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Archives for July 2012

2 friends…

I called Jen one night and told her the opportunity I had been praying for was just dropped in my lap.

Surrogacy kind of has a bad name in Utah. Maybe not a bad name, but it’s so foreign that people are immediately scared of something they don’t understand.

My journey was FILLED (to the brim) with love and support from my neighbors and friends. But some of my best surrogate friends have received exactly the opposite.

You see, our church (The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints) (or Mormons) doesn’t have a very clear stance on surrogacy. It’s official stance is only that “Surrogacy is discouraged.”

3 little words are all we get from the men we look toward for guidance.

In the past 2 years on this journey I have come to realize that Surrogacy, in the traditional sense, in discourage. Traditional Surrogacy involves the Surrogate using her own egg, and being artificial inseminated with the biological father’s sperm.  Luckily for us, Traditional Surrogacy is also illegal in Utah.

I am a Gestational Carrier. Meaning NONE of the physical DNA comes from me. It either all comes from the parents or one source can come from a donor.

So while we use the term “surrogate,” We really aren’t!

(A true surrogate was someone like Mary. Kind of ironic that a church developed around the outcome of that surrogate journey looks down on surrogacy, right?)

I have been lamenting nonstop on ways to make Surrogacy (GC) more mainstream in Utah. To gain some love and acceptance for those facing nothing but opposition from those who don’t understand.

Isnt it human nature to be scared of something you don’t understand?

When I had the opportunity to sit down with a reporter from the Deseret News, I knew without a doubt that I wanted the chance. But because of confidentiality agreements, I knew the article couldn’t be about the baby and the family I just helped. I needed another angle.

I needed Jen.

2 best friends, 2 surrogates, Both underwent IVF on the same day, Both pregnant with boys, Both babies of the same (non-American) nationality, Delivering 2 weeks apart, Both Mormon.

I knew the story needed to be about us, and about how NORMAL we are and how NORMAL surrogacy just fit into our (Mormon) lives.

The interview was HARD. We wanted to share so much more than we were contractually allowed to share. We thought about every word out of our mouths so it sounded right. We communicated with just looks when we didn’t know how to answer a question the “right” way. All the while, I thought of every possible way that the author could twist and contort our words into something we DIDN’T mean. It was a stressful evening, for me. I worried about how much would be shared about the babies and families we helped. I worried if the article would have and overall positive attitude. (We shared a lot of our sad times and a lot of our happy times. She could have chosen just one side to show.)

When she emailed me to say her editor was requiring the country that my IP’s were from, I made up a country and hoped they would understand.

Then we she announced she needed to take our picture, we both looked down at our  3 month post partum bellies and groaned.

But weeks later, the article is published and I couldn’t be more proud.

Thank You Cathy. You delivered EXACTLY the message I wanted to share.

We are NORMAL people. We are moms. We are friends. We are just offering help where we can.


Deseret News

Two women, nine months and the gift of family

By Cathy Free , Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, July 11 2012 12:16 p.m. MDT

Ryley Eaton, left, and her friend, Jen Holt, became surrogate mothers to
Ryley Eaton, left, and her friend, Jen Holt, became surrogate mothers to “pass along the joy of becoming a family,” says Eaton. (Cathy Free)

MURRAY — The tears came late at night when the hospital room was quiet and she was alone for the first time in months.

There were tears of happiness for the couple who were finally cuddling a baby of their own, the boy she had given birth to just a few hours before. And there were also tears of sadness — not because she regretted her decision to become a surrogate mother, but because one of the most wonderful experiences of her life was over.

[Read more…]

Bacon cheeseburger with a side of cheese enchiladas…

I’m a talker.
If you come within listening distance of me, there is a good chance you will know more than you ever wanted to know about my life in a VERY short time.
BUT.. I’m also a complainer.

I learned a few years ago that if I don’t tell people what’s going on, it doesn’t give me an outlet to complain and thus, makes me deal with the situation better.

I didn’t tell ANYONE I was pregnant with Miles until almost 20 weeks. I didn’t tell anyone about my divorce for almost 4 months. And this time I haven’t told many people about my journey to reclaim my body before I start on my 2nd surrogacy journey.

Because doesn’t it always kinda suck to lose weight? And get healthier?? I know I’d WAY rather be a couch potato and eat whatever I want. (Today that would be a big huge bacon cheeseburger with a side of cheese enchiladas.)

I’m a month and a week into this journey. I HAVE TO get healthier before getting pregnant again (in 2 short months). I HAVE TO stay healthier this next pregnancy.

So it’s been 15 weeks since the day I got home from the hospital. I am officially down 28 pounds. (But down 15 in the month I have been ACTIVELY trying to get healthier.

I feel amazing. 15 pounds isn’t that much. But it’s made a huge difference to me. I put on a pair of jeans 4 digits smaller. Just returned 5 new shirts I bought so I could get a smaller size.

I have about 2 full months left before we are on to Surrogacy round 2! Nothing like losing a bunch of weight just to get pregnant again!
So now that you know.. don’t let me complain! :)

“Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us…”

I sat in Sunday school today.

Honestly, one of my least favorite places to be. The chairs are hard, it’s always cold. I’m uncomfortable physically.
I am NOT a scripture scholar. There isn’t one scripture story I can have an intelligent conversation with you on.
The teacher of the week says “Everyone knows this story, right?”
I roll my eyes… Even though I’ve made a deal with my self to stop doing that at church.

My scripture app is open on my phone as a read through our lesson of the day.
My neighbor thumbs through her book and I think about how much easier it is for me. On this phone. (plus, I can sneak in a little facebook time when things get boring.)

We stop to discuss a passage..
“Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us…”
I chuckle silently thinking about the irony of being on that brink.

I drag my finger down the screen and highlight it so I can remember it for later.
I see out of the corner of my eye that she marks the same passage in her book and starts writing next to it. I don’t know what she’s writing but I know how personal this passage is to her struggles.

That lightbulb turns on.

One day, her children will have her book of scriptures. At some point in their lives they’ll come upon that passage. Perhaps at a time they’re feeling like turning back. And they’ll see her words. Mine? They’ll be highlighted in something called an iPhone. Something that may not exsist in 30 years when my son needs to read my thoughts.

So today, I renew my vow to stop rolling my eyes in church, but also make the conscience decision to bring the physical books of scriptures with me every Sunday.

If only for the reason that my words might comfort my son in his time of need the way they comfort me now.