A Maine woman bears her own grandson when pregnancy is ruled out for her daughter due to an illness.
© Family photo
Madden Hebert rests with his mom, Angel Hebert, right, and his grandmother, Linda Sirois. Sirois carried the baby for her daughter, who has a heart condition
Madden Hebert is a typical week-old baby -- "eating like a champ and he doesn't fuss too much," according to his mother.
But there's nothing typical about how he came about.
Last week, Madden's grandmother gave birth to him.
"It was all pretty simple as far as I was concerned," said Linda Sirois, 49, of Madawaska, who carried and delivered Madden because her daughter, Angel Hebert, had a heart condition that meant it would be unsafe for her to get pregnant.
Sirois said she has let her daughter know for years that she would become a surrogate mother for her if a doctor suggested that she not become pregnant.
Hebert, 25, of Presque Isle, said she and husband Brian Hebert, 29, got that word last summer.
"It was pretty disappointing and we were pretty upset about it," Hebert said. "But we kind of had an idea that it was a possibility and, all along, my mother was saying, 'I'm here and I can carry for you.' I guess we didn't really take her seriously."
So Hebert decided to find out if her mother really meant it.
"I called her last summer and I'm like, 'So, you know that offer you've been offering? Is that offer still on the table?' " she said.
Her mother gave her answer by immediately calling fertility clinics around the area. Most rejected Sirois because of her age, she said, but finally the Reproductive Science Center in Lexington, Mass., agreed as long as Sirois passed some tests.
She did and became pregnant the first time her daughter's egg, fertilized with Brian Hebert's sperm, was implanted.
Sirois, the mother of four before Madden, including twins, said the pregnancy may have been her easiest, with no morning sickness or complications.
"I didn't have any young children around -- my youngest are in college -- so that made it easier," she said.
Madden was finally delivered on Aug. 13, by C-section, weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces.
"It was awesome," said Hebert, who was in the delivery room with her mother. "It was an awesome, awesome experience."
Sirois said the rest of the family, as well as friends in Madawaska, were uniformly supportive.
"I had so many well wishes and encouragement, even strangers in the community," she said.
Sirois noted that it's not unique for a grandmother to be a surrogate for her own grandchild -- she read of one 60-year-old doing it -- and the fertility center had a couple of similar arrangements, so the staff didn't treat it as very unusual.
Sirois herself has a pretty straightforward view of it.
"I just saw it as I was babysitting for a few months," she said. "It was their child all along. It was just a room for rent."