Tales from a modern family

Brett Rancourt and Justin Mallard became fