I entered the surrogacy procedure without understanding anything.
When I started the surrogacy process with one of the brokerage companies in Israel, I could not imagine everything that happened afterwards. Most couples who start the surrogacy process receive an overview of what is going to happen, the relative time it will take, the temporary move of about a month to Georgia and all kinds of other details.
All these brokerage companies translate the success of a process into completing it with “full hands”. They call it a safe deal. Yes. Sure.
So today I know the truth. The most successful result in the case of a surrogacy procedure is to end up with a healthy child. healthy. not alive healthy.
I went through an unimaginable amount of agony in these 2 surrogacy processes. In my first surrogacy process, I had to stay in Georgia for a period of about 4 months and almost every day to go to a premature babies hospital to see my son. And my son was in a harsh hospital, with completely uncompassionate professionals, who give you exactly one exact hour to see your premature baby. They do you a favor by letting you in, they do you a favor by answering you, most of the time they don’t even know a word of English. And even in this hour you have to demand, wait for it, almost beg to be let in. I spent hours outside the entrance to the premature department. waiting and waiting and waiting. I was told that these are new instructions because of the koruna.
They say that there are critical moments in life, moments that change everything, the whole meaning, the whole picture you see as reality. So I had 2 such critical moments.
The first was the moment I realized that after doing everything humanly possible to conceive a child and maintain a pregnancy, I would have to have a D&C at an advanced week of the pregnancy with a fetus that was still alive but alive with Down syndrome. And at my despair, I still considered leaving the pregnancy and then the doctor barked at me – what? Of course, you are going to have D&C. Do you want to raise a sick baby? Then I looked for evidences that the Nipt test (Genetical test) might be wrong so that I might not have to abort. All the testimonies brought me back to the bitter truth – it should be aborted.
The second moment was during the surrogacy process I went through a year and a half ago. We went through a surrogacy process that succeeded, but then there was a birth at 29 weeks of twins. I will never forget the moment when the nurse came to me at the entrance to the pre-mature babies department in Georgia with a black bag in her hand and asked – do you want to come bury your daughter or visit your son?
The bag with the deceased daughter on the right.
The son that still lives in the door on the left.
I chose life. I chose the door on the left.
And every such choice I made in my life brought me closer to this place of the watcher, watching from the side. Talking about myself as the third person as if it’s not about me at all. No, it can’t be me, I couldn’t take so much suffering.This is the same woman who had a D&C at 20 weeks with a fetus with Down syndrome after 4 years of difficult fertility treatments. And while lying on the torture/surgery chair, the doctor told her – you can try again.This woman who kept her guard up every pregnancy because each pregnancy was ultimately doomed to end without a baby.
This is the same woman who understood that it is necessary to live. You can’t be saved from anything. Anything can happen and that’s the nature of the world. I learned it on my own flesh. The only stable thing in this world is instability.
In the second surrogacy procedure, I made a kind of travel diary. A diary that described my difficulties and what it’s like on a daily basis for a person who is in this place. Below are selected impressions.
A day in Georgia
breathing. And another breath of air. And another breath. Trying to be in a positive energy before going to the premature babies Hospital to see Shir.And somehow, it’s always there. Something stuck in my throat and under the chest.I think they call it distress.the pressure. the tension. Anxieties about the future to come.To be in a hospital for premature babies for the second time is an experience I definitely did not want to go through. Not once again.But it’s not for nothing that the phrase “shit happen” exists.It is impossible to know and plan everything.
There are no words to convey the nightmare I am going through here in Georgia with my little premature baby. But this wasn’t the first time. Just a year ago, I had twins through Surrogacy. The little baby girl died after 2 days and the baby boy was hospitalized for 3 months. He was born at 29 weeks at 1 kilo.
I did these surrogacies processes with an agency. But I dealt with everything alone. all alone. This is due to the fact that agencies that assist you in this process are businesses oriented and designed to generate profit. No professionalism. This is from my experience. There is no medical understanding at all, which once led to my surrogate’s to be discharges too early from the hospital. And then she delieverd at 29 weeks. There was no sense in her discharge but the doctors and the agency gave in to the surrogate’s mother desire to see her children. A surrogate who had a problematic pregnancy with constant shortening of the cervix and bleeding. If they had injected her with a medicine to ripen the lungs during her pregnancy, it is possible that the baby born at 29 weeks would be alive today.
The second time I went through surrogacy, during the pregnancy the doctors didn’t notice that the fetus had a heart defect. The baby did not grow in the womb. and stayed exactly the same size. I was the one who insisted on asking the opinion of another doctor. We went to another specialist that said that everything is fine, it’s just a small fetus.
I demand to go to one more specialist. This time the expert agreed with me. There is no blood flow to the fetus and she is in distress and an emergency caesarean section must be performed. A third doctor said that everything is completely normal and that we should wait for a natural birth.
