Samantha and Eric’s (Surprising) Surrogacy Journey
When Samantha and Eric, Intended Parents from New York, started the surrogacy process back in 2016, they had no idea what was in store. After multiple miscarriages, the couple ultimately decided to pursue surrogacy. We helped them find their perfect match in Nicole, their gestational carrier several states away, and start the process – only to find, several months in, that Samantha herself was pregnant. Their story has a true happy ending – or beginning, really – with the birth of their son Logan, followed by their daughter Parker, delivered by Nicole just a few months later. Now that Parker is nearing her first birthday, we asked the proud parents to share a bit about their experience – and why Nicole continues to be a part of their lives.
How did you decide on ConceiveAbilities?
Samantha and Eric: We fell in love with Alicia (LCPC, ConceiveAbilities’ Surrogacy Match Expert). She was so warm and made the whole process seem a lot less daunting and intimidating.
What was the matching process like?
Samantha: I found it to be a very relaxing time because I felt like I was doing something but I didn’t expect to get an email every single day. I felt like something was in the works, but I wasn’t stressed out every single day about it. I found that to be actually the most relaxing time in the entire process. I felt like, it’s out of my hands and there’s nothing more I can do right now. I don’t have a to-do list that’s a mile long because I’ve handed it off to you. That was the first time I felt that way.
When did you know for certain that you wanted to work with Nicole?
Samantha: After the call we had 48 hours to confirm. Eric and I got off the call and immediately we were like yes, 100 percent. If she’s healthy and the doctor clears her, we’re good to go. We’re moving forward. We knew right away.
Eric: It was a no brainer.
Were you able to connect with others during the process?
Samantha: Even though I was getting support from all of my friends and family, I still felt very alone in it, because no one had experienced it. My friends had started connecting me to other people that were going through similar things, and I strangely found that that hurt me more than it helped me.
I had to make the decision at some point in the pregnancy that I was not going to talk to people who were going through these hard situations until the babies came because it ended up just making me very, very anxious.
You can feel so helpless. I was 100 percent sure we were never going to have a baby, that it was never going to happen. Even for the most pessimistic person – it can happen, and you can get two! You can get more than you bargained for!
How did you stay connected with Nicole despite the distance?
Samantha and Eric: We would text all the time. She would let us know every little thing she did. She really, really treated the pregnancy as if it were ours and not hers. We missed a lot of it. We didn’t get to go to the 20 week, and that was very hard. I wasn’t really able to fly anymore at that point, especially because my pregnancy was considered a higher risk. But she was very excited about it. She would FaceTime us every time she was at the doctor, when she got ultrasounds, she would send us all the videos and pictures. She very much wanted to include us in everything. We were very appreciative of that.
What was the birth like?
Eric: It’s sort of surreal. There’s this frenetic, frantic, we have to get to the hospital. Whereas with Parker, it’s like, we have to get to the airport, book a flight. It was frenetic in a totally different way. With Logan, the rush was the beginning of it. With Parker, you rush, you get there, and it’s all wrapped up in a cute little bow already.
Samantha: We didn’t even get to see her birth. We got there and there was a baby in one of those plastic little tubs, and they’re like ‘this is yours!’ It’s the craziest, weirdest feeling. The delivery is bonding, the delivery is what bonds you. That moment where you see your baby, that, I think, is a really special moment. When we first saw Parker we were a little bit confused. What do we do? Especially having done the other way before and having that whole experience, there’s this whole process. Once we spent a few days there and especially once we were on our own and spent the first night with her alone, it was almost where all the bonding took place. It felt a little more real.
What is your relationship with Nicole like now?
Samantha and Eric: She is the most incredibly thoughtful person. She will remember Parker’s month birthdays even when we don’t. We’ll get a text from Nicole that says ‘Happy 4 Months, Parker.’ We text – not every week, necessarily, but when something is going on, if we have cute pictures. It’s really nice, and I think that’s what a lot of people don’t have. We just happen to really like her, and her family too. I want her to always remember and to always feel happy and feel like what she did was worth it.
Will you talk to Parker and Logan about surrogacy?
Samantha and Eric: I feel very strongly that, from the get-go, we will always talk about it. We’ll never make a big deal about it. We will never make this some weird secret. It’s not. I would like to always make it a very important part of their story. Always bring up Nicole, have a picture of Nicole, not make this at all a secret.
What surprised you about the process?
Samantha: Having a surrogate carry your baby in general, I didn’t think it was nearly as scary or as disconnected as I thought it would be. Or as I imagine it would have been years ago before we were ever thinking of doing this. Even just finding someone healthy, I think I was really nervous about that. She was just a really healthy, normal girl. After going through so much negative stuff, I couldn’t believe – how can people have babies? It’s impossible to have a pregnancy. She had gotten pregnant really easily with her kids, and she went into it thinking, ‘our first try, of course I’m going to get pregnant. Our first transfer is definitely going to work.’ And I went into it…how many transfers will we have to do, how much time in between them, and she was so confident. It’s nice to have someone who doesn’t have all the negative baggage behind having babies. She was very positive about it, very confident and thought this was obviously going to work.
What advice do you have for someone considering surrogacy?
Eric: Choose ConceiveAbilities. If you are at this point where you’re going to go down this path, it’s probably been a really stressful couple of months, years, why would you want to compound that by going with a less-together agency?
Samantha: You have to trust the people who are taking you thought this, because it’s not common enough. It’s not IVF. IVF has become pretty standardized. With a good doctor, you’re going to get it done. But this is not something people know about and it’s very confusing, and legal is very confusing. You have to trust the people who are helping you.
How was the process overall with ConceiveAbilities?
Eric: It played out exactly the way they told us it would. That was a huge relief, knowing that they had done this before. They had a person for every step and an answer for every step and they were always reachable. They made a hard and complicated and emotionally trying process as stress-free as possible.
Samantha: Our experience was by far the best one we’ve heard of. This whole thing was less scary because of ConceiveAbilities. It’s the most well-oiled machine I have ever worked with in any area. ‘We’re passing you along to this person, they’ll be reaching out to you.’ Within an hour that person was emailing us. There was never a moment of, ‘who do I reach out to, who do I ask a question’, or ‘they’re not giving me time.’ Never.
Meg, in legal, went so above and beyond for us. She’d call on a weekend night when I had a question. Everyone was just amazing. There are enough people to get the work done properly and quickly and efficiently, but it’s still boutique enough to get this very intimate experience and it’s incredible. Every single person we worked with at ConceiveAbilities was incredible.
We tell the people that we now come in contact with or know that are going through a similar situation. We wouldn’t have changed anything. Everything that ConceiveAbilities had control over was done perfectly. You thought of everything.