By: Kerrie Olejarz
The 10-week update mentioned that we would soon also have our NT scan and test. There was no resting here or feeling comfortable yet. The NT scan is scary for anybody who goes through it. It’s a screening, looking for abnormalities. Until it is signed off as “all clear” we would not rest.
In the meantime, we wanted to send a thank you to Sumita, to let her know we were thinking about her. We opted to send some gift certificates from a large department store in Delhi so she could buy whatever she wanted or needed. Two weeks later we received a beautiful surprise from our clinic -an email about the gift certificates. Sumita had used them to purchase some new shawls, and included a few pictures of her modeling them. She looked great!
Soon after we received our NT scan update; we had both a nasal bone (which is hugely important), and our nuchal fold was within range to be considered normal. Although this was great news, we still needed to worry about our triple market test – serum blood results.
Our next scan would be in four weeks. For the time being we were at some point of ease as we entered our second trimester. I started to wonder when I should tell my work. I needed to be courteous and give them enough time to plan my replacement, but at the same time, I was far from ready to out myself and let the world know what was going on. Our nerves were fried from the last 4 years and especially the last 12 weeks. I was not sure I was ready for everyone asking me about baby colors or the sex of the baby. I was very comfortable to talk about the process and our journey, but my level of comfort with “being pregnant” was far from developed. Work started getting very stressful and I had to make an impromptu trip to Germany, against my will. The circumstances around the trip caused me great anxiety. It was at this point that I felt I had lost support from my management. I was demoralized and defeated. I am an outspoken person when needed so I spoke my mind, but it pretty much fell on deaf ears.
As this was playing out, I started to feel unusual sensations in my throat and mouth. My tongue was numb and my neck and throat had stabbing pains all day. My face went through periods of mild swelling. Unfortunately I had to go to Germany so there was no time to look into it. So up up and away I went, flying 8 hours across the pond. I felt awful and could not wait to get to the hotel and rest a bit.
When I finally got an internet connection at the hotel I opened my email to find a concerning note from India. Sumita was in the hospital, suffering a bronchial infection. She was on IV antibiotics and being very well cared for. I emailed and called Mark immediately. We worried about Sumita and our baby and how antibiotics could affect the baby’s development. We were quickly assured that a pregnancy-safe antibiotic was used. We were so thankful that nothing was left to chance. Dr Shivani also told us not to stress. A few days later we received the news that Sumita had been discharged and was feeling well. We were super relieved and very thankful that she made the call to inform Dr Shivani that she had not been feeling well. Shortly after, we received an invoice for the hospital stay and treatment.
I took a side trip while in Germany to another part of Europe to meet up with friends who had twins born via surrogacy in India. The beauty of traveling in Europe is the lack of time it takes to get around. Flights are cheap and travel time is short. Seeing the twins was heavenly for me; it made it all very real. I spent 24 hours enjoying the babies and the company of their mom and dad. While I was there I was given a task of going through several storage bins in order to take home as many baby clothes as I could fit in my luggage. They were so generous and also gave me an extra suitcase to make it work. Normally I would not be able to look at baby clothes and the thought of having them in my house would be challenging, but somehow, because they were worn by these two little miracles, I was ok. They were being given to me by people who know exactly how difficult this journey is.
The week had been exhausting, between traveling to Europe, getting the news of our surrogate in the hospital, and dealing with an unusual sensation and pain in my mouth and throat. It was so great to see the babies but I was ready to get home and figure out what was happening with my health. I went to the dentist to get my mouth examined. I have known my dentist for a very long time now. He is a gay man with two wonderful children born via a semi-surrogate relationship. I say “semi”, as they opted to share parentage with the lesbian couple who took on the baby-making. It’s a wonderful story of creating a family, and they are all truly blessed to have found each other.
Dr B dug around in my mouth and had me do some crazy stuff with my tongue so he could really examine it. At the end of the exam he took his mask off and put his hand on my leg. He looked at me with genuine care in his eyes and said “You need to let go of the past. You are soon having a baby, and you need to find a way to be happy about it. Your mouth and throat are fine. You have immense stress and emotional trauma that you need to get a grip on, because soon you will be a mommy.”