I live in the charming town of Annapolis, in Maryland, with my husband Derek and our three daughters. The girls are the light of our lives and we are really enjoying watching their personalities blossom. Stella, seven, is shy and the most creative little old soul. She has recently taken up knitting and made a blanket on her first try. The twins, Mila and Auri, are four-years-old. Mila is sensitive and sweet, she loves drawing and doing crafts. Auri is silly and affectionate, she loves to do cartwheels and splits all over the place then snuggle up in your lap. The twins are taking up ballet and art classes, and Stella does art classes. I am always super busy between running them around to all of their classes, and my work as a massage therapist. I own my own practice and travel to my clients homes. The work of making people feel better is very important to me.Wanting to be a motherI grew up in a loving home with three sisters, the youngest of which is 16 years younger than me. From early on, I was fascinated with childbirth and aspired to become a NICU nurse. I was able to attend my youngest sisters' birth; it rocked me to the core when I heard her first cry and I knew that was a moment like no other. In that very moment I decided I wanted to be a mom.I was told I may have trouble conceiving a baby because I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which causes hormone imbalances and ovulation problems. To my surprise I found out I was pregnant with Stella shortly after Derek and I got married. When she was 16-months-old we started trying again for a second baby. This time wasn't as easy as the first and we needed to seek professional fertility treatments to help me to ovulate. Our identical twins were such a welcome and exciting addition to our family after months of fertility treatments.Becoming a surrogate motherIt was around the time we were trying to have the twins that a friend of mine from work became a surrogate through the Center for Surrogate Parenting. I remember thinking how amazing she was for doing this but didn't think much else about it at the time. The idea of being a surrogate came to me when the twins were about nine-months-old and I heard about some of my friends struggles with infertility. I longed to be pregnant again but was completely overwhelmed with our own children at the time to think about having another of our own. By the time the twins were a year old I knew in my heart I wanted to do this for someone, so I applied with CSP but waited a few months until the babies were finished nursing to take any further steps. My husband was hesitant, as were most of my family members. I don't think they really understood why I would want to do this, and they were generally concerned about me.I did look around at a few other agencies but ultimately decided on CSP because I knew that my friend had great experiences with them and they had an office just ten minutes from my home. The process in the beginning is a lot of hurry up and wait. There is a lot of paperwork to be filled out. I submitted all of my medical records, insurance information, did a psychological evaluation, and lots of blood tests. After I was cleared as a healthy candidate to be a surrogate, my husband and I met with CSPs counselor, Barbara Cohen, to talk to her more about the process of being matched and tell her our preferences.
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