She was a ‘hopeless’ case – now she’s a mommy!
(Article published in WOMAN’S WORLD, 9/22/08)
After four doctors, hundreds of injections and years of tears, Stephanie Boes was so convinced she’d never be a mom, she almost gave up. But look at her now!
Stephanie Boes fidgeted at her desk in a San Diego investment firm, pretending to work. Any minute now, the call could come – the call from her doctor. So how could she concentrate on anything else?
Four hours later, she couldn’t take it anymore. “I’m going home,” she blurted to her boss. And there, alone, Stephanie had the biggest cry of her life. And then the phone rang…
“Let’s start our family!”
A family of her own. That had always been Stephanie’s dream. One her high school sweetheart, Austin, shared.
From the moment they met at 17, modeling back-to-school clothes at a mall near their Michigan hometown, they were on the same wavelength. And even as college and work took them to different states, they knew: We belong together.
Both from large families, they loved kids. So even before they tied the knot on a boat at sunset in Key West, they had baby names picked out. Well, a girl’s name at least: Zoe. And at 33, they decided: Let’s start our family!
But nothing happened. And on trips back home, as her sisters all jiggled babies on their hips, Stephanie had no happy announcement to make. Something’s wrong, she gulped. But every test – hormone levels, ovary function, sperm count and more – came back normal. Which was good – and bad. Because there was nothing to fix!
“Now what?” she asked her doctor. The answer: “In vitro.” At least there’s hope, she told herself. But their first attempts failed. “Relax and it’ll happen,” friends and relatives urged. But how could she relax, when her life revolved around blood draws, hormone injections, egg retrievals, embyro transfers – and tears? They knew adoption was an option. But there was no reason IVF shouldn’t work – so they tried again.
This time, Stephanie was so heartbroken, a year passed before she could consider another attempt. Perfect timing, it turned out – because a co-worker going through IVF had another doctor to recommend. One who didn’t rush through patients. At Dr. Samuel H. Wood’s office in La Jolla, Stephanie didn’t feel like a number, like she had before. But IVF failed again. And Stephanie knew… “I”m done,” she said at the post-procedure consult, a kind of team “huddle” to plan their next move. But Dr. Wood had an idea…
“Welcome to the world!”
If he irritated her uterine lining before the next transfer, he said, her body would speed healing nutrients there – which should help the embryos “stick”. And doing two transfers days apart instead of just one might help, too.
“No,” Stephanie said. “I can’t.” But she’s meant to be a mom, Austin couldn’t help thinking. And this way could work… “One last try, honey,” he coaxed. And there was such hope in his eyes, Stephanie felt a glimmer, too.
Two weeks after the procedure, she went for blood work as usual. Then, because waiting for the results was torture, she left work to take a home pregnancy test: negative. That’s why she was crying her eyes out when the phone rang. “Honey,” Austin said. “Dr. Wood wants us to come to his office.” “Oh, Austin,” she cried. “I know what he’s going to tell us!” But she decided to go anyway. For closure. And when they got there … “You’re pregnant!” Dr. Wood said. This is some kind of awful mistake! She reeled. But home pregnancy tests aren’t foolproof. And repeat blood work confirmed it. She was having a baby!
Still, after everything they’d been through. Stephanie worried every day: Is the baby okay? But nine months later, after a perfect pregnancy and four pushes, she was holding a miracle in her arms. “We’ve been waiting so long for you!” she cried. “Welcome to the world, Zoe!”
Now Stephanie revels in baby Zoe’s every move and changes her outfit – from on extensive collection of pink! – several times a day. “I love dressing her up!” she laughs. Her advice: “there is hope! Just look at Zoe! They didn’t know it when they chose it 10 years ago, but her name means “life.” And, says Stephanie, “It couldn’t be a better fit.”
