What if you were the only way for your daughter to become a mother? Would you do it?
For Julie Loving, it wasn’t even a question. She offered to be her daughter’s surrogate almost immediately.
Her daughter, Breanna Lockwood, and her husband, Aaron, had been dealing with infertility for years.
They have gone through so many IVF treatments but have always been unsuccessful.
They had already experienced four failed embryo transfers, two miscarriages, and ectopic pregnancy. Plus they have also endured 476 injections, 64 blood draws, 7 surgical procedures, 3 rounds of harvesting eggs, 19 frozen embryos, and 8 IVF frozen embryo transfers total.
The final straw was when Breanna was left with problematic scar tissue in her uterus after a D&C procedure.
They were down to their last options, through a gestational carrier.
“A gestational carrier is a woman who carries an embryo created through the process of IVF (using the intended mothers or a donor’s egg and the sperm of the intended father or a sperm donor) to become pregnant. The resulting child has no genetic link to the gestational carrier,” VIOS Fertility Institute explained on their website.
It wasn’t going to be easy though.
Using a gestational carrier costs a lot of money.
“Most Americans cannot afford a gestational carrier,” Breanna’s fertility specialist, Dr. Brian Kaplan, explained. “It’s over $100,000.”
Julie knew all the hardships her daughter had to go through and she wanted to do something to help Breanna. So she offered to carry Breanna’s baby.
“I knew she wanted to be helpful, but I just kept kind of saying no,” Breanna said.
Eventually, Julie found a way to tell Breanna’s doctor, when she accompanied Breanna in Aaron’s absence. They were about to leave when Julie told Dr. Kaplan she wanted to carry her grandchild for her daughter.
“My immediate reaction was, ‘This is not a good thing,’” Dr. Kaplan recalled. “Normally a gestational carrier should be under 40 years, but, in medicine, you have to look at an individual and personalize it.”
Dr. Kaplan talked to his colleagues, though, and they agreed to do some testing first to determine if Breanna’s mom is fit to be her carrier.
“We made her go through all these hoops to make sure she was as healthy as possible (and) as educated as possible about the risks involved,” Dr. Kaplan said. “We took it very seriously. Each of the physicians that saw her agreed this was unique. This is not something we would do regularly or advise people to do. This was absolutely exceptional.”
Even though she said no, Breanna wasn’t worried about her mom’s physical capabilities to carry her child.
“My mom is a double Boston marathan runner, and triathlete, and looks more like my sister. She is in tip top shape, better health than she was in her 20s when she gave birth to me! With flying colors she passed [all the tests],” Breanna recounted.
And the best part about it, Julie got pregnant on the first try.
“I’ve been with Breanna for years with so much trauma and intensity — the resilience was mind-boggling. If she did not have her mom, she wouldn’t have a baby,” Dr. Kaplan shared.
Needless to say, they were all ecstatic!
Their wish to finally have a baby (and grandchild) is coming true.
But, like with any pregnancies, it still wasn’t an easy one. Julie may be in the best shape of her life but carrying another human being inside your body will take a toll.
“[A] major symptom she has felt is super tired! I mean really, in that first trimester I’ve never seen a person sleep so much!” Breanna shared.
But Julie was a trooper. And she said this pregnancy felt super compared to her own pregnancies.
Throughout the pregnancy, Julie and Breanna took care of each other’s needs. There was even a time when Breanna knelt down to give Julie a pedicure since Julie couldn’t see her toes anymore!
And finally, the time had come.
Julie finally gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Briar.
“Welcome to the world… Briar Juliette Lockwood. Born 11/2/2020, 2:24 pm, 7lbs 1oz, and 19.25 inches and has filled our hearts with so much joy!” Breanna announced.
The baby and grandmother are both doing well after birth.
“My mom was an absolute rockstar through a difficult delivery,” Breanna wrote in her post. “The sacrifices she took to bring this little slice of heaven into our world takes my breath away. Holding my daughter in my arms my heart is bursting. The feeling of how I would do absolutely anything needed for this child is radiating through me when I look at her and reflects back on what my mom did for me.”
Would you like to learn more about their story through their own voices? Watch the video below.
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