Saturday, February 4, 2012

I'M the Mom! why the heck don't I feel like it?

It never fails.

And I mean never.

Less than 48 hours after I go out on a limb and make a "partial"baby announcement at work, I receive a 5:45 a.m. email. From my clinic.

Now I should explain that communications from our clinic come in 3 forms:

1. The email with the subject line "USG Report." This is a wonderful email. It means all is well, pictures of the babies are enclosed and that there are no significant problems to note.

2. The email with the subject line "Mxxxx- admission." This one means your surrogate is in the hospital. It makes your heart stop. After which you throw up. After which you curse yourself for not checking your email earlier-- seriously, when did I decide that it was ok to stop the 3 a.m. message checks?

3. The phone call. Nobody wants the phone call. Ever.

So I wake up Friday to an email of the second variety. Crap. 

Though there are more, the only words I can see are "abscess" "surgical procedure" and "anesthetics."

I frantically email the clinic for more information. I call my parents house. (Note, you are never too old to call your parents at any time of day/night.) My dad, who cannot understand my hysterics and who is still half-asleep answers and tells me I have the wrong number. The hysterics go up a notch. I yell that I need to talk to my mom which causes sudden recognition of the hysterical voice-- likely a teenage years flashback.  I eventually get in touch with said mom who also happens to be one very knowledgeable nurse.

I realize that I don't even know what I should be asking my clinic. I don't know the first thing about anesthesia, I don't know the first thing about pregnancy and I haven't a clue whether the former is safe during the latter.

My first reaction is to google but the minute I see "could cause preterm labor" I decide it is simply better to just sit at my kitchen table and sob until I hear back from my clinic.

The clinic emails and I am told that "local" anesthesia was used-- note that this variety is safe during pregnancy-- and that our surrogate would be discharged the following day.

Good. Babies are safe. This should make me feel better, right?  

Wrong. Instead I feel rotten. Feelings of anger and  resentment, that I believe have been brewing over the past two weeks as I attempt to make the transition from "is this really happening" to "I think this might actually be happening" surface and I am just downright pissed.

I want to be there. I want to make decisions about whether my babies will be exposed to any type of anesthesia. I want to protect them. I WANT TO BE THE MOM! And I am so frustrated... because I sure as heck don't feel like one now...

Surrogacy is difficult on so many levels, but the utter lack of control is inarguably the hardest part. I am ready for May and for the arrival of these babies. I am ready to hold them and to have them by MY side. I am ready for the stress and the anxiety and the helplessness that accompany having a baby 7,000 miles away to slowly fade away.

Because I am truly ready, after all that we have been finally feel like THE MOM!


  1. It is such a hard thing being so far away. We are only at the very beginning and I keep thinking is this really happening??? It seems so far away it is hard to realize it is really happening at times. Thinking of you Kxxx

  2. you ARE THE MUM. All will be well IJN, believe and hold on.

  3. ohhh, i am so incredibly sorry you had such a scare, bernadette! i really can't imagine. you take it all with such grace and i really admire that. i can't wait for you to truly feel like the Mom! you've already shown us all that you ARE an amazingly strong beautiful Mama!

    hope the weekend brings you some peace!

  4. Oh, how hard that must be! I'm glad everything is okay with the babies & the surrogate. But I see how it can make you feel more like you are not really the mom. Soon your babies will be here, in the US, and then the fun will begin!

  5. Bernadette, As AWFUL as this is (and I don't want to minimize it, this is scary, terrifying, and not being in control of your own pregnancy sucks), I promise that from May onward, you will feel like your babies' mom. You'll get to the point that you go "oh, yeah, most people don't hire other women on the other side of the globe to carry their children," because life with them, once their born, is so very, very normal. Diapers, crying, bottles, etc. just have a way of sucking you in and never spitting you back out. I feel like my daughter's mother. And all those horrible months when other people made decisions about her safety seem very far away...even as I'm making plans to go through them again.

