Today and every day, we celebrate mothers across the world in any stage of their surrogacy journey. However, Mother’s Day can often be an emotional day for women who have not yet been able to achieve their motherhood goals. Thankfully, with the gift of surrogacy, their time is nearing. This Mother’s Day we share the heartwarming story of intended mother Morgan, her surrogate Chelsea, and their incredible journey together towards motherhood.
Meet Morgan and Chelsea
New York residents, Morgan and her husband Andy, had been trying to conceive for over five years with multiple miscarriages. With setback after setback - including endometriosis, fibroids, several rounds of IVF and failed transfers - they decided to give the surrogacy process a try. Morgan remembers struggling with this decision, when in actuality surrogacy would be giving them what they always wanted… a baby!
“You have an idea in your head of what becoming a mom looks like and becoming a parent and a family looks like and when things don’t go according to your plan you feel a sense of disappointment.” So they moved forward with a surrogacy agency. But as they navigated through the process, Morgan found herself questioning whether the agency was the right fit for their family. That’s when Morgan and Andy found ConceiveAbilities, and that’s when things really started to take off.
Enter Chelsea. Chelsea always knew she wanted to help enrich the lives of another couple through becoming a surrogate mother. Previously a Labor and Delivery nurse, she had seen firsthand the struggles couples went through on a daily basis to conceive and have a child. With strong Midwestern values and a desire to help another family, Chelsea decided to move forward with her decision to become a gestational carrier. One night, Chelsea asked her husband if he wanted any more kids, and when he answered “no,” she went ahead and put her plan into action.
Within three months, Morgan and Chelsea matched. As they embarked on this surrogacy journey together, the two women became like sisters - talking and texting all the time. However, every story has its ups and downs. We recently had the opportunity to chat with Morgan and Chelsea to reflect on their surrogacy journey together, and to discuss the process that has led us to a day that has been long awaited for Morgan; her very FIRST Mother’s Day.
After such a perfect match, your first embryo transfer didn’t go as planned. What was that experience like, and how did you turn it into a positive one?
Morgan: My embryo situation wasn’t great because I had used all the good embryos for myself, we only had one viable embryo to use with Chelsea at that point. So Chelsea and her husband and her mother-in-law came to visit New York and do our transfer, which we were so excited for, but then we found out our embryo didn’t make it through the thaw. I really thought for the first time in my entire journey this is not meant to be, I’m not meant to be a mom. Chelsea was really the driving force that said, I think everything happens for a reason.
Chelsea: I just kept explaining to Morgan that I’m big on timing. The timing was just not right. What if this whole experience was just to get us a little more comfortable with each other before we actually did the procedure.
How did COVID affect your surrogacy journey?
Morgan: In February 2020, we were able to do a round of IVF just before COVID. Once things opened back up in June, Chelsea came back to New York for our embryo transfer on June 22.
Chelsea: Because of COVID, Morgan couldn't go in with me for the transfer, however I took pictures the whole time and documented the whole thing for her! Morgan, along with our moms, waited in the car. When we got back to the hotel, my mom asked me how I felt. I told her I was okay, but that I knew I was pregnant... I could just feel it!
What happened after the transfer?
Chelsea: Morgan’s birthday is June 29th, so I took a pregnancy test at home because I just knew I was pregnant... My husband thought I should wait to tell her, since we didn’t want to give her false hopes, but it was her birthday, and this was all she wanted! So, I sent her a picture of the test and she was screaming!!! It was AWESOME and everything she and I both wanted.
How did you stay in touch throughout the pregnancy being in different states, and how did you deal with milestones?
Morgan: We went to Missouri for the 20 week scan and got to visit Chelsea’s hometown. They had a welcoming party for us - The whole family was there! That was really, really special, amazing and very unique. We texted every day before that, but our relationship really grew after the 20 week scan, especially since we got to meet her children and get to know her family. There was just a special bond that formed between us from that point on...
