The following is a guest post by Pamela MacPhee, Author of DELiVERiNG HOPE: The Extraordinary Journey of a Surrogate Mom
While I have never given birth to preemies or twins, I think I can relate to some of the mixed up emotions of fear and hope and anxiety that accompany a complicated pregnancy and birth.
I have carried and delivered four babies; none of the deliveries were easy.
The first three were mine.
But it was my fourth that was the most anxious and emotionally draining pregnancy and delivery, not because I delivered preemie twins, but because I carried a baby that did not belong to me.
I grew up with my cousin, Henry, playing tag in the backyard, jumping on beds and racing down the Sierra Mountains on skis. I loved him like an annoying little brother. So a few years ago when his wife was diagnosed with cancer, I struggled to find a way to help. After learning that as a consequence of radiation treatment, Lauren would not be able to carry a baby, I found my opportunity. I could not imagine the devastation and emptiness of a life without the possibility of children, and so with a hopeful heart I offered to be a surrogate mom, to carry their baby for them. My offer completely overwhelmed them.
When they eventually embraced the idea of a journey through surrogacy together, I saw what my offer meant to them and then I was overwhelmed. While I was excited to be giving them hope for their future, I realized in that moment that it would be my responsibility to make sure that their hopes and dreams were realized. I had to succeed, to come through for them on my promise. I couldn’t even consider the alternative.
Months later in the hours after our first embryo transfer attempt, I found myself whispering fervently to those little ones seeking a home inside my uterus. Failure was not an option. And so when the fertility doctor slid a gelled paddle across my belly two weeks later searching for signs of life, I held my breath in anxious anticipation. When the sound of a quickening fetal heartbeat filled the examining room, I exhaled in relief and my eyes filled with tears as I watched my cousin and his wife marvel at the sound of their child inside of me.
Nine months later lying down on another examining table inside a hospital OR while the obstetrician made the first incision of a planned c-section delivery, I found myself holding my breath again. Please let this baby be healthy and perfect. I have to succeed. Failure is not an option. Minutes later the doctor lifted a beautiful, healthy little girl from my belly for her parents to see for the first time, and again I sighed in relief. And my cousin’s wife moaned with joy.
I suddenly felt exhausted. Finally I could let go of all that anxiety and fear and sense of responsibility. Holding their baby later that morning, I admired her perfection, her courage, her tenacity, and thanked her dearly for joining me on our journey. We had done it together and now my cousin and his wife could embrace life again. It had been a long, anxious road, but we had succeeded. And in no time a small child would be playing tag with her cousins in the backyard.
I published a book about our surrogacy journey titled DELIVERING HOPE, and if you’d like to read more about our amazing journey and the joy of giving a family, please go to my website at DeliveringHopeBook.com to find out more and order a book!