Last January 19th (my 40th birthday) I received this message through the contact form on my wesbite:
Message: I am a gestational surrogate. This will be a gift to the lovely parents and their baby boy!
My heart skipped a beat and I immediately wrote Kayla back! My affiliation as the Fresh 48 newborn photographer at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital was taking off and this was a dream inquiry for me. I have always been a believer in fate, that love is love, and that being a photographer is my way of connecting people to each other – and to their memories.
Both Kayla, the incredible surrogate mama, and Mads & Tommy, the dads, had such incredible stories that I asked them to tell it in their own words. I knew I couldn’t do their stories justice any other way! Read on to hear their love story and how they connected with Kayla, mother of her own little boy right here in Dover.
Photos from their in-home Fresh 48 newborn session are after their stories, scroll down to view them! Interested in a Fresh 48 session? Click HERE to view my packages!
Thank you to Kayla and and her family, and Mads & Tommy for sharing their stories! I’m hopeful that sharing their stories and photos will open doors and give hope to those who are looking for ways to start their own family!
Mads & Tommy:
“We met for the first time during the summer of 2015, and we immediately knew that we both had met our soul mate. Already from the second date we started talking about kids, and how we envisioned our future. Our dream was to have a child of our own and start our own little family.
After a year or so we decided it was time to start looking into our options, how we could make this dream come true. Although it is legal for same sex couples to adopt a child in Norway we were told it is not really an option since practically none of the countries that adopts to Norway recognizes same sex parenthood. There is virtually no domestic adoption in Norway either. After doing thorough research, we decided that surrogacy was the best option for us.
After attending a seminar in Norway, as well as getting recommendations from several other parents we decided to sign up with a well known surrogacy agency in the US the summer of 2018. Surrogacy in the US offered what was most important to us; we wanted the whole journey to be safe and to be a good experience for both us and for the surrogate and her family. We wanted to make sure that whoever would carry our child did it entirely from her own will, and that the motivation was to build a relationship and to help us create our sweet little family. It was also important for us that everything was as open as possible, so that our little child would get the chance to get to know all these wonderful people that helped bringing him into this world. Many states in the US regulates surrogacy in a way that makes sure all parties is taken well care of, so we knew this was the right choice for us.
The surrogacy agency connected us with Kayla and Jeff in early December 2018, and we felt the connection immediately. It was certainly the best match that we could have hoped for. They both seemed so open, grounded, loving and really friendly and sweet. We were also very happy to see that they had much support in both family and friends, and that Kayla really seemed genuine in her wanting to help us start our much wanted family. After having a nice Skype call we both decided we wanted to continue this journey together.
We continued having regular Skype calls to get to know each other better until the first successful embryo transfer was completed in late August 2019. There were lots of anxiousness the following weeks until we got a positive pregnancy test, it was amazing!!
In January 2020, half way through the pregnancy we finally got the chance to visit Kayla and Jeff. It was so great to get to finally meet in person! It felt so right when we met them, like we had known them for ages, the same kind of people as us, same humor…. Just a perfect match.
We got to meet both their families, which was great. They all welcomed us with open arms, and we immediately were treated as part of the family. Their little son charmed us from the beginning, and we had a lot of fun playing with him. The following Monday we went with Kayla and Jeff for the 22 week anatomy scan. This suddenly made it all so real for us. It was really special seeing his cute little face, hearing his heartbeat and see him move around.
With due date being May 17th we originally planned on travelling to the US in the beginning of May for attending the birth. Then all of a sudden Corona came. Thursday March 12 we woke up to the news that Trump would issue a travel ban from all Schengen countries the next day. After gathering our thoughts and discussing with both our lawyer and Kayla we decided we had to get on the first plane we could find to the US. We simply could not risk not being able to enter the country and be a part of our sons birth. It was stressful, but once we landed on American soil we felt so relieved. Now, all of a sudden we had so much time to get to know Kayla and Jeff even better. Despite the pandemic we managed to spend some nice time together, which was so rewarding, and it really helped our bond become even stronger.
Two months passed quickly, and soon we were told that little Oliver had decided it was time to enter the big world. He was born on May 20 – we will forever remember this day! The feeling of seeing him and cuddle him for the first time cannot be described by words, it was beyond this world. He is funny, he is wonderful, he is adorable – just perfect!
We are forever and ever grateful to Kayla, she is truly our Superwoman, that made our dream come true. We could not be happier having this wonderful extended family in the US, and Oliver is looking forward to getting to know you. Now we are waiting for the pandemic to pass so that we can get a chance to visit each other again!
And here is Kayla’s story, in her own words. So incredible!
“I first considered surrogacy when my son was 6 months old. It was such a sweet time during his “baby phase” and I felt so grateful for my family. My father had recently passed away unexpectedly, and his passing put things in perspective for me. I really felt like I wanted to give back so that another family could experience the love that my husband and I are lucky enough to share with our son.
My husband was hugely supportive of my decision to apply as a surrogate from the very beginning. We did a lot of research and found a reputable agency on the east coast. When my son was 16months old I applied and was so happy to be accepted as a surrogate candidate. I was matched with Tommy and Mads in December of 2018. I knew as soon as I read their profile that they were a perfect match for me. They seemed so loving, family orientated and down to earth. My favorite part about the surrogacy process was how well we all got to know each other. Since being matched we’ve spoken nearly everyday.
After several months of prescreening and testing I was able to begin hormone injections in the summer of 2019. After two embryo transfers we were all so excited to learn that Tommy and Mads were expecting their baby, due in May 2020.
Throughout my pregnancy my husband, son and I bonded so much with Tommy and Mads. I feel so grateful that they were so supportive and kind to me, always making sure I felt comfortable and taken care of. It was a true blessing to carry their son and share the pregnancy milestones with them.
In March of 2020 Mads and Tommy had to make the decision to come to the US due to covid-19 and the travel ban. I was 31 weeks pregnant. I am so grateful that they flew out when they did, as many parents from Norway were unable to attend their children’s birth after the travel ban was put into place. It was a true blessing to get to spend 10 weeks together before the baby was born. They were so wonderful to be around, always positive, without a single complaint after uprooting their lives for several months.
Oliver Theodor was born on May 20th, 2020. It was one of the best days of my life. We were so fortunate that both dads and my husband were all able to attend the birth. We got to spend time together as Tommy and Mads bonded with Oliver and he was weighed and measured. He was perfect. “Cute baby Oliver” as my three year old son calls him. I felt so much joy watching their little family, finally all together.
I am forever grateful for my experience as a surrogate and the relationships I’ve gained with Tommy, Mads and baby Oliver. I hope to always be apart of their lives and watch Oliver grow up. We are looking forward to visiting Norway very soon.”