Chelsea: My family was SO EXCITED for Morgan and Andy! It was just so easy because Morgan and I are close, and we communicate well. I took pictures and FaceTimed them for some of the scans. After each ultrasound, I got pictures that I was able to send to her. I didn’t want to leave anything out because my biggest goal after we became pregnant was to make sure that Morgan knew that she was mom and that she knew everything that was going on throughout the pregnancy.
Could you tell us about your son’s birth story?
Chelsea: From about 20 weeks, I told Morgan this baby won’t make it past 37 weeks... I just know myself and my body. Low and behold, I got induced at 37 weeks because of hypertension.
Morgan: We flew out there a few days before the induction to make sure we were able to see Chelsea before she went to the hospital. It was emotional because I knew Chelsea didn’t want us to miss the birth, and it was important for her for us to be there. We had the most beautiful experience in the hospital, and it was a very intense and emotionally charged event.
Was it everything you imagined? Were there any surprises?
Chelsea: It was so much more than I imagined. Obviously, I was prepared to have a baby. But my main concern was making sure that Morgan felt like mom. This whole journey was about making sure that she knew that she was mom and felt like mom. I asked the nurse to direct all questions to Morgan and to make sure they included her in every decision. It’s a big experience, and making those calls in the moment is part of it. You’re getting ready to have your baby, so I wanted to make sure she was involved.
Morgan: I remember when I started the journey thinking, “Am I going to be bonded to my baby, because I didn't carry him?” After going through this journey, I believe that's the biggest misconception about surrogacy. I remembered thinking, “How will my baby know? How will he know I am his mother?” Believe me - they know. And, honestly, there was just something comforting about seeing the woman that just guarded my child with her life for 9 months help to bring him into the world... It was the complete opposite of how I originally expected I would feel.
After Maximus was born, we never left Chelsea’s room. The hospital had set up another room for our family of three to move into after the birth, but we wanted to be there with her. You don’t know how you’re going to feel or how the surrogate is going to feel after the baby is born, but Chelsea was so proud and so happy. It was just a love bubble!
What advice would you give intended parents that are starting their own journey and trying to pick the agency that's right for them?
Morgan: I would tell them to not be afraid to take the leap and to explore options of surrogacy. At the end of the day, all of the resources that we exhaust trying to get pregnant are very expensive, and taxing on the body. Be open-minded about building your family through surrogacy, because you might be really pleasantly surprised and save yourself the time, money and effort. My second piece of advice is if something doesn't feel great, it's probably not a great fit. You know yourself, so listen to your intuition. If you feel like you're just another number, or being put through like a factory with your profile, it's probably not right for you.
Morgan, this is going to be your first Mother’s Day – are you planning anything special?
Morgan: We are planning just to be together; the three of us. I feel so grateful to finally be a mother, but I’m also feeling for other people that still can't... I know I won't forget that feeling, even though I'm on the other side of it. I know that a lot of people are struggling still, and I know what that feels like to want something and feel hopeless. My message to others is to not to give up, and to take the pauses and the mental health breaks that you need along the way, but not to give up. You know in your heart and you know what God's plan will be, and what's meant to be, will be. If you believe in your heart that you're meant to be a parent. I also believe that you are.
Are there any words of encouragement you’d like to share with anyone considering surrogacy?
Chelsea: If you’ve considered becoming a surrogate, do it! Do not hesitate to give someone such an amazing gift! I am so grateful and blessed. This is by far one of the best things that has happened in my life!
Chelsea, is there anything message you would like to send Morgan on her First Mother’s Day?
Chelsea: I want to say Happy Mother’s Day! Morgan, if anyone deserves to be a mother it is you. I know what a great mom Maximus has, and I’m so happy for you! You have grown into a strong, fearless mother, and you had it in you the whole time... Tough is an understatement for the last year, but I feel like there's nothing you cannot handle!
Happy Mother's Day to Morgan, Chelsea, and all the moms out there! 💖