Sunday’s Frederick (Md.) News-Post carried the story of Kristen and Adam Jagadowski and Jennifer Preston, who is carrying a baby for the couple. The Jagadowskis attend the Rosemont Grace Brethren Church (Carl Baker, pastor) in Martinsburg, W. Va. and Kristen is the daughter of Jerry and Linda Michael. (Jerry serves on the board of the Grace Brethren Investment Foundation and Linda has been involved with Women of Grace on the national level.)
To see the complete story from the Frederick News-Post, click here.
HAGERSTOWN — From the easy days of childhood, playing house and mommies with her best friend, Kristen Jagodowski knew she wanted to be a mother. She and Jennifer Preston talked about how many children they would have; how many would be boys and how many girls.
When you’re young, it’s easy to believe childhood dreams can become reality. But then you grow up and when you get there, find reality is not always so easy.
Kristen, 26, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as an infant. Doctors told her parents she probably wouldn’t live long enough to have children…
…Working with Dr. Melissa Esposito, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist, the couple opted for in vitro fertilization. Before the process could begin, Esposito wanted to confer with Kristen’s CF specialist the possible health risks of pregnancy for Kristen.
“It was a big no. That was a rough day,” said Adam of learning Kristen could not carry a pregnancy.
“That phone call was the worst of my life, so far,” said Kristen. “That’s when the reality hit.”
Esposito suggested using a gestational carrier as an alternative. A GC is a woman who volunteers to carry a pregnancy for someone who cannot otherwise carry a pregnancy for herself. A surrogate is someone who donates her egg and then subsequently carries the child.
“At first we shot it down,” said Kristen. “It was uncomfortable for us to ask somebody to carry a baby for us.” Kristen and Adam both have sisters but one was pregnant and the other had recently given birth, “so that was out of the question.”
‘A gift from God’
Kristen and Jennifer are still best friends, Jennifer, 26, is married and has two sons, ages 2 and 4, and works for Capitol One. She was a bridesmaid in Kristen’s wedding and though Jennifer now lives in Richmond, Va., they talk regularly.
“It was almost exactly a month after I got the phone call from Dr. Esposito that I got the call from Jennifer,” said Kristen. “I was telling her we were considering adoption and just catching her up on everything. She was on the way to pick up her kids and said, ‘I’ll have to call you back.’
Later that night, when the two talked, Jennifer offered to be their GC. “I knew she was having problems. When she told me there was no chance she could carry a child of her own, I knew how hard that was for her,” said Jennifer, noting she had already discussed the possibility with her own husband…
… The baby is due in February and except for occasional heartburn, Jennifer said it’s like her other pregnancies.
“I’ve learned good ways to (tell people about the pregnancy),” she said. “I tell them ‘I have a friend that is not able to have kids’ instead of ‘I’m pregnant but it’s not mine.’ Most people think it’s an awesome thing to do.”