My Surrogacy Journey: Cassie
No one tells you the range of emotions you will feel when your initial reasoning for offering up your body is love. While still in the beginning stages of surrogacy, I feel as though my action, done in a gesture of love, has brought on feelings that you wouldn’t think could come from a process meant to help a family become whole.
When I completed my schooling for Sonography, I was an eager and naive young tech who thought she would see wonderful babies all day. Boy, was I WRONG. I stepped into a low-income hospital wondering if I had made the right decision. I was away from my kids, who were three and one and needed their mama. I was in an area with a bad reputation for crime.
My first patient on the table was a pregnant woman who was visibly high and had the track marks to prove this wasn’t her first go at the needle. I was so mad at her and felt so sad for the baby growing inside of her. Was this baby going to experience life with a hole in her heart because of a lost relationship with her mother? Would she even have a mother or would she be given to the system? It broke my soul.
A week later, I experienced my first patient who was miscarrying. While she wouldn’t be my first, her baby had the most impact on me. I had to hold back tears as I explained to her that I had to get the doctor, but it was clear she already knew what was coming. I held her hand as the doctor spoke the words that every mother dreads, “The fetus is not viable.” The words seemed so cold, but after telling so many women this over the course of a career, how would you keep the words warm?
Six months into the job and I kept wondering how I could help. I surely couldn’t stop a miscarriage. I contemplated if this was the right path for me, or if I was even worthy of these women who trusted me with making sure their babies were healthy. I finally got the confirmation I needed when I scanned a woman who was 38 weeks pregnant.
She said she hadn’t felt the baby move in two days. When I began scanning, the baby had no movement and the heart rate was low. In an effort to find what was going on, I checked the baby’s neck and there it was – the cord. Had I not checked, the baby could have passed on and become an angel. I was lucky enough to watch from the gallery as a C-section was performed. That same day, an ad for surrogacy came up on my phone.
In December of 2018, I vigorously searched for an agency that made me feel comfortable in what I wanted. So many agencies spoke to me as though I was a body in an assembly line. In every aspect of my life, I expect nothing short of a healthy relationship, why would I cut it short here? Finally, I spoke with Casey. She was pregnant and the first surrogacy agency employee who had spoken to me like I was a human being who mattered. It didn’t take me long to agree to be a surrogate with West Coast Surrogacy (WCS).
I thought the hard part was over but I was so wrong. I had abnormal pap smears in the past so I was advised to get another. My doctor recommended that I wait six months to get one so that is what I did. When I was finally cleared, I submitted my Release of Information over for review to WCS. I was finally medically cleared in the fall of 2019!
Now the fun part – matching with a family. To me, the most important parts of matching with a family were having communication that worked for both parties as well as the intended parents forming a relationship with my kids. I wanted my kids to know that the baby mommy was helping grow was going to go to kind and loving people.
After I matched with my first family, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The family was from another country and, because of COVID-19, it was nearly impossible to get the documentation needed to proceed. COVID-19 then came stateside, which put a damper on my abilities to complete the process. After a few months, the family and I made a mutual agreement to go our separate ways.
I was nervous at this point. Was surrogacy the right journey for me? Was I making the right decision? My kids are getting older, will they understand? Although I was interested to see if I could match with another family, I thought to myself, “If I don’t get a match within a month, I’m going to close this chapter.”
Within a week, I matched with a beautiful couple who lived only a few hours from me! I was thrilled. The more I talked to the intended mother, the more I was hopeful that we would form a wonderful bond. COVID-19 didn’t put a damper on our relationship forming nor did it slow the process (too much) for getting the legal documentation completed. I knew this was it!
I completed my medical screening through a fertility doctor in December of 2020. The next period was my mock cycle. For the mock cycle, I was sticking myself with medication and praying HARD. I thought, please let my body be ready for a baby and if it’s not, give me the mental preparedness to move on and accept it. I’d had invested two years at this point, I hoped that this wouldn’t be the reason we had to stop our journey.
Then, my fears were brought to reality. I was told by the nurse that I was “post-receptive” meaning my body was outside of the window to accept an embryo. I was disappointed but also relieved. I realized, if I would have had an embryo transfer that failed because we didn’t do this mock cycle, I may have always wondered, “why.” But now I had an answer to a question I didn’t know I had. I was then told that we would complete another mock cycle. This brought my nerves down and the nurse explained to me that this happens sometimes and, “It’s ok, we can try again!”
I am now on my second mock cycle and I am hoping for a better result, but I am so thankful for medical intervention. I think about the intended parents and how grateful they must be for the technology that makes it possible to see if a surrogate can successfully carry their bundle of love. I hope this works out positively and we can move onto an embryo transfer and start making a baby.
The whole process has been a rollercoaster of emotion, but it has also been so fulfilling. Surrogacy is not for the faint of heart, but for those who can give their love to complete strangers while being responsible for one of the most important things in the stranger’s life (on top of the realities of your personal life that you face day to day).
To any future surrogates: When making the decision to become a surrogate, know that you are wonderful for offering your heart and body to strangers. You are worthy of all good things in life. You are kind. You are the epitome of love. Also, be easy on your intended parents – they are giving you something that they have no control over and hoping for a miracle.
– Cassie, Surrogate at West Coast Surrogacy