MOUNT VERNON — For Lori and Scott McKeever, this Valentine’s Day could bring a whole new love into their lives. From the start of their marriage in 2011, Lori, 26, and Scott, 27, have been eager to start a family.
Lori was born with congenital heart disease and said she had undergone three open heart surgeries by the time she was 6 years old and received a pacemaker in 2004. Last February, doctors decided to replace Lori’s pacemaker. After doctors did a routine heart test, Scott and Lori were given some devastating news, that they should avoid getting pregnant for the sake of both Lori and her future baby’s health.
“We had been trying for a year and a half at that point … it was a very big shock because neither one of us was expecting that. My cardiologist had always encouraged me up to that point that I would be able to carry a pregnancy and he never once told me not to avoid it,” said Lori.
Lori said the couple looked toward adoption after receiving the news, and even researched foster care options.
“What held us back from that was the classes … it was so hard to work it around our work schedules, and we wanted our own biological child. I wanted a baby … I wanted to experience a pregnancy, even if it wasn’t me that was having the baby,” said Lori.
Enter Lindsay Wertz, 22, Lori’s cousin. Lindsay said she first heard Lori’s news from her mother, Lori’s aunt.
“I had always thought that surrogacy would be something that I’d like to do eventually. I thought it was a neat thing to do for people, I just never thought I’d get to do it for family. That makes it twice as good,” said Lindsay.
“When I heard about their situation, I knew right away I wanted to do it. There was no question; I was really excited to start this,” said Lindsay.
Currently, Lindsay works full time as a housekeeper, and plans to go to college eventually. She said this new experience has brought their family closer together, and they’ve had the full support of their family from day one. In May of 2013, Lindsay, Lori and Scott decided to go ahead with the surrogacy plan. Funds have been donated by family and friends to support the couple; in addition they have held bake sales and a yard sale.
Since June of 2013, Lori, Scott and Lindsay have been moving forward with faith and careful planning. To begin with, the three had to go through blood work, counseling, medical tests and more just to see if they were mentally and physically prepared for the undertaking. Lori said most of the procedures have been done at Ohio Reproductive Medicine, Riverside Methodist Hospital and Knox Community Hospital.
After testing and careful consideration, Lindsay and Lori began hormone injections in December to prepare for the egg retrieval and transfer. Lori had her egg retrieval Jan. 24, where doctors were able to get nine healthy eggs, which eventually went down to two fertilized embryos, which were transferred into Lindsay on Monday, Jan. 27.
“I haven’t had any side effects. They told me to stay at home and to rest the day after, that was about it,” said Lindsay. “So far it’s been a really smooth process, I’m counting on it staying that way.”
As for next steps, Lori, Scott and Lindsay go to the doctor today and Monday to monitor Lindsay’s hormone levels. If they’re high, there is a good chance she could be pregnant with “Baby M.” Lori and Scott have picked out names, and Lindsay has chosen middle names for both a boy or a girl. If it’s twins, Scott told Lori to face the fact that she wouldn’t mind having twin girls. Above all, they stress that they just want a healthy baby.
For more information or to support “Project Baby M” visit www.giveforward.com and search for “Project Baby M.” “Like” the McKeever’s Facebook page by searching “Project Baby M” and continue following their journey at projectbabym.blogspot.com.