Many surro-friends had been anxious for me to find IP's as they had the feeling that I would make a great surrogate with my lively personality, supportive nature, and sense of humor. I always told them that I was looking for something akin to lightning striking; I wanted a "love at first sight" type of feeling so that I would feel in my guts that I had found the right match.
After scanning the ads for a couple of weeks and not seeing anything that sparked my interest, I decided to post an ad of my own. A couple of weeks went by and I got tons of responses, only two of which I felt were possibilities, but from my perspective, the conversations that ensued after the initial email just felt like they were missing something. I didn't have "that feeling" that I was looking for.
I made a rather whiny post about being a bit frustrated with the time it was taking, even though it had only been about a month since I started looking again. As soon as I made that post, I went to check my email to see if any new responses to my ad had come in.
There were a few, and the first that I read was from a woman named Sarah who lived in the Atlanta area.
There was something about that very first response that had me a little hopeful. She didn't have the same initial formality that the others had, and she had that same tentative, but excited tone that I did. I immediately sent back the stock "So-glad-to-hear-from-you-here's-a-little-more-about-me", response that I had created, and added in more details that would personalize it to Sarah.
I tried NOT to be a compulsive email checker and tried NOT to hover around my computer in anxious anticipation of a response from her, but it just didn't work. About forty minutes later I received a response from her, and I could tell almost at once that we were on our way to something wonderful.
From that one email, I could tell that Sarah had a particular charm about her, and my heart was hopeful that I would maintain that feeling.
I learned from that email that Sarah's husband was named Paul. She was a stay-at-home mother and Paul, at the time, was a business analyst for Earthlink. They were the adoptive parents of Katie, who they adopted as a newborn and was then nearly four.
One thing that I liked most about Sarah and Paul is that they were still close friends with the birth mother, and she was considered to be an extended part of their family.
Sarah and Paul needed a gestational surrogate because Sarah is a Type I diabetic and she was advised to never have children of her own because her body wouldn't be able to handle it.
Fate doesn't always listen to what doctors suggest, and a few years ago, Sarah found herself unexpectedly pregnant, and was advised to terminate the pregnancy. She and Paul decided to give this baby every chance it had, even if it meant that Sarah's very life would be in danger.
Sarah spent months on strict bed rest, a strict diet, and strict monitoring. Suddenly, at 27 weeks, Sarah's body began to have adverse reactions to the pregnancy and she was forced to deliver prematurely both to save her life and her baby's life.
Beautiful baby Elyse was born, and though at that gestational age the odds were in her favor for survival, she suddenly fell ill and passed away just 20 days later. I've never had to experience the loss of a child, but just the thought of Sarah and Paul going through that and still having the determination to have a baby of her own made an impression on me.
It was easy to tell from just the first two emails that we had a lot in common. I was a teacher, and before she had Katie, she was also a teacher. I could tell that Paul was very loving and supportive and that they were very much enamored with each other, much the same as Frank and I.
I got to work the next morning, darned near floating on air with excitement. I couldn't wait to tell Becky all about Sarah and had forwarded our emails to her to get her take on Sarah. I had been sharing everything with Becky, knowing that she would tell me objectively whether or not someone sounded like a good match or not.
After reading the emails, Becky was immediately as buzzed as I was, and not too much longer thereafter, I got an email from Sarah, which I also sent to Becky. Sarah had begun reading my previous pregnancy journal and had just read the Let's Get Real entry in which I had discussed pregnancy farting at length. Sarah had this to say about it: "I just like you more with each word I read (okay I was going to say "fall in like" but thought it sounded too dorky) and that says a lot because I just read the entry about farting!"
Becky and I emailed each other simultaneously in response to Sarah's email, both commenting on how Sarah's "fall in like" statement sounded just as cheesy as something we would say. I think that's when I really began to know that Sarah and I would be a good match, especially since she had received Becky's initial stamp of approval.
There were all sorts of other "signs" that had the three of us reeling. The night before, Sarah and I had started sending each other "cheesy getting to know you questions," such as what our favorite foods, activities, and movies were. One question Sarah asked me was what my favorite scent was, and I told her that I loved the cotton blossom scent because it reminded me of being pregnant with the twins and it was also the first gift that I sent to Becky during the message board Secret Santa exchange that lead us to becoming friends.
That morning, Sarah's heart dropped when she got out of the shower and started examining the various body sprays she had in her bathroom and discovered that one of them was cotton blossom. Many other strange coincidences like this popped up.
