Joe and Jenna’s Journey to Adoption

It’s been almost a year since our family (Martin/Lemmer) came close to losing a pivotal piece of our hearts.  Since that day we have spent a lot of time being grateful.  

I created this GoFundMe account back in March when Joe and Jenna announced that they were still determined to expand their family but they were unsure and worried about me posting it...but recently I convinced them to let me try. 
Today as I was reading Jenna’s recount of that day, I couldn’t stop the tears from falling again.  That day was filled with so much terror and fear...but also awe and utmost happiness for the new family Jenna created.  Even in the darkest hours of that night Joe was adamant that the parents and babies be left to enjoy the happiness of those first moments as a family and not be brought into his nightmare.  The entire experience from the start of the surrogacy to that night in the hospital was such a humbling experience for all involved.  

I can’t express how proud I am of Joe and Jenna.  But their story most certainly doesn’t end with that night...let me share a little about them.

Joe and Jenna are the amazing parents of two beautiful children.  They always planned on expanding their family to 3 kids but before they did that they offered and were chosen to be a surrogate for two amazing couples.  Each time as a surrogate Jenna became pregnant with twins and each time delivered healthy beautiful babies to the waiting arms of the parents!  
Joe and Jenna talked in the months before the last surrogate pregnancy was over about how the next fall they would try for their 3rd baby and couldn’t wait to bring a new brother or sister home for AliMae and Joey.  Their story changed dramatically the day the Jenna gave birth to the twins.  

In a moment you are about to read Jenna’s account of the day the twins were born and you will understand through their heartbreak the journey they are on to expand their family through adoption. 

Jenna’s story:
As most people know Joe and I just two short years ago had the opportunity to help one super amazing couple complete their family with a healthy set of twins. Not only did we help them but we made some incredible relationships that we joke is more like extended family along the way. We were even blessed enough to be able to attend their 1st birthday party last year.

Merely three weeks before we left, we decided that we'd love to help another couple that had been so patiently waiting to add to their family. Once again we were lucky enough to get pregnant with twins!!! And once again we became very close to this amazing couple. They are so sweet and AliMae and Joey ADORE THEM!!!

They were excited each time they would visit and the intended parents would show the same love to them. We had another healthy and "uneventful pregnancy".

We waited right up to the last day the doctor wanted them out & 10/3 was the big day to induce labor. This was also our wedding anniversary, 8 years and counting! I mean I must have someone pretty special in my life to agree to watch me labor another couple's babies on such an important day, right???!!!

We started the day out like all the others we welcomed new babies into the world.
break water✔️
epidural ✔️
have baby(ies)✔️
...but that is were the day changed.

Quickly after baby girl was delivered, baby boy got excited and did a flip and we had to go right into a c-section for his delivery. I was under general anesthesia since whatever I needed in the epidural would not have taken effect fast enough.

I'm pretty sure I was the calmest person in the room, I knew I was in good hands, plus I wasn't one of the people that had to prep the room in a hurry. I woke up in a recovery room and a few minutes later they brought Joe back to see me. I could tell that he was a little shaken from them having to go into the c-section in such a rush. I assured him I was ok and we were transported back to a room on the birthing unit. Ready to recover and meet those babies!!

BUT again there was a different plan in motion that no one even knew about at the time.  Joe left to get our kids and during that time my BP had dropped to something like 51/40 but they were able to get it back up. Joe returned with the kids shortly after and they were able to see the gifts we got them for being amazing throughout the pregnancy. But I continued to feel lightheaded and dazed and my BP began to drop.

This is when things get a little fuzzy and to be honest my brain has been a little fuzzy ever since and I'm not a "medical person" so don't judge me on my medical terms....I remember hearing them say we needed to order blood, I remember seeing the Dr. come in and say we needed to do an emergency D&C and most prevalent in my mind was the uncontrollable shaking of my entire body which I thought was just me being cold but was later told was my body going into shock.

I do recall being rolled out of the room to go into surgery and asking to make sure my kids weren't in the halls so they didn't see me like this, I can't imagine how terrifying that would have been for them to see me that way. I remember getting to the OR and falling asleep to the mask they put on you.

The next few images I had were of Joe and my sister, Amy, sitting on the side of a "very fancy" hospital room. But those were just glimpses and I went right back to a sedated nap.

The next time I woke up was Wednesday the 4th around 11 am I'm guessing.. next to Joe and his sister Bobbie then quickly realizing I was in the ICU and very uncomfortable with a breathing tube down my throat (I was not happy to say the least about that tube).

Then I found out the truth, what started as a plan to do a emergency D&C and get me back out to my room in 15 min or so turned in to more like a 4 hour surgery to save my life which was also 4 hours of unanswered questions and torture for my loved ones both in and out of the waiting room.

What they found when going back in was that there was a cut/rip in the upper anterior part of my uterus, it is unknown exactly how it tore or when exactly it happened but at this point it doesn't matter.

What mattered was the amount of blood I was losing due to it, I ended up receiving 9 units of blood during surgery and if you google how much blood is in the average human body it says there is about 10, learning that alone made me close my eyes and thank God.

They did have to do a hysterectomy in order to stop the bleeding and ultimately save my life and even once mu uterus was removed it took some time to get me stable.

I'm told they were seconds away from having to do chest compressions on the operating table.

It was a long 9 days in the hospital and I still had recovery ahead of me. Physical recovery and a lot of emotional recovery, it's a very hard concept to accept when your told "you almost didn't make it off the table alive"... extremely hard.

Secondly knowing how much we longed to have one more baby of our own and now knowing that is no longer an option for our family is devastating. Once the physical part of me has healed our family still has a huge emotional rollercoaster to ride. It won't be easy and it hasn't been easy but we have each other.

I have a lot to be grateful for and I knew that before, but there is a new light to those things now. Though we may not be able bare anymore children of our own as planned I am so thankful for the two beautiful and healthy children we do have and SO grateful that I wasn't taken from them. I'm also thankful we were able to help two other couples have the same.

Joe and Jenna decided that the path they were meant to be on was to adopt.  They have been able to connect with another couple in a similar situation that was blessed to adopt in order to complete their family.  
Joe and Jenna are working on getting everything in order and have begun the process to adopt and our goal is to help as much as we can.  Your donation will go directly to the cost of the adoption.  

You can also buy a bracelet to support Joe and Jenna here if you prefer:

Thank you you for reading their story and for loving Joe and Jenna as much as we do! ❤️


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Bobbie Martin Nielsen 
Edgar, WI
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