A mother has acted like the most selfless person on Earth by offering to be a surrogate to her sister-in-law. The 33-year-old Amanda Petterson from Fraklin, Tennessee, was left infertile after colon cancer. Then, 32-year-old Rachel Wilcox, from Walton, Kentucky, offered to help her in the most amazing way. That’s how in September, Rachel gave birth to her own niece and the family could not be happier, as reported by the DailyMail.
Rachel was there in 2014 when her sister-in-law was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. The doctors told Amanda that she would not be able to have kids. Rachel, who is married to Amanda’s brother Micah, was pregnant at the time and felt she could help Amanda. She immediately suggested Amanda that she could be a surrogate for her baby.
“Her words stuck in my head. After I discussed it with Micah I suggested it to Amanda and Reid,” she explained.
“Luckily, they accepted and now have Adalyn Rae, the baby they longed for. Seeing the immediate mother and daughter bond between Amanda and the baby was incredible. At the moment, Amanda and Reid are concentrating on being great parents to her, but, if they ever want a second child, I would happily be their surrogate again.”
Rachel gave birth to 8lb 4oz Adalyn Rae Patterson, who was named after her, at 10.45pm in The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was born two weeks early, on September 22, 2017.
Rachel said: “I have an incredible bond with Adalyn, but she doesn’t feel like my child. She’s a part of my story, but I have a connection with her that’s different to my own children. When I saw her for the first time with Amanda, I could see that mother-daughter bond straight away, and that was so beautiful.”
Amanda now describes her sister-in-law as ‘the most selfless human being I know’.
This is Amanda’s story from the beginning.
She was left devastated after her surgery in October 2014 when doctors had to remove the tumor and her thyroid. It was all followed by a difficult process of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which left her infertile.
At the time, Amanda only knew her now-husband Reid for a few weeks, and offered to end their relationship. However, he wanted to marry her and they married in November 2015.
Rachel, who coaches teachers on their professional development, then heard Amanda’s plight and eventually suggested that she become their surrogate.
Here, Amanda celebrates the end of her chemotherapy, in September 2015.
Amanda and Rachel are seen here at the fertility clinic, in January 2017.
Rachel continued: “After speaking with my husband, I sent Amanda and Reid two long text messages the next day, telling them my offer was a genuine one. At first, they said they could never ask that of me, but I told them I was an ideal person to do it.”
The couples eventually agreed to proceed and chose gestational surrogacy – where the baby isn’t genetically related to the surrogate. So, Amanda’s egg was inseminated by Reid’s sperm and implanted into Rachel’s womb.
The expensive procedure was almost $54,000 (£40,000) and luckily, it was a successful one. In February 2017, it was confirmed that Rachel was pregnant.
Here is Rachel at 25 weeks pregnant, in June 2017.
Amanda and Reid were also present at the hospital when Rachel gave birth.
Amanda said: “When Adalyn was born it was the most magical feeling, she was totally perfect. We had waited for that moment for so long and thought it would never come. I was the first one to hold her and it was incredible having the skin-to-skin time, it just felt so right.”
She goes on:
“Our gratitude to Rachel is never-ending, and something we will feel for the rest of our lives. And to offer to do it all over again shows what an amazing person she is.”
Only a few years earlier, Amanda thought she would never have children. “In the first conversation me and Reid had about getting married, we talked about not being able to have a family because of my cancer, so when Adalyn came it was a revelation.”
“We wouldn’t have missed her birth for the world. It was really important we were there for every moment. We wanted it to be as close to a natural birth as possible, for us both to experience it as if I was the one having the baby.”
Now, thanks to Rachel’s selflessness, Amanda and Reid may have the chance to have another baby.
Rachel, who is a mother to Adia, seven, Isla, five, and Ike, two, offered to do it once again for them.
She said: “I told Amanda that, in the future, if they ever wanted to do it again, to give Adalyn a brother or sister, I would be willing and able. For them to have a family of their own is more important than my own needs and comforts.”
Amanda said: “I can’t believe she is willing to do this again for us. We haven’t thought about it much, as we are currently focusing on Adalyn, but it is an option for the future. Because Rachel is family, this whole experience has felt like a truly beautiful gift. Throughout Adalyn’s life, we will explain to her the amazing thing her aunt Rachel did for her and for us. She’s sacrificed so much and we will never be able to repay her.”
Here is a story of another surrogate mother.