Read the story on The New York Time’s Lens Blog: http://nyti.ms/1eJ2qYG

In December 2011 Jamie Pursley, a then 26-year-old UNC Charlotte student, was rushed to a Charlotte hospital after suddenly fainting in her professor’s office. Pursley, who was 16 weeks pregnant, had a ruptured uterus. In an effort to save Jamie’s life, doctors were forced to remove the 16-week-old baby as well as Pursley’s uterus. Pursley would never be able to carry a child again. In the weeks following the emergency surgery, she was approached by a handful of women who offered to be a gestational carrier for Pursley and her husband Jacob.

An offer from her cousin Kristen Broome became a reality in July 2012 when Jamie and Jacob’s embryo was successfully implanted into Broome’s uterus at a fertility clinic in Charlotte. Broome is a military wife and mother. Broome’s husband Lee is deployed in Afghanistan with the Air Force. For most of her pregnancy she has raised her two-year-old son Hayden by herself.

Broome was an unpaid surrogate and received no financial compensation for carrying the Pursley’s child. The biological parents covered costs related to legal fees, the pregnancy as well as gas money to fund the frequent trips from Broome’s home in Sumter, S.C. to Charlotte, N.C. where the Pursley’s doctor is located.

On the morning of April 6, Jamie and Jacob drove slowly and carefully from the hospital, arriving home with their three-day-old healthy baby boy. “I have to pinch myself sometimes,” Jamie said. “I have to continuously remind myself that it’s all real and that this is not going to be taken away.”