What if you could give a family the ultimate gift? After years of struggling to have children, fighting infertility and having a hysterectomy, Mike and Caroline Simpson found themselves in the hospital, facing those exact issues.
Only two weeks out of an ordeal that cost her the life of her child and almost her own, she would meet with a surrogacy agency.
Concerned with horror stories they had heard about choosing a surrogate, the couple had normal concerns about choosing the gestational carrier. “Would this person get proper nutrition; will they follow doctors order and most importantly, would they be open to a multiple birth?”
The Simpson’s hit the jackpot when they were paired with Hawthorne native, Raeven (Rather) Johnson. A mother of two boys, Johnson explained that she noticed how many people were sharing stories of infertility and the difficulty of conceiving.
“I wanted to help those struggling. I remember hearing about gestational surrogacy so I started doing a little bit of research and found a company called ConvieveAbilities who matches intended parents with gestational surrogates. I knew right away it was something I wanted to do, while I still could,” she explained.
Soon to be mother, Caroline talks openly about the beginning of the journey. “After my hysterectomy, our journey took a new path with me out of the driver’s seat. What had previously been scary and unpredictable began to look more like a real possibility with a surrogate in the mix. It was as if taking me and my unreliable body out of the equation made having children a more likely possibility.”
Johnson was implanted with two embryos’ from the Simpsons.
“As soon as we got the call that Raeven was pregnant, things really changed. Knowing these babies are on the way has been the happiest time of our lives. I’ve loved decorating their room and preparing for them. We’ve loved having baby showers and celebrating with our friends and families and we’ve loved talking about what it’ll be like having two kids. It’s just changed our entire life landscape for the better,” Caroline said.
Johnson explains that she too has enjoyed watching the Simpson’s become first time parents. “The twins I am carrying will be their first and second babies! It has been amazing to watch them go from nervous anticipation, to hesitant optimism, to cautiously excited, to now where they glow and seem to be walking on clouds and the twins continue to grow and develop.”
Helping others comes with a price. Not the financial ones as many think, but the uneducated price of those who do not understand or choose not to hear about the journey. For the parents of the twin girls, people are more open and understanding whereas, Johnson was informative on the questions people ask.
“Is it going to be hard to ‘give up’ the babies.” Is a common question. Johnson simply informs them, “The embryos’ we transplanted were never mine to being with, so it’s not even giving anything ‘up’ as much as it is giving them back.” Anyone that knows Johnson, knows she takes the snickers, eye rolls and comments with a grain of salt. For Mineral County residents, we know, “That is our Raeven.”
The twins are set to be born next Wednesday, April 13, unless they decide to make a surprise appearance into the world. Both the Simpsons along with the grandmother’s will fly into Reno and be in the delivery room when Johnson delivers.
Johnson feels the biggest change she has felt with this experience is her outlook on helping others and how she wants to continue to find ways (even if unconventional) to help others until she no longer can.
The Simpsons are grateful for the two small bundles that Johnson will be delivering to them and though Caroline explains that she is not a phone person, she will stay in contact with Johnson through social media and Skype.
Johnson sums up her experience with the simple answer: “I think this world needs more people who are willing to help each other and not just themselves. My hope is that my children also see this as a simple act of helping others and choose to be that kind of person whenever they can. There is such a sense of people and comfort in my heart that is hard to describe because of this experience.”