Here at Brookwood Baptist Medical Center, we have the incredible privilege of seeing new life come into the world on a daily basis. And there truly is nothing else like watching these incredible, life-affirming stories unfold before our very eyes. Last year, we had the pleasure of delivering twins for the Weisman family of Philadelphia, who came to Brookwood Baptist by way of a surrogate pregnancy almost 8 years in the making. Josh Weisman was eager to share his story with us, including a little advice for families dealing with infertility and surrogacy.
So Josh, what’s your Brookwood Baptist story?
For more than eight years, my wife and I struggled to start a family. Upon discovering that carrying a child wasn’t feasible for my wife, we made the decision to pursue a surrogate pregnancy via in vitro fertilization. Then, after almost seven years of trying IVF, including multiple clinics, multiple surrogates, and countless setbacks, we finally found the answer—800 miles away in Birmingham, Alabama. And although we never thought we’d end up having our babies so far from home, we really couldn’t have been happier with the way it all played out.
Because the fact is: Brookwood Baptist, Birmingham, and everyone that was part of our story there was just unbelievable. First, we instantly felt a connection with our OB/GYN, Dr. Tamucci—especially knowing that she’s also been through IVF and had twins of her own, we felt very safe and comfortable in her capable hands.
I really can’t stress enough how incredible our experience at Brookwood Baptist was. Everyone there, from the physicians and nurses to the administrative staff, was constantly going out of their way to make sure we were taken care of. Honestly, they treated us like family. I really don’t even think I would have been that comfortable at the hospital I’ve been going to since I was a kid. And to have that feeling as an “outsider” was truly remarkable.
Especially when you consider this: Brookwood Baptist had nothing to gain from the way they treated us. It wasn’t like we were going to become lifelong Brookwood Baptist patients—we live in Philadelphia. We were there just there for the delivery, and that’s it. But we felt like we’re home.
We didn’t have a choice in where we were delivering, but ultimately I felt like my children were getting the absolute best care possible. If I was an expecting parent in Birmingham, and had a choice between Brookwood Baptist and any other hospital—I feel like you’d be nuts not to go to Brookwood Baptist.
What advice would you give to families dealing with infertility or IVF?
Well, every case is different, obviously. But like they say with most health issues, I think you have to become your own advocate. You can’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need, and trust your gut when something doesn’t feel right. When our IVF wasn’t working, we tried different clinics, different surrogates, different doctors—until we found the situation that worked for us.
Also, you’ve got to allow yourself to be upset sometimes. We had a rule where we’d allow ourselves, say, a week to get really pissed off after a major setback. We had a week to be mad at life, at the fact that we can’t get pregnant, at our IVF not taking—but then after that week was up, we turn the page, we refocus, and we soldier on. And for us, that was key to surviving this whole process.
Surrogacy can present very real (often legal) challenges. What’s your advice for navigating the potential minefield?
Surround yourself with the best “team” possible no matter what. If any one person doesn’t feel right, have the fortitude to switch until you find the right one. For example: our wonderful Birmingham attorney, who was so instrumental in helping us navigate the difficult legal aspects of surrogacy, was actually not the first, or the second, but the third lawyer we worked with. But that’s what it took to find the right one for us.
How was Brookwood Baptist able to support you and Rachel leading up to, during, and after the twins’ delivery?
Before the big day, we were confident we had crossed all of our “t’s,” legally. We never realized how many other decisions had to be made on that day. Things you take for granted, like: Who gets the “parent” bracelets? Should we be on a different floor from our surrogate after delivery? Should she have visitation? All decisions we had to make on the fly, and Brookwood Baptist let us work through these issues in real-time. They made a unique situation seem like just another “routine” delivery. Even the discharging pediatrician came in early on a Saturday so we could get on the road home to beat a forecasted snowstorm. I always thought my children would be born in the same hospital I was, but now I can’t imagine them being born any place other than Brookwood Baptist.