你的孩子出生的大小。没有话。她为我们做了两次。

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“It was 6 months post my 4Thopen heart surgery. I was out with my friends excited to be celebrating turning 26, a milestone my mother and doctors never thought I’d reach. I celebrated by doing the things I loved most: socializing and dancing. That night I met Ryan.

他目睹了我在酒吧上面的字面上跳舞(因为没有什么可以说我还活着,就像在酒吧上跳舞一样),在与他见面的30分钟内,我告诉他一切,直到您可能不应该告诉任何人,直到至少你的3rdor 4Thdate. As we chatted a little, I interrupted him mid-sentence. ‘You really don’t want to be interested in me.’ I continued, ‘I have a lot of baggage.’

“你是什么意思?”他回答。

“对于初学者来说,”我继续说:“我只是接受了心脏手术,我有这个心脏问题,只有一半的心脏起作用。”他茫然地凝视着我。我继续讲话是因为我的焦虑往往会这样做,尴尬的沉默使我更尴尬(和诚实)的话让我说话。“我的生计不好,我可能很快就会死。”

He then told me that he could just as easily walk outside that night and get hit by a bus and that he might die soon too. ‘True,’ I thought. After every attempt at me trying to scare him away (or maybe me trying to show him that I was much too wild for his calm and quiet demeanor) he still stood there unscathed by everything. I reluctantly gave him my number, thinking he was too good to be true.

I proceeded with caution, but not too much caution. Within 8 months of dating we were engaged and within a year and a half, we were married.

Courtesy of Christina-Mouse Jennings

After our first date I had let Ryan in on my second biggest ‘baggage.’ I explained to him that because of my congenital heart disease, my doctors had always advised against me carrying a baby because of the huge risk it would be to have a baby inside of me. I was waiting for him to take off – he wouldn’t have been the first person I had dated that got scared off by this. But again, somehow, he stood there still unscathed.

As we prepared for our wedding and met with the priest, the typical questions came up. When the questions came up about having kids, I got flustered and upset. While Ryan knew and fully understood the extend of my heart disease, not everyone knew the severity of it, what having this heart problem meant for me, for our marriage and for us having children.

Over the next year Ryan and I talked in detail. We prayed and hoped for a sign on how we would grow our family. We had conversations with priests, nuns, my doctors, and our family; and after all of it, Ryan and I decided to explore the option of gestational surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy is when another woman carries your biological child for a mother that can’t carry her own.

While this decision came to us full of prayers and with 100% of our faith, knowing and trusting we were doing what was best for us and for my health (and our potential baby’s health), not all were understanding.

有些人(甚至靠近我们)并没有完全理解或尊重我们以这种方式发展家庭的决定。有些人对整个过程感到困惑,并且不明白如果有效,另一个女人如何为别人携带,然后“放弃”婴儿。甚至有些人认为我们根本不应该生孩子,因为就像我之前说过的那样,“我可能很快就会死。”

In the fall of 2015, I went through the difficult process of IVF. The bruised and battered outside of my body wasn’t even a comparison to the emotions I went through those few weeks on the IVF medicine. Whether or not the egg retrieval was successful, based off my ‘behavior’ while on these shots, Ryan had already said he didn’t want me doing IVF again if this first time didn’t work. So, we hoped and prayed that this one egg retrieval would work. The end of October, we learned that the egg retrieval was successful – we had developed a few good embryos.

Courtesy of Christina-Mouse Jennings
Courtesy of Christina-Mouse Jennings

After we found out we had embryos, we decided to begin trying to find a gestational surrogate – someone to carry our baby for us. We were beginning the mission to find a woman that would be our baby-baking oven. We knew we wouldn’t be picky, I like to think we had simple requirements, but mostly we just prayed we wouldn’t end up with someone we’d end up on a lifetime Original movie with. We wanted someone who would love our baby enough to carry it for 9 months, but didn’twanta baby enough that she’d try to run out of the hospital with ours. A simple request.

The winter after my retrieval, I had one conversation with one of my best friends. But as it turned out, she was just the one friend I needed to talk to about this. Ohhh, how this one conversation was about to change our lives forever.

