Episode 42 – Lisa – surrogate
Lisa birthed as a surrogate in Sydney in September 2023 for her brother Daniel and his wife Mira. They had a little boy, Angus, who made a big brother out of Thomas who was born through surrogacy in Canada. Lisa’s husband Vincent and two young daughters went on this journey together and have helped to expand a family.
You can hear from her sister-in-law, Mira, in episode 43.
This episode was recorded in January 2024.
These podcasts were recorded as part of the free webinar series run by Surrogacy Australia. If you would like to attend one, head to this page for dates and registration links. The recording can also be found on our YouTube channel so you can see the photos that are described. Find more podcast episodes here.
The webinars are hosted by Anna McKie who is a gestational surrogate, high school Math teacher and surrogacy educator working with Surrogacy Australia and running SASS (Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service).
Are you an Intended Parent (IP) who is looking to find a surrogate, or a surrogate looking for Intended Parents? Consider joining SASS.
Welcome to Surrogacy Australia’s podcast series. I’m your host Anna McKie. Thank you for sharing your time to listen to this episode. These recordings are from the regular one-hour free webinars that I run which I invite you to attend if you haven’t already. They take you through how surrogacy works in Australia, including how to find a surrogate or intended parents, there are opportunities to ask questions and you hear from a co-host each time about their own journey.
This episode, recorded in January 2024, features Lisa. Lisa birthed as a surrogate in Sydney in September 2023 for her brother Daniel and his wife Mira. They had a little boy, Angus, who made a big brother out of Thomas who was born through surrogacy in Canada. Lisa’s husband Vincent and two young daughters went on this journey together and have helped to expand a family. You’ll be able to hear from her sister-in-law, Mira, in episode 43, after I’ve had her as co-host on the webinar.
In this episode, we discuss rehearsing the birth in terms of discussing who will be where, especially in a caesarian, who has first hold, how the surrogate will be positioned to watch her IPs have their first cuddles, navigating a pregnancy harder than her first two, and what type of supports IPs, intended parents, can provide, things like paying for takeaway meals and how often that will happen, how she wished she had had more than one session of counseling during the pregnancy.
but the session she did have with Katrina Hale was valuable to validate her feelings about the pregnancy being hard, the funny questions strangers ask us as surrogates, and navigating those post-birth hormones. I hope you enjoy this episode. So Lisa, you had two little girls of your own, and you knew that your brother and his wife had been to Canada for surrogacy for their first child. At some point in time, you offered.
to be a surrogate for them. Can you take us through some of the beginning and the thought process of how that went for your brother and you and your family? Yeah, so my husband and I knew we were finished, our family, but I just wasn’t finished being pregnant. As strange as that sounds. I get it. I was like, yeah, I know. I said, I know I want to do it once more. So actually before we asked Daniel and Mira.
they would like me to carry their baby. I actually went and spoke with my obstetrician first and I got cleared with him first. You know, it’s a third C-section safe, are there more risks involved? And you know, he cleared me as a low risk pregnancy. So then we invited Daniel and Mira over for dinner and I was actually really nervous to ask them. I didn’t know how to bring up the conversation. So I actually got Vincent to start it off because you know, they could have actually said no, they didn’t want me to, and which would have been totally fine. And I just sort of asked them, you know, would you like me to carry your baby? And I remember they’re,
just both dropped and it was like complete silence for a minute. They actually couldn’t believe what they were hearing because prior to that, she was telling me that she was getting ready to start the surrogacy progress process again in Canada. And I went, oh, okay. So then me asking her and they were like, and I said, don’t answer me now, you know, go away, think about it. The back of my mind, I knew they were going to say yes. And then I think a few days later they came back.
showing me a picture of Thomas saying, yes, yes, we’d love to be a big brother. We’d love for you to carry our baby. Wow, wonderful. Yeah. Just out of my curiosity here, going back a little bit further. So clearly you knew your brother, they went to Canada to do surrogacy. So they had a need for surrogacy. Was it at that point in time, but you were still having your own family. Had you ever thought while you were having your kids, oh, I wonder once I’ve finished my family, if they still need somebody.
