“On April 8th, 2019, I gave birth to a beautiful Chinese baby in which I share zero genes with.
About 6 years ago, I decided to be an egg donor to a couple whom on their own, would not be able to have children. It was an AMAZING experience. I absolutely love the fact that there is half of me out there somewhere, living their best life. I love knowing I had the opportunity to help an individual/couple create their family – what an extreme honor. Through that process, I also learned about surrogacy, and I immediately knew that was something I wanted to do one day. One of the qualifications to being a surrogate, is that you have to have had at least one healthy pregnancy of your own first. At the time, I hadn’t had any of my own kids yet, so I knew I’d have to wait.
Fast forward 4 years… I now had a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, and I was newly divorced. It wasn’t long after my ex-husband and I decided to end our marriage, that I thought about the possibility this could be my opportunity to be a surrogate. After being pregnant twice, I already knew I LOVED being pregnant, and most aspects of it came easy to me. Obviously, I wasn’t planning on having any more of my own kids any time soon, and this would give me the opportunity to help out my family AND another family. If you knew me well, you’d know that once I get my mind set on something, I GO FOR IT! I began doing my research right away – What agency did I want to work with? Was I really going to be able to handle giving away a baby, even if it wasn’t my flesh and blood? That was the main question I went around asking other surrogates: ‘How were you able to give up the baby?’ The answer I received from each and every surrogate I talked to was the same… ‘Right from the beginning, the bond with the child is COMPLETELY different.’
After talking to multiple agencies, I finally settled on an agency located in San Diego, California. The application process was rigorous. Of course they wanted my FULL family history and medical background (rightly so), I felt like I signed my life away in stacks of contracts, along with a three-hour psychological assessment. They needed to make sure I wasn’t going to go crazy and try to claim the baby as my own – haha! Every surrogate needs to have a ‘Support person.’ This will be the person who goes with them when they implant the embryo, and most importantly, this will be the person who is in the birthing room with them. When they asked who my support person was, I told them it would be Gattison, my ex-husband. You see, even though our marriage ended, he’s still my best friend, and I knew I wouldn’t want anyone else by my side except for him. You can read more about our story here.
A few weeks after I was medically and psychologically cleared to be a surrogate, my agency contacted me telling me there was a couple in Shanghai, China, who wanted to e-meet me via a Skype phone call. I said ‘Yes!’ to being their surrogate and it wasn’t long after that the fertility doctors started me on hormones, preparing my body to be pregnant. This process took the longest (besides the 9-month baby growing part). At one point, we finally had an embryo transfer scheduled (aka, getting pregnant day), and then literally hours before I was to take my flight, it got canceled because my uterine lining wasn’t as thick as they wanted it to be, which gave the family a 10% less chance of the embryo actually sticking. To say I was devastated was an understatement. I had been looking forward to this simple, yet monumental procedure for WEEKS now, and here I was, being told we’d have to start medications all over again. This process happened a total of two times before my uterine lining was just right for the embryo. These setbacks definitely took their emotional toll on me because ultimately, I was just SO excited to be pregnant again. I quickly had to remind myself it would all fall into place in the perfect timing.
Finally, on July 12, 2018, Gattison and I went to San Diego for transfer day. What the other surrogates had told me was 100% true… I could tell there was going be a special bond with this embryo/baby, but it was nothing compared to being pregnant with my own babes. As soon as they implanted the single embryo, I knew fully that it was my job to protect this little one growing in me, and I would have the honor of passing him onto his parents when the time came. Thankfully, the embryo implanted into my uterus on the first try and just like that, I WAS PREGNANT! This 3rd pregnancy was just as easy as my first two, and time flew by!
My guess is that time went by really fast because I didn’t have anything to plan. When you’re pregnant with your own babies, you’re planning their baby room, possibly a baby shower, their name, their whole future… but in this case, I literally had nothing to plan for, other than preparing my mind for the birth. Baby boy’s due date was March 30th, 2019, and I was fully planning on him arriving on time, if not early…HE DIDN’T GET THE MEMO. Both of my keeper kids were 2-3 days early and I LOVED that! This baby boy made me wait 9 whole days past his due date…and I honestly felt like I was going to be pregnant FOREVER.
To all the other mamas out there who have gone past their due date, you know what I’m talking about! I tried everything to get him out naturally… but he just wanted to take his sweet time! I think he was stalling so his parents could arrive. You see, his parents were supposed to come to California 2 weeks before he was due, but they got tied up with some visa issues, and his mom didn’t actually arrive until 2 days after he arrived.
A few weeks before I delivered, the parents asked me to give him his American name. I truly found that to be an honor, and I LOVE picking out meaning names! After a few days of name searching, I settled on Emery. The name Emery means ‘powerful’ – and I wanted to speak that over his life (not to mention his kicks were VERY powerful!) Sweet Emery finally entered the world on 4/8/19 weighing a whopping 8lb 9oz (2lbs bigger than each of my own babes – yikes!) He was my 3rd unmedicated birth and it was an honor to have my best friend by my side. For any woman who has birthed a baby, it is only those closest to you who you trust to see you at your most vulnerable, and one of the most painful and exhilarating times of your life.
My experience as a surrogate was a beautiful journey filled with ups, downs, halts, and go’s! I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys being pregnant. It’s rare to find a surrogate who only finishes one surrogate journey… most continue on and do multiple surrogate journeys, often giving the family siblings. I would love to do one more journey myself, specifically for an LGBTQ couple/individual. I am an LGBTQ ally and would love nothing more than to support, and help a couple/individual fulfill such a beautiful dream in their life.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ali Anne. You can follow their journey on Instagram here and here, Facebook and their website. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
Read Ali’s powerful backstory here:
‘I married the man of my dreams, created a family, and realized after 9 years we weren’t able to pray the gay away.’
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