By Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Most women can bear a child but not everyone can be a mother. There are some who can give birth to a child and yet lack the heart of a mom. And then there are some who have the heart, but not the ability to give birth to a child.
Nicole Rogers has the heart. Ever since she can remember, she has always wanted to have children. She has always been a very maternal person. Her friends would trust their children’s lives in her hand because she would treat them and protect them as her own. The children seemed to know this too since they gravitated toward her.
“If I could love my friends’ kids, I couldn’t wait to see how strong a bond I would have with my own,” said Rogers, 50th Space Wing Project Management Directorate program manager.
But in a cruel twist of fate, Rogers didn’t have the ability to bear a child. She tried everything that science has to offer — fertility clinic, in vitro fertilization and more. Yet, a child was elusive.
It was this yearning to be a mother that urged Rogers’ friend, Kim Harris, to do something selfless. For most, friendship means being there for a friend in need. Harris did more; she offered Rogers the gift of motherhood.
“I did it because she wanted to have kids,” said Harris, Missile Defense Agency physical security specialist. “You see people who have kids, but probably shouldn’t. And you have people who want kids and should have kids but couldn’t. She has always wanted to have one. And she is my friend, so why not?”
Rogers and Harris met and became friends when they went to Gardner High School in Massachusetts. After high school, they went separate ways. Both joined the Air Force, however, Rogers enlisted in the finance career field while Harris became a security forces Airman. Rogers went on to become a communications officer. The two friends were reunited when they were both stationed here. They bumped into each other at the dining facility and rekindled their friendship.
When Harris learned that the IVF kept failing and saw its effect on Rogers, she said, “Let me just do it for you.” Rogers contemplated for 20 minutes and called Harris back to ask if the offer still stood.
The process began in 2010 at a local fertility clinic. Rogers received IVF medication stimulation protocols to help develop multiple eggs and follicles, which are structures in the ovaries that are filled with fluid. When the follicles and eggs matured, the fertility specialist removed the from Rogers’ ovaries then placed them in an IVF laboratory and kept them in an incubator. Donated sperm were added to each egg and thus began the fertilization procedure. Harris, meanwhile, had to take hormone shots and other medication to prepare her body for the fertilized eggs.
“It was just to get my cycle going to prepare my body for the babies,” Harris said. “Basically, they were telling my body to accept an egg; the doctors were controlling everything.”
The doctors transferred the fertilized eggs to Harris, however, her ovaries didn’t take them. But this didn’t deter the two friends to try again. They went to another clinic and did the process again in October 2011.
“I got a call from the doctor confirming I was pregnant and that my levels were high, meaning there was a good chance both embryos took,” said Harris.
It wasn’t until the first ultrasound in February 2012 that they confirmed she was carrying twins.
Even though Rogers didn’t experience firsthand carrying her children, she made it a point to be there for Harris most of the time.
“I went to the doctor’s appointments as much as I could,” Rogers said. “I would go to her house and feel the babies.”
Though Harris had two children before, the pregnancy was still a challenge.
“It was a little bit harder than carrying one,” she said. “I have two kids of my own, but I had them one at a time. I got bigger faster and walking was difficult. It was very hot because they added a lot of extra body heat. They were always kicking me.”
But Harris didn’t complain. Her two older children were also supportive of the idea of her giving birth to a friend’s children.
“They loved the idea,” she said. “My son wouldn’t touch my belly because he thought they were gross but my daughter was very helpful.”
After nine months, Aria and Zander were born in August 2012 at the Fort Carson clinic.
“I was very happy,” Rogers said.
But more than happiness, Rogers was also very appreciative of Harris’ selfless act.
“Kim and I have a good friendship,” she said. “We are more than friends. She is family to me and I can’t wait to tell my kids about the gift Kim gave for them to be in my life.”
It’s been 15 months since the babies were born, but Rogers is still learning the ropes of motherhood. Like other mothers out there, she hopes she can do right by her kids.
“What does motherhood mean to me?” she asked. “It means raising your children to be better than yourself. It is the toughest job in the world and it is not for everyone.”
Rogers plans on keeping Harris in her and the children’s lives. Recently, they spent Thanksgiving as a family. They also see each other a few times a month and they do 5K fun runs together. Harris said she is like a grandmother to the kids. She gives them a lot of attention.
“The babies seem to accept me,” Harris said. “They don’t shy away. They don’t cry. I think there’s a little bond there.”
For some people, friendship may mean giving the shirt off their back to help their friends in time of need. Rogers and Harris’ story gives a new meaning to the word “friendship.” For their story, friendship means giving the gift of life and happiness.