Had that been in your mind for quite some time? It did, yes. When I actually, after I had Ailey, I still knew that I wasn’t finished having kids and I knew that she couldn’t have children. I said to myself, I wonder if one day I can do that. And I remember floating the idea around, I think with my mom saying,
I think one day when I’m finished having my family, I could do that. So it was always sat in the back of my mind. And then obviously when we had Peppy and we knew we’ll finished having children, um, that’s when I said, no, I think I can do this. And I really want to do this. But I gave it a timeframe. I said, I want to give it a year, let my body recover from my birth. There was some things in that year I really wanted to do and not being pregnant, you know, it would have, would have made it hard. So I had a little timeframe, which they were absolutely okay with. And it worked out well. Wonderful. Yeah.
Do you remember roughly what month of what year that was from that conversation to then how long it took to do the chat paperwork?
So I asked them in January, 2022. So that was, I think, yes, six months after I gave birth to Peppy. And I said, um, yeah, it was January, 2022. And I said, I’m not willing to start any transfers until a year later, January, 2023. So we had that whole year to prepare to do our counseling and all the legal rights and everything, which worked out really well. It didn’t feel rushed at all. It wasn’t sprinted. He said it was really, really was a marathon. You know, we took it month by month. It wasn’t, it was just really easy that year.
And that’s really what I wanted. I didn’t want to put stress on it or emphasis on it, you know. Did you find as a team, like, so for teams like myself who were strangers, we have to actually have date nights where we spend time getting to know each other as friends, but also talking about surrogacy stuff. Obviously you already had a connection there because you grew up with your brother. Did you have times where you had to, the adults get together and talk about surrogacy stuff? Yes, we had them over a few times for dinner actually. And…
There were a lot of questions that she actually knew and could answer because they had been through the surrogacy process before. So it was really easy or even times when questions would pop into my mind, I’d be like, oh, and I’d ring her, but we had a lot of dinners, them coming here, us going out for dinner, us going to their place. Because at this time we hadn’t told anyone else. We hadn’t told my family. So we had to do it just the four of us in our dinners and meetings until the family knew, which was like at the end of the year. Wonderful. But yeah, we did. Right. And so then you…
did the counseling and legals and worked with their IVF clinic and it worked first emery transfer, is that right? First transfer it worked, yes. And I couldn’t even wait to do the blood test. I took a pregnancy test five days later and it popped up pregnant.
Even though they said, do not do that, just wait for the blood test. I went, no, I’ve got a feeling here and I can’t help myself. Did you have a conversation as a team about that, you know, from mirror your sister-in-law saying, if you pee on a stick, don’t tell us we don’t want to know or? So I actually peed on it first. And then when I saw it was pregnant, I FaceTimed her and I said, Oh, what do you think I should do? Do you want me to wait or do you want me to take a pregnancy test? And she said, no, no, no, just wait. I really want the best results. And then, you know, I held up the stick and the camera.
And she just started crying. They were just really, really overwhelmed. She was like, I got a couple of you did that. I know I couldn’t wait. I was too excited. And I had two pregnancy tests, like the digital one and the one with the line and they were both pretty strong. Yeah, I think that’s classic surrogate. It’s in your body, you often know, and you’re the one that’s been pregnant before. It’s often the intended parents, if it’s a woman you’re caring for, have often had so many medical challenges to get to the point of needing surrogacy. So it’s lovely when it works first go and it’s.
joyful and positive. Yeah, she was really happy. It worked for her up first surrogate as well. Yeah, right. So they’ve probably still got some embryos left over. They have, I think 15 maybe, yeah. Yeah, I know. They make their embryos in Australia to start with or in Canada? In Canada. So then they had to have eight ships from Canada to Australia, so they’ve got eight in Canada still and then seven here now. So then these pregnancy photos, we’ve got 26 and 30 weeks, but.
