Dana's Story

"Surrogacy - to carry a miracle under your heart for 9 months, but in it forever."

Where do I even begin to put my past with surrogacy into words!? It's a long one so I apologize but worth the read.

I had my first child, my daughter, at the age of 20. I knew I wanted to start a family early on, I always wanted to be a mom, of 3! As a little girl, I always had dolls.. right up till I was a preteen! I welcomed my daughter with a flood of emotions, finally I was a mother. My whole life changed. She wasn't easy, she cried, I cried with her.. but one moment changed my entire life. As I finally calmed her to sleep, I held her and wept. This time, for a completely different reason. I was so busy questioning my ability to be a good mother, that this time I absorbed every second of her quiet self in my arms. She was perfect, beautiful. I couldn't stop at that moment thinking about how many woman would struggle to have this moment, give everything they had for these sleepless nights. Just a moment to breath their own baby in. Smell their sweetness. I knew at that moment I needed to help someone experience this, just once, little did I know once would turn into 5 times!

Well, I began to navigate the world of surrogacy. My first journey started when I was 20. (I wasn't kidding when I said I was determined to help right away) I was so very sure I'd have only one child so I quickly matched with L & D. Things moved rather quickly but the challenge was my age. In Canada you must be 21 to carry for someone. So we patiently waited for my 21st birthday and a few days later I transferred their 2 embryos into my body! Days later I got the positive test and a few weeks later, there they were. Two beautifully beating heart beats. I was quite naive and had no idea the challenges twins would have on my body. While they were growing perfectly, my cervix was shortening and at 25 weeks I was placed on bedrest. Things got harder on my husband who was now, not only the sole provider but also a single parent as I focused all my energy on keeping these girls safely inside me. Emotionally, things were hard. I wasn't able to be there for my daughter as I should have been but I pushed on. Things changed rather quickly when at around 28 weeks I was admitted to the hospital an hour away till I was able to safely deliver the girls. This is where things changed between my IPS and I. Mainly the mother. Her attitude focused from me and my well-being, to her babies but with that she was very controlling and overbearing. I'll never forget the day I dropped to the floor of the hospital bathroom and broke down. I missed my baby, I missed my husband who could only afford to visit twice a week. I missed my bed, my home. I wanted to never do this again, I wanted nothing to do with the woman who I thought I was doing good for.

At 33 weeks I was finally sent home, no longer on bedrest. My body did it, it grew them to a far enough stage where I was free from confinement. 34 weeks and 4 days in February, two beautiful baby girls were welcomed into their mothers arms, healthy and perfect and only kept for a short time in hospital. I went home and resumed my life, and a week later I met them in the parking lot to say my good byes. Little did I know it would be the last time I ever saw the girls and her parents again. I was crushed, actually crushed is an understatement. I was devastated. Everything I was put through, the emotions, the changes. My whole life put on pause, the meds and needles. How could someone who wanted a relationship just completely cut me off, I vowed and promised to never look at surrogacy again. The photo I have shared is the one and ONLY photo I have received since their first birthday.

The twins are 8 now.. fast forward a little, maybe a lot, March 25 2013 I had my second baby. Another perfectly perfect baby girl. Life was bliss.. my family was complete. Again, those same emotions I experienced with my first was flooding in. I had to do this again, I could not let this woman stop others from experiencing this wonderful moment.

I matched through Sally with C & M and my whole perspective on surrogacy changed. They were amazing, in particular her. C was my best friend. Our journey was much more challenging, trying and lengthy. Not a one and done situation like the last. We attempted 4 transfers with her eggs, which took such a toll on her body and emotions and before we knew it a year had passed. I was exhausted, she was exhausted and time was everything but we pushed on, I would and still would do anything for her so despite my tears and devastation we pushed on and finally transferred 2 embryos from a donor one last time. To our amazement and disbelief I was pregnant, but have had 3 chemical pregnancies out of 5 we weren't out of the woods yet. After 1.5 years of trying, it was far too good to be true. Numbers kept growing though and there they were.. two strong heart beats. Unlike the beginning, this journey was incredible, no stress, no worries and I was safely induced at 37 weeks and 3 days with zero complications. One boy and one girl safely in this incredible, deserving woman's arms. I still see them often and they just celebrated their 5th birthday in June.

Fast forward some more and I welcomed my third child, my son into the world in November. Finally a boy!! He, again like his sisters was everything I imagined.. history again, repeated itself and I matched with S & C.. who had a previous surrogate with failed attempts. I was determined to stick by their side and see them to the end of this road of emotion. Determined to make them parents. I was of course, by this point determined to never carry twins again. My body couldn't handle it. So one at a time we transferred twice and the tests remained negative.. it was crushing and they were out of push and drive. They couldn't handle anymore disappointment, financial strain and heart break. I let them have some time and I had a thought.. I wrote out a huge paragraph of how I wasn't letting them give up. They were here for one reason and one reason only.. to have a baby! I told them they needed to push on and I would stay here every step of the way no matter how long it took as they were 2 of the most amazing people I've ever met with an incredible relationship and outlook on life.

