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From Loving Hands
by Louise Pease

Through the nearly 8 years of, first, realizing my own infertility, then having corrective surgery and, finally, searching for adoption success, Tree Marie (now known by many as Jane Peterson) was a wonderful friend, beginning her work with midwifery. (Interestingly, her first baby, our neighbor, Leif, was conceived in October. 1978, the month Tom and I began trying to create our own family.) One day, after the years in which three possible adoptions had fallen through, I met Barb Hoffmann, and her young son, Cole, at the Stevens Point Co-op. As I played with her son, we spoke of children. She asked if I had children. I told her of my struggles. She later decided she would like to be a surrogate mother for us, a decision she shared with Tree, who had been Cole's midwife. Tree knew it was perfect fit. When Tree shared Barb's willingness to have a baby for us I was overjoyed. I never doubted the trueness of Barb's ability to be an excellent surrogate mother for us. Eventually, Tom. too, knew it was perfect. We are eternally grateful to Barb, and to Tree!

Due to her employment as a speech therapist in a Door County school district, Barb requested that the birth take place in the summer, so we targeted the months of September, October, and November, 1985 for conception. When we missed September, and weren't successful in October, we were left with November. When we had to turn around in a freezing rain storm, we were left thinking, maybe next year. But the roads dried up, we got to Sturgeon Bay, and, miraculously, Barb got pregnant! (Those of us that are infertile have a particularly hard time believing it can be this simple.)

Thus began the joy of getting ready, loving the experience of sharing Barb's advancing pregnancy, with its prenatal, and birth classes, etc., all of which we celebrated deeply with Barb and Tree, and all our fine friends having babies in that summer of 1986. We were delirious with the joy of creating family, of knowing that we were, after all those years, an integral part of all that creating family involves.

Barb went into labor during Ellen's Blessing Way (a celebration for our neighbor and friend who was due in a few weeks with her first born). He was born 20 days later, they named him Jackson and remains Morgan's very best friend. After Barb arrived at our house, we spent the rest of evening talking, good friends forever, contractions incorporated into conversation. At midnight, with full dilation, the birth became the whole conversation. My sister, Nancy, arrived which became especially precious when Cole, then 6, woke up, and became worried about his mom. Tree, with Barb Achten assisting, very smoothly "caught” a precious little Morgan at 2:00 on the morning of August 8th. Tree has always said her favorite part of the birth was the moment he came out and Barb looked at me and said “Oh look Louise, you have a baby boy”.

It seemed, a lot like magic. There is nothing, nothing, like falling in love with one's children. Gratefulness adds to gratefulness. When Morgan was 4 days old, Barb, who had so generously shared her nurturing body and soul, her wisdom, even her fine breast milk, terminated her parental rights, and I became an official, on the birth certificate, mother. Once again I was, I am, amazed at how smoothly it flowed.

When Morgan had his first birthday we were camping, even in the same big tent, with Barb and Cole. We all woke up at 2:00 in the morning and remembered that night one year before. That morning Barb, with huge generosity and endless warmth, said she'd like to have another baby for us. On June 26, 1988, on her son Cole's 8th birthday, Barb gave birth to our second golden boy, Broegy, again beautifully, expertly guided into the world by the loving hands of Tree Marie. We thank you.

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