Rebekah Bragdon Adamson had surgery aged 20 to remove part of her bladder after suffering from interstitial cystitis.
But it wasn’t until 14 years later that she discovered that it meant having a baby could kill her.
Now 34, Rebekah, from Florida, USA, and husband Bobby, 38, were devastated.
But her younger sister, Brianna Bragdon, 28, from Maine, USA, kindly stepped up and offered to act as the couple’s surrogate – and now she is seven months pregnant with their child.
Financial analyst, Rebekah, said: ‘I cried for three days when I found out I couldn’t have a baby.
‘Nobody told me when I had the surgery that I wouldn’t be able to have children.
‘I can get pregnant, I just wouldn’t make it through because the baby would be pressing against the bladder and the chance of infections would give us a very low chance of making it through.’
Knowing that someone else would have to carry their baby, the couple were unsure about their surrogate being a stranger.
Rebekah added: ‘My sister has a three-year-old son and doesn’t want any more children.
‘Her pregnancy was smooth so we mentioned to her that she would have been the perfect person because the baby would be carried by family.
‘We didn’t think it would actually ever happen then she said she would think about it and make sure it was right for her.
‘We knew it was a lot to ask but she came back and said she had strong feelings that she wanted to be the one to carry the baby.’
Brianna, mum to three-year-old Jack, said she was delighted to help her sister and the whole family are looking forward to meeting the baby girl at the end of August, including Bobby’s two children from a previous marriage, Annabelle, 8, and Alistair, 6.
Brianna, who is training to become an ultrasound technician, said: ‘I had a very easy pregnancy with my son and I love my sister and would do anything for her.
‘I knew I wanted to do it I just had to pray on it for a bit so it took me a couple of months to make the decision.”
Rebekah added: ‘I always wanted children.
‘I got very lucky by marrying a man who already has two children so we have kids around but I wanted to complete our family with one of our children.
‘We are excited but it’s also very scary, especially putting my sister through a pregnancy.
‘Women go through pregnancy to have a child, my sister is doing this to get a niece at the end.
‘If there are any complications, I don’t want to put her in harms way because she’s my little sister.’
So far, the pregnancy is going well and the couple are enjoying watching Brianna’s bump grow.
‘She’s a beautiful pregnant woman,’ Rebekah said.
‘We tell her all the time that it’s extremely amazing that she’s willing to do this for us and bringing her niece into the world.
‘We’re so appreciative of her and I can’t imagine my life without her.’
The trio have been teaching their young children about the concept of surrogacy with books and Rebekah believes her nephew will have a very close relationship with his cousin.
Rebekah said: ‘She’s in her second trimester now and when we planned this Covid 19 wasn’t happening so we thought her little boy would be at school but now she’s looking after an active three-year-old full time as well as being pregnant.’
Brianna added: ‘Jack is young enough to not think that there isn’t anything weird about it so he’s the perfect age.
‘I’m excited for my sister and excited to not be pregnant anymore.
‘I’ll be a big part of my niece’s life. I can’t wait to meet her.’
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