Our story began in 2016. We stepped off the plane from our honeymoon, and we were informed of bad news about my grandfather. He had just found out he was terminally ill with cancer and was given a year left to live. We were devastated. Our plans to wait to try for a baby quickly changed. We wanted to start right away, as my grandfather’s biggest wish was to meet his great-grandchild.
Once we began trying, I thought it would happen right away. I mean that’s what they tell you in health class, right? Well, it didn't. After about a year of trying, we went and spoke with our OBGYN who referred us to Dr. Kaplan at Fertility Centers of Illinois. After a few tests, we were on the track to begin our IVF journey.
We had success in getting pregnant with IVF, but sadly we kept losing the pregnancies. After a round in 2018, we discovered we were pregnant with twins via IVF. We thought we had made it past all of the major hurdles of the first trimester, but we were shattered to find out later that both of our twins had sadly passed around 11 weeks, resulting in a missed miscarriage.
Recommended by our OBGYN, we did a D&C to remove the pregnancy. Unfortunately, we later discovered that a complication from the procedure had occurred called Asherman's Syndrome. This condition is when scar tissue is formed inside the uterus, making it nearly impossible for a baby to implant and grow. We sought out top doctors in the US to help try to correct the damage that took place but were found to be unsuccessful in any further fertility treatments.
After many more attempts with our fertility doctor, a gestational surrogate was suggested for us. I took this news incredibly hard. I had to give up my dreams of being pregnant and of carrying and delivering our own baby. These were things I had dreamed about for as long as I could remember.
Once I started researching surrogacy costs, I had sticker shock. Surrogacy through an agency runs around 100k-150k. I expressed my concerns with my doctor, and he asked if I knew anyone who would offer to carry our baby for us as a gift—that it could significantly lower the costs. My mom had already begun approaching us to carry our child before we really even started looking, but I kept telling her no. I didn't think it was possible for her to carry at her age, since she was already post-menopausal.
Everything changed the day my mom came to one of my appointments and met my doctor. I introduced them, and he thought she was my sister! I could see him really studying her. He knew she was super into fitness and nutrition, competed in triathlons, and ran the Boston marathon in 2016 and 2018. But before approving her to be our surrogate, he wanted us to get clearance from a psychologist, OBGYN and MFM.
Once we began the regimen of testing, my mom passed everything they threw at her with flying colors. Our fertility doctor soon discovered that she was in better health than half of his patients in their 30s.
We completed her embryo transfer on Feb 25th of this year and learned she was pregnant soon after. We were excited but hesitant. We had felt heartbreak before and kept our guard up for the whole beginning of the pregnancy. To our excitement, she sailed through the first trimester with mild symptoms, and now at 20 weeks has still been feeling great! We found out we are having a perfect baby girl, and we can’t wait to meet her come November.
If you are dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss, you are not alone. One thing that kept me going when I was in the darkest of my days is that every path to motherhood is different. I was determined to be a mom, whether it was me carrying my own baby, using a gestational surrogate, or adoption. I would stop at nothing until I became a mom, and now, finally, that dream is coming true.
Breanna Lockwood is an infertility & pregnancy loss warrior. After several failed IVF transfers, surgeries, and miscarriages, she and her husband were told to consider surrogacy when her mom stepped up to be her gestational carrier. She is now pregnant with a rainbow baby girl, due in November. You can find Breanna on Instagram at @ivf.surrogacy.diary.