A long awaited birth
For more information on gestational surrogacy or to read the full story visit the mothers' blogs at www.itsmybellyandtheirbaby.blogspot.com for Amanda's Bog and www.mybuninheroven.blogspot.com for Samantha's blog.
Editor's note: Amanda Dahmes and Samantha Meyer were last featured in the September 18, 2012 issue of the Echo Press. That story told of the start of their surrogate journey.
On July 5 at 11:15 p.m., Amanda Dahmes of Alexandria peered from her bed to the opposite side of the delivery room where Samantha Meyer of Fargo stood with an indescribable look of love on her face.
In her arms was a newborn baby.
As she held her new child, her partner, two stepdaughters and mother encircled her. The family was finally complete.
"Seeing the family come together, that is what made it all worth it. Anything that could have gone wrong, the pain and the contractions, everything and anything was worth that moment," Amanda said.
For the past none months, Amanda carried Samantha's baby in her womb. Amanda was a surrogate mother.
"Most parents work hard for their kid. We just worked hard to have a kid," Amanda said.
For her and Samantha, getting pregnant was not easy.
Over the past eight years, both women tried to have children. Though Amanda was successful by using medication, Sam was not, and in the process of trying, lost two babies.
So surrogacy became one of her last options.
Luckily for her, Amanda had been considering becoming a surrogate after her mother died unexpectedly. And when the two women met, it was an instant connection.
After psychological evaluation, medication and testing, the first gestational surrogacy transfer was performed on July 26. By the first week in August, Amanda was pregnant. But on August 15, the pregnancy was determined to be a "chemical pregnancy" because the egg stopped developing and the baby miscarried.
Both women were shocked and hadn't expected this.
"The first time you get pregnant you just have this thought in your mind that it will work. Once I get pregnant I am pregnant; I didn't think anything could go wrong," Amanda said.
After losing the baby, both women needed a break. But a few months later they decided to try one last time.
This time, they wanted everything new and different from the first transfer. So they did acupuncture and had a different doctor from the hospital perform the transfer.
After a few days of bed rest, Amanda went back to the clinic and had positives right off the bat — they were pregnant with twins.
"We were so happy and relieved; we really couldn't believe it," she said.
Though they were extremely cautious, at 10 weeks after the ultrasound, they lost one of the twins.
"We did everything by the book. I was a lot more scared the second time. I felt like everything I did could make me miscarry like the first one, but it didn't," she said.
For Amanda, this pregnancy was much more difficult than her own children's. She bled on and off and had contractions and heartburn throughout the entire pregnancy.
She was in the hospital twice for contractions and pre-term labor.
But for every doctor's appointment, Samantha was always there or on the phone making sure Amanda was okay.
"It was hard to not have Samantha there. But each time I always thought how hard it must have been on her. She was always worrying about what was happening," she said.
It was also hard for Amanda that Samantha wasn't there to experience the simple moments, like being kicked and the way her belly moved when the baby hiccupped.
"It was times like these I missed having her there. I wanted her to feel those moments because I knew it would mean something to her. I felt kind of guilty that I was the one feeling it and not her. But it was nice she was able to be a part of it 98 percent of the time," she said.
Because she was a surrogate mother, how she acted around the baby was much different than when she was pregnant with her own children.
"I would talk with him like he was my friend's kid," she said. "It really helped me stay in focus with what it was. I had more of a protective need because it was someone's baby. Letting someone else down was more fearful than me letting myself down with my own kids."
Amanda didn't let Samantha down. The two women stayed by each other's side through all the hiccups and complications, the miscommunications and loving moments. They were each other's rock and worked hard to keep the baby growing in Amanda's womb.
And on July 5 at 11:15 p.m., they finally succeeded when Finnegan Hudson Kelly was born at the Douglas County Hospital. He was 8 lbs. and 3 oz.
As the doctors held the newborn baby up after delivery, both women reached out their hands and touched the small boy they had worked so hard together to create.
"Every surrogacy journey is different. It is pretty much the same basics, but you don't anticipate the complications, the ultrasounds and the blood work. You know there is a lot involved but actually physically being involved with it is different. People have this persona that they get rich and that the intended parents will be okay with everything. But there is so much more to it than just that," Amanda said.
Though the process was stressful and there were complications, for Amanda, seeing the family come together made everything she went through worth it.
"I had a sense of pride and accomplishment. I felt like a very proud aunty. I didn't feel that motherly bond, it was like you get your friends newborn baby and you don't know how to hold it; I didn't know what he wanted. It was just perfect," Amanda said.
Amanda doesn't know if she will be a surrogate again. But for now, she just wants to spend more time with her own children and give them the attention she has pulled away from them in the past year.
"I would never take back anything I had done in the past year. I did this because I wanted to look back and say I did something bigger than just having kids and a job. I wanted to give something good to the world in a world that is so ungood," she said.
And because of her determination and mindset, Amanda truly did achieve her goal.
"We are so lucky that we found Amanda. She made our dreams come true — it may sound cheesy but it is true," Samantha said.