ANKENY, Iowa -- We typically only hear about celebrities using gestational carriers, a person who carries and delivers a couple's biological baby. But, a metro mom is sharing her story of carrying another woman’s child to let others know it’s a possibility.
With three teens at home, Staci Mason felt her family was complete. She said, "I have a full family. I have more than I can handle with the three that I have." But, that didn't stop her from having babies on the brain few years ago.
Son Ty Mason,19, remembers the day his parents talked to his siblings about it. "I think they just kind of brought it up and said we're having kids for someone else. What do you guys think? We're like that's awesome," he said.
Staci had a family friend living in California. She had never actually met Jamie, but through her parents knew she was struggling to start a family. Jamie was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2009 after losing a baby six weeks into the pregnancy. Mason said, "Jamie and her husband were looking for somebody to help them carry her children. She had harvested her eggs before her hysterectomy, and I just felt led to offer."
"She came home and brought the subject up to me. Over several weeks we talked about the process," said her husband Bryon Mason.
The process took 14 months of talking about logistics, looking into legal issues and preparing Staci's body for pregnancy. She said, "It was 13 years since I was pregnant, and I was older, so it was different."
She agreed to be a gestational carrier, which meant she would carry the couple's biological baby, or in this case babies. She said, "Then finding out you're pregnant with twins and being in your late 30's. I was like, oh my goodness, this is going to be quite a ride."
In July 2012, she delivered twins Carson and Hannah at Mary Greeley Medical Center’s Birthways in Ames. In a hospital video, Dad Ian says, “I can't imagine a gift anymore priceless than what you've given.”
Mason said it wasn’t hard to give the babies to their parents. “When it was time to deliver them and give them into the arms of their parents, I was completely fine with it. I was just tired of being pregnant for one thing, but just also very excited for Jamie," she said.
Mason kept a journal during her entire journey and started writing a book called “Helping Jamie: My Journey as a Gestational Carrier” right after she delivered the babies. It came out late last year. She said, “I want to bring awareness to an issue of infertility, motherhood, uterine cancer. Those are all the topics we hit in the book, and let people know this is a possibility."
Her husband said, "I was just very proud of her for making the sacrifice and then having the ability to give a family to someone else."
The twins are now two and a half and doing well on the west coast. Mason's book is available on Amazon and her website www.helpingjamie.com. You can also find it at many area libraries. Mason leaves copies when she speaks there and to area service groups.