Amanda and Heatherly’s Birth Story

Amanda and Heatherly’s Birth Story

The journey to motherhood is different for everyone. We recently spent some time talking with Amanda about the incredible birthing journeys she and her wife, Heatherly, experienced here at Woman’s Hospital – from IVF to the delivery of two beautiful healthy baby girls.

How did you meet your wife?

My wife, Heatherly, and I have been together for 14 years and have two beautiful little girls. We met in 2010 through a mutual friend and married in 2018 on a rooftop in Manhattan surrounded by 60 of our closest family and friends.

Can you tell me about your journey to parenthood?

A few years after we got married, we started looking into the logistics of being parents and chose a donor. We went to Dr. Neil Chappel with Fertility Answers at Woman’s Hospital and tried three intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatments, which ended up being ineffective and absolutely heartbreaking. We then tried IVF with a full egg retrieval and were surprised with nine viable embryos — two girls and seven boys.

I am very close to my sisters, so I knew I wanted girls and wanted my children to grow up with sisters, so I carried both the girls. I gave birth to one in 2021 and the second in 2023. They are technically genetic twins, or twinbryos, frozen at the same time and from the same cycle. Now that we have these two perfect children, how can we possibly keep the other seven frozen? Our second child is now eight months old, and we are starting to plan for Heatherly to have our third.

How was the birthing experience for you?

I had two very different experiences. In 2021, I had an induced vaginal birth because the doctor was worried she might get too big for a successful vaginal delivery. But my baby was not ready to join us just yet. I labored for two days. It was during the pandemic, so I was laboring with a mask on, but considering the circumstances, I think it went really well. Everyone was thoughtful and helpful and of course my doctor was incredible. I found out afterwards that he was delivering three other women at the same time, but I never would have known. I felt like I was the only one.
For the second birth, I had a C-section because again, we were afraid she would also be too big. Both of our babies ended up being normal-sized but had the markers for being much larger. This second experience could not have been more different. I was rolled into the OR for my C-section and asked them to put up a mirror so I could watch. It was incredible to see! We were so glad we chose a C-section because the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. This time around, our families were able to visit, since it was no longer covid-era restrictions. Our older daughter was also able to come meet her sister the day she was born.

Why did you choose Woman’s?

Our fertility doctor recommended our OBGYN and he is amazing. He is so calming and reassuring.  He made me feel like I had a real collaborating partner when it came to making choices and airing concerns. Once we found him, we couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.  Woman’s female-centric atmosphere always made us feel safe and cared for.  Plus, all three of my siblings and I were born at Woman’s.  And I trust them to care for my wife when it’s her turn to expand our family.

What would you want people to take away from your story?

I just want people to know it is possible to be gay AND have children. I try to give people as much advice as possible because I know even the thought of the process can be daunting. We have a lot of friends in same-sex relationships, and we know the time, money and emotional effort can make parenthood feel out of reach for many.  We feel so incredibly lucky to have had the ability and access to make it possible for us.

With IVF there are so many unknowns, so many “wait and see” moments. And I think all parents, no matter their orientation or gender, can agree that parenthood is so worth it.  And when the odds seem stacked against you, that’s when you fight harder for what you want.

What do you hope that your children will learn from seeing such a strong relationship between their parents?

The world can be hard, and you can feel outnumbered, but I want them to know that within their family they are always safe, loved and supported.  We hope that by showing them the support and love we have for each other; it gives them the strength to live authentically and unapologetically in a world that doesn’t always make that easy.  We absolutely do not want them to settle for anything less than the enduring love that they see between their parents.  But most of all, we want them to know that we were willing to do anything to be their parents.