Eric and Kelly Hansen's quest to have a baby began with two painful failed pregnancies and ended with two lifelong friendships and a beautiful baby, Greta.
Kelly Hansen underwent menopause early, and knew she couldn't have a baby without assistance. A close friend, Laurie Shipe-Zane, wanted to help, so she donated eggs to be fertilized and implanted in Hansen.
Hansen's first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. She became pregnant again, and was going into the third trimester when she again miscarried.
Hansen, 36, said the loss she felt was almost too much to bear.
"The baby died probably a couple of hours before he was born," she said.
But Hansen and her husband decided they weren't ready to give up on having a family. They had already begun the adoption process when another friend came forward with a surprise.
A Friend in Need
Amy Behrhorst, 35, was a physician's assistant in an emergency clinic in Old Snowmass, Colo., when she met Hansen, who was working there as an administrative assistant.
Behrhorst had been thinking for a long time that she might suggest carrying a baby for Hansen. Finally, she did it.
"It took me about three years to make up my mind," Behrhorst said. "But I wanted to do this for Kelly."
Behrhorst said she didn't think she could give up a baby if she had donated the egg, but she felt that she could be a surrogate mom if the egg came from someone else.
When Behrhorst told Hansen she would carry her baby using Shipe-Zane's eggs and Eric's sperm, they both cried. Then they told Shipe-Zane, 32, and asked her permission to use an embryo that had resulted from her earlier donation.
Shipe-Zane, who already has a little girl of her own, agreed. She said she felt she couldn't carry the baby herself, because she knew she would never be able to give up the child after going through a pregnancy, but she was willing for the embryo to be used.
So the embryo created four years earlier from Shipe-Zane's egg was implanted in Behrhorst. By December 2000, doctors confirmed that the procedure had worked.
Behrhorst said the pregnancy was "difficult," with constant bleeding, and she had to have 3 ½ months of bed rest.
‘She Just Brings a Lot of Joy’
Behrhost's sister was her labor coach, and her mother, Kelly and Eric were all present at the birth of baby Greta.
The families of all three women supported their decision to have Greta and the three women remain very close friends.
Both Behrhorst and Shipe-Zane are godmothers to Greta and are called "Auntie," Hansen said.
"Greta's happy, she's healthy and she just brings a lot of joy to a lot of people," Hansen said.
The three women said they wanted to share their unique story because they hear so many negative stories about surrogate mothers.
"Often you hear the negative stories of people who want their baby back," Behrhorst said. "We are all still great friends and have such love and affection for this baby."