I demanded an emergency caesarean section and thus saved my baby’s life. A baby girl was born with a hole in her heart. And I’m in a Georgian hospital, spending all my days here alone.
Whenever I needed help from the agency, I had to write WhatsApp, threaten, nag, ect. How disgusting is this experience.
Today was the peak of all peaks. They changed the doctor of my baby while no one knew who is the doctor who is treating the baby. And the baby needs an echocardiogram today. And nobody knows about that either.
And English? It is also a rare commodity for doctors in Georgia.
For 5 hours I was trying to resolve this. I contacted the agency whose sole interest is that I manage on my own and the main thing is that they don’t have to come.Escort from the agency?help?Language help?Only By phone after asking again and again and again.I had tears in my eyes. My whole body hurts. I was so frustrated I could burst.I’m sick of this hospital.They took the baby for an echocardiogram after I insisted on it. The baby was taken in a bound box in an ambulance, a small one.
Now they are doing an echocardiogram on her. The tears in my eyes are almost about to come out and slide into a sore face. Waiting in the waiting room. for results. Hoping that this lovely girl gets out of this country as soon as possible.And that’s it. The tear fell down my cheek.How much stress can one person take?
One more day in georgia
With my son, the hospital experience was very difficult. We were in a very tough hospital and the doctor who was in charge of the department was nervous and annoyed and that affected everyone, including the staff. When I was finally released, I took the baby to dozens of hospitals without knowing Georgian (few know English in Georgia, including doctors). This due to pre-mature birth problems.
Then a year after that, another girl was born in surrogacy in Georgia. She was born in an emergency cesarean before the due time because she did not develop in the womb. And I was frustrated this time just like in the last surrogacy procedure. No corrective experience. The girl is hospitalized in another hospital from the one where my son was hospitalized (much better) with a hole in the heart this time.
It took me a while to realize that I was in the exact same situation. With all the difficulties involved. I spend days in an hospital with no air conditioner, without even a bit of air from a window. It is August, 40 degress. So right. Experience is positive. I know how to understand the situation and live in it most effectively from the previous time.
And yet it is really pinching my soul. Seeing parents come and don’t know what to do with a baby so small in an incubator. I understand them. There are babies that no one comes to visit and it tears the heart. And there are parents who come regularly and with dedication.
These babies are born into a very tough world. I will not forget that I saw the baby’s first encounter with the world in the incubator next to me. He opened huge, frightened eyes. I could almost hear them screaming: Where am I? Why am I here? Then he starts screaming loudly. And the nurses? Busy. No one came. Unfortunately, some are in their mobiles. Some speak. Some play. There were 2 nurses in my case that really work hard and still care. But no one came to him. Even when I asked. So he screamed himself into sleep again.
Then a second baby who is really tiny. So small and naked in a huge incubator. My heart bleeds for this baby. Nobody comes to visit this baby. I wish I could hug him.
Last year, I saw many hard sights of babies in the hospital. For example, a baby who knocks his head in the plastic around him for hours. And no. no one saw him. I commented the nurses but to no avail. It’s not that the nurses are bad. It’s really a very hard and demanding job. Sometimes it seems to me that some of them don’t see the babies at all and all that they see are objects for treatment.
And I arrive every day to be with my baby who is connected to lots of devices. A flaw in this heart is a life-threatening issue. At first, I looked at her and couldn’t get a word out of my mouth except “small and cute”. My vocabulary ended there. The words didn’t come out. Shocked that I am in the exact same situation. And we did every possible test in pregnancy and still, there is no guarantee for anything.
Many times I asked myself – how did it happen to me again? But there are no answers here. There is only a given situation that needs to be dealt with and contained here. And I stand every day in this place. I exist for the purpose of visiting her. Shir, our charming and brave baby.
Dealing with a lot of things around. Like the fact that I lived far away from the hospital and had to take taxies all of the time. too much. But again. August. A lot of tourists, war refugees from Ukraine, Russians, etc. Everything more hard to find, more expensive. Also, my apartment was very hot. One tiny air conditioner on a 3 bedroom apartment. So I coped. I sleep in the living room in front of the tiny air conditioner. Everything is dwarfed by the shir will be healthy and will be released from the hospital.
And I find myself comforting myself with fast food. Lots of sugar. Lots of carbohydrates. Which is even more available in Georgia. This was my only consolation. Then I found myself with breathing difficulties. Some will say anxiety attacks. At first, I didn’t know what to do with them but now I found a kind of refuge. And again, these are carbohydrates and coffee. My apartment is far from cafes and still i found the closest Entree Cafe (3.5 km) and before I arrive at the hospital I land there. Drinking the coffee. Eating a lot of sweet pastries and flee to a little quiet. A world where you don’t have to deal with pressure. In our case there is no definitive answer from the doctors. We will know more in the next heart exam in 10 days.
