Holly's Story
posted Oct 23, 2010

I would like to share my story of a miraculous journey that has changed the lives of 5 people forever. It all started in the spring of 2009. I had always wanted to become a surrogate for a couple who could not have children on their own. I remember telling my mom years ago that I would like to do it, and her response was a very typical response that a lot of people have who are naive in the surrogacy journey. She responded by saying, “you could never be a surrogate, how would you just give a baby up (abandon it) after carrying it for 9 months”. “That’s not you.” Well, I thought about it & thought maybe she was right, that would be awfully hard to do. So, needless to say, in 1998 I had my 2nd child & decided to have a tubal ligation. I knew that I did not want anymore children, I could not financially afford to have anymore at that point & I also thought that 2 was a perfect number! After I had my tubal ligation, I thought that surrogacy was no longer an option, as I could
not have children anymore. So, the surrogacy idea quickly vanished from my thoughts.

In 2009, many years later, I was searching online & happened to come across a surrogacy story. My mind raced back to the time when I had wanted so badly to do this. I was reading the article & found that there are 2 types of surrogates, gestational & traditional. Traditional is when the surrogate uses her own eggs, the baby is genetically & biologically related to the surrogate. Gestational is when the surrogate has embryos implanted into her via IVF (in-vitro fertilization) from another woman, the baby is not genetically or biologically related to the surrogate. I was floored when I kept reading & found that you could still become a gestational surrogate, even when you had a tubal ligation done in the past. In fact, some IPs (intended parents) even prefer this, because there is a very slim chance (almost zero) that the surrogate could become pregnant with her own child in the process of trying to become pregnant with implanted embryos.

I mulled this over for a few weeks and decided to talk to my husband about it. We had been married for almost 5 years at the time, he has 3 children from a previous marriage & I have 2. We have no children together & did not plan on ever having anymore children. He surprised me very much by actually saying he would like to do it!! We had talked in the past about how we would never get to share in the joy of being pregnant together & how he would never get to see me pregnant with that big ol’ belly! He was very into the idea of helping out another couple, while also sharing in a pregnancy that otherwise would never happen.

I also must tell you that in 2007, I had been seeing my doctor because I had very painful, heavy periods. I had been going to another doctor for months with no avail, he just kept putting me on birth control pills to try & regulate it. After months of no relief in sight, I started seeing a different doctor. His first thoughts were that I had endometriosis. He immediately did an internal ultrasound & found many fibroid tumors (which he said most women have, that they should not being causing all these complications) and also a large cyst on my right ovary. He decided it was time for surgery. This particular doctor does not perform surgeries anymore, he was up there in age & did not feel comfortable doing them at this point. I was referred to yet another doctor who performed the surgery. During the surgery, the doctor was to remove ‘everything’, it was going to be a total hysterectomy. I was only 32 at the time, but I was okay with the decision because I just wanted the pain to stop. During surgery, the doctor did remove my right ovary, but could not perform the hysterectomy. He described it to us by saying the uterus was ‘fused’ to the stomach wall & when he tried to separate them, the bleeding was uncontrollable. He said he was not comfortable performing the complete surgery, that if my pain persisted I would have to have another surgery & it would need to be with a specialist who could handle it.

The surgery did work, my pain was gone. Now, looking back on it, that was the best thing that could have ever happened. Because of that, I could still become a surrogate for another couple.

I started web surfing like crazy, looking for couples that wanted to have a surrogate carry for them. I applied at 2 different agencies & was contacting a 3rd. I had also gone to a website that has forums & blogs for IPs & surrogates to meet each other. I had found a couple on there also & we had been emailing back & forth quite a bit. They were from Tennessee, myself from Ohio, & we hit it off! We sent pictures back & forth & emailed daily. All of a sudden, they had stopped emailing. When I questioned what was wrong, if they had changed their minds, they said yes they had something come up & could not financially afford to do surrogacy at this point. I was so upset with this news, I talked to my husband about it & he said he thought we should go through an agency because there are just so many legal issues we could not handle on our own. I reluctantly agreed, thinking it would take forever waiting on an agency to find us a match. We filled out pages & pages of information & answered tons of questions, we also sent in photos of ourselves & our family. Not too long after this, I was contacted by one of the agencies & was told that they may have a couple who was interested in me becoming a surrogate for them. I was ecstatic!!

