DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (BRPROUD) — One Denham Springs family brought new life into the world with the help of another.
“He’ll be fussy and all I have to do is put him on my chest and all is right in the world again,” said new mother Savannah Kent as she cradles her infant.
Mason and Savannah Kent recently did something they’ve longed to do, hold their precious baby boy Joshua Brooks.
“He is absolutely perfect and that’s all we could ask for,” said Savannah.
Piece by piece, the Kent family was made whole thanks to an unexpected encounter with the Lustigs at church.
“We became friends, or more like acquaintances, but Olivia is actually one of the first friends who I told that I was pregnant with our first son Reece,” she said.
Little did they know there was a bigger purpose behind their friendship.
“I was very surprised, super touched and honored ever since she told me. I felt super connected to that pregnancy,” said Olivia Lustig, the Kents’ gestational carrier.
Savannah was pregnant with Reece. They call him their butterfly baby. Reece was a miracle in himself after she was told she may never carry children.
“I had a liver transplant actually eight years ago. I was born with something called biliary atresia. I was sick off and on my entire life, and then ultimately had a liver transplant when I was 17,” Savannah explained. “So growing up, I’ve always wanted children but I was told, even from a young age, I may not be able to have children one day.”
The Kents carried Reece for 18 weeks but things started to take a turn.
“They found that all of his organs were pushed into his chest through this hernia. So his intestines were in his chest, his liver was in his chest. And at that point, if the liver is in his chest, he’s terminal,” Savannah said.
“She told me, they told me what was going on and what was wrong with Reece and I didn’t take it well. I just knew that whatever happened, they were in for something extremely heartbreaking,” added Olivia.
“Three weeks after, we lost Reece. It was very emotional. I mean, I was just in shock, you know. I was told my pregnancy was fine, and then suddenly my son is going to die,” said Savannah.
After the loss of their precious baby boy, the couple leaned into their faith and went to church.
“So at that point, I told Olivia that we were going to meet with a very special couple in Baton Rouge that were going through surrogacy,” she said.
This couple was Kelly and Kyle Savant, a family we covered months ago who went viral with their rainbow baby.
“She [Olivia] said, ‘No I’ll carry your baby,’ and at that point, I grabbed Mason’s arm and I said, ‘She’s going to carry our baby,”” said Savannah.
“I broke down. Yeah, I couldn’t believe it,” added Savannah’s husband Mason Kent.
“After thinking it was crazy, the more I thought about it, I thought, you know, how awesome might that be?” said Olivia’s husband William Lustig.
According to Surrogate First, one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. Olivia, a mother of three, decided to carry their baby after experiencing loss herself.
“I’m one in four as well. It’s healing to talk about and to go through for someone else,” said Olivia.
Soon after, the IVF cycles and appointments started rolling in.
“I went through IVF, we did an egg retrieval, and at that point, they retrieved 20 eggs,” explained Savannah.
They said all of this was a very difficult process.
“But at the end of the day, we wish it would have been a little easier to go through. And I think that’s where Louisiana in general needs to step it up a little bit when it comes to these things,” said Mason.
Ashley Markeo with Surrogate First said here in Louisiana there are very strict laws.
“The surrogacy agreements aren’t enforceable in Louisiana even though the embryo is biologically the intended mother’s egg and maybe the father’s sperm…in the courts in Louisiana, it’s considered the surrogate’s child. So that’s where there’s a risk,” she explained.
“It almost seems like we have to go through a whole another step of adopting him when we’ve already been through enough already,” said Mason.
Also in the state, you cannot compensate for a gestational carrier, you must wait for an attorney to review, and go to court before starting the process.
“I mean, we have a whole binder of everything that we have to go through and process,” he added.
But they worked hard with the help of others to finally make their dream of becoming a family comes true, and on August 10th, 2022, baby Joshua Brooks was born.
“We texted William, like, ‘How are things going?’ William said, ‘Come now.’ We jumped up from the couch, we ran down the hallway, the nurses are going, ‘Run, run, run,'” Mason said. “I can’t even describe how that felt. It was the most incredible thing.”
“William was just supporting me. Everyone was emotional like me. It was great. I loved seeing it touch everyone’s lives like that. It was a powerful moment,” said Olivia.
A wave of calmness set throughout the hospital.
“It was kind of surreal, you know. She went through all this laboring and they’re celebrating in the next room over. It was… peaceful,” said William.
“Finally to meet him was great, but just to see them together was altogether unreal and was the ultimate goal of everything,” added Olivia.
The Kents said they’re forever connected.
“We are infinitely connected. That’s how we feel. We are family. This is Aunt Liv and Uncle Willy. We may not be blood-related, but we’re family and we’re a team,” said Mason.
“I’ve just learned that there’s so much hope. We all have such a great purpose, and we knew that. But even his [Brooks] little life is a reminder of that,” said Savannah. ” Like, look what he’s done already. He’s brought people to know Jesus. He has brought hope to people that doesn’t have hope anymore.”
The family put together a video to share with those who are going through similar circumstances. You can find it here.