Nicole’s Story: Finding our surrogate close to home

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Nothing brings our Surrogate Solutions team more joy than seeing intended parents (IPs) complete the journey to their happy family with the birth of their long-awaited little one. In 2020, with a record number of IPs waiting to be matched, we began highlighting IPs on our social media platforms and sharing their stories. Nicole and Josh Feemster were the first couple featured. In February of this year, they welcomed their daughter, Liana, to the world. We recently caught up with Nicole, who shared her story of finding love a second time and growing her family through surrogacy.

Surrogacy was always in our future
Nicole has three older children, ages 13, 17 and 22, from a previous relationship, and all were high-risk pregnancies due to Type 1 diabetes. Her third pregnancy was especially difficult, and after the delivery, her doctor recommended she have surgery to prevent future pregnancies.

In 2015, Nicole met Josh, who did not yet have children. When things started to get serious, Nicole says she knew they needed to discuss plans for a family sooner rather than later. “We started talking about surrogacy before we got married and knew it was going to be in our future,” she says. “Josh is my king. He’s a great, outgoing stepdad. We knew surrogacy was the only way we could grow our family in the way we hoped with a biological child.”

God brought our families together
Nicole and Josh’s first attempt with a surrogate was unsuccessful, and after two failed transfers, they chose to try again with a different gestational carrier. Unbeknownst to them at the time, they were already connected to their future surrogate, Stacy, and her family through their church.

After reviewing Stacy’s profile and liking what they read, Surrogate Solutions Matching Director Lauren Palm set up a Zoom meeting for Nicole and Josh with Stacy and her husband.

“What really stood out to us [about Stacy and her family] is how our Christian beliefs are aligned; we felt like God was calling our families together,” Nicole says. “I could tell she was a calm person, and she didn’t let things get to her or worry her. She put everything into God’s hands. We also liked that she was a stay-at-home mom, and we were in the same town. The added bonus was finding out that we go to the same church!”

After the initial meeting, Nicole says she and Josh felt like Stacy was meant to be their surrogate. “We discussed it that night and prayed about it,” Nicole says. “We wanted to be sure we were making a decision based on logic and not just emotion.”

The feeling was mutual as Nicole says that both she and Stacy emailed their care coordinator at the same time early the next morning to say they wanted to move forward.

Not being in control
Nicole and Josh stayed connected with Stacy and her family throughout the pregnancy with frequent calls and texts, seeing one another at church and having them over for dinner. However, surrogacy during a pandemic presented some challenges.

“The hardest part about surrogacy is not having any control, not being able to see your baby grow every single moment like we would if I was pregnant,” Nicole says. “It was even harder with Covid because we weren’t able to attend the appointments in person. It was all virtual.”

When they couldn’t go to the 20-week anatomy scan, a milestone parents look forward to, one of Nicole’s friends recommended a private ultrasound location where they could attend with Stacy in person. They ended up going about every six weeks.

Nicole explains how Stacy made sure to include her in the pregnancy as much as possible. “She would share her cravings, send videos of the baby kicking and play recordings with our voices that we made for the baby. She made it a priority because she felt like it was important, too.”

She adds, “God knew exactly who we needed when we were matched with Stacy. We had a long list of what we wanted in a surrogate, and it was met and surpassed by far.”

It all came together
When it came time for the delivery, Nicole was able to be in the room with Stacy while Josh was in the room next door watching via FaceTime. She describes the experience as both amazing and emotional.

“It was by far the most emotional thing we have ever been through,” she says. “It all came together the moment Liana was born. All the pain we had been through and the worry from our previous journey melted away. There was just joy – and so much gratitude for Stacy and her husband.”

Today, Liana is a happy eight-month-old who is thriving and learning every day. “She is so strong and smart,” Nicole says. “We love seeing the look on her face every time she learns something new and realizes that she can do something now that she couldn’t do before.”

Nicole also shares how Liana’s older siblings are bonding with her, which she says is what she’s most proud of as a mom. “They are her half-brothers and half-sister, but it’s no difference to them,” she says. “They are absolutely in love with Liana; they treat her so well and are so good with her. I can see how my kids will always be close, and I’m really proud of that.”

Advice for other IPs
When asked if she has any advice for IPs who are considering surrogacy or just starting the process, Nicole advises that IPs should have a good support system in place because “it’s an emotional journey.” She also underscores the importance of communication and finding the right surrogate.

“Don’t get matched with someone just because you’re excited to start the process,” Nicole says. “You have to feel 110% sure that this is the person you want carrying your child. If you do that, everything else is going to line up. There won’t be questions about what’s going on because you will feel secure that your baby is growing in the right person.”

 

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