First of all, it is a TOTAL honor to be here! I have never been asked to be a guest blogger before – and it is oh so humbling and exciting! This is my story of how a community came together through Surrogacy.
Crysta and I met in Washington state a few years ago. We were neighbors. Both new to the area. Crysta LOVES babies, and well, I had just had a baby at the time, and I needed a babysitter. We found each other on the neighborhood’s Facebook page, and the rest is history…
Crysta reached out to me asking if I was interested in sharing my story with you all. Ironically, my story starts when I met Crysta. Isn't life funny like that? So obviously I said yes 😉
My story is about my journey to motherhood.
My story is about the war zone my hubby and I entered trying to get the family we dreamed of and the village of people who came together to make it happen through surrogacy.
In December 2014 I welcomed my first child – a daughter named Teagan Caroline! I got pregnant with no issues and had the EASIEST pregnancy you could imagine.
Ten days after her birth I was laying in bed, and I looked over at my husband and said my heart hurts. Like if physically HURTS. He took me to the ER where I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. Yes, you can apparently get it up to 6 weeks after giving birth! My blood pressure was so high I was at risk of having a seizure, a stroke and/or a heart attack. I was kept in the hospital for 2 days on an IV drip of Magnesium before being sent home on medications to keep my blood pressure in check. (As you can imagine, I had a lot of doctor appointments during this time and needed a babysitter. I had absolutely no family in town. Thus, where Crysta came into my life!)
Around the time Teagan turned a year and a half we knew we wanted to expand our family. The prospect was terrifying. We moved back home to Minnesota to be near family and assembled a high-risk team of OBGYNs. They gave their blessing that I could get pregnant again, but that I would be monitored much more closely this time.
I got pregnant within 2 months. By 5 weeks pregnant it became very CLEAR that my body was not going to tolerate the pregnancy. I become horribly ill. This time I was in the hospital diagnosed with Hyperemesis Graviderum (HG) – yes what Kate Middleton has. HG is essentially an allergic reaction to the pregnancy hormone or morning sickness on steroids. Imagine the worst stomach flu of your life – lasting MONTHS. That is the HORROR that is HG. By 8 weeks pregnant, I had been in the ER for IVs 3 times due to dehydration and starvation.
One in three babies do not survive a mom having HG – I lost the baby shortly thereafter.
Both pre-eclampsia and HG have high re-occurrence rates – I was told if I tried to be pregnant again there was a 90% or higher chance I would have HG again, and the severity would be worse.
All of our dreams, our timeline for our family, a sibling for Teagan – it was all GONE. It was simply too dangerous for us to get pregnant again.
Not the end!
After living in this new reality for a couple months, I got sick of feeling like I didn’t have control over my own life. Someone was missing from our family, and it was my job to get them here, dang it!!! End of story. THIS WAS NOT THE END (Can you hear the literal mama roar!?)
So I dove into researching surrogacy! I discovered several blogs for people like me to match with potential surrogates! On a whim, I joined the Facebook group and posted a picture of Teagan. I simply wrote, “This little girl needs her brother or sister. Can anyone help?”
And you know what?
Someone replied. Her name is Brandi. She said, “I’m in Minnesota….”
We started talking on the phone for hours at the time. Brandi lived 35 minutes from me, was a mom of 4 kids, a pre-school teacher even, with a dream of over decade to be a surrogate for the right family. The right family just hadn’t come along…
About a month later we decided the families should meet in person – the ultimate blind date! And guess what?! It went great! We ALL totally hit it off!
(I lovingly refer to Brandi as my unicorn. In my darkest chapter, she raised her hand and said I will help. Ill make your mission impossible – possible. She is my miracle. She is magical. And her family? We refer to them as the unicorn squad! Because in our journey we have 5 kiddos between the 2 of us along on this crazy ride!)
BE the unicorn you wish to see in the world
After that meeting, Brandi and I declared that we were a surrogacy match and this was a go! Now, all we had to do was figure out how this whole surrogacy thing worked! We both had no idea what we were doing. Oh! the adventure 😀
We quickly found out we needed FDA medical clearance, attorneys and a contract made up, and to pass a state-mandated psychological exam. OH BOY! But in the end we passed! PHEW!
Next, we had to make some embryos through IVF! (This baby is 100% biologically ours. The baby has no genetic link to Brandi.) It took us 2 separate rounds of IVF and 100 needles, but we got ONE good embryo. ONE. AHHH! No pressure.
And after some test results came back we found out it was …A BABY BOY! (Yep, they can tell you gender. Crazy I know.)
He was frozen for a month while Brandi got her body ready with injections and on September 29th we transferred him into Brandi’s uterus. He was given a 65% chance.
Four days after the embryo transfer Brandi called me from her bathroom holding up a pregnancy testing yelling, “Tory I see a line!!!! WE ARE PREGNANT.” Blood tests a week later confirmed she was indeed pregnant with our baby boy!
Today Brandi is 16 weeks pregnant with our SON, and we are blogging throughout the pregnancy if you would like to follow along or learn more about surrogacy check out our blog- “Our Bun, Brandi’s Oven”.
Our baby is due on Father’s Day – June 17, 2018!
Our son has a name already – Teagan picked it out by herself (yes we let the 3-year-old name him). She picked the name Tommy. Which also happens to be the name of his grandfather. The ultimate father’s day gift.
My story is Tommy’s story. It's about 2 families intertwining in the name of love and life – Tommy’s Unicorn Squad. It’s about the GOOD in the world amongst the darkness.
It’s about magic…
For Crysta its fireflies. For me, it's all about the unicorns.
What is it for you?