updated 6 Oct 2012, 10:07
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Tue, Sep 11, 2012
The New Paper
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Grandma gives birth to own grandchild

Setting foot in a hospital again, Emily and Mike Jordan couldn't help feeling anxious.

More than two years ago, at age 29, Mrs Jordan was diagnosed with cervical cancer. But just before she was to undergo a hysterectomy (operation to remove the uterus), she was told that she was pregnant.

Faced with saving her own life or their unborn child's, the young couple made the excruciating decision to go ahead with the operation, though it meant losing the baby and forfeiting any chance of them having their own children.

Or so they thought.

Last week, she and Mr Jordan had come from their suburban Chicago home to the labour and delivery department of a downtown hospital to realise the dream they thought was lost - to become parents, though not in the way they, or most people, would have imagined.

Alongside them that day was Mrs Jordan's mother, Ms Cindy Reutzel - a fit, silver-haired 53-year-old grandmother whose profile revealed a round belly. A pregnant belly.

She was about to give birth to her grandchild, AP reported.

Months earlier, when doctors shared the good news that they had been able to keep Mrs Jordan's ovaries intact, Ms Reutzel immediately made the offer.

She asked: "What if I carried your baby for you?"

The Jordans didn't take it too seriously at first.

Said Mrs Jordan, who works in hospital administration: "We didn't really think that was a realistic option."

It turned out, though, that it wasn't really that far-fetched after all, particularly for a young grandmother in good health, like Ms Reutzel.

After a process that included psychological evaluation and hormonal manipulation to prepare their bodies, Dr Helen Kim, director of the in vitro fertilisation programme at the University of Chicago, implanted Ms Reutzel's uterus with an embryo created with an egg from Mrs Jordan and her husband's sperm.

It was not an easy process.

Said Ms Reutzel, who lives in Chicago and is executive director at a medical foundation: "The thought of Emily and Mike not being able to have children just broke my heart.

"I wanted Emily to have that connection with another human being like I had with her."

Admittedly, Ms Reutzel was worried about the physical toll pregnancy might take on her, though her body handled it better than expected.

She also wondered how well she'd bounce back from a Caesarean section. That was how she had delivered her daughter and son, but that had been three decades ago.

Humour helped. Mr Jordan often teased his mother-in-law each time they'd take her to dinner or do something nice for her.

"Are we even yet?" he'd ask. "Not yet," she'd reply, laughing.

In truth, they knew there'd really be no way to repay this kind of gesture.

Said Mrs Jordan: "This is a continuation of everything that she has done her entire life for me, which is to make sure that I have the best life possible."

All they could do, they said, was to promise to raise their baby as best they could. And that was enough for Ms Reutzel.

Said the grandma: "I know I gave a gift. But I'm also getting so much in return."

Last week, a few days after Mrs Jordan's 32nd birthday, daughter sat next to mother, holding hands in the delivery room. And little Elle Cynthia Jordan was born.

"She looks just like you! She looks just like you!"

Mrs Jordan shouted, running from the delivery room to introduce their newborn to her husband.

Ms Reutzel is recovering well. She even said she'd consider doing it again.

The grandma said, with tears in her eyes: "When I watch both of them hold that baby and look into her face, it's like everything I could have imagined wanting for them - better than I could have imagined. This is what it was all about for me."

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readers' comments
The lady so beautiful ... her husband very lucky siah .... got a MIL to carry and deliver his baby .... so he can enjoy 3P and still have more babies at home .... *envy* :D
Posted by Small Fly on Tue, 11 Sep 2012 at 21:05 PM
Great deed indeed. Very touching.
Posted by maipenrai on Tue, 11 Sep 2012 at 17:17 PM
What a great idea for Singapore to improve our fertility rate! ... The younger women can continue to climb the corporate ladder and also look slim while her mum is carrying her baby for her. No maternity leave needed too ... so all employers should be really happy it. Haha!
Posted by mikeyyyy on Tue, 11 Sep 2012 at 15:51 PM

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