My apologies for the significant delay between posts! I’ve had a draft in the works for a while now (ever since our last visit to Queensland), but it seems to have been gobbled up in the ether 🙁
A lot has happened since my last update! In fact, so much so that we’ve reached a significant milestone – we’ve finished all of our red tape! Crazy amazing!! I can’t believe we’re finally here, at a point where we could transfer any time (well, you know, subject to the usual IVF stars aligning :)). Eeeeeeeep! I still can’t believe it!
Counselling came and went (which was what my last gobbled-up-draft-post was about). Really there wasn’t all that much excitement to talk about there. I found very few surprises during counselling, largely due to Rachel and I having previously hashed out pretty much anything they could throw at us beforehand. It was good to have a third party dig around in our minds though, just to make sure we hadn’t left any stones unturned. While I didn’t completely agree with everything the counsellor said, I do think it was a worthwhile exercise, and can see tremendous value in it being mandated during the surrogacy process.
It does perplex me though, that current Australian law doesn’t mandate continued counselling throughout the surrogacy. Just think of all the additional opportunities for cake that everyone’s missing out on. As it stands, counselling is only required prior to forming an agreement, to make sure you’re not cray cray, and to ensure all parties understand what they’re potentially getting themselves (and their families, and any child born as a result of the surrogacy) in to. Also, in South Australia, we’re not required to attend counselling *with* the surrogate family, we are only required to attend it separately, which I find super-duper weird.
Anyway, we’ve decided to write our own additional rules! We’ll seek counselling throughout regardless, just to put some extra checks and balances in there to make sure everyone’s expectations are being communicated and met well. I think for us, this will be extra important since we live at a distance, there are less opportunities to talk to each other and see first hand how everyone’s feeling.
This weekend marks another milestone of sorts too – I’ll be having my last drinks for a while. I decided to turn down alcohol for the duration of Rachel’s pregnancy out of respect and support for her. Even though comparatively, it’s such a small slither of the many sacrifices she has and will make during our surrogacy, I feel that as a pregnancy partner, any way I can show a little extra love is absolutely worth doing. If I was pregnant, I’d be stoked if my husband did it with me, so that was the sealer – I offered enthusiastically without hesitation once we started chatting about it. I think it will also teach me to think of other go-to things during stressful times, as I do enjoy a glass of wine every now and then to unwind. I think that being sensitive to and trying to understand the sacrifices that a surrogate makes is important.
So, what’s next?
We had plans for transfer early next year, but then I got the surprise of my life (and I am *very* hard to surprise) when Rachel handed me a diary on my 30th birthday (one of many, many presents – oh my lord, that’s a blog post in itself!). I opened it up to December 2015, where it said “Let’s make a baby?”. Whaaaaat?! I’m pretty sure the look on my face said “This was not in the script!”. I was cautious and excited all in the same breath. It took me a good week to process it, because previously we’d self-imposed some other conditions for our transfer which had not yet been met.
Underneath my excitement was what I’ll call my party-pooping-gut, which said haaaaaaang on a minute, we can’t just get all excited and break our own rules in the process. I had to think this one through. I didn’t want my desire for a child to overrun any sensibleness in place. It turned out that after a good chat, neither of us saw reason to keep some of those self-imposed pre-transfer goals in place. After a good long think and chats with the husband, I’d satisfied myself that I wasn’t getting caught up in excitement, and was still looking after the best interests of Rachel and her family, and Rachel felt the same – so we decided to shoot for December!
Anyway, after a feverish rush to finalise our paperwork, we’re not too sure if we’ll make a December transfer after all, due to our clinic closing over Christmas. But we’ll see! A December transfer would be an amazing Christmas present! But I always say that the best presents are those that last a long time, so waiting until the new year will be just as sweet! I may start to get the shakes if I go too long without seeing Rach though!
It must be so nerve wracking for surrogates to feel as though their bodies are responsible for the timing and outcome of someone else’s transfer. I wish there was some way I could share that weight to make yours lighter. I salute you astounding women, not only for the act of carrying someone else’s child, but for all of the load you and your families shoulder before, during and after. There are so many worries and sacrifices you take on, many of which you may not realise, may not vocalise, or may not have heard by others despite trying. Thank you for those you’ve shared, so that we can continue to learn and understand how surrogates and Intended Parents can continue to grow together and learn from one another.
And now please excuse me while I go and drink all of the remaining wine in our house. I hate to see waste!