Everyone’s journey into surrogacy is so different, but each one has the same wanted outcome, the want to help others build a family. That moment when you give back the parents their child is so magical, and one that I cannot wait to do again.
My journey into surrogacy is a special one (they really all are). Brian and I had friends who unfortunately were having a hard time carrying a pregnancy to term. As we were hanging out one night, we joked that I loved to be pregnant so much, they, unfortunately, couldn’t keep a pregnancy and that wouldn’t it be cool if I could carry their baby. We let it go as a funny moment. A few weeks later, Brian came home to share the sad news that they again lost another pregnancy. My heart broke for them as I knew how much they wanted a child. Brian said we could seriously consider surrogacy for these friends.
At this point I went into research mode! I reached out on a few local mom groups remembering reading a few posts on surrogacy. I met up with 3 different surrogates and heard of their journey to that point. I met with an agency just to get information. My heart was filling with excitement and joy at the possibility to gift this gift to such a deserving couple. We waited a couple more months, and as we hung out again, we offered them my womb to grow their child. They were so touched by our offer but wanted to try again with their new fertility doctor who had a great new protocol for them. I am beyond happy to say that today, they now have 2 beautiful boys that they were able to carry to term on their own.
Now that doing surrogacy for friends was out of the question, my heart was already in it, and I knew I needed to do it for another deserving family. It took Brian a bit of time to come around, but he realized how important this journey was for me.
I reached out to a local surrogacy agency in late January 2017. We chatted on the phone, I received several forms to fill out, Brian spoke on the phone with them, and our journey officially started! Shortly after I was sent 3 profiles of IPs (Intended Parents). I had no idea who to chose. I had no idea how to make this decision. How do I say yes to 1 couple, changing their lives by giving them their child, knowing I’m turning down 2 others, who are still hoping to one day meet their amazing surrogate. It was a very hard decision. I slept on it a couple of days, talked it out with some of my friends and picked my IPs. 2 amazing men who lived only 2 hours away from me! I thought this was perfect, they can come to any appointments that they could, travel for birth would be easy, we could meet at any time.
Once we were matched, the journey went fast! Brian and I both had to go through psychiatric evaluations and medical screening. Contracts started, which clearly outline what can be covered during a surrogacy. Here in Canada, surrogates do not get paid for growing a child, we are reimbursed on our pregnancy, surrogacy journey expenses. Contracts look at what happens if I were to go on bed rest, missing work due to appointments and morning sickness, limits on when I can leave the country and so much more. Every surrogate and journey is so unique, so all contracts are unique to their experience.
Once we knew when we were going to transfer, I received my medication. Which is much scarier to see then actually take. I had to take estrogen orally and progesterone injected along with a couple of other meds daily, up to 12 weeks pregnancy. My bum became a bit of a pincushion, but once I got the hang of it, and with the help of my saving grace essential oil roller bottle, the bumps barely appeared.
After almost 2 weeks of taking meds, now it was time for transfer!!
End of March 2017, I met my IPs in Toronto at the fertility clinic and we transferred 1 tiny embryo. The doctor and staff were amazing. We were so excited and so hopeful! 1 week later when I took an at-home pregnancy test and saw that second line appear I was just as happy as when I saw those lines for my own children. I was so excited to share this news with my IPs! I went for blood work 3 times to make sure that the pregnancy hormones were rising and I was officially declared pregnant!
We had monitoring with the fertility clinic for 12 weeks. Then I was transferred over to my midwife for care. My amazing midwives at Womancare Midwives were phenomenal this time around as they were last time with my 2nd keeper. The support was amazing. My pregnancy was mostly uneventful, very typical stuff.
However birth was so exciting! December 20th, 41 weeks pregnant, (my longest pregnancy) I woke up to my youngest crying at 3 am, I realized that I was having some small surges. As I lay in his bed with him, rubbing his back with one hand, and rubbing my belly with my other hand, I knew that this was the day! I knew I had some time though as things were just starting and they are only a couple hours away, and we were lucky to have no snowstorm. I texted them, my doula, and my midwife so that they knew baby was coming soon.
My doula came to my house and supported me while my husband finished his day at work and dropped the kids off at our friends’ home for the night. Around 3pm I couldn’t get comfortable at home anymore and knowing I had to travel and my IPs were waiting, we decided to go to the hospital. I met my IPs who were so amazing, so excited. They sat on the edge of their seats through labour, offering words of encouragement when they could.
The birth photographer was great, my husband was my rock. I visualized and breathed baby down and we welcomed baby E into the world just before 9pm, squatting beside the bed. As she was lifted into my hands so I could grab her and move onto the bed, I will always remember the look of pure joy on those daddies faces meeting their daughter for the first time. This moment is one of the proudest moments of my life and will always have a special place in my heart, as meeting my own children did.
I, unfortunately, could not go home right away as planned as with some IVF pregnancies, the placenta can get sticky, which is what happened to me. It had to be manually removed then I had to be monitored for several hours. I was wheeled into my own room at 3 am and was finally able to get some real rest.
We are now 1 year 10 months past the birth of my first surrogate baby, and I am starting my 2nd journey. I wanted at least one more chance to give this gift. After some haggling and dealing, Brian agreed to one last journey. I am now matched with an amazing couple from France.
My IM (intended mother) had some health issues that unfortunately won’t allow her to carry a pregnancy so their only option for a biological child is surrogacy, and France has some very interesting laws around adoption and surrogacy. I know this journey will be even better than my last, and I cannot wait to transfer in the new year.
If you have any questions regarding surrogacy, as a surrogate or an intended parent, please reach out. I am in contact with several agencies as I launch my Mindful Childbirth Education for surrogates. Just make sure you get the support for this sacred journey as everyone involved deserves to have the best journey possible.
Love, light, and health
Nikki Fraser, RRPr, CAHP