The saying goes, “After the storm, comes a rainbow.” This past weekend I shared that it has been a whole year since we lost our son, Jack. So for us, the saying rings true that after the storm, comes a rainbow. We are SO extremely happy to share some exciting news in our life – we are expecting our next baby!!! Jay and I are thrilled, excited, and can’t wait for this little nugget to arrive in late September.
Our situation is a bit unique and unconventional – because I am not pregnant. My sweet, kind, selfless sister offered to be our surrogate, and carry our baby for us. So she is currently 26 weeks pregnant, and we are due on 9/22/17. Isn’t that amazing??? I feel so fortunate to not only have a sister that would give me such a loving gift, but to live in a time where this is even possible.
Here is a bit of the back story that lead us to where we are today: One year ago, Jay and I lost our first son, Jack. I was pregnant (via IVF) for the first time after suffering through years of infertility. At 22 weeks, I developed a severe case of pre-eclampsia. My body started shutting down, and I ended up delivering Jack right at 23 weeks. He was born alive and we spent two wonderful hours with our son, before he went to Heaven.
A whole host of other medical complications (which I don’t need to get into here) occurred while I was in the hospital for those 8 days. So as if losing our son wasn’t bad enough, we were also told that it’s in my best interest to NOT get pregnant again. Talk about a double punch to the gut.
Since we had undergone IVF in order to get pregnant with Jack, we still had 3 healthy embryos frozen and ready to go. At first I never thought we’d be able to pursue surrogacy, because wow – it is EXPENSIVE if you go through an agency, and don’t know your surrogate. Imagine how much you THINK it might cost, then triple that – that’s how much it actually costs. So I was pretty defeated, learning how much it would cost us to bring a biological child of our own into this world. It just felt impossible.
My doctor was pushing me to ask my sister to be our surrogate – but I refused. I would NEVER outright ask someone to do that for me, because it puts them in the uncomfortable position of having to say no, if that’s what their answer might be. So imagine how completely overjoyed I was, when my sister offered me the gift of surrogacy about a month later. I cried so many happy tears, and felt such a sense of hope, during a really dark time in my life.
I’m so fortunate that Jess was the perfect candidate to carry our baby. She had 3 healthy pregnancies and deliveries, and is pretty much a rockstar at being pregnant. It was a long, crazy, intense process to get to this point, but we’re here and that’s all that matters. Jess is pregnant, she is 26 weeks along, and everything is looking perfect. Every ultrasound and appointment we have is going amazingly well, and I feel so much gratitude to have a healthy baby growing away in there. Words can’t even express how much I love my sister. She has always been my best friend, and we’ve always been super close. But this??? There are no words. How do you say “thank you” to someone who gives you the gift of your child’s life? Who creates a family for you? Words and gifts will never be enough to say thank you for this incredible gift she is giving us. She’s sacrificing her body for 9 months, to give her little sister the gift of becoming a mom. Jess, I will always love you for that.
It took me a long time to feel comfortable enough to share this news publicly. If I’m being honest, even as I type this, I’m TERRIFIED to post it. The natural fears you would expect come up in my head – “I thought nothing was wrong last time, and then BAM, everything changed in the blink of an eye. What if that happens again?”
But one thing this last year has taught me is you have to have FAITH in your life. My mind might wander to those terrified, fearful places….but I just have to pull myself back up, keep the faith, and let myself feel the hope I have for the future.
Plus, I decided that it might feel really comforting to have more people know about this news, and lift us up in happiness and support. And prayers. If you’re the praying kind, we would love to have some extra prayers not only for our baby on the way, but for my awesome sister – that she will have a healthy rest of her pregnancy, and an uneventful delivery. We appreciate it!
And now for the exciting part, the gender! We are having a GIRL!!!!! We are so incredibly excited to be adding this little lady to our lives, and we can’t WAIT for her to get here! We are naming her Reagan Jessica Heinnickel, and this little girl is already SO loved, so much more than she could possibly ever know. Any happy, positive, supportive comments would be greatly appreciated to help us through the rest of this pregnancy!!
PS – I know this is such an unconventional situation, and people naturally have lots of questions. So to answer the main question everyone has – YES…..Reagan is biologically a product of Jay and I. It’s not my sister’s baby in any way! Like I mentioned earlier, we already had embryos frozen since we did IVF last year, so we were able to use one of our frozen embryos to transfer to my sister, and she got pregnant on the first try! Yay!