“Amanda, Phillip and I want to have a child. Will you please be our surrogate?”
This was not the question I was expecting from my little brother when he called me, and I felt flustered and a little honored that they would ask me to help them bring life into the world. I wanted to be an aunt, and since I only had him as a sibling, I was doubly honored. He went on to tell me that since he was a type A bloodtype and Phillip, his partner, was a type B, there was no other person they could ask to be a surrogate; especially since I am AB.
My husband at the time didn’t like the idea that I would carry another man’s child, even if it was my adoptive brother and his partner. He refused to support me in this, as well as his family and the others in my own family. Both sides pressured the three of us until my brother nearly broke off and took away his request. However, by this time I was committed and I refused to let either one of them back away. I wanted them to have a child and knew they couldn’t afford to hire someone to be their surrogate. They had just enough for an egg donor and to pay for the IVF treatment. My medical bills would be taken care of by their insurance company so everything was taken care of.
Since I had already had a child naturally, the doctors told me that IVF should work with no problems. Sure enough, with the first treatment I was pregnant.
I remember the joy on their faces when they saw the positive pregnancy test. Both of them hugging each other tearfully and then joining me in the group hug. I remember feeling a mixture of elation and dread. Dread because I knew that now that I have done this there was no going back and I would not have the support of my husband and family behind me. But that was soon dismissed as my brother and his partner became my only other family besides my child.
The pregnancy progressed naturally. I grew huge and the feel of my niece or nephew moving around made me curious and a little awed. I was participating in something that I would never have had the opportunity to participate in if I had denied helping the only sibling I have ever had. Yet, as I drew closer to my due date I began to feel alone.
That feeling drove me to seek out others, like me, who have been surrogates. I found a wonderful website that had mothers from all over, and found a group of surrogate mothers who lived close to me. It was wonderful to be able to leave the house with my young child and meet these mothers, many of whom had been surrogates before and many who were like me and new to being surrogates. Those women created a new purpose in my life and I was even more driven to see this life brought to completion and a family created with my help.
When the baby was born, there were some complications. I could not dilate enough to be allowed to go into labor, even with medication, and the baby’s heart rate kept dropping with each contraction. I had to go into the operating room and have a C-section. The doctors originally stated that only one could go into the room with me, the hospital’s regulations being that only important people could be in the room with the birthing mother. However, I insisted on both my brother and his partner be in the room.
It finally took me threatening to go to a different hospital and risking giving birth on the trip if the baby’s parents couldn’t be in the room before the doctor’s finally allowed both men to join me. Phillip sat at my right, my brother sat at my left, both of them holding my hand and peeking around the curtain to see the proceedure. After what seemed like forever, a small cry filled the room and Phillip started crying. My brother laid his forehead on mine and thanked me repeatedly for making him a father. The nurses had Phillip, the more calm of the two, go to the cleaning station.
He came back and let my brother go to their child. I learned that they had a little boy and that everything was there. Phillip caressed my forehead and pushed my hair out of the way and a feeling of completeness overcame me until I started crying as well. While the doctors did what they had to do, Phillip and I just stayed where we were, sharing tears of joy.
I remember the nurses sitting me up a little bit and placing my nephew in my arms. My brother and Phillip rushed off, saying they had a surprise for me in my room, and I was wheeled in to the room with my nephew in my arms. Once inside the room a huge “Thank You” sign was streamed from one wall to another and several balloons and flowers decorated the room.
My nephew is now seven years old, and while there has not been a chance for me to give him a sibling, if my brother or brother-in-law were to ask me to help them again, I would do it with no qualms. Helping them become a family was the most life-affirming act I have ever done. And it is so sweet to have little Adam tell people, “My aunt loved me so much that instead of having a stranger bring me into the world, she volunteered herself.”