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Blessed to be a Blessing {My Story as a Surrogate Mother – Guest Post}

Truth be told, I love all things concerning pregnancy.  I enjoy childbirth.  I adore babies and having lots of children and family. If you’ve known me for almost any amount of time, you know this about me.

My story as a surrogate mother began when I was 17 years old.  A woman in my church was a gestational surrogate for her brother’s twin babies.  I was fascinated.  Imagining myself in her position, I wondered how she would feel about them while she watched at their future birthday parties, graduation, family reunions, and the like.

Little did I know, that tiny spark of interest would return over 13 years later in November of 2009.  While volunteering for the Wednesday evening preschool program at our church, I met Gayle, who had just returned from France where she had been visiting the family for whom she had been a gestational carrier {i.e. surrogate mother}.  Gayle was starting Surrogate Solutions and told me about the need for healthy surrogates. She asked if I had ever considered being a surrogate, and I had quite a few questions as well. I left that night praying, “God, did that discussion really just take place?  Am I actually considering carrying a baby for someone else?  What do you think about all this?”  As I listened in the silence, I felt a gentle whisper say, “Jen, you’re gonna do this.  This is what I have set before you at this time.  Just go in this direction.” 

As I researched, shared with my husband Eric, fasted, and prayed, I came to my own personal conclusion :: God is blessing me through this circumstance, and I will get to be a blessing!! His purpose to bless me {with wonderful pregnancies, a healthy body, etc.} is so I can be a blessing, and I feel that is what is going on right now!

God truly gave me the confidence I desired in order to move forward.  And I’m so glad he did because it wasn’t always easy.  A severe reaction and a painful hematoma from the injections I used in order to undergo IVF, temporarily severed relationships with friends who disagreed with my decision, relocation, my own college course load, and the decision to homeschool our four sons are just a few of the challenges I faced during my first surrogacy.   Knowing I was abiding in God through this journey gave me the peace and assurance I needed when things got a little rough.

Let me inject here that surrogacy can be a lot like dating.  You meet and chat.  Both parties make small talk and ask deep questions.  You do your best to make a great impression while simultaneously putting forward your true self.  The intended parents {IPs} pop the question, if the surrogate accepts, the embryo transfer is planned, and if it takes, you’re together happily ever after.  I totally get that not all surrogate/IP relationships are like this – but mine happen to be, and they were both wonderful experiences.

Blessed to be a Blessing (1)My first surrogate journey was with a sweet family from Louisiana.  We met just once, and the connection was instant.  Within days they called to ask me to be their gestational carrier.  Amie and Ed were seeking a surrogate for their family after being told by Amie’s doctor that she should not risk another pregnancy since both of her daughters were born very premature.  They had pursued adoption, but since they were hoping for an infant, they were told it would be very unlikely that they would be selected since they already had two children of their own.

Besides a few tiny bumps along the way {discovery of a two vessel cord, which required monitoring, but ended up being fine}, my pregnancy was fairly uneventful.  I was due January 6th, so Amie, Ed, and their girls came to Houston during the holiday break.  It was wonderful to have them so close, and we spent time together shopping, going to the movies, and eating together with our families.  The morning I was induced,  I remember the nurse asking me what my expectations were of the day, and she suggested Amie, Ed, and the baby be moved into the labor and delivery room next door as soon as I delivered.   Just the thought of not getting to witness Amie and Ed with their new baby shattered me.  Throughout the pregnancy, when times were tough and I was tired, discouraged, or overwhelmed, I would think about two things…

  1. My confidence that I was abiding in God and his will is the most satisfying thing in this world.
  2. I pictured Amie and Ed, shortly after Lucy’s birth, adoringly holding their little baby, counting fingers and toes, commenting on family traits, loving and kissing her.

Blessed to be a Blessing (2)Fortunately, Amie and I were on the same page about our ideas for Lucy’s birth.  So they stayed with me while I was delivering, and I got to watch as family oooed and aaahed over sweet little Lucy.  It truly was a beautiful event.

Some may wonder how it feels to deliver a baby who isn’t yours and hand it over to the parents.  Well – It. Feels. Amazing.  The key words to this statement are, “who isn’t yours.” Lucy was never mine to begin with.  When I look at the babies I’ve delivered through surrogacy, I don’t feel the same attachment I do for my own children. I love them because I love their families, not because we have some kind of science-fiction surrogate/baby bond.

Something I wasn’t expecting after Lucy’s birth was a strong longing for Amie.  After Lucy was born, she and Ed took her home, and I missed Amie terribly.  I didn’t miss Lucy or being pregnant; I just wanted to be with Amie.  We had spent quite a bit of time together and had become good friends. Now she was gone with the busy job of taking care of a newborn and Lucy’s two older sisters. I texted her every day, and I waited a whole month before calling because I knew I would start bawling at the sound of her voice. I truly missed my dear friend.

