Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Your feedback, please

Let me preface this post with a disclaimer: no decision has been made. All parties involved, in fact, have not discussed this for more than a few minutes, and no discussion at all has occurred that involves all the parties at the same time. So don't expect anything to come to fruition in the immediate future, if at all.

Something's been tugging at me. Keeping me up at night. Waking me up from a dead sleep in the middle of the night. While some people might say that God is talking to me, I'm not entirely convinced. But I do know that if something is forcing itself into my consciousness, I need to pay attention.

I'm seriously considering being a surrogate mother for a couple I know.

They never asked. They never even expressed any interest in pursuing such a course of action. They've been trying to conceive for some time, and at some expense, and it hasn't worked. Craig and I, on the other hand, practically looked lovingly at each other across the table and conceived our kids. Fertility? Is not a problem for me. I've carried two healthy pregnancies to term, both resulting in healthy children.

And before you ask, I don't want another baby. Not in the least. Craig and I are both very, very happy with our family's size and have no interest whatsoever in increasing it. The children, too, do not want another sibling. So this is not coming from a place of "I want a bay-bee!!!" I don't. I'm not sentimental about pregnancy, nor am I sentimental about childbirth. In fact, I'm pretty much resigned to the idea that if this happens, I'd have another Cesarean section. After two sections, I'd be hard pressed to find a doctor in this conservative medical town to attend a VBAC. And honestly, I don't know if I would want to make the emotional investment in trying again. After what happened last time, I don't think I'm up for the disappointment of trying and "failing."

This couple? I don't get to tell their story. It's not mine to tell. I'll just say what I feel. They would be wonderful parents. It's a horrible injustice of random, cruel nature and nothing more that they haven't made a baby. I hate to see wasted potential, and they just ooze "fantastic parents" potential.

It's a leap, I know, to go from idly musing about how it sucks that some people who should be parents aren't to thinking that I can do something about it. And maybe it's just a bit narcissistic on my part.

But it's keeping me up at night. And maybe there's a reason for that, a reason bigger than what I can comprehend.


Sarolite said...

I think that you seem to be in the right place at the right time. You've got the right medical history and mental state for it. If your family supports the idea, I think it would be an incredibly loving and generous thing for you to do for another couple. =)

h sofia said...

In the past I would have had a real problem with it, but more recently, I think that surrogate parenting in which the birthing mother and the parents are equal (not exploiting the other) is pretty amazing.

Sending good thoughts your way no matter what happens ...

Kelly O said...

My first thought is that you're so awesome to consider doing this for your friends. My second thought is, have you looked into the physical toll of another c-section? Before it became clear that a VBAC was not in my future with kid #2, my doctor was did mention that three c's is pretty much the limit a woman should have.

I'm sure of course that you've looked into it and know way more about the risks than I do. Good luck making your decision!

shara said...

Wow! Not at all what I expected when checking your blog this morning. What an amazing gift to give if it's the right thing for you and your family.

kalisa said...

How wonderfully selfless of you. But please consider, too, how you would explain this pregnancy to friends, neighbors and coworkers in this conservative town.

Wendi said...

It would be amazing - I would worry about your health and another c-section.

Anonymous said...

I don't know. I know it sounds lovely, but there are so many children already that need homes. I really struggle with this and with fertility drugs... this is just hard.

Anonymous said...

Would this be a fertilized egg? Or would you contribute the egg? And if the latter, would you feel differently--possessive or responsible? I think it might feel very different to carry the baby, as opposed to being the biological mom. And might it feel differently to your own children? Now or later? And would that matter?

Kaleigh said...

Good questions. And since this is such a very hypothetical situation, I'll give you some hypothetical answers. Given what I already know about this couple's history, I suspect that I'd contribute the egg (and really, that's so much easier anyway, at least from the technological side...can be done quite easily without medical intervention).

Would knowing that the child is my biological heir make me feel differently about handing him or her over to this couple? I doubt it. This is a situation in which I would see the child frequently and would play some role (albeit limited) in his or her upbringing. I have such confidence that these two people would be the kind of parents that I'd trust my existing kids to that I really don't see any doubts on that end.

I wonder how much the circumstances of conception impact the mother's feelings about the unborn baby. My kids were conceived very intentionally, with love as the motivating force. I loved them intensely from the minute I saw two lines on the pregnancy test. Sure, this situation would involve love, but not the same kind. And the intentionality of making a baby for someone else (as opposed to accidentally getting pregnant and then putting the baby up for adoption) would certainly impact the emotions felt during gestation. Also, my feelings about my family are different. I don't get that tug in my heart when I see a cute baby. I don't want any more kids. At all.

