Steve & Candice

Canadian Intended Parents Searching for a Gestational Surrogate

Location: Oshawa, Ontario
Clinic: Create
Embryo Status: 22 Frozen PGS Embryos
Occupations: Stock Investor (Steve) / Stay at Home Parent (Candice)

OUR LOVE STORY

On January 24, 2015, I invited some friends over to my place. Steve came over with a mutual friend and we spend the next 8 hours talking! The next day he messaged me asking me on a date. It did not take me long to realize how special he is. In fact, I call him my unicorn. He is romantic, chivalrous, and genuine. We dated for 3 years and got engaged on Valentine’s Day 2018 when he proposed to me and my son. It was so cute! (We were supposed to get married September 2020, in Muskoka, however, due to Covid we had to postpone.)

ABOUT CANDICE

I am 34 years old. I grew up in Ajax, Ontario. I had a great childhood full of family, love and laughter. I lived with my mom and stepdad; however, loved spending as much time as I could with my grandparents. I was the only grandchild for quite a few years so I was spoiled like crazy by my entire family. My family is quite unique. I have 4 sides! My parents divorced when I was 3, my mom remarried when I was 12. My mom was adopted as a newborn and found her biological family when she was 27. My best memories as a child were spending time with my family. I played countless board games with my adoptive grandparents, spent many weekends at my step family’s cottage going on boat rides and other outdoor activities, and travelling every summer to Prince Edward Island to visit my mom’s biological side. When I was 14, my sister was born and when I was 19, my brother was born! When I was 24 I gave birth to my now 10-year-old son, Nathan. I am still in shock a decade has gone by. He is almost as tall as me now! The last 10 years has been an adventure. It has been fun, challenging, and the most rewarding experience I could ever ask for.

My parents, along with my siblings live a couple hours away. We see them on holidays and whenever we can in between. I am very close to my mom and sometimes talk to her multiple times a day. Despite being far away she makes sure she is present with Facetime. She helps Nathan with homework, sings songs to Gus, talks to the dogs, and participates in many other daily events.

ABOUT STEVE

Now let me tell you about the amazing man I am sharing my life with. His name is Steve. He is 33 years old and was raised in Oshawa, Ontario. His parents are from Guyana and came to Canada in their late teens. They worked hard for many years to make sure they could give their children a great life. He grew up spending a lot of time playing outside with the neighbourhood kids, going to Canada’s Wonderland, biking and playing board games. He was very close to his older sister. They were like best friends. Unfortunately, when he was 14 and his sister was 16, they were in a car accident where she passed away. When he was 16 his parents had another son. Steve loved watching his younger brother grow up and tells me stories about coming home from school and taking naps with his brother.

Steve is very close to his parents and brother. They live 10 minutes away and we see them about once a week and for all holidays. They are amazing people. I am so thankful and excited to have them as my future in-laws.

OUR INFERTILITY STORY

Early on in our relationship Steve expressed his desire to be a father to his own biological children. Seeing him with my son, I knew any child would be lucky to call him Dad. After 4 failed IUI’s, we discovered I had high FSH and low ovarian reserve (meaning I had few eggs left and any I did have would not be the best quality). We were told our chances of IVF working would be nearly impossible and not worth the chance. This news was a complete shock and absolutely devastating. Being a mom already and getting to experience the love of a child, I was overcome with so many emotions. I felt gratitude and joy for having my biological son, sadness for Steve that he may never have his own child, and guilt that despite it not being in my control, it was because of my medical issues.

I quickly dried my tears and decided that wasn’t the end of our fertility journey. I went online and researched egg donation. When I came across our egg donor, I immediately knew she was the one who was going to help us make our dream reality. I rushed downstairs, told Steve I thought we should get an egg donor, showed him her profile, and he agreed! Having a known donor was very important to us. We are very open with our fertility story and will be completely honest with our child (future children) about how they were brought into the world. We met our donor for dinner, along with her daughter and husband. After meeting them we knew we made the right choice. They are such nice people! We ended up with 25 healthy PGS tested embryo’s! (Our donor got mild OHS and is ok).

In September 2019, we did a transfer of one of the embryos to myself. We brought Nathan with us as he was very excited about having a sibling and had attended previous appointments as well. I bought kids books to help explain everything to him in a way he would understand (also to read to Gus and any future children to explain how they were made). We had a letter board countdown where he would change the number every day.

