"It's a baby. It's a healthy baby. I'm not understanding," the surrogate recalls
Signing up to be a surrogate can be a way to give a gift to another couple — but what happens if they change their mind?
A TikTok user named Heathyr signed up to be a surrogate in the middle of 2019 after she spent nearly five years wanting to get involved with the process.
"For me to be a parent, that is literally my favorite thing in the world," Heathyr says in a series of videos posted to her TikTok account. "And to be a surrogate, to give somebody else that feeling, like being a parent. That is why I wanted to be a surrogate."
Though it took a while for Heathyr to match with a couple, she eventually found one that she felt was "on the same page" as her. She says that from the beginning, she made it clear that the one thing that was very important to her was her stance on termination.
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"I personally, this is my own opinion, you don't have to agree with me. I personally do not believe in termination unless there is something that will hurt the quality of life of the child," she shares. Heathyr says that while she is largely against abortions, she thinks it isn't fair to bring a child into the world if there is a life-threatening disease or injury.
The couple she matched with said they were Catholic and didn't believe in termination, so Heathyr says she figured they would get along well. The parents were hoping to have twins, a boy and a girl, which Heathyr says they told her repeatedly.
She proceeded with the surrogacy process, however, the first transfer didn't take. In February of 2020, they did another transfer and Heathyr successfully got pregnant — but things weren't exactly as the couple had hoped.
"When I went to get my ultrasound done, my first ultrasound, it only showed one sac, which just means that only one of the embryos attached," Heathyr explains. "So we didn't know if it was the boy or the girl but we knew that I was pregnant and the beta numbers were rising accordingly, which is the start of showing it's a healthy, successful pregnancy."
Soon after, Heathyr called the mom to tell her the exciting news, but the mom voiced some concerns, saying that she wasn't sure why both the sacs didn't stick. "This really confused me," Heathyr says in the video. "What do you mean? It's a baby. It's a healthy baby. I'm not understanding."
The couple wanted her to have another ultrasound to double-check that there was no twin hiding. After having another ultrasound, Heathyr confirmed that there was just one sac and that this time, there was a heartbeat.
By the time the next ultrasound came around, the COVID-19 pandemic had started to shut down parts of the world. At around seven or eight weeks pregnant, Heathyr got an email from her match manager at the surrogate agency who asked her to call her.
"She's like, 'I want to read you a letter from [the parents] because they are just very heartbroken and they don't know how to tell you this. So they wrote this letter and they want me to read it to you,' " Heathyr recalls.
"So she reads me this letter and the gist of it was, 'Heathyr we are so sorry, but you know, this virus is getting pretty bad and we just think it would be best for you to have a termination at this time. And we will try again when the virus is over with and we would be happy to work with you again.' "
The note came as a shock to Heathyr, who says she started to cry and thought the couple was messing with her. She decided to call her lawyer and ask if she had to go through with the termination, even though the baby was completely healthy.
She was told to set up a Zoom call with her lawyer and the parents, where the dad proceeded to yell at her for not respecting their wishes. "I'm just bawling and I ended up getting off the phone," she remembers.
"I talked to my lawyer and she pretty much just made it clear, 'Heathyr, I went over and over this contract and you do not have to have a termination. Obviously, that is your decision. They cannot sue you. In the contract, it states that you would only have a termination for a medical reason that would end in quality of life issues for the child.' "
She got a few other opinions from different lawyers, who all told her that the couple would not be able to sue her if she decided not to terminate the baby. While Heathyr notes that things could've changed if she'd contracted COVID-19, she never got the virus and the baby was perfectly healthy.
In May, Heathyr got a call from her OB, who told her that the intended dad was sending her doctor emails every day about different COVID-19 cases. "He was sending her certified mail to the office about the emails. They were pretty much just printed out. And he was calling the office every day," she says.
When the time came to give birth, Heathyr says the couple flew out to her home state of Ohio to pick up their baby. Although the intended mom had expressed wanting to be in the delivery room, she ended up changing her mind and decided to stay in the waiting room.
After Heathyr delivered the baby boy, she says that the parents completely changed their tune. "The parents kept bringing him into my room. I would be wheeled over to him in their room. I got to hold him and get pictures with him. They each wrote me cards thanking me for all I did and how I kept their baby safe."
"And how they'd never forget me and they just appreciate what I've done for them, I've completed their family. You wouldn't have thought those last 9½, 10 months happened because it was just surreal."
At the end of the day, Heathyr was happy that the parents seemed to be excited when they met their son.
"I just know I saw the way they looked at him and the mom was just so happy and crying," she shares. "And that's what I wanted. You can't force somebody to want a baby, but the whole journey I was so scared. And I just knew when I saw them that they are happy."
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