One day, in the clinic, we met Rita. I was excited to meet her. Rajender was a bit reluctant; I could see it in his eyes. When Shonali came and told us that Rita was waiting for us in a particular room, I became a bit nervous too. What should I talk to her; I haven't prepared anything in my mind. I was wondering how she will look in person! Will she look undernourished, sad, and mature-looking for her age? Somehow that is the image I had about her in my mind. I was even afraid to find a woman whom my heart will reject on the very first look. I am a very intuitive person and I normally develop an impression about someone on the very first look. As I went closer to that room, I could hear my heartbeat in my ears very clearly, I was excited and nervous too. I eagerly opened the door to have a first look of the woman who will carry our child and I must say I felt very relieved.
The moment I looked at her all my anxiety vanished. There stood a younger-looking, healthy, humble, friendly woman with a warm smile. She looked just like my sister. There is of course a tinge of anxiety in her eyes too. I held her hand to make her feel comfortable and to make myself less anxious too. I asked Shonali to stay in that room so that she could help us in communicating with Rita, I was not so confident about Rajender's Hindi language skills :) I asked Rita how she was, her family etc.., the normal conversation which could bring some ease between us. I could understand Hindi, (thanks to Doordharshan, our only entertainment when I was young) so I was following what she was saying. After the initial introduction, she told us that she was sorry about what happened to our pregnancy. She said, 'I was careful enough but somehow it happened'. Before she finished those words her eyes were tearing up. I told Rajender, 'please tell her that it was not her fault. Such things happen to many early pregnancies and she was not responsible for what happened'. When saying this I saw Rajender's face for the first time after we entered that room. I could see that his face has softened. He told Rita what I told him. This conversation brought much more closeness between us. Rita's body language became much friendlier, her face appeared relaxed. She started to open up much more. She was talking about her children. She said that she was married at a younger age and her son was now 12 years old. Her daughter was around 8 years of age. She showed her family pictures which she had in her cell phone. They all looked so healthy and happy. Her eyes were beaming with pride and happiness. She said that her children go to English medium school. I asked her about her husband, whether he takes care of her well. I was trying to read her face. Definitely there was a genuine happiness and content when she said that her husband loves her so much. She paused for a moment. Her face showed some pain. She lowered her head and said, my husband was doing business; we faced lots of loss in it. We need money now. That is why I decided to work as a surrogate. Even my mom doesn't know this (I was not happy with this statement!). She also said, 'I do not stay idle at home, I do work. I run a small canteen at home'. I could understand that she was feeling humiliated, wondering what I was thinking about her! I told her that she must be proud of herself for coming forward to support her family and help us too. I explained her how priceless is the help she will be doing for us. I told her why we needed surrogacy. I showed my children's picture to her, my 5 months old twins ( our children whom we lost at 20 weeks of pregnancy ), the ones whom I will love and cherish forever. I couldn't stop my tears. Those pictures are very personal ones but I thought I must share it with her, after all, it will tell her clearly about my inability, our situation. I could see her eyes getting wet too and her grip tightening around my hand.
I gave her a saree which I brought for her and chocolates for her children. Rajender gave her some money and he was thanking her again and again. I could understand him. He was totally overwhelmed by that meeting. He said, ‘we are sorry that you have to go through this trouble because of us, sorry that you have to go through that miscarriage’. I was happy that he was empathetic enough to think about Rita's pain. I was so proud of my husband as usual.
It was time for my scan. I had to leave. Rita gave me a very warm hug. She said, ' I like you both a lot, I will be very happy to carry your child. When I become pregnant again I promise that I will be extra careful. Do not worry '. She said, 'I wanted to meet you both. I was always asking Dr. Malpani when I could meet you and I am so happy now'.
When I and Rajender came out of that room we felt a lot more happy and confident. Dr was after all very correct in saying ' Manju, you must meet Rita and you will feel a lot better’
The day of embryo transfer came. On that day I was present in the clinic too and ...