Shaniece Sturdy was young when she decided to become a surrogate. She had never done anything like that before, and at just 21 years old, she didn’t really know what to expect. But this was certainly not it. She looked first at the monitor and then to her ever-growing stomach. She was only in her second trimester, but she seemed to have grown so much recently. She knew that something had to be wrong. She couldn’t catch a break, and she was constantly hungry. Her back, among other things, always seemed to be aching, and in general, she just never felt good.
The Interesting Discovery This Surrogate Made When This HappenedPublished 2 months ago
Shaniece stayed nervously on the table as the nurse squeezed the cold jelly onto her stomach and then rubbed the ultrasound instrument across her round belly. “These symptoms are absolutely normal for a first pregnancy,” the nurse calmly explained as she performed her job. But Shaniece still wasn’t sure.
She watched as the screen reflected a blurred mix of gray and black, and she held her breath in anticipation and fear. Finally, she managed to ask, “Is everything okay?” The nurse didn’t respond. Instead, she called for a doctor.
Growing up as a little girl, Shaniece had always known that she wanted to be a mother and have her own family one day. It was a dream of hers and what she looked forward to achieving when she was finally old enough. She grew up with two parents who had met and fallen in love when they were young, just 16 years old. She also had an older sister who married her childhood sweetheart as soon as they both finished school.
But Shaniece was surprised by how much pain she saw in the first few years of their marriage.
Shaniece and her older sister were several years apart, and they spent a lot of their childhood fighting and arguing, but they were also friends who loved each other. She was just 14 years old when Linda, her sister, moved out to move in with her partner, and Shaniece was excited. Finally, she wouldn’t have to put up with Linda making unreasonable demands or their constant fighting.
To Shaniece, life was about to become much easier now that her sister was out of the house and she had more space to live her own life.
What Shaniece didn’t expect after her sister had moved out was for her house to suddenly feel too quiet. At first, she had somewhat enjoyed the peace and lack of arguing, but now she started to miss the constant back and forth and bickering. Even though she still saw Linda on the weekends, she could tell that things were no longer the same.
The two sisters were beginning to drift apart because they no longer lived together. So Shaniece came up with a solution. She bought a bus ticket to visit her sister. But what she found was not what she expected.
Shaniece took the bus to visit her sister. When she arrived at the bus stop, she got off and started to walk up the road in the direction of where her sister lived. While she walked, she noticed her brother-in-law driving toward her in his red truck. She waved at him and then stopped, expecting him to pull over or slow down to talk to her. Instead, he didn’t acknowledge her. Not a wave or a smile.
And as she watched him drive by, she looked hard at his face. She had never seen him look so serious.
Shaniece was surprised that her brother-in-law, Josh, hadn’t seemed to notice her, and if he had, he hadn’t acknowledged her or paid her any attention. What was going on? Maybe he was having a bad day. Or maybe he’d had a bad day at work.
Shaniece kept walking toward her sister’s house. When she arrived, she knocked on the door, excited to finally see Linda. But when Linda opened the door, Shaniece was shocked by how she looked.
When Linda opened the door to her house, Shaniece could tell that her sister had been crying. Black mascara was running down Linda’s cheeks in little rivers, and her eyes were red and wet from tears. Shaniece stared back at her sister’s pale face with worry and asked, “Did he hurt you?”
As she waited for her sister’s response, Shaniece hurried into the kitchen to grab a wet towel to wash her sister’s face. She listened with worry while Linda explained what had happened. “Don’t be silly,” Linda said. “I asked him to leave.”
Shaniece was shocked by Linda’s answer. She leaned back and stared at her sister, studying her face for any sign of a lie. She knew Linda so well that she could always tell when Linda was lying, but this time, it was clear that Linda was being honest in her answer.
Shaniece’s parents hadn’t been thrilled when Linda and Josh got married, and maybe they had been right. The newlyweds were extremely young to make such an important decision. “Why did you ask him to leave, Linda?” Shaniece asked. Linda’s answer was the last thing she expected.
As Linda explained the situation between herself and Josh to Shaniece, Linda’s eyes filled with tears and she continued to cry as she spoke. “You know we’ve been trying for a year now, Shaniece. He wants to take out another loan for IVF, but we can’t afford it. We couldn’t afford the first treatment.”
Linda wiped her nose as she spoke. She was quiet for a second and then she continued with a sigh, “We can’t keep doing this.”
Shaniece’s heart broke as she listened to her sister talk about trying to get pregnant. She had seen Linda upset before, but she had never seen her this upset. Shaniece knew how much Linda wanted to be a mother and have a child of her own. She also knew that Linda would be unhappy forever if she couldn’t have children.
