As I stood outside the operating room doors, I kissed my beautiful daughter on top of her head and they rolled her in. She was about to lose the one thing in life that was dear to her; her ability to have children. She had put off this surgery for many years. In fact, since she was a teenager her doctors had been warning her. All her life I told her “you can do it”… what will I tell her when she opens her eyes this time? This is one thing mom can’t fix. Her tears would rip my heart out over the next few weeks realizing that her chance to be a mom was gone.
It was the same operating room where I, at the age of 33 had my hysterectomy, the difference being that at 33 I had already had my family. She was “MY” miracle child. She had no children yet and wanted them. Her doctor was the son of my doctor, history had repeated itself. My husband and I packed a bag, moved into her apartment for a few weeks and nursed her back to health. Emotionally we could not help her but her physical wounds healed and she moved on, a bit empty now but free from physical pain.
At the time I worried about her decision to insist the doctor not touch her ovaries. She wanted to keep what little chance there was for her “miracle.” She often told me, to my heartbreak, “Just because I was your miracle baby does that mean that I should have to give up my chance?” Yes, she was a miracle baby; doctors did not believe she could have survived that pregnancy. You see, I carried her for nine months being told she was twins. Doctors felt two heads but heard only one heart beat! Perhaps in the era of no ultrasounds or sophisticated testing I was lucky they could not see a tumor bigger than a football and another the size of a grapefruit next to the baby I was carrying. Certainly they would have wanted to terminate that pregnancy had they seen all this. Rather, the pregnancy was to produce a most wonderful girl. Three years later, with a more competent doctor, I had a complete hysterectomy and amazed the doctor with the fact that I had three healthy children. Faith can move mountains.
So the cycle of life continues against all odds. In disbelief of the magic of medicine today and unknowledgeable about the sophistication of medical science, I grieved my daughter’s loss like no other in my life at that time; UNTIL a phone call came several years later. By now she had married, had a wonderful career and seemed happy but not complete yet … the call said “Mother, we are going to try to have a baby!” “And how might that be?” She went on to explain the miracle of Surrogacy to me. I in turn went to explain to her father. We were beyond happy. Not once did we think it would not happen. Yes, faith can move mountains. We have always believed that. Apparently she heard our message growing up, “You can achieve your dreams, if you don’t give up.” I told her that over and over when the little things in life would upset my little girl. It seemed she’d found a way to have her miracle after all. I immediately contacted every friend in the world and asked that she and her husband be put on their prayer list. We visited cathedrals, wrote her name and her surrogate’s name in the books to be prayed for, we lit candles. As the surrogate (whom I shall call Angel) became pregnant with my grandson, our friends and anyone who would listen were asked to pray for “Angel” that she would be healthy and happy and bring us our new grandchild. I told sales girls in department stores all about surrogacy. I told my internist who was backed up in appointments that day but still took the time to listen and ask many questions. I guess you might say that I educated our doctor about Surrogacy. People in line at the grocery store heard all about the miracle of Surrogacy. At some point my husband must have been embarrassed but I wanted to spread the word, in fact, I could not contain myself about this miracle of medical science. My daughter’s dream came true and therefore mine and her father’s as well. Surrogacy was changing all of our lives!
The wait became unbearable… our grandson was growing healthier by the day, but three states away. I must admit if “Angel” would have allowed it, I might have moved in with her. I know I mortified my daughter many times, but as I said, I could not contain my amazement and happiness. Time passed very slowly even though we did receive regular updates and photos regarding the pregnancy. Finally…labor began. Sitting here in PA so far away was torture. After eating everything in the fridge out of pure nervousness, we did get into the car that night and drove to the hospital three states away. We could not sit there any longer. After a long drive we arrived at the hospital where our grandson had been born… healthy and beautiful. “Angel” too was healthy and happy with the part she’d played in this gigantic miracle. We met her family and her children who all seemed overjoyed to have been a part of this. Somehow it was unbelievable but there he was, a perfect baby, my grandson. Watching my daughter hold her baby was one of the greatest joys of my life and I know her dad felt the same way.
Honestly, a grandmother feels so much joy at holding a grandchild for the first time. This was no different; he was just loved so much. This little guy, however, gave us a run for our money on his journey to get here. He is a fighter and he knew somehow that we were waiting for him just as his mommy knew he was meant to be with her. My miracle baby had her miracle baby!
Seven years later he is a smart, happy and joyful boy. Three years later I have calmed down and don’t annoy everyone with ears about what miracles are being performed by doctors all across America or about Surrogacy. Seven years later we still put “Angel’s” real name on the prayer book in the shrines and cathedrals we visit but, this time in a prayer of thanks.
The news we hear about Surrogacy is not always good but unfortunately that is merely life… in every walk of life there are dishonest people. Actually, it is not Surrogacy that is bad, it is a few people and if you go into this with proper knowledge and lawyers to handle contracts, which are a must, you need not worry about all of the bad publicity anymore than you would about selling an old lawn mower on the internet or in the newspaper. You must use your head. There are, after all, many more good folks out there than bad.
And behind everything else you hear are the grandparents… silent behind the scenes but holy moly every bit involved as possible and a very big part in their own way of the surrogacy journey and miracle of birth.
By Evelyn McGoldrick