According to a 2017 article from Huff Post, 7.4 million women from the ages of 15-44 struggle with infertility. Band of Mamas has covered stories of infertility and successes with IVF, like this story about Jaime & Jason Madsen from Sioux Falls, SD. However, many women have no trouble conceiving their children naturally, and so begins the story of Tasha and Jeff Goudy. The two were fortunate to be able to conceive their daughters with ease, and for this reason, they opened their hearts to the idea of helping a couple in need. This is the story of their journey with surrogacy.
Meet the Goudy Family
Tasha and Jeff were married in 2011. Both are teachers in Minnesota–he in elementary and her in middle school. They live active and busy lives and spend time coaching sports and spending a lot of time with their families and friends.
Thankfully for them, they were able to get pregnant right away with their first child, Kinley. Shortly after, their daughter Kendall was born. Her doctor had reminded her to use a backup method of birth control while she was on antibiotics, and because they didn’t, Tasha and Jeff got pregnant. She shared that she took three tests in the bathroom at Target because she just couldn’t believe that she got pregnant exactly like her doctor told her it could happen!
After the couple had their second daughter, Kendall, Tasha and Jeff began to notice a lot of their close family and friends struggling with infertility. This was heartbreaking to them. Coincidentally, a friend of theirs had recently shared her journey with surrogacy and she instantly felt connected; Tasha was able to pick her brain about the process. She still had a bug to do something when they knew they were done having kids, and her husband was also on board to do something to help.
The Surrogacy Journey
The Goudy family looked into surrogacy with an agency Maple Grove, MN called IARC Surrogacy. They had previously talked about the idea of working with family or friends, but they thought emotionally that would not be a good fit. She shared, “We thought, let’s do this and use this opportunity to give back and help someone else, so we went with an agency. We began the process of going through many steps and meetings.”
Tasha began, “There were so many stipulations. We met with a psychologist who asked a lot of moral questions, which we were willing to answer, and there were a lot of other doctors to see. Once all those visits are complete, and you’re cleared, it probably takes seven to eight months to become a candidate for surrogacy. Next, you begin the process of picking families. You see profiles and it almost felt like Match.com. Our faith is big, and we wanted a relationship after the process. We wanted to have a chance to see the baby grow. In contrast, many people consider it more of a business transaction–they consider it to be someone you work with and once the process is over, all emotional ties are cut. We got connected with this couple who had much heartbreak… we wanted to give them that hope.”
The Legal Bindings with Surrogacy
Both families were opening up to their first surrogacy experience. They had to work with lawyers and get a contract together. Where some mothers are tighter with the process, Tasha’s family was flexible. For instance, some mothers might ask to have you eat certain foods or only drink certain amounts of caffeine. You also have to discuss pain management during labor. Tasha shared, “Although I was willing to try to deliver naturally, our family was open to an epidural. God hooked us up together. The couple let me do what was best and brought so much ease to this process.” Additionally, the couple would have to be there for a month after delivery to go through all the legal work. Specifically, the baby technically belongs to the carrier mother until they go to court and sign over their rights.
The Surrogacy Process
Next, Tasha flew out to California where she had a quick physical to make sure her body was able to transfer the embryo and carry the baby. Prior to the transfer, as IVF couples have to do, Tasha had to do all the shots and take all the hormones to get her body ready to be pregnant. She shared, “That was way harder than I ever imagined. It was painful. I have so much more respect and understanding for people that go through that. My heart was opened.” Initially her husband Jeff was going to give the shots, but once he saw the size of the needle he couldn’t do it. She drew circles on her butt every day to make sure she got it in the right place. She felt, If the surrogacy family has done this many times [12!]… I can do this. Shortly after, Tasha and Jeff flew back to California and they did the transfer.
Thankfully, the process was easy and quick, and then she was on bedrest for a few days. The two flew home and later that week, after a couple of pregnancy tests, Tasha was pregnant with the couple’s baby. She went in for the official test at the doctor’s office and they were able to call them with her OB and share the news. They had been Skyping throughout the process to get to know them and make the process easier and more personable. Tasha remembered, “Their faces when they finally got the news was surreal.”
Pregnancy was easy, healthy, and Tasha continued to work. Each time she went to an appointment they would Skype with the couple so they could hear the heartbeat. Later on, the doctor found the baby was measuring small. With this, the family grew concerned, so Tasha went in to a perinatal specialist. The baby continued to show signs of being small and there were minor concerns with the shape of the placenta. The specialist was precautious and they decided on inducing. Furthermore, the couple began making plans to come to Minnesota to be present for the baby’s birth.