Shaniece decided to stay at her sister’s for the weekend so that she could comfort Linda. She made them both some tea and grabbed a blanket, preparing for a long weekend. Over the next couple of days, Shaniece convinced Linda that she needed to try again. What Shaniece couldn’t have predicted was how much of an impact that weekend would have.
Linda agreed that she would continue trying to get pregnant. It took about two years before it finally happened, but eventually, Linda found out that she was finally pregnant. Her original plan was to keep the pregnancy a secret until she reached the second trimester since that would mean the pregnancy was more secure than it was in the first trimester. Unfortunately, Linda never reached the second trimester of that pregnancy.
Linda was devasted by the miscarriage, and at first, she refused to consider trying to get pregnant again. But just like she had before, Linda once again changed her mind.
Linda struggled to cope with the miscarriage, and she fell into depression and began isolating herself from everyone. She became a recluse, and even though Shaniece tried to help her, Linda refused to leave her house for an entire month. There didn’t seem to be any way to help lift Linda out of her depression.
But Josh had a plan that could be just what Linda needed. He knew one other way to give Linda what she really wanted: a child.
It seemed like getting pregnant and giving birth to her own child wasn’t in the cards for Linda, which was devastating. But Josh had a plan that no one had thought of so far. It was certainly an unorthodox one, which was perhaps why no one had suggested it so far, but it might be the last opportunity to give Linda what she wanted and make her happy.
But Linda remained devastated by the miscarriage, and the pain was still too fresh for her to have much hope of getting pregnant again. But when Josh told her his plan, she started to feel some hope.
Linda agreed to Josh’s plan, but there was one person whose consent was the most important: Josh’s sister. Linda and Josh were both on board, but was it something his sister would agree to? After all, they were about to ask her to make a huge sacrifice, something that many people would turn down without a second thought. How would she feel? What would she say? There was only one way to find out.
Josh contacted his sister and asked her to meet with him and Linda so that they could talk. They had something important they wanted to ask her.
Finally, Josh and Linda sat down with Josh’s sister to talk to her. They were both extremely nervous. This request they had was not something that most people would agree to. What would she say? Would she agree to participate?
Linda was especially nervous. Her chances of being a mother were dependent on how Josh’s sister responded. All she wanted was to be a mom, and it was not working out for her. But this request would give Linda a shot at finally being the mom she knew she was destined to be.
Linda wasn’t naïve. She knew she and Josh were about to ask a huge favor from his sister. There was a very good chance that his sister would say no and refuse to help them. After all, she was a person, and most people would say no too. It was a huge request.
Linda and Josh waited nervously as his sister considered their request. When she responded, they were blown away by her answer.
The three words Josh’s sister said shocked them both. It was what they had hoped she would say, but they had never dared expect that she would actually agree.
“I’ll do it,” she said, and Linda and Josh felt such a huge amount of relief and excitement. His sister had agreed to their request! Finally, Linda could see her dream of having a child of her own beginning to take shape. It no longer felt like something that was never going to happen. With his sister’s help, Josh and Linda were finally going to be parents.
Josh and Linda had asked that his sister consider being a surrogate for the couple and carry their first child for them. Basically, she would carry Josh and Linda’s biological child in her own womb since Josh and Linda were unable to carry a baby full-term.
Everyone was thrilled that Linda had another shot at being a mother, especially Shaniece. This was her sister’s dream, and Josh’s sister was going to make that happen. Shaniece had no idea how much she would be inspired by Josh’s sister’s generosity. Seeing her agree to such a sacrifice was a huge inspiration for Shaniece.
Had Josh’s sister really taken the time to think through what she was agreeing to? After all, pregnancy is difficult for anyone, but to agree to carry another woman’s child for 9 months and undergo all the hardships that come with being pregnant? That was a huge sacrifice. There was no doubt that it would not be easy. In fact, it would be extremely difficult. But his sister had agreed. Despite the difficulties, she would carry her brother and sister-in-law’s baby for 9 months to give them their dream.
Hearing about this moved Shaniece, but she couldn’t anticipate how much it would inspire her in the future for years.
Josh’s sister was making a big sacrifice for the couple, and Linda appreciated it. But she was also slightly hesitant. She had already had her heart broken before with the miscarriage and the years of trying and failing to get pregnant. Could she really handle going through this again just to watch it fail?
She didn’t want to become too excited only to have her hopes dashed again. But what was wrong with trying one more time? Maybe this time would work. And this time, they had a different plan, something they had never tried before. Maybe this would be the time that would work.