OUR PREGNANCY STORY

Sub Chorionic Hemorrhage

After 14 super long days, we found out we were pregnant!!! We were so excited. Unfortunately, we only got to enjoy the pregnancy for a few weeks before complications started. While shopping with Steve, I started bleeding heavily. An ultrasound confirmed that I had a sub chorionic hemorrhage. I was put on modified bed rest and told “if you can sit and watch TV, do so”, so that’s what I did. For weeks, I barely moved, terrified every day I was going to have a miscarriage due to the bleeding. One night I bled so much I told Steve we needed to go to ER asap. By the time we got there I couldn’t walk. I had lost so much blood I was about to pass out. I couldn’t even talk to the doctors. I got hooked up to IV and machines right away. The OB mentally prepared us for a miscarriage. She said it was very unlikely the baby survived. I had lost all hope. Steve, remained positive throughout it all. He never lost hope. The next morning, we got an ultrasound and discovered the baby was still healthy and strong. We both were over the moon with happiness and could finally breathe. I received a blood transfusion and after another night in the hospital got to go home.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Still on bed rest, a couple weeks later the sickness started. As someone who is absolutely terrified of anything related to being nauseous and throwing up (Emetophobia), this was absolutely the worst! I would go days at a time not being able to eat or drink anything while also throwing up. The situation was so bad that Steve had to call an ambulance. At the hospital, I got an iron transfusion and was once again sent home with some medication for nausea. The medication was not effective enough and my fertility OB (from IUI’s) was not helpful in the slightest. Weeks went by with me declining every day. I lost more than 10% of my body weight. I couldn’t do anything by myself. Steve became my full-time nurse and carer for Nathan. At times, I could barely speak or open my eyes. Once again, I had Steve call an ambulance. By the time the ER OB saw me, I was an empty shell in a wheelchair. Steve did all the talking for me. She was the one who we saw us the night I was heavily bleeding. She immediately diagnosed me with Hyperemesis, admitted me to the hospital, started me on a cocktail of medications and IV fluids, and named us “the miracle couple”. I spent 10 days in the hospital. I very slowly began being able to keep small amounts of food and liquids down. A few family members came to visit to wish me their best which was so nice. Steve rarely left my side. He slept by my bedside, kept me company and remained strong for the both of us.

After 10 long days at the hospital I was sent home on IV fluids. My mom came for a few days to help take care of me and allow Steve to have a bit of a much needed and deserved break. My mom would carry my IV bag and have me walk a few steps at a time adding a couple more each time. She decorated for Christmas to raise my spirits, cooked and cleaned. Steve’s mom would also visit, bring food and babysit the dogs. I hadn’t seen Nathan since before I went to the hospital. Thankfully, he could stay at his dad’s while I was trying to regain my strength. He came home for a few hours one day while my mom was there so he could visit with her as well. I remember feeling so incredibly guilty. I missed his birthday, Halloween and months of everyday life. I missed taking care of him. We also had to cancel our baby shower/gender reveal. We had invited all our friends and family (over 70 people)!

After a week of being home, IV fluids and starting to eat more, I was finally starting to feel a bit better. The first day I felt ok I was in the best mood! The hyperemesis remained for the duration of my pregnancy. I had to continue taking my medications which made it bearable. I had good and bad days. Thankfully, I could enjoy Christmas. We had both sides of our family over to celebrate and did our gender reveal where we found out we were having a boy!

Preeclampsia

Then, at 30 weeks, my legs and feet started to swell. They continuously got worse as each day passed. My midwives were not concerned and told me to keep an eye on it. Two weeks later, I had a strange feeling that I should check my blood pressure. It was elevated so my midwife suggested I go to the hospital to be assessed. Due to Covid, Steve was not allowed to come in with me. He remained in the parking lot and waited for me. We did not anticipate me being admitted.

My midwife did a complete work up, consulted the OB, and they both decided it was in my best interest to be admitted. The next day, the OB and NICU paediatrician came to my room and explained I had pre-eclampsia and would have to deliver in a day or two! I was so thankful I listened to my intuition! They administered 2 injections to help baby’s lungs develop and then induced me. It was lonely not being able to have anyone visit, but I kept busy watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy, face timing friends and family and online shopping for everything we needed but hadn’t gotten yet (that was fun!). A couple of my girlfriends also did some shopping and ordered preemie outfits for us which was so thoughtful and extremely helpful as we had nothing that would fit him! Once I was in active labor Steve was allowed to come to the hospital.

NICU

Augustus was born on March 28, 2020 at 3 pounds 14 ounces! He was healthy, thank goodness. I got to hold him for a quick minute before they took him to NICU. Steve visited him briefly but was only allowed to stay 2 hours before having to leave due to new Covid hospital policies.

My blood pressure remained high. I was sent home a few days later. I was the only parent permitted in the NICU. Gus was in the NICU for 3 weeks. Those 3 weeks were extremely difficult. Nathan had been at his dads for the weekend prior to me being admitted to the hospital and we all agreed it was safest for him to remain there while I was in and out of NICU and a few weeks after in case of exposure to Covid. I missed him terribly. I remember going home at night and the house feeling so empty and quiet with neither of our boys home. I felt guilty every minute I wasn’t at the hospital, yet I was struggling with recovering from post-partum complications making it difficult to be there for as much time as I wanted. I was exhausted! The NICU staff were amazing. I had a lot of emotions after birth but fear was not one of them. I felt comfort in knowing Gus was healthy, strong and taken care of with the wonderful team of nurses and doctors at the hospital.

Steve did everything he could to help me. He would make me breakfast, dinner, and pack my lunch every day. He would face time with us so he could see Gus and keep me company. He put together all the baby items for the day when Gus would be able to be home and use them.

HOME

When a baby gets sent home from the NICU the team celebrates by doing squats and cheering during their rounds. They did 20 squats for Gus! It was such a bitter sweet moment for me. I could not express my gratitude enough to everyone who took care of our baby, taught me to breastfeed and supported me emotionally for 3 of the toughest and joyous weeks of my life.

