My wonder WOMB-AN: Fiancé’s cousin made our baby dream come true

baby surrogate

by take-a-break |
Updated on

After finding out she had a rare condition, Amarjit wondered if she’d ever have her own, biological child. But a life-changing offer from someone close made her dreams come true…

wonder womb-an

Sitting in the doctor’s office, I shifted nervously in my chair.

‘I have the results from your operation,’ he said, turning towards me. ‘I’m sorry, but you don’t have a vagina or a womb, Amarjit.’

I was only 18. It was a shock, but his words didn’t sink in at first.

I’d had the surgery to investigate what was going on after not starting my periods.

My mum Sukhjinder had wondered if I was just a late bloomer, but when they still hadn’t come on at 17, I’d gone to the doctor.

I’d been referred to a specialist in gynaecology and they had performed a procedure.

And now, they were telling me I had a rare condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome. I was born with it, but the cause was unknown.

A week later, I found myself sat in Professor Edmonds’ office.

I’d never thought deeply about wanting children yet — I just assumed it was something I’d decide later down the line.

I was young and single. But now I wanted to know… would it be possible in the future?

‘The good news is you have both ovaries and would be genetically able to have your own child,’ the Professor began. ‘But because you don’t have a womb, you won’t be able to carry a baby.’

My head whirled with a million questions and worries.

It felt as if someone had stolen something precious from me.

And there was also something else… would I be able to be properly intimate with a man?

The doctor said I could have a normal sex life, but I would need to use dilators, or hard, plastic probes, to stretch the area where my vagina would be.

'You don't have a vagina or womb'

It was embarrassing and I felt as if I was different to other women.

But my parents were a huge support.

Every evening for a few months, Mum would say: ‘Go upstairs love, we won’t disturb you.’

I’d lock myself in my room for 15 minutes and do what needed to be done.

It was uncomfortable and painful, but I told myself that the future me would be thankful.

Soon, I started uni and met my first serious boyfriend.

It took me months to build up the courage to tell him about my condition, but to my relief, he was understanding.

We were together for five years, but sadly, we drifted apart.

Then, when I was 31, I met Harrison at work. I knew he was special, and early on I told him about my condition.

‘If you want to leave me, you can go,’ I said.

wonder womb-an

But Harrison shook his head.

‘I’m not leaving,’ he assured me. ‘There are options and other ways we can have children.’

Relief washed over me. As the years passed, our relationship went from strength to strength.

One Valentine’s Day, which was also Harrison’s birthday, I’d popped out to get us a Dine in For Two deal at the supermarket.

Only, when I got home, there were rose petals scattered all over the kitchen.

Following the trail, I walked into the living room to find Harrison in his suit, on one knee.

‘Amarjit, I love you,’ he said. ‘Will you be my wife?’

‘Yes!’ I cried, happy tears rolling down my face.

Afterwards, we started seriously thinking about having children. But the NHS knocked us back.

'We've been through IVF too'

‘How are we going to afford it?’ I wondered.

But our families were brilliant and for Christmas and birthdays, they’d donate towards our IVF fund.

For Christmas 2018, we went to Wells to celebrate with Harrison’s family.

I was talking to someone when Harrison tapped me on the shoulder.

‘My cousin Robyn has something to tell you,’ he said, leading me to her.

Robyn shared a little girl, Jessy, with her wife Lynn.

She knew about our IVF journey and had always been supportive.

‘I’ve been thinking about it and I would like to be your surrogate,’ she said. ‘We’ve been through IVF too and our daughter brings us so much happiness. Lynn and I want you and Harrison to experience that joy, too.’

I couldn’t believe what she was offering to do.

‘I need to hug you, otherwise I’ll cry,’ I said, throwing my arms around her.

Six months later, Harrison and I tied the knot and with our surrogate in place, we contacted the hospital.

A few months later, my eggs were removed, fertilised with Harrison’s sperm and four embryos were created and kept in a freezer.

Only when lockdown hit, IVF treatment was shelved. It was heart-breaking, but I told myself a few more months of waiting would be worth it.

The following year, our frozen embryo was transferred to Robyn’s womb.

After two nerve-wracking weeks, all four of us were together when Robyn did the test.

‘It’s positive!’ she smiled. We were ecstatic but a few weeks later, Robyn was at work when she started bleeding.

A scan showed there was no heartbeat. We were devasted but our families were a huge support.

‘The next one is going to work,’ my dad Mohinder said.

But just two months later, tragedy struck when Dad passed away.

It was so sudden and we were heartbroken.

Later that week, Robyn messaged her condolences and said she had a scan booked for a few days’ time.

It was difficult to pick ourselves up and start the process all over again, but it distracted me from my grief.

The following month, Robyn underwent another embryo transfer and over group chat, revealed the result of the pregnancy test.

I cried tears of joy when she turned the wand over — it was positive again! It felt as if Dad had given us a heavenly helping hand.

And with each successful scan, I allowed myself to relax.

Seeing our unborn baby’s little heartbeat on screen was magical.

‘I want to go all out for the gender reveal, like the Kardashians,’ I said to Harrison, conscious this might be my only chance.

So the three of them kept the baby’s sex a secret from me and planned to tell me over a meal.

wonder womb-an

But when I turned up to the restaurant, I was greeted by all my friends and family.

Suddenly, there was a countdown.

‘Three, two, one…’ I gasped as a sea of pink balloons soared into the air.

‘A girl!’ I cried, overcome with happiness.

We decided to call her Cassia.

A few months later, we were all out for a walk when Robyn’s waters broke and we rushed to hospital.

Only, as the hours and a day went by, there was still no sign of the baby.

Robyn had wanted to have a water birth, but in the end, the doctor did a forceps delivery.

The nurses told us it was medical emergency, so we couldn’t be in theatre.

We paced the corridor, trying to stay calm.

‘Please make sure Robyn and the baby are OK,’ I begged the nurses.

A little while later, I saw an incubator with a tiny baby being wheeled towards us.

Harrison and I looked at each other and burst into tears.

‘I can’t believe she’s ours,’ he said, both of us relieved.

After seven difficult years, we finally had our longed-for baby — and she was beautiful.

‘You’re amazing,’ I said to Robyn. ‘You’ll always be a part of her life.’

Cassia is now a year old and a bundle of joy. We can’t thank Robyn enough for giving us the missing piece of us we always wanted.

Amarjit Bhambra-Mills, 41, Sutton, Surrey

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