If the surrogacy attempt failed, there were still other options. This certainly didn’t mean that Linda would never have a child. After all, there was foster care. Linda and Josh could foster a child and then possibly adopt. The world was full of children who needed homes, and Linda and Josh could provide just that. But Linda still hoped for her own biological child.
Shaniece wanted the same for her sister, and so she spent every night praying that this pregnancy would take and that Josh’s sister would be able to carry the baby to term. And then, it finally happened.
The surrogacy was a success! Josh’s sister got pregnant with Josh and Linda’s baby and was able to carry it to full term. Finally, the day came when the baby was born. When Shaniece heard the news, she couldn’t stop crying. It was the happiest she had ever been. She was thrilled for her sister. Linda deserved to be a mother, and she would be a great one.
But something else important happened that day. Linda and Josh didn’t just become parents for the first time. Shaniece also made a promise to herself, something that she knew she had to do.
Seeing surrogacy change Linda and Josh’s lives and make Shaniece an aunt changed something in Shaniece. She realized that surrogacy was something she wanted to do. She promised herself that if the day came when she had the chance to be a surrogate, she would do it and make someone else’s dream come true.
What Shaniece couldn’t have anticipated was how different her surrogacy journey would be.
Right after Shaniece turned 21 years old, she met Joanna and Steve, a couple who was trying to conceive. They too were looking for a surrogate to help them grow their family, and Shaniece realized this was her chance to fulfill her promise.
Her family was thrilled when they found out she was going to be a surrogate. They had seen the happiness it brought Josh and Linda, and they were so proud that their daughter wanted to give a couple that same gift. Shaniece had to fly to Los Angeles for the procedure to get pregnant. After it was done, she flew back home. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned.
Shaniece was very young when she agreed to become a surrogate for Joanna and Steve. She said, “I was only 21 at the time, but I wasn’t interested in partying and drinking. I wanted to help another couple fulfill their family dream.”
Joanna and Steve were thrilled that Shaniece had agreed to be their surrogate. Just like surrogacy gave Linda and Josh their family, surrogacy could also give Joanna and Steve theirs. Shaniece did get pregnant, but when the first trimester ended, she knew something was different. Something felt off, and she was right.
Shaniece had only ever met one other surrogate: Josh’s sister. Shaniece had watched his sister go through the pregnancy. His sister had experienced all the struggles of pregnancy from nausea to morning sickness to constant exhaustion, and she had continued to work through all of that up until she was eight months pregnant.
Shaniece was lucky; her pregnancy seemed to be going well, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. She just couldn’t help but worry.
Shaniece was lucky. Pregnancy didn’t impact her daily life too much. She was able to continue living her life and doing her daily activities. One strange thing, however, was how big her stomach continued to grow well into the second trimester. That worried Shaniece. She didn’t know what it meant.
Of course, babies keep growing during the final months of pregnancy, but this seemed to be more growth than was normal. Shaniece needed to find out what was wrong. She decided to give her doctor a call to see what was going on.
When Shaniece went to see her doctor, she was nearing the end of her first trimester and about to start her second. She was going in for her 10-week scan to check in and see how things were going. As she lay on the table, she thought about her concerns. She didn’t know what the doctor would say. As she waited, she twiddled her thumbs and looked at her baby bump.
Finally, the doctor returned with the paperwork. When he entered the room, he was silent.
Her doctor’s silence worried her. Was there something wrong with the pregnancy? Was there something wrong with the baby? Shaniece didn’t know what she would do if something went wrong. She knew how desperate Joanna and Steve were for a baby. They had tried so hard and had put all of their hopes in her. She would never be able to forgive herself if something went wrong and she let them down.
Finally, the doctor looked up from his notes and straight at her. When he spoke, she couldn’t believe what he had to say. His next three words shocked her.
Dr. Ryan’s face broke into a huge grin as he looked at her and said, “You’re having triplets.” Shaniece felt her heart stop.
Triplets? How could this be? She wasn’t pregnant with just one baby. No! She was pregnant with three. But what about Joanna and Steve? They had wanted a baby. How would they feel about three babies? Would they be excited? Would they be happy? What if they were mad? Or even worse, what if they decided they didn’t want all three babies?
Much to Shaniece’s relief, Joanna and Steve were thrilled with the news that Shaniece was pregnant with triplets. In fact, they were overjoyed! They had never expected triplets, but they couldn’t be happier! Their dreams were finally coming true.
A triplet pregnancy was hard on Shaniece’s body. Her stomach continued to grow, and it became huge. Her body always seemed to be aching from the pregnancy. But deep down, Shaniece knew it was worth it. She was keeping her promise to herself, and she knew it was the right thing to do. She just hadn’t expected to carry triplets when she agreed to be a surrogate.
