A couple weeks ago, before the craziness of Christmas and New Year’s, we were able to finally meet our carrier (whom I will now refer to as Elle*) and her husband. The experience wasn’t something I was ready to write about on the blog right away; I wanted to keep it to myself for a little while before sharing it openly, which is why it has taken me so long to update. Now it almost seems a world away as the process keep marching on and we approach new tests, new decisions, and new steps.
The entire experience was an emotional one. We ended up back at home that night, exhausted and ready to sleep by the time we returned around dinnertime. Just 24 hours prior, Elle and her husband had flown in to a nearby city and spent the night in a hotel outside the fertility clinic. That night, after Kyle got home late from youth group, we set off for our friends’ place (located closer to the clinic) in order to cut down on our drive the next day. Kyle handled the event as he usually handles nerve-wracking situations: steady and calm all while seemingly unaffected, but I felt sick with nerves as I laid awake beside him that night. The morning came too quickly and, after thanking our friends for breakfast and a place to stay, we started off on the remaining 45-minutes of the trip.
When we finally got to meet Elle in person I could tell she was feeling a little nervous, but meeting in a clinical setting had a way of amplifying the abnormality of the situation. She gave us both an easy hug before we all sat down to answer the social worker’s questions. As Kyle and I listened while Elle explained her motivation for becoming a gestational carrier, tears flooded my eyes. The truth is that I am not just grateful to her, I am in awe of her. Whether or not we end this process with a child, she has already given us an amazing gift. I hope there is never a day when I am not overwhelmed by her sacrifice and generosity; it is not something I ever want to take for granted.
Following our session, Elle and her husband were whisked away for several tests as part of the necessary medical screening. Since we had already completed our extensive testing, we had the easy part of waiting for them and decided to pass some of the time at a nearby Starbucks. By the time we met up again it was after lunch, so we set off for The Cheesecake Factory and shared a booth tucked in the back of the restaurant for our first chance to talk outside of the clinical setting. Even though we’d only met earlier that morning, it felt like we were out to lunch with friends, and I briefly wondered what the diners around us would have thought if they’d known our unusual situation. Conversation flowed easily throughout the meal and, as Elle and I snapped a quick picture (which I will not be posting here for now) before they left to catch their flight, I wished we had been able to spend more time together.
In the midst of all the horrible things we’ve experienced through infertility and being unable to carry a child ourselves, having someone who is willing to do this for us has been a bright light in our darkest time. It is an amazing feeling that those who have never been through these circumstances will not have or understand. It doesn’t take away the grief, the difficulties, or the shame I feel in infertility, but it is like a balm to my heartache. It keeps me able to continue fighting. Getting to know Elle and her husband (who perhaps also needs a name for the blog) has changed this process for us. I feel like we are now facing the future with friends.
*Name has been changed for privacy reasons