Their Bun. My Oven:
On Explaining Surrogacy to My Son, Loss, and Starting Over
TW: mentions of miscarriage
The thing about surrogacy is that it’s not just you and the intended parents going through the process, it’s your family too. I am at the beginning of my third surrogacy journey but my beautiful boy was just 2 years old when I became pregnant with my first surrobabe.
Before I even started IVF I sat down with my son and told him that I was going to grow a baby for a couple that wasn’t able to themselves. I told him that I was going to keep the baby safe and healthy until it pops out and I can give it to its parents. Thankfully, I had intended parents that wanted a relationship so I was able to show him photos of them so he got to know them as I did. I can remember coming home after the embryo transfer and showing him photos of the embryo and the ultrasounds too. He was awestruck. He would constantly ask “ Is there a baby in there?” Anytime I had an ultrasound I would come home so excited to show him how much the baby had grown. For a long time, he thought it was a ghost because of how the baby glowed on the ultrasound photos. The further along I was in the pregnancy the more interested my son became. He always wanted to rub my belly and put his ear to it. His favorite thing was feeling the baby kick. They were quite the pair, but I always made sure he knew that he was my one and only baby.
After a successful delivery, I was able to Facetime with him and introduce him to the sweet little baby he had become such good friends with. The joy on his face is definitely a core memory of mine that I will cherish forever. Now that baby has started walking and has already celebrated her first birthday. My son still asks from time to time to see his friend and it brings us such happiness to look at her photos and videos. I hope one day they can meet.
Just a few months ago my second surrogacy journey started. My son who had just turned 4 years old would see me prepare my progesterone injections and take my pills. I could tell that there would be a lot more questions this time around. I explained to him that this medicine keeps the baby in my belly and helps it to grow. This time around the syringes weren’t so scary to him. He would even hear my alarm and tell me “mama it’s time to take your pill for the baby”. He knew these were my tools and they were part of the second most important job I’ve ever had (the first being a mom to him). However, even with all of the medicine and “mama’s special tools” — I had a miscarriage.
Beyond heartbreaking. It was the worst experience I’ve ever had in my life. It was so hard being home with my son, still having to be in mom mode knowing the little life inside of me was fading away. The pain was not only physical, it was emotional too. I knew I had to tell my son something. I told him that the baby just didn’t make it and even though he was confused he could see the tears in my eyes, so he left it at that. I was so thankful that he didn’t have any more questions during that time as I was still reeling from the loss. Miscarriages happen so often but you never think it will happen to you. I worked at an Obgyn office for almost 5 years, so I knew that miscarriages were both common and at times seemed to happen for no reason. Even with all that knowledge, however, my mind couldn’t help but think that my body had failed me. But through the pain, I realized the love I received from those around me. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful support system of family and friends. My first intended mother even checked on me periodically and shared her own experiences and feelings when she went through her own miscarriages. I hope in the future I can help someone else get through such a devastating time as she helped me through mine.
Soon I will be starting my IVF meds again and I will look to my son, his curious face and his kind heart, and answer all the questions his heart desires. I know this time he will be able to learn so much. When he gets older I want him to look back and see that surrogacy is such a blessing, even through loss, uncertainty, and through the ups and downs. I help to grow families and I love every minute of it. It’s my calling.
Their bun. My oven.