Finally, the nine months had gone by and it was time for the babies to be born. The birth went well, and Shaniece gave birth to three perfectly healthy little babies. The triplets were two girls and one boy, and Joanna and Steve named them Willow, Daisy, and Harrison.
Shaniece was overjoyed that she had been able to give Steve and Joanna the children they always wanted. After the triplets were born, Shaniece said, “Even though I was only 21 and it was a huge responsibility carrying their babies, it was one of the best experiences of my life.”
Shaniece’s pregnancy had been fairly easy, considering she was carrying triplets. When asked about the pregnancy, she said, “I had no morning sickness or cravings, the whole pregnancy flew by and with the support of Joanna and Steve, it was amazing, and I would recommend it to anyone.” It was a breeze compared to what some women go through when they are pregnant; of course, not everyone gets as big as Shaniece did!
Just because the babies were born didn’t mean that Shaniece would no longer get to see them.
Willow, Daisy, and Harrison spent two weeks in the intensive care unit at the hospital after being born. At the end of two weeks, doctors finally cleared them to go home with Joanna and Steve for the first time.
Shaniece was lucky that Joanna and Steve wanted to keep her a part of the babies’ lives. She goes to visit them every year on their birthday. Some people may find this odd since Shaniece doesn’t have any biological connection to them besides having carried them for nine months. But she has provided an explanation as to why she keeps in touch with Joanna, Steve, and the triplets.
Shaniece said there is a lot of misinformation out there about surrogacy and how it works. Many people have misconceptions about who the children are biologically related to, and they often think that the surrogate is the biological mother. Shaniece has tried to combat those misconceptions, and she said, “I think a lot of people presume you have to use your own eggs when you’re a surrogate but that’s not the case at all.”
“I had Joanna and Steve’s embryo inserted in Los Angeles so it’s biologically their child, not mine, I was just the host womb.”
Just because Shaniece’s pregnancy was physically easy doesn’t mean that she didn’t feel any effects from it. Pregnancy is difficult for anyone, and being a surrogate can impact more than just the surrogate’s psychological health. Carrying triplets, especially, can have many effects on the body, and that’s particularly true when the mother is so young. And Shaniece was just 21 years old when she got pregnant with Steve and Joanna’s triplets.
Unfortunately for Shaniece, she started to experience those unwanted effects of a triplet pregnancy.
Shaniece is worried that carrying the triplets may have impacted her own ability to get pregnant. Several years have passed since she gave birth to the triplets. In a later interview, Shaniece said, “I’m in a relationship now and would like to have more children. I’ve had a miscarriage so I do wonder if carrying the triplets has had an effect on my body.” It’s not clear if the triplet pregnancy is the reason why Shaniece has had a miscarriage.
But Shaniece doesn’t regret her decision to be a surrogate, and she has some advice to share.
Shaniece said she would encourage anyone thinking about being a surrogate to really do their research and make sure they know what they are getting into. She said, “My advice for anyone thinking about surrogacy is to make sure you’ve done your research, and that you have support around you.”
But that’s not the only thing Shaniece said people should consider. There’s something else to keep in mind that many people might not be aware of, and it can make or break a person’s decision to be a surrogate.
Surrogates do not get paid to do the job. It’s basically free labor to give someone else a child. Shaniece said, “You don’t get paid to be a surrogate – you only get expenses for your travel and so on…so if you’re looking to make money, this isn’t for you.”
Surrogacy can be expensive for the parents using a surrogate, but it can also be costly for the surrogate herself. Some pregnancies are so difficult that the woman is put on bed rest or required to leave work early, and that can cause a loss of income that may create a stressful financial burden.
But Shaniece doesn’t regret her decision to be a surrogate. In fact, she has become an advocate for surrogacy, and she has recently been working to get some of the laws relating to surrogacy in Great Britain changed.
Because of her experience, Shaniece now believes that the parents who use a surrogate should have more control than the law currently provides for.
Shaniece said she was often asked questions about the babies that really should have been directed to Steve and Joanna since they were the triplets’ biological parents.
She said, “Throughout the pregnancy, I had all the questions about the babies directed at me, for example, birth plans, vaccinations, scan dates.” Whenever she got questions like that, she said, she would look to Steve and Joanna for answers. “I would just turn to Joanna and Steve and say, ‘what do you want to do?'” she said.
Shaniece said, “It was my body, but they weren’t my babies. If the law could change so the parents could make the decisions it would make things easier on both parts.”
Shaniece isn’t alone in how she feels about this, either. Many other surrogate mothers feel the same way. They think that the biological parents should be consulted more since they are the children’s parents and the surrogate is just carrying the babies.