by Laura Rene
I’m a mother of two because my body was strong. I’m a mother of three because my body failed me, but my family didn’t. It takes a village.
My husband and I didn’t know that we wanted another child until that little plus sign popped up on the pregnancy test that I took because I just wasn’t feeling right. When we discovered that pregnancy wasn’t meant to be, it killed me. Because of medical issues, I could no longer safely have a baby. We started looking into alternatives, while I grew increasingly depressed because I could no longer bear my own child. We looked briefly into surrogacy, and then started looking more seriously into adoption. I suffered in silence. I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone how badly I was hurting, wanting another baby.
In the midst of my pain, my sister Kaila—the strongest, most selfless person I know—moved home from Pennsylvania. One night after a family dinner, she and I started talking about all of the options my husband and I had, and she very matter-of-factly asked why in the world I hadn’t asked her to be our surrogate. There wasn’t much to discuss after that conversation—it just felt right, to all of us.
The waiting game was the most difficult. Once Kaila had gone through the testing, we were on our way, and before we knew it, she was pregnant! She showed up at my house one day to use my sewing machine—or so she would have me believe. Once everything was set up, she pulled out what she needed to “sew.”. It was a t-shirt she had made that said “My other oven has a bun in it!” I’ve never cried so hard, in my life.
The next eight-and a-half months were a mixture of anxiety and bliss. This was uncharted territory for all of us. My emotions ran the gamete from ecstatic, to terrified that something would happen to the baby or to my sister, to impatient for the day we would finally get to meet our newest family member. My sister, the saint she is, was a trooper all the way through. It’s as if helping us to complete our family was something she was destined to do. She never complained, never got irritable about the situation, and was quite often my voice of reason when I was the one acting like a hormonal mother-to-be.
When the big day came, she was calm, collected, and ready.
Our daughter was born, mid-July; our family made whole because my sister loved us more than words could say. What we have today is because when my body failed me, my sister gave me the ultimate gift.