I started off by giving a little bit of background about what brought me to surrogacy in the first place and why after 6 years I was going to do it again. The IP's have a 10 year old son, who just like our son is in the 5th grade. So unlike many couples looking for a surrogate they have 'been there, done that' and have survived so far. One of the things that they really enjoyed in the paperwork I submitted was that I acknowledged the fact that having a baby isn't always FUN. There will be snotty noses to wipe, tummy aches and cries for Mommy and Daddy in the middle of the night but if they were willing to do that, then I was willing to go through morning sickness, heartburn, insomnia etc. IM really appreciated that honesty - being parent isn't always about the fun little bunny feeties, the wonderful scent of a freshly washed baby and cute gurgling noises. Being a parent is hard work! ....and they still want to do it again! Can you blame them?
After I had to discuss my last 5 pregnancies and births and talking about any complications that came up during the pregnancy or delivery (none). My summary - the first three were all born in a hospital with pitocin and absolutely NO pain meds, longest was 4 hours start to finish (1 & 3) and the shortest birth was 45 minutes (#2). The last two were born at home with a midwife in a planned waterbirth - both born within 7 hours of their due dates and everything natural.
Mark was asked to give HIS version of my births - 'Heather says everything was nice and easy, why don't you give us your version.' I was very impressed with his openness to talk about my births. He started off talking about the first birth he ever witnessed 'live' which was for surro #2 while we were still dating. Then talked about how quickly our youngest son was born at home. He said something to the effect of - I was actually very surprised and how easy it is for her to delivery - she does a wonderful job. I know that watching me give birth to surro #2 was the reason he was so on board with *us* having a homebirth for our children - it was just so easy.
The IM described why they decided to come to the US to pursue surrogacy (it is illegal in Germany) and how they decided to use Growing Generations. They have shared their plan of surrogacy to have another baby with very close friends and family members, but like anyone struggling with fertility you don't want to announce it to the world. Then everyone would be asking you questions all the time and making the 'waiting' that much harder and longer.
Now comes the nitty-gritty part of the conversation where our case manager starts quoting legal things and we have to be specific in our answers because it will be the beginning of our contract should we choose to move forward.
Contact. Contact during the meds. Contact during the pregnancy. Contact after the baby is born.
I know that can't have the relationship that I had with my boys for the first and second journey. I know that all couples/families are going to be different. Yet I also know that I don't want to be a 'rented uterus' and tossed to the side when their child is delivered. I also don't want them to continue a relationship that they don't want to be in. I want them to want to have a relationship with me. I want to have updates on the baby for myself and also for my children. They will be going through this with me - watching my belly grow, rubbing it, talking to it and playing with it. I want them to know that the baby just didn't disappear. On my bedroom wall is a family photo of the first family I carried for. Even my 2 year old knows them. Knows who they are. We talk about them, we have visited them, we look at pictures of them. They are a part of our lives, and they always will be.
So yes, contact after the birth is important for me. Contact while we are getting started is imperative to getting a trusting relationship working right off the bat. They need to trust me, but what a HUGE thing to ask of someone that is so far away. I would look forward to growing and bonding during that 'waiting' phase. While I am pregnant I would hope that they WANT to know what is going on with their baby. This time around I am working with a mom who has already carried and given birth to one child. She knows what it feels like to get that positive pregnancy test. She knows what it is like to feel the first flutters of the baby she is carrying. She knows what it is like to hold a newborn baby in her arms...... yet she is putting her trust in ME this time to share with her all the important milestones. What a blessing she is giving to me to share this special time with her and her family!
When the IP's were asked to respond with what they envisioned for our future relationship contact after birth - the IF who has been quiet up to this point (mostly because the IM is better at speaking English) - said something to the fact of: "That is exactly what we are looking for." IM followed it up with saying how she can't believe that anyone could just say 'thank you for the baby, goodbye'. She hopes that we can be like a second family and get our families together. AMEN!!! Seriously?!?! This is great.........
We had to discuss a few more questions about prenatal testing, would I be willing to undergo a c-section (if medically necessary), how many babies I would be willing to carry, under what circumstances I would consider reducing and how I felt about therapeutic abortion. I think we are all on the same page - we don't want to transfer more than two embryos and we both want to avoid any type of reduction. *sigh* This match is looking very positive.
We did have one extra question - Tilor wanted to know if their 10 year old son, in the 5th grade spoke English. If we ever got to meet, Tilor really wanted to be able to play with him and talk. The answer was Yes - he has been learning English since Kindergarten and can spell better than his parents. :) Tilor is thrilled!!
After we got off the phone I asked Mark: "Well?" His response (typical male) - "Well what?"
He made the comment about "I told you that you shouldn't go out looking for the close type of relationship like what you have with your first family, but it actually looks like that is what they want - and that is great!" He was very happy that we were all on the same page about how many babies we would be willing to carry and all the things that go with that.... so he said he was in.
I got called away 10 minutes later to go officiate a wedding (dirty jeans and a t-shirt, but hey, they didn't care!) so when I got home I sent the agency an email letting them know we didn't need until Monday to make our decision. Mark and I were 'IN'!