How was the pregnancy in each of the trimesters for you? Was the first trimester hard? The first trimester was hard. I had morning sickness and I never had that with my girls. So I was really, really, yeah, really struggling with that. The second trimester I felt good, really good. And then obviously when we hit third trimester, I started having pretty yucky symptoms that I didn’t get with the girls as well. This was definitely a hard pregnancy. I didn’t feel the glow this pregnancy either.
like I did with the other two. Did it have an impact on your work? We were talking off air before about how you’re a preschool teacher. Did you have to have some unexpected time off? I did, and I finished up earlier than what I was expected to. I think maybe four weeks earlier, I had really bad pelvic girdle pain to the point where I was just…
At night I had to sit on a chair with ice packs everywhere and legs up and I’m on my feet all day at work so I just had to cease work really early which Mira was really really good about and my work was really good about too, they were really supportive. So does that mean your IPs covered your wage, topped that up until you started your maternity leave? Yeah, absolutely they did, they covered my wage and they even covered two weeks of Vincent’s wage when he had off as well. Excellent, yes so see that’s really valuable lessons for people listening to hear.
how those logistics work out. It’s funny, people are saying in chat, you’re glowing in pregnancy, you look amazing. Isn’t it interesting? We often do for the pregnancy. I’ll tell you the last one’s in black and white. I had to hide the bags under the eyes. Yes. Lisa and I connected over Instagram and social media and having messages back and forth during the pregnancy. And I remember sending her a photo of me at 30 something weeks of pregnancy, a similar photo, but I was taking weekly photos and my face.
I just didn’t smile in that one. Just to show this is the reality, this is hard and heavy. And there was another one where I was semi-collapsed on the kitchen floor. I was just so exhausted from cooking. And so we often don’t show some of that side of it. I showed my husband that, I’m like, it’s not just me. It’s hard for everybody. Yeah. So it is hard. So then we’ve got some other.
photos here that’s with Mira touching your belly? Yes, I think I was about 20 weeks there. And so was that nice for them to sort of be at some of the pregnancy scans and see and feel their baby kick this time around as opposed to in Canada? Yes, because she never got that first time around. She was never at any of the scans. She never felt any of the kick. You know, she got there when her surrogate I think was 36 weeks and she birthed at 37. So this time around she came to all majority of the scans every time it was moving and we were there she’d sit there with her hands on me and
really excited to be part of it all. Did you have similar expectations then in terms of you being comfortable with people touching your belly and her being comfortable touching it? Because some surrogacy teams might be mismatched in that way. How were you and being your brother too, how was all that? I didn’t mind people touching my stomach and she didn’t care either. I think she once wanted a photo of my brother putting a love heart on my tummy and we both.
said, no, that’s okay. We don’t need to do that. Um, I drew the line there, but I didn’t mind. She didn’t mind. Everyone was touching the belly. Obviously it was just, yeah, my brother didn’t need to do that. I mean, he didn’t do that when I was pregnant with my girl. So, and he was fine with that as well. And so then it was a plan C section, as you said, so this is the day. This is birthday, isn’t it? Yes. Yep. That was about 10 minutes before we got wheeled in. Wow. Yep. My husband’s standing by side of me and mirror. Wonderful.
And so did it all go fairly according to plans for the birth? Yes, it did. I opted to be first in that morning and the obstetrician made that happen for me. I asked for my brother to not be in the room. He was waiting in the maternity ward and everything went really according to plan. She was really good. We agreed. We rehearsed how the birth would go. She got the first cuddle. She wanted the skin to skin, which was absolutely fine.
I remember in the birth, she kept trying to put him on me and I said, no, I’m not ready to have him yet. Like you just have your time, you have your cuddle. I wanted them to really just focus on stitching me up and knew that that was finished before I had my cuddle. So actually my husband got a cuddle first beforehand and then I got my cuddle and you can see.
