I sat at the table of The Coffee Club, nervously fiddling with my fingers and looking around for the familiar face from the group.
It didn’t take her long to arrive, and I could see from her smile and the words that came tumbling out of her mouth, how nervous she was too.
We had already been chatting for weeks. I noticed and acknowledged, briefly, how much this had felt like dating.
First, you met up with a lot of people online, who were looking for someone special.
Then you spoke to a few and got to know them better.
Finally, you would meet up with one, seemingly good catch, to discuss if things felt like the right fit.
I met Tracy in the Surrogacy Australia Facebook support group.
I had intended, with conviction, to become somebody’s surrogate.
I was a proud mum of three beautiful boys. For the entirety of my late teens to early twenties, my life had been purely devoted to raising them, as a stay at home mum
I had learned, over time, that the opportunity to be a mother didn’t come so easily to everyone who desired it.
Some people tried for years, without success. Some had poured thousands into IVF, and tried, seemingly endlessly, to fall pregnant, with varying outcomes and endings.
For some, it went beyond that. For one reason or another, they couldn’t carry a baby on their own. Some had then sought out, through every painstaking, confusing and expensive avenue, to find their way to their child.
It felt unfair to me, that I was given my babies so damn easily (and at times, without even trying) while others went months, even years and thousands of dollars into their dream of a family without being able to conceive.
Tracy was one of these people. She had taken it upon herself to navigate the shadow-casted pathways on the journey of becoming a mother through any means necessary. She had needed an egg donor and a surrogate.
Here is the biggest hurdle in such a journey for any intended parent:
Surrogacy is only legal in Australia altruistically.
You cannot simply save up the money for a surrogate or an egg donor. Instead, you have to find them, healthy and willing, to donate their service to you, free of charge.
The amount of intended parents looking for help far outweighs willing surrogates in Australia. The process is emotionally risky, long and expensive, with everybody’s well-being becoming paramount for any success. No one is guaranteed the outcome they desire.
To choose to keep fighting on anyway, to me, is pure heroism. To hold hope in such a way. To consistently fight for what you know needs to happen. If anyone is so sure they are destined to be a parent, it is the parents of surrogate children.
So what does it take to build that kind of relationship with someone?
For me, at first, I had made the decision to do so, but not the decision for who.
Tracy put me under no pressure. She simply had befriended me online, and supported me through my own process of figuring out what I wanted to do with whomever I chose to do so. We chatted more and more, until finally, we decided to meet.
By the time we had met I had already made my choice.
Tracy chatted away, nerves obvious, and confirmed to me that she was exactly the person I thought. Her eyes widened as I told her that yes, I would happily be her surrogate.
We hugged, and our journey began.
It took a long time just to get through the legals, contracts, mandatory counselling, paperwork and initial appointments before we began IVF.
Tracy had already sourced an egg donor. An amazing woman called Sarah.
Sarah was featured, years later, alongside her sister for donating to so many families. She is truly a blessing to the world with a heart made of pure gold.
Also, she tells great one liners.
The first transfer failed.
I think we all collectively felt that pain. I wondered what on earth I’d done wrong. I went through every step in my head, and pondered if I’d let Tracy down.
Of all the emotion felt in the failure of that first transfer, Tracy held her cool the best. Showing me no sadness, she told me these things happen, and we could just try again. Her positivity and support kept me going, all the way through to the next appointment.
On Christmas Eve, we were given amazing news.
I clutched onto a small, plastic test that I had sneakily taken before our appointment. Sharing this with Tracy, we both cried. My pregnancy was fairly uneventful, in terms of my health. I suffered a little fatigue and a sore back, but I had nothing too scary to report.
Tracy, Sarah and I celebrated every milestone. We documented the entire pregnancy, from embryo to birth and beyond.
Georgia was born on August 21st 2015 at 10.58am. A healthy, beautiful baby girl born into a loving home.
Sarah and I are her two, special Aunties.
She is now a happy, chatty, inquisitive and friendly little girl with so much love around her she will never be left wanting.
I am so proud and happy of what I got to be a part of.
I have gained an extended family through the process (since this was how we had agreed we wanted things to be) and I now get to watch them thrive together, with completion of everything they wanted.
For more information on surrogacy you can visit the Surrogacy in Australia Facebook page.
And you can watch piece of this journey in the clips below.
There's generosity, and then there's giving someone the miracle of a child they feared they'd never have. Two sisters, both mums, helping other women have babies of their own. #9ACA | WATCH THE FULL STORY: https://www.9now.com.au/a-current-affair/2017/extras/latest/180101/donor-sisters
Posted by A Current Affair on Monday, 1 January 2018