Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday's Big Thoughts

Long, long ago, in a land far, far away....

Okay, it wasn't that long ago, maybe 3 or 4 years, a year or two before we started trying to get pregnant. And it wasn't far, far, away, it actually occurred about a 20 minute drive from here, while we were in the car on the highway in between our house and Brian's parents place....but I remember it distinctly.

The conversation went something like this:

Brian: If we won the lottery, would you want to skip getting pregnant and have a baby via surrogacy?

Me: Ummm....probably not. I want to try myself.

Now, I can probably guess what you are thinking: What? Why? What a weird question!?

Actually it's not that weird. My heart defect places me at higher risk for complications during a pregnancy. As my OB nicely explained to me when I was already 16 weeks pregnant, he felt reasonably sure that while my heart function may decrease during my pregnancy, most women with heart defects rebound after delivery. The issue becomes, does this 'rebound' last? Or do women with heart defects, who get pregnant, experience a 'faster' wearing out of their hearts?

Think of having a 5 year old and coping with heart failure.

My doctors do not know the answer to that question. I was going to be in a study to help them find out. I'm not sure that my pregnancy with Aidan fits their inclusion criteria anymore.

Anyway, I was thinking over the past few days that my answer to that question my husband nonchalantly asked would now be:

Yes, definitely, I would start the process tomorrow.

In my mind, when my husband first asked this question, pregnancy was this little dot...way in the future. Something fuzzy and sweet and wonderful to look forward to. Of course I would want to try to have my own child...I knew that my heart might be affected...but I wanted to at least TRY. Never know until you try right? I wanted that big belly and baby kicks and to be able to breastfeed. I wanted the experience of watching my body change and grow and to give birth. I wanted to watch my body do something right, something normal.

Now. I want to live. I want my baby to live. Nothing else matters.

I know people have issues with surrogacy. Hell, I have issues with surrogacy. My university minor in Women's Studies would have me question it. Do we have a right to buy and sell a child? Is surrogacy tantamount to 'renting a womb'? Is it right to place another women's health in jeopardy to achieve your own goal? How does it impact the mother and child bond? Is this just another way that white-bread yuppies are taking over the world?

I have no answers to any of these questions. Well I do, but they would be long and complicated and would require footnotes and source material. But, I do not have any personal experience from which to draw.

Often people who oppose surrogacy will say "why don't you just adopt?"

These people have obviously never adopted before.

This 'just adopt' attitude completely overshadows the HUGE undertaking it is to adopt. It assumes that adoption is just an answer to a problem, ie: you want a baby, that baby needs a family, voilĂ , perfect situation! It negates the very real and very painful emotional scars that can result from adoption. My aunt was adopted, and although I will never know for sure, I can tell you, the emotional scars it left behind likely impacted her decision to commit suicide 45 years later.

Adopting also brings up some of the exact same questions that surrogacy does. For example, adopting costs money. Now you are not exactly 'paying' for a child...but there are many costs involved as I understand it. Lawyers, social workers, home studies, adoption agencies etc. It's like thousands-of-dollars-not-free.

We in our nice little world, also assume that we are somehow 'doing the biological mother a favour' by taking her child. Adoption is seen as a way for the biological mother to be able to go on to do 'bigger and better things' until it is her 'time' to have a child. You know, go to school, get a good job, get married, buy a house...the 'right' things to have before a baby enters the picture. This might be true in some situations. She might very lovingly and willingly give up her child. But, what if the only reason she's giving the child up is because she's living in poverty and is having problems feeding the three children she has already? What if she really would have kept it, but she lives in a country where unwed mothers are social pariahs? What if the only reason she's put her baby up for adoption, is to save the baby from the domestic abuse she suffers daily?

I don't have the answers to those questions either.

I'm not at all disparaging people who adopt...or children who are adopted. It might be an option for us some day. I'm just saying that there are often a lot more factors involved in 'just adopting' than bringing home the baby.

I'm not writing this post to say, 'hey I'm looking for a surrogate'. I'm not. I really do still have that dream of being able to carry my own baby. And I was given 23 weeks and 3 days of hope during Aidan's pregnancy that I might be able to pull it off without anything disastrous happening to me (to him is a different story). Plus it's more fun creating your own baby from scratch...and it's way cheaper.

Unfortunately, it sucks to be me and worry not only about 'hey my last pregnancy ended with a dead baby, let's hope the next one doesn't end with a dead mother'. In fact, why don't we just try to avoid the word dead or sick in all future pregnancies shall we?

I guess what I'm saying is I want a baby. And, I don't really care anymore how it happens, as long as all parties are alive and healthy at the end.

What are your thoughts on surrogacy? Adopting? Ever considered it? Ever had to consider it?


  1. I am the blessed mommy of 2 biological children and one blessing that we adopted through foster care. I have known since grade school that I someday wanted to adopt a child. We decided to go the route of foster care in hopes of maybe being able to impact the lives of more children. Elly was our first foster child. We brought her home from the NICU at 4 weeks and 5 lbs. Drug exposed, 8 weeks early...and absolutely perfect. Her bio mom relinquished rights to us when she was 15 months, after having another child. She realized that we were her family. She was bonded to us completely and we loved her with all we had. Her adoption finalized 2 days after she turned 2. She is now 4 1/2 and the most loving, fun little girl you could imagine. Her older brother and sister see no boundaries in their bond with her. Her biological mom is now 24 weeks pregnant (with baby #4) and is asking that we adopt that baby when it is born. She has witnessed Elly's happiness and thriving in our home, and knows she can't offer the baby the life it deserves. We are hoping she sticks to her decision. On another note, I have two aunts that were adopted from Korea as young children. Both are stable, well adjusted adults who are very thankful for the decision their birth parents made. So, while I'm probably (definitely) biased, I really believe in adoption. Although the process is daunting, the outcome unknown, every child is worth the risk. In life nothing comes with a guarantee. Good luck in whatever you decide, I hope the best for your family. :)

  2. We are beginning to pursue adoption. I too hate how people ask are you "just going to adopt", implying that it's such an easy process, which it is definitely not. I think a lot of people are pretty clueless when it comes to adoption and what it really entails. I have three co-workers who have all adopted and each of them have had positive experiences, one of them also went through a failed adoption, but has gone on to adopt two children since that.

