I have often wondered about surrogacy and how that whole process works! How do you not have a crazy bond with the baby after carrying it for nine months? How does family react when you share the news of your “not-so-yours” pregnancy news? Well, I recently had the privilege of interviewing an amazing woman about her experience as a surrogate and I got all of my questions answered! Enjoy!
Interview with Kate Ward Turck | guest writer for The Snap Mom
1. What made you want to be a surrogate?
Even before having my own child, Dane, who is now 5 yrs old, I’d always thought I would be good at being pregnant. I have those great child bearing hips. My pregnancy with Dane was very easy, and I had a good delivery experience, which confirmed my previous feelings that this was something I could do. I didn’t necessarily want to have more of my own babies right away, but it made perfect sense to do the pregnancy part for someone else who couldn’t do it themselves. I looked into several surrogacy agencies, but I was told I wasn’t a good candidate because I only have one kidney, something my doctors assured me would present no issues in a pregnancy. After that I had put the idea on the shelf since it seemed like it had come to a dead end. Then I got a message from Lianne one day asking if I would consider being a surrogate for them. They weren’t fazed by my mono-kidney status apparently, ha! I was beyond thrilled to think that it was something I might actually get to do and was floored that they would entrust me with such an honor.
2. What was the best thing about it for you?
Hands down, the best thing was seeing Lianne and Kurt holding Eliza for the first time and knowing that she was finally ‘home’. The anticipation leading up to the delivery was fun, and we definitely enjoyed all of the speculation about when it might happen and how. There was nothing that could compare to that moment in the hospital when Lianne and Kurt saw Eliza for the first time. It was absolutely amazing.
3. What did your friends and family say?
There were mixed reviews on what I was doing. Overall, I felt very supported, but I think there was some concern for my own wellbeing that tempered the enthusiasm of a few individuals. To be honest, it was harder for my husband than I think he anticipated it being. Right after the embryo transfer, it hit him hardest. The fact that his wife was pregnant with someone else’s baby was a little (OK, a lot) weird for him. As the pregnancy progressed, the normal things a husband would do to help out his pregnant wife weren’t really things he was just jumping at the chance to do. But 9 months is a relatively short period of time, and it helped him to know there was an “end” in sight.
4.What was the hardest part?
The hardest part was waiting and waiting and WAITING after the embryo transfer to see if it had actually worked. There were a few weeks before we could do blood tests, then another couple weeks before ultrasound confirmation. And let me tell you, that is a LOOOONGGGG time to wait. It was especially hard because the day before the first ultrasound was scheduled, I had some spotting. The spotting turned into bleeding. By the end of the day, the bleeding had turned into heavy bleeding. When it first started, I struggled with whether or not to call and tell Kurt and Lianne anything yet. I’ve had miscarriages; it’s awful when the bleeding starts. You just have this sinking feeling in your heart because you know what’s happening. It’s even more awful when it’s not your baby, and you know you need to tell the parents. I called Lianne and tried to be as positive as I could; then I continued to update her, as things seemed to get worse and worse. It was horrible. I wanted so badly to have good news for her, but there was none to give. Amazingly enough, however, the next day we saw a heartbeat in the ultrasound. I hadn’t miscarried; the bleeding was caused by a subchorionic hemorrhage, which healed before it became a danger to Eliza. Going through that with Lianne and Kurt made me truly realize the level of communication, trust, and openness that this process required. In theory, I had already known this, but that particular experience made it so very real.
5. Do you still feel connected to your surrogate baby?
Yes and no. Thanks to Lianne, I see pictures and videos of her all the time, which I absolutely LOVE. However I haven’t seen her in person since a week after delivering her. I live in SC; they live in NY, so I will never have that sort of closeness that comes with proximity. I know how my son was. As a baby, he did not appreciate being held by strangers. Even now, he’s pretty selective about who he feels comfortable being with. Just because I carried her for 9 months, I don’t expect her to be any different with me than she would be with any other ‘stranger’. In a way, it makes me sad. I wish we lived closer and could visit more often, so she would be more familiar with me. At the same time, I treasure even more the time I did have with her and am grateful to at least be able to see her growing from a distance. She will ALWAYS have a very special place in my heart, and I cannot wait to see what life holds for her.
click here to read her birth story
6. What advice would you have for the woman reading this who is considering surrogacy?
From a practical standpoint, there are several things to consider. A long-distance surrogacy, as we discovered, presents quite a few logistical issues. The parents are not able to come to appointments or help with random things during the pregnancy, such as deciding where to deliver the baby, etc. Living at least somewhat close to the parents would be ideal. You need to be totally comfortable with whomever you are a surrogate for. You need to be able to tell them anything and also be comfortable asking for help or anything else you need throughout the process. That last part was hard for me! From a legal standpoint, different states have different laws regarding surrogacy. For example, NY requires the parents to legally adopt their baby, and the state heavily favors the surrogate if she decides she wants to keep the baby. Good stuff to know before you are too far in to the process. And last, but certainly not least, if you are married, make sure your husband REALLY thinks through the whole process before making any commitments. I realize this is asking a lot, but it’s worth the time and effort it will take on his part. Practicality aside, being a surrogate was hands down one of the most incredible things I have ever been a part of. I gained so much more than I gave from doing it. I am blessed that this desire of my heart not only came to pass but also unfolded in a way that was better than anything I could have imagined.