  6. It's very hard to be miles away and have a baby this way!!
    It is very much all by email and i do understand when you see usg report you get excited as you will see a picture of your baby... All of this is so worth it to be a mum!!
    I hope you have agood weekend,
    Thinking of you
    best wishes
    lisa x

  7. that is very scary, but thankfully all is ok. I like your breakdown of the three types of communication and we know that feeling of hope and dread with those emails from india
    three negs, try four in feb

  8. Your post mirrors my feelings Bernadette; two days ago I was ready to fly to India. The feelings of helplessness and wanting to be near my babies is overwhelming. Anger at not being in control; not knowing EXACTLY what is happening; of not understanding what IS happening when it does happen; not being able to ask questions AT THE TIME when it does happen; but most of all, not experiencing any of these happenings myself like a "normal" person.

    I'm still ready to fly to India. Perhaps I can move in with my surrogate mother.

  9. Sorry to hear about your scare. It is such an anxiety filled road having your babies not with you and unfortunately for us it starts with pregnancy. I don't think I started 'breathing' until we had them in our arms. Hold on they will be ok.

  10. Dear Bernadette

    What a truly testing, trying time. You hang on in there, very soon you will be holding your babies.


  11. Surrogacy is beautiful but your feelings are oh so valid! I'm hoping that some of that will go away once you hold your babies in your arms. Big big hugs.

  12. Hi Bernadette and Duane My first time on your blog. Can I say though after reading your blog and obviously the current difficulties with the surrogate's pregnancy, you are already the Mum! Those scary feelings and protective instincts have already kicked in. I wish you and your bubs a reasonable uneventful time over the next couple of months and a safe arrival. Take Care and I look forward to hearing the news xxx mel and fred

  13. What a dreadful experience you poor thing, I felt sick reading this post and SO relieved when I got to the part where everything is fine, THANK GOODNESS! Hurry up May!!!!!

  14. Thankfully everything is ok.
    I think control is one of the hardest things to give up during this process - but try to remain mindful that the Dr is doing everything within her power to make the right choices for you. Soon enough you'll be able to make your own decisions for them. Take care xxx

  15. Surrogacy taught me a LOT of things, and my key lesson was that I didn't become the mum until those babies were given to me. In the meanwhile, I came to the conclusion I was also the dad. I didn't carry them and I had no control with what was happening (our surrogate's husband somehow got that role - glad to see a lot has changed in the past three years). If you need to pop over and see what is happening, go. Seeing our two on scan when we were about 22 weeks pregnant was, and still is, one of the highlights of my life. There were feet EVERYWHERE - lol!!!!! You're working with the best medical team who are doing everything possible to create your miracle for you. Have faith. And be ready to be mommy for the next 60-70 years...


  16. Hi Bernadette,
    I hope you are feeling better today. The way I think of it you are definitely the mum already in one important aspect. I think of a mum as someone who will do anything for her children, and YOU are that person, nobody else will do anything for them and their health and happiness so you are already 'mum'. But I also see what Lisa's saying as perhaps its better to think you can't have the driving seat which is normally associated with being 'mum' until the babies are in your arms. I think in this sense surrogacy is tough as it is contradicting 'normal' or 'common' emotions and roles, but it will be ok.
    Love and hugs,
    AB x

  17. Glad to hear all is ok. And like Lisa said, you are working with the best team in India, and no chances will be taken, your babies are priority #1!

  18. Hang in there Bernadette! You're getting so close! How did the partial baby announcement go over???

  19. Its not an easy journey forsure. Once those babes are in your arms it makes all the bad stuff simply melt away. Have faith you are almost there. :)

  20. The lack of control is indeed one of THE most challenging parts of this journey. In the end, it teaches you a lot about yourself and the strength you have as an individual. You're going to need to rely on all that strength once those babies come cause India is a cakewalk compared to being mommy! But you will enjoy every last moment of it...even the challenging times when you're tempted to auction them off on ebay.

    Mike A.