Hi, my name is Denise and I wanted to share the story of how I became a surrogate mother and helped create a family. Becoming a surrogate was a longtime dream of mine that started to become a reality when I reached out to the Center for Surrogate Parenting (CSP). When I first called CSP I didn’t know what the outcome would be; I was nervous because I didn’t know anyone who had been a surrogate, I knew nothing about the process and I had a TON of questions! After speaking with Carole Jackson, Surrogate Mother Coordinator, my mind was put at ease. My husband, Devan, and I attended one of the surrogate support groups in Sonoma, CA. The meeting was so inspirational, after that I was really ready to get started. Devan and I loved hearing all the surrogate stories. We talked the entire 4-hour drive home about how awesome it would be to have a child for another family. So here is “Our Story” Yes, Our Story. I would love to take all the credit, but I can’t, because without my husband I wouldn’t have a story. He’s my biggest support and has always gone above and beyond to help me both physically and mentally. On March 31, 2017 I was accepted in to CSP’s program. Shortly after we were sent profiles of Intended Parents to scan through and try to choose who to help. I honestly didn’t know who to pick, if I could I would have had a baby for all of them! With the help of our Counselor, Donna Robertson, we were matched with the perfect couple. The first time I talked with my intended mother, we were on the phone for hours! We scheduled to meet in person on June 2, 2017. Both Intended mom and dad came to our home town and we had the opportunity to hang out with them. We went to lunch and had a blast racing go-karts. The next morning, they took us to breakfast and they got to meet our two babies. Devan and I couldn’t believe how we clicked with this couple. After meeting them, I felt like I had known them forever. I absolutely adored them and wanted nothing more but to help them have their very own baby. In mid-July I started IVF medication and my body was responding well. We scheduled our first and only embryo transfer on August 1st. That morning my intended parents treated Devan and I to breakfast. The four of us then rushed over to our appointment where we scheduled a lady to do acupuncture on me before the transfer. I had never had acupuncture, so let me tell you, it was amazing! I was so relaxed and comfortable. During the transfer, the four of us got to watch their embryo getting placed in my uterus on a screen. It was such a beautiful and emotional moment for all of us, including the doctor (My intended mom and IVF doctor have a history that goes back to her childhood). After transferring one embryo, the four of us went back to our hotel. At the hotel my intended parents gave me a huge basket of snacks including a pineapple core, a blanket, socks, and activities to keep me busy during my 3 days of bed rest. They spent the day with us watching Netflix, laughing, and eating. After a relaxing night, Devan drove us home. I laid in the backseat of our car with my legs up. I wore my “Lucky Transfer Shirt” that I also found in my gift basket. During our drive home we prayed for their little embryo to stick with us for a while. On August 14th, a blood test confirmed pregnancy! I was then monitored at a local IVF clinic with ultrasounds and routine blood draws. After week six of pregnancy we were overjoyed to hear the first of many heartbeats, but also surprised to find out I had a Subchorionic Hematoma, something which can be quite common in IVF patients. After a short few days of light duty, the SH subsided, and pregnancy was going great with nothing but morning sickness. My intended mom shipped me everything she could get her hands on from Amazon to help ease morning sickness. She took good care of me to say the least. At 12 weeks of pregnancy we had our last ultrasound with our Intended Parents’ IVF doctor. I was then released to continue pregnancy with my own OBGYN. My intended parents came along to my first OB appointment, we were quite shocked discover that their office wasn’t as supportive of surrogacy as we would have liked. I made the decision to look for another OBGYN, fortunately I found one that would accept me and let me to deliver in the hospital I wanted. The day before Thanksgiving my intended parents came to the anatomy scan were we discovered they were having a boy! The room filled with tears of joy which were repeated at all the ultrasounds they attended. I loved seeing their excitement, the hugs, the kisses, everything! I always felt so lucky to have them and they always showed me nothing but appreciation and love. During the pregnancy, we saw each other so often I lost count and we talked weekly, if not daily. At 35 weeks of pregnancy, we all packed our hospital bags and started going over delivery plans. I didn’t agree with the hospital’s guidelines for delivering a surrogate baby. I didn’t like that mom and I had to share a room and that they would only allow two adults to a room after visiting hours. That would mean just mom and I could be in the room. I planned to pump every couple of hours after birth to establish a supply and looked forward to cuddling up with my husband without a huge belly between us. I also didn’t know how I would feel emotionally after delivery. I wanted my intended parents to have privacy to cherish the beginning of parenthood without feeling watched. It was at that time that I decided to call another hospital and OBGYN. With god on my side, we switched to a different OBGYN and hospital. Our attorneys had to make a few adjustments, but we all worked together to make it happen. On March 31st, 2018 I started swelling which wasn’t normal for me. I went to the ER to discover that I was experiencing the beginning stages of labor, but nothing concerning. My mom decided to stay the night on April 1st because she had a strange feeling that baby was coming. On April 2nd at 2:30am, I woke up for my hourly bathroom break to discover some concerning bodily fluid. I woke Devan up and we rushed to the hospital to find out that we were delivering the baby! My intended parents left home at 4am for a 5-hour drive in hopes that they make it in time for delivery. That afternoon, with the four of us in the delivery room, I gave birth to a full-term healthy baby boy. Baby was given to mom just like we planned and the 3 of them transferred over to their own room where they got to bond in privacy, just as I had hoped. Devan and I were so overjoyed to see their faces and hold the baby for the first time. My nurses were incredible and I got to shower as soon as I got roomed. We visited the new little family a couple of times in the hospital. I didn’t feel the need to say goodbye because I knew I would be seeing them for many years to come. We continue to talk regularly. Today I’m 6 months postpartum, and this is the end to one story and the beginning of a new one.