Shaniece looked past her massive stomach towards the monitor. She was terrified that she had become so huge during her last trimester. A warning went off in her mind. Something was wrong. Her back hurt all the time, and she couldn’t stop eating. Nothing about this entire situation felt right.
The nurse squeezed the jelly onto her skin and scanned her stomach. “These are completely normal symptoms for your first pregnancy,” the nurse told her. She waited nervously as the screen came to life and showed her what was happening in her belly. “What’s happening?” she asked. Then the nurse asked the doctor to take a look.
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.
When she was fourteen years old, her big sister, Linda, moved out to live with her boyfriend. Shaniece was happy that she wouldn’t have to listen to her bossy big sister every day. Plus, she’d have the entire house all to herself, so she would actually have plenty of room to be free.
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. One day, Shaniece 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. Then the puzzled young woman rushed to her sister’s house.
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 was all misty eyed and the areas under her lids were blotchy and mottled. It’s how she knew something bad had happened.
Linda’s mascara ran down her pale face. The area under her eyes was red and swollen. Suddenly she couldn’t help but blurt out, “What did he do?” “Don’t be silly,” Linda told her. “I asked him to leave.”
Shaniece could always tell when her sister was lying, so she studied her face well. It turned 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?” But she was stunned by her sister’s response.
Tears ran down Linda’s cheeks as she explained, “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.” Shaniece wrapper her arms around her as her sister added with sadness, “We can’t keep doing this.”
Shaniece knew that the miscarriages and IVF had taken a physical and emotional toll on 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, grabbed a blanket and kept her sister company all weekend. Then she convinced Linda to keep trying.
About two years of IVF later, Linda told Shaniece she was 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. But then, something incredible happened in her life.
After the miscarriage, Shaniece wasn’t able to get her sister to leave the house for an entire month. But her husband, Josh, tended to Linda’s needs and desires. One day, he came up with a plan to make Linda’s dreams finally come true.
Josh decided to pitch something to his wife. It was his final idea, and it was a bit radical. But it was also Linda’s only shot at happiness. Unfortunately, her last miscarriage left her doubting everything. Still, she allowed Josh to offer her a glimmer of hope. This would either help her or crush her.
Josh and his sister have always been close. So, he knew that she would do anything for him. At least, that’s what he was counting on, because they were about to ask for a bombshell of a favor. They had no way of knowing how she would react or what her answer would be when Josh invited her over. But they held their breaths and hoped for the best.
They sat next to each other and held hands as Josh’s sister sat across from them. The couple was very nervous, especially Josh, who was the one making such a huge request. This wasn’t the time to hesitate, but he felt awkward. However, he knew that this was Linda’s only chance at finding true happiness.
Linda would have never held a grudge if her sister-in-law turned them down. She knew that this was a lot to ask from someone. So, she and Josh waited impatiently for what felt like a lifetime for her response. Then, her sister-in-law looked straight into her eyes and said something that made Linda break down.
“I’ll do it,” said her sister-in-law. Then Linda reached out and grabbed her, and held her in a powerful hug full of love. Excitement and fear combined simultaneously within her. Her dream of being a mom was about to become a reality, and it was all thanks to Josh’s sister.
Josh’s own sister would be the surrogate of his child. It sounded insane, but she was willing to carry the baby to term. When Shaniece got word of this, she was stunned by the incredible selfless act. The fact that Josh’s sister was willing to carry Linda’s child inside of her was beyond wonderful. It was a priceless gift and possibly the kindest thing anyone could do for another human being.
But Shaniece couldn’t help wondering if Josh’s sister had considered everything? Carrying another person’s baby was so personal, and then to have to give it up was going to be tough. But Josh’s sister went on to inspire Shaniece later in life. In the end, she didn’t just help one sister, but two.
The journey towards becoming a mother took nine months, but Linda’s body wouldn’t give her the privilege to do that. So, she had no choice but to try this alternative. It didn’t mean she wasn’t worried. But once again, she risked getting her hopes up.
Linda was hoping for the best, but after so many failed attempts, she was also bracing herself for the worst. How would she handle it if this didn’t work? At this point, she didn’t have much to lose. Besides, there were lots of children in need of a family. So, if the surrogacy failed, she would consider fostering. Meanwhile, Shaniece prayed the pregnancy would work. Then something happened.
Shaniece couldn’t stop crying when Josh’s sister gave birth. If anyone deserved a baby, it was her sister, Linda. Thankfully, this impossible dream had finally come true. Shaniece had never felt this happy in her life, and after witnessing this miracle, she promised herself she would turn someone’s dream into a reality someday.
Linda’s grueling journey to becoming a mom had made a huge impact on Shaniece. After witnessing something so selfless and beautiful, she felt like she wanted to pay it forward. So, when the time came, she decided to give someone the same hand Josh’s sister gave Linda. But she never imagined her experience would be so rewarding.
Shaniece met Joanna and Steve after she registered with an organization shortly after she turned 21. She sat down with the couple and told them that she was wanted to be their surrogate. Everyone, including her own family was elated and wished her the best as she flew to Los Angeles to undergo the procedure. But she couldn’t have foreseen the curb ball life was about to throw her way.
“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,” she said. Meanwhile, Joanna and Steve were very excited. The first trimester went smoothly. But as the pregnancy progressed, she realized something was wrong.
As a surrogate, Josh’s sister had experienced nausea, sleep deprivation, and morning sickness for about 8 months. But Shaniece’s surrogate pregnancy didn’t have any of those unpleasant symptoms, and this made her worry about the well-being of the baby.
This pregnancy wasn’t affecting her the same way it did other expectant mothers. In fact, her stomach was growing too fast during the second trimester. But most babies grew larger during the last trimester. So, she wondered how big her stomach going to get. But the only one who could answer that was her doctor, so she picked up the phone and called.
Shaniece decided to visit her doctor for her 10-week scan. But 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. But what would happen if something was wrong with the baby? What if she couldn’t give them this miracle? Would the couple be angry? The doctor was looking for a way to tell her. Then he finally spoke and his words left Shaniece stunned and emotionally shaken.
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? She really had no idea what to expect when she broke the news to them.
Fortunately, the couple was ecstatic. Over time, Shaniece’s stomach continued to grow. Although her body ached as their combined weight took a toll on her back, she took comfort in knowing she was doing something good. But she wasn’t expecting this. But could anything change her perspective on how she felt about this situation?
Shaniece gave birth to 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,” she said. But she had a great deal more to share.
“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 shared. But she wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the triplets.
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 shared birthday. But 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 another couple’s baby, or in this case, babies for nine months, the physical and psychological impact can be difficult on a woman, especially when she’s as young as Shaniece. But she was about to realize exactly what she had gotten herself into.
“I’m in a relationship now and would like to have more children. I’ve had a miscarriage so I do wonder if carrying the triplets has had an effect on my body,” She shared in an interview. But she also had some advice to give.
“My advice for anyone thinking about surrogacy is make sure you’ve done your research, and that you have support around you,” Shaniece explained. But you have to consider other things, as well.
“You don’t get paid to be a surrogate – you only get expenses for your travel and so on – so if you’re looking to make money, this isn’t for you,” Shaniece said. This is something you should consider doing only if you’re 100% sure you want to help someone out.
Shaniece’s experience as a surrogate has motivated her to try to change laws in the UK regarding surrogate mothers. She believes that biological parents should have more control. Unfortunately, specialists currently focus solely on the surrogate, despite the fact that her DNA isn’t imprinted on the baby.
She explained: “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,” she clarified. Most surrogate moms agree with Shaniece’s stance.