By Crystal Lehmann
After starting to feel what most couples feel after several years of carefree partying, my brother, Tom, and his husband, Jared, came to me and asked if I was serious about a promise I had made to them years earlier. They had both decided that they were ready to settle down and start a family. This couple that had been together for the same amount of time as my husband, Joe, and I, and they had come to a decision that the majority of straight couples never make.
They came to the conclusion that they wanted a child. There would be no accidental pregnancy or unwanted children. The child that would come into their lives would be loved, doted on, and not taken for granted — an opportunity that many children do not start out with. During that time, adoption was not legal for same-sex couples in Virginia, where they lived, and they wanted their baby to have some of their own DNA, so they asked me if I was being serious long ago when I had told them that I would be a surrogate for them. After discussing it with Joe, we agreed that we would move forward with a traditional surrogacy!
And so the journey began. We planned on using Jared’s sperm and my egg. We each contacted lawyers in order to draw up a contract and make the situation legit. We then went through a fertility agency and tried artificial insemination a couple of times to no avail. We then began using a sperm bank and donor sperm and my husband helped me with the insemination. After each insemination, we would all anxiously wait the two weeks to find out if it had worked. There was a lot of frustration and disappointment that went on for a year. Our misconceptions about how easy it would be were increasingly dissipating. Tom and Jared were willing to try a couple more times, before making the decision that it just wasn’t meant to be.
Two weeks of waiting after one insemination, I took my usual pregnancy test. I had learned not to get my brother’s hopes up, so I looked at the results by myself. To my surprise, there was a faint pink line indicating a positive! Still feeling doubtful, I took 2 more tests and finally accepted the positive line as being true. I called my husband first and told him that I think it actually happened and asked him what would be the best way to tell my brother the great news. I knew it would be the most amazing and exciting news for him, so I wanted it to be good. I finally decided that I would send him a text.
“I’m sorry that I didn’t send you a birthday gift this year, but maybe this will make up for it?” And with that message I attached the picture of the positive pregnancy test. He instantly called me on FaceTime and was crying tears of joy with a huge smile on his face. During the time we found out, his husband, Jared, was on deployment in the Middle East for the Air Force, so my brother called him right away and started the conversation off by saying “I need to admit something to you…”
They were both instantly overcome with joy and happiness. During the pregnancy they lived on the opposite side of the country from me so they had to watch the pregnancy from afar though pictures. I took weekly photos of my growing belly and shared with them all my medical results to keep them informed of their baby’s progress. I was fortunate enough to have a healthy pregnancy with no issues. The baby’s due date was June 6th, 2016, via a caesarean.
With much anticipation, the day finally came! Arrangements were made so that both of them could be in the operating room and they sat right by my side as their daughter’s initial cries were heard. When they took the baby to the warming table, my brother stayed by my side, with tears in his eyes, and he whispered “Thank you”. They were overwhelmed with joy and love as all new parents are when they meet their child for the first time. As the doctors were sewing me up, I watched the two of them look at their daughter and knew that she was their world now.
After awhile, I got to go the recovery room where my husband was waiting for me. He comforted me and told me how proud he was of me and how much he loved me. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Once I was moved to my hospital room, my brother brought Emma into my room so I could meet her. She was perfect! I felt proud that I was able to make them such a beautiful baby girl.
I’ve told random people about this surrogacy and most of them say how wonderful it is. Some tell me that they were thinking about doing a surrogacy at some point in their life. Others don’t understand it and that’s okay. I’ve gotten praise for what I’ve done, but I didn’t really see it as a big deal. It was a small sacrifice to pay for the amount of joy and love that I could bring to a couple. My hope is that our story will encourage others to spread love and kindness.
Love is love, love will always win, and it’s what makes life worth living. Being able to grow a family that will be filled with love makes my heart swell and seeing the three of them together gives me hope for the future.