To be perfectly honest, this all began because of my carpet. My disgusting, stained, ugly, beige who-the-hell-puts-carpet-in-the-dining-room-anyway carpet. I have two very active (read: ill-behaved) young children who spill—a lot. But replacing the carpet with something better suited to our dining room has always been out of our reach. One evening, the hubs and I were lamenting about the carpet while watching TV. The New Normal, a sitcom about a gay couple using a surrogate to have a baby, was on. I jokingly said something like, “I’m pretty good at having babies. I could totally do that! Then we could replace the damn carpet.” I don’t remember where the conversation went from there, but as the days and weeks passed, I just couldn’t get the idea of becoming a surrogate out of my head.
In the months since I’ve begun this journey, it has become about so much more than carpet. I absolutely adore the daddies I got matched with, and every day I become more and more invested in making this happen for them.
But more about them in future posts. I thought I’d kick off this blog with a quick recap of the process so far, up until being matched.
I signed up with CSP (Center for Surrogate Parenting) about 6 months ago, 8 months after that night we were watching The New Normal. I was still breastfeeding my son at that point, so I expected them to reject me outright. I sent in preliminary applications to two agencies. One agency did reject me because I was still nursing, but CSP emailed me back right away, wanting me to fill out their complete application.
I did, spending far more time than was probably necessary, making sure I didn’t say anything that might get me rejected. In retrospect, I don’t know what I thought might make them reject me, but it was similar to how carefully I always answer the questions on the pediatrician’s intake form at the kids’ well-child visits. (You know the ones: Do you limit your child’s screen time. Uh, of course! (Not allowing them to use the iPad until they finish getting dressed for school is limiting use, right??) Does your child drink more than 6oz of juice per day? Um, of course not! (Because most of it ends up on my gross carpet.) And the trick questions: Do you use time outs to discipline your child? Yes. I mean no. I mean only occasionally for really bad offenses. What do you want me to say?? What’s the right answer?! …But I digress…)
There were also more personal questions like why I want to be a surrogate, how I would feel if the intended parents wanted to abort or reduce a multiple pregnancy, how I think I will feel when I have to hand the baby over to his or her parents, and so forth. My answers were straightforward and honest: I loved being pregnant but don’t want any more kids. I want to help a gay couple or a couple struggling with infertility grow their family. Less altruistically, I want to put some money in our empty savings account and in the kids’ puny college funds. I am perfectly clear on and completely comfortable with the fact that this baby is not mine, and that the parents should make all of the important decisions, unless, of course, my life is at immediate risk. I imagine the birth and release of the child to the parents will be emotional, but I honestly cannot wait to see the looks on the parents faces when they hold their baby for the first time. And the thought that I will have been a big part of making that happen makes me immeasurably proud and happy.
My application was accepted, and I began the long screening process the next week. CSP needed all sorts of documents and test results—DMV and criminal records, pap results, pregnancy and birth records, blood panels, insurance info, psych evaluations—the list went on and on. About a month and a half later, my file was complete. I could not move forward, however, because I was still nursing Solly. He wasn’t ready, I wasn’t ready, and I had to put our needs first. So I put my file on hold.
And then it went to the backburner. I thought about it a lot, but Solly remained firmly attached to my boobs, and the surrogacy became this theoretical thing maybe happening sometime in the future. Until one sunny April afternoon…