We are Chris and Kevin.
We met about 15 years ago when Chris was studying in Edinburgh Scotland, where Kevin is from. It was love at first sight for both of us. After several moves between Scotland and Texas, we decided it was time to find a place to settle down. After a visit to Seattle, Washington, we knew we found home.
We discussed having children from the beginning.
It was a huge dream of ours to have a family but we knew there would be a lot of financial and logistical hurdles to overcome. Over the years, we had continued our dream of having a family, but reality set in and we became unsure whether it would be financially feasible for us. We did some soul searching and decided fostering and adopting was not the route we wanted to take since Kevin was not an American citizen and that would complicate the process. After some research on surrogacy, we knew that this would be the way we wanted to build our family and it seemed there was an affordable path forward.
We started by asking some friends and family if they would consider being our surrogate or donating eggs to us.
The answers were often vague and non-committal, and we totally understood, it was really a lot to ask. Fast forward a couple of years and we had just given up on the idea of becoming dads, we just thought it was not in the cards for us. Then comes our friend Kara who, at the time, was pregnant with her second daughter. One day when we were all hanging out she asked if we ever wanted to become fathers and we told her it was our dream and shared our story with her. As it turned out, she had thought about being a surrogate.
We were excited, but guarded about this prospect, maybe we finally found our surrogate. We talked a little bit about what the surrogate/friendship arrangement would look like. We decided we would talk more about details after she gave birth to her daughter and we could reassess whether we were still all on the same page. A few months later, she asked, “So are we doing this or what? I am not getting any younger!” We were so excited to start the Journey. We were all in, it was finally happening.
We shopped around at different fertility clinics and got some more information on the types of procedures and how to obtain eggs. Most of the clinics were not willing to do “traditional surrogacy”, however there was one local clinic that said they would help us out. Traditional surrogacy is where the surrogate uses her own eggs. This was the original form of surrogacy before they knew how to do egg extraction and IVF. We ended up asking Kara if she would be willing to donate eggs and after some thought she said yes.
Everything was falling into place.
The fertility clinics required a legal agreement and some psychological counseling before we could take the first steps. We found the appropriate lawyers, got all of the legal counseling out of the way, and finalized the legal agreement. It was important for us to both be legally recognized as the babies’ parents, even down to their birth certificates. We completed the necessary medical tests and were finally ready to get the process started.
We decided on the IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) procedure since we were using Kara’s eggs and it was the most affordable option for us. We used a follicle stimulating drug so we could control the timing of ovulation.
It took us six rounds of IUI before we had a successful pregnancy.
Because we were using a fertility clinic, we had our first ultrasound at nine weeks. As this was in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to attend the ultrasound appointment virtually. We were not-so-secretly hoping for twins – we talked about it often and we were mentally prepared for twins. When the doctor first put the probe in place, we could immediately see there were two embryos. Twins! We were so excited. The doctor was doing all of the measurements and then measuring the heartbeat of the second baby, he paused and said he heard something. He was having a look and moving the probe all around.
We were really nervous that there was something wrong with the babies until he said, “Wow this rarely happens…there is a third heartbeat.”
“Um, what? Are you sure?!” we asked. He checked again and confirmed that indeed, there were three embryos. We were shocked…Triplets??? We just could not process it, it was too surreal.
The doctor explained how rare triplets were and the dangers of a triplet pregnancy. He gave us information on reducing the number, which we ultimately decided against. We wanted all three. The pregnancy would not be easy and there was a possibility they would not all make it to term, but we were determined. We were in shock the whole rest of the day – we barely spoke to each other, we just had to absorb the information. When we finally came back to reality, the excitement kicked in and the momentum built as we told our closest family and friends. We were anxious about what the pregnancy would bring and we were scared of losing one or more of the babies. It was pretty stressful as we waited for every appointment so we could check on the babies and see how they were growing.
It did get easier as we got close to the safety zone of 32 weeks. We were able to watch them grow and quickly realized they had their own individual traits. We also found out they were all girls. We only had one girl name picked out so we went back to the drawing board for two more names.
It was a struggle for us to feel useful during the pregnancy.
We were unable to play an active role in growing the babies and there was not much we could do for Kara, so we kept busy by putting together the nursery and planning for the arrival of the triplets. Throughout the pregnancy, there were a few scares where we had to go into the hospital for monitoring, but in the end were lucky that the pregnancy was smooth with no problems.
We were so grateful the girls made it to their scheduled cesarean date at 35 weeks.
It was surreal waiting in the pre-op room – everything was calm and planned. After the initial monitoring, we got the greenlight and met Kara and her husband in the operating room. There was a team of doctors and nurses for Kara and a team for each baby. Kara requested 90s music and the doctors began their work. Sorcha was born first and was doing great, she avoided any time in the NICU. About a minute later Riven was born, she had to spend some time in the NICU to monitor her breathing. A minute and a half later Elowen was born, she also had some amniotic fluid in her lungs and had to be monitored in the NICU.
With Covid, things were tricky in the hospital.
Since the hospital would not allow all of us to be together, one of us went with Sorcha (Chris) and one went to the NICU with Elowen and Riven (Kevin). It was difficult and we would swap back and forth to be with the babies. The hospital took pity on us and allowed Chris’s mother to come to the hospital and help with Sorcha in general care. This was really amazing as we needed the help because Sorcha was discharged the following morning. Riven was in the NICU for 6 days and Elowen was in the NICU for 9 days. Getting everyone home together was an amazing feeling, we finally felt like a family.
Since their birth, the girls have been growing so fast and we have really enjoyed watching their unique personalities develop. We love being dads and feel so grateful that Kara gave us the opportunity to create a family of our own. We can’t wait for a lifetime of adventures with our girls.
What an amazing story and friend you both have in Kara. Congratulations to all.
What an amazing story! Your three girls are the luckiest to have such loving dads.