The hope is that that the hole in the baby’s heart will close alone. And if not…. the baby will need medication. I received this explanation in broken English from the cardiologist. But there are never answers here. I know. I was in this story once before. Need time and patience. And time and patience don’t come easy in this situation. and yet i deal with this in the best way I know how.
And every day the route is repeated when a day begins and ends in the hospital. And there are no words that can describe the guilty feelings of leaving her in this place. Especially because I know that even if she cries, they probably won’t hear her. When I was in the hospital, 3 times I replaced the baby’s diaper with poo. No one saw or notice. A reality that I have already lived. The longer we are in the hospital, my anxiety and pressure index rise and rise. I start to be afraid of the day she will be released. Even if I am prepared for it, it still stresses me because there is the subject of receiving her ID. A bureaucratic and burdensome process that takes time. Too much time. And again, we returned to the formula. Need time and patience.
One more day in georgia
Wow, I’m tired. Mentaly. physically. This is not an easy experience.
The first time I went through it was hell but this second time …..something seems to have changed. I find myself watching other parents in the hospital. Watching the nurses. Suddenly everything touches me differently. The experience remains very difficult.
Watching hours and hours of parents who run around around a baby who never stops crying. The mother does everything possible to calm the baby but it doesn’t help. The baby is crying the complete majority of the time. And she’s breastfeeding. Cleans the crib. Washing him. Replacing him a million diapers. Carrying him back and forth trillion times. I know exactly the look on her face. On the one hand, love without boundaries and on the other hand, exhaustion and frustration. The question is evident on her face: why can’t he calm down? The parents swing him in the air in order to make the baby stop crying and only I am horrified from the fact that they don’t hold his neck.
There are a lot of children that don’t get visitors at all. And suddenly today, some parents arrived for an half an hour of laughter and pictures. It is forbidden to judge but I know that if they knew what is the reality of these babies they would come more.
Twins were born in the hospital and were put next to each other. One of the twins cries nonstop. I asked one of the nurses to approach him. But it didn’t help. And they can’t be judged either. Their work is difficult, tedious and in difficult conditions. This place is like a boiling Hammam. There is no air conditioner. Windows are usually closed. And this is August, 38 degrees today.
So let’s go back to the experiment. How long does it take for the nurses to approach a crying baby? Exactly on the clock – 3 hours. The baby is fed from a pipe and therefore does not have the feeding session.
I saw one of the nurses feeding one baby. She is really pusheing the bottle with force to his throath. And I understand completely. If the baby does not eat? He won’t grow. And still, it was really hard for me to watch. The baby was born a few days ago and that’s how he meets the world for the first time. And there are dedicated parents who come a lot but there are not many.
And I will always remember the baby in an incubator in the extreme right corner of the room. Lying naked in an incubator. No one has ever come to visit him. I once saved you from chucking but that’s it. Such a small baby who has hardly been loved and lifted has very small chances of living a normal life. He is such a sweet baby, just want some attention. But this baby and a lot of others cry themselves in to sleep.
Many parents also come confused with a look of: Where’s the doctor? Where’s the doctor? They look at their baby in the incubator and have a look of bewilderment. I Know this look. I lived it twice. Then the doctor comes and speaks a lot and says nothing. In short – the baby is very small. We will do tests. We will update you. The doctors will use either the phrase “a deterioration” or “stable”. I get both phrases back and forth. We started in deterioration and the next day we moved to the stable. But it’s a roller coaster that changes the route too much.
Today they gave my baby an ultrasound and i just wanted to ask all the time- is it okay? Okay? I was eagerly waiting for the doctor to say something. And it came out fine this time.
Day in Georgia after the release of Shir from the hospital
New day. The baby was released and she is with me in the apartment. A bad apartment in any parameter. A bad location, a small air conditioner on the whole apartment, noisy with neighbors who think it makes sense to do laundry and drill in every hour of the night. 14th floor and non -working elevators. A horrible heat and one tiny air conditioner in a three room apartment that fails to cool even the living room at August’s heat. Renovations throughout the building. Drilling every day and night in the head. Noise. dust.
And I have no way to walk with the baby in the stroller. I don’t have a carrier. No one told me that in Georgia it is impossible to buy a carrier. The existing carriers are for older ages. In the street of the apartment I took, there is no access to a baby stroller. All sidewalks are broken, large parts without a pavement, huge stones on the ground instead of a sidewalk, there are almost no traffic lights.
This is what I could find in August at the peak of the war with Russia, A lot of refugees from Ukraine, Russians, tourists. The real estate has become extremely expensive and unavailable. And I try to breathe. Breathe. Trying to understand how I will try to walk here in the street with the baby.
In the end, I got shir as a big present. And that is the most important.