That was the first cuddle I had there with me and Mira. Yeah. And then obviously she, we and Vincent went to recovery and I told her she doesn’t have to come and she took Angus up to maternity ward to meet my brother for the first time. Wonderful. Yeah. And so then, and then so then once you’re all stitched up and sitting up and recovered, then you got some proper cuddles here. Yeah. And what was that like? Yeah, that was really, really special. It was really, really, it was a real moment.
actually. When I saw her holding for the first time and she just started crying, it just made everything well worth it, you know, all the struggles and it was really nice. That’s lovely. I’d say that’s pretty common for the surrogates. I realised once I just asked that question, how was that? In my head, I’m thinking, I know the answer. It’s not about the cuddles that you have, it’s about seeing your brother and sister-in-law.
them having the cuddles, that’s probably what your heart wanted, I’m guessing. Yeah, it definitely was. Even when I was in the recovery, there was a small part of me that was like, oh, I’m going to miss Daniel meeting Angus for the first time, but they filmed it and they sent it to me straight away. So it was really nice to see. Yes. That’s some really valuable discussions to have. I know of some surrogates, particularly during COVID times, couldn’t have the IPs in theatre because that’s limited numbers. And so I know of one surrogate that wanted to make
And then the IPs came in so that she got to be sitting up when she saw them meeting their child for the first time. So I think it’s really important to have these conversations. And as you say, we rehearsed the birth. I really liked that you had talked about who was gonna be where and when. That’s really important, I think. Yeah, even down to the, I said to Mira, I didn’t want you coming in until they were, the gown was up and we were ready to start operating. She came in right at the last moment. And because that’s…
pretty personal, right? You’re you’re there and you’re pretty vulnerable. Make it under there and have you’re open. There’s a catheter going in. There’s lights everywhere, doctors everywhere and I said oh you know they have a little bit of dignity. She can come in right you know when the sheep goes up and she was more than happy to do that. I think she felt comfortable doing that too. Yeah. Beautiful. And so then life starts to go on and there’s some photos of you having some cuddles with him as he’s growing up. Oh no. He’s so cute. Look at him. And I think he was so maybe
Four or five weeks in the first photo. Actually, first photo, yeah. And then maybe six or seven. I see him quite regularly, which is nice. And what is quite regularly for you guys? Because that could be different for every team. Oh, for us, once a fortnight. And they live an hour away from me as well. But we try and see each other at mum’s place, maybe once a fortnight. They really make an effort to even drive out here and come see me and bring Angus over. And she’s constantly sending me photos and videos daily, I reckon.
which is really, really nice. I love it so much. Good. In some ways it’s nice to have almost too much. Yeah, I said, keep sending. I love it. I send them to my friends. I love it. Good. It’s really sweet, yeah. And then photo here of the leaving home. That was going home, yes. My girls are really happy to have me come home. How long did you stay in hospital and did they have a room next to you for a night or so? I was in hospital for two nights. I asked to go home after the second night. I actually asked if possible to be
put at the other end by myself and they did that for me. So I actually had no one on either side of me. Yeah, down at the other end. They were absolutely fine with that. And Mira was at the other end, but we just walked back and forth to see each other. Or she’d message me and say, do you want to come in and come for a cuddle? I’ll come visit. And I was like, of course. She was really good, yeah. I love hearing you advocating for the things that you want. So having a little bit of distance, it’s still essentially a doorway apart. It’s just, you know, down the passage, but not hearing all the cries and all of.
Yeah, I didn’t hear anything else out at the other end chatting with the midwives, you know, it was really really good I really really was. I bet the midwives were so joyful to experience and be a part of that journey Yes, they actually told me that that was their the midwives I had that was their first surrogacy They’d been through so they were really really happy. Wonderful. It’s really special for them. And so there’s some photos of your girls with him and
And how did, how they felt about this whole process? My elder one, Ellie, she knew that Angus was her cousin, that we were just growing him and that when he was born, we’re going to give him to Thomas because Thomas doesn’t have a sibling and he needs a sibling just like you have Peppy. So she really understood that Peppy, not so much. She just knows him as Angie or Angus, her cousin, you know, but they loved watching my tummy grow. They knew there was a boy in there and they knew that when he was born, we’re going to give him to grow.
