HIV+ Surrogacy: Michelle’s Decision to Carry Again

Shortly after the SurroTwins were born, I started thinking about doing another journey. During the pregnancy, my husband and I discussed it off and on. One day, after an all-day bout of “morning” sickness, or when the sciatica would shoot down my leg making it impossible to sleep, I’d think, “HELL NO am I ever doing this again;” the next day I’d be glowing and my husband would say how hot I looked and we’d start talking about doing it again.

Our average consensus was that if our current IFs wanted to do a sibling journey, we would, but that we wouldn’t actively seek another couple to work with. When the twins were born at 31 weeks 5 days, I questioned if doing a second journey was even a possibility.

MichellePine_SurroTwins

On the day of my six-week check-up, I filled out a records request form and had all of my hospital and updated medical records sent to Oregon Reproductive Medicine to find out. Even though I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to, I needed to know if I had to exclude it as an option or leave it open. Six very long weeks later, I got word that was approved to carry a singleton, but not twins.

I knew that my first IFs wanted to have more children, and that their plan was to do another set of twins in a few years. Which meant carrying for them again was not an option. I was disheartened. The thought of doing another journey was still on my mind, but I wasn’t completely sure. My husband was even less convinced.

Then, in January, I went to San Francisco to speak at the Men Having Babies conference. I had a great time sharing my experience on the panel, and thoroughly enjoyed talking about it with people who were genuinely interested in the whole process. After the conference, we walked down the street to a local gay bar for an after-event event. I started talking with one couple, who expressed appreciation for my part on the panel and sharing so openly and honestly about my journey.

MHB panel

“While you were talking I turned to A and said ‘I want her for our surrogate!’”

“Well, I’m considering another journey, so…”

We talked for quite a bit that night, some about a possible journey—little details like that I was only able to carry one baby, and that I’d have to wait until at least August, if not later in the fall, to get pregnant—and some just about our interests and families. I felt a great connection with them and really enjoyed the laid back feeling of our conversation.

Although I wasn’t scheduled to speak at the conference the next day, I went back to the conference center anyway. There were a couple people I needed to meet, and although I could have easily just gotten their contact info and done an email introduction, it was a good excuse to go back and try to find J & A. After lunch with some fellow surrogate friends, I tracked them down. I knew that they weren’t anywhere near ready to match and wasn’t really even sure if they had a genuine interest in working with me—or if it was just the excitement of the night or having had a couple drinks or them just trying to be nice.

I saw them in line for lunch, and approached them, much more nervous than I thought I’d be. Like I usually do when I have face-to-face conversations with people, I totally choked, and my previously rehearsed conversation flew out the window. I think I came off more like some sort of crazed baby-obsessed lunatic, and their response felt a lot more “Oh, you thought we were serious?!” than I had envisioned. But, you don’t know if you don’t ask, and overall I felt good about it. If anything, attending that conference and meeting a potential match just solidified how passionate I am about surrogacy and how much I want to do it again, even if it didn’t work out with J & A.

Sitting in the airport that evening, waiting for my flight home, I opened up my Passion Planner and started outlining thoughts for a second journey. Local or International? Gay or Straight? Contract changes? Compensation? Timeline? I wasn’t sure on the details, but I was start.

The truth is, being a surrogate made me really, really happy. I love being pregnant. I love that first positive test when you can stop sucking it in and start wearing leggings like you just don’t care. I love feeling babies wiggle and kick around inside me. I feel sexy when I’m pregnant, and quite frankly, my husband agrees. After the initial “Oh crap—there’s an eight pound baby trying to escape out of a much-too-small hole right this fricking moment” I actually enjoy labor and that crazy rush of oxytocin right after. Of course, having three children of my own, I knew all that before doing this. So even more so, sharing this experience with someone else made me really, really happy. Seeing the babies with their dads fills my heart with an indescribable joy.

The surrogate community is the most amazing community of women I’ve ever been privileged enough to be a part of. As an educator, I feel as though I’ve been connected with some pretty remarkable human beings. But the surrogates I’ve been introduced to take that to a whole nother level of selflessness, giving, and support. Hearing all their stories about where they were in their journey—I knew I had one more in me. My husband, however, would need a little more convincing.

About Michelle:

MichellePineNOH8Michelle is a thirty-something married mother of three. She teaches special education at an alternative high school in rural Southern Oregon. Her first surrogacy was for a same-sex couple from Israel. When she’s not taking care of her own children or birthing them for someone else, she enjoys reading and writing and exploring Oregon.

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