At 39 weeks, they all showed up at the hospital for her c-section. “One of the fathers was totally freaked out and didn’t want to see blood, I think, hoping he could just look through a window, from a distance, but he ultimately came around, and all four of us were in the OR,” she says. “We had a coordinator who was helping us with all of the logistics, which was great, because normally they wouldn’t have allowed so many people in there.”
Jennifer had given birth to her own children at home, so a hospital c-section with a team of doctors and nurses, was a very different experience for her. “I was chattering from the epidural and the fathers kept asking if I was okay,” she recalls. “I didn’t want them to be scared, so I kept telling them I was totally fine, trying to make it a positive experience for them.” When the babies came out, each weighing around 7.5 pounds, the doctors handed them to their fathers, and the new family spent the next several days in a hospital room together. Jennifer also agreed to pump breast milk for the twins, while she was still in the hospital. So, the two families saw a lot of each other in the first few days of the twins’ lives.
Jennifer’s kids came to visit as well, and were so excited by what their Mom had done. “Our kids think we’re like Santa Claus, giving families children,” Jennifer explains. “Still, they were happy to have their mom back, and we were all looking forward to getting our lives back to normal. Some surrogates say they feel sad leaving the hospital without a baby. I was happy to have done this, but ready to move on to the next part of our life.”
The day she got out of the hospital, she and her husband, along with the Dads, went down to the courthouse to make it official. They signed papers and went through a legal procedure that essentially removed Jennifer and David’s names from the birth certificate, and included the two fathers instead. They became the first surrogate family in the country to do this. “The judge said it was a defining day in history, and that she wished she could have married the two men right then and there.”
It was such an incredible experience for Jennifer and her family that, a few years later, she decided to become a surrogate for a same-sex couple in Michigan. “This time, I skipped the agency, and did all of the paperwork and logistical stuff myself,” she says. “It just seemed more fair to me because these couples end up spending such insane amounts of money on egg donors and IVF and embryo transfers, I felt we could eliminate some of the extraneous costs.” In general, surrogates in the US are usually paid in monthly installments. The contracts are always worded carefully, implying that the fee is for care and expenses, not a lump sum for the use of the surrogate’s body. Once again, Jennifer went to California for the embryo transfer and got pregnant with twins, a boy and a girl, born in October 2010.
Jennifer still keeps in touch with the two families she’s helped, regularly getting emails, pictures and Christmas cards. She says she would love to one day be a surrogate again, even the physical burden of carrying two sets of healthy-sized, full-term twins has left her with back problems. Still, she cherishes her surrogacy experiences: “It was such a rewarding thing for me, to give these wonderful, loving couples the children they deserved,” she says. “I have zero regret and would do it again for them in a heartbeat.”
If you would like more information about surrogacy or are interested in becoming a surrogate mother, please contact Surrogates Across America.