Surgical Tech Carries Child for Cancer Survivor – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
The dream of raising a family was not easy for Erica and Richard Gray.
Seven years ago, at the age of 27, Erica took an annual Pap smear.
Her doctor discovered some abnormal cells and called on Thanksgiving.
“I kind of knew something wasn’t great, and she let me know, ‘You have stage three cervical cancer,” Gray said.
Gray discussed her options with an oncologist. In the end, they both decided that a hysterectomy was their best option.
“I obviously knew this would affect my chances of having children, which was sure to be a difficult pill to swallow. My health was most important right now, ”said Gray.
Undeterred, the Grays spent the better half of the next decade looking for someone to carry their child.
It’s a search that unexpectedly brought her back to the Medical City oncology department, where a surgical technologist overheard Gray’s doctor talk about her struggle to find a replacement.
“I thought, ‘I’ve always wanted to do that,” said Kasia Birdwell.
The texts were exchanged and the strangers planned to meet for dinner in August 2019.
The rest is history.
With two of her own children at home, Birdwell said she always had easy pregnancies.
And after seeing a co-worker become a surrogate mother, she had a desire to do the same.
“There’s a lot to go through. I mean, she asserts her body a lot for someone else. And above all about everything she wants to achieve in life, in work, in nursing school and in her two own children and only cares about her own family. Thinking of someone else’s family means the world to us, ”said Gray.
COVID-19 made their already unique situation difficult.
Their first embryo transfer was canceled because of the pandemic and the Grays couldn’t be there as doctors first listened to their baby’s heartbeat.
When Birdwell carried her son, she did her best to FaceTime, text, and keep them as close to pregnancy as possible.
“It’s been a great trip. It’s a different connection than you could ever explain. It’s more than just having a friend or a best friend, you know. I had your precious cargo with me for nine months and it was us brought so close, said Birdwell.
Once strangers, said Gray, women were now as close as sisters.
Even so, she said there were times when it was difficult to watch someone else carry her child. But she is forever grateful to Birdwell for helping them raise a family.
Richard Edwin Gray V entered the world on March 4th at 10:34 pm in Medical City Dallas.
He was placed in the arms of his mother, father, and eventually the woman who carried him.
Gray said he would grow up knowing her as Aunt Kasia.
“I hope women see that it is possible. Again, it may not be the exact story you imagined, but it ends exactly how it should,” Gray said.