Jill Noe and Whitney Bliesner, 34, from Portland, Oregon, have always shared a special bond because they are twins.
That bond is growing stronger, as Noe has become a surrogate for Bliesner helping her sister when she couldn’t get pregnant and make her dreams come true.
Bliesner was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called Neurofibromatosis type 2, or NF2, which is the growth of noncancerous tumors in the nervous system, according to the US National Library of Medicine
NF2 stopped Bliesner from having children, since pregnancy puts her at a higher risk of tumors due to hormonal changes, according to Noe, a former basketball star who played at Arizona State University.
Bliesner always dreamed about being a mother, especially after she married her husband, Peter, three years ago. Over the holidays in 2017, she told Noe she didn’t think her dream would become a reality. Bliesner said it was too expensive for her to get a surrogate or adopt a child.
At that moment, Noe recalled to CNN, she could hear the sound of defeat from her sister and didn’t think twice about volunteering to be her surrogate.
“I was like, yeah! Let’s just do it!” Noe said. “Let’s just see where this goes and let’s see if I can get my body to where it needs to be to have your kids.”
Noe said her twin looked at her in disbelief before the joy rushed over her face.
“I was very happy and excited, but also shocked,” Bliesner said. “Because I know how active and fun and exciting her life is, and for her to want to actually stop that for me was just kind of like a shock.”
Bliesner faced several health issues because of her condition, including hearing loss in her right ear that she said can be passed on genetically. She also had a partial hysterectomy because of fibroid tumors.
“We couldn’t use my eggs because there’s a 50/50 chance I could pass it on and I just don’t think I would be able to live with myself if I knew I passed this condition to my kids,” Bliesner said.
Noe is now 30 weeks along in her pregnancy with a healthy set of twins, a boy and a girl, due June 6. The soon-to-be parents have already picked out the names, Rhett for the boy and Rhenley for the girl.
Noe and Bliesner have been supported by their family, especially their mother, whom Noe described as “the catalyst” for them to be such a strong family.
“It’s just instilled in me and Whitney, and obviously my other siblings, that no matter what adversities we faced, we’re always there together and we’ll go through it as one big strong unit,” Noe said.