Being a photographer is more than just taking a photo. As a photographer, my job is to help people tell their stories and to document important milestones in life. When couples expand their families, maternity, birth, and newborn photos are so very important in helping the parents remember the little things, the moments, the emotions. They are also key in a child's identity. One day they will look back at these photos as part of the story of their beginning. This is just as important for parents who expand their families with the help of a surrogate. Science has come so far in helping families bring their dreams of parenthood to reality. This is such a beautiful gift to give others. I am honored to have been able to document this step in their journey and I hope these photos and their story help encourage surrogacy as well as surrogacy maternity photos (and birth photos) not only here, but across the world. This is the story of one of my past brides, Kerry.
Kerry has two wonderful sons and truly loved being pregnant with both. A Facebook ad original piqued Kerry's interest in surrogacy. Since her delivery and recovery were fairly easy with both, she knew she wanted to eventually help a family have a baby of their own. She spoke to her amazing husband, and at 10 months post-partum they applied at Circle Surrogacy Agency. When you apply you are asked questions about who your ideal family, couple, or person would be. Learning about how impossible it was for LGBTQ couples to hire a surrogate in most European countries, Kerry knew that she would love to help a gay couple from overseas. Her agency sent her the profile of some IFs (Intended fathers) and she immediately connected with their story. It included photos as well as their love story, and info about each of them and their lives. Kerry says, "It brought tears to my eyes".
At the same time, the IFs were sent Kerry's profile that included information about her, her previous pregnancies, and her family. Once the IFs said, "yes" to Kerry, the next step was doing a video call where they would discuss what each one of them were looking for in surrogacy. Both parties liked each other and they were officially matched in November 2019. The next step was traveling all the way to Connecticut for medical screenings and to make sure that Kerry health was ideal to carry their child. The IFs then selected an egg donor who also went to the same clinic for her medical screening and egg retrieval. In Feb 2020 Kerry's IFs, Javier and Alonso, were in the US for work and traveled to Florida to meet Kerry and her family in person. Then covid happened and things slowed down. They went through all the legal processes that included contracts and then had to wait for a date to transfer. In June they received news from the clinic that they had a tentative transfer date of July 15th! This meant that Kerry started on medications and was monitored at a local IFV clinic.
Kerry flew to CT by herself (due to covid) and had one embryo transferred. Javier and Alonso were able to participate via video chat. Then Kerry flew home and started taking home pregnancy tests about 4 days after transfer and they were positive! At 6 weeks Kerry had her first ultrasound and had a HUGE shock, the single embryo transfer had split into identical twin girls. They were in their own amniotic sacs but shared a placenta. This meant the pregnancy went from easy, to high risk very quickly. Kerry went to regular appointments and had multiple ultrasounds with the local IVF clinic as well as a high-risk doctor to make sure that everything was fine. At 18 weeks they received the heartbreaking news that one of the twins didn't have a heartbeat. Alonso said it was probably the saddest day of their lives. Javier and Alonso were extremely supportive and together they got through the grief of losing one of the girls. Although it was a heartbreaking experience, Javier and Alonso said they have both learned a lot about becoming parents in the process. Despite being high risk, the remaining fetus continued to grow and do amazing. At every ultrasound she was perfect. “We cried a lot. We were angry, frustrated,” Alonso recalled. “But on the other hand we still had a strong baby girl who was still there, and she kept us going and helped us overcome the loss of her twin.”
On March 5th Javier and Alonso came to Ponce Inlet Beach to meet up with Kerry for baby M's maternity photos. Although it's been a rollercoaster of a pregnancy, Kerry is excited for baby M's arrival in a few weeks. She is most looking forward to seeing the look on Javier and Alonso's faces when they see her for the first time. No matter what their journey entailed, Javier and Alonso said they know it will all be worth it because in less than a month, they will have their baby girl in their arms. Alonso said, “We love the teams and everyone who has helped us bring our daughter to life and to our lives. We are always open to talk to intended parents who have doubts or would like to know more about our journey. It hasn't been an easy ride, but it has been the best one ever!”
We all can't wait to meet you baby Maria, you are already so loved!