Blessed to be a Blessing (5)Shortly after Lucy was born, my family went to Louisiana to visit and celebrate Mardi Gras with the family. Later that year we went to Louisiana for Lucy’s baptism in her church, and I was even able to attend her first birthday party.  Lucy is now 3 years old, and Amie and I still keep in touch.  Amie, Ed, and their girls will hold a very special place in my heart forever.

My second surrogacy journey was with a precious family from Waco, who recently shared their story here in April. Jenna is a beautiful soul who was told not to have any more babies after being diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy within months of delivering their first child.  After having Lucy, I wasn’t sure if I would be a surrogate again.  But after Lucy’s first birthday, I told Gayle that if the right family came along – I would consider it.

Remember how I mentioned that surrogacy can be a lot like dating? Allow me to go back to that analogy again, if I may.  What happens when I am living “happily ever after” with Lucy’s family, and I tell them I want to “date” someone else?  In some sort of way, I felt wrong. Like I was cheating on Amie. Seriously ya’ll, don’t laugh. The feelings are real. I called Amie to let her know about the possibility of being a surrogate for someone else, but deep down, I was hoping for her blessing.   She admitted that even though she felt strangely protective, she trusted me and knew I would think things through and do what was best.

Since I had a blessing from Amie, Jenna and I {along with our husbands} pressed on with our plans to have a baby!  Transfer day was fairly uneventful, but getting to tell Jenna about the positive pregnancy test was such a thrill! I’m pretty sure Jenna came to every single doctor’s appointment except one or two, something Amie wasn’t able to do because of the distance.  Jenna would travel over 3 hours one way to make the trip for an appointment that would sometimes last 15 minutes.  It didn’t take long for Jenna and I to become fast friends.  I grew to love her from the start, and it helped so much that our friendship was not just about plans to have a baby, but rooted together in our deep faith in Christ.

On the day we had the ultrasound that would tell us the baby was a boy, Jenna and her husband Mark told us the name they had decided on :: Ryan Lynn. Ryan is both Mark and Eric’s middle name. Lynn is a family name and my middle name. I literally shot up from the examination table in tears.  What an incredible honor and gift to give their baby boy mine and Eric’s namesake!

Blessed to be a Blessing (3)After a doctor’s appointment just 10 days before Ryan’s due date, Jenna, Eric, and I took all of the kids to Chuck-E-Cheese.  Ryan’s big sister Kaylee leaned in to my belly and said, “Ryan, you can come out! Your room is ready!” I guess he must have been listening because my water broke shortly after I got home that evening. I will never forget the raw emotion from Jenna as I pushed Ryan out into this world.  There are no words to describe a mama whose longing is fulfilled and the incredible joy I experience in getting to be a part of it.

Since Ryan’s birth, his family has visited my home, and we have visited his. It’s wonderful keeping in touch through phone calls, texts, and Facebook, of course. My family celebrated Ryan’s first birthday in March with all of his family and friends, and we look forward to being there along the way to celebrate the milestones.

Blessed to be a Blessing (6)Even though I’ve only known Jenna a little over 2 years, she is one of the most generous friends I have ever had.  Besides always making me feel appreciated and cared for during the pregnancy, she has continued to share herself with me in a way that is tremendous.  Last year I went on a spiritual retreat, and she wrote me the most amazing, heartfelt letter of love. This past March, when my mother passed away, she and Mark traveled over 3 hours one way to come see me during the visitation.  Jenna may tell you that I have given her a great gift in carrying baby Ryan, but her friendship has been evidence of God’s love for me in a way that is indescribable.

Even though surrogacy is a part of my life, it doesn’t define my life. My surrogacy journeys are something I have done because God has blessed me, and I get to be a blessing to others.  The experiences, lessons, and relationships I have gained though these journeys far outweigh any difficulty or hardship.  I consider it an incredible honor to watch Lucy and Ryan grow and experience continued friendship with their families. It’s a story only God can write when he has a heart who is trusting in Him.

Blessed to be a Blessing (4)


Jennifer BioAbout Jennifer N.

Jennifer is a wife, mother to four boys, and gestational carrier to two – with a beautiful story deep rooted in faith and love.

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3 Responses to Blessed to be a Blessing {My Story as a Surrogate Mother – Guest Post}

  1. Brenda June 18, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Jen’s story about being a surrogate mother really touched my heart. She and her husband served in our church during that time. They are true servants of The Lord. There is no doubt in my mind that she followed what God placed on her heart. She glows when she is pregnant and is a wonderful mother to her own children. I hope she will continue to bless other couples if God guides her to do so. It can’t get any better than that! Blessings to Jen, Eric and their children.

  2. tracy June 24, 2014 at 2:47 am #

    Are you still a surrogate? I’m in the dfw area. Would you be willing to point me in the right and safe direction for looking for a surrogate?

    • Kelly D
      Kelly D June 24, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

      Tracy, we highly recommend that you get in touch with our sponsor Surrogate Solutions. Jennifer got into surrogacy through their agency, and they are beyond fantastic. Gayle (the owner) is such a sweet spirit and dedicated to helping both surrogate mothers and intended parents. We can’t say enough great things about them!

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