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After IVF and surrogacy, my children are 10 weeks apart. Having 'twiblings' showed me how different each baby is.

Chelsea Neubauer and her family
Courtesy of Chelsea Neubauer

  • Chelsea Neubauer has a daughter, 6 months old, and a son, 4 months old.
  • She carried her daughter and a surrogate birthed her son.
  • This is Neubauer's story, as told to Kelly Burch.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Chelsea Neubauer. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I always knew that I wanted to be a mom. But after I miscarried a pregnancy due to my Graves' disease, a thyroid disorder, I was told that carrying a pregnancy could be dangerous and likely to end in another miscarriage. My husband and I pursued IVF and found an old friend who was willing to be our surrogate. 

As we moved ahead with our surrogate, something gnawed at me. I wanted to carry a pregnancy. So I found another doctor. He told me the likelihood of me carrying a pregnancy to term was low, but he was willing to let me try.

We considered putting things on hold with our surrogate, but the odds of IVF working are so low. Plus, I believe that once you try to plan life, that's when things don't work out. With our surrogate's blessing, we decided to go ahead with both options.

We never imagined that we would end up with two babies. 

We both ended up pregnant, and I found joy in her appointments

I found out on Mother's Day that I was pregnant. My elation was short-lived because I was so prepared to miscarry. Instead of focusing on my pregnancy, I poured my attention into our surrogate, whose transfer day was coming up. Her appointments gave me something to look forward to and pulled me out of my fear. 

When my surrogate got pregnant, too, things still didn't feel real. I assured her that my pregnancy didn't take anything away from the life she was bringing into our family. I went to each of her appointments. 

I was there for my surrogate's traumatic birth experience

Holding my newborn daughter, Banks, was a dream. She is such a miracle. I had to advocate so hard to get pregnant with her, and she beat 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 was still going to all the surrogate's appointments with her. It was important to me that she knew that the baby she was carrying was just as much a priority for me as my daughter. 

Chelsea Neubauer and her family
Courtesy of Chelsea Neubauer

I was in the room when she gave birth to our son, Hayes. I helped pull him into the world. But I immediately could tell something was wrong. Our surrogate hemorrhaged and was rushed into surgery. Standing by with my baby knowing there was nothing I could do to help her was an awful feeling. 

Depression hit when I brought my son home

I didn't have postpartum depression when Banks came home, but I did after bringing home Hayes. I felt so much guilt: guilt that I hadn't carried him and guilt that he was taking my attention off Banks. I was nursing both of them, which came with its own set of challenges. 

Having babies 10 weeks apart made me realize how different each baby is. I was proud that Banks was a great sleeper. But Hayes woke often, showing me I wasn't the sleep expert I thought I was. I looked for solutions and found he loved the mamaRoo sleep bassinet, which his sister never took to. After he was born, I partnered with 4Moms and their series Sleepversity, 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 infancy pass in an instant. The fun part about twiblings is that when Banks leaves a stage behind, I know I'll get to enjoy it with Hayes just a few weeks later. 

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