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I gave birth to my grandson
Like any doting grandma, Megan Barker adores spending time with her grandson Gus. She helps out with babysitting and happily does the night feeds.
But incredibly, Megan, 48, is more than Gus’ grandma, she also gave birth to him after acting as a surrogate for her daughter Maddie Coleman, 24.
Maddie was told at 14 she was unable to carry children due to a medical condition. So her mum kindly offered to help and gave birth to Gus in October last year (2016) after going through IVF using Maddie’s eggs.
Now thanks to her mum, Maddie, has the family she’s always longed for.
She says: “I was devastated when I found out I wouldn’t be able to carry a baby, I’m so grateful to Mum for being my surrogate. The experience has brought us closer together and Mum is great with Gus too. She’s like any grandma and loves spending time with him, the only difference is she breast feeds him!”
Megan adds: “It might be an unconventional set-up, but I wanted Maddie to have the chance to become a mum. I see Gus as my grandson and he’s brought so much joy to all our lives.”
Maddie, who lives in Chico, California with her fiancé Tyler, AGE, was just 14 when she was diagnosed with Mayer Rokitansky Küster Hauser Syndrome, a rare reproductive condition where the uterus and cervix don’t fully develop.
Maddie recalls: “My periods hadn’t started so we went to the doctors and I was diagnosed with the condition. I was so young I hadn’t even thought about having kids, I felt confused and upset.
“Mum promised me she’d carry my child if and when I decided to start a family. It was a lot to take in at such a young age.”
Reproductive problems affected relationships
As Maddie grew up she struggled to come to terms with her condition.
She explains: “It had a huge impact on my love life. When boyfriends found out I had problems with my reproductive system they were a bit put off.
“But I met Tyler, an old school friend, aged 21 and he made me feel so good about myself.
“When Tyler and I talked about our future and having children we knew we wanted them we just didn’t know how.
“We didn’t have the thought of we always wanted a biological baby or that surrogacy was the only way for us.”
Sadly, shortly afterwards, Maddie suffered further health complications when doctors discovered benign tumours were growing on her ovaries.
She explains: “I was told I’d need to have the tumours removed and this might damage my ovaries. Doctors advised I should freeze my eggs if I wanted to have a biological child.
“My husband and I thought about adoption but the opportunity for surrogacy felt right. Especially since we found out my ovaries produced eggs, with my MRKH I didn’t even know if that was possible!
“We didn’t feel that this was our only option by any means but this is the one we decided to try first while we had the chance!”
Maddie then made the decision to freeze her eggs and decided it was time to ask her mum to be her surrogate.
She explains: “We decided to do surrogacy with my mom right away because the timing was right for her.
“She was healthy and able to have a great pregnancy. So much can change in the future, my husband and I didn’t want to miss our chance for this amazing experience.”
In November 2015 Megan went through tests to ensure she was eligible for surrogacy.
The vigorous testing included a physical, blood work, ultrasounds and X-rays.
Megan also had a mental evaluation to ensure she was emotionally capable of going through the pregnancy and giving the baby over to us.
Megan explains: “All of these things were routine for a surrogate and and incredibly it worked first time.”
A major concern for families going through surrogacy is the bond that develops during pregnancy but this was never a concern for Maddie.
She explains: “Mum is a such a confident and strong woman. When she sets her mind to achieve something she is never misdirected.
“In the beginning of the pregnancy I raised the same concerns. She responded by saying she is the deluxe easy bake oven, just helping grow him to give him to us.
“I never worried that her bond with our son would be any different than another grandmother-grandson relationship.”
Megan adds: “We also had to explain things to my other daughters McKenna, 14, and Merrin, 11. They were a bit confused about how it would work, but once I explained it they were pleased for her.”
My mum gave birth to my baby – the greatest gift of all
In October last year Maddie gave birth to Gus, weighing 7lb 7oz.
Maddie said: “Labour and delivery went fast. We arrived at the hospital at eight in the evening and she was so strong through contractions.
“She never screamed or cried she just breathed through it all. She pushed for 15 to 20 minutes and our son was born at 3:25am on October 22nd.
“He was so beautiful. Everyone in the room was crying happy tears of joy. I was relieved that all of our hard work and love put in to this adventure had finally paid off.
“We had an amazing little boy come into our life!”
Now the family are adjusting to their newborn, with the help of Maddie.
Megan says: “Mum’s been great. I was the first person to hold Gus – I held him for about 3 hours on my chest and we immediately bonded. “My mum is definitely grandma with the exception of her pumping breast milk so we could bottle feed him.
“I think it is an amazing gift that my mom has the ability to provide breast milk for our son. We think it is so amazing and healthy for him!
“My mum has offered to be our surrogate a second time if we wished but at this time we are just enjoying our miracle baby boy!”
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