Ricky watched his wife take a look inside the second-hand crib he just bought, and then suddenly, she screamed out in terror. A scream that wouldn’t be out of place in a Hollywood horror movie.
As quickly as he could, Ricky raced over to his startled wife to see what the problem was, and then, he saw it. He felt a lump in his throat and a terrible feeling hit the pit of his stomach.
When Valerie Smith found out she was pregnant, she was over the moon. Although she was no longer with her baby’s father, she was still excited to start the brand new chapter in her life.
But this ecstatic mom-to-be had no idea her world was about to be torn in two.
A year after she found out she was pregnant, Valerie was having a clear-out and a yard sale. As she rummaged through her possessions, her eyes darted to a crib in the corner of the room and a shiver ran up her spine.
Straight away she knew had to sell it. So within a matter of minutes, Valerie posted a picture online and advertised it for sale. But there was one particular yet truly horrific detail about this crib that Valerie had failed to mention.
Halfway across town an elderly gentleman and carpenter called Gerald Kumpula and his wife Lorene had seen Valerie’s crib for sale. Their granddaughter was expecting a baby so they wanted to get it for her.
It looked pretty good quality, and sturdy, and was pretty cheap. Gerald thought there’d be nothing wrong with it but he was so wrong.
Gerald informed his wife Lorene about the crib and she agreed it would be a good purchase. Gerald then called up Valerie to say he would like to purchase the crib and collect it now.
Valerie agreed and Gerald headed over in his truck to pick up the crib. But he had no idea what was in store for him.
Gerald arrived at Valerie’s home and she greeted him outside, dragging the crib behind her. Gerald took a glimpse at the crib and it all looked perfectly fine and in great condition.
He asked Valerie what her child’s name was but she paused and started to look uneasy. What was she hiding?
Gerald watched Valerie avoid all eye contact with him as he asked again what her child’s name was. It wasn’t a loaded question, it was just small talk.
With her feet tapping, she quickly responded, “Noah. That’s his name.” But for some strange reason, Ricky didn’t believe her. Something was off about the whole situation.
Gerald smiled at Valerie but she didn’t reciprocate. In fact, she just asked for the cash straight away and demanded that he left.
Gerald did what she asked, and he picked the crib up and rested it on his shoulders as he headed to his truck. Little did he know what he was about to find.
Gerald arrived at their home and brought the crib into the living room to show his wife. He was happy with his purchase. He knew his pregnant granddaughter would love and appreciate it – it was the perfect gift.
But when Gerald’s wife walked over to the crib and looked inside, she screamed out in horror.
Gerald ran over to his startled wife to see what the problem was and then he saw it. He felt a lump on his throat and knots in his stomach. But he knew what he had to do.
He quickly got to work before loading his truck with the crib and heading back to Valerie’s. She had to see if for herself.
Gerald arrived at Valerie’s home and knocked on her door. A minute later, she answered looking confused as to what he was doing back. Then she saw her crib. The same crib she had sold to him just a few hours ago.
“I know about Noah,” Gerald said. Straight away, he could see the sadness in Valerie’s eyes. It was at that moment then that Valerie revealed the truth to Gerald. And he wasn’t prepared for it.
You see, when she was more than halfway through her pregnancy, Valerie had started to suffer from backache and stomach pains.
At first, she brushed it off as just pregnancy symptoms, but as the weeks went by she knew something was going on. And she was right. “All week I knew something was off,” she recalled. “I was very nervous.”
Determined to find out the truth, Valerie went over to the hospital for a check-up. While she was sitting in the waiting room, she had hundreds of questions flooding her mind.
She took a deep breath before composing herself. “Everything is going to be ok,” she said. But she was so wrong.
Valerie waited while the doctors conducted their scans and checks on her unborn baby and she felt sick with nerves. She seriously hoped there was nothing wrong.
And finally, the doctors had the results. The umbilical cord, doctors theorized, had become compressed in the womb, making it impossible for the necessary nutrients and oxygen to make it to the fetus. And unfortunately for Valerie, she had lost her baby.
There is so much a parent has to process after learning that they won’t be bringing their baby home with them. Not only did Valerie have the mental and emotional side-effects of her loss to deal with; she also had to face up to the fact that her home’s nursery wouldn’t be used.
For her, the implications of the empty nursery were just too much to deal with.
Valerie was devastated to hear the news. She so badly wanted it to be a nightmare that she was about to wake up from. But this was no nightmare. This was her reality.