Thomas’s family and give Thomas a baby brother. Beautiful. Again, that’s really valuable for people listening, hearing what language you’re using with your own kids there. Do you know, well see, cause both the boys in that family have been grown by different surrogates. Do you know what language they’re planning on using and calling them? Would they use tummy mummy or just the, I grew in your tummy, that sort of thing? They call Mira refers to the first surrogate.
as Auntie Thatch and Thatch. So she said, I’ll always tell Thomas that that’s his auntie and that’s where he grew and that’s how he was born. And obviously I am Angus’s auntie. So then I think her future surrogates as well will be known as just Auntie. Auntie helped grow you because mommy couldn’t. And she’s really vocal about that as well. Yes, I think that’s wonderful. Yeah. Right. Well, so what are some of the other significant things about your journey that are worth mentioning? We mentioned before about some of the things
in pregnancy in terms of it being physically hard and was it emotionally hard? What can you tell us about that? Definitely harder than I thought both physically, mentally, emotionally as well. I wish actually I sought counseling.
more counselling than what I did and that me and my husband sought more counselling as well because I had one session right towards the end and it really really helped me. It was she was it was really really really amazing. I thought oh why didn’t I do this earlier? Why didn’t I seek more? So I think that’s maybe the only thing I regret maybe you could say from that. But yeah this pregnancy was definitely different. I was a little naive at the beginning to think I thought it would just be all smooth sailing.
you know, just as easy as the other two. And I don’t know whether it was because I’m a bit older, third pregnancy, it was a boy. I don’t know, but I just got, you know, all the unwanted pregnancy symptoms. I guess you could call them throughout the whole journey, you know, and like I said, I wasn’t feeling the glow. I was towards the end just, yeah, being excited that it was gonna be over soon. I wasn’t enjoying being pregnant towards the end. That’s true.
And I think they knew that as well and they felt really bad. And they were trying to, you know, Lisa, here’s our card, go and go get a massage, go get your nails done, go see physio, like they were really good. Okay, well that’s good that they were on the front foot then sort of making suggestions. In terms of that counseling, when you say, you wish you’d had more, was there something that was valuable then in the session that you did have that you could see that would have been helpful to have during the pregnancy then? I think her just validating my feelings.
I was feeling a bit down, a bit angry. Um, and just having her validate that that’s okay. This is all normal. This is all part of the process. Not just, you know, when you signed up for this, she really like listened and validated me. I think I was like constantly whinging to my husband. Just like nodding and guessing, but you know, she really gave me good feedback and good tactics and how to work through it, um, and preparing me for the birth and everything. So it was just really, really, really valuable and setting my boundaries in the birth as well, I think was really, really helpful. Yeah. She’s the one who suggested, um, rehearsing how you’d like the birth to go, you know, and being really firm.
that and talking to Daniel and Mira about how you’d like that to go. It was really, really, really insightful. It was really helpful. Good. And that was Katrina Hale. I think we’d said that. Yes. Yes. Amazing. Yes. So I suppose, yeah, for those listening, you know, that is something that we would recommend having some scheduled sessions, not only for the surrogate during the pregnancy, the IPs might have some solo sessions on their own too to help them, you know,
you know, navigate this surrogate pregnancy in somebody else’s body and ideas for how to handle that and helping them transition to parenthood. And then sometimes as a team as well to have some group sessions and the counselor can sometimes facilitate some of those conversations.
as well. Was she therefore not the person you used for the mandatory counselling earlier or you had used her? No, we did use her actually. We did use her and I really, really, really liked her. Good. And I said I’m going to use you again and I did. Yeah, and she was really, really great. And so that’s probably good feedback too that the person that you have the big mandatory sessions with before pregnancy, you’re developing that connection with that counsellor already so it makes sense to them.
