Julie Loving delivered a healthy baby girl in an Illinois hospital on November 2 with her daughter, Breanna Lockwood, by her side.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 30, 2021. It has since been updated.
A 51-year-old woman who served as the gestational surrogate for her daughter and son-in-law gave birth to her granddaughter. Julie Loving delivered a healthy baby girl in an Illinois hospital with her daughter, Breanna Lockwood, by her side on November 2, 2020, and now the entire family is basking in the glow of their little bundle of joy. Baby Briar Juliette Lockwood is Breanna and her husband Aaron's first child and the answer to their years-long journey to become parents. "It was definitely a surreal process," Lockwood told Good Morning America about her daughter's birth. "All the feelings came at once, just watching my mom go through everything and all she’s done for me and is continuing to do."
Lockwood and Aaron had been trying for a baby since shortly after their wedding in 2016 as they really wanted her grandfather—who was terminally ill—to meet his grandchild. However, when she didn't get pregnant after one year of trying naturally, the Lockwoods began seeing a fertility specialist. The next two years were an incredibly difficult time for the couple as they went through several rounds of treatments, surgeries, and miscarriages—including a pregnancy with twins. This was when Lockwood's fertility doctor suggested that surrogacy might be their best option.
Although Lockwood's embryos were healthy, her uterus was unable to withstand a pregnancy and surrogacy would be the best way forward for the couple. "Struggling with infertility was the hardest thing I've ever had to go through," said the 29-year-old from Illinois. "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." Lockwood's doctor, Brian Kaplan, of Fertility Centers of Illinois, recommended finding a family member or friend to act as her surrogate since finding a surrogate through an agency could cost the couple over $100,000.
However, both Kaplan and Lockwood initially had reservations when Loving offered to be the surrogate. "I've run 19 marathons and done many triathlons," said Loving. "I felt like health-wise I could do it and I had really easy pregnancies with my two kids. Once she had the miscarriage with the twins I started to talk to her about it. She was not on board and thought I was crazy, but I just kept pursuing it." It all changed when she accompanied her daughter to an appointment with Kaplan for the first time several months ago. "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." Kaplan revealed that he remembers looking at Loving and thinking, "How can I look these women in the eye and say, 'You're not healthy.' You're healthier than everybody here." Although Loving had a relatively smooth pregnancy, delivering her granddaughter was a bit challenging. She gave birth to Briar after being induced about 10 days before her due date and had to undergo an emergency C-section due to difficulties with the umbilical cord.
Briar's birth marked the first C-section for the mother of two. "She definitely rocked the pregnancy and the birth rocked her a little bit, but she did a great job," said Lockwood. "It was a super emotional day with lots of tears and lots of happy times and some scary times but our doctors and team were great." Loving documented her pregnancy in a baby book for her granddaughter to one day show Briar all the love and dedication that brought her into this 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," she said. "And just tell her the truth."