Ashley's Surrogacy Adventure – Pacific Northwest Surrogacy
Have you ever had an a-ha moment of clarity about something you want to do in your life? I was in my early twenties when my moment came to me. I knew that I wanted to be a gestational surrogate. As I started my research at that time on how to become a surrogate, I didn’t find an overwhelming amount of information. I felt as if the websites were friendly but I didn’t get a secure feeling about the process. I decided after months and months of researching and calling the different agencies that I needed to take a break. I knew I wanted to be a surrogate, but I wanted to get married and have my own kids first. (Which is a hard requirement anyway!)
Fast forward eight or so years, my husband and I have an independent, spunky five year old and are done growing our family. My husband knew that surrogacy was a dream in my life and now was the time to start this journey. I began to research all about surrogacy and what I needed to do to start this adventure. During this time I was introduced to a wonderful lady named Lauren, who was a previous surrogate! In awed by her journey, I probably overwhelmed her with so many questions. I moved forward with the agency that she used because I knew they were reliable and secure. The time had come for me to apply!!
I applied to be a surrogate in August 2016. Our surrogacy adventure began and my excitement was through the roof. I could not believe I was on my way to helping a family grow by ten little toes! Let me add here that my husband and I had been talking about surrogacy with our child and family members through the years. We wanted to make sure our child understood that mommy was going to carry a baby that was not staying with us. We read “The Kangaroo Pouch” over a dozen times and had plenty of open conversations with her. Finally, we knew she was ready when she was explaining surrogacy to anyone that would listen to her. A girl after my own heart! Explaining to our families was a little trickier but after a few heart to hearts they were on board. Now our journey could begin!!
The agency called after they reviewed my application and informed me that I was a great candidate for surrogacy! We started the next steps of the process: background checks, in person interview, psychological evaluation, gathering medical records and uploading our photos and letter for our intended parents (IPs).
I was sitting in my living room when I received the call that my profile was reviewed and accepted by intended parents. I ran to my computer with my husband and quickly opened their profile. We read everything and determined YES immediately. How could we not choose them, how could we deny any family the opportunity to grow?
Our family was matched with an international couple from China. This family was very sweet, we had our skype call soon after we all agreed to move forward with each other. We had to have an interpreter on all correspondence. I felt this arrangement was going to be more business then personal and I was okay with it. SPOILER ALERT, we are actually super close now and I see pictures/emails often.
My transfer was scheduled for March 2018 in Oregon. Leading to this appointment, I had started injections/medications and was not enjoying them but completely handling it. The injections looked way worse than they actually were. Transfer day came and it felt like pure magic. My intended parents were not able to make the transfer but I did email them pictures of their little embryo. I was placed on 48 hour bed rest after and enjoyed every minute of watching TV/Movies and eating yummy food.
Our first pregnancy test came back … PREGNANT!! The reality set in at that moment, I am pregnant with this family’s baby, pure bliss. A week before our heartbeat scan, I experienced bleeding and definitely panicked. The fertility clinic placed me on light bed rest for a couple days. Arriving to our heartbeat scan, I was so upset. I talked to my OB about the bleeding in more depth and she informed me that bleeding can be normal with IVF but I was still unsure. The ultrasound started and I gasped, for what I saw was not expected. IDENTICAL TWINS!! Identical twins is a 1% chance with our situation. Let’s take a minute and absorb this, TWINS!! As I laid there in shock all I could think of was informing my IP’s. I messaged them a picture of the babies, saying twins. The shock was intense, but excitement soon took over for everyone.
The next months went fast. I saw a specialist every other week to monitor for TTT transfer (Twin to twin transfer syndrome) . I was carrying Mo/Di twins, which means they share a placenta. The babies grew beautifully with no complications. My intended parents spoiled me with amazing gifts and I felt incredibly connected with them. I emailed them all the ultrasounds pictures I received. We scheduled a cesarean for October and started to prepare for birth. Towards delivery date my intended parents gave me funds to go shopping for the babies on their behalf. What a great experience! I found the shopping to be very telling to the end of our journey together, closure, I bought the double stroller, cribs, clothes and all the baby goodies etc.
The surro babies were born October 2018 via cesarean. My OB was very supportive with our situation and made sure to get the IP’s in all the restricted areas. After both boys were taken out and placed into their warming beds, my intended parents came into the room to be at their sides. These boys came out roaring and weighing almost 7lbs apiece. HEALTHY! I was so proud at what we had done. As soon as my intended mom was holding a baby she brought him to me and said “look what we have done, they are beautiful! Thank you!”.. This moment will forever be with me.
In the recovery room I was able to hold both boys and absorb the moment. Look what my family had grown for these amazing parents! The boys had no NICU time and were discharged before I was! In the beginning, I seriously thought our relationship was going to be business-like but our relationship is so much more. My family is traveling to China very soon to visit our surro babies and their family. Even as my journey felt complete at time of birth, it truly will never be completed. Will I do it again, you ask? YES!! I’m already planning the details for another adventure.