It has been well over a year since I have done an "Inspire Me Session". What is it? Simply put its a session that I gift to a family or person because something about their story inspires me. When I was emailed by a lovely lady named Shannon about her friend, it got the ball rolling on this one.
Shannon emailed me to book a newborn session for her friend Lindsey. She was expecting her baby by surrogate in November and wanted to give this amazing gift of photography to her. She went into great detail about her story and it brought a tear to my eye. I immediately agreed and offered to cover the cost. Long story short, I also figured out pretty quickly (through the power of facebook), that my husbands cousin Cindy was carrying a baby as a surrogate...what are the chances? By random coincidence, I saw Cindy at Winnipeg Winter Club that same week (kids where all in sports there) and I asked if she knew Lindsey. Sure enough...that was her baby on board.
So, here is part of the email that Lindsey sent to me chronicling her story. Its a tear jerker...just a warning! (thank you Lindsey for letting me share this).
I am not sure how much you know about me, or how much either Cindy or Shannon has shared, but both this child (who will be arriving shortly)and my older son, Rhys, are complete miracles! (I know every parent thinks that, but statistically it's really true for us!) I was diagnosed at age 24 with Stage 4 terminal cancer, and was given 5 years to live - somehow I beat the odds. Three years later, in 2008, my son Rhys was born. I was never supposed to have children - they didn't think I would ever be able to after all the surgeries and intense chemotherapy - almost 10 surgeries and 13 rounds of chemo to date. Somehow (even despite mandatory measures to stop it from happening) I was pregnant and was able to endure the pregnancy until the 7 month mark, at which time I had rare complications and Rhys was born early and spent 6 weeks in the NICU. He is a fighter, like his Mom and he is now 9 years old and quite a little character! I think one of the best parts of expecting our second child is how excited Rhys is to be a big brother! Unfortunately my pregnancy with Rhys caused my cancer to relapse, and I had to endure treatments and surgery but I have been able to make a full recovery to this point and have been cancer-free since then - 9 years! Because I became ill, the doctors advised me to not carry any more children and we have tried both avenues of adoption and now more recently, IVF through surrogacy to build our family. My husband and I have been together, dating or married, since I was 18 - that's ahem ahem 18 years...wow. We've had our ups and downs, and certainly have had a life of intense challenges and of course many amazing moments, but that's what we've been dealt!
The decision to start the surrogacy process began 4 years ago. It took that long to do the paperwork and medical work involved. Then, Cindy (along with her husband and two kids) carried Nolan for 42 weeks. To me, everyone involved are amazing, but especially Cindy.
Baby Nolan, you are one lucky boy to be surrounded by such loving people.