but my family and friends to spend as much time with them and the boys as we wanted. They let me visit Davide in the hospital and let me help watch Gabriel so they could be with Davide. We were always welcome at their apartment day or night and would stay for hours on end just talking, holding the boys, helping with diaper changes, baths, etc.

I love Gabriel & Davide with all of my heart. I would do anything for them, just as I would for my own children. I am so blessed that Esteban & Michele understand the love I have for their sons and know that it isn’t a love driven by a desire to be the boys’ mom, but rather a love for their new FAMILY. I don’t just love Esteban & Michele and I don’t just love the twins – I love the four of them. I love the family I helped create. I love watching Esteban & Michele interact with their sons. I kid you not, I could sit at their apartment just watching them hold the twins for hours and never get bored. To see their family “in action” and to see first hand what truly amazing parents they are was a wonderful experience.

 

To this day Esteban & Michele have allowed me to keep my role as “SurroMama.” They refer to me as SurroMama when we Skype with the boys and always promise to give them lots of hugs and kisses from me. It’s amazing to me that as busy as I know they are with newborn twins, they still take the time to think about me. I want to cry writing out how much that means to me. I wish that I could tell them but there just aren’t enough words. Getting pictures throughout my day, or hearing about tiny details of their day like how many ounces the boys ate, means so much. They don’t have to send me pictures. They don’t have to ask how I’m doing or how my girls are doing. They don’t have to Skype weekly with us. They don’t have to talk to the boys about how much their “California Family” loves them. But they do. Esteban & Michele – I hope you know how much all these things mean. Seeing you with your children never ceases to make my heart skip a beat. It’s just SO amazing, SO wonderful, SO heartwarming, SO miraculous.

 

Never once have I regretted my decision to be a surrogate or wished that our journey had been different. If I had dreamed up the perfect surrogacy journey and written it down on paper, it wouldn’t even come remotely close to how truly perfect this journey was. It exceeded even my wildest expectations and I have a grin that stretches from ear to ear anytime I talk about it. Our journey has expanded my heart so much with love for “my 4 Italian boys.”

Thank you to all of you that followed along with our journey. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, tears and smiles along the road. Thank you for reading my posts whether they were short, long or excruciatingly long like this one LOL. I definitely plan to continue this blog. I’ll keep updating you on the two amazing little boys that resulted from this journey as well as where the future leads me in regards to another journey.

Until Next Time,

❤ Danielle

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Our Journey – On Film February 21, 2012

When Esteban & Michele first embarked on their journey to parenthood via gestational surrogacy, our agency Fertility Miracles asked them to be a part of a video that they would show to other international couples thinking of using the agency to facilitate their journey with a surrogate. Once we were matched and our journey began, I was asked if they could film parts of our journey to incorporate. I of course agreed and they got to work. They filmed interviews with my IFs, some footage of the day we had our PBO (pre-birth order) hearing, our 3D/4D ultrasound, the baby shower I organized for them and finally some footage once the twins were born.

 

The video is finally complete and is one of the most beautiful videos I have ever seen. It is the perfect portrayal of how amazing Esteban & Michele are, how much they love their sons and how wonderful our journey was. Grab a box of tissues (you’ll need it, I promise) and enjoy! ❤

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4iAkzBuC2A

 

P.S. Esteban and Michele’s sweet angels are growing and thriving and their Daddies are actually getting in 4-6 hours of sleep at a time! The twins had their 2 month check up last week and Gabriel weighs 11lbs, 1oz and Davide is right behind him at 10lbs, 1oz. They have the most adorable chubby cheeks and gorgeous big eyes and I am so thankful I get pictures almost every day, and Skype visits weekly. I have the most amazing IFs and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for bringing us together on this amazing journey.

 

Lots of Love,

Danielle

 

I owe you… February 13, 2012

Filed under: Gestational Surrogacy — Danielle @ 5:39 pm

A long post. And I promise I’m working on it. Getting back into the routine of being at work full time has been a task. I’ve also been trying to get into a gym routine with one of my best friends so that I can get rid of quite a few pounds…

 

The twins are amazing – They have two of the best Dad’s in the world. I love getting to Skype with them and see the twins growing and thriving and see how loving and caring Esteban & Michele are. I always knew they would be amazing parents but seeing them in action is incredible. It warms my heart in ways I can’t even describe. Their family is so perfect ❤ I’m truly so incredibly blessed to be able to see the twins grow up and not miss out on moments just because I’m far away. Every day I send up thanks to the big man upstairs for bringing Esteban, Michele & I together and allowing me to be a part of such a miraculous journey. I will never ever forget the moments we have shared (and continue to share.) My heart has expanded with so much love for “my” four Italian “boys.”

 

I hope you are all doing well!! Promise I’ll have the lengthy “emotions” post up soon. I’m long winded so it’s taking a while LOL. 🙂