Des Moines Register reporter Daniel P. Finney first brought readers the story of Nate and Laura Yoho in July—a few days after Laura died of brain cancer. This week, he returns to the story of the Yohos, and his piece takes the format of a letter to one-month-old Caralyn, in which he recounts "the wonderful confluence of love and hope" and "the unusual circumstances that surround how she came to be born" on Nov. 26. It's a tearjerker. Finney writes of the "beautiful" Laura, who met Nate (once a minor-league player for the Milwaukee Brewers) in 2007 when they both were working at an athletic club; they married four years later, but not before learning that Laura had aggressive brain tumors.
Before she began treatment, Laura froze some embryos; she told her best friend, Kara Stetson, that the two planned to possibly seek out a surrogate. Stetson, who has two children, insisted she be the one, and they went forward with the plan ... as the tumors returned, and Laura's conditioned worsened. "She struggled to remember words. It got harder for her to walk. She kept hitting the gym. She fought so hard to be here when you were born." In July, her friends threw Laura a baby shower; her conditioned deteriorated the next day, and she died July 23. "Everyone was so sad," writes Finney. "Your mom was gone. But there was hope. You were coming." And come Caralyn did, the day before Thanksgiving, "part your dad, part your mom. Loved by all," including Laura, whose "heart beat hardest for the loves of her life, you and your dad." Read Finney's letter in full. (Read more surrogate mother stories.)