A 51-year-old mother in North Dakota with multiple sclerosis has given birth to her own granddaughter after serving as a surrogate for her daughter.
Sherri Dickson, already the mother of three grown children, agreed to carry her daughter Mandy Stephens’ child after the 32-year-old and her husband endured years of fertility struggles, according to Good Morning America.
Stephens, 32, and her husband really wanted a baby but struggled to get pregnant after marrying in 2013. She got pregnant after turning to in vitro fertilization, and all seemed well – a 20-week ultrasound looked perfect – but after going into early labor, Stephens lost her baby boy, who she named Theo.
“There’s so much excitement,” Stephens said. “You carry the baby for so long, and then it’s all ripped apart and taken away. Your whole world stops.”
Dickson says it was very difficult to watch her daughter go through the pain of Theo’s death.
“Watching your child lose a child is the definition of sadness,” Dickson told GMA.
Doctors warned Stephens that a premature birth could happen again, though a procedure might have allowed her to carry her own baby. Unsure whether she should try again, adopt or find a surrogate, Stephens’ mom stepped in.
“I decided that if they needed somebody to carry their child, I would volunteer,” Dickson said. But there were some things to consider.
Dickson is 51 and her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis could have made it difficult for her to carry a pregnancy. But since her condition was in remission, a pregnancy could help keep it at bay.
After two rounds of in vitro, last November Dickson learned she was pregnant with her daughter and son-in-law’s baby. She said being pregnant was easy, it was giving birth that was hard.
“The delivery at 51 was way harder than the delivery at 33 with my last baby,” she said. But the baby girl, born last month, was totally worth it.
“There are times I look at … [the baby] and say, ‘We did that, you know?’ We gave her what she wants. Not that you ever make up for a baby you lost but you give someone that hope, you know?”