With this scheduled induction, they got to spend a few days with them and got to know them. They spent time meeting Jeff and Tasha’s daughters and just learning all about each other. Through this forced relationship, after the first day, it was just super easy and natural! Tasha felt, “It just flowed! It was so easy to connect with them.”
Time for Delivery
It was time for induction day. The families met at the hospital. Tasha had been dilated to a four for a while; it only took a few hours of labor, one push, and she delivered the baby boy safely. He was 5 lbs 9 oz. and was only 2 weeks early. The boy’s mother wanted to have skin on skin right away, so they took the baby and gave him to her. It was a precious moment and so very special to witness the couple finally become parents. Tasha remembered, “Jeff was nervous and eager with the deliveries of our girls, but with this one, he was calm next to me.”
Shortly after, though, the doctors and nurses were concerned. Tasha had been attempting to deliver the placenta for some time and could tell something was wrong. Tasha remembered, “Jeff was tearing up and I heard them say, We may need to bring you down for a hysterectomy because you have Placenta Accreta. My placenta had embedded itself into the uterine wall. I wanted that sweet moment to admire the new parents, but I felt robbed because it was taken so fast.”
Rushing to the O.R.
Tasha’s mother works at the hospital and happened to be working when the doctors rushed Tasha to the OR. She and Jeff walked with her and held Tasha’s hands. The doctors told Jeff that the surgery would be quick. She already had her epidural, so she was awake during the process. With a team, they were able to pull out the placenta piece by piece. However, despite their efforts, and although they did not have to do a hysterectomy, the doctor informed Jeff and Tasha that about 10% of the placenta was still embedded. He was hoping it would eventually come out or die on its own.
After this scary experience and a blood transfusion after all the blood loss, Tasha was able to rest and recuperate in the hospital for a couple days and all was well. The parents had decided ahead of time to begin the baby on formula from the start, so Tasha was able to enjoy having carried and delivered a baby, but immediately enjoy the benefits of sleep immediately after!
Shortly after their stay in the hospital Tasha noticed concerning blood loss. As her uterus began to shrink, as it does after labor and delivery, it would squeeze that remaining placenta and she would hemorrhage golf ball sized clots. So, she had to make an appointment with her doctor to have a procedure done called a Hysteroscopy. Initially when they met with the psychologist they asked Tasha & Jeff questions related to this very thing: How will you feel if something goes wrong? That question had now become their reality. She and Jeff weighed their options and thought they would try one final attempt to remove that last piece of placenta with this procedure.
However, while at work on the day of her pre-op appointment, she could feel the start of a hemorrhaging episode. She had to call another teacher to come to her room and she immediately went to the clinic. Tasha hadn’t shared just how badly she was bleeding– this time she had passed a softball sized blood clot.
The nurse went through her vitals, but when she left, Tasha could feel herself bleeding heavily and gushing blood. She called her husband immediately and had him call the clinic to come to her aid. She then passed out from the blood loss. The nurse and doctor came to her room, called 911, and her doctor squeezed both her wrists and she came to. They wheeled her on a stretcher to the hospital where she received another blood transfusion. Her hemoglobin had dropped to a 4 (normal levels range from 12-15 in females 18 and over). Her doctor performed the Hysteroscopy, but the bleeding continued.
Finally, it was decided that Tasha would have a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy to remove her uterus, cervix, and leftover placenta. The doctor left her ovaries so she wouldn’t have to begin hormones. She shared, “After everything, this was the craziest ending. We knew this was something that could happen. However, we were so hopeful that if it worked, we could do this again for them. This was the hardest part, knowing that we couldn’t. Thankfully I had a ton of support at home from my family so I didn’t need additional mental health support for postpartum depression. I felt really fortunate for that. Highlight? I was able to get rid of all my tampons & pads. No more period for me!”
In the end, Tasha had this to share about her surrogacy experience: It was really emotional. From the beginning of the surrogacy journey to the end, we felt such an array of emotions. We left the experience with full hearts and gained new family members.
Another incredible, selfless Mama and family opening up and sharing a truly amazing story. Women are absolutely amazing in all their facets! Share this story today if you know someone who may be struggling with infertility or perhaps going through their own surrogacy experience. This is definitely one of strength, hope, and the unity of family no matter how far the distance.