One year. As of yesterday, it has been one full year since we took the first step in this surrogacy process. Back then I was terrified to make the initial phone call knowing that once we started the journey it would never be the same.
Not long before I made that call, I believed we had already reached the end. We had pursued several different avenues that included treatments to help my body carry a child, surgery, other possible surrogacy options, and both domestic and international adoption. Every approach we tried or looked into came back with a resounding “no” for one reason or another, and I started to believe we would never get to fulfill our dream of becoming parents. But as much as I tried to accept that, it didn’t feel right. I knew that we were meant to keep pushing, but I didn’t know how. It seemed utterly hopeless.
That’s when a new door opened. The only problem was that it wasn’t a door I wanted to walk through. I was absolutely terrified by the thought of contacting a surrogate agency and having someone we didn’t know carry our child. What if they tried to claim the child as their own? Surrogacy laws are still so behind that this can and does happen. What if they wanted to abort our child? They would be within their legal right to do so and we would have no say. How could we ever come to trust someone that much? How much were we willing to risk? How much could we sacrifice?
In order to have the child we wanted more than anything else, we were being asked to take a huge leap of faith. I didn’t want to do it.
But, after exhausting all other options… we decided to jump.
A year ago today my life was entirely different. I was a different person then. I had never before received criticism for doing fertility treatments. I had never before experienced such an intense fear of failing at something. We had not yet met Elle. I had never injected myself in the stomach. I had never seen an embryo created from my own DNA. I had never been called a mother-to-be. And I had never heard the sound of my child’s heart beating or fallen in love with a tiny image on an ultrasound screen.
I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about everything we’ve been through over the last twelve long months of this surrogacy process. A year ago when we started this part of our journey we could only hope for the best even though what we were doing felt crazy and impossible. Nearly every single day since then has been spent working toward a goal that was never guaranteed. I’ve lost track of all the blood draws, the invasive tests, the bills, the legal contracts, the tears, and the appointments. Getting through this time has been the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do, but now I can look back and know that we are stronger than we thought.
Here are some of the biggest highs & lows of this past year with links to the corresponding blog posts:
Day 1 (June 30): Called the fertility clinic to make an appointment
Day 24 (July 23): Met the fertility doctor and began our medical screening
Day 71 (September 8): Cleared to begin searching for a surrogate agency and gestational carrier
Day 120 (October 27): First meeting with the surrogate agency we chose
Day 141 (November 17): Officially matched with Elle!
Day 169 (December 15): Met Elle and her husband in-person for the first time and began the process of her medical screening
Day 201 (January 16): Achieved both legal and medical approval to move forward with our cycle
Day 236 (February 20): Officially began our IVF cycle
Day 250 (March 6): 27 eggs collected became 17 embryos
Day 255 (March 11): Lost 15 of our embryos, transferred one and froze one
Day 268 (March 24): Negative transfer results
Day 313 (May 8): Transferred our only frozen embryo
Day 325 (May 20): Positive transfer results!
Day 340 (June 4): Our first ultrasound: saw the baby and heard the heartbeat for the first time.
The first step was one of the hardest, but I am so grateful that we decided to take that leap of faith.