My name is Natalia and I am over the moon to be expecting my first baby on March 2, 2013; I can’t even begin to describe the joy I feel.
Any surrogacy story is out of the ordinary, but like many things in my life, my surrogacy journey didn’t follow the usual pattern of events that most do. My husband Ash and I had not been trying for years to have children; we did not have many failed attempts. We had actually resigned ourselves to the fact that we would never be parents and were living our lives as such (and loving our gorgeous kitty cats as best we could instead).
I have been living with an autoimmune condition for a number of years that is undiagnosed and a bit of a mystery to doctors. I won’t go into the details, but it requires management by multiple medications and regular treatments at the hospital, both of which would be toxic to a baby and neither or which I can afford to be without for even a short period. This means that there is no possibility of me becoming pregnant.
In terms of my health in general, while I do suffer from day to day side effects, I don’t let it get in the way of living my life. I have a wonderful husband, I own and run my own marketing business, a great circle of friends and now I am even writing a children’s book about surrogacy. So, what I am saying is – my illness hasn’t stopped me living a full life and now it is not going to stop me from becoming a mum either.
My husband and I looked into adoption; however the standards are so strict that even if you have the smallest health concern, you are ineligible for consideration – that put us out of the running from the word go.
We had not really considered surrogacy as a serious option as we were aware that commercial surrogacy in Australia is illegal and I am unable to travel overseas for extended periods of time due to my need for medical treatments at the hospital, which would be requirement for commercial surrogacy overseas. Altruistic Surrogacy seemed like a fantasy that would never really happen…. Surely not!
A little over a year ago, on my husband’s birthday, after a few drinks, I was discussing the situation with my sister and in a slightly tipsy state, she offered to be my surrogate. We both got emotional and agreed to talk about it another time. Of course, I couldn’t think of anything else at all until the next time I saw her when she assured me that she too has been thinking incessantly about it and was sure she wanted to move forward.
The only snag was that she lived overseas and needed to sort things out with her partner. The plan was for them to have their first baby first and then for her to have our baby. I warned her that she shouldn’t enter into this lightly as we had been on a massive emotional rollercoaster when it came to the subject of children. She implored that she was serious so we started making enquiries and plans. We got very excited.
Unfortunately, a couple of weeks later, she told me that her and her partner could not commit to it. I was crushed – a zombie for days. I was back to the resolution of a life without children.
A few weeks later I was chatting about the situation with a nurse at the hospital that gives me my treatments and she said she had recently read an article about a group of women in Australia who were altruistic surrogates for women they didn’t know. She encouraged me to start digging around on the internet because she was sure that, though rare, women like that were out there.
So that’s what I did. I scrounged the depths of the internet looking at all sorts of sites. I finally came upon a closed forum where people can discuss fertility, surrogacy and all sorts of things and get advice and support and I joined. I was very lucky enough to meet a wonderful woman, here in Sydney (even better). We emailed and spoke on the phone and had dinner and she finally offered to be our surrogate. I was amazed and in shock. It all happened so quickly! There were others who had been searching for years and still not found their perfect person, yet we had found Kerri-Ann as if by fate.
Kerri-Ann is the most amazing woman I have ever met. We have had to go on a long journey together as surrogacy in Australia is extremely regulated. In addition to all the IVF treatments, there are approvals/tests from doctors and endless hours from counsellors and psychologists as well as approval from an ethics committee, legal contracts etc all before you can even begin. Once my hubby’s and mine embryos were created, they also had to be frozen for 4 months due to a law called the human tissue act.
So there have been lots of appointments and hoops to jump through and waiting. During this time Kerri-Anne and I have become great friends. We text most days, talk often and catch up for dinner every fortnight. We were lucky enough for the pregnancy to take on the first embryo transfer – amazing! Seems like things have really happened as they should. Kerri-Ann has also been a really calming influence throughout the whole experience as I am a stress-head and she is cool as a cucumber. I can’t really explain the relationship that we have – it is unlike any relationship that I have or will ever have. I mean… my baby is in her belly! Insane!
Ash and I have been going to all the scans and I will go to all the ante-natal appts. We will also be present at the birth and we are hoping that I will help deliver my baby into the word (very cool!)
It is a very strange and intense situation having your baby grow not in your own body. I can’t control the situation at all and I can’t tell what is happening or feel it, see it, experience it first hand. So I sometimes get stressed or worried. Kerri-Ann has truly been the best person to do this with and I can’t imagine going through this with anyone else.
The one major stress throughout this experience is that the IVF has made me very unwell. My doctors did warn me that it was unadvised for someone with my kind of illness to attempt IVF but also promised to support me if things went wrong. It’s been 8 month now since the IVF and I am still struggling with my health. The docs are a little worried but being very supportive.
I am doing everything I can to be as healthy as possible for when bub arrives. I am working less, eating well, walking and meditating and about to try a new kind of treatment that might help too. No matter, what happens, I don’t regret it, as having my baby is worth it times infinity!
We find out the sex next Friday and will be at the half-way mark. I’m so looking forward to staring in to my beautiful baby’s eyes very soon.
More about Natalia
Natalia is writing a book for families that are having children via surrogacy. Natalia and her partner believe that it is important for children to understand the truth about their history.
The book is a story book that parents can read to children so that the idea that they were born via surrogacy is part of the fabric of their life. Natalia consulted with an expert psychologist to get the messaging right and it is now being illustrated. She is self-publishing and it will be released in early 2013.
Natalia is currently seeking supporters and sponsors for the production costs. There is a sponsorship proposal that interested parties can look at, personal or commercial (please email:firstname.lastname@example.org ). People can also follow the book’s progress via the FB page: www.facebook.com/yourtummytime