I’ll never forget my girlfriend telling me, she wanted to find a couple that couldn’t have a child, and carry one for them. She wanted my support, but I was instantly opposed to the idea, and couldn’t imagine watching my woman have a baby for someone else. I didn’t want her taking on the burdens and responsibilities of pregnancy… for complete strangers.
I was concerned about disrupting our lives, injecting new stress into the relationship, and exposing our children to the confusion of surrogate pregnancy. I expressed myself, and told her I didn’t want her to do it. Ultimately, however, I would stand by whatever decision she made. If it was that important to her, I promised to support her from beginning to end.
Hailey read heartbreaking tales online about women, desperate to fulfill their destinies as mothers, but unable for a variety of reasons. It touched her on an emotional level that I, as a man, couldn’t fathom. Her sincerity and sympathy warmed my heart, and I fell in love with her a little more.
The process, grueling and intense, involved a plethora of screening devices designed to gauge everything from your mental and physical health to the roots of your family tree. Both of us… poked, prodded, interviewed, and analyzed.
We gave blood and urine to impatient nurses, and described inkblots to attentive psychologists. We took tests, checked boxes, and signed our names a thousand times. We even filled out documents, verifying we never shared intravenous needles, tortured woodland creatures, started fires, or had intercourse for financial gain.
It was already an exhausting experience, and we were just getting started. The arduous series of events spanned months, and involved multiple trips from Providence to Boston. There were awkward get-to-know-you lunches with the eager couple and, of course, mandatory group counseling for the four of us to participate in.
Hailey had to withstand and consume painful nightly injections in the stomach and a menu of bad-tasting vitamins and supplements. With great discipline, she manipulated her hormones into an environment conducive to pregnancy. Her resolve never wavered, and I began feeling like, I was part of something special.
I was fascinated and impressed by her. I was in awe and in love, as my eyes and heart opened to a perfect mixture of generosity, courage, and strength. I was still apprehensive about my seeing my woman have a baby for complete strangers, but I remained diligent in my support.
The surrogate pregnancy proved to be far more difficult than her natural pregnancies. For the first three months, she couldn’t be on her feet for more than a couple minutes. Perpetual exhaustion made her sleep twenty hours every day, and when she was awake… she was sick. I did what I could to make her comfortable, while she continued to amaze me with her unbreakable spirit.
No complaints emanated from her often-dry lips. There was no second-guessing her decision to sacrifice her body for the better part of a year. She soldiered on admirably in her effort to enrich the lives of these fortunate parents-to-be. In spite of everything, when she was awake, she had a smile on her beautiful face.
It was better during the second trimester, and Hailey was able to function on a limited basis, but this was short-lived. The lethargy came back with a vengeance, more debilitating than before, leading to prescribed bed-rest for the last several weeks.
Of course, the harsh pregnancy was just prelude to the excruciating pain of delivering the baby. The pain, in this unique experience, entwined with the emotional perplexities of forfeiting the life she nurtured for so long. Somehow, Hailey survived it all with grace, and introduced a healthy baby girl to the world. At that moment, my pride exceeded the capacity of all known words.
The day after her release, my hero’s blood pressure and heart rate escalated to frightening proportions. Dizzy and overheating, her vision was a kaleidoscope of blurry colors… she thought she was dying. Scared beyond panic, she managed to dial 911. Within crucial minutes, screaming sirens and flashing lights rushed her to the emergency room.
They admitted her immediately, and when I arrived with our five-year old son, it was obvious she was in danger. There was quiet intensity in the air, as doctors and nurses kept a vigilant, concerned, and constant eye on her vital signs. Icy horror rushed my veins. I felt dizzy and sick, thinking… I’m going to lose my love.
It was postpartum preeclampsia, a medical emergency that can prove fatal if not treated properly and immediately . It was a nightmare for both of us. Hailey, needle-fed magnesium through a steady drip, wondered if she was going to live. She cried… imagining her own children growing up without their mommy. Her heart broke for them, and she wondered if she’d been selfish in her generosity.
I spent my days consoling her, and telling her everything was going to be fine, even though I wasn’t so sure. When it was time to leave at night, I’d linger, stubbornly. I caressed her hair and offered gentle kisses. I held her hand and told us both, that nothing bad was going to happen. Our fingers would slip slowly apart and I’d back out of the room, hoping to make it to my car before the tears came.
After five anxious nights of dread, the treatments were successful. Hailey regained her health steadily, and returned home to ecstatic children and a relieved partner. I helped my woman have a baby for someone else. This intense experience whipped us from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other, from inspiration and profound beauty to fear and potential regret.
We suffered this ordeal because my girlfriend is a special woman. Hailey knows what a special gift it is to be a parent, and she sympathizes with those who desperately want that magic in their life, but can’t realize the dream without help. She acted on her feelings and followed through with the most selfless display of sacrifice, conviction, and bravery I’ve ever witnessed.
I admire her. She’s a wonderful mother, an amazing woman, and an impressive human being. She followed her heart and brought a healthy baby into the world. A loving family is complete because of her… a gift few people have the capacity to give. Hailey and countless surrogate mothers like her are pillars of strength, beacons of inspiration, and harbingers of good will.
We’re both proud, but we acknowledge she could have died for her cause, and we agree this was a one-time experience for us. To see a woman have a baby through surrogate pregnancy is an awe-inspiring experience, but there is danger to consider as well. With that being said… if you, or your partner, are considering involvement in surrogate pregnancy, you should both take time to understand, not only the beauty, but the risk involved as well.