Thursday, 4 July 2019

Surrogacy Stories | Lisa's Story

A couple of weeks ago, I started my Surrogacy Stories series, and shared another surrogates journey. Today, Lisa has so kindly allowed me to share her story as an Intended Mother on my blog. There are many ways in which individuals are not able to carry their own child and I hope that this series will help to provide more knowledge to people.

"The statistics show that 1:4 women experience a miscarriage at some point in their life and 1:100 will experience recurrent miscarriages. It says women but I think it’s important to highlight that men are also impacted by this, for every woman suffering, in many cases there will be a man struggling as well. So it impacts everyone, your friends, family and colleagues whether we realise it or not someone in your world will have dealt with the devastating impact of losing a baby through miscarriage.
There will be no two experiences the same, everyone will deal with their journey differently and only since my beautiful 19 month old daughter was born do I feel comfortable to talk about my experience. In the 5 years before Lara was born we experienced multiple miscarriages, ectopic pregnancy, several rounds of IVF, a couple of misdiagnosis, numerous invasive tests, operations, blood tests and more needles and drugs than I care to mention. The physical, emotional, mental and financial strain of fertility is immense and has significant impact on your life.
Many people would like to share their journey with others but feel unable to as the stigma that surrounds miscarriage, loss of a baby, infertility feels very real. You battle with yourself daily, it becomes all consuming and dominates your thoughts and feelings. The emotions I have dealt with include shame, anger, embarrassment, loss, jealousy, desperation, love and hope. It is a roller-coaster of emotions, highs and lows. On more than one occasion I considered living a child free life, I had a career I loved, a loving relationship, good friends and family but every time I considered it my heart dropped and my future looked dark.
During this time we tried everything from holistic therapy (acupuncture, reflexology, detox retreats to even going to a psychic!) to visiting top London fertility clinics, and finally in 2015 I was diagnosed with several blood conditions that meant my body views my babies as intruders and rather than nurturing them, attacks resulting in a miscarriage. After being told numerous times by Fertility Consultants that our embryos are ‘perfect’ I was determined not to give up and after my last loss in March 2016 I decided to research Gestational Surrogacy (where a woman often called a host, carries our embryo for us). And this is where our story takes a positive turn; we met Rachel and her family in April 2016 in a Facebook Surrogacy group and have become firm friends ever since.
The next part of my story is the reason I’m able to talk about my experience now. Our beautiful baby girl was born on 14th November 2017. The day Lara was born, so was I. It felt like a fog lifted, I had found my purpose, my missing piece, it was like that dark future disappeared and everything became clear.
Our surrogacy journey was incredible and I look back on it with gratitude and love. Rachel has become like the sister I never had, intelligent, funny and Mum of a beautiful boy and girl. Her husband James is an absolutely rock and a massive part of our journey. As soon as I joined the Surrogacy Facebook groups I felt like I was amongst people like me, that it was the right path for us. The Surrogacy community has introduced me to people I’d have never met, from all over the world, people that are prepared to help those in need in a way that I’ve never imagined and for that I’m grateful.
Although our surrogacy journey was straight forward compared to other journeys, it was still an emotional rollercoaster. We were successful with Lara on our second IVF attempt so we still had to deal with the heartache of a failed transfer which we found out about the day before my birthday. We also had a few challenges with the Clinic which after years of dealing with ‘fertility experts’ didn’t surprise me, admin delays, unexpected costs and insisting we saw a lawyer before they would continue with treatment (unnecessary with UK surrogacy and a complete waste of time and money as we’d completed extensive research before embarking on our surrogacy journey). That all seems irrelevant now though as I watch my daughter sleep through our baby monitor. It was worth every tear, every moment of heartbreak, every penny and I’d do it all over again as I know it made me a stronger person, a better parent and that we were meant to be Lara’s parents.
We were hoping to complete a sibling journey with Rachel but that was not to be as Rachel was unable to complete a second surrogacy journey due to personal reasons. Although I had never left the surrogacy groups as I was keen to remain active and support others, taking the plunge to re-introduce ourselves was a daunting prospect. We were so grateful to have Lara and were concerned it would appear that we were being greedy to want a sibling for Lara, another beautiful soul to complete our family. But every time I thought about not trying, stepping away, imaging how I would feel on my death bed if I hadn’t at least tried, I knew I would regret not putting myself out there again. 
This is where Roni and her family join our journey. I knew after the first time we met we’d be friends regardless of surrogacy. Roni is a strong, determined woman, a Mum of two beautiful girls and a nurse in a Prison. The conversation flowed with ease right from the start and it’s the same every time we catch up. I want to mention Steve her husband as well, one of the nicest guys I’ve met, a great laugh and totally supportive of what we’re hoping to achieve. After 4 months of chatting non-stop and meeting up a number of times Roni asked if we’d like to match in such a thoughtful way.
We couldn’t be more excited to be completing our family with Roni and Steve. We’re currently having the recommended counselling through our clinic and later in the year we hope to transfer one of our six remaining embryos! We were all keen to take our time, not to rush anything. It’s given us the chance to build a strong relationship and I’ve loved being able to make the most of the time I have with just Lara before we go from a family of three to a family of four!
Looking back on my journey, infertility has taken me emotionally, physically and mentally to some dark places, the surrogacy community and the Surrogates that are prepared to help people like us brought hope when we thought there was none. They don’t only change lives but help create them, helping people start and complete their families. They’re some of the strongest people I’ve ever met and I’m blessed to have found the community and made some amazing friends, both Surrogates and other Intended Parents (IPs).
I’m always here to answer questions or offer support so please feel free to get in touch if you’re in the middle of that fog or just would like to know more. Wishing anyone who is in that dark place the strength and determination to continue their journey, whether you reach your dream through your own pregnancy, adoption or surrogacy - hold on, it’s definitely worth it!"
 If you are a surrogate or an IP who wishes to share their journey,  just drop me a message at thentherewere3@outlook.com






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