Guest Post By Hannah Lizarraga
“What if I was a surrogate?” I asked my husband. My question took him by surprise as I was in my third trimester with our first child.
How can she possibly think of carrying another baby when she’s still pregnant right now? I’m sure something of the sort crossed his mind. He wasn’t against the idea and possibly felt I was asking him hypothetically. “Well, you need to have my baby first,” he responded jokingly, still with warmth in his voice.
It was fall of 2013 when I first began to seriously consider becoming a surrogate to help a child seeking couple. I was thrilled when I found out I was pregnant with our precious baby and quickly switched from my period tracking app to one that would track my pregnancy. I joined an online forum filled with other women also due in November of 2013. The first friend I made was such a warm and kind lady. She messaged me privately and she giddily shared details of how she planned to announce her pregnancy to friends and family. A baby was on the way! What’s not to be excited about? Sadly, not long after that, she miscarried her baby and decided it was best to no longer communicate. I will never forget her. Being a part of an online forum with 23,000+ pregnant women, you learn so much. Namely, that the journey to become pregnant and successfully carry a baby isn’t the same for all women. For some it’s easy, for others it’s a struggle. Not all women who become pregnant, stay pregnant. And not all of them are lucky enough to have calm, uneventful pregnancies. I didn’t know it then, but I had so much to learn about the reality conception brings. My eyes were opened to the sometimes very scary and life threatening difficulties that can occur. I began learning about various medical conditions such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. . .or the terrible news of a poor, developing baby missing a fully functioning arm or leg. . .or worst of all, no heartbeat. All of the women in my family had experienced healthy, normal pregnancies. I knew of infertility and baby loss but didn’t know any more than the tip of the iceberg until I joined that online forum.
Just after my husband and I announced the news of our pregnancy, my uncle and his wife shared with us that they too had been trying to conceive for about a year. I was thrilled for them! I knew conceiving could sometimes take time. I prayed they would see the same “positive” pregnancy sign, and we could share a pregnancy together. But, with each passing month, it didn’t happen. As time passed, there was talk of Clomid and various attempts in hopes of conceiving a child. My heart ached earnestly for my uncle and aunt. They were eager to start their family. They were both in ideal points of their lives to bring a baby, their baby, into the mix. Unfortunately, they’ve since taken a break from their journey and are enjoying themselves for the moment. My uncle’s situation certainly created a soft spot in my heart for people who deal with the struggles of infertility.
As a young adolescent, my mother always told me how she believed one day I would be a nurse. That I had a big heart and a nurturing side that would surely lead me down a path where I would look after others in some form. In my teen years, I imagined myself opening an orphanage and caring for children. As I journeyed through my pregnancy, I began to further contemplate my career, and realized I would enjoy being a midwife, a labor and delivery nurse, or a doula. The odyssey of a tiny human entering this world is a remarkable and moving experience. I knew I wanted to empower and support other women in their passage from womanhood to motherhood. It was only a matter of time before surrogacy came into my heart and I would be inspired to participate in this manner.
Thinking back, I realized I had always felt driven by the urge to help a child seeking couple begin or grow their family. I now believe that God intended me to do this all along. I’ve heard many well-meaning people say, “I could never do what you’re doing.” In truth, I couldn’t understand why it felt so hard for them. I believe God has blessed me with a consciousness and way of being that is specially designed to help people in this way. The further I go down this path, the closer I find myself to God. Feeling his presence and growing in spirituality, I now believe this is His plan for me.
I was 6 months postpartum with my second child when I began to seriously research surrogacy. It was November of 2015 to be exact. There were so many questions and I quickly did as much as I could to discover what the process entailed. After making a well-informed decision with my husband, I knew it was time to move forward. I sought out the agencies that seemed to genuinely have their hearts in this for the right reasons. An agency that would consider and care for all parties involved. In the spring of 2016, I finally found the one. It was Tomorrow’s Parents International, located in Marietta, Georgia. I could go on and on about how amazing each and every person there is. Although none of the employees that I have met personally have ever experienced infertility, they share such a genuine passion and concern for those who have. They were so patient with me as I asked all sorts of questions, and they continue to show compassion when I just need someone to talk to or when I feel a little anxious about an upcoming milestone in the journey. I feel a genuine gratitude for how the whole team has gone above and beyond. I couldn’t be more pleased to be working with such an outstanding group of people. Because my surrogate coordinator actually took the time to get to know me, she quickly found a couple (Intended Parents, or IPs) who she felt confident would be a match for me. I’m happy to say she was correct and I’ve since been honored with the crucial task of carrying their baby.
My surrogacy process has only begun and while I know we are just in the early stages, I am forever touched by this journey. I am humbled by both the people I have met along the way and the stories of many child seeking parents, whose agonizing journeys to have a family have touched my heart. I’m sincerely happy to be a part of something so meaningful.