Iowa dad’s baby girl brings hope after wife dies of brain cancer
Nate Yoho will never again see his wife Laura's smile. He’ll never feel the warmth of her hands or hear her breathing in the night. But even though he’s lost the love of his life to brain cancer, a new sort of love has entered his life. His wife lives on through their daughter Caralyn, a baby born after Laura’s best friend Kate Stetson volunteered to act as a surrogate. For this grieving dad, the baby is proof that love endures through tragedy.
"It's such an amazing gift," Nate told the Des Moines Register. “Part of it's having a little bit of my wife back, I can see her when my daughter smiles. It just makes me content with everything.”
Nate met Laura in 2007, when they were both working at the Aspen Athletic Club in Des Moines, Iowa. Laura was Nate’s boss, an energetic brunette with a passion for fitness. Nate was a former outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers farm system who had decided to become a personal trainer. But eventually, Nate and Laura fell in love. They were engaged in 2010.
Then, their love story took a turn for the worse. Laura passed out at the gym. Doctors initially thought she had suffered from a stroke. It wasn’t long before they realized what was wrong — she had brain cancer. Laura and Nate were just 28 years old.
Laura’s doctors tried to remove her tumors in May 2011. But the growths kept coming back. Through all the treatments, Laura and Nate stuck together. They kept working out, ate healthy foods and fell deeper in love. They tied the knot in August 2011.
As Laura’s body slowed down, she fought harder. Even though walking and speaking became difficult. Part of that resolve came from Laura’s dreams of the future. She had always wanted children. But because of her cancer treatments, she knew her body couldn’t handle the stress of a pregnancy. That’s when Laura’s best friend, Kara Stetson, stepped in. The two had been close since the second grade and had been college roommates.
Even though Stetson had two children of her own, the decision to carry Laura’s baby was an easy one. “It’s hard to explain what having a best friend like Laura for 24 years meant to me,” Stetson said. “We were different enough and alike enough to get along perfectly. We never argued. We never got sick of one another. We were like sisters, soul mates and a best friend all rolled into one.”
Laura tried her best to be there for the birth of her daughter. But she died July 23, shortly after her baby shower. Nate was devastated. Yet even in his grief, he knew that hope was on the way. Caralyn was born Nov. 26, four months after her mom died. She was a big baby with dark brown hair just like Laura’s.
And although Caralyn will never meet her mom, the baby is surrounded by love — by a dad that loves her, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. And of course, her surrogate mom.
New York Daily News, 25 December, 2013