*SPOLER ALERT* this next part: hang on – because I’m about to show you how amazing the universe works. There’s no bigger blessing than the guardian angels watching out for us.

‘So, I think we’re going to start looking for a surrogate.’ I told her. ‘But it’s just so weird because I don’t know anyone that’s ever been a surrogate or even used one.’

2 days after the ONE and only conversation I had telling someone we were going to start looking, I got the text while I was at my mom’s visiting. ‘Hey! I think we found you a surrogate!’

她继续说:“她的名字叫贝丝,我的未婚夫和她一起工作。”我的脑海中浮现了一百万个问题:如何?他对她说了什么?他是怎么找到她的?‘我想她是在谈论自己喜欢怀孕,但绝对不想再想要孩子。”凯文(她的未婚夫)知道我们正在寻找,并提到她应该考虑代孕。‘她说她必须与丈夫迈克谈谈,但她完全想做!’

I read everything over and over. Ecstatic, I ran to my mom in the other room and read the texts to her. ‘She seems like she’d be awesome!’ I said to my mom, ‘she just has to talk to her husband Mike!’

我妈妈似乎比我更详细地处理信息。

‘Wait? What did you say her name was?’ ‘Beth,’ I exclaimed! ‘Haha, that’s funny,’ she said. ‘Mike & Beth!”

I stared at her and back at my phone in tears – our surrogate Beth and her husband Mike – my parents have the same names. Beth & Mike. Mike, my dad, passed away 7 years ago unexpectedly. I smiled to myself, my Dad in heaven, he must really be doing something up there.

There it was, that was our sign.

Courtesy of Christina-Mouse Jennings

My mom and I met Beth a week later. It was essentially an ‘interview’ of sorts. Since there is absolutely NO handbook in how to navigate infertility or surrogacy, I hoped that after I met her I would ‘just know.’ it was important for me to listen to my heart in helping us make this decision of choosing a surrogate. My mom and I asked every question under the sun that we could think of; the biggest one was why she wanted to be a surrogate. Her response was awe- inspiring: ‘Because I want to do something bigger with my life. Don’t get me wrong, being a mom is a big deal, but I want to do something more for someone.’

She was sweet, hilarious, calming and genuine and if surrogacy had a matching profile I would have swiped right, messaged her and stalked her until she’d reply; she seemed too good to true.

As if she couldn’t get any better, not long after, Ryan and I also met her husband Mike, who was just as sweet, hilarious and as fun as she was.

Courtesy of Christina-Mouse Jennings

The entire surrogacy and IVF process prepared us as parents much more than a traditional pregnancy possibly could. We met with a counselor (mandated) as well as a lawyer (also mandated), where we had to answer specific, very difficult questions, and have it alldocumentedfor legal purposes in our contract with our surrogate. ‘Will you be aborting for any reason? Will you be doing genetic testing? Do you want to do the test for Down syndrome? If there’s abnormalities, what will you do?’ These questions aren’t the typical questions people ask right before they’re about to go lay in bed with someone. Before you can have someone carry your baby, you better make sure you know exactly where you stand and what your plans are.

我们的回答快速而简单,不,不,不,否。我们不会测试唐氏综合症,即使有任何异常情况,我们也不会流产。我们选择了这个原因,这是一个非常简单的原因。

Because as my sweet husband had pointed out, ‘What if you weren’t here just because you have a heart abnormality?’

It was those conversations with him that reminded me why we were chosen on this journey together.

Courtesy of Christina-Mouse Jennings

We did or first embryo transfer, and it stuck. The day we found out we were pregnant, we surprised all of my family (technically we were only a few weeks along, but hey! We were excited!) The day we told my mom, unbeknownst to me, was actually the same day my mom and dad had married 3 decades ago; it was the day of their anniversary.

当我告诉我们的代孕贝丝时,仍然对此的时机感到惊讶。她的回答是,‘哦,我,太酷了!就像您必须一起告诉两个父母!’