As the weeks passed, Valerie became a shell of herself – she was hardly eating and she hadn’t left the house in weeks. Valerie could feel herself sinking further and further.
In the days and weeks after her son’s tragic passing, Valerie didn’t know what to do with herself.
She was supposed to be having sleepless nights because her baby was keeping her up, not because her house was eerily silent. It didn’t help that there were so many reminders of her child everywhere she looked.
But eleven months after her baby passed away, Valerie knew she had to make a change. It was what her baby would have wanted. Valerie missed smiling and laughing.
So first on her list was to have a yard sale and get rid of any unwanted items. She came across the crib she had bought for her baby and she felt a lump in her throat. She knew she had to sell it. She didn’t need it anymore, and perhaps somebody else did.
And that was when Gerald and his wife came across the crib advertisement online. Thinking of his own pregnant granddaughter, Gerald bought the crib.
And it was only when he had taken the crib back to his home and his wife looked inside that he leaned all about Noah and Valerie’s horrific nightmare.
You see, when Gerald’s wife looked inside the crib, she saw something that stopped her cold and made her scream. As soon as Gerald heard his wife, he came over to look at what the problem was.
And then he saw it too. Scribbled into the bottom of the crib was “R.I.P Noah 2019-2020.”
Straight away Gerald felt heartbreak and devastation knowing the truth about this crib. He felt guilty for buying it off Valerie, as it obviously meant a lot to her.
So Gerald knew what he had to do to make things better. He got to work and completely transformed the crib into something spectacular.
As parents to 15 children, Gerald and Lorene knew what a child meant to a young mother; and as grandparents who’d lost a grandchild, they knew, at least partially, what the loss of a child can do to a family.
Gerald and Lorene greed that the crib needed to return to Valerie. Still, Gerald knew it couldn’t go back to her in its current form. He needed to work his craftsman’s magic.
Gerald brought the crib into his workshop. There, pieces of wood lay on the floor, half-finished benches lined the walls, and one of his more ambitious projects — an ATV made out of PVC pipes — sat amid a daydream-worthy tool collection.
The retired grandfather started tinkering away at the little white crib, cutting and measuring the wood, hammering nails, and mixing paint. When he finished he knew that Valerie would be delighted.
With incredible handiwork, Gerald turned the crib once relegated to spend a lifetime in the corner of a dark garage into a bright, beautiful bench — a memorial for the beautiful life taken too soon.
This, Gerald figured, was the perfect way to honor the boy he never knew. “An unused crib is a sad reminder,” he said. “A bench is more of a memorial. It’s part of that sad happening, yet it’s not a reminder like an empty crib would be.”
Valarie offered Gerald money. Money for his time. Money for his work. Money for being so kind in a sometimes painfully cruel world. He declined any payment. “It’s just nice to be able to do something for someone,” he said.
For most parents, welcoming a baby into the world is a true blessing. However, some people struggle to conceive or experience complications — like Valarie. Sometimes, the services of a surrogate are called on. And for one woman, being a surrogate seemed like a great idea. However, this surrogacy quickly got messy. And for reasons no one could’ve fathomed in their wildest dreams.
Jessica Allen was your average American woman. She was happily married with two beautiful children. But darkness loomed over the couple. They had recently moved into a new home. However, the house ended up costing a bit more than the pair could afford.
As such, Jessica made a drastic decision. One day, she saw an advert for people seeking a surrogate. When Jessica saw the compensation, she did not hesitate to call the couple. But this is where the drama began.
Being a surrogate mother can take a lot out of a woman emotionally. When Jessica made the call to become a surrogate, her family weren’t sure of the choice. Her husband was unsure of whether she would be able to sever the emotional ties.
However, Jessica reasoned that she was in a sound enough headspace to deal with that when it happened. But she had no idea just how emotionally attached they’d both become to the baby.
Wardell was not pleased with the developments, to say the least. Even though she swore to not get attached, he knew his wife. She loved their two children fiercely. And he worried about the bond she would for with another child.
Furthermore, he was not too pleased about the fact that they could not consummate until she was officially a pregnant surrogate. But when Jessica did fall pregnant, the first ultrasound visit left the whole family gobsmacked.
Jessica went for a routine check as per usual. But that day, there were surprises waiting for her. As the doctor performed the ultrasound, he noticed something odd. He picked up on two little heartbeats, furiously fluttering away.
When he told Jessica, her jaw nearly hit the floor. She walked out dazed. As she phoned the couple to let them know, she beamed with excitement.
