Being matched with a gestational carrier and involving someone else in our journey has made me feel differently about this process. Prior to being introduced to our carrier, I tried to keep my expectations as low as possible. Everything else we’d tried before this had failed and I couldn’t help but wonder if we were setting ourselves up for yet another dose of failure. Finding someone who was willing and able to carry our child seemed impossible, and I started to believe that it would never happen for us. I believed that we would be limited to this life of broken dreams and emptiness simply because I have a body that doesn’t work properly.
The last several months of this process have felt more like another one of my endless medical procedures than a fresh attempt to start our family. Doctors, waiting rooms, tests, and bills– I’ve been through it all before. The only real difference was that this time Kyle was in the chair next to mine and having his blood drawn too.
I tried to stay focused on each individual step and avoided thinking of the bigger picture as much as possible. I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t opening myself up to more pain than what was necessary. When we first started trying to get pregnant, I spent a lot of time imagining how incredible it would be to tell my parents that they were going to be grandparents or my grandparents that they were going to be great-grandparents. We moved into a bigger place, going from just one bedroom to four, and I set aside the smallest bedroom for use as a nursery. I worried about future plans and began loosely organizing our lives around possible pregnancies (as in, “if we get pregnant this month, then we can use our vacation time here…”). It was all I could think about or imagine, and I felt like I was going to burst with happiness now that things finally seemed to be falling into place for us.
Nearly three years later, I am still on square one. My cousin and sister have both become pregnant since we first started trying, so my parents and grandparents will already be grandparents and great-grandparents; I was not the one who got to tell them. We eventually gave up on decorating a nursery, and instead, Kyle turned our last empty room into his home office while I curled into a ball and cried. The four-bedroom house we moved into is a constant reminder of what we don’t have. It feels both painfully empty and entirely inappropriate for just the two of us & our 6-pound dog. And, of course, whole years worth of scheduling have gone by without being interrupted by a single pregnancy.
I think that spending so much time imagining what could have been made it even harder to accept the stark contrast of our reality. When we began our surrogacy journey, I was determined not to trap myself in the same cycle again– just in case life didn’t pan out the way we intended. But now we’re not in this alone anymore. We’ve been given the amazing gift of a gestational carrier who is ready to help us start our family. Her life has not been affected by infertility and the struggles of IVF, but she’s willing to go through it with us anyway. Getting to know her and talking about what the future might hold for all of us has made everything we’ve been through over the last several months feel real for the first time.With this important piece of our puzzle in place, I am starting to wonder if having a family might actually be possible after all. Suddenly I can feel hope starting to take hold inside of me again. I’ve even found myself wishing that we could skip ahead during the tedious parts of the process and get to our first IVF cycle. Being patient as we continue to put the other pieces in place has become increasingly difficult, but we still have a long way to go. The time during this in-between phase will be used to deal with mostly legal issues: writing and finalizing a contract agreement with our carrier, as well as putting together a will that covers surrogate pregnancy. In addition, our carrier and her husband will travel to our fertility clinic in order to be screened and approved for IVF, which is when we will finally be able to meet them in person.
I’m still terrified of failure. I know that if it doesn’t work out this time, we will fall harder than we ever have before. But even though I want to protect myself from that possibility, I don’t want to look back on this time and regret that we didn’t try harder to have the thing we want most in life.