our bondfor life
When a pregnancy went badly wrong for Jamie Pursley, shefeared she would never have children of her own. Then hercousin made her the most generous o
er a woman canmake for another. They tell their stories to Abigail Pesta
The stunning proposal came onChristmas Eve. My cousin KristenBroome offered to carry a baby for me,since I no longer had a womb of my own.She wanted no compensation, nothingin return – she simply wanted to help.She made the offer to my husband andme, her own husband by her side, at ourhome in North Carolina in December2011 – the same month I had lost my own child and nearly my own life.
I had been 16 weeks into my firstpregnancy when things had gonetragically wrong. I was 26 years old andstudying to become a primary school-teacher. One morning, I suddenly feltintensely ill after taking a final exam.I remember an all-over pain soextreme, I was unable to move or speak clearly. My professor called an ambu-lance and I was whisked off to hospital.
It turned out I had a conditionno-one had known about: a birth defectthat had resulted in two small uteruses.The baby had grown too big for one of them and the womb had burst, creatingmassive internal bleeding. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was on the verge of dying. A chaplain came to pray over me.I was too out of it to realise she’d beensummoned to give me my last rites.
Hours later I emerged fromsurgery, alive, but with no baby and nouterus. My husband, Jake, was there,along with my parents. Everyone wascrying. I told them, “It’s OK. I saw him,”referring to my baby. During surgery,as my child was being taken out of me,I had seen a vision of my grandfatherholding an infant in a blue blanket. Inthe dream, my grandfather, a man I’ddearly loved and lost, held up my baby to show me, as if to say, “See, he’s
Jamie Pursley (centre)watches as newbornson Liam is tendedto by a nurse.
J I L L K N I G H T