Updated: Oct 4
Journey Update 9/27/23: Ashley is counting down the days to delivery! If baby doesn't come on its own, induction is scheduled for October 4th! One intended dad is staying nearby locally and the other is arriving this weekend. Good luck, we cannot wait for news of baby's arrival!!
Ashley is a first-time surrogate from Iowa. She is married, is a mom of three, and works in marketing. Two fun facts about Ashley are that she is a social butterfly and recently started playing hockey! She has a heart of gold, and we have absolutely loved being with her on her journey so far. One of our favorite memories was her husband's genuine emotion during their match call with the parents when he talked about how proud he is of her doing this for another family. It was so special :-)
Ashley will be sharing her journey experience as she reaches certain milestones, and we welcome you to follow along! Wishing you a smooth and happy journey, Ashley!!
Screening, Matching, and Pre-Transfer Prep!
Ashley was recently matched with first-time dads-to-be from the East Coast, and they had an instant connection. Within days of being matched, Ashley connected with them on FB messenger, and their relationship has been growing from there, sharing their life events and mutual excitement for the journey ahead.
Today (literally!), Ashley is on her way to San Diego to visit the fertility clinic where she'll meet the medical team, have a uterine ultrasound, and get lab work done to be cleared to proceed with the embryo transfer. She and her intended parents are also wrapping up their gestational carrier agreement with their attorneys, and if all goes as planned (fingers crossed!), they'll be looking forward to their first embryo transfer before Christmas.
Ashley answered a few questions for us to share a bit about her experience so far (and as she wrote, "answers in Purple (my fav color)"):
What research did you do prior to starting your surrogacy process? I am lucky enough to have a few friends in my circle of life that have gone through being a surrogate themselves (multiple occasions) and one currently going through the journey now for their fourth experience. I asked them a lot of questions to help answer my many questions - they were/are the best support!
Why did you choose CS to guide your journey? I did a generic google search for top agencies. I love MN and saw that there was an agency in the Twin Cities (Collective Surrogacy). The website for Collective was very inviting, along with the information that was provided on their Facebook page as well.
How did you know your intended parents were the right fit for you? Honestly, it was automatic, the feeling of connection and emotion I had when reading their profile. I just knew!
Name one thing that has been surprising about the journey so far: The relationship that has fostered between Keely (Founder of Collective) and I. The short amount of time we have "known" one another; I know she will be a lifelong friend!
How have communications been between you and the parents since you matched? The communication has been great. It is not forced and has happened organically. I look forward to hearing about what is going on in their life right now and excited to grow that relationship even more. I found both the intended parents on Facebook and started to message them privately via that platform. I felt it was less invasive into their everyday life - once we grow that relationship, we plan to chat via phone and text messages.
What are you most looking forward to in your next steps? I am most looking forward to the fertility clinic visits - the 1st initial appt and then of course the transfer visit.
Do you have a piece of advice you would like to give other surrogates starting their journeys? My advice would be to keep an open mind and not go into this journey/experience with set expectations. Don't force or rush the process, the journey will go the way it is supposed to - enjoy the ride!
10/12/22 Update - Screening Trip!
Ashley had a successful visit to San Diego Fertility Center where she met with the medical team, the fertility physician, and had her uterine evaluation (all looked normal, woo!) and bloodwork drawn. Although it was a one-day trip, she managed to squeeze in a quick visit to Mission Beach to soak in some sun and sand. We're all looking forward to getting dates for her next trip for embryo transfer day!
3/17/23 Update - ASHLEY'S PREGNANT!
In a surrogacy journey, this strange phenomenon happens where each step feels like it takes forever but then, all of a sudden, months have passed, and things seem like a blur.
So, fast forward from Ashley's last update in October to today and Ashley is PREGNANT!
She had her first embryo transfer January 23rd followed by two strong positive HCG pregnancy tests 10 and 14 days later. Everyone saw baby's heartbeat for the first time on February 21st. :) Ashley is now on the verge of a major milestone - graduating to her own OB's care and completing her fertility treatments (goodbye injections, yay!).
One of the most special things for us as an agency is to see when true friendships develop between our surrogates and parents, which is definitely the case here. Dads have been involved each step of the way, and the connection between everyone is natural and easy. We couldn't be more excited for this match to experience pregnancy together!
Ashley answered a few questions for us about these past weeks of her journey to share with everyone:
What was transfer day like? I had little to no nerves going into transfer day. Woke up that morning, my mother-in-law and I went to the cutest little cafe next to the fertility center and had the best avocado toast with a peanut butter banana smoothie. Once I got to SDFC, we took pictures of myself in front of their sign, capturing the moment in time. I was taken back fairly quickly to the room where the magic was going to happen. The room was small and very warm. Once it was go time, the process was less than 5mins from the time the doc and nurse came into the room until the time they left after the transfer had taken place. The nurse requested I continue to lay down for the next 10mins of the transfer. Once the 10mins were up, we were free to leave. We left SDFC and got some of the best ice cream right up the street, then went back to the hotel where I was told to stay off my feet for 24 hours. Only to get up and go to the bathroom. Let's just say, that was a long 24 hours in a hotel in the beautiful city of San Diego!
Did you do at home pregnancy testing, and how did you share those results with the dads? I wasn't planning to do an at home pregnancy test. The dad's were anxious and it was important for me to calm their nerves. I ended up going to Target during my lunch hour, picked up a 2 pack pregnancy test and took it in my work bathroom. Minutes later the two lines were very clear! Pregnancy was "unofficially" confirmed! I took the test back to my office and snapped a photo as it leaned up against my keyboard (sanitary, I know). I couldn't hit send on the text quick enough, as I was so excited to show the dads! We hear you and the dads already have a nickname for your belly buddy?? :) Yes, we most certainly do! Schmoopy - it was a team effort in coming up with this nickname.
We wish Ashley, dads, and Schmoopy a smooth, healthy, and uneventful pregnancy!
Check back for more updates to come!