We all know that as mothers, we would do anything for our children. From the moment they’re born, when they need us, when they’re hurting, when they can’t do something by themselves, we instinctively feel it’s our job as mothers to help.
So when Julie Loving watched her daughter, Breanna Lockwood, struggle for four years to start a family of her own, she took the ‘I’ll do anything for my kids’ idea to the next level. She offered to be a gestational surrogate for her daughter and son-in-law, so that they could finally have the baby they’d always dreamed of.
Now that’s the power of a mother’s love.
The tough journey to motherhood
Breanna Lockwood always wanted to be a mother, and like most women, she thought starting a family would be easy. After marrying her high school sweetheart Aaron, the couple began trying to fall pregnant, but after a year without success, they were forced to turn to fertility specialists for help.
So began the start of a three year IVF journey which included 476 injections, 8 IVF frozen embryo transfers, two miscarriages and one ectopic pregnancy. But sadly, still no baby.
“It consumes every part of your life,” Breanna told The Chicago Tribune. “This is like your whole future, your whole life. You start to almost grieve your own life, because if it doesn’t work out, it’s like I couldn’t see what I pictured anymore.”
Breanna has documented many of the highs and lows of her experience on her Instagram page, which she uses as a diary of her journey.
A mother’s love
Mum Julie says she began thinking about becoming a gestational carrier for Breanna after her daughter’s first miscarriage, but it wasn’t until Breanna’s second miscarriage, a pregnancy with twins in 2018, that Julie decided it was time to make her offer.
Her husband, Breanna’s father, was supportive of the idea, and Julie’s own pregnancies had been easy, she told The Chicago Tribune. She’s also very fit, having completed a triathlon and two Boston marathons.
“You get in that mode where you’d do anything to help your kids,” Julie said. “When you see your kids hurting, and you know that you could help them, I don’t know how to explain it.”
Breanna, however, wasn’t sure about the idea.
“She texted me, and I said, ‘You’re crazy,’” Breanna admits. But after spotting a magazine cover story about a mother who carried a baby for her gay son, she began to rethink it.
“That was the first time that I actually started to maybe think it was possible,” she said.
“A very unusual situation”
By then, Breanna’s fertility specialist, Dr Brian Kaplan from the Fertility Centers of Illinois, had told her that a surrogate was likely the next option. However, in his decades of work, Dr Kaplan had never had a patient’s parent be the carrier so he admits that he was hesitant to consider using Julie as an option for surrogacy.
Despite his hesitation, he suggested some tests. The family went through extensive screening, for Julie’s health as well as each person’s psychological wellness to ensure this was mentally and medically a sound idea for everyone involved.
“This is a very unusual situation,” Dr Kaplan said, emphasising that it is also unique in that Julie was unusually healthy at her age to be a candidate as a carrier, and that this will not be an option for every couple.
Eventually, they got the go ahead, and Breanna and Aaron’s fertilised egg was implanted into Julie’s womb. The implantation was a success, and Julie is due in November with her precious cargo – a baby girl.
“She’s the oven,” says an over-the-moon Breanna.
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you ladies heard it first! but announced today on our personal page. This was a big step for me. Thinking and praying for each and every one of you! They say, “It takes a village to raise a child”, but for some it can take a village to HAVE a child… ⠀ ⠀ We are happy to announce, finally, …⠀ BABY LOCKWOOD IS ON THE WAY! ⠀ ⠀ Made with a lot of love, and a little bit of science…⠀ Baby Lockwood will be brought into this world via GESTATIONAL CARRIER, and this little miracle’s carrier is quite a special one. ⠀ ⠀ MY MOM.⠀ My mom will be carrying and delivering our baby!⠀ ⠀ The biggest supporter in my life is giving us our biggest blessing. My beautiful mama is carrying her first grandchild, Aaron and my biological child, as a gestational carrier!⠀ ⠀ Aaron and I had our reproductive DNA taken, fertilized, tested, and frozen via IVF, as my mom breezed through every preliminary test she took, to be able to give us this gift. Defying the odds at 51 years old, she’s pushing reproductive science out of the box, as ONE of only a handful of surrogates NATIONWIDE to deliver their grandchild via gestational surrogacy!⠀ ⠀ The trials and tribulations of infertility was undoubtedly the hardest venture we have had to face in our lives. ⠀ ⠀ In short that included…⠀ ⠀ 1311 days⠀ 476 injections⠀ 64 blood draws⠀ 7 surgical procedures ⠀ 3 rounds of harvesting eggs⠀ 19 frozen embryos ⠀ 8 IVF frozen embryo transfers total⠀ 4 failed embryo transfers⠀ 1 singleton miscarriage⠀ 1 twin miscarriage ⠀ 1 ectopic pregnancy ⠀ Countless tears⠀ ⠀ 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…⠀ ⠀ I want to give a special thanks to Dr. Kaplan with @fertilitycentersofillinois for his compassion and care in this field.⠀ ⠀ Baby Lockwood we can’t wait to meet you…⠀ See you in November!
A bun in a Loving oven
Breanna and Aaron’s baby is now growing well in Julie’s womb and just about to enter the third trimester. The happy family are keeping in touch as they get closer to their due date.
“My mom texted me this morning and she was like, ‘Your baby’s kicking me so hard,‘” Breanna told The Chicago Tribune.
Julie is just enjoying every precious moment as she builds a very unusual bond with the granddaughter growing inside her.
“You just fall in love more and more every day,” says Julie. “The stronger she gets, really feeling her and learning her ways. I’m so happy that I can help my daughter and help her husband become a family. That’s really all I want, is to help them.”
Breanna admits that while she feels some anxiety as the big day approaches, she is excited to finally become a parent. And with such an amazing mother of her own, we can see why – she’s learned from the best.
“I feel like I’ve learned everything about being a mum, from my mum,” she said.
We wish this wonderful family all the best on their surrogacy journey and we can’t wait to hear some happy news in November!
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Happy Birthday America!! 🇺🇸 Celebrating our holiday away from the heat in the pool today ♥ Wishing all who celebrate a happy 4th! 21 weeks ♥ #surrogacyjourney #surrogategrandma #ivfjourney #surrogacyislove #mommyinfluencer #instagood #momsofinstagram #infertilityawareness #infertilitysupport #surrogacyannouncement #pregnancyjourney #ivfpregnancy #surrogatepregnancy