A woman is taking her motherly duty to the next level by serving as the gestational surrogate for her daughter and son-in-law.
Julie Loving is carrying her son-to-be granddaughter, the first child of daughter Breanna Lockwood and Breanna’s husband Aaron, reports Good Morning America.
When Breanna’s baby girl is born this November, she and Julie intend to let her know that she was “wanted so much that we did everything we could to bring you into the world,” they told the outlet.
“I feel like my mom is the closest place to home she can be rather than my own body,” Lockwood, 29, told GMA. “My mom wants to be a grandma just as much as I want to be a mom so she's doing everything she can.”
Breanna, who is a receptionist in Illinois, and her husband Aaron started trying to get pregnant immediately after their wedding in 2016. But after a year of unsuccessful attempts and two additional years marked by multiple rounds of in vitro fertilization, surgeries and miscarriages, Lockwood’s doctor suggested that she consider surrogacy.
“Struggling with infertility was the hardest thing I've ever had to go through,” said Lockwood. “When you have a plan for your life and then something like infertility gets in the way, I felt like I couldn't see what I pictured anymore, that it could be taken away from me.”
Her doctor Brian Kaplan, of Fertility Centers of Illinois, told Breanna that she should seek a family member or friend to act as surrogate, as arranging through an agency could cost more than $100,000.
But the idea for Loving to assume the role wasn’t her daughter’s, but her own.
“Once she had the miscarriage with the twins I started to talk to her about it,” she said. “She was not on board and thought I was crazy, but I just kept pursuing it.”
Loving, who also has a 27-year-old son, was confident in her own health and ability to act as surrogate.
“I've run 19 marathons and done many triathlons,” she said. “I felt like health-wise I could do it and I had really easy pregnancies with my two kids.”
The mother and daughter began to seriously explore the idea on trips to appointments with Kaplan.
“My mom came with me as my support person and she brought up that she wanted to carry,” recalled Lockwood. “When he met her I could tell that he was really starting to think about it as a possibility, but he didn't tell us yes right away. There were a lot of hoops we had to jump through to make it possible.”
Loving underwent a series of health tests which Kaplan said she passed “with flying colors” in this “unique situation.”
“I think it's very important for me as a physician and for this field for people to know this is not routine and not everybody can use their mom,” he explained.
In March, Loving finally became pregnant with her grandaughter after a successful embryo transfer — the first try — in February.
“Even when we got the positive pregnancy test result we couldn't jump for joy yet because we'd had so many losses and so much trauma,” she said. “Just now, halfway through the pregnancy, we're starting to get excited and shop and plan.”
Loving is due on Nov. 12. The pregnancy has gone smoothly so far, and in addition to being spoiled by her daughter “with clothes and making sure I’m comfortable and have everything I need,” Loving has taken a leave of absence from her job at a grocery store to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lockwood has also gone the extra mile to ensure her mom’s safety, practically wrapping her mother in “bubble wrap.”
"We're just doing what we can at this crazy time in the world," said Lockwood. "With doctor's appointments, I have been able to attend every appointment, but sometimes I have to really beg to let me go. My husband hasn't been allowed to so we video everything we can and fill him in on everything when we get back to the car."
On Tuesday, the family hit another major milestone, revealing that the baby would be a girl on their surrogacy diary Instagram account.
They look forward to telling the girl the journey they went through bring her into the world.
"We're going to be really open with her at a really young age and tell her when we feel like she can understand," Loving said. "And just tell her the truth."