Shaniece had grown as big as a house during her second trimester, which is how she knew something wasn’t quite right. Her back hurt all the time, and she was always starving. So, the nurse squeezed the jelly onto her skin and scanned her stomach. “These symptoms are absolutely normal for a first pregnancy,” she explained. But as she laid there, her eyes shifted from the monitor to her stomach and back again as she held her breath and asked, “Is everything okay?” But instead of answering, the nursed called the doctor.
Shaniece’s parents had been committed to each other since the age of sixteen, and her big sister married her childhood sweetheart after they graduated. So, Shaniece wanted a family of her own. She only hoped she would be lucky enough to find a guy she could share her life with. But she never realized she would be in this much pain so early during her pregnancy.
Linda moved out to go live with her partner when Shaniece was only fourteen. This meant that Shaniece wouldn’t have to put up with her insane demands or childish arguments. She figured that her life would be easier now that she had more space. But it was way too quiet in her home. Eventually, she missed the bickering. And despite meeting up on weekends, the two sisters had started to drift apart. So, one day, she got on the bus and went to visit her big sister. But she didn’t expect to see her in this condition.
She saw her brother-in-law’s red truck heading towards her as she walked up the road. Shaniece took a moment to wave, but he didn’t wave back. He just kept on going as if he hadn’t seen her. She had never seen such a serious expression on his face like that. Josh hadn’t even slowed down. Maybe he had an issue at work. But she was horrified after she walked up to the house and knocked on her sister’s door.
Linda’s mascara ran down her pale face. Her eyes were red too. “Did he hurt you?” Shaniece grabbed a damp cloth from the kitchen and used it to clean her sister’s face. “No, don’t be silly. I asked him to leave.” Shaniece could always tell when her sister was lying, so she studied her face well. It turns out, she wasn’t lying. But maybe their parents had been right all along. Maybe they shouldn’t have gotten married so young. “Why did you ask him to leave, Linda?” She was stunned by her sister’s response.
Tears ran down Linda’s cheeks as she explained, “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.” She took a deep breath and wiped her nose. “We can’t keep doing this.” Shaniece felt bad for her sister. She had never seen her in so much distress. And she realized Linda would never truly be happy without a baby. So, she put the kettle on and kept her sister company all weekend. Then she convinced Linda to keep trying. But she didn’t realize the impact her words of encouragement would have on her.
After two years of intense treatments, Linda got pregnant. But she wanted to keep it under wraps until the second trimester. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it that far. After her miscarriage, she became a recluse and refused to try again. Even Shaniece wasn’t able to get her sister to leave the house for an entire month. Her husband came up with a plan to make Linda’s dreams finally come true.
Josh’s sister offered to be a surrogate, but Linda was iffy about the idea. She didn’t want her optimism to turn into disappointment. But at this point, she didn’t have much to lose, did she? Besides, there were lots of children in need of a good family. So, if the surrogacy failed, she would consider fostering. But at night, Shaniece prayed that her sister’s pregnancy would work. Then something happened.
Shaniece met Joanna and Steve shortly after she turned 21. And her family was overjoyed when she told them that she was going to be the surrogate for a couple. So, she flew to Los Angeles and underwent the procedure. Then, she headed home. “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.” Joanna and Steve were so excited. But after the first trimester, Shaniece sensed something was wrong, and it turns out, her instincts were right.
The second trimester was over, and Shaniece decided to visit her doctor for her 10-week scan. She was nervous as she lay on the table and waited impatiently. Then, the doctor came back with the paperwork in his hands, but he didn’t say a word. Was there something wrong with the baby? She didn’t want to disappoint Joana and Steve. Then, the doctor said three words that made her heart skip a beat or two.
Dr. Ryan smiled and said, “You’re having triplets.” Shaniece’s jaw dropped. Joanna and Steve were looking forward to one baby. But would they be happy with three? Would they be angry? Fortunately, the couple was ecstatic. Over time, Shaniece’s stomach continued to grow. And although her body ached, she took comfort in knowing she was doing something good. But she wasn’t expecting this.
Shaniece gave birth to one boy and two girls named Harrison, Willow and Daisy. They were all in perfect health. “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,” she said. But this wasn’t the end of it.
Harrison, Willow, and Daisy were in the ICU for two weeks, but once they were strong enough, their parents took them home. Now Shaniece visits the triplets on their birthday. Some people questioned the reasons she became a surrogate, so she set the record straight. “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.” But after carrying them for nine months, how will Shaniece adapt to only seeing them once a year?