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As her belly grew, people started asking about "her baby." But she was quick to tell them the story. This was not her baby; she was Grandma.
Admittedly, she says, she worried about the physical toll pregnancy might take, though her body handled it better than she expected. She also wondered how well she’d bounce back from a Caesarean section. That’s how she had delivered Emily and her older brother, but that had been three decades ago.
Still, she reassured Emily and Mike throughout the pregnancy that the baby was fine, she was fine, everything would be fine.
Humor helped. Mike often teased his mother-in-law each time they’d take her to dinner or do something nice for her.
"Are we even yet?" he’d ask.
"Not yet," she’d reply, laughing.
In truth, Mike and Emily knew there’d really be no way to repay this kind of gesture.
"This is a continuation of everything that she has done her entire life for me, which is to make sure that I have the best life possible," Emily says.
All they could do, they said, was to promise to raise their baby as best they could. And that was enough for Reutzel.
"I know I gave a gift," she says. "But I’m also getting so much in return."
Last week, a few days after Emily’s 32nd birthday, daughter sat next to mother, holding hands in the delivery room.
And Elle Cynthia Jordan was born.
"She looks just like you! She looks just like you!" Emily shouted, running from the delivery room to introduce their newborn to Mike.
Reutzel is recovering well. She even says she’d consider doing it again.
"When I watch both of them hold that baby and look into her face, it’s like everything I could have imagined wanting for them — better than I could have imagined," she says, her eyes filling with tears.
"This is what it was all about for me."
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