Pregnancy can do a number on the female body and mind. The process is intense, leaving some women feeling like they’ve lost control of everything. It can be especially nerve-wracking when it’s the first time around, with so many surprises along the way.
During one woman’s pregnancy, she got a harrowing surprise when she started to notice something wasn’t right.
Shanice was in her second trimester, and she started to notice that her belly was getting enormous, larger than she ever expected during this phase. She decided to go see the doctor to make sure everything was okay, and the nurse reassured her that this could be totally normal. However, when they began the ultrasound, both women realized something wasn’t right.
Shanice walked into the doctor’s office expecting everything to go routine, she just wanted them to soothe her nerves. As the ultrasound technician poured the jelly onto her belly and began the scan, her face drastically changed. She immediately called the doctor in, sending alarm bells through Shanice’s brain.
“Is everything alright?” she asked. The nurse didn’t reply right away, instead, she waited for the doctor to come in. Minutes seemed like hours for Shanice as her heart started pounding out of her chest. She couldn’t believe she was in this situation, and her mind started to race.
Shanice’s parents had been together since they were 16, setting a loving example of what a healthy relationship is like. Even her big sister followed their footsteps and married her high school sweetheart right after graduation. Shanice always wanted a family of her own, but she never expected to be in this much pain so early on.
Shanice’s sister moved out of their house when Shanice was only 14, fleeing the nest after she got married. The two sisters missed each other so much but started to drift apart as their lives were busy and in completely different stages. However, one day Shanice got fed up with the feeling of missing her sister, so she hopped on a bus and headed to her house.
As she got there, she saw her brother-in-law’s red truck speed out of the driveway. She waved as she normally would, but he ignored her with a stern expression on his face. Feeling the tension, she headed towards the front door. As soon as she got in the house she saw her sister balling, mascara running down her face.
Grabbing a damp towel to wipe away the tears, Shanice asked her sister what on earth was going on, “Did he hurt you?” Her sister replied, “No of course not, don’t be silly. I asked him to leave.” However, Shanice could always tell when her sister was lying, and this was one of those times. With a concerned expression on her face, she asked her sister, “Why did you ask him to leave, Linda?”
“You know we’ve been trying for a year now, Shaniece. He wants to take out another loan for IVF, but we can’t afford it. We couldn’t afford the first treatment. We can’t keep doing this.” Taking a deep breath, Linda continued to cry. Shanice realized that her sister would never feel fulfilled until she had a baby. She decided to stay with her all weekend to keep her company and soothe her, trying to convince her to keep her head up and continue trying.
Little did she know, her words of encouragements were about to pay off.
After two years of treatments, Linda got pregnant! She wanted to keep it on the down low until she made it past the first trimester when the risk of miscarriage drastically decreased. Linda was on cloud nine, but disaster would strike before she could celebrate.
Linda suffered a miscarriage before she was able to make it into the second trimester. Devastated, she began pulling back from her relationships and isolated herself in the house. Shanice tried to cheer her sister up but to no avail. It was then, in the midst of darkness, the family came up with a brilliant idea.
John, Linda’s husband, decided to offer a solution to their problems. His sister was kind enough to offer to be a surrogate for them, a loving and touching gesture. However, Linda was afraid that she was going to get her heart broken again and was reluctant to try it. After much thought, she decided maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea, especially since if it didn’t work out, they could always try to adopt.
Inspired by her sister’s journey, Shanice decided to become a surrogate to a family having similar struggles as her sister. She was barely 21, but she knew this was the right decision for her, “I was only 21 at the time, but I wasn’t interested in partying and drinking. I wanted to help another couple fulfill their family dream.”
So a few months after she turned 21, she met Joanna and Steve–a couple desperate for a family.
When Shanice met the couple, she knew right away that she this was the right decision. The loving couple was so excited that this journey had begun, and was anxiously awaiting news at every step. For about three months after the initial procedure, Shanice was feeling great. But during her second trimester, she felt that something was seriously wrong.
The Doctor Returns
As the doctor enters the room Shanice couldn’t wait to hear the news. At first, the doctor looked over the paperwork but didn’t say a word. Eventually, she looked up and gave her the most shocking news of her life.
Not only was Shanice having one baby, but she was having three! She couldn’t believe what she was being told. She anxiously called Joanna and Steve and told them the exciting news! They were over the moon with the news and vigorously started planning for three.
During the whole pregnancy, Shanice felt thrilled with her decision to help out this couple. A process that most would find daunting, she found quite normal, “Throughout the pregnancy, I had all the questions about the babies directed at me, for example, birth plans, vaccinations, scan dates. I would just turn to Joanna and Steve and say, ‘what do you want to do?’ it was my body but they weren’t my babies. If the law could change so the parents could make the decisions it would make things easier on both parts.”
Three Healthy Babies
A triplet pregnancy doesn’t last 39 weeks, instead, the babies are usually delivered around 32 weeks. This means the babies are generally premature and need special care for a few weeks before they can go home. Shanice gave birth to three healthy babies weighing in at 4 pounds 2 ounces, 3 pounds 7 ounces, and 3 pounds 11 ounces and they were able to go home with Joanna and Steve after two weeks.
Daisy, Harrison, and Willow
Joanna and Steve decided to name their children Daisy, Harrison, and Willow. Remembering the journey, Shanice said, “Even though I was only 21 and it was a huge responsibility carrying their babies, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I had no morning sickness or cravings, the whole pregnancy flew by and with the support of Joanna and Steve, it was amazing, and I would recommend it to anyone.”
Once a Year
Shanice visits the babies once a year, receiving updates whenever she can. She loves informing people about her experience whenever she can, giving them information about the reality of the process, “I think a lot of people presume you have to use your own eggs when you’re a surrogate but that’s not the case at all. I had Joanna and Steve’s embryo inserted in Los Angeles so it’s biologically their child, not mine, I was just the host womb.”