We had a telephone ‘meet & greet’ between the intended mother, myself & the lady from the agency. It was very nerve racking for me, I do not like to talk on the phone anyways & I was so afraid of saying the wrong thing and not getting ‘picked’ to be their surrogate. I thought the phone call had went ok, but I just knew I wasn’t going to hear back from them. To my surprise, I did hear back & they did want to have me become their surrogate!!

In September of 2009, my husband & I travelled to the fertility center (about 5 hours away) & I was examined , had blood drawn & also talked to a nurse about medications I would need to be on. We then met the IPs, for the first time, along with the lady from the agency for lunch. Unfortunately, we did not have much time together because we had yet another appointment to get to. This time it was with a psychologist & I had to be evaluated there also. I was so nervous meeting the IPs, I had hives all over & I just kept thinking that they were going to change their minds about us because I am not the most outspoken person & come across as ‘stuck-up’ because I am so quiet & reserved. We were so overwhelmed on the way home later that day! I was full of happiness that this was finally happening, but I was also feeling uneasy about how the meeting went with the IPs. Looking back on it, I had nothing to worry about, this was the beginning of a fantastic journey!!

I started on all my meds as soon as possible, as the IPs were anxious to get started after so many years of disappointment. I had to start on oral medications, vaginal creams, patches and also shots that were administered in my belly. The shots were not too bad, thank God my husband could give them to me. There is no way I could do it myself, I could not watch! The patches made my hormones just go completely out of whack. My family got the bad end of that deal, I was very moody & cranky when the patches started kicking in.

We went in November for our first IVF. They transferred 2 embryos into my uterus, this was so amazing to watch on the television screen they had set up in the room. I was very optimistic & thought I would soon be pregnant! Unfortunately, after waiting almost 2 weeks, the results came back negative. The doctor gave my body a rest for almost a month & we started right back up on the meds. Some of my hormone levels were a little lower than the doctor would have liked, so we postponed the 2nd IVF yet another month & I started taking another oral medication.

In February of 2010, we travelled to the clinic for the 2nd IVF, they transferred 2 embryos again. This time, I knew what to expect & things were much easier & much more relaxed. I decided that I was going to do everything opposite of what I had done after the 1st IVF, since the 1st attempt had failed. I think I was becoming a little superstitious at this point! So, instead of laying in bed for 2 days, going bored out of my head, I only lay down for a few hours. Then, my husband & I went for a drive to the lake & took a little walk & then went to eat. I just knew this time it was going to work!

The waiting at home was agony! The first time around, I had started doing at home pregnancy tests almost daily about a week after the transfer. This time, I did not want to do any until 9 days in (this is when they say you should be able to tell). The IP kept trying to get me to take an at home test, she was more anxious than I of course!! But, I said no I didn’t want to do it and possibly see a negative, just because it was too early to tell. I didn’t want to be depressed if I saw a negative and jeopardize the embryo’s chance of attaching to the uterus. We waited, impatiently of course, & finally found out I was pregnant!! One embryo had attached, so I was carrying a singleton.

I was so confident in the pregnancy, but the IP had a lot of disappointments in her past and was not so confident. Finally, after we reached the 16 week mark, she was much more relaxed & not so worried about a miscarriage happening. My pregnancy went very well. During the first 3 months there was moodiness & morning sickness, the second 3 months I had a couple fits of vomiting, and the last trimester I had to stop working a little earlier than anticipated because I would get very lightheaded & dizzy & just didn’t feel too good all around at work. After I quit working, I was feeling much better. I still had these feelings like an elephant was sitting on my chest & it was a little hard to breathe from time to time, but everything was going great! I was scheduled for a repeat c-section, but the baby decided to come about 3 weeks early. Maybe this is why I was having difficulty at work, she was going to be coming sooner than I ever expected! She was the most beautiful baby ever! Healthy, happy, and so loved!

I am very blessed to have such loving and caring IPs. I was able to spend time with the baby in the hospital and am also staying in touch with them through emails and text messages. It was hard coming home and leaving the baby, but also very rewarding at the same time. Four human beings came together to bring a fifth into this world out of love and compassion. There, honestly, is no other feeling like this in the world. We came together, strangers in the beginning, and have formed a friendship and a bond that will last forever. The little angel born out of this surrogacy is so lucky to be as loved as much as she is. She is truly a miracle and a blessing in all of our lives. I am already hoping to become a surrogate again soon….it is an amazing experience!!