Laurie Widerman's Story
I am a registered nurse on the postpartum unit at GBMC, and I was a surrogate, twice, to two lovely families. Having cared for several surrogates over my 13 years at GBMC, I felt a certain affection for them as well as admiration. What a gift to give someone: their very own child.
In the fall of 2009, I had a very meaningful conversation with one of my patients, a surrogate, and expressed to her my interest in becoming a surrogate myself. She gave me the contact information for the private attorney she had worked with and, as they say, the rest is history! After discussing it with my husband, knowing I would need his support to do this, I contacted the attorney and in the spring of 2010, we met our first couple. I say "we" because my husband was very involved from the very beginning. We loved the couple from the moment we met them. I liken the experience to a blind date! This particular couple told us their story and the intended mother explained why she could not carry a pregnancy. My heart went out to them. We spent several hours talking, with the attorney as a sort of facilitator. After our meeting, my husband and I drove home. I thought things went well, and I hoped they liked me. The attorney called several days later and said that I had been the third surrogate they had interviewed and they loved me! She explained to me the specifics of the process and what would happen next. We had all our treatment through Shady Grove Fertility and began the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF).
It was important to all of us that this be the couple’s biological child. After two rounds of unsuccessful attempts, the intended parents were of course frustrated and disappointed, as was I. I told them I was in this for the long haul, and I was determined to give them their child. We agreed to one more round of IVF. The day of the embryo transfer, we were all a bundle of nerves. Then was the long two week wait before the pregnancy test. I knew after a week that this time was different. I had all the signs of being pregnant: nausea, lightheadedness and more. I told the intended mother my symptoms, but having been disappointed before, we just had to wait for the blood test to confirm. And it did! We were pregnant.
We were elated, but cautious. We all waited anxiously for the ultrasound appointment. The day came and I took my daughter, who was 15 at the time, with me. We all stared at the screen and I prayed that this little embryo was still there. Well, not one, but two! Twins! We had implanted two embryos and they both took. Wow. After two unsuccessful attempts and eight months, this deserving couple was going to have two babies. I had a very uncomplicated pregnancy and delivered a boy and a girl at 38 weeks via c-section on February 10, 2012 at GBMC. The joy in that delivery room was palpable and the look of love on the parents' faces was the exact reason I had chosen to be a gestational carrier. Besides the birth of my own children, it is my most precious and proud accomplishment.
We continue to stay in touch, three-and-a-half years later. Those babies are now toddlers! We have gone to their birthday parties, the zoo and they have been to our home. We call, FaceTime and they send pictures. They are a blessing in my life, and we consider them extended family. I really thought this would be a onetime deal. Then, in early 2013, I told my husband I would like to be a gestational carrier again. He was not surprised, seeing how happy the first one had made me and how I enjoyed pregnancy. I contacted the same attorney and she was thrilled. She had several couples who were waiting for carriers. She matched us with another couple and, again, the rest is history! We had successful IVF and I delivered a beautiful baby girl in December of 2014 for her parents. The experience was as magical as the first. This is the last because of my age and some complications from this delivery. However, what I have gained is beyond measure. I have brought three beautiful children into the world and given two couples the families that they might never otherwise been able to have. I am blessed to have been able to do that. I have been able to see these children grow and thrive and watched these little families develop, and for that, I am truly grateful.