Lily, Grace, and Kaitlyn
Lily is a beautiful, fun-loving, sweet little girl who loves to laugh and sing. She enjoys ballet, playing dress up and reading her books. Grace and Kaitlyn are twins and could not be more different. Grace is quiet and shy, while Kaitlyn is outgoing and always in the middle of the action. What they do have in common is being very strong-willed. Grace and Katie will definitely let us know when they want something, whether it be more scrambled eggs or a cuddle. They just had their first birthday party and are starting to walk. Like their personalities, their appearances are very different. Grace has blond hair and blue eyes, while Kaitlyn has dark hair and brown eyes. They are both beautiful.We did not know whether we would ever be able to have children of our own. Without fertility treatment, we would not have been able to. When we found out we were pregnant (first with our daughter Lily, who will be 3 in January, and then with the twins), we could not have been happier. Our lives are forever changed and we are so blessed to have our 3 little angels in our lives. We owe a big thank you to RSMC’s doctor and the entire team.
Christy and Cherie
Chloe is the light of our life; with those bright blue eyes she just melts our hearts! From her silly antics to her fascination with learning new things she is so full of life. She enjoys building with her Lego’s story time, playing outside with our dog and two cats and her new favorite movies are Monster Inc. and Finding Nemo. Chloe is outgoing and loves to be around other kids and takes very good care of her “baby,” she will make an amazing big sister one day. We can’t begin to thank RSMC enough for making our dreams of having children come true and for this little angel in our lives!
Dave came to us with a 5 year old daughter, Ann. He was a widower, whose wife was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant with Ann. She refused treatment so that there would be no effects on their baby. Once Ann was born, she began treatment, but it was too late. She died just after Ann turned 1. Dave was heartbroken and couldn’t bear the thought of replacing her or having Ann grow up a single child. He decided surrogacy was his best option.
Dave searched the donor database for his donor and found one that very much resembled his late wife and his daughter, Ann. His search for the right surrogate went on for over a year. But in the end, he found his donor, found his surrogate and had a boy. Ann was a big sister and he had a son!
Lily & Dave
Lily and Dave had a 6 year old daughter and wanted to expand their family. But Lily had a very difficult pregnancy causing her to remain on bedrest for the majority of her pregnancy just to deliver safely. They knew Lily becoming pregnant again was not option for them. They searched for a surrogate on their own through an online forum, but had no luck finding someone they could trust and be responsible carrying their precious baby.
They then came to us in search of the right surrogate. Once they found the “right one” Lily began her treatments for her egg retrieval and their surrogate began her medications for the embryo transfer. They decided to transfer one boy and one girl embryo in hopes that one would take. Two weeks later the hgc test revealed a wonderfully high number. Their hopes and dreams began to become reality, they couldn’t help to think there were two babies. Heartbeat ultrasound confirmed there were twins!
Their family was complete!
Nancy, a single entrepreneur, wanted nothing more than to be a mother. But at the age of 42, she was without a partner or the ability have children. She turned to us for a surrogate, egg donor and sperm donor. After finding her perfect match, she was able to meet all three, prior to their cycle. It meant so much to her to be able to know where her child was coming from and made her feel that much more comfortable about the entire process. She remained close to her surrogate throughout the process and was by her side for the birth of her daughter. When she returned home to begin life with her new family, she was still able to update her surrogate on how their family was doing. They remain in contact still today.
Mr. Hong was an executive for a major corporation. He was a single father of one daughter from a surrogate birth in 2012 and had a wonderful first experience. He was not in a relationship, since he was an accomplished business man, yet desperately wanted to expand his family. He found a new surrogate and egg donor to assist him, but after two attempts, they were unsuccessful. Mr. Hong was devastated. He wanted nothing more than to have a son and to have his son meet his ailing mother while she was still alive.
After another search for the perfect surrogate, he chose two donors for the next round. After two successful retrievals and an ideal first cycle with his surrogate, he got the news he was hoping for. He was expecting not one, but two boys! Twins!
Mr. Hong was so happy that his surrogate got pregnant on their first attempt and with twins!
Luckily for him, his surrogate had a wonderful pregnancy once again, and his twin boys were born healthy and even at term. He was able to take his boys home to meet his mother and his family was then complete!
I remember during our first meeting the Intended Mother, Carol, was rubbing her gold cross with her fingers. John, the Intended Father, was doing most of the talking and Carol asked only a few questions. They were a couple that lived in France, were in their late 50’s and had been married for over 25 years. We went over the normal paperwork and accounting statements. While we had been in contact for about two months, mostly emailing, this meeting felt very formal. I knew their story, and may be for them seeing me in person made that story resurface, as it was the reason they were here. They had two sons, and a wonderful life where Carol was able to stay home a raise her sons. Then, one day, both sons were killed in a tragic car accident. One was 17 and the other was 18. I could see they had told this story before, but even today, did not want to talk about it.
