Patty carried baby Danielle after a cycle of IVF produced three viable embryos, one of which successfully implanted in Patty's uterus. "It felt like a miracle," says Eileen. "Over the years, we'd received call after call from clinic nurses with negative pregnancy results. And I'd done countless at-home tests. At long last, the results were positive!"
In discussing what prompted her to become a surrogate, Patty, a stay-at-home mother of three young children, told Eileen that she wanted to give something special to the world. "She said, 'I love being a mother to my children and I know that's important, but I want to do even more. When I die, I want to know that I contributed.'"
Who can imagine a greater contribution than the gift of life, and the gift of parenthood? "When Danielle was born [Paul and Eileen were in the delivery room, along with Patty's husband, Dave], Paul and I were crying and laughing and holding each other," recalls Eileen with a huge smile. "We counted her fingers and toes and heard her cry. We just couldn't believe it."
Eileen and Patty still speak or email every week or two, and Eileen sends loads of baby pictures to Patty. Patty and her family were also present at Danielle's baby naming, a ceremony during which a baby girl receives her Hebrew name and is welcomed into the Jewish community. "We gave Danielle the Hebrew name Doronit, which means 'gift,'" explains Eileen. "And the rabbi asked us to explain during the ceremony why we chose that name. I told everyone that Danielle is a gift of many things '- of modern medicine, of the support of friends and family, and, most importantly, of the selflessness and generosity of Patty and her family."
With six-month-old Danielle at home, "busy sucking her fingers and smiling up a storm," Eileen says she and Paul are "over the moon. We've been together for 15 years and we've had a great life together so far, but we have never been this happy."
Meet another mom who inspires us: Amy Parise '- and find out what she learned about herself during her struggle to conceive.