Phoenix Surrogate Birth Photographer
Two Men and a Little Baby
Have you ever wondered what a surrogate birth is like? Trista, a local wife and momma decided to give a couple the best gift anyone could ask for. A baby. I asked her to be a guest blogger today to tell the story of the last birth and newborn session that I had in 2015. All I can say is there is not a better way to end the year than with a birth, better yet, a surrogate birth. The time I spent with these people was truly amazing. And I am beyond blessed to have met them all. Thank you Trista for being a guest blogger! I’m so happy that you are open to sharing this story with others.
Trista- “Not everyone is so blessed to have children. And I feel like I should help those who are not blessed to be able to carry a baby. I feel like every person that desires becoming a parent should feel the joys of having children.
I first learned about surrogacy like many people, celebrities. When I told my husband he thought I was crazy. Although he had his reservations, I knew he’d support me in this journey. So I went online, and I googled surrogacy agencies. The first one I came across had a questionnaire to see if you can be pre qualified for surrogacy. Out of curiosity I filled it out and got pre-approved. Little did I know that was the first step that would lead me on a 2 year journey!
The agency reached out to me and said that they were interested in me becoming a surrogate.
However, I needed to do to get a final approval to be a surrogate: I needed to turn in my medical records, needed psychological clearance, I needed clearance from my OBGYN, needed approval from the fertility doctor in Los Angeles, and finally I needed to be matched with potential parents.
It seemed like so much. But it was worth it.
Carrying a baby for someone else is an emotional endeavor! And it is important to make sure you are mentally prepared for such a task. I passed my psychological evaluation. I submitted all my clearances, had a medical screening in LA, and I was ready to be matched.
When I first got the intended parents (IPs for short) profile I was nervous because how was I to know if the IPs were my potential match? What things do I look for? What do I ask them? I got their profiles and every piece of identifying detailed is blacked out. Without details I was nervous that I would see just a fake profile to make them look appealing, but I didn’t get that at all. I got the most heartfelt story of their lives, their work, their families, why they want to be parents, and my favorite part: a letter to their surrogate. After reading the letter I knew they were my match.
We planned a video chat to talk. They were a gay couple from Europe. I got ready for the video chat like I was getting ready for my first date. I changed my clothes a million times. I curled my hair. Did my make-up. To tell you the truth- I was a nervous wreck! Needless to say the video chat went great. The guys (as I’ve come to know them) were amazing. Everything that we talked about, it’s all a blur now. I do remember them saying that they wanted me to carry their baby. How exciting is that? Wouldn’t it be great if dating was that easy?
After we established a contract we were able to move to the next step in the process. They found an egg donor and they were going to use one of their sperm. Now we get to start the cycling process. First the IVF Dr. (in vitro fertilization doctor) needed to synch my period cycle with the egg donor’s. This is standard in fresh embryo transfers.
Transfer day: We head to the fertility clinic in LA. My stomach is in knots. The doctor brings me back and I get on the bed and it feels like I’m going for my yearly exam. My mom is with me. Like most girls, it’s nice to have your mom with you for nerve wracking appointments. The doctor comes in, puts my legs in stirrups and opens me up with that horrific clamp. He flushes my vaginal canal with saline solution. (Just a slight disclaimer, this is not for the faint of heart. There are gross things to be said about the surrogacy journey.) then the nurse brings in a very long tube. It’s a very thin, long catheter. The embryo is inside it. The doctor pushes the catheter through a small opening in my cervix and suddenly I’m pregnant. How easy was that? Now it’s the hard part. The dreaded 2 week wait.
How will I possibly hold out 2 weeks before knowing if I’m pregnant? Well I couldn’t and after 5 days I took a pregnancy test at home! It was positive!!! How amazing is that! I had to tell the dads so they could relax. We schedule a video chat and on it “I’m pregnant!” they were so excited and had instant tears!
Now we wait 5 more days for my blood test to check my hcg levels. I got almost cocky about the whole thing. I’ve never miscarried. Why would I now? That arrogance made this next part that much harder. I miscarried. I feel like I let them down. My hcg levels came back at 90. The doctor wants them at 100. We saw the heartbeat in an ultrasound and things didn’t look good. It was weak. After that I was really discouraged. It turns out the embryo quality was very poor and the doctor knew it, but had no choice because out of the 10 embryos that bad one was the best quality.
Once we were ready to cycle again I got a call 5 days before the transfer. The transfer canceled and it wouldn’t be rescheduled until the dads found a new egg donor. The guys found an egg donor rather quickly. By January we were ready to go. Only problem was my body was not happy with the sudden changes of being on and off the hormones. I had to take other hormones to stimulate my cycle and then they made me wait another month for a regular period before they would allow me to cycle again. While most women are praying their period doesn’t come I was praying for mine to come. It took another 2 months before we could cycle again and we got our new transfer date: April 7th. The new egg donor is experienced and this is her third time donating. The 2 other times resulted in successful pregnancies. I had every reason to be sure this one would stick, but I was hesitant. The transfer came and went, embryo quality was flawless. I should be excited right? Well I wasn’t! What if I miscarry again? Will they think it’s my fault?
