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‘Our friendship became family’ Northeast Ohio friends share surrogacy journey

When Brigitte Baum learned that her friend Hue Deluca was having trouble conceiving, she asked herself what she could do.

CLEVELAND — From the beginning of their relationship in 2008, Kourtney and Hugh DeLuca knew they wanted to one day start a family together. As one of her 36 cousins ​​and the son of a woman with nine siblings, the importance of family has always been a top priority for Courtney.

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Courtney’s wife, Hugh DeLuca, said: “I fell in love with her because of how much she loved her family. He knows my family is everything.” “So we were convinced that having our own was very important.”

The couple married in 2010 and had been trying to have a baby for about a year by the summer of 2012. Out of luck, they sought out a reproductive endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic. They underwent three IUIs, none of which were successful, and then transitioned to in vitro fertilization. Hue got pregnant during the fourth round of IVF, but it didn’t last long.

“Unfortunately, all my pregnancies were short-lived, so I’ve probably been pregnant five times,” Hue said. “I think I’ve stopped counting at least 10 IVF’s in total.”

The long journey of doctor visits, treatments, and flickers of hope, and the devastating loss that followed weighed heavily on the couple’s minds, and their journey was mostly quiet, he said.

“More than that, we pretty much just put our heads down and just put our heads down and told each other, ‘Take the next step, take the next step, what’s next?'” the court said. .

“Each time I had a miscarriage, I remembered everything I was doing and was blaming myself,” Hugh said. “It’s a really terrible thing to say to yourself when you’re feeling so defeated.”

The couple went through the process of qualifying for adoption, but the pandemic put the plans on hold. They also started talking about considering surrogacy options.

Hue remembers not only March 2020 when the pandemic began, but also her last miscarriage. At that point, she remembers being prepared to accept the reality that perhaps their vision of being a parent and having children might need to change.

“I think we were just going to say, ‘You know what? If it’s just Kourtney and I, it’s just Kourtney and I,” Hugh said.

It was a dear friend, Brigitte Baum, who offered support throughout the couple’s struggles. Bridget and Hugh recall their first meeting and how they instantly hit it off during a job interview. Bridget, who moved to Ohio from Chicago with her husband and 1-year-old Fiona, met Hugh at her first job interview in the area.

“We hit it off right away and had a 90 minute conversation that was supposed to be about 30 minutes,” Bohm said. “And we just kept talking and kept talking, and it was very comfortable. It was also personal, but we had the same perception when it came to work.”

As the conversation continued, Bridget and Hugh laughed as they remembered a corporate recruiter poked his head in during an interview and asked if Bridget needed water for the outdoor meter. Bridget eventually took over her job, and Hue made it his mission to show her around Northeast Ohio and make her feel at home in her new surroundings.

Brigitte and Hue became closer and their family became closer. Bridget noticed how natural and loving Hue was to her daughter Fiona.

“This was amazing. You don’t always know how your friends will interact with their children, some care more about them than others. And she said, ‘I I was like, ‘I’m going to take her and walk around with her,'” Bridget said of Hue. “She did whatever Fiona wanted, and Fiona found it right away.”

As friendships between women grew, so did Bridget’s family. Bridgette and her husband Scott welcomed her daughter Lana into the world.

“When I was pregnant with Lana, I knew it all too well. I knew this was what you wanted,” Bridget said. “And I wanted to be very sensitive about how you feel about it and how I can share it with you.”

“I think you were also trying to be modest about it, but you were happy when we both were able to express happiness,” the friend said of his excitement. Hue said, recalling feeling a little sad to learn that she seemed hesitant to do so. her pregnancy.

Bridget, who is at her home in Pepper Pike with her husband Scott, recalls how grateful she was to have two successful pregnancies with her daughters.

“When I decided to start my first try, I felt very comfortable. “I mean, it’s been a really nice, smooth experience with the pregnancy, so I was really comfortable and I didn’t get sick.”

After Fiona and Lana, the couple felt their family was complete and would never have more children. But even though she knew her family was over, Bridget felt she wasn’t necessarily done with her pregnancy. In the corner of her mind, there was conflict with her best friend.

“I was reminded many times that Hue wanted a child and it didn’t happen,” Bridget said. “They’ve been through a lot, and we were pretty candid about their experiences at the time, including considering adoption and going through the whole IVF process. I always had that feeling in my heart, ‘I wish I could do something, but can I do anything?

Bridget continued to consider the idea of ​​acting as a surrogate mother for Hue, and passed the idea on to her husband one evening as she was getting ready for bed.

Mr. Scott said about his wife’s idea, “I thought this was the best gift I could give to someone.Far from advancing the idea, I was proud that she even thought of it.” Talking about his wife’s idea rice field. “We thought this would be a great lesson for children too, although they may not realize it now, about being selfless. It would be a great lesson for them if they could actually see it.”

