‘Are you having more kids?’ I didn’t want more of my own, but I had a desire to be pregnant again.’: Mom embarks on surrogacy journey

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“On August 31, 2016, we had Canyon. From day one, he was the best baby. He slept through the night, nursed well, and never fussed, so it was easy to have another baby right away. We talked about having four kids, all 18 months apart. We wanted to have our babies and then move past child birthing years and begin to make memories. In the spring of 2018, we had our second child, a baby girl we named Ember. She was the exact opposite of Canyon. She was fussy, clingy, didn’t sleep well, and to top it all off, I got mastitis when she was 3 months old. From this point on, we never desired to have another child. We had our boy, we had our girl, we felt complete. But I did not…

I had a strong desire to be pregnant again and birth another baby, but I knew I didn’t want more of my own. We live an adventurous lifestyle and we felt like two kids were manageable for us. Not to mention, parenting is TOUGH! As each month passed, the feeling of not wanting any more kids was still confirmed, but the desire to be pregnant again and carry a baby still lingered. I briefly thought about surrogacy and how great of an experience it would be and then I dismissed the thought. I tucked it away in my heart and prayed about it. A few months later, I reconnected with a friend and she asked how I was doing, how were the kids, and if I was going to have another baby.

Courtesy of Samantha Mathews

I quickly said, ‘No!’ but I had such a strong desire to be pregnant again. She said, ‘You should be a surrogate.’ I was caught off guard by it, but I truly feel like it was the Lord speaking through her and confirming it in me! The next day I brought it up to Dan. ‘Babe, you know how we don’t want to have any more kids?’ ‘Yeah!’ ‘And you know how much I loved pregnancy and labor?’ ‘Yeah!’ ‘What do you think about me being a surrogate?’ He paused and then said, ‘So, we would give away our baby?’ I quickly explained as a gestational surrogate I would simply carry a baby for a couple. It would be their embryo. He took a sigh of relief and then said, ‘Let me think and pray about it.’

About a week later he called me. ‘Let’s do it!’ ‘Let’s do what?’ ‘Surrogacy,’ he said. I was so excited! I would only move forward with this knowing I had his full support. After months of researching, we decided to go through an agency since we were new to what all it entailed. We found a local surrogacy agency and filled out an application. A few days later we got a call from the intake coordinator and began doing additional paperwork. Background check, sending in identification and medical records, and she even came to our house for an in-person interview. Everything was going so well! Our next step before fully moving forward was a psychologist interview and assessment.

I met with the psychologist from the agency and she was so nice. For 30 minutes, I shared our heart behind why we were pursuing surrogacy, explained we had thought through all the risks, and we were excited to help a couple in this way. I then sat down for a 300 question personality test and I dreaded it because I am not a good test-taker. I overthink questions, but this is supposed to be a quick response test. Needless to say, I only marginally passed and unfortunately, because of the standards of the agency, I couldn’t move forward. She assured me there was nothing wrong with me and if it was up to her, she would allow me to move forward. Because of the agency’s standards, I couldn’t. I felt so confused! I felt called to do this. I questioned God on why this was happening when He laid it on my heart. I trusted He knew what He was doing.

Courtesy of Samantha Mathews

A month later, I got a random email from my midwife seeing where I was at in my surrogacy journey and she knew a couple who was struggling to conceive and was interested in chatting. We were hopeful this is why it didn’t work with the agency, maybe this was the couple we were supposed to match with. We emailed and went over a few questions to ensure we both had the same desires for a journey, but unfortunately, there was one major thing we disagreed on. They wanted the option to terminate, but we are hardset on not ever wanting to terminate. We believe all life is precious and the decisions I make through a surrogacy journey would stay with me forever. We wished them luck and parted ways. Again, I was left confused as to why this time didn’t work out.