They found a new donor and we finally transferred one embryo. Fingers were crossed so tightly as we watched the white streak from the embryo cross the ultrasound into my welcoming uterus. We waited and to our surprise the test was positive! Ultrasound day came and our whole lives changed for the best. There was not only one but TWO heart beats. Identical twins! I'll never forget the look on their faces and I swore one to many times for sure! We couldn't believe it and all I could do was laugh! We were told not to get excited as one had a slower heart rate than the other, but every ultrasound once a week faithfully 2 heartbeats where there and they only got stronger.

The pregnancy was going amazing until I was 18 weeks and my water broke. The twins thankfully had their own water bags. I went to the hospital where I was told it was incontinence so I went about my day assuming I had a weak bladder. 20 week ultrasound came and it was determined that twin B's water really had broken but he was still safely inside beating all odds of my body not going into natural labor. I worked and continued my daily activities but on a strict pelvic rest to avoid any infection. We traveled to Toronto bi-weekly where they observed growth and sent me home shocked that he was still well and growing but at a slower rate. 28 weeks and 3 days my life changed and so did theirs.. I went into labor despite holding onto this sweet boy for 10 weeks with no fluid. I was rushed to Toronto via ambulance but we didn't make it.. somewhere on the highway sweet baby B who had flipped to A unexpectedly the day before was on his way into the world. He was born in the ambulance with no care nearby. I remember his sweet little squeaks as I screamed "BREATH BABY BREATH!!" as the nurse kept him stable, a lot was a blur as he was rushed away from me, no mom or dad nearby, and no husband. I was at Brampton hospital, nobody knew me, my story.. I was in labor with baby B and trying to get my words out as they assumed I had delivered and only had one baby. Finally I was able to catch my breath, focus and explain there was another baby and he was coming. I pushed baby boy number 2 out and he was rushed away. Parents rushed in as was my husband who assumed I'd be in Toronto. They finally made it and seen their babies off to the Toronto hospital for better care for 28 weekers.

After 3 painful months in NICU the boys were finally home!! They are now sweet brilliant two year old with the challenge of corrected age. Every time I see them, I flood with emotions as they have beat all odds as identical premature ruptured membrane preemies. Despite having PTSD I knew I had more in me, my body healed well and my mind was only getting better with their continued amazing progress. Their story was traumatizing but it ended way too beautifully to close the door forever.

I matched with S & P.. her back history was honestly crushing as she had a tragic accident that left her not only a widow but infertile. She later re-married and knew she needed to be a mother and her hope never ended, she said "if I don't have hope I have nothing". We transfered one beautiful little embryo and like the first, I was pregnant. Days later though I started bleeding, I rushed to a nearby hospital while blood soaked my pants and clots filled the toilet.. I thought for sure it was over. An emergency ultrasound revealed that baby despite the amount of blood and clots was still nestled in but didn't yet have a heartbeat. That next ultrasound much like the others was tears and emotion after we seen her heart beating and within an a hour she was told she would be expecting a girl! Exactly what she could only dream of happening so fast.

Pregnancy was picture perfect and the relationship was incredible. She was in disbelief every step and I'll never forget when she told me, "I always feel like everything good is taken away".. I assured her that wasn't the case this time. This was happening. 39 weeks and 6 days I went into labor. Dreams becoming reality. She held my hand and right before I pushed, I remember looking at her and saying "are you ready!?" She smiled passed tear filled eyes and nodded. Baby girl came screaming into the world in July, healthy as can be. She is now one year old and looks just like her mom! I couldn't believe how perfect it was.

I just had to do it ONE more time. I matched with L & V. We transfered one embryo and I was pregnant. We did a digital test over FaceTime and their reaction was priceless as their iPhone hit the floor and they hugged and danced. Things later got challenging though, tests got darker but blood tests where iffy.. the number just wasn't doubling, in fact it wasn't even close. We were told to stop all meds and wait to miscarry, we were crushed and only had one more embryo.. but I didn't miscarry, a week went by and I still wasn't bleeding. Something inside me told me something wasn't right. We rushed back to the clinic where yet another blood test was taken. I was still pregnant and the number was raising but no where near where it should be, not even close.. I had an ultrasound and to our suprise there was a sac but no heart beat. I was immediately placed back on meds and we waited another week, the longest week of my entire life. I walked into the room and laid down and the tech did her thing.. I asked "is there a heartbeat!?" And she replied "yes!". The parents were over the moon and zoned out, too hard to believe! A miracle! They had just grieved a baby that was still growing perfectly on track!

August 2020 I was induced at 38 weeks and 6 days and mama caught her baby to her chest as soon as I pushed her out. A perfect baby girl to match yet again, a perfect journey. My story may be a long one, our journeys all so very different, but surrogacy has honestly changed my life forever. The ups the downs, were all completely worth it to see two people become parents. The tears, the forever friendships.. the lessons that my children have learned and the strength they have witnessed, the love for my husband who has been there every step of every moment. 

The journey won't be easy, but it will be worth it. ❤


Mother of 3 and Surrogate Mother to 8!