“In that regard, he was really my biggest confidant. And I was forever grateful that he was really supportive. ‘So what effect does that have on us?’ It wasn’t something like that. Or what effect does it have on me? said Bridget. “He didn’t see the negative side of it at all. He was just like, ‘Wow, that would be really cool and Hue and the court really deserve it.'”

After about a year of careful consideration, Bridget brought the idea to Hue over lunch one day.

“After all, I felt close enough to her that she trusted me and said, ‘Yes, I want you to do this,’ or ‘No, I don’t want you to do this.’ I don’t want to, and here’s why.'”

“In the middle of eating guacamole, she said, ‘Have you ever thought about surrogacy? “So, would you let me do it?”

The experience was made even more surreal by the timing of Bridget and Hugh’s conversation.

“It was the same week that we were looking into surrogacy and reaching out to some agencies, the same week that Bridget was reaching out to have lunch,” Court said.

While Hue and Court were thrilled and grateful for the offer, they also recognized the impact and potential risks this would have on the Baum family.

“I met with Scott and tried to get him to drop this issue,” Court said. “I tried to say, ‘Scott, look, your wife is important. You have two young girls to take care of. I have to take care of my family too. As you know, we are great friends and never want anything to happen to Bridget. ”

But Bridget and Scott were undaunted and wanted to support the DeLucas as they expanded their family. Ultimately, both families decided to go through the surrogacy process together. The process was extensive, involving multiple therapy sessions, questionnaires, physical exams, and, most uncomfortable for the group, a “heartbreaking” worst-case scenario conversation with a lawyer.

“Essentially, you have to tell the two lawyers representing both parties, let’s paint the worst possible situation,” Hue said. “So the questions we had to answer together or collectively were pretty dark.”

“I think that whole process brought Hue and me together. “And obviously bringing Scott and Bridget in was kind of the same thing. We suffered together, we got through together. bottom.”

Families also want to help other families facing fertility challenges, start dialogues and conversations about surrogacy and families, and share the process and how it goes with others. I was. With the blessing of both families, Bridget began writing about her surrogacy journey. Post to your blog to record your shared experiences.

Ultimately, the process was successful, and Bridget was able to conceive Hue and Kourt’s babies. From doctor appointments to “too much information” text message updates, Bridget and Hugh insist they never had “too much”, but Bridget and Hugh navigate the surrogacy process together. gated.

“It was so special to enjoy that pregnancy and feel connected to having another baby in a world that is connected to me,” Bridget said. Hugh. “I seem to have bonded with him because he’s yours and he’s not mine.

Bridget said the feeling of holding someone else’s baby was “unpredictable”, but the family thanked everyone involved for the smooth process. She told Bridget that she had been pregnant all along, she understood that she was pregnant with Hue and Kourt’s baby, and that she understood what was going on. She said she was able to communicate with her two daughters as well.

When Bridget explained her pregnancy to her daughters, she said, “I’ve never been like, ‘Why won’t he come to my house? And I was really impressed with it, but you know, kids are sometimes so surprised at what they can handle.”

Finally, in January 2023, baby Roman was born, and Hue was always by Bridget’s side, supporting her legs during the birth.

“I will never forget being able to see it,” Hue said of attending his son’s birth. “You know, I was probably one of the first people he saw outside of a doctor.”

“I felt a huge sense of relief. I felt like I did it. I felt that – very proud of us. ‘He’s here,'” Bridget said. “It really felt like this big goal we had for so long had finally been achieved. And when they put the baby on you, I thought, ‘This is it.’ And this is something we’ve been talking about for years.”

Hue and Cote finally have baby Roman after more than a decade of trying. However, their family has grown in many ways, and now the Deluca family counts the Baume family as part of their family too.

Hugh and Bridget also reflect on the power of blog posts along the way and the feedback they’ve received from other women, share their struggles and successes during pregnancy, and ask questions about their own experiences.

“The most life-changing experience I’ve ever had was coming up with it. In fact, women have told me, ‘I wish I had helped my friends, cousins, and sisters like that.’ I didn’t have that perspective,” Hue said. “Some women said, ‘You should consider surrogacy.'”

Now, at her home on the Rocky River in Hue and Cote, she sits alongside Hue’s mother to care for baby Roman, practices tummy time, and greets neighbors during neighborhood walks.

“The first smile you get from him in the day is like brightening up your world, and there’s nothing quite like it,” Court said.

“We make the most of every day we spend with him because it is indeed a gift,” Hue said. “I don’t mean to underestimate the ups and downs of our journey, but meeting him makes it worth it.”

More from Isabel Lawrence on 3News:

Editor’s Note: The video above aired on 3News on May 7, 2023.

https://www.wkyc.com/article/features/northeast-ohio-friends-share-surrogacy-story/95-0a3caa01-aeca-4498-9286-804034ac6653 ‘Our friendship became family’ Northeast Ohio friends share surrogacy journey

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