- Chelsea Neubauer has a 6-month-old daughter and a 4-month-old son.
- She bore her daughter and a surrogate bore her son.
- This is Neubauer’s story, as told to Kelly Burch.
This as told essay is based on a conversation with Chelsea Neubauer. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I always knew I wanted to be a mother. But after I miscarried because of Graves’ disease, a thyroid condition, I was told that it could be dangerous to get pregnant and that it would likely end in another miscarriage. My husband and I went through IVF and found an old friend who was willing to be our surrogate.
As we moved on with our surrogate, something gnawed at me. I wanted to carry a pregnancy. So I found another doctor. He told me that the chances of me reaching full term were slim, but he was willing to let me try.
We’ve considered putting things on hold with our surrogate, but the chances of IVF working are so slim. Moreover, I believe that once you try to plan life, you will not succeed. With the blessing of our surrogate, we have decided to proceed with both options.
We never thought we would have two babies.
We both got pregnant and I found joy in her appointments
On Mother’s Day I found out I was pregnant. My elation was short-lived because I was so prepared for a miscarriage. Instead of focusing on my pregnancy, I turned my attention to our surrogate mother, whose transfer day was approaching. Her appointments gave me something to look forward to and took me out of my fear.
When my surrogate got pregnant too, it still didn’t feel real. I assured her that my pregnancy did not diminish the life she brought into our family. I went to every one of her appointments.
I was there for my surrogate’s traumatic birth experience
It was a dream to hold my newborn daughter, Banks. She is such a miracle. I had to plead so hard to get pregnant with her, and she surpassed the odds at every turn.
Any new mom will tell you that the first month is a blur. It was for me too, but I had another challenge: I still went to all the surrogate appointments with her. It was important to me that she knew that the baby she was carrying was as much of a priority to me as it was to my daughter.
I was in the room when she gave birth to our son, Hayes. I helped him go out into the world. But I immediately saw that something was not right. Our surrogate was bleeding and had an emergency operation. Standing by my baby, knowing there was nothing I could do to help her, was a terrible feeling.
Depression struck when I took my son home
I didn’t have postpartum depression when Banks came home, but I did after taking Hayes home. I felt so guilty: guilt for not wearing it and guilt for diverting my attention from Banks. I nurtured them both, which came with its own challenges.
With babies 10 weeks apart, I realized how different every baby is. I was proud that Banks was a good sleeper. But Hayes often woke up and showed me that I wasn’t the sleep expert I thought I was. I looked for solutions and discovered that he loved the mamaRoo crib, which his sister never participated in. After he was born, I teamed up with 4Moms and their Sleepversity series to talk about finding a sleep solution that worked for each of our babies.
Today Banks is 6 months old and Hayes is 4 months. I’m excited to see each of their personalities continue to emerge. The stages of childhood pass in the blink of an eye. The great thing about twiblings is that if Banks leaves a stage, I know I’ll be able to enjoy it with Hayes a few weeks later.
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