Once home, Steve finally got to hold Gus for the first time! He excitedly jumped right into fatherhood. We took shifts so we could both get sleep. He loves playing with Gus, listening to nursery rhymes, reading to him (Steve’s favourite is Sesame Street’s Bubbles Bubbles) and playing peek-a-boo.

Sadly, we couldn’t have any visitors come inside. Steve’s parents would come by and visit through our storm door. That was not how we imagined them meeting their first grandchild. After a few weeks of being home, Nathan finally returned home. It was so nice having both of our boys home safe and sound!

A year and a half ago we unexpectedly found a house in our neighbourhood that better suited our needs of our growing family. We moved in with Steve’s parents for a month over the summer until our house sold. They loved having us live there and getting to see all of us every day and we loved having their help and spending so much quality time with them. We are so happy in our new home and looking forward to making many memories over the years to come.

Gus is almost 2 now! He sleeps 12-14 hours a night. He loves to play with his toys and try new foods. His favourite song is 5 Green and Speckled Frogs. Watching him grow every day is so amazing. He brings so much happiness to everyone in our lives.

We love spending time together. We are super cheesy. Our friends make fun of us for having matching Adidas shoes, multiple matching sweatshirts, couple costumes for Halloween, ugly Christmas sweaters and more. We love doing new things like RVing, road tripping to Nova Scotia stopping along the way to see different things, touring Banff and Calgary, tree top trekking and more. We love to celebrate the holidays and have traditions like fireworks for Canada Day, pumpkin patch in the fall, cutting our own tree for Christmas, etc. We have 2 dogs, Maximus and Arya. They are our fur babies. They make us smile every single day with their funny personalities.

I am a very caring, emotional person. I have always been that person my family and friends go to when they need someone to talk to. I have a handful of girlfriends who I consider family. Some of them have been in my life for over 15 years. We enjoy shopping, getting together for tea, or getting together with our kids. I recently got into baking. I am a huge chocolate lover so it is exciting trying out so many delicious new treats. I am a sucker for Hallmark Christmas movies and reality TV such as The Bachelor/Love Island series. Yes, I know, they are super cheesy but that’s what makes them awesome! I graduated from Durham College for Photography and worked as a Real Estate Photographer for a couple years before becoming a stay at home mom.

Steve is positive, loving, calm, logical and goofy. He is rarely in a bad mood. He doesn’t sweat the small stuff and remains calm in stressful situations. He loves fishing and playing video games. We moved recently and he is enjoying learning new things as we make this house feel like our home. He has a close group of guy friends, who despite not being able to see each other often due to busy lives, they talk every day in a group chat. Steve and I went to Durham College at the same time and graduated the same year. He earned his diploma in Fitness and Health Promotion.

DECISION TO ASK FOR HELP FROM SURROGATE

As mentioned before, we had hoped to have a big family. Unfortunately, due to my infertility issues, along with my difficult and dangerous pregnancy, that has become much more complicated. I am unable to go through the process of IVF and pregnancy again. Mentally and physically it would be too dangerous and not recommended.

When we started trying to conceive I knew Steve would make an amazing father to a lucky baby. Throughout all our ups and downs, Steve has been my rock! He has been an incredible stepdad to Nathan, partner to myself, and father to Gus. Our relationship only became stronger throughout this entire journey.

We have a very happy household full of love, laughter, and fun. We are blessed to be in a situation where we are both able to be stay at home parents.

We would absolutely love to have more children and give Gus a sibling(s) close in age.

WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR IN A SURROGATE/HOW WE WOULD SUPPORT OUR SURROGATE

We are wishing to find someone who is kind, loving, easy going, healthy and trustworthy. To us, our surrogate’s health is very important. We hope our surrogate has people around her who will be supportive in her journey.

We would love to be a part of as much as we can throughout IVF/pregnancy/birth so that we can help support the amazing woman who decides to help us, and so that we can bond with our baby. Living in Ontario would be beneficial for this. If we live close enough, we would love to meet each other’s family in person before matching, while being safe and socially distancing. Due to Covid, we understand that we would most likely not be able to be at appointments in person, so we are hoping we can FaceTime. If possible, we would love to meet in person throughout the pregnancy.

If our surrogate is comfortable and willing, we would love to have family photos done. Steve and I will be completely honest with our children about all the wonderful people it took to bring them into this world. It would be awesome to have photos to show our child the woman who made their life possible. However, we completely understand if our surrogate would not feel comfortable having photos done and would respect that.

We are prepared to cover all costs/expenses relating to pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and post partum set out by Canadian Law.

We hope our relationship is organic. The last thing we want is for things to feel forced. Communication is very important, so being able to talk about things openly and with ease would be best for everyone.

Finally, if you are a surrogate and have made it this far, I want to thank you. Thank you for reading this insanely long story of us, and for considering us as your intended parents. If you are reading this, despite whether you pick us or not, you are clearly an amazing person and I hope you find a wonderful family to help build a family!

Best wishes and warmest regards!

Steve & Candice