continue with them? Yes, yes. She was highly recommended to Mira. And then after we spoke to her, I was like, I can see why I’m gonna use her. And then I had a session with her after I gave birth as well. Right. And she was, me and Vincent did, it was really good. One of the questions are typed in by Jamie and Cody, asked, as a team face any challenges and how did you overcome them together? As a team, did we face any challenges? Not that I can recall. I know that’s coming to mind. Were there any times disagreeing on how things should go during pregnancy or post-birth
people felt differently. I think perhaps she would have liked, I think she would have liked maybe Daniel in the room, you know, for the birth. But I was pretty set on, no, I’m sorry. I just need to feel comfortable in what I’m doing and I don’t feel comfortable having him here. So I think they’ve flirted the idea a few times and then I was like, no, no, no, like this is how we’re gonna do it. And then they were okay. So no, they were really good, really supportive with anything I needed. Obviously at times I could see it on my face that I wasn’t happy in how I was feeling emotionally. And I feel like she just sometimes tried to,
overcompensate and try to help in more ways than what she could. And that just made me just, you know, just give me some time and my space to get through this and navigate this. And, you know, I’ll speak when I’m ready. I think that was it, but they were trying to be as helpful as they could. You know, they both had full-time jobs. They had a little one to look after. We lived an hour away. Yeah. That was probably it. Was it a combination of sometimes surrogates are notorious for not asking for what they need. Um, but then sometimes IPs say things like, let us know if you need any help. But in some ways you kind of want them to name the things like.
We will cook you. Tell us what night you want this meal and we will bring it over or massages and physio. How was that balance between you all? Pretty good. She used to say, Oh, you know, he’s our debit card. Have a meal on our, have a, you know, have a meal when you’re too tired to cook. And then I actually said, you know what I think we’re going to do once a night, once a week, sorry, have a sushi night out. And that would be our night out for sushi train. And it would be on that. And then I.
I spoke to them about it and they were like, no, absolutely. If you want two nights, do two nights. So they were pretty good. And that was really good. So we knew Thursday night was our sushi train night was not, I didn’t have to think about cooking and they were, and they would cover it. Yes. I think that was pretty good. Great way to do it there. Being upfront, saying what you need and saying the frequency. I think that’s really valuable too. I think I found post-birth, I still wasn’t really in a capacity to cook for a couple of weeks, um, even though I enjoy cooking. And I think I would have preferred to have prepaid meal vouchers like.
uber or so then I didn’t feel guilty of how often I would have needed to have used it but having an arrangement like you had could be another way to work it as well. And it’s funny because I remember the actually psychologist spoke about that before.
We had fallen pregnant and I remember thinking to myself, oh, I won’t need to do that. Like that’s just, I feel like I’m taking advantage. But then when I was pregnant and feeling incredibly exhausted and tired, looking after two small children, I went, no, I can see why they do this. And I don’t feel bad. I’m sorry, we really needed it. We have to remember that if the pregnancy was in their body and it was their wife and she couldn’t cook, then of course they’d get takeout. So it’s almost, it’s like your family of four adults. So. Yeah.
Yeah, but it’s a strange thing because the surrogates, we don’t want it to cost our IPs any more than it needs to. But on the other hand, we’re carrying the heavy load, aren’t we, with the pregnancy there? Yeah. Yeah, I know. I didn’t want to, that’s what we thought. Sushi night, good, it’s easy, it’s cheap, you know, it’ll work well. And like I said, they were really on board. They were really happy with that. Even after the birth.
She said, keep using our card, you know, you can’t drive, it’ll be hard for you to move around with the Cesar. So she was good with that as well. So I’m sensing you’re glad that you did it. Is there anything that you would change then, like if you were to redo that journey, I suppose, as you said, maybe some counseling, but yeah, anything different? No, probably, like I said, just the counseling. I was really, really big on that.
Like I said, when I had the last session, right after we were about to give birth, I said to myself, why didn’t I do this earlier? That was probably the only thing I would change. But yeah, other than that, it was a really wonderful journey. Good. What have you learned about yourself during this journey then?
I was just really happy and content in my life and feeling that I could do something like this. It made me feel really, really strong and really, really humble, you know, and feeling, you know, it was a really, and everyone kept saying, oh, it’s such a selfish thing to do, such a selfish thing to do. You don’t really think about it until like after, you know, but it’s just so rewarding and it is really selfless actually. You know, it’s four months, I think I’m four months postpartum and now I’m starting to somewhat feel like myself again. Yes. It’s a huge journey. You take your body on and your mind on too. So
something that you should be really proud of. I’m proud of you, Suri Sister, that it’s something Yeah, thank you. not many of us do in life. No, I know, not many of us do. And I remember even telling people, and they’re like, oh, you’re having a baby. You know, and then I tell them the story, their face just all dropped, they’re like, oh my gosh.
