My Mom is Having my Baby
Breanna Loving is going to be a mom in November. After years of infertility she found a surprising path to motherhood, with help from her own mom. Here is Breanna's story, told in her own words.
I married my high school sweetheart in 2016. Immediately following our wedding, we got the sad news that my grandfather had terminal cancer. We moved up our plan right away to have a baby, as all my grandfather talked about was meeting his great grandchild. I thought it would happen right away. I mean that's what they teach you in health class, right? Months went on with no success and we sought the help of Dr. Kaplan with Fertility Centers of Illinois.
We moved quickly into our IVF treatment. Fertility treatment is hard, harder than anything I've ever experienced before. I know a lot of couples with fertility issues can relate, but there are a lot of people who don’t understand the impact it has. The seemingly constant cycles of hope, loss, joy, sorrow, determination, surrender, and the struggle just to move forward day by day. Through IVF, I became pregnant a few times, but all sadly ending in miscarriage.
On one of our final attempts to get pregnant, we found out we were having twins! We were absolutely over the moon excited. Everything was going textbook as planned. We had multiple scans to check on our little babies growth and they had strong heartbeats. Then almost into our second trimester, my mom came with me to one of my appointments--she couldn't wait to see her little grand babies on the screen. It was during that appointment I got the most terrible news. Watching my OBGYN do the ultrasound, I saw the concern on her face. "I'm so sorry Breanna, I don't see fetal heartbeat in either baby," she said. Instantly my world came crashing down.
It was back to square one. We picked ourselves up of the floor of that office, took the time to grieve and heal, and continued on. We hit a major roadblock on our journey in 2019. With no luck getting pregnant anymore, we decided to do an exploratory surgery to check the inside of my uterus. Findings showed that I had a complication from the D&C. I had a condition called Asherman Syndrome, which is the formation of scar tissue in the uterine cavity. With this condition it is even more difficult to become pregnant and if you do get pregnant, it is high risk. Heartbroken, with another obstacle in our face now, we pushed on. After many more failed attempts, our doctor let us know we had done everything we could, and surrogacy was our best option.
My husband and I were very fortunate to always have plenty of healthy viable embryos. Making a baby was not our issue in the fertility department, it was actual implantation and carrying the baby in my own body. In gestational surrogacy, the child is not biologically related to the surrogate mother. Instead, the embryo is created via in vitro fertilization (IVF), using the eggs and sperm of the intended parents or donors, and is then transferred to the surrogate.
My research of gestational surrogacy in the USA lead me to sticker shock. I was astounded to find that it was upwards of 100k-150k to get matched with a surrogate through an agency. One way to cut down on costs is to have a friend or family member offer altruistically. This is where my mama came into play. My mo called me one day at and said: "Hey, I talked to your dad and we are both on board, I'd really like to be your surrogate." I just laughed and said: "No you're crazy" and put my phone back in my pocket. How was my 51-year-old mom, who was in menopause, going to carry my baby? She persisted, asking me almost once every other week.
Then one day she came with me to a routine appointment with my fertility doctor. He walked into the room and introduced them. He instantly said, "this is your mom? I thought she was your sister. Those are some good genes!" We laughed and got to discussing our treatment options. At the end of the appointment, my mom piped up and said how she wanted to be our surrogate. I can see my doctor studying her, really thinking. He scratched his head and told me to give him a month to discuss it.
During that time, we decided to get cleared by multiple doctors to make sure she was in prime health to carry. My mom, at 51 years old, loves fitness and nutrition. She has ran 19 marathons in the last 10 years; completed the Boston marathon twice, and multiple triathlons. This was just a different type of marathon for her. We finally got the green light to move forward and we transferred February 25th. With nerves at an all-time high, things took a turn as COVID-19 shut down the world the following week. Once we received the news that implantation was successful, we were so happy. We still had a wall up as we dealt with so much trauma in the past, and the pandemic magnified our fears.
The first trimester was a rush of emotions. There was high anxiety at every appointment. We held our breath at each milestone. My mom sailed right through everything. We found out we are having a beautiful baby girl. We have let our guards down now that we are halfway through. We are planning the nursery, shower, and picking out names.
The trials and tribulations of infertility were undoubtedly the hardest venture we have had to face in our lives. Sharing this adventure with my mom has been the most unique and amazing experience. Surrogacy is truly the most selfless gift. She is the pure example of “you would do anything for your kids,” and if I can even be half of the mother she is, I know I’m doing something right.