CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A baby girl, born Thursday at St. Francis hospital, met her biological parents for the first time early Friday morning.
Her name is Mary Lynn, and she was delivered by C-section Thursday afternoon, arriving six weeks early.
Surrogate mother Andrea Pruitt, wife of Live 5 Sports director Andy Pruitt, had his blessing to carry this baby. In fact, the biological parents are Andy's relatives. The Pruitts knew Chris and Stephanie Rehnberg had tried many years to become parents.
"It's been a long road, three miscarriages and a number of failed IVF cycles," Stephanie said.
Her husband, Chris, added, "With all our hard work, all the trials and tribulations, we couldn't have done it without the Pruitts," Chris said.
He said Andrea and Andy will always be a part of this baby's life.
When the Rehnbergs got the call the baby's delivery was coming early, they hopped in the car and headed for Charleston.
"When we got the call, we already had our bags packed," Chris said.
It was a long ride from Connecticut, but the two were able to watch their baby's delivery on camera.
Finally arriving at the hospital shortly before 2 a.m. Friday, Stephanie walked quietly into the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit to get the first look at her baby girl. It was sheer joy for both couples.
"Watching them see her and hold her for the first time was a moment I'll never forget, knowing what they went through to get her," Andrea said, holding back tears.
"We were ready, even mentally, we were certainly ready to meet her, and the drive felt like days and days to get here," Stephanie said.
Baby Mary Lynn is slightly over four pounds, and is getting extra care in the NICU.
Nurses helped Stephanie hold her baby against her skin. Despite the tubes and wires connected to her baby, mom and daughter bonded as Stephanie quietly moved forward and back in the rocking chair.
"It was amazing to feel her breathe, and see her little toes and fingers," Stephanie said.
While Mary Lynn grows in the hospital, her mom and dad will work to get Andrea and Andy removed from her birth certificate. That work involves court procedures in order to change the baby's birth certificate.
South Carolina law requires the woman who delivers the child be listed as the birth mother, even if the baby has none of her DNA.
"We find it odd ourselves that we've got to sue to get a child that has our DNA back and have a birth certificate in our name," Chris said.
The Rehnbergs say Andrea was the "oven," but the baby, biologically, is completely theirs.
"She has no DNA or anything but my blood, because I was the one cooking her and basically and she was ready to be done early," Andrea said.
They all laugh, happy that despite her early arrival, Mary Lynn is a healthy baby girl.
The Rehnbergs will be here for a few weeks while Mary Lynn is growing in the hospital. Then they'll take her home to Connecticut.
The Pruitts will be her godparents.