ConceiveAbilities Match Manager, Leah McFail recently connected with former clients Liberty and Michael. Their adorable twin boys, Jack and Rudy were born via gestational surrogate in December of 2015 and they were both gracious enough to answer some questions about their lives and experience with surrogacy.
Leah wasted no time in asking the sort of questions we know folks care most about.
Leah: How did the two of you meet and how long have you been together?
Michael: We met at The Elephant Room, an underground Jazz club in Austin, TX. I sat down with some friends in the seat behind but didn't make a move assuming I wouldn't have a chance with someone so gorgeous. Liberty initiated the conversation, which ended in us setting up a first date, and we've been inseparable ever since. That was 12 years ago, married for the last 9.
Michael already knew a lot about IVF and surrogacy as options because he was actually the first IVF baby born in the state of Texas.
Leah: Would you mind sharing a bit about what the circumstances that brought you to surrogacy?
Liberty: I had struggled with severe endometriosis as a teen that resulted in my getting a hysterectomy in my 20's. I did retain one ovary so I wouldn't have to resort to hormone therapy. Michael already knew a lot about IVF and surrogacy as options because he was actually the first IVF baby born in the state of Texas. Michael originally suggested that we try for a child via IVF and surrogacy, and if we weren't successful we would choose adoption. Jack and Rudy may be the first set of IVF babies born to an IVF baby!
Leah: What were your impressions after your match meeting with your surrogate (Angela)?
Liberty: Angela could not have been more sweet and reassuring. Her and her husband had a nightmarish trip to Denver where they missed their connection and got stuck in the Chicago airport OVERNIGHT. They flew in the morning they were getting exams and meeting us having slept on airport benches without a shower, and both of them were still bubbly and excited about the entire process. The #1 thing we could have asked for in a surrogate is a low stress individual, a calm environment for our babies to develop in, and if Angela could be, well, angelic after a day like that we knew she was the perfect choice.
Leah: How many embryos did you transfer? Were you hoping for twins?
Michael and Liberty: Two, and we were hoping for twins. We'd always talked about a boy and a girl, but our fertility doctor has a policy of 1) not telling the IP's the sex or letting them choose, even though they know through the chromosomal testing and 2) Always implanting the best-looking embryos, regardless of gender. Once the blastocysts make it to that stage in the process they have about a 70% chance of taking, so having twins would be 49%. We were really hoping for that coin flip!
Leah: How did you keep in touch with Angie (their gestational surrogate) throughout the pregnancy? Did the pregnancy go by slowly or quickly for you?
Liberty: Texting mostly. I think we were probably more hands-off than most IP's. Life got very hectic just before and during the pregnancy. Michael was laid off a month before implantation and wound up traveling a lot to make the most of his time off and look for a new job. We wound up having to move out of state for him to find work again. We moved, bought a house, sold a house, and started the new job during that time. So we had a lot going on.
Leah: What memories stand out for you from the day the boys were born?
Liberty: Seeing little Jack open his eyes for the first time and study the room in that thoughtful way of his. Hearing Rudy's powerful lungs from across the hall and a few rooms away only a few minutes later. Doing skin to skin for the first time in our little warming room. They were so tiny! And turning the lights out to spend our first night as parents taking care of them. It was really real!
Leah: You have graciously allowed ConceiveAbilities to share photos of your adorable boys since their birth. Was it always your plan to be open about your surrogacy journey?
Liberty: I mean, they're just so gosh darned cute. We read other peoples' stories as we were starting our journey and got a lot from them, and we wanted to share as well.
Leah: What advice would you give to someone considering surrogacy?
Michael and Liberty: It is not for the faint of wallet. But it's so amazing looking at their little faces and seeing how much like Michael Jack is and how similar Rudy is to Liberty.
Leah: Did anything surprise you about the surrogacy process?
Michael and Liberty: How easy it all went. We expected a lot of hurdles and setbacks but once we were on the path, collecting eggs, testing, implanting, almost everything went as smoothly as it could have gone.
Leah: What activity or experience had you envisioned sharing with your children that you have since shared with Jack and Rudy?
Michael and Liberty: Family bike ride.
Leah: What words come to mind when you think of Angie?
Michael and Liberty: Angel.
Leah: Lastly, what baby product or equipment would you recommend a new parent of twins definitely invest in?
Michael and Liberty: Those self-rocking bassinets. Not the Momaroo, they're too gentle, the cheap Fisher-Price Auto Rock one. And some grandparents with flexible schedules who can help take some of the load that first year!
ConceiveAbilities would like to thank Michael and Liberty for taking the time to share their story with us. Being a part of their family building process was an absolute honor.
Interested in learning more? Check out our interview with Angie Michael and Liberty’s gestational surrogate.
Learn more about surrogacy in Colorado by visiting our website.
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.