"I feel like my mom is the closest place to home she can be rather than my own body," said the 29-year-old.
Breanna Lockwood and her mother Julie Loving are going through a bonding experience unlike any other. Lockwood and her husband, Aaron, who are expecting their firstborn daughter in November, have Loving to thank for making their dream of becoming parents come true. After going through multiple rounds of in vitro fertilization, multiple surgeries, and several miscarriages, the couple finally found hope again when Loving offered to be their gestational surrogate and carry their baby to term. "I feel like my mom is the closest place to home she can be rather than my own body," Lockwood told Good Morning America.
"My mom wants to be a grandma just as much as I want to be a mom so she's doing everything she can," added the 29-year-old from Illinois. Lockwood, who is a dental hygienist, and Aaron have been trying for a baby 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.
That's when Lockwood's fertility doctor suggested that she would need to start considering surrogacy. Although her 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 Lockwood. "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."
Despite her good health, Loving had to jump through a few hoops before she was approved for surrogacy. She took a series of tests and was seen by five specialists, including Kaplan, a high-risk obstetrician, her own OBGYN, her primary care physician, and a psychologist. "She got past all of us with flying colors," Kaplan revealed. "I think it's very important for me as a physician and for this field for people to know this is not routine and not everybody can use their mom. It has to be a unique situation."
However, Lockwood and Aaron were apprehensive about getting their hopes up too soon as they'd been through so many troubles in their pregnancy journey. "Even when we got the positive pregnancy test result we couldn't jump for joy yet because we'd had so many losses and so much trauma," Lockwood revealed. "Just now, halfway through the pregnancy, we're starting to get excited and shop and plan."
Loving has had a relatively smooth pregnancy so far and is due on November 12. She is currently creating a baby book for her granddaughter to one day show her 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."