Melissa O’Hare loves being pregnant. She loves the feeling of life growing inside her. She’s not only a mom of four, she also gives other families the greatest gift of all — life.
There is no doubt that becoming a mom changes you in ways you can’t imagine until you’re in the thick of it. Your passions change, your sleep decreases, and you have to be mindful of exactly what you want to do and be. You have to pursue that thing between diaper changes and school drop offs. After having her twins, Melissa knew in her being exactly what she wanted to be, she wanted to be the vessel to give life to those who aren’t able to birth children on their own.
She doesn’t see this act as selfless. It wasn’t hard for her to “give up” the baby that lived inside her womb for 10 months. She knew in her heart that her body was meant to do this. She knows her ability to carry a baby to term is a gift and she wanted to use her gift to give others the family they yearn for.
Her twins were born in September of 2006 and she thought she was done with biological children — two at once, get it over with in one go. Being pregnant was one of the happiest times in her life. Though she didn’t want more children of her own, she felt a pull toward being pregnant again. At the time, Melissa and her husband were living in Nebraska. The thought of surrogacy crossed her mind and when she looked in to options, she found that Nebraska law was extremely strict, leaving surrogacy basically out of the question.
The family moved to Waco a few years later and she was happy to find that Texas made it far easier for those who wished to have children through a surrogate. Of course, this wasn’t a decision she could make on her own. She had to consider her husband and twins, who were just becoming school-aged. When she first ran the idea by her husband he said, “well that’s just weird!” While Melissa’s heart was telling her surrogacy was her calling, her family was the most important factor. She had to consider all the emotions that would be involved — her own, her family’s, and the family seeking a surrogate.
In 2012, when her twins entered kindergarten, her husband finally gave her the okay to apply to be a surrogate. She found Surrogate Solutions and was so impressed by the agency. She was surprised by how quickly the process moved along, but soon after applying, she was matched with her first family.
Melissa was so excited to become a surrogate. Prior to implanting the eggs, Melissa was put on a mock ovulation cycle to see how her body responded. The nurse told her she couldn’t get pregnant while on the mock cycle, but to her surprise, the nurse was wrong. When she came in to see how she did with the mock cycle, she found out that she was pregnant with her own biological child.
Though she loved being pregnant, she was devastated by the news. She thought she was done with biological children of her own and she wasn’t ready to be a mom once again. She felt sad for the couple that put their faith in her to give them a baby.
During her pregnancy, the owner of Surrogate Solutions, Gayle East, checked in on her constantly. It wasn’t a check-in to see when she would be ready to carry a surrogate pregnancy; it was a check in out of genuine concern. Gayle made such an impression on Melissa. In October of 2013, Melissa’s third and final biological child, Hannah was born. She had a happy and healthy baby girl.
By December, when Hannah was just two months old, Melissa decided to move along with surrogacy. She was matched with her second couple whose original egg donor had fallen through, but the transfer did not take. Melissa didn’t realize how heartbreaking it would be to go through the process with a couple, only to find the pregnancy did not take. She felt as though she was disappointing them, like her body was letting them down. She is happy to report the couple found a third egg donor and was blessed with twins.
Melissa’s adventures in surrogacy and motherhood do not end there. By the time her daughter Hannah was 4 months old, Melissa began to consider adoption. While she began the adoption process, applying to adopt a child from China, she also began the surrogacy process for a new couple.
In February of 2014, she met Courtney and Roger. This couple was special. Courtney had a pull about her, like you just wanted to be in her presence. She made everyone around her feel special, though she had countless friends. Courtney was in her mid-30s when they met and was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Because her ovaries had to be removed as part of her treatment, she was not able to carry a child on her own. Though the first embryo transfer was negative, by July 0f 2014, Melissa was pregnant with Courtney and Roger’s baby. By the following March, Melissa was so happy to give birth to Courtney and Roger’s son, Evan. The feelings at the birth were overwhelming. Melissa felt so happy to be able to give Courtney and Roger the gift of completing their family.
The following February, Melissa received the news that a baby in China was ready for her family to adopt and they hoped this would complete her own family. They made plans to adopt their baby, who they named Leah. Melissa was overjoyed.She wanted to give Leah a better life than the one she would have if she stayed in China. Plans were made to pick up Leah from China but Melissa received the devastating call that Leah had passed away. The adoption agent apologized for having to deliver the sad news and promised she would notify the family as soon as another baby was ready for adoption.
Melissa didn’t want another baby, she wanted Leah, the baby they had prepared for and dreamed about. Her nursery was ready, but instead of looking in on their new baby sleeping in her crib, Melissa entered a period of grief though she lost the child she would never know. When their second adoption referral came in, Melissa did not feel the attachment or excitement she felt for Leah. Perhaps she didn’t allow herself to get too attached, for fear the same thing might happen again. She and her husband went back and forth for the full 72-hours they were allotted before deciding to adopt their daughter, who they named Micah.
Melissa continued her strong friendship with Courtney even after Evan’s birth, talking nearly every day, That’s when Melissa began to notice Courtney’s health was declining. When she would ask Courtney, she would respond that everything was okay, but Melissa knew in her gut that it wasn’t. During Evan’s first birthday party, Melissa could see that she wasn’t doing well. Courtney didn’t seem concerned, and changed the subject when Melissa asked about her health, so Melissa tried to believe what Courtney said — everything was fine. It wasn’t fine. By October of 2016, the Cancer spread to Courtney’s liver and she passed away when Evan was just 19 months old.
In witnessing Courtney become a mom before she passed; Melissa saw the importance of surrogacy. She gave Melissa the thing she wanted so badly to have before she died — a chance at motherhood. While Courtney won’t get to see her son grow up, his father has a piece of Courtney every day. He can look at Evan and see Courtney’s features; he can watch him grow up to be like his mom. If not for surrogacy, this wouldn’t be possible.
Three biological children, one adopted child, and one surrogate child later, and Melissa is pregnant again with surrogate child for another family. “I know I can use what God has given me to bless someone,” she says. She wants people to know that becoming a surrogate isn’t something that only crazy people do, it’s a calling and a blessing. She will continue to carry babies until she is unable, whether that means her body is done, or her family is done emotionally. For now, she will continue to do what she loves most — make life.
For more information on surrogacy, visit Surrogate Solutions.