I had the pleasure of attending my cousin-in-law's baby shower today. All of the family members provided a food item. My other cousin-in-law (the new mommy-to-be's sister) decided the theme would be "International" so every dish was supposed to be from a different country. I also offered to help by planning and executing a game. I did the game where you put a bunch of baby-related items on a tray, show them to the guests for a minute, then the guests write down as many items as they can remember.
Of course, the most fun was the opening of the gifts. I was the gift recorder, so I paid attention to everything. My cousin and I have recently gotten very close, and I'll explain why in a little bit, and whenever she opened something she was unfamiliar with, she would lean over to me and whisper, "You may have to show me what to do with this." or "I didn't even know that I should register for this." There were so many adorable outfits and and cute little toys. I can see how she and her husband got overwhelmed the first day they walked into Babies R Us and walked out after scanning 3 items.
They eventually went back, of course, but not until after a text from me reassuring her that she really didn't need half of the things all the books and registries say they need.
However, the true reason for my excitement over this event is due to the road traveled to get to this point. You see, my cousin and her husband had been trying to have a baby for about 4 years. They had a couple of pregnancies, but they ended in miscarriages. They had been seeing a fertility specialist for a while and undergoing treatments as well. I really had no idea they had gone through so much until just about a year ago when she called me and asked me to meet her for coffee.
You see, they had reached the point where they didn't think she would be able to conceive and carry their own child. She was meeting with me to ask me if I would consider being their surrogate. After a lot of soul searching and discussions with my husband, we decided that I would give it a go. It was an incredibly involved and emotional process involving lawyers, a fertility specialist, and lots and lots of medications.
They decided that we would both go through the process and double our chances of conceiving. Her hopes were that we would both become pregnant and they would end up with two babies. Eventually, we found out that I did not become pregnant, but she did. There were tears for both disappointment and joy.
Here is what I think about it all though. She was so stressed out over the process that she just couldn't relax. I think that my role was to take some of that pressure off of her so that she could do what needed to be done. That, and along the way we made time to get together, to support each other, and we bonded and built a friendship. She knows that she can lean on me, not only as a friend, but also as a fellow mother. Sometimes another women can give you the kind of support your husband just can't. That's what I am lucky enough to be for her. And even though I didn't actually end up carrying the baby, I feel like we will have a special bond anyway.
So, this wasn't just any ordinary baby shower. It was a celebration and culmination of an amazing journey. I can't wait to meet this precious little boy that I had a small part in bringing into the world.