Christine Rush, 28
She loved the experience so much, she was eager to do it again. This time though, she wanted it to be with a couple in the States. “I liked the idea of having a family that was involved, that I could connect with and share things with,” Christine says. “The agency will match you based on what you expect out of the process. Some surrogates don’t want a lot of contact, but I was really open and felt like I had nothing to hide. If they wanted to talk on a daily basis, great! If they wanted to know what I was eating today, fine!”
The agency matched her with Nicole and Josh Lawson, a couple who had tried years for a baby, suffering a number of miscarriages and disappointments along the way. They hit it off immediately and two months later, Christine went through an embryo transfer and got pregnant. This was just five months after giving birth to the Japanese baby.
While she did go to LA a couple of times to see the Lawsons’ doctor, most of Christine’s prenatal appointments were in her hometown of Turlock, about 350 miles away, and Nicole and Josh were there for almost all of them. The two women talked on the phone, emailed or texted every day, and often they’d Skype so that Nicole could talk to her baby, whom the couple had already named Zoe, and see her moving around in Christine’s belly.
The night before Christine was due to be induced, Nicole and Josh came up and stayed with the Rush family. At the hospital the next morning, while waiting for the Pitocin to kick in, Nicole rubbed Christine’s back and fed her ice chips, asking again and again what she could do. Meanwhile, Christine, lulled by an epidural and, by now, an old pro at the whole birthing thing, watched TV and even took a nap.
When it was time for the baby to be born, Nicole held one of Christine’s legs, and Christine’s husband stood at her shoulder. “The birth went perfectly. It was so calm and so loving, because I had this really special connection with Nicole and Josh, and they were my support system,” Christine says. “It was a beautiful experience.”
When Zoe was born, the nurses, as instructed, handed her to Christine first. “We had discussed that I wanted to be the one to give the baby to Nicole and Josh, because I felt it would complete the whole cycle,” she recalls. Then Josh cut the umbilical cord, and after the baby had been cleaned up, Nicole and Josh held her and fed her the first bottle.
Three years later, both the Lawsons and Christine are now advocates for surrogacy, helping couples struggling with infertility to have families of their own. In 2011, Nicole and her mother, Pam Hirsch, founded Baby Quest Foundation, a non-profit that gives money to couples who have trouble trying to conceive, so they can afford IVF or surrogacy, which are both very costly. Since their inception, they’ve awarded nine grants and their first recipients are having a child in March.
Meanwhile Christine, busy raising her own three boys, still periodically donates her eggs to couples trying to get pregnant. “That’s my way of helping people right now, and it allows me to help multiple families at once,” she says. Still, she hasn’t ruled out doing surrogacy again in the future. “I would love to do it again when it’s the right time, and for the right reasons. In the end, you’re giving someone a child, helping give life to another person,” she says. “What could be more amazing than that?”
If you would like more information about becoming a surrogate mother or about surrogacy in general, please contact Surrogates Across America.