Editor’s note: Last week E-T reported upon Carrie and Jonathan Normand’s desire to increase their family through surrogacy, a costly endeavor that was beginning to look impossible as the two high school teachers struggled with the financial burdens of such an undertaking.
The Normands had located a surrogacy agency, but expenses were a major concern. Carrie began to consider trying to become pregnant with a third child herself.
“There were a lot of times I had thought I would try to carry a baby myself,” she said. “I wanted that so much for Coach, but I knew it was not a smart thing.”
Jonathan felt the weight of Carrie’s resolve and the risks she could be placing upon her health.
“We had asked all of Carrie’s doctors about the likelihood of her body being able to carry children at the conclusion of her treatments, and that was when one of them strongly suggested the surrogacy route,” he said.
It was to be a sad event that would eventually lead to the safer option.
“A year after we had checked into surrogacy, my grandmother passed away,” Carrie said. “We received a check from her estate that was the exact amount of money needed to make the surrogacy happen. Two days later, we called the agency.”
The Normands pored over files of prospective carriers until they finally settled upon Stacey Granhold, a mother of three who had previously given birth to a set of twins for another couple.
“We set our first meeting for February,” Carrie said. “It was like meeting someone for a first date. You are nervous and hope they like you and that you like them. There was a lot of nervous laughter."
Jonathan felt it was a perfect match when he and Carrie met Granhold.
“I felt very comfortable with her for a number of reasons, but one unique thing I noticed about her was a constant smile on her face, and her love for her own kids was very apparent,” he said. “From that point on, Stacey has become an answer to our prayers.”
Granhold subsequently agreed upon a summer implantation to ensure a spring birth for what has turned out to be twins for Carrie and Jonathan.
"The babies are due April 6,” Carrie reported. “We implanted two and both took. But the doctor said he will probably take them a month early.”
Granhold has adopted a philosophical approach to her function in the growth of the Normand brood. She likened her role in the entire process as one of looking after another person’s child.
“The easiest way for me to explain the way I feel about these babies—and I've said this before—is like being at the playground,” she said. “Any human with any sort of healthy emotional well-being looks after other kids at the playground—even when they're not yours.”
And she is comfortable with entrusting the two lives she will have carried for nearly 40 weeks into another family’s care.
“Of course, I'm emotionally attached,” she said. “I'm completely responsible for their health and well-being now. I want them to thrive and grow. But they're not genetically mine. They've never belonged to me. I'm just taking care of them for a little while and will eventually hand over a couple of beautiful little babies to a family that will love them forever.”
In the meantime, the Normands and their two older children are preparing for the arrival of the twins sometime in March.
"We’ve already got the cribs up,” Carrie said. “We just got lucky with a guy on Craig’s List who was selling his twins’ stuff.”
But there is a practical matter that Carrie admits is causing a little drama in an otherwise idyllic situation. She and Jonathan have agreed to keep the gender of their babies a mystery until their delivery next spring, and choosing names for their little ones has become a bit of a problem.
“We can’t agree on one single name,” she admitted. “I guess we could name them Miracle One and Miracle Two.”
But no two distinct names could possibly encompass the entire story of the creation of the babies soon to join the Stephenville stage. Carrie acknowledges a large amount of their fortune has been a grace-filled one.
"My main thing with it all is when God wants to open a door for you, he will,” she said. “There is never a doubt that this has all been God opening doors for us and for all of our children.”