Life is starting to look a little brighter now for us, the boys are at rest finally and spring couldn't of come at a better time. Love to all Phil xx
As you all know, Phil & I have come to realize we’re a family-oriented couple, and today marks just one phase in a long journey we have already made to create a family of our own. It’s been a journey of discovery - exploring fostering, co-parenting and surrogacy options both here and around the world.
Meeting families and making friends with some of those who have made that dream a reality has enriched our lives.
Friends went a bit cross-eyed when we explained that Ben & Zac were conceived with the help of an anonymous South African egg donor and an Indian surrogate. While extraordinary, it was only possible given the strength of love Phil & I had for each other.
When the boys came at 27 weeks, amidst the initial grief over Zac’s loss, joy over Ben’s birth and fear about his survival, we experienced an immense pride. Pride in being fathers for the first time.
I’ve always been a fairly self-reliant person, but the last eight weeks have forced me to reach out to friends much more than I usually would.
It’s made me immensely value the love and understanding of both friends and family. Your support and acceptance has helped us no end, particularly in being here today.
Some five weeks ago Phil started a blog to keep people posted on Ben’s struggle. We soon attracted not only our own friends but many dozens of supporters from around the world who had lost babies or were on a similar surrogacy journey - couples from the US, Canada, Sweden, even Israel who followed Ben’s struggle daily, posting messages of hope and empathy.
In Delhi together, there were many times I wished I had more belief in an all powerful God to save Ben. Lying in the neonatal crib, tubes and machines were Ben’s lifeblood. Unable to pick him up, instead we relied on the power of physical touch and our voices. I’ve never had a singing voice but we cobbled together a two-man Philharmonic choir to serenade him with everything from Twinkle Twinkle to Doe Ray Me. We patriotically slipped in Waltzing Matilda via Puff the Magic Dragon and Phil’s favourite Grease track – Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee - as the Hindu nurses stared.
In the short time we got to know Ben, his fighting spirit moved and inspired us. The day before Ben passed away, we were, for the first time, given the chance to kiss him. It was the most magical, rewarding moment of our lives.
After Ben died, Ben’s doctor told us we must come quickly – it was the hot, sticky monsoon season and his hospital had no refrigeration. There was no choice but to bundle Ben up - lay him in our laps and deliver him in our car to the Delhi funeral parlour. We faced an hour-long trip in interminable traffic. As horrific as this sounded, we were in fact comforted. We were finally together as a family, and strengthened by the experience.
In a few short weeks, we learnt the immense responsibility which goes with parenthood, the intensity of love, the sense of helplessness in the face of vast distances and medical problems. Our struggle with Ben and Zac has at times torn us both apart, but more often its brought us closer together.
I’ve come to believe that all of us have an everlasting spirit. It’s a belief that comforts me at times like this. Ben and Zac’s spirits will live on. They will always be our sons.