"I want to be a father one day," Frank told me on our first date. "I do, too," I said. This is our surrogacy story.
IN THE BEGINNING
We attended a Daddies and Papas 2B course at our local LGBTQ Community Centre here in Toronto. The course explored all avenues possible for gay men to become fathers. Although Frank wanted to be dads, I wasn't ready for it, financially, emotionally, or mentally. It took me some time to prepare myself, and after I signed my contract with the school board for a job, I said to Frank, "Let's do it".
FINDING A BABY MAMA
We started the process back in January 2013 by researching different surrogacy and egg donor websites and reading many blogs about surrogacy and egg donors. We chose an experienced egg donor who had donated eggs three separate times already; on the day of egg retrieval we went to the fertility clinic to make a "deposit." After all was said and done, we had 16 viable eggs, so 8 eggs were fertilized with Frank's sperm, and 8 with mine. And contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as mixing the sperm to fertilize the eggs.
A HOT COMMODITY
While searching for an egg donor, we were also talking and meeting with many women about being our gestational carrier. (Our egg donor and surrogate are two different women). We found it became quite a challenge to find a woman to carry our baby through the web service we were using. As soon as a woman's profile was posted, within a day she would be matched with another couple. It felt a bit like speed-dating. This was probably one of the hardest steps throughout this whole process.
Listed on all gestational carriers profile is who they would like to work with: same sex couples, hetero couples, singles, etc. Some women would not talk to us because we were gay, others would only work with same-sex couples. We spoke to about ten different women, but for some reason things didn't click, or feel right. We came across a profile for a woman named Kathy on Surrogatefinder.com. We emailed her and she politely declined saying that she was talking with another couple, and wished us good luck with our search.
GREAT, WE WERE NEVER GOING TO HAVE A BABY!
Hopeless. Sad. Defeated. The months passed and we still had no luck finding a surrogate. Frank emailed Kathy again in the end of May, and she messaged us and said things didn't work with the other couple and she would like to meet us! We were both ecstatic and a bit cautious as we had met a few women already who didn't work out. We set up a date to drive up to Kingston, where Kathy lives, to meet with her, her husband and their kids. After our first meeting, things just felt right. We got along great with her and her family. We clicked, and it felt like the pieces were falling into place! Kathy said she would love to be our surrogate! YAY!!
GREAT, WE WERE GOING TO HAVE A BABY!
Our first embryo transfer was in August 2013, but the embryos did not take. We were all devastated, upset, sad... One month later, we did our second transfer. Two embryos were implanted again, and fingers crossed at least one would latch on. Kathy took home-pregnancy tests and they all came back positive! We were beside ourselves with joy! We couldn't believe it! We were pregnant! But we had to confirm by means of an ultrasound that she was really pregnant. For our first ultrasound we drove up to Kingston to be with Kathy. That first ultrasound was nerve-wracking, but the technician confirmed that we were with child. We were all so happy! Our dream was coming true!
BOY, OH BOY
The next big ultrasound was to determine the baby's gender. The technician said, "Well, I see something that resembles a penis, but I can't say for sure," and we started crying! We were so happy! Now knowing that we were having a boy made it so real! It is an incredible feeling knowing that we were going to have a son!
DUE DATES ARE JUST A SUGGESTION, LIKE BEST BEFORE DATES
Our due date of June 17 was finally here. We waited, and waited and waited. The days passed and still no baby! We were getting anxious because we wanted to finally meet this little guy! Kathy was overdue with both of her kids (10 and 15 days,respectively) so we knew there was a chance our little guy would be overdue as well. But we couldn't wait any longer! We booked a hotel room in Kingston to wait it out and on June 26 we went to the hospital with Kathy and her husband to start inducing contractions. The day and night passed and still no baby!
IT'S A FULL HOUSE
On June 27, our midwife Heather broke Kathy's water at 10 am. In the hospital room was Kathy, her husband Kris, Heather the midwife, and Frank and me. Kathy asked us if it was ok if her friend Lindsay, a birth photographer, could shoot the birth. She had never done a surrogacy birth, and was especially interested because Frank and I are a same-sex couple. We said yes of course. What a great way to document the day of our son's arrival! Around 2 pm, contractions started getting very strong. Frank and I were amazed at the strength that Kathy had. It is incredible that she endured so much pain and kept composure and was very brave throughout this whole process! The pain intensified and the midwife was preparing Kathy for the birth. Frank, Kris, Lindsay and I were all there beside her rubbing her back to try to comfort her through the contractions.
It all happened so quickly. Heather, our midwife, was there to coach Kathy and to help bring our beautiful, amazing 9lb, 7 oz son into this world! All I could remember was seeing his tiny little head emerge and Heather say, "Shirts off!" We both took our shirts off and the baby was immediately placed on Frank's chest and I wrapped my arms around both of them. You may have seen a picture floating around the Internet of us at this moment! We both came so overwhelmed with love that we began crying. It was an incredible, surreal moment that we will never forget! We witnessed the birth of our little son coming into this world. Kathy is a brave, strong, selfless, giving, stoic woman and we will forever be indebted to her for giving us the greatest gift ever, our little Milo. She gave us hope that there is good in this world. She is our hero. We love her so much! She made our dream come true. She gave us the child we always hoped for. She gave us a family.