Later that day I 'fessed up to Sarah that I had been sending our emails to Becky, almost as a way of introducing her to Becky, and I emphasized how pivotal Becky would be throughout my surrogacy journey because of how close we were. In the next email that she sent to me, Sarah mentioned how exciting she thought that was, and threw in a little "Hi Becky!" knowing that it would end up in her hands, anyway. That alone spiraled Becky and me to all new levels of excitement.
My conversations with Sarah continued the rest of the day and night, and I spent a great deal of time telling Sarah about my relationship with Becky, to include how Becky's unfortunate miscarriage the year before had made us closer than ever before.
The next day, Becky emailed Sarah personally, and from there, the three of us were emailing each other simultaneously with each response. In her first email to Sarah, Becky included a link to the blogs that we had written together, which had its funny moments, but also detailed how we got through the loss of Becky's baby, who she named "Faith." It was difficult for Sarah to read, as it so closely reminded her of her loss of Elyse, but it did draw the three of us closer together in more ways that I can explain. It was a highly emotional day that left all of us in tears but feeling uplifted, and most of all, it had both Sarah and me feeling caught in a wonderful whirlwind, each of us in utter disbelief that we could already be feeling so close to someone that we had only "known" for three days and had never met in person.
The next day was a Friday, and the conversations between the three of us continued into the afternoon. We were all in rather silly moods as we continued to get to know each other, and I sent Sarah pictures of my family and of Becky and her family. Becky and I had already seen loads of pictures of Sarah and her family from a link that she sent to us to her family website.
I think at that point, Sarah and I pretty much had the feeling that we were ready to work with each other, but we hadn't yet had any discussion of all of the "serious" surrogacy issues, such as fees, selective reduction, and other important issues that surrogates and IP's should see eye-to-eye on. We were both phrasing things in such a way that we almost tiptoed around the issue of us working together without specifically saying it. We found ourselves both saying things like, "No matter what happens I know that I've made a great friend."
By the end of the work day for me, Sarah and I were to the point where we were ready to talk on the phone. I gave her my phone number and damn near sped home where I could wait impatiently for another email or a phone call. I knew that I was on the brink of officially having IP's.
Just a few minutes after I got home, Sarah emailed me, continuing where the conversation had ended before I left work. We were sending rapid-fire emails which went like this:
Sarah: Can I just tell you how happy I have been these last few days?
Kym: I have never before stalked my email the way I've stalked it the past few days! You must think that all I do all day is sit on the computer! LOL! All of these coincidences are just so bizarre! I'm so glad that you've been so happy. That really, really, REALLY means a lot to me, knowing that maybe I had something to do with that. :) I've been on cloud 9 since Tuesday, too. :)
Sarah: Of course you are the reason I am happy! A day or two ago I was hesitant with myself to get excited, but now I know without a doubt that we will be working together.
Kym: OMG...I'm gonna pee my pants! The past couple of days, especially today, I've been trying to avoid certain wording, trying to not sound too presumptuous in thinking we'd be working together (but praying like all heck that we would). Is it relatively safe to now call you my IM? :)
Sarah: Pee away!!! I would love you to call me your IM. Sarah, IM to Kym
Kym: OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG...(back from the bathroom now) I have dreamed of this day for so very long. I can't believe that I've really found what I've been dreaming of for an IM. I've always said that I want to be close friends with my IM....I'm crying. :) We've only known each other for what...barely four days now? Already this journey has been more than I was ever expecting it would be. Love you! :) We're gonna be making some babies this year! :)
Sarah: Do you want me to call now? Forget it, I'm calling! And just as I read that, the phone rang, and Frank answered. By then, he knew that I had officially matched with Sarah, because he had come running into the office to see what I was screaming and laughing about. He was excited for me, knowing that I was on my way to accomplishing my calling of being a surrogate.
He wasn't expecting her to call, though, because I'd only just read the words myself. I went running to the phone, and he was already beaming at Sarah through the phone with his excited voice.
Though I've forgotten most of the actual conversation due to my euphoria, I'll never forget the sound of elation in Sarah's voice when said, "Kyyyyyym? What's up, girl!?!" We only had a few minutes to talk, as we were on our way out to my mom's house for the weekend.
We were both chirping away at each other, and when I hung up the phone, I could only equate the emotions that I felt as something close to the day I got married or the days my children were born. It had happened; lightning had struck!
To read Week 5, part 4, click here.