Their other heart ache was that they, before now, had thought that “this sort of thing” (IVF, surrogacy and egg donation) was wrong. That it shouldn’t be done. But, after what I would assume was some soul searching, their need to have children outweighed that belief. They chose an egg donor, met with their surrogate and signed all the necessary paperwork. And it was done. They were moving forward to have a child with a surrogate mother and an egg donor. And while they were nervous, I could see they were happy about the choice they had made.
The embryos were a very good quality and their chance were very good. They were pregnant on the first try. Two heart beats. Two boys. They were over sea’s when then news come through, and the doctor had contact them first. They were elated, but still cautious about upcoming twin pregnancy.
They knew that with multiples, came more risk not only to their babies, but to their surrogate. Over the course of the pregnancy the surrogate and the Petersons developed a friendship. They would email and Skype often. The surrogate was wonderful, and they knew they were so lucky to have her carrying their children.
Two weeks before the due date, the surrogate was placed on bed rest to avoid early delivery as she was experiencing some signs of the onset of labor. Carol came immediately and waited by her side in the hospital for the next week weeks. John arrived a few days before the delivery so it was perfect timing. The delivery was smooth, both babies and the surrogate were doing great.
Carol and John came by the office before their long trip home to France. When I walked in the room, I couldn’t stop starring at Carol. She had an ear to ear grin as all new mothers due, but she looked 15 years younger. Her cheeks were pink, her skin was glowing and her eyes were bright.
The boys were at her and John’s feet all buckled into their car seats. Under several blankets with tiny blue hats on and they were sound asleep. They had stopped by to say goodbye and thank you. Their grateful smiles were sincere and genuine.
Hans and Filip
Hans and Filip, a gay couple living in Germany, always dreamed of having children but weren’t sure where they would begin. After researching agencies in California, they found us!
After the initial inquiry and consultation, it was decided that Hans and Filip would both attempt to father their future child/children and use an anonymous donor and surrogate mother to assist them.
After a successful retrieval, it was determined that they had 8 beautiful female embryos! The transfer to their surrogate was a success and her first Hcg test confirmed she was pregnant! After 3 weeks and a confirmation of pregnancy, they began to plan for their family of 3, only to find out a week later that there was not a heartbeat after all. They were both devastated. They went through happiness to sadness in a week’s time.
Once the surrogate recovered and Hans and Filip were ready to begin again, they transferred two female embryos and, once again, the surrogate was pregnant! Though the journey did not start out that great, the outcome was a beautiful, healthy baby girl!
Lisa and Pete
Lisa and Pete were a couple that I had high hopes for from the beginning. They were a couple from Australia who had been married for about 10 years. They were very open from the start of the process why they were using a surrogate. Lisa had cancer, twice. She got sick for the first time six months after they were married. As soon as they found out it was cancer, they immediately made the decision to create and freeze embryos in case the radiation or chemo therapy damaged her eggs. They were young and both knew that they wanted children. So she went through two round of cancer and not only did she survived, she thrived.
But, once she was finally healthy and decided it was time to start their family, they realized their fears of the cancer and treatments damaging her eggs, were now a reality. However, she had frozen embryos! Which told her next direction. She transfer her own embryo into herself four times. She became pregnant all four times, and all four times had a miscarriage. Now it was a new reality they had to face, she would not be able to carry their baby.
They did their research and ended up working with me. I was very grateful for this, as I know that I was not the only one they were considering and I know they were putting a huge amount of trust with me.
Cindy and I had been emailing for several weeks, just going over the basics about surrogacy and the entire process. There was so much more to the process that she had imagined and she had many questions. Even after a few weeks of emailing there was not much that knew about her.
Over the course of time and a few meetings in person, I learned that she was an older, very prominent woman from China. She desperately wanted to have children, but due to her age she was not able to conceive. She had tried many IVF cycles herself, all of which ended with no success. Hence her need for a surrogate. She like many women in her situation were at first hesitant with me. But they soon understood that I was there to help and they put their trust in me.
