Dear Surrogate,

Thanks for the opportunity to introduce ourselves! We met during our freshman year of college at VCU in Richmond, Virginia, but our lives began in two different countries. C grew up in south New Jersey, in the same town where her mother, grandparents and great-grand parents grew up. Millville is a small glass manufacturing town halfway between Philadelphia and Atlantic City. She is the oldest of two kids and the oldest cousin on both sides of her family. This primed her to be the “responsible one” whenever there was a family gathering. B was born across the border in Ottawa, Canada, the capital of Canada and where both Bs parents and grandparents grew up. His parents also struggled with infertility and were finally able to adopt both B and his older sister when they were infants. B being the youngest in his family, as well as the youngest cousin on both sides of the family, gave him a slightly more carefree approach to life. It was a big change when B’s immediate family moved to the states when he was 8 years old. Though we grew up with slightly different perspectives we both had good upbringings and were fortunate to live close to family (at least in our formative years) where frequent gatherings were the norm. This foundation has instilled how important family is to us, especially when kids have peers to look to for support.

We met freshman year of college, when B lived on the floor above C in the coed dormitory. However, we didn’t meet in the dorms but coincidentally at a hockey party. C went to a game and spotted a handsome forward (B) on the ice and was immediately impressed with his skating skills (he did grow up in Canada after all). Later that night B also spotted C looking at pet ferrets at the party and went over to introduce himself. Animals provide for a great pickup line! We ended up talking the rest of the night and were inseparable the rest of the semester. Over the summer breaks we traveled between VA and NJ to visit one another, and the next three years at school we lived together in various apartments.

After graduation B accepted a scholarship to law school in New England and he proposed to C that summer. The proposal was perfect. It encompassed two of C’s favorite things – the beach and fireworks! That fall we moved to Massachusetts and eventually ended up in Connecticut where B continued to attend school and C started her career as an Interior Designer. After school B was offered a job and went to training for six months in Dallas, Texas while C stayed in CT awaiting his employer’s determination on where exactly they would locate B. His work ultimately asked him to stay in Texas and we made the semi-cross country move with our dogs and turtles in tow. We loved being in Texas and thrived in our careers but knew that we wanted to have kids and move back to the east coast so we could be a car ride away from our families.

After initially trying to conceive naturally for several years we found out that we wouldn’t be able to without the help of IVF ICSI. C had a large uterine fibroid and needed a myomectomy before starting IVF. We were able to retrieve several eggs resulting in three embryos, none of which were viable after testing. After 5 years in TX C’s company transferred her to their Richmond office and we came back to where our relationship started. We went back for round two of egg retrieval just before we made the semi-cross country move from Texas to Virginia. On the day that we moved into our new home we got the long-awaited call that two of the embryos were viable, a boy and a girl!

Unfortunately, when getting ready for transfer of our boy embryo that July the doctor found polyps and C needed to go back to Texas for a uterine scraping before we could proceed with transfer. Finally, two days after B’s birthday in October we were cleared for transfer and flew back to Texas. We were beyond elated to find out after the two week wait that the embryo stuck, and we were expecting! The pregnancy went smoothly although we worried about losing the baby and had a hard time fully relaxing. We wanted to do everything we could to ensure that we would have our baby in June and even did regular acupuncture sessions to help.

June finally came and because of her previous myomectomy C had a scheduled c-section the day after her 35th birthday. She was high-risk because of the myomectomy, high blood pressure (did we mention the stress?), and being geriatric (seriously, could they have called it anything else!?). The c-section went off without any issues and after our first photo as a family B pointed out to the doctor that it looked like C was losing a lot of blood. The doctor agreed and decided to apply an inflated foleys catheter balloon to help with the hemorrhaging. Shortly after we moved from the OR to the recovery room C had a huge wave of nausea and the color drained from her face. B started calling for a doctor and after what seemed like forever, they came and whisked her back to the OR to remove the balloon. The doctors struggled with what else to try as we previously made it clear that we had another embryo and wanted to try one day to get pregnant again, and hysterectomy was only a last resort. At that point the doctor tried a B-lynch stitch. Sadly, this surgery didn’t stop the hemorrhaging as they had hoped, and C was brought into radiation for a uterine ablation.

After three surgeries and four blood transfusions, C was finally stable and recovering in the SICU (surgical intensive care unit). Unfortunately, babies are not allowed to come into the SICU and C had to show significant progress before she could be brought to the post-partum unit to see our baby boy. After what felt like an agonizing day of discussions with doctors, worrying about C’s life and relaying information to family, B spent that first night in a hospital room alone doing skin to skin with our baby C, relieved but still worried about C. We think it was the mama bear effect that took over for C to make enough progress to move out of SICU the following day. After three more days in the hospital, we all went home to move past the trauma and be even more appreciative of the life we now had as a family of three.

Last spring, we decided it was time to try for baby number two. In the hopes of transferring our last embryo C brought up the idea at her OBGYN appointment. Sadly, the doctor advised against another pregnancy due to the risks to both the baby’s health and life of baby and C from possibility of uterine rupture. We were heartbroken, but soon started researching our other options and are lucky that surrogacy is one. We are grateful for the opportunity to try surrogacy and give our popsicle (frozen embryo) a chance at life. Our embryo came from the same batch as our beautiful son over five years ago. The journey we took to be parents has not been easy, but we believe everything happens for a reason. We are so grateful that we have our amazing son, and it’s been particularly special for B to finally know someone who shares his genes biologically. Witnessing the bond that B and C have and seeing how remarkably similar they are in so many ways has been priceless for C and everyone who know them.

Though C is only four, we have been open with him about how he came to be and that we hope to have a sister for him one day. He is a great kid; kind, smart, funny, creative, plays well by himself and others and has a genuinely caring heart. He loves superheroes, especially the fact that they help people, and is always trying to emulate them from acting like one on the playground at school to the creative stories he tells. Now that he knows there might be a sister for him one day he often asks, “When am I going to get my baby sister?”. He even already shows his protective big brother nature by saying “When I have a baby sister, I will keep her safe. I will tell her not to go in the street and she will listen and turn around.”

Thanks to our son, our family is big into superheroes. To us a surrogate epitomizes exactly that- a person that possesses abilities and a willingness beyond ordinary people, someone who uses their powers to help the world become a better place. Even though we don’t yet know you we know you are a remarkable person. The consideration to be a surrogate alone is something that very few people even fathom. The sacrifices of pregnancy are a feat for anyone to overcome for their own family let alone another. The fact that you are offering to do this act for another couple is one of the most beautiful gifts a human could ever give. Thank you so much for your willingness to help change a family’s life for the better through the selfless act of surrogacy. We can’t imagine how difficult a decision it must be to select a family that you would want to have this journey with. From the bottom of our hearts, we are incredibly grateful that you have given us this opportunity to introduce ourselves and hope we can further a relationship with you and your family. We hope that if we are lucky enough to match with you that we can have a lifelong relationship if you are open to it. Even if you prefer to keep your privacy after the journey, we want to get to know you so we can one day tell our daughter all about the amazing woman who helped her to have a chance at life. From our family to you and yours, thank you. Thank you for taking this courageous leap of heroism.

Incredibly grateful,

C, B and C