AUSTIN, Texas -- The joy of Mother's Day was never experienced by one Austin woman until now. This Mother's Day will be different thanks to a special gift she got from her sister.
Nicole Hall shows off her 2-month-old baby girl Rilan. This miracle of life is something she and her husband Jason never thought they would get to enjoy.
“We had talked about living our lives together and being happy without children,” said Nicole.
That’s because she suffers from cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle.
“We know that pregnancy in and of itself is a time of great strain on the heart muscle,” said Natalie Burger, M.D., a fertility specialist with Texas Fertility Center. “For someone with cardiomyopathy going through pregnancy can become very dangerous and even life threatening.”
One of the few options is a gestational carrier or surrogate. A surrogate is when another woman carries and delivers the baby. The Halls didn’t have to look far. Nicole’s sister Jessie gladly volunteered.
“I knew we could have such a hands-on experience it would be the next best thing to me carrying myself,” said Nicole.
“My sister has to deal with her heart disease every day,” said Jessie Brandt, Nicole’s sister. “So I could spend a year of my life taking one for her – taking one for the team.”
With the help of the Texas Fertility Center, doctors implanted Jessie with Nicole’s fertilized eggs last June. A week and a half later, they found out they were expecting.
The two sisters shared a laugh about Nicole now owing Jessie big time.
“Remember when I had your baby?” said Jessie.
“Throughout the entire pregnancy I would joke and say, ‘Hey can you do me a favor?’” said Nicole. “Obviously she was in the middle of a really big one.”
That really big favor allowed Rilan to be born just in time for this Mother’s Day, the ultimate gift from one sister to another.
Rilan was be born just in time for this Mother’s Day – the ultimate gift from one sister to another.
“It’s really hard to articulate thank you for something this big,” said Nicole. “There’s been a lot of extra long hugs with tears. She’s an example of what true love is to me. There’s just really no way my words could thank her enough. So I’ll be figuring out ways the rest of my life to show her.”
Jessie has a 6-year old daughter of her own. Having completed a successful pregnancy and birth is a requirement before a woman can become gestational carrier.
Go here to visit the Texas Fertility Center's website to learn more about in vitro fertilization options.