    Thinking of you & hoping that you guys are able to find the path that is best for you:)

  3. We have thought seriously about adopting, but the costs is what hinders us. It's so expensive. My mom was adopted when she was 6 years old, so part of me has always wanted to give some child a chance to live a better (hopefully) life than what they may have had.

    Maybe someday. But, selfishly, I want our first living child to be the product of the love we share.

  4. I'm not comfortable with surrogacy. I can't even articulate why... for some reason, I'm just not comfortable with it. That's me speaking for myself, of course.

    Adoption, on the other hand, I think can be a beautiful, beautiful thing. My DH and I have looked into it - and you are totally right. Adoption is not some simple alternative, where you pay a fee, pick out a baby, and everything is settled quickly.

    I've known people with adoption horror stories. But I know many, many more people with some of the most lovely adoption experiences.

    Of course, I would always prefer to create and bring my own biological children into the world. But if for some reason that was not possible, I'm sure we would be adopting.

  5. I just turned 30 the day my little Wyatt enter the world as an angel, yes we share the same birth/angel day (as I call it now). We are exactly 30 years (almost to the minute) apart. I was told when I was 14 that I may struggle to have children, as they had to remove one of my ovaries. I had a cyst wrapped all the way around it. And they were right...

    14 years later, I was struggling. Loads of Clomid rounds, 5 IUI rounds, 2 rounds of injectables, and 1 round of IVF that resulted in only 1 good egg. They told us during that IVF round, that we may have to use an egg donor, adopt, or give up. But the 1 egg resulted in Wyatt. However, I lost him to HLHS at 29 weeks.

    So we were back to square one, donor egg, adopt, or give up!

    1. I would never give up! - That's that.

    2. Egg donor is way too expensive, unless I use my sister's, which my husband finds too weird.

    3. Adoption. When I hear the word I cringe. I never did before, until I met my husband. When I was 14, I remember telling my mom at the appointment, "it's okay if I can't have kids. There are a lot of unwanted babies out there, I will just adopt." Then I met my husband. His mom is adopted. And she wears it on her sleeve, without knowing it. She lacks self esteem, acts very childish at times, and seems as though she is lost in life. Now don't get me wrong, her adopted mother is wonderful. But I believe it is the fact that she never got an answer as to "why".

    So, I cringe when I hear the word adoption. Because it seems, from those who I know that were adopted, their adopted parents could love them more than anything, but the children still set out in search of answers at that age of 18 or so.

    I want a child more than ever, especially now after losing the one that I carried for 7 months. But I don't think I could do adoption, as I couldn't have MY child who I raised and loved, go out in search of someone who couldn't raise them or didn't want them.

    I can't do the donor egg. That just makes me sick. I would be carrying a child that would be half someone elses baby. I would never get to say the baby looked like me, although my husband could say he/she looked like him. I can't do that.

    Giving up, I have never given up on anything in my life. Why would I give up on creating a life?

    So.. back to square one... Trying to prove the doctors wrong... AGAIN

  6. i want to go through pregnancy, so i will keep trying.

    adoption, though. i would love to adopt in many ways. however, the fears of the challenges an adopted child would bring terrify me. ironically, not so much the 'being adopted' part. with me, it's the fact that i presume (here in my position of ignorance never having looked it up) that many children who end up being adopted had birth mothers who drank and did drugs when they were pregnant. and while this isn't a guarantee of medical/psychological problems, i think they will happen more often than not. and i'm not sure if i would be strong enough to care for a child like that, and i definitely don't think i could do it while working, and i couldn't afford to give up work :(

    so. i'm left with trying.

    wyatt's mommy i have had the exact same conversation with my husband about using my sister's eggs. he is squicked out because he would be scared my sister would see our baby as her child (if of course it all worked). it's hard isn't it?

  7. i'm all for adoption or surrogacy, although i realize there are issues attached. we have talked about adoption briefly, but not seriously as we don't yet have any solid reason to think we won't be able to have a baby on our own. if we lose another, however...

    but what i worry about is that ken won't fully bond with an adopted child - i hate to say it, but i have some doubts about it.

    whatever you decide, i hope you find a way to get your rainbow that will make for a happy, fulfilled family...

    and on another note - i would love to connect with you on facebook, but i don't think i know your last name. if you'd like to friend me, please look me up under "julie frederick."

  8. I haven't put a whole lot of thought on it. If I am not able to have my own biological children, then I will either just adopt or give up entirely, and go crazy and do something completely opposite with me life.

    I guess I've always been of the mind that it wasn't necessary for me to have biological children, but that I was going to try that first, so long as it was possible, and cheaper. I can't say that I'd fork out for IVF or forking out to adopt.

    I'd love, definitely prefer, to have my own pregnancy, and my own babies from birth. I loved being pregnant, but if that isn't in my cards, I'll take what I can get.