Courtesy of Christina-Mouse Jennings

Over the next 9 months of Beth’s pregnancy, Ryan and I were involved in every way we could be. We went to every appointment and got together to hang out. She invited us over for the holidays and her sweet husband Mike was supportive of not only Beth, but of us along the way. He too came to all the big appointments – to the embryo transfer, to the 20-week ultrasound and he was there for the delivery.

Lynn Lassen Photography
Courtesy of Christina-Mouse Jennings

Beth delivered our baby girl, Elleora Beth on May 11, 2017, on Mother’s Day weekend. My husband and I, as well as her husband Mike, were all in the room.

两年后,贝丝(Beth)于2019年10月19日在贝丝(Beth)的生日那天送达了我们的第二位女婴Esme Jeanette。再次,我们每个人都在房间里。

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Beth is our first-born Elleora’s Godmother and she named our second baby, Esme’. Beth and Mike and their 2 sons come to Elleora’s birthday parties and we try to get together at least a few times a year. Her boys understand it and as our girls get older, they’ll learn about our journey to both of them with the help of one truly amazing and selfless couple.

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没有足够的单词来形容某人为您带来这个世界,您的孩子出生的大小和美丽。在那一刻,我对贝丝的力量和无私。埃斯梅(Esmé)非常完美,她的小圆形功能非常完美。当我看到她时,感觉就像所有的星星都已经对齐了,就像所有这些小小的巧合一样,不仅仅是巧合。正是宇宙和上帝向我们展示她在这里,仅为我们制作。

Beth is often was asked why she’d choose to be a surrogate. She described those final moments beautifully.

‘哇!真是个周末!谢谢大家的生日,并祝福婴儿埃斯梅(Esmé)。围绕代孕的情绪很复杂,很难用“为什么”的话说。它感觉“正确”。他们说一张图片值得一千个字……我认为这可以总结。见证妈妈的感觉/抱着/抚摸她的孩子的纯粹乐趣,并知道我在其中发挥了作用……这就是原因。’

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Before our surrogacy journeys, I felt like I was missing out on a lot not being able to carry my own babies. I yearned to feel my baby kick inside me or for Ryan to feel that also. I envied every cute little pregnant girl who rocked her adorable pregnant belly in those sweet maternity clothes. But in the end, I realize I gained so much more. I gained a bond I never even knew existed with another woman and another family, I gained an experience and a journey and I’m so much stronger because of it.

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It has instilled more faith in me in women and motherhood. And maybe most importantly, because of this journey, I’ve been able to keep my health intact. Because I didn’t risk my heart’s health, I am able to play with my sweet toddler Elleora at the park, climb through the jungle gym and chase her as she squeals with her little toddler excitement. I can also keep up with my newborn baby and still enjoy my very tired time as a new mom of 2.

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Ryan and I are forever in debt to Mike and Beth. How do you repay someone who has literally brought LIVES, plural, into this beautiful world for you?!

I’ll honor our surrogacy journeys by loving my babies as much as humanly possible, and by making as many sweet memories as God, and my time on this earth, will allow me to make. I owe it to them, but not only to them, I owe it to our surrogate, too.

我在希望它会insp分享我们的故事ire others to follow their heart and listen to their own intuitions. Through this journey I’ve learned that motherhood is way easier when you stop listening to other people’s opinions.

每个好人都应该有机会生孩子,无论是通过收养,代孕,IVF还是自然的方式。没有孩子没有“正确的方式”。只要您出于爱做出决定,您就会最终到达原本要去的地方。如果分享我们的故事可以帮助其他女性找到希望,那么值得脆弱和开放。

After all, the happiest people are the ones who are truest to themselves and to their dreams.”

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This story was submitted tobeplay网络一直不畅克里斯蒂娜 - 穆斯·詹宁斯(Christina-Mouse Jennings)。Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own storyhere.Be sure tosubscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories, andYouTubefor our best videos.

Read more beautiful surrogacy stories:

‘We needed a surrogate and she was 60 years old. My mother-in-law said, ‘Oh, I love being pregnant!’ We laughed at the unrealistic gesture. She couldn’t have a baby, could she?’

‘当护士们急于打破床,我的丈夫和即将成为爸爸的爸爸时,我在推动,而即将成为妈妈的妈妈愿意抚养婴儿。’

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