How We Met
raig and I met at work, first job out of college for both of us. We were in sales on competing teams and were forbidden from dating. So we had to hide our relationship at the office. We bring out the best in one another and knew within 3 months of dating that we were going to get married.
Coming to Shady Grove Fertility
My story with Shady Grove Fertility really began when I was a teenager, newly diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) with the advice that I would need assistance when Craig and I were ready to have children. When that time came, I made an appointment at Shady Grove Fertility.
I first worked with Dr. Osborn. I was immediately comfortable with her and felt that we were going to tackle this together in a systematic way. It helped me so much to understand this was a learning process, where each test gave us a hint about which way to go. Each patient has a unique story and it is not a “one size fits all” treatment plan. Our first round of treatment gave us our first daughter via intrauterine insemination (IUI). Our second round gave us our twin daughters via in vitro fertilization (IVF). Dr. O’Brien actually did my transfer for our twins, and she was my physician for my 3rd go-around as a gestational carrier.
Becoming a Gestational Carrier
With three fabulous girls, we thought we were done having babies. One day, I got a call from my close family friend, Katie, who had an unusual life-changing question for me. Katie and I have known each other our entire lives. Our mothers were best friends, we grew up together in the same town, went to the same school, and sang in show choir together.
She desperately wanted to complete her family but was unable to carry another child on her own. So, she wanted to know if I would be willing to help her and her husband have another child via gestational carrier.
Honestly, one of my first thoughts was, "I know just who to call - Shady Grove Fertility!"
In many ways, the GC process was easier than before because I was familiar with what was going to happen. I had done all of these tests before, so there were few surprises. And because I was doing this for Katie and Joe, it was actually less isolating. There was a bigger group of us pulling for this to all work out!
Giving Birth to Grace
Katie lives in NYC and had come down to Maryland a few days before I went into labor, so we were able to hang out together as families. The birthing process was smooth, and I was SUPER proud that I was able to push her out naturally since I had a c-section in the past. My husband was right beside me helping me push and Katie was watching for the moment Grace joined the world. As soon as she was here, I think we all just cheered, and they gave her to Katie and Joe. It was awesome to hear her cry. The first time they laid Grace down, she stuck her little foot way up in the air the SAME exact way she had been doing inside me for the last few months! Katie and her bonded right away, and little Grace is a nearly identical copy of Katie as a baby.
Katie and I are closer than ever. We live in different cities, and we’re both busy people of course, but this experience helped us solidify that we are really family and we’re here for each other no matter what. The family photo you see here is of my three girls, Grace, and Katie at Grace's baptism.
Advice to Those Considering Becoming a Gestational Carrier
I know our situation is a bit unique since we knew each other, and it was easier for me because I had been through the process before. My advice would be to make sure you’re laying the groundwork for committing to the process, which includes finding your own legal representation. Get through the icky part of clarifying all the “what if’s” on paper and it will be an extraordinary foundation for the rest of the experience. It’s important for your partner as well as yourself. You will all be able to move forward without second thoughts or questions.
Second, talk with one another about how much communication you each expect throughout the process and throughout the pregnancy. The staff at Shady Grove Fertility will be sharing all the medical information as necessary, but it’s also important to talk about how much detail you want to share with each other, like how often to send pictures and ultrasound printouts. As a GC, I believe you play a part in making sure that the parents feel connected to the baby before it’s born.
More Words of Advice and Encouragement
My story with Shady Grove Fertility has resulted in 4 beautiful children: 3 of my own, and one that I carried as a gestational carrier.
Honestly, one of the biggest compliments I have for Shady Grove Fertility is the EFFICIENCY of the process. Treatment can be a huge pain because timing is so important, there are many check-ins along the way, and a lot of moving parts. None-the-less, the staff at Shady Grove Fertility has your back. They are there to make sure you don’t miss a step and will find a way to make each step fit into your life.
Fertility treatment is hard, and it can be frustrating. And it is one of those things in your life where you just have to trust the process, trust these doctors, trust these professionals. They are doing their absolute best to help you achieve your goals and there is no doubt about that. I owe so much happiness to the team at Shady Grove Fertility.