At 21 years old, I was studying (okay… also partying) til 5am and firmly believed two-minute noodles was a smart dinner idea. But not Shaniece Sturdy. Nope.
At 21 years old, she was heavily pregnant with not one but three babies, none of which were her own.
‘I wanted to help another family’
Shaniece is one of the youngest surrogates in the UK. She had her own child, son Rylee, at a young age and decided she wanted to help others experience the joy of parenthood. She made up her mind after watching an eye-opening TV documentary about surrogacy.
It might sound strange. But I just felt it was meant to be. At the time I was studying beauty therapy at college and Rylee had just turned one. I knew if I was really serious about surrogacy, this was the time to do it.
I was only 21 at the time, but I wasn’t interested in partying and drinking. I wanted to help another couple fulfill their family dream.
It really doesn’t matter how old you are, as long as you’re ready and understand the importance of what you’re doing.”
Shaniece contacted a surrogacy centre where she came across couple, Joanna and Steve who desperately wanted to have their own children. The young mum met with Joanna and Steve in LA and underwent the procedure at a specialist clinic.
Following the positive pregnancy test, she went to the hospital for a routine check-up to discover two heartbeats.
I was only supposed to be helping the family have a brother or sister for their little girl but I ended up giving them three babies at once,” Shaniece said.
At our first scan at just a few weeks pregnant, we were all told I was carrying twins,
Joanna and Steve had already picked their twin pram. At the 10 week scan I joked, ‘I wonder if they will find another heartbeat’ and just minutes later, they did.”
At just a few months pregnant, Shaniece was already bigger than she’s been with her son Rylee at eight months.
At 33 weeks pregnant, Shaniece’s waters broke. She was rushed to theatre with Joanna by her side and welcomed the triplets to the world – two girls and one boy – Willow, Daisy and Harrison.
Although I was nervous, all I cared about was ensuring the babies were delivered safe and healthy.
Seeing them both with the triplets for the first time in hospital was such a special moment, I’ll never forget it,” Shaniece recalls,
“The triplets were taken to intensive care but Willow, Daisy, and Harrison, were all perfectly fine, weighing 4lb 2oz, 3lb 7oz and 3lb 11oz.”
Two weeks after their birth, the triplets went home with their parents, Joanna and Steve. However, Shaniece still makes a yearly visit to see the triplets on their birthday and catch up with the family.
I always get so emotional when I see them, not because I miss them or want more children of my own but because I’m so happy that I was part of their journey.
Surrogacy is one of the best things I’ve ever done apart from having my own child. I felt so proud at being able to give the gift of life.”
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