The couple Jessica was carrying for agreed to an hour’s worth of bonding time post-birth. This would allow Jessica to properly say goodbye to the little lives she had carried for nine months. Jessica was incredibly grateful for the opportunity.
She had grown fond of the babies. She also couldn’t believe how quickly nine months had flown by. It was a bittersweet ending to a surreal chapter of her life. But when she gave birth, everything changed.
When Jessica gave birth to the twins, she noticed something peculiar. Something about one of the boys’ faces just did not seem to match up. Jessica quickly brushed the thought aside and continued to enjoy her bonding hour.
She marveled at the two beings she had carried for so long. But every time she looked upon them, something just didn’t seem right. When the hour was up, Jessica hesitantly handed back the babies. But in her heart, she knew something was just not right.
Against her better judgment, Jessica said farewell to the twins. This was difficult at first. But after a few days, things started to look up for her once more.
She had done something remarkable, and that made her feel good. But this feeling wasn’t to last. One evening, Jessica was preparing for bed. Suddenly, her phone flashed. When she read the message, her heart dropped.
The accusatory message was accompanied by a photograph. The more Jessica studied it, the more her fears bubbled to the surface. All in one sickening instant, the realization dawned on her.
How had she not seen it before? What Jessica didn’t know was that she was about to begin the battle of her life.
The message glared back at Jessica. It read: “They are not the same, right?” It turns out, Jessica wasn’t the only one perplexed by the twins.
A shockwave jolted through her as she realized the terrible truth. But before she could recover, another message came through. This time, she was asked a poignant question.
The second message read: “Have you thought about why they are different?” Jessica knew the truth in her heart already and was relieved she was not alone.
But this didn’t make the revelation any less painful. In fact, it made it worse. Jessica braced herself for the blow she knew was coming. But how was it possible? What had she done?
One of the babies shared a striking resemblance to her husband, Jasper.
Her hands started to shake as she thought about the implications, but she brushed her fears aside once more. She didn’t even want to think about the possibility that her worst fears were based on reality. There was only one thing to do. She had to know.
Jessica and the new mother continued to chat over the phone. The women were discussing what to do now going forward. However, in the backs of their minds, both knew there was only one solution. As the call ended, a DNA test had been called for.
This left Jessica is a whirl of confusion. Her brain worked at a million miles per hour, playing out all the possible scenarios. But when the tests came back, all of Jessica’s worst fears were confirmed.
The DNA test confirmed Jessica’s suspicions and the sheer gravity of what she’d done hit her like a ton of bricks. It was any mother’s worst nightmare — and it was happening to her.
The realization of what she’d done was almost too much to bear. She had unwittingly given her own child away.
The DNA results left everyone in utter awe. Turns out, one of the twins was actually the biological child of Jessica and her husband. People could not believe what they were told. The twins were a medical anomaly.
Once the surrogate couple’s embryo had been impregnated, Jessica continued to ovulate during pregnancy. As such, she and her husband were able to conceive whilst she was carrying. But this is where a ton of problems began to surface.
At first, Jessica and her husband were overwhelmed with the news. They were already in a financial bind. But luckily, the surrogacy money would tide them over. Then, the excitement kicked in — they had a baby! But this was short-lived.
The couple who had what they now knew was their own baby dropped some devastating news.
When they began discussions about getting their baby boy back with the surrogate couple, they mentioned that Jessica would have to buy their child back from them.
They could either reimburse them the $22,000 they had compensated her, or go through the legal adoption of their child. And that’s when things got ugly.
The couple began to point fingers. They accused Jessica of not following protocol when conceiving. But she swore she had waited until she was declared pregnant before her and her husband consummated. But the couple grew more and more agitated.
They made remarks about how she wouldn’t see her son again if she didn’t pay up. This sent Jessica into a spin. But then, the truth about their approach came out.
The surrogate couple revealed that they were being influenced by their lawyer to heckle Jessica for payment. Their lawyer had been spinning stories about Jessica to them. He told the couple Jessica had been threatening to sue them for custody of her son.
Turns out, Jessica had never even considered a suit against them. All she wanted was her miracle son, Malachi. But there is a happy ending to this story.
After much deliberation and one unhappy counsel on the surrogate couple side, Jessica got her boy back! Now her, husband Wardell and their two older children could welcome him into their homes. The awesome foursome was now five, and they had never been happier.
The little guy doesn’t even know what a mark he’s made within the news world yet. But all that matters is that he is finally where he belongs.