During our very first conversation with Elle, before we had even agreed to be matched, she wanted to know how involved we would like to be throughout the pregnancy. The knowledge that this one conversation could lead to either the opportunity of having a child or yet another dead end left me terrified to say the wrong thing, but, ever the one to make jokes, Kyle immediately replied that we were planning to move in with them. Now, close to a year and a half later, we have essentially ended up doing just that.
It has been almost two weeks since I carefully packed up Sweet Pea’s clothing in his own little travel bag while Kyle loaded down the car with everything we’d need to get through a road trip. It was completely surreal to be taking the steps we had planned out long before my first injection, and I was finally feeling the first sparks of excitement that I had waited so long to feel.
By this point I was sure we would be back on the road and heading home to our brand new lives. And yet, Sweet Pea’s bag has remained all packed up. Yes, there was a chance we’d get stuck waiting for him to arrive, but because Elle had always given birth so early, it wasn’t much more than a passing concern. I had mentally prepared myself to get through to early or maybe mid-January without Sweet Pea in my arms… but those days have already passed us by, and we are still waiting with no end in sight.
It’s tough. Much harder than I ever could have imagined it would be. And as we wake up each morning not knowing whether we are two days from meeting him or ten, the relief I felt upon making it here in time for the birth has started to evaporate. In its place is an ever-increasing pressure.
For one, it is getting harder to be away from home. I miss Orion and being in my own bed. I feel terrible for imposing on Elle and her family after they have been gracious enough to open their home to us while we are here. In addition, my mom has also been staying in a hotel by the hospital for over a week now, and I feel horribly guilty that we have all been here for so long. Unfortunately, even after Sweet Pea arrives we’ll still be about a week away from walking through our door.
We are also on bit of a deadline: Kyle’s grad classes start up again for the new semester in a matter of days. Unless Sweet Pea is born now, Kyle will miss more for each day we’re here. This has been very hard for me to accept. If things had gone to plan, we would have had a couple of quiet days at home together– just the three of us for the very first time since hearing our embryo transfer was successful. Now as soon as we get back, he will be thrown into playing catch up for his full-time class schedule and two jobs. Kyle has already confessed that he is afraid of missing out on the baby’s early life while he is completing his degree program, and as this is likely to be the only child we are ever able to have, it breaks my heart to know that he has already lost those few special days we’ve been counting on. To add to the stress, we have no income throughout the weeks we’ll spend here since Kyle no longer has paid time off. We were prepared to go 2-3 weeks without, but it’s going to get a lot more difficult.
Yet, all of that pales in comparison to being without Sweet Pea. I think part of me has always waited for the moment when he was finally, finally placed in my arms to believe that this isn’t just “too good to be true.” Not being able to carry him myself has placed a barrier between us, and I am ready to be with my baby. I want to be able to bond with him; I want to get to know his little quirks and habits for myself instead of hearing them secondhand. I am ready to really feel like he is mine. I am ready to go from being an ‘expectant mother via surrogacy’ to just a mom. Just a mom, like everyone else. I’m ready to stop being defined by the surrogacy. It’s not something I expect everyone to understand. In fact, maybe it’s not something you can understand unless you’ve lived it.
So unless you know what it’s like to find out at 12-years-old that you may never have children; unless you’ve spent 16 years fighting through treatments and surgeries and excruciating pain; unless you’ve had to look your husband in the eye and know that the only reason he is not a father is because you aren’t able to give him a child; unless you have had to sacrifice being pregnant even after spending more than half of your life trying to preserve your fertility; unless you have felt the bittersweet pain of watching another woman nurture and care for your baby for 9 months while your body remained empty and useless… please don’t judge me. Please don’t tell me you get it. Please don’t tell me that it will happen, that I need to just be a little more patient, that I need to hold on just a little longer. I have experienced so much loss, so much pain, so much disappointment, so much fear, so much stress… and still I’ve kept fighting through it all.
I am ready to stop fighting now. I am ready for it to be my turn.