NORTH FORSYTH — Jessica and Alonso Martinez are counting down the days until their son will be born today at Northside Hospital-Forsyth.
They’ve picked out the name Jenson and stocked up on all the necessities. Just one thing remains — for Leslie Bell of North Forsyth to give birth to their bundle of joy.
Unable to have any more of her own children, Jessica Martinez decided to explore the option of finding a surrogate mother for her and her husband.
“Someone else carrying your child, you’d think that would be something you couldn’t be comfortable with,” Martinez said. “But we couldn’t have asked for somebody better ... it really felt like I’ve known her my whole life.”
Martinez and Bell connected through a gestational surrogacy agency called the Surrogacy Experience. Bell, who had easy pregnancies with her two children, began considering the idea after seeing a surrogate story on a reality TV show.
“My family was complete, and I couldn’t imagine being through her shoes — somebody who wants a family, wants a child of their own and they just can’t carry that baby — so I just felt really led to help,” Bell said. “I was meant to do this, to help a family.”
While her 3-year-old daughter doesn’t quite understand, Bell said her 6-year-old son knows she has “a good tummy, so I’m helping another mommy (who) couldn’t carry a baby in her tummy.”
“He said he’s glad it’s not a brother or sister because his sister gets on his nerves,” Bell said.
Bell said her husband supported her decision once he saw the contract, learned more about the process and got to know the Martinez family.
The first seven weeks of the pregnancy were spent under the care of a fertility clinic before Bell was released to her own doctor in Forsyth.
Knowing the family she is helping has made the experience much more special.
“We are the perfect match,” Bell said. “We have become best friends in the past year. We text every day and they come (from Nashville, Ga.) to all of my appointments ... it’s just been the best experience.”
As with her first two children, Bell will have a C-section when she gives birth to Jenson.
She had morning sickness early on and has been more tired toward the end of the pregnancy, but said the symptoms have been “so insignificant compared to the gift that we will give in the end.”
“I feel like I’ve just been on this spiritual journey with this couple. And any worries that any of us have had, (this) week, we’ll get to see that God had it handled the whole time,” she said.
“It’s been a huge blessing to me just being part of something I feel like is a little miracle that’s going to happen.”