Baby Quest Recipient, Charna’s Story
On March 28th 2019 (almost 1 month ago) I became something I have always dreamed of becoming for as long as I can remember… I became a Mom. My husband Sam and I became the proud parents of healthy boy and girl twins named Evina Rose and Joseph William (named after our grandparents). This month has been the best month of my life. Every day is bliss. Every day I pinch myself and cry tears of joy. I relish in every moment, whether it’s sharing with our newborns my favorite songs and dancing around our kitchen being silly, to silent moments of snuggle time hearing their heart beats against my own. I have never known a love like this before.
My heart feels like it could explode it is so full of awe, gratitude, love and appreciation.
People have said how hard it is at first with newborns- especially twins. Whether it is constantly changing dirty diapers, preparing double the bottles, or complaining about the sleepless nights, but it truly is all about perspective, as I don’t take a single moment of motherhood for granted. I am a 2x cancer survivor and to me it is all a blessing after the road I endured leading up to this point. I hear several times a day “You have your hands full”, but I feel like I had my “hands full” prior to my babies being born- now I sit back and relax!
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 (where I then decided to freeze my eggs) and in 2017- immediately after our wedding- I was diagnosed with a rare form of uterine/endometrial cancer that was so rare it was unable to be staged, but had aspects of 4a and 2b. It was far more aggressive than my first cancer diagnosis, and my life was forever changed as I learned I would never be able to bare children. The diagnosis was even more shocking as I was misdiagnosed for several months prior and was told I had a “fibroid” which turned out to be a giant tumor. I’ve endured multiple surgeries with difficult recoveries both emotionally and physically. I went through chemo and went from having luscious long blonde locks (where people would stop me weekly to ask where I got my “extensions” and would be shocked when I would tell them it’s all my real hair), to being bald.
I have always dreamed of being a mom and always dreamed of being pregnant and carrying children. The news was devastating but I knew I could not let anything get in the way of my dream of being a parent and having the family I always longed for.
Literally days after my aggressive cancer diagnosis I went to work learning about surrogacy- joining groups, forums, speaking to surrogacy attorneys, linking up with people that had been successful with surrogacy, and doing as much due diligence as I could- all while having a catheter in, healing from a complete hysterectomy, having part of my bladder and stomach removed, and knowing chemo would begin the following month. Cancer (even twice) did not scare me. The idea of never becoming a mom was much more terrifying. I have never been one to pull the covers over me and wallow, and I wasn’t going to start when there was so much work to be done.
I decided to embark on our surrogacy journey without the help of an agency. I was extremely hands on throughout the process and after interviewing many people, I struck gold with our incredible surrogate. I knew instantaneously that she was “our person”. She had done this once before and knew what she was getting into in terms of IVF and carrying a child/children for another family, but also had 3 children of her own without any complications during pregnancy or labor. Even more impressive than her “stats” in terms of her surrogacy candidacy is her heart of gold. I am lucky to know her, grow from her, learn from her, and have her as an extended part of our family. Every surrogacy journey is different and there is no right or wrong in terms of the relationship one has, or if they have limited contact after the birth, but our surrogate is someone we are honored to know, and I refer to her as our children’s fairy godmother. I fully trusted her throughout our pregnancy and knew she had our babies best interest. Instead of feeling sad that I could not carry I felt so gosh darn lucky that I had this amazing person in my life that was able to carry for us. I felt lucky that I received the grant from Baby Quest. I continue to see all the silver lining that has been presented to me, along with all of the teachable moments from this experience that I look forward to instilling in our children. Because of this experience I have able to connect with people that I would never have known without going through what I went through.
Working full time while navigating our fertility/surrogacy journey was a balancing act where my hands were definitely full- but now as I type this I am in remission, on maternity leave, and staring at two of my favorite faces in the whole wide world. I feel humbled. I feel relaxed. I feel at ease. I feel this sense of peace and happiness I have not felt in 4 years. Bring on the dirty diapers and the sleepless nights- this is a pleasure cruise!
Several hours before our babies came into this world I wrote them a letter- here is an excerpt:
“May you grow to be kind to all people and animals, may you smile often, and may you have a sense of wonder that will lead to you both doing great things that you are passionate about (and may you try to leave this world a better place than you found it). This world can be a scary place where bad things happen- things that we can’t make sense out of. Please don’t let that take away the power of positivity, and the fact that this world has so much good in it. Baby Quest and your amazing Surrogate (I call her our fairy godmother) are the most perfect examples. When you loose faith in the good, please think of the people that have helped us receive the most selfless gift. You are coming into the world because of my labor of love- many years of working towards becoming a mom- wanting this more than anything, and because of the kindness from others that understood my desire to be a mom and wanted to help our dreams to come true. I love you with every inch of my being. I can’t wait to hold you!!!