To me Cindy was very brave. She was coming to the U.S. from China, and spoke no English at all. Her husband was only in the U.S. for about three days, and Cindy stayed behind with her assistant. Everyone is different, and I loved every client I had, but Cindy really touched my heart. She was so very sweet, and so very desperate to have a baby. Of the hundreds of families I worked with Cindy was the only client who met my children. We had dinner one night with several others, ten in total I believe. I will never forget when Cindy looked at my children, then I waited until she was done talking for the translator to translate for me. “I want what you have” is what she said. And her face was sad. I will never forget that moment.
Cindy went through two egg retrievals almost back to back. While Cindy prepared for the second egg retrieval the surrogate also prepared for the embryo transfer. The quality of the embryos were not very good so the doctor transferred three embryo’s, and told us she had a 10% chance of a successful pregnancy. Over the next few weeks the surrogate had a few blood test, which were not too promising. A month after the embryo transfer was the day of the ultra sound, to see if there was a heartbeat. And there it was. Just a flicker, but it was there. Before the translator could translate that the doctor said, “Look, there a heartbeat”, tears were rolling down her face and she was smiling. Usually, for me at least, the next nine months goes by quickly, but with Cindy it seemed like a long nine months. The pregnancy was “text book” and everything went good. Which I am grateful for to this day. As with any pregnancy there is the possibility of complications, issues or problems. For Cindy, who worried about every single minute detail, I don’t think she would have been able to handle any more stress than she was already under.
While I offered to be at the delivery, she said she would go it alone (with her translator, who, poor thing, was not excited about seeing a delivery up close and personal). I think she wanted the privacy, she wanted that time alone with her baby. The delivery took place during the night, so I woke up a voice mail from the translator. Cindy’s son had been born. He was almost 7 pounds and doing great. And, according to the translator, Cindy had not put him down since the nurse handed him to her. I didn’t see Cindy or the baby after that, but we did communicate through email and phone calls. Cindy was definitely a “first time mom”, worried about exposing him to something or someone who may be sick, or know someone who’s sick.
Even now when I think back to the beginning, I am reminded of how brave she was and how happy I was that her story had a happy ending.
Irene & Nikolov
Irene and Nikolov wanted nothing more than to have children since they married. Irene got pregnant shortly after their first anniversary, but three months into the pregnancy, she found out there was no heartbeat. They were devastated. Irene got pregnant two more times after and couldn’t keep the pregnancy long enough to birth either time.
After a consultation, Irene learned that her condition would not allow her to carry their child. They were heartbroken. They began to research surrogacy and came to our center. Irene and Nikolov reviewed many profiles before finding the one that was right for them. Irene went through her first egg retrieval and ended up with many beautiful eggs! She was so excited to finally be on her way to becoming a mother. She attended the embryo transfer with her surrogate and was amazed to watch two embryos (one boy and one girl) be transferred. There hope was twins so they were so excited to find out that they were pregnant and having the twins they always wanted!
The pregnancy went well into the last trimester, but just shy of 36 weeks, their surrogate had her water break! Irene was on the first plane she could catch and went straight to the hospital. Not sure what to expect when she arrived, she found her surrogate still in labor. She was so relieved to have made it in time for her babies to be born! Both babies were born healthy and were released. Their family went from two to four!
Mr. Wei was a single man, never been married, but wanted a child. He did his research and found that there was an option through surrogacy and egg donation. He originally decided he wanted one boy so he chose his donor and met his surrogate and went forward with a cycle. They only transferred one embryo, since he didn’t really want more than one.
His surrogate’s Hcg numbers were unusually high for a first time test. Second Hcg was only higher. At heartbeat ultrasound, they were very surprised to find not one, but two heartbeats! He was happy, surprised and in disbelief that it seemed to split to create two beautiful babies, identical twins!
Though there is a higher risk with identical twins, he was determined to see his babies born. His surrogate successfully carried both babies to 39 weeks! His babies were born without complication and to make it even more special actually were born on his birthday. Mr. Wei received the best birthday gift ever!!