When Lauren Lawrence, who had suffered through the loss of two babies, began investigating the possibility of surrogacy, she was stunned when her next-door neighbour and mother of three girls volunteered immediately to help.
"It wasn't a second thought. I just wanted to offer and help any way I could," said Samantha McIntosh, from Georgetown, Ont. "If that was how I could help, I thought it was the least I could do just to bring them some happiness."
Now, McIntosh is set to deliver the ultimate Mother's Day gift in July, when she will give birth to twin girls.
"It feels so surreal. I've often told her there's many times I wake up and think, 'Are you really doing this for us?' How blessed are we to have a friend that would do something like this for us?" Lawrence said.
Two years ago, Lawrence went into pre-term labour at just 23 weeks into her pregnancy. But the baby only survived for a few hours. Lawrence got pregnant again but that premature baby also didn't survive.
"We had babies that were born alive and crying and being able to clasp on to your finger and not being able to survive," Lawrence said.
Unable to carry a baby to term, Lauren and her husband Justin decided to try surrogacy. When they told McIntosh that they were thinking of going through the procedure, McIntosh said she would be the surrogate.
"She said, ‘Oh yeah, I could do that for you,' and we kind of brushed her off at first," Lawrence said. "It was like, ‘Oh that's really nice of you to offer but you know it's not something we're asking you to do.' We could never ask a friend that kind of thing."
A month went by and Lawrence and her husband continued with their research, looking into different surrogacy agencies. McIntosh approached the couple and volunteered again to be a surrogate.
"She said, ‘Let me do this for you, this is something I want to do."
McIntosh had also struggled to conceive, having to go through in vitro fertilization to get pregnant.
"If I can sacrifice my body for nine to 10 months and she has a lifetime of happiness, it's a small price to pay," McIntosh said.
"We have a beautiful family, three girls and I'd like Lauren to have the same thing," McIntosh said. "It's indescribable to have a family especially when you want one so bad."
'She'll film her belly at night'
Lawrence said that McIntosh has been great at keeping her and her husband in the loop about the progression of the pregnancy.
"She'll film her belly at night time and then she'll send us videos of them moving around," Lawrence said. "And any cravings she's feeling she'll let us know. We run out and grab her Dairy Queen all the time.
"She's really good at making us part of the process. And she always says, ‘I'm just a little home, I'm just a little oven for nine months.' We feel like she's so much more than that."
McIntosh admitted she will be sad once she delivers but that she knew from day one these were her friends' babies.
"All I'm doing is helping to grow them. They're just getting nutrients from me. In the end, these are their babies," McIntosh said. "If I want to see them, I can just pop my head out the door and I can come over."
Lawrence said that McIntosh will certainly continue to be part of her life and her children's lives.
"We've always said that when the girls are old enough we want them to know about Samantha and we want them to know their Auntie Sam is someone who carried them and helped make them happen and she's an important part of our life. She's going to be an important part of their life.
"We tell her all the time how much we appreciate her, and she's so humble that she often just brushes it off and doesn't let us give her the gratitude she deserves."