After having her own two children, Kathy Powers wanted to keep enjoying the miracle of being pregnant and giving birth. But after struggling with infertility, Kathy’s husband Jim was finished having children. He didn’t want to go through all the fertility treatments again and take the risks that came with it all. He was happy with the two amazing children that made up their family. Ultimately, Kathy realized it was the pregnancy she craved, not another child. She was the happiest when she was bringing babies into the world. So she turned to surrogacy to fulfill that inner longing.
When Kathy suggested being a surrogate to her husband Jim, he had to pick his jaw up off the floor initially, but said he was 100 percent on board. She had two close friends who had been surrogates and they helped her through the beginning stages of the process. She joined an online support website and began her search. After placing an ad, Kathy received 30 replies within two days. That’s how she met her first IPs Kim and Jody Crane.
The biggest obstacle she faced was her age. At 41, doctors and Intended Parents didn’t take Kathy very seriously. Most thought she was too old to carry a baby again. But Kathy was persistent and didn’t give up. She not only found a couple she connected with, she went on to do four surrogacy journeys for two different couples, resulting in 6 babies being born! “I remember witnessing my first surrogate son Max being held by his mommy for the first time. That memory is burned into my heart.”
She shared her incredible stories.
Journey 1: In June 2006, Kathy had a baby boy, Max, for Kim and Jody Crane. She met her first Intended Mother in 2005, after they had emailed for a month and talked on the phone several times. Meeting in person sealed the deal for them both. They knew immediately they wanted to work together. Kim and Jody had already adopted a girl, Charlotte. Now they wanted to try for a biological child. Three months after they met, they were transferring frozen embryos and hoping for the best. The first time didn’t work, so they did a fresh transfer and it took. Kathy says the pregnancy and birth was perfect in every way, from beginning to end. “When you share that experience with someone else, it’s the most amazing feeling. I got to see them hold their own biological child that they could not have had on their own. To think I did that!” said Kathy. She knew right away in the delivery room after Max was born, that she wanted to do it again.
Journey 2: In May 2008, Kathy gave birth to a baby boy, Ryan for Katya and Mark. The endocrinologist, Dr. Steingold, stayed in touch with Kathy and the Crane’s after the transfer and about six months after Max was born, he called Kathy and asked if he could give her phone number to one of his patients in Virginia who was interested in surrogacy. Kathy was on board and that’s how she met Katya and Mark. Kathy and Katya talked in December of 2006, about her journey with Max and all that was involved. Katya confessed that her and Mark were trying one last embryo transfer on their own. But in March 2007, they thawed their last embryos and none of them survived the process. It was a devastating loss for them. Katya called Kathy the same day and said they were ready to move on to the next step if Kathy was willing to be their surrogate. They had not met in person yet, so in April they set up a meeting with Kathy and her previous IM Kim, so she could help answer any of their medical questions. The meeting went great and Kathy knew she felt a connection to Katya, so she agreed to work with them. They did a fresh transfer in June that didn’t work, but in September a frozen transfer took and they were on their way.
Journey 3: In May 2010, Kathy delivered another baby boy to Katya and Mark. The sibling project brought Ryan a new baby brother, Ethan. Six months after Ryan’s birth, Katya approached Kathy with the idea of a sibling journey. Kathy said yes, but this time it took three transfers before she got pregnant. The pregnancy progressed well just like with Ryan, but Ethan’s birth turned out to be Kathy’s first C-section. It left Kathy dealing with her worst recovery, both physically and emotionally. She was 46 years old and thought he would be her last pregnancy, so she was dealing with a jar of mixed emotions related to that also. She was an emotional mess. But she recovered and finally got back to herself, was working out at the gym and was in the best shape she had been since high school. In January 2012, she got a call from her IM Kim.
Journey 4: Kim and Jody Crane asked Kathy to help them find a surrogate for her leftover embryos, which had been frozen for 6 ½ years. Kathy decided to do one last journey and offered to be their surrogate again. She hadn’t planned on getting pregnant again, but felt a responsibility to the couple and couldn’t imagine someone else completing their family. After their second transfer took, they had a five-week ultrasound and to everyone’s surprise there were three heartbeats! One of the two embryos split into identical twins. For the first time ever, Kathy didn’t have a textbook pregnancy. The potential complication of TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome) and other medical issues were very real. She was 48 years old, carrying triplets, so she was monitored very closely. At 30 weeks she was put in the hospital on bed rest for two weeks before her emergency C-section. She was re-hospitalized afterward with postpartum pre-eclampsia. She had given birth to two boys and a girl, Flynn, Jude, and Mae. They were born at 32 weeks, with no health problems. “I would never choose to be pregnant with triplets, but the experience was very rewarding and it’s such a joy to watch those precious babies grow up.”
During the process, Kathy says she met some wonderful surrogates who she is still friends with today. They created their own support group and were always there for one another. “Only another surrogate truly understands what you go through during each stage of the journey,” said Kathy.
Kathy’s relationships with both her IPs are amazing. They keep in touch, send pictures and invite Kathy and her family to visit any time. “We are like family and it couldn’t be any better. I got so extremely lucky both times with my IPs. She always tells people she hit the surrogate lottery. “I helped them with their families and we gained some extended family. Our kids are like cousins and the babies all know I grew them in my tummy. We have such a special story.”