You know, because it’s not as common to some people as you think. You know, a lot of people don’t know a surrogate. They’re just learning through like, oh, my sister’s friend’s brother, you know, or I know someone who did that for someone. Yeah. But now you’re a real one. I am a real one. Yeah. What are some of the strangest things you’ve had people say to you or ask you? I often get asked, oh, do you still see them? Do you get to see the baby is what I get asked. But.
Do you get asked any strange things? I got asked, was it weird leaving the baby at the hospital and coming home? And I had to explain that actually we got discharged together. I was well aware of what was happening and that I knew I wasn’t taking a baby home. That was one of the, oh, is it weird seeing him with my sister-in-law holding him as his mom, even though you birthed him? I said, no, no, it’s actually really, really beautiful. Yeah.
Or do you think, the other one I got asked was, do you wish you did it for a stranger and maybe it would have been easier having that relationship and maybe not seeing them as much as opposed to having him as your nephew and watching him grow up? And I said, no, for me, I think for me personally, it’s easier and more rewarding for seeing my nephew, you know, he’s my nephew, he’s my godson. I get to grow up, see him grow old and see him grow up and achieve all those milestones. That were probably the three most common questions I got. Yes, and I find they often come from people who they themselves could never be surrogates.
And so it’s hard for them to fathom when we just know we can do it. I know. And a lot of times people would be like, Oh, wow. I just couldn’t do that. I’m like, okay. A friend just read in chat here, another surrogate. It’s her favorite line is when she chats to people about surrogacy and they say, Oh, I couldn’t do that. And, and in my head, I want to say, well, I didn’t ask you to do it, but I try and be polite. Yeah. Or I got, um, one person asked me, what am I getting out of it? And they went, Oh, what do you mean? And they said like the rule.
What’s the reward? What’s the prize at the end? And I said, Oh, I get to see him be birthed. And, you know, I’m growing their family. There is no problem. That is the prize. You know, you get people ask me, are you getting paid for it? You know, they didn’t know that that was illegal. And I said, No, I’m not getting paid for it. And they’re like, so you’re just doing it out of their own goodness of your heart. I said, Yeah, actually, yeah, I am. Wow. All these people you’ve helped educate about surrogacy. It’s good work.
Yeah. Or I got scared, I got asked, are you scared at birth that you’re actually going to want to change your mind and keep him? Which I’m assuming is a really common question.
You know, like you said before, no, no, we had finished well and truly finished our family. Like you said, if we wanted to have another one, we wouldn’t go down this journey of, you know, this difficult journey or, you know, took a year to do. We would just have one ourselves. On that then, this was going to be my questions. Katrina Hale often talks about this head, heart, hormones idea. That your head and your heart know where baby is and you’ve done what you wanted to do. But your hormones in your body is sometimes like, um, where’s the baby? I suppose because you were seeing each other still fairly regularly.
where your body felt a bit sad and lost post-birth, but your head and your heart were feeling okay. Can you tell us about that? Yes, so my milk, so I didn’t breastfeed and I took the tablet to suppress the milk, but the milk still came in. And when that happened, I was really, really emotional. Even to the point if she would FaceTime me and I’d hear her cry, my breasts would start leaking and I’d get really emotional and try and cover that up to her. I didn’t want her seeing that. But that was only really about the time over that the first week.
where I was trying to suppress the milk. I was quite emotional in the shower, just times on my own actually. I’m trying to fathom what I’d just done and process what I had just done. You know, it was really, really huge. Or even if the girls were in the shower and they saw, you know, the big bandage and they’re like, what’s that? Or where’d the baby go? You know, just those really innocent questions. I’d get emotional then. But at that point she was, I was seeing him.
