Love is sacred; it is also a great binding factor. Marriage is a sacrament, they say. My husband however, has proved that it is important to be faithful to one’s love, even if there were flaws. There are men who don’t hesitate to marry another woman in the hope of having children, assuming the wife is barren. But our love was so strong that even though he knew that I was born without a womb, he was steadfast in his decision to marry me. Our wedding took place in the midst of stiff opposition from both our families. So we cultivated both physical and mental strength to face the path we had chosen. We lived away from our families for four years. Unable to bear the separation from their son any longer, his parents finally accepted us as family. My husband took over his family’s business responsibilities, of agriculture and property matters.
The peace in my name “Shanti” reigned in our house too. Six years later in 1997, we approached GG Hospital. Dr. Kamala was away in America. A chromosomal analysis done at JIPMER revealed that if my eggs were fertilized, there was no guarantee that they would conform to any particular sex. Two years later we met a prominent gynaecologist, who said since my chromosome was stated as 45XX, she was not sure if the test results were right and moreover on examination she concluded that I could become a mother through surrogacy. That enlightened our prospects and with hope in our hearts we approached GG Hospital -would they show a new world to us?
We were asked at GG if we could identify a close relative to be the surrogate mother. We left the choice to the doctor because we were worried that a relative might be a constant reminder, and could create emotional problems. An advertisement was placed in the newspaper and a mutable candidate was chosen. Then Dr. Kamala, after an initial analysis of hormones and a mock stimulation cycle, proceeded with hyperstimulation using hormone injections. She then explained that the eggs retrieved would be fertilized and frozen followed by a date for embryo transfer into the surrogate. March 8, designated Women’s day, was the day Dr. Kamala harvested my eggs. She said she had obtained eggs of good quality. They were fertilized by my husband’s sperms. I had pain and swelling in my ovaries after the hormone injections and so had to stay in the hospital for two weeks. But Dr. Kamala was pleased with my patience and she showed keen interest in my case. She would give me a great deal of confidence.
My husband and I have always shared all our joys and sorrows with each other. We have never sought help from anyone. But now there was this woman who was to bear my child, who will be helping us become parents. It was 31st of May. The joy of carrying a baby is in feeling its every movement; in sensing the life within. I experienced this joy with the sense of touch, hearing and seeing. I stayed with the woman who was carrying my children (twins); I spent all my time with her, ensuring she was comfortable and happy. Those ten months were ten months of prayer and thanksgiving for both the surrogate and for me. In all that time, no relative or friend came to meet her. Not even my husband had met her. We were together, for each other, caring and sharing. I was anxious that no one should hurt her. No one should cast aspersions on her character. I would buy pomegranates, extract juice and give it to her. My husband too, was very understanding and cooperative. He would visit me every month and give me money, and enquire about my health. We were both keen to have a child and we did all we could to make this dream a reality, by doing what the doctor asked us to do..
Each time I saw my children during the ultrasound evaluation, I would feel thrilled with a hair on end feeling. Dr. Kamala would circumambulate Lord Ganesha 108 times praying for me. I would follow faithfully behind. The date decided upon for the delivery was January 21. It was then changed to Jan19, 2001, on my request. It was a date that changed my whole life-when my children came into this world by a caesarean section, I held the two babies in my arms and sent a heartfelt prayer of thanks to that brave woman, wishing her well and blessing her. After that, Dr. Kamala took care of her from helping her heal and recuperate to compensating her for her invaluable contribution to this historic event.
Dr. Kamala taught me how to care for the newborns. She had made my dreams come true. The birth was the first of its kind in south-east Asia and I was the mother of two bonny male babies. Kalaignar Karunanidhi did the honor of naming my sons: Anbumani and Arivumani. We stayed on for ten days before leaving for home. Dr. Kamala explained the entire procedure of how a woman, born without a womb, realized her dream of attaining motherhood. Magazines, newspapers and TV interviews followed. A normally conceived and delivered baby is held precious by the parents. You can imagine how much more we would have held our babies in value, considering all the trouble taken, to create them and bring them safely into this world. We bought a bathtub and my husband would regularly bathe the babies in it. He taught them to swim. He would administer tonics to them.
For a woman without a womb, it was considered impossible to have babies; she could not even dare to dream of marriage. But an inner instinct told me that all this would be possible one day. I do not know why I thought so, but I did. And, it came true. When I came for treatment, many voiced their doubts about feasibility of a woman like me conceiving a baby. I was confident. My husband had married me against all odds, despite knowing my rare condition. So why should not I be brave? When everyone saw how brave and hopeful we were, they were impressed. The news of this birth made it to the headlines of several prominent newspapers and magazines and this was followed by awareness programme broadcast by leading television channels. I felt I could overcome any glitch in life. Science became my God.