My journey to motherhood began in 2016 when I became pregnant with my son, Luke. I was fortunate to conceive easily and have a smooth pregnancy, until 21 weeks. 

On Christmas Eve morning, I began bleeding, and we rushed to the hospital. 

Our unimaginable pregnancy loss 

I delivered our son, Luke, on Christmas morning at nearly 22 weeks gestation. To this day, we are unsure if the loss was due to an incompetent cervix, preterm labor, or a bit of both. Several weeks later, I was hemorrhaging and it turned out that I had retained placenta, which is common in those with a preterm loss. I needed an emergency D&C — I had no idea at the time what impact this D&C would have on my body. 

As we approach 7 years after Luke's passing, it is still hard to put into words how truly devastating it was and the profound impact it had on our lives. 

The decision to pursue surrogacy

After my husband and I were cleared to begin trying again, we had about six months of negative pregnancy tests. I went to an OB/GYN who confirmed I had Asherman’s Syndrome (scarring of the uterus), which led to a thinner-than-normal endometrial lining. 

After three failed IUIs, our Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) advised us to begin IVF, but I now had two major obstacles to overcome: getting pregnant and staying pregnant. When weighing the pros and cons, the doctors shared that even if an embryo was to successfully implant in my uterus, there was a high likelihood that I would end up on hospital bedrest trying to get the baby to a safe gestational age.

It was at this point that my husband and I decided that it was time to pursue surrogacy as the safest option to have a baby.  

intended parent and gestational surrogate embracing in the hospital

Our first gestational carrier miscarries

We initially matched with a wonderful gestational carrier (GC) and moved through the surrogacy process with her, including an embryo transfer. The transfer was successful, and we were so excited.

However, only two weeks later, our GC called us to tell us she was in the hospital with severe abdominal pain. The doctors concluded she had pancreatitis, likely due to a rare complication from taking IVF medication. Soon after that, the pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage.

While heartbreaking, we came to a mutual decision that we needed to break the match to protect her health and also give our future child the best chance at a healthy pregnancy. On top of grieving a miscarriage, there was so much time and money spent that resulted in yet another failed pregnancy.  

Starting over

When we felt ready, we went back to our agency and eventually matched with a new GC, Amber. 

Once Amber had completed all of the medical and psychological evaluations, we were thrilled that she was medically cleared and we could continue to the next steps of our journey.  During the embryo transfer, Amber and I held hands and it was the most indescribable feeling. We began at-home testing about 4 days post-transfer, and Amber saw a faint positive line that grew darker each day. 

mom and newborn baby in the hospital

Our GC develops preeclampsia

On New Year's Eve, around 30 weeks gestation, Amber called us to let us know that she was heading to the hospital, as she was experiencing some headaches and swelling. As it turned out, her blood pressure was elevated. The doctors concluded she had preeclampsia and she was discharged on modified bed rest.

About five days later (between 30-31 weeks gestation), Amber was experiencing similar symptoms and went back to the hospital. This time, they decided to admit her with the possibility of hospital bed rest until the baby was born. At this point, Michael and I began to pack our bags as quickly as possible and hopped on the next flight to Kentucky. To our surprise, we ended up remaining there until our daughter was born.

An unexpected delivery

At 33 weeks, the doctors decided Amber’s blood pressure was too high, and it was time to deliver. Our daughter arrived quickly and the NICU team immediately took her to the NICU. She was 3 lbs, 11 oz.

The moment I held Lily for the first time is an absolute core memory. Our rainbow baby was finally here. 

The decision to have another child

Michael and I knew we wanted our daughter to have a sibling. Since it took 4.5 years from wanting a child to having Lily in our arms, we decided to begin the surrogacy process around Lily’s first birthday. 

From my previous journey, I was already in many surrogacy-related private Facebook groups. Through these groups we met our GC, Sarah, who immediately became part of our family; we had an instant connection!

We were able to be present for the embryo transfer and were elated when we discovered that it was successful and Sarah was pregnant. 

mother and newborn baby in the hospital

Completing our family

When we arrived at the hospital for Luna’s delivery, the hospital staff took amazing care of all of us. It was so much fun how they led us into the operating room for the c-section. They had country music blasting (at Sarah’s request) and were calling the operating room “Luna’s Birthday Party.” 

Luna had the sweetest disposition immediately and the bond was instantaneous. I’ll never forget feeling like our family was complete when she was put into our arms. 

Launching a business with a meaningful mission

It was through all of the ups and downs of my surrogacy journey that I launched my own surrogacy consulting and concierge firm, Surrogacy Simplified. I experienced firsthand how wildly complicated the entire process of surrogacy is and was determined to simplify the journey for others.

Surrogacy Simplified helps Intended Parents through the entire process of surrogacy, providing them with comprehensive guidance and support from the idea of pursuing surrogacy to the fourth trimester. Our white-glove concierge takes all the leg work out of the process so our Intended Parents can enjoy the process knowing every detail is attended to. If you're just getting started on your journey, reach out to get a complimentary consultation here.

Jessie Jaskulsky is a mom of two girls and the Founder of Surrogacy Simplified.