My own kids? Don't want another baby in the house. So it's not likely to be a huge issue for them, at least not during their childhoods. I would hope that they would want to have some kind of relationship with their blood half-sibling at some point...heck, they'd probably wind up babysitting this kid at some point!

Candy said...

When I was younger (and still suitable for breeding) I used to toy with this idea all the time. Not because I knew people who could benefit from it, but I think more because I wanted to be pregnant again (but didn't want more kids). I also thought it could be a good way to make money at a time when I was desperate.

Since neither of those reasons was the right one, I never did it. But kudos to you, if you think it's right for you.

alan said...

I guess I'll be the lone objector in the ranks. No. Don't do it. If someone wants to raise a child, and aren't able to conceive their own, the responsible thing to do is adopt. There are lots of children in need of loving families already, there's no need to put your health at risk to add another child to the world.

As your brother, I respect and admire your giving nature, but also as your brother, I don't like the idea of you taking that kind of a risk. Just like I wouldn't want you to play in traffic.

Nic said...

I think it's incredibly generous. If you are fully ready to commit to this, I'd bring it up in conversation with them and test the waters.

Anonymous said...

There's a reason they aren't having kids. I don't know what it is since Mother Nature doesn't confide in me. What you want to do is admirable, but there are a lot of kids out there needing homes. On a more serious note...How about sending me a picture of your boobs?

Anonymous said...

I say no, don't do it.

You claim you could remain detached, yet you are already referring to your children as the half-sibling of this "surrogate baby". While that would be true biologically if you use your own egg, that does not sound like you are detached.

Infertility is a very personal issue, and while it is nice you want to help, these people have to struggle with this themselves. If they cannot conceive on their own or with the help of a fertility specialist, there are plenty of kids all over the country that need loving parents. Adoption may be the road the should be on--and maybe you should just myob and let them deal with it.

Mom said...

You make me think about a number of issues.

My greatest dread after age 35 was having a baby who was "imperfect" because my eggs were "old." I took measures to make sure that didn't happen. Have you considered that possibility? For me, that would put a vote in the "no" column.

I always thought being pregnant was wonderful! However, I always was planning to be attached to those children forever.

How would you draw the "family tree" for this child? (That's just an academic question!)

Kaleigh said...

In answer to a few other comments, in no particular order:

My use of the phrase "half-sibling" was simply academic. That would be the biological fact. That does not imply that I would expect or even necessarily encourage a sibling-type relationship between "my" kids and this hypothetical kid. And please don't interpret that wording to be more than it is: a statement of biological fact. If I contribute DNA to the transaction, this child would be related, biologically, to my children.

Yes, my eggs are not as young as they once were. I'd say that the decision to use such eggs would be the couple in question's decision.

I know that adoption is an option. I also know that it's not always that easy. Not trying to say that surrogacy would be easier, just saying that it might be the right choice for this couple. Again, the ball would be in their court for that one.

As far as concerns about my own health, I'm not that worried about the effects of a third c/section. I have no interest in reproducing (for my family's purposes), so if this one needed to be the last one, that's not a big deal to me. (And if it wound up in a hysterectomy, I wouldn't exactly mourn the loss of monthly cycles...). I recovered quite well from the other two and am, quite honestly, in better health and better shape than I was for those pregnancies, so I have to reason to expect anything different, as far as recovery. And, from a genetic standpoint, there's a good chance that this hypothetical baby wouldn't be a 10 pounder. Which would be nice.

I've already posted a follow-up, but these comments seemed more fitting within this post. If this journey happens, it's definitely going to make for some interesting blogging!

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I know I am late, but I think it would be wonderful.

kristabella said...

Wow, you are just plain awesome.

I think it is incredible that you are even willing to think about doing it without being asked. And I'm sure that no matter what happens, they will be overjoyed at your thought.

Lizard Eater said...

I was in a similar situation and gave serious consideration to helping friends in this way. I love them and knew they'd be great parents.

What made me choose not to, was realizing that even though I thought they'd be great parents, they'd (of course) do things differently than I. For instance, how would I feel if they decided to spank?

In end, I realized that if were seeing them all the time, I couldn't entirely "separate" as would be necessary. Which was fine. They wound up adopting a beautiful baby boy.

I'm offering no advice, just my experience. And in other circumstances, I think I would have done it.

Follow your heart!

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