I can’t believe that sweet little Knox was born 11 weeks ago already! The time is flying by and I often forget that I just had a baby since I don’t have a newborn around!
I wanted to write a post for you guys to hear my thoughts on surrogacy now that it’s been a few months and I’ve had time to process it more.
Here’s the short version: Surrogacy was AWESOME. If you want to hear the long version, read on. 🙂
Being a surrogate was such an amazing experience and I really loved it. Before even starting the process of becoming a surrogate the part I was most unsure about was how I would feel after the baby was born. Of course I prepared myself as much as I could and thought I would be ok but how do you really know how you’ll feel after you grow a baby that is not yours inside your womb for 9 months and then one day head home from the hospital without them? Amazingly, it was not at all hard for me to come home and recover post-partum without a baby. I did not fee like I wanted to bring Knox home. I did not feel like he was mine. I did not feel attached to him like I did my own children. I knew from the very beginning that he was not mine and I worked hard at mentally preparing myself to leave the hospital empty handed. Of course, I’m sure that Knox will always hold a special place in my heart but he does so as the children of my close friends and siblings do, not as if he were my own child. I honestly left the hospital with so much joy because I was just so incredibly happy for Ben and Kristen to finally have their baby boy in their arms. From the very beginning I knew why I was doing this and what the end result would be. When Knox was born, it was so rewarding to finally see the culmination of all the years of waiting (for Ben and Kristen), the weeks of paperwork, testing, and injections, the months of pregnancy and pre-natal visits, and the hours of labor. Sweet little Knox was finally here!
Recovering without a newborn was easier but I am pumping my milk to donate to a milk bank and so I am still up in the middle of the night pumping and I am not getting much sleep even without a baby to wake me up. =) I did not have any post-partum anxiety or depression to deal with so that was good. I really just went back to life as usual – with a greater sense of fulfillment for what I had just done! I am feeling all back to normal – with just a few reminders that I recently had a baby (like a little extra tummy pudge. 😉 )
Many people have asked how the kids have handled everything and the answer is that they have done amazingly well. The transition from Knox being in my belly to going home with his family went SO smoothly for them. They never once asked why we didn’t keep him or if he was their brother or where he went or anything like that! We were very open and honest with them from the beginning that this was not their brother and that he would not be joining our family. We talked a lot about surrogacy in terms they could understand. They got to know Ben and Kristen throughout the process and they knew that they were Knox’s parents and that he would be going to live with them. When the kids came to visit Knox in the hospital after he was born they never thought he was our baby or that he would be coming home with us. It’s been so amazing to me how they have adjusted to everything. In their minds what I did as a surrogate was normal and they don’t think anything weird about it! When I get pictures of Knox from his parents I will show the kids and they will say “ooooh, he’s sooo cute” and there is no hint of thinking or wishing that he should be ours. I think that kids take so many of their cues from adults as to how to respond in certain situations and because Drew and I sailed smoothly through the whole process they were able to as well.
It was very rewarding to be a surrogate. It left me feeling so proud and happy that I was able to help somebody in an incredible way. I had a great experience from start to finish and I would definitely do it again! (I’ve just got to decide if I want to be pregnant again… 😉 ) For now I am on to my next adventure which is that of a full time exclusive pumper. After having Knox I wanted to be able to do something with my breast milk because I knew that in the past I had been a very large producer and I knew my milk could go to babies in need if I was willing to pump it. I knew how badly I had wanted Eloise to receive breast milk and how hard I worked to induce lactation in order to breastfeed her (and what a rewarding experience that was for me) so I couldn’t bear not to offer my milk (that would come so easily compared to inducing lactation!) to babies in need. I found a milk bank that works exclusively with surrogates who are willing to donate their milk to help sick, premature babies. It has been a learning curve as I figure out how to fit pumping into my daily routine. I currently produce 85 ounces a day and pump every 2-3 hours, including in the middle of the night. Between pumping, bagging and freezing my milk, and STRICTLY washing and sanitizing all my pump parts (I have to be very careful about contamination since my milk is going to micro-preemies!), I calculated that I spend almost 8 hours a day collecting my milk! It’s like a full time job but I love being able to continue helping to grow the babies of others!