Nancy found out she was pregnant at the same time as her surrogate. She used BellyBuds as the perfect link to connect with both babies!
For Nancy and Justin Rohdes, getting pregnant seemed like a faraway dream. After being married for a few years, the couple started trying to have a baby. For the next three years, they underwent four rounds of failed IVF treatments and had a surrogate who miscarried. In one last-stitch effort, the couple found another gestational carrier, named Ashley, and tried one more round of IVF treatment for Nancy. To their astonishment, Nancy found out that she was pregnant two weeks later. Because they were so convinced that this pregnancy wouldn’t last, they had Ashley continue with her treatment plan. Five weeks later, she tested positive as well. In seven weeks, the Rohdes’ life was turned upside down, and they were expecting two babies with the same biological genes but carried by two different women.
Nancy and Justin’s amazing story of how they became pregnant at the same time as their surrogate became widespread after Cosmopolitan published an article documenting their month-to-month journey of growing to a family of four. At WavHello, we were honored to find out that they used our BellyBuds baby bump speakers to bond with their baby that was being carried by their surrogate from miles away. With their surrogate living in Utah while they resided in Chicago, these speakers delivered voice messages directly to the womb to get baby-to-be familiar with their voices. We were able to interview Nancy about her pregnancy journey, here’s what she had to say.
How did you mentally prepare to welcome your two daughters into the world?
Nancy: “I don’t think that you can mentally prepare. We also had been through such a traumatic time trying to start our family that I don’t think that we let ourselves believe that it would turn out as positively as it actually did. When it happened we kinda just jumped right in and tried to learn how to be parents!”
How did you communicate with your surrogate during her pregnancy?
Nancy: “The biggest was texting. With us both being pregnant, we totally related to what each other was going through. So we texted pretty frequently …comparing symptoms…hearing what the doctors had to say about each pregnancy. We weren’t able to meet with [Ashley] in person too much because she lives in Utah and we were of course here in Chicago.”
The Rohdes' two daughters, Lilly and Audrey, born 5 weeks apart
What were some of the biggest hurdles during your pregnancy?
Nancy: “The biggest hurdle was general anxiety. We’d just been through so much that I think that we were expecting the worst from both pregnancies. I don’t think that Ashley felt that at all… she had always had a positive experience through her pregnancy. Sometimes I think she just kind of was like ‘Why are you guys worrying?’, but we couldn’t not worry about every single little thing.”
How did you hear about BellyBuds?
Nancy: “I heard about BellyBuds through an online forum called Inspire hosted by Resolve, which is the national infertility group. There’s a thread on one of those message boards that’s dedicated to women and couples that are pursuing pregnancy through surrogacy. A couple of women who had used BellyBuds in the past were talking about it, and I just figured that’s a great way to connect and bond with the baby.
I figured that I would use them even before we had established the pregnancy and before I got pregnant. That was one of the things on my list to definitely do.”
How did you use BellyBuds to connect with your daughter that Ashely was carrying?
Nancy: “We sat down for a couple of weeks and read stories onto our iPhones and recorded them. It was pretty cool because I heard my husband reading, he heard me reading, and then we figured that the baby I was carrying was hearing both of us as well. And of course the recording was going to the other baby. It was really easy, and made us feel connected just doing the action of reading on tape to the baby.
Nancy, Justin and their surrogate Ashley with daughter Lilly
Why do you feel BellyBuds are a helpful product for families having a baby through surrogacy?
“I think the bonding experience that went into BellyBuds [was the most helpful]. The practice of reading those stories and thinking about where that was going was a huge part for us. Because we were states away from our surrogate, we saw her only one time during her pregnancy except for at the very end, one day before she was induced. It just helped us feel connected, it felt good that the baby was going to be somewhat familiar with our voices.”
We are honored that Nancy and Justin used BellyBuds to connect with their baby-to-be from states away. If you want to learn more about BellyBuds and our free app VoiceShare, visit wavhello.com/bellybuds.