Courtesy of Samantha Mathews

Little did I know a few months later, my husband would have a job transition and we would move from Colorado back home to Missouri. It made sense why the other journeys didn’t work out. A few months later, we took a road trip to meet new friends we met on social media, and one night sitting down at dinner, the wife asked if we were going to have any more kids. We said no but we would love to do surrogacy. Her face lit up! ‘My sister was a surrogate.’ She went on to share how she met the Intended Parents (IPs) in a Facebook group and how they had such a close relationship. I should try to match with a couple individually. I was hopeful my story was not over yet.

When we returned from our road trip, I joined a few surrogacy groups and for a few weeks, I just observed. I read posts from IPs and posts from surrogates just to get an idea of how matching individually worked. It was September 30, 2020, and I finally mustered up the courage to post in the group. I shared my desires in a journey, a little about me, and pictures of my family. In less than 24 hours, we had about ten couples reach out. All who were deserving, but three of them stuck out to us. I was about to reply to them when I noticed I had a message request. It was from an IM, saying she just saw my post and she feels like we would be a great fit and she was right.

Courtesy of Samantha Mathews

Peace flooded my body as I read her message. I called Dan and read it to him. He said, ‘They are the ones.’ We had so much in common and it just felt right. She and I decided to FaceTime that night. I was nervous but also very hopeful. It went so well and we made arrangements to FaceTime again the following week as couples when her husband was home from a work trip. That follow-up call went just as well! We laughed and cried, they felt like long-lost friends! We knew they were the ones. They took the night to talk about us and emailed us the next day to say they would like to move forward with us. We were so excited! This is what the past year and a half of prayer led to.

The following weeks ramped up quickly. The Intended Mother sent me a document with all the steps we would be completing, I sent her fertility clinic my medical records, we had an interview with the psychologist over Zoom, I scheduled a doctor’s appointment to get my IUD removed and to get on birth control, and in late December, we finalized contracts. The whole month of January was spent waiting for an opening at the clinic. My first ultrasound was scheduled for January 29. Before meds and the journey really started, the couple wanted to FaceTime. The mom had done IVF before so she shared some advice, but at the end of the call, she surprised us with news they were a few weeks along in her pregnancy.

Courtesy of Samantha Mathews

I came as such a shock to them, but I wasn’t as surprised. I had this weird feeling it would happen. We were overjoyed for them, but she explained because of her past pregnancies resulting in miscarriages after a few weeks, they still wanted to move forward with the journey. We were all for it! I had my baseline ultrasound on January 29th, and my lining was a thin 1.56 with a good pattern. The next day, I started inserting Estrace (Estradiol) three times a day and my follow-up ultrasound was on February 11. At this point, my lining was supposed to be 7mm at the least, but unfortunately, at it was only at 6.3mm. The doctor suggested I continue on Estrace and recheck my lining on February 19, but it dropped to 5.1mm.

Courtesy of Samantha Mathews

The doctor then prescribed me Delestrogen, which is an injectable form of estrogen. I had a shot in the upper outer quadrant of the butt cheek every three days in addition to the Estrace. At my February 26 appointment, it went up to 5.6mm. The doctor decided to give this cycle one last push and told me to continue Estrace but increase Delestrogen to every other day for a week, but on March 5, my ultrasound showed my lining at 4.11mm. This was not the news I wanted to hear. Week after week, I felt confused why my lining won’t thicken, frustrated knowing I tried everything shown to help build uterine lining thickness. I ate more greens, exercised more, drank more water, had more (protected) sex with my husband, took vitamin E and L-arginine, drank POM juice. Literally, everything I could find that would help, I did it!

Courtesy of Samantha Mathews

We decided to cancel the cycle, wait for my period, and try a more natural med protocol for my next cycle. Natural meaning I would take less Estrace and I would start with a med called Letrozole, which helped mature my follicles to trigger my body to build its own estrogen and then supplement as needed. The fertility doctor assured us he was hopeful for the next cycle and a natural cycle worked for his past patients in a similar situation. Coming off of the meds, I was emotional! All of this estrogen leaving my body took a toll on me, but I’m thankful I got through it. The IPs were still excited about the thought of bringing home two babies at the end of the year, so we all pressed on!! While I was in between cycles, I was researching endometrium thickness and what a natural cycle would entail.