I think every three or four days, they were really good, really, really, they knew I couldn’t drive and Vincent had to go back to work. So they were bringing him over for me to have cuddles with. And then that made it actually, that made me feel okay. And like, and once the milk had dried up, then I was feeling okay again. Excellent. Yeah. Cause your own kids at the time were still little. Did you find that you were extra cuddly with them perhaps? Yeah. And then, and
I definitely loved, and the night before birth, I had them both in my bed and I was crying to them. Before bed, we were like cuddling them in my arms and said, why are you crying? And I said, oh, it doesn’t matter. I said, mommy just loves you both very much. You know, I was a bit scared and nervous going into having an operation the next day. You know, if they were gonna wake up and mommy was already gonna be gone. I was feeling really emotional about that. Or, you know, the next time they’d see me, I’d be in a hospital bed or gowned up and you know, if they wouldn’t really understand what was going on.
That was pretty emotional for me. That’s really valuable to hear that some of those different journeys that you’ve been on. Lauren asks, when you already had two girls and you found out it was a boy, was it hard at all for you or hubby knowing that you didn’t have a boy and you were now carrying a boy? Was that an issue? No, I was actually excited. I was excited to see if the pregnancy was actually different if it was a boy.
I was excited to birth a boy as well. And it was exciting because with my girls, we didn’t find out what the sex was. It was exciting to know, we found they did a, Daniel and Mira did a gender reveal party to hear or see it was a boy. I was actually excited, but no, that wasn’t an issue at all. But I had, it was really strange. When the transfer went through, five days later, I said, I’m 100% certain this is gonna be a boy. Like I was just so, felt so strong about it. I just felt that it was a boy.
And then when it was a boy, I was like, wow, I knew it. But now I was excited. I went, I wonder if this pregnancy will be different because it is a boy or if that’s a thing. And if, because it’s genetically not yours at all as well. So it’s hard to know if it’s cause it’s the gender or if it’s the genetics. It’s a guessing game really, nobody will ever know. No, but I was excited to say that I had carried a boy as well. That’s true. Yeah. Well, I think we’ve done a great job covering lots of things here tonight. Is there any parting advice that you would like to give for any?
surrogates and IPs listening that you might have given to people over the years when you’ve talked about surrogacy? I actually wish I had spoken to a surrogate prior to going on my journey. I really wish I did because I obviously remember during my journey I messaged you a lot asking a lot of questions and getting feelings validated, is it normal to feel this way? So I wish I think as a feature surrogate it’s nice to have these chats with other surrogates who have gone through the journey because no two journeys are the same. Everyone’s experience is going to be different, they’re not all going to be rainbows and butterflies you know so that would be my…
advice to you, advice to the future surrogates, have a chat with them, get on board. Great advice there. Yes, so yeah, find community, I think. And if people, and so we found each other and had private messages, sometimes that might be what it is, or sometimes it might be a group. And so that’s probably a good opportunity for me to do a plug again for the Zoom monthly catch-ups that we run. That’s where you could start to find community through there, both surrogates and IPs, for those who are new that are listening. And from within that, you might strike up friendships.
that you can carry offline and continue on that journey. Yeah, finding community. I think, yeah, that’s good advice there. Because we do it in life, don’t we? Like when we started a new workplace, we often find a buddy. Or if you join a new sport team or you travel overseas, you talk to somebody else who’s done what you’re going to do on a particular tour. Yeah, I did.
I didn’t know anyone else who had done this. I couldn’t speak to anyone. The only person I could speak to was Mira, but it was her experience as an IP rather than a surrogate. So then I think it was halfway through when I found your Instagram and I was like, oh my goodness. And then I got in contact and I was like, it was really, really helpful to me. Am I right in thinking too that you’re not on Facebook? I’m not on Facebook, no, just on Instagram. Yes, see, there you go. Hence another reason why we need to find community without social media. I mean, Instagram’s one version, but yeah.
I’m so pleased then that we connected and here we are now celebrating. Me too, here we are. Wonderful. Thank you for joining me. If you’d like to see the photos shared in this webinar presentation, head over to our YouTube channel to watch the webinar. You can head to surrogacyaustralia.org for more information about surrogacy. Also check out our Zoom monthly catch-up sessions which are a great way to connect with others in the surrogacy community.
Attending a zoom is scary the first time but there’s only ever one first time. We have all been beginners at some stage. As we say it takes a village to raise a child and in the case of surrogacy it takes a village to make a child so welcome to the village.
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