This blogpost was written by Tiffany, Surrogate Mother
When James and Natalie told me they were expecting a baby, I could not have been more happy for them, they were going to be parents! They found out it was a boy and I was even happier. Holland and Blake would have a boy cousin! Summers of camping, bug hunting, peeing on things they shouldn't be peeing on. James and Natalie were starting their journey into parenthood and growing their family. Life was perfect and bliss and full of excitement!
The week before Hunter was born, I must have called every day to see if he was close to coming out. I danced around the house like a banchy (Sean hates when I say banchy, so I have to start throwing it out at random points). He didn't come. 11 days past his due date, Hunter decided it was time. James called me and told me they were on their way to the hospital, we knew he would be born in the middle of the night maybe later. Our plan was to go to sleep, then wake up the next morning hoping to have a nephew and head down (We live 2 hours from each other).
I woke up the next morning to 7 missed phone calls on my cell phone. My heart sank, the worst had happened - why would I have so many missed calls? James, my brother Jonathan, and my mom had all tried several times. No one in my family calls that much unless the worst had happened. They were all very early phone calls. 5am, 6am 7 am etc etc. I called James first, it rang twice - but it could have been ringing for hours, it really felt as if it was ringing forever... I was crying before he even answered. It was around 7:30am, he answered and said something had happened. He paused, he swallowed, he said, "Can mom tell you?" and handed the phone to my mom. I remember being so scared, I am crying as I write this because it was a very scary moment. My mom took the phone, and she told me there were complications, and that Hunter had a fever and was being taken care of and was fine, but Natalie... Natalie was not doing so well. She had lost an extreme amount of blood, an extreme amount. She said she was finishing surgery and we should drive down soon.
Between the time of the phone call, and when we arrived at the hospital, Natalie had made it through the surgery. She had lost too much blood after birth. It turned serious so quickly, she was rushed into surgery. I was told that as she was being wheeled away, she was crying and telling them not to give her a hysterectomy. The surgeon came out in the middle of the surgery and told my brother, she was dying. Her blood pressure was 30/12, they had put in 11 pints of blood into her body .... they had tried everything and they needed to completely remove the uterus to see if she could make it. Of course James said yes, do it. She was dying. It took a lot for us to admit it, but she was dying.
The doctors said she would not wake up for 3 or 4 days. I walked into the ICU and she was unrecognizable. She was swollen beyond belief and everywhere you could have a tube coming out, she had one. And what was so heartbreaking, as a mother, was to see this young mother, struggling to survive and having just given birth and no baby with her.
My brother refused to leave her side. He was there holding her hand, saying over and over, "I love you, you look so beautiful, you are so strong. Hunter and I love you so much. You look so beautiful." I am again, crying as I write this. I always knew James and Natalie had a strong love. It's what you hope for with your siblings, with people you love - that they find someone to build their lives with, to make them happy, to truly love with. I have never seen a love like this. He would not leave her. He hadn't slept in who knows how long - and stood by her, repeating positive affirmations to her, genuinely, lovingly, adoringly. I finally convinced him to sleep on the long chair in the same room. He would only do this is I took his place holding her hand. Of course I would. I held her hand and my heart broke for their family. I just wanted her to be with her baby and not in this physical, emotional pain. Three or more day till she wakes up? How could this be happening?
And then, her eyes opened. Was I seeing things? I just got here, it hadn't been 4 days yet! She was waking up! She was so strong. She was so strong. Later, the nurses figured out how to bring Hunter to her, since she was in ICU and they said they don't bring newborns there. She was able to be with Hunter again, and to nurse and bond. James, Natalie and Hunter, their new family. The surgeon who saved Natalie's life came in at that moment, and he started to cry. He said how amazing it was to see her here, alive with her baby when she was so close to death. I am so happy to hear that, because I often think surgeons are desensitized. For him to say that, feel that... it sort of set in too how close we were to really losing her.
A week later, I came to take Hunter's newborn photos. After, Natalie and I were sitting and talking about her loss. I had never experienced anything like this and so desperately wanted to be there for her and my brother. She talked about how happy they were to have Hunter, but how she was conflicted now with feeling a loss for the children she will never have. She mentioned how she still had eggs of her own and that her and James were considering surrogacy. Honestly, I was pissed! What if the surrogate drank, or smoked, or threw herself down the stairs! How do you trust someone like that with your baby! No way, no WAY! Then suddenly, it came out, it was as if I couldn't stop it, "I'll do it!" I immediately covered my mouth and said, "Oh my God! That was so inappropriate! I am so sorry!" She looked at me and said, "I thought you didn't want any more children, you were done being pregnant?" I said, "Yes, we don't want any more natural children of our own, we will adopt, but I have this perfectly good uterus!" We cried, we hugged, we cracked some inappropriate "carrying my brother's baby" jokes and we took a huge step towards this brand new journey together.
I could not be more honored or more excited to be able to carry their child. Life is full of wonder and this is one of them. I am blessed to be part of such a wonderful family. I am in awe every day of Natalie's strength, and the love her and my brother have for each other. I have also found new strength and support from my amazing husband, Sean. I know I could not do this without him. My love for him grows more and more each day.
I cannot wait to see what's next!