By day 7 everyone was begging for me to take a pregnancy test. At day 10 I got results. Please let them be at least 100! Please don’t be any lower than that! 263?! They’re more than double what they needed to be!!!! I shared the news with the dads and at that point we all felt more at ease. I went for my first ultrasound at 6 weeks and we saw a heartbeat. Everything was amazing. But of course, nothing can go smoothly and we hit a major bump when I started bleeding the next day. Why is this happening? Everything was just fine yesterday! I call my OB and they get me in right away for an ultrasound. I lay down on the bed expecting the worse and they put the wand on my belly and there is the baby her heart is fluttering like a butterfly. I didn’t miscarry. In IVF it’s very common to bleed at 6 weeks for some unknown reason. After 24 hours my bleeding stopped and I was back to normal.
I continue the pregnancy like normal. At 10 weeks we got a blood test done to determine if the baby had any genetic deformities and at that moment we found out the sex of the baby. I got news on the sex of the baby before the dads did so I asked my OB to keep it a secret and I would reveal to them during our video chat. That week we planned on talking and I would meet 1 of their moms. Perfect time to announce the sex of the baby. We started talking and they announced the pregnancy to his mom. She had no idea they were this far along in the process. She was so excited and she cried. It was beautiful.
Now I get to share my news. I made a shirt and across my belly I wrote GIRL with a pink bow underneath. I told them the baby had no deformities and the blood results were perfect. Then they asked what it was. I stood up and showed off my expanding belly with GIRL written across. They were so happy they cried tears of joy. At 22 weeks the guys visited. They were so funny and fit in so well with our family. I know I made the right decision to be matched with them.
The rest of the pregnancy went along normally, no issues and before we knew it she was coming. At 36 weeks I got my first exam done and my Dr. tells me “you are 3cm, 75% effaced. Are the dads in town yet? (No!) When do they get here? (Not for 2 more weeks) They need to get here because you most likely won’t make it till then!” I text the dads and let them know and they changed their flight to come here sooner. They came at separate times. Dad #1 got here at 37 weeks, dad #2 got here at 37.5 weeks (he had to finish out the week at work). Once they got here I felt more at ease. We went and walked at the zoo. I took them shopping for baby stuff. My next appointment at 37 weeks I had no change in my dilation. At 38 weeks there was no change either. What the heck? Looks like I’ll make it to my induction after all!
At 39 weeks I’m scheduled to be induced. Everyone’s bags are packed. We’re all ready to go. I need to be to the hospital at 3am for my induction. But again, nothing goes according to plan. I get a call the night before saying “Our beds are full of women coming in with spontaneous labor. Call us at 5 am and see if we have openings.” So I set my alarm, babysitter is scheduled to be at our house by 5. I call the hospital and asked if they had beds open for my induction. They laughed and apologized and told me unless I go into spontaneous labor don’t plan on coming in that day. This sucked. I tell my husband. I said “Let’s walk this baby out! We can walk the girls to school!” So I get up, use the restroom and I come out with my underwear around my knees. I tell my husband my water broke. “Okay babe.” He doesn’t budge from the bed. “No seriously my water broke.”
I change, call my mom, text the dads, and we are out the door! I get to the hospital, we get a room, get hooked up to machines and get my IV started. I tell everyone to come to the hospital around 7. This way I have a chance to get everything going. Everyone arrives and a second later the anesthesiologist comes in to administer my epidural. He gets it in and my legs and hips go numb. I still feel every contraction. So I continue to press the button to administer more numbing and my feet are so numb I can’t feel a single thing, yet it’s not touching the pains in my stomach. We call the anesthesiologist back in and he does something and I finally get relief, only problem is my legs are so numb I have zero control over them.
The nurse comes in my room to check on us and I ask her to check me. I wasn’t having any pressure, I just wonder where I’m at. The baby’s head is coming down and I’m ready to push. I’m so numb I couldn’t tell you what was going on down there. Suddenly the doctor is there. The nurses are all there. The dads are anxiously waiting for their daughter to be born. No one expected it to be so sudden. The doctor tells me to push. Did I push? The baby is out! It took 2 pushes. Seriously, I have pictures to prove it. The dads come over to my bed and together they cut the cord.
Everything after that was so quick. We had a lot of papers to fill out. And in the days that followed the dads needed to get her birth certificate, passport and needed to relinquish my rights as birth mother. After all that, the baby was ready to go home to Europe.
During the pregnancy I never became attached to the baby. To be honest my youngest is going through so many medical problems right now, I couldn’t Imagine having a newborn to care for. In the last 2 years things were hard, stressful, emotional, but everything we went through was worth it. If it weren’t for the failed transfer, canceled cycle, baby Louise wouldn’t be here. Sometimes to get the rainbow you have to brave the storm.”
Congratulations guys! Baby Louise is Beautiful!! Each and every one of these people in this story have touched my heart. I am so blessed to have photographed this special day for them!