April 7, 2011 at 8:44 AM ET
Carolyn Savage was thrust into the role of surrogate mother when an IVF clinic mistakenly implanted her with another couple's child. She carried that child to term and gave the baby to his biological parents, even though doctors told her it would have to be her last pregnancy. Today, she and her husband announced they're expecting twins through a surrogate -- here, she explains how that surrogate helped her understand her own journey.
By Carolyn Savage, TODAY Moms guest blogger
When we learned two years ago that I was expecting the genetic child of another couple after our fertility clinic made a mistake, my doctor explained to me that if I continued the pregnancy, I was agreeing to be a surrogate for a family I had never met. Prior to that moment, I had never seriously contemplated the concept of third-party reproduction. I had read about celebrities who used surrogacy as a way to bring their children into the world, but Sean and I had three beautiful children. Resorting to a third party to expand our family wasn’t necessary -- that is, until the mistake at our fertility clinic changed everything.
I was apprehensive about my role as a gestational carrier. I felt the terminology used to describe my contribution to this child’s life was off the mark. I was more than a “carrier.” I felt like a mom, nurturing a little boy that I loved more than life. I knew his rightful place was with the people who intended to be his parents when he was conceived, but I rejected the concept that I was merely a conduit for somebody else’s child to enter the world. My internal struggle grew more complicated when we received the medical opinion that my mistaken pregnancy should be my last. After I gave birth, I couldn’t be pregnant again.
The irony of our situation became absurd. I was, in essence, a de facto gestational carrier and as a result, I needed to find someone to become a gestational carrier for our family. It was an overwhelming thought, but thankfully, with the guidance of our very knowledgeable family law attorney, we were able to navigate our way to Jennifer.
We met Jennifer when I was five months along in my last pregnancy. It was a profound meeting, not only because of the topic of discussion, but also because I learned so much from her. When Jennifer spoke of the fulfillment she received when she watched her last surro-baby's mom and dad fall in love with their child the minute she was born, I learned something. Jennifer helped me see that what I was doing for this family was a gift. In some ways, meeting Jennifer not only gave me hope for our family, but also helped me realize that I wasn’t just a vessel. I was a life-giver about to bestow an amazing gift on two people who would be forever grateful for their son.
Now that Jennifer is expecting twins for our family, we are overwhelmed with gratitude. Obviously we are grateful to be expecting two more children with Jennifer’s help. But, more importantly, we are grateful for the lessons Jennifer taught us about generosity, kindness and love. That will always be her greatest gift to us.