I cannot tell you how many times people ask me if I ever want to keep the baby I am carrying. Heck. No. Honestly? I don’t even really like human children…lol (but seriously). I am not the girl who sees a baby and falls in love. I rarely ask to hold them. I’m simply not interested. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. AmIRight?
So why go through all of this time and effort to have a baby for someone else? Right there is your answer. Because being a gestational carrier isn’t about ME having a baby to raise; I already have two of my own. And frankly, if I wanted another one, I would have one, or adopt. But boy do I LOVE being pregnant; I love everything about it. And it feels good to be able to give back. Still confused on why I would even WANT to carry a baby if I do not consider myself to be especially maternal? Actually, to me this lack of wanting a baby, or having a desire to be around them, is what makes me the perfect carrier!!
But just because carrying a baby doesn’t give me baby fever and make my ovaries hurt, it doesn’t mean I don’t have other pregnancy side effects from being a GC. Here are a few of my faves…
- Hormones: Remember the first blog-post photo of all of those needles? Each of those needles was a dose of hormones…Never mind the 3-a-day suppositories (yuck!) and the patches. Though those hormones have a VERY important job to do, they also can cause a GC to be extra irritable, tired, experience weight gain and bloating, and rashes/breakouts. I had an interesting rash about 2 weeks prior to my embryo transfer. I will spare you those pictures; you’re welcome, but it was U G L Y (and, of course, during bikini season). The meds can also cause photo-sensitivity, so protecting your skin from the sun is a MUST.
- Numbness/Pain: The injection locations of all of the hormone shots can experience numbness, even if you frequently alternate sides. Eventually- once you are done with the shots- that numbness will dissipate and you might have occasional sharp pains in those areas. I’ve also noticed this time around that my right hip (where I did a majority of my injections) is quite itchy as I regain feeling from the multiple weeks of shots.
- Milk. Milk. Milk.: With a gestational surrogate pregnancy, your body (obviously) still goes through all of the same changes it would if you had a baby of your own…including milk production. Because you are (again, obviously) not going to breast feed the baby you carry, your options become either pumping and donating to the intended parents or a milk bank, or praying that your supply dries up quickly. Until then, you better stock up on a supportive bra and cabbage leaves.
- Post-Pregnancy…Pooch: Yes, most women who have recently given birth have that pesky pooch to attempt to lose. But for women who carry, there is no little bundle of joy to use as a distraction (ie- if people focus on your cute baby, they aren’t focused on your less-than-cute belly). The up-side? While some mommas are still working on that baby weight well into the second year because they are exhausted from taking care of the aforementioned cute baby, you are able to get to work on that post-baby bod as soon as you are cleared by your doc.
- Your Own Family Grows: Sure, you aren’t keeping the baby you are growing. But by the end of the process of being a gestational carrier, you may find that your family did indeed grow- by two intended parents, their other children, your nurses at your fertility clinic, and maybe even your fertility doctor. Nothing bonds folks together like bringing a new life into the world.
- Puppy Fever: My puppy fever is bad on any given day, but it is especially bad since I have been pregnant with the wee one. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t want to hold any human babies, but bring me alllllll of the dog babies to cuddle!!!! See Exhibit A- Baby Hazel– in the photo.
As you can see, none of the side-effects of being a gestational carrier are terrible, but they are so worth it in the end. Only 13 weeks left until this little miracle arrives and the fruits of my labor (see what I did there??) are realized. So stay tuned while my family grows another…