My daughter was conceived in May 2003 but wasn’t born until June 2008. Confused? Yeah, we get that a lot.
It all started with a routine check-up. It was April 2003, and the last day of my journalism degree. I was frantically editing my final article, planning a trip, and daydreaming about my new boyfriend. The news my doctor delivered blindsided me: Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
My life was turned upside down and shaken hard for good measure. My trip was cancelled, I didn’t finish that paper, and chemotherapy and radiation became words I tossed around in casual conversation. I was 30 years old and a cancer patient.
Survival was my primary focus so becoming a mom wasn’t even on my radar. But my oncologist insisted I see a fertility doctor, and less than a month later my boyfriend and I were proud parents to 20 embryos, all on ice.
The plan was to get through treatment (which I did), get married (which we did), and then thaw those babies out. I expected twins, and that our biggest worry would be what to do with the rest of the embryos. But after endless treatment cycles we finally admitted defeat. I would never carry a baby.
After my diagnosis my sister said, without hesitation, that she’d carry a baby for us if it ever came to that. Fast-forward 5 years and that’s exactly where we ended up. Then came the complicated stuff: counseling, lawyers, medical tests, stress...gestational surrogacy demands a lot emotional stamina.
To make a long story short, our daughter was thawed out and transferred to my sister’s uterus to be lovingly housed for 9 months. My husband and I were bursting with gratitude: for my sister, her husband, and their children, to be so selfless and give us this ultimate gift.
Despite my daughter’s unconventional entry to this world I’m a pretty regular mom. I had a baby shower, breastfed for 8 months (amazing, isn’t it?), and I struggle with sleep, potty training, and mommy guilt. Like many other parents, our daughter’s birth will be the most significant experience of our lives. It also solidified the bond I have with my sister, and I love our story – it’s beyond special.
As for my daughter, well, she’s a beautiful, feisty and independent toddler who hates wearing mittens. I guess after being frozen for 5 years, cold winter days don’t seem so bad!