Courtesy of Samantha Mathews

I had many followers on Instagram reach out to me and I read a few articles that said after removing an IUD, it still takes a few months for your body to level out, which can hinder uterine lining thickness. I was relieved to have some sort of explanation as to why it wasn’t thickening. Here I thought surrogacy was going to be an ‘easy’ thing. I mean I conceived two kids naturally and planned their birth almost to the day, so I am the perfect candidate for surrogacy, right? Not necessarily. In the infertility world, it’s almost a ‘stars have to align’ or a ‘God ordained’ type of thing when you get pregnant. After my period and my second cycle baseline ultrasound on April 1, my lining was 2.73mm with a great pattern. It was thicker than how my last cycle started, so I was hopeful.

Courtesy of Samantha Mathews

My second ultrasound check on April 9 was 5.5mm, and my third ultrasound on April 12 was 6.12mm. Such great progression. I was able to schedule another recheck when the IM messaged as asked if we all could hop on a call to talk about the cycle. We didn’t know what the call would consist of, but we went into it open-minded. After briefly catching up, the IPs updated us on the great news they were 19 weeks along and they had just found out they were having a baby girl. We were over the moon! The IM continued on saying everything looked normal, she was healthy and the baby was healthy, and she was doing well. She began to share with us since we hadn’t moved forward with the transfer yet they would like to put a pause on things.

Courtesy of Samantha Mathews

They didn’t feel they had the strength and energy to be fully present for a transfer when they desired to focus on her pregnancy since it was going so well. We totally understood where they were coming from and were still in awe of the miracle inside her. After 4 years of struggling to conceive and only being able to carry a baby for a few weeks before losing it, she was now 19 weeks along with her own baby they conceived naturally. Everything made sense after! Maybe the reason why my lining would thicken is God knew she would get pregnant and her pregnancy would go well.

Maybe instead of us carrying their baby, God just wanted us to be a part of their story to help give them hope for a family and to encourage their faith? Whatever the reasoning, we were honored the couple chose us to match with and humbled God chose us to be a part of their story. So where do we go from here?! The IPs want to remain under contract for another month to see how her pregnancy continues. If all goes well, we will terminate contracts and part ways. We will still stay in touch as we count them as close friends now! IF for some reason something happens with her pregnancy, we will pick up with cycle three and jump back into helping them bring their baby into this world.

Many have asked how I’m feeling with the journey ending sooner than I hoped and not getting to carry a child for someone, and the answer is twofold. First, we are so happy for our IPs. Our whole goal for them was to bring their baby home, and if this means the mother gets to carry her own baby, then PRAISE GOD! And secondly, our journey isn’t over yet. We are still under contract for them, so we will continue to pray and support them any way we can. Should the IMs pregnancy go well and we terminate the contract, Dan and I are going to prayerfully consider entering into another journey. We want to be sure my body is fully ready and we match with a couple as amazing as our current IPs. We don’t take any part of this journey lightly, so we want to go into it with lots of prayer as He knows what we need before we ask!”

Courtesy of Samantha Mathews

This story was submitted to Love What Mattersby Samantha Mathews of Springfield, Missouri. You can follow their journey on Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, and their website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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‘I was 6 weeks postpartum from a pregnancy that ended with me giving the baby up. ‘What’s wrong with me?’ I sat, tears rolling down my face.’: Surrogate says ‘there is no greater joy than making somebody else a mama’

‘The magnitude of your child being born. No words. She did this for us, TWICE.’: Mother overcome with emotion watching surrogate deliver second daughter, ‘I gained a bond I never even knew existed’

‘YES! Could this actually be true? One sister the surrogate, the other sister an egg donor!’: Gay dads reveal ‘blessed’ surrogacy journey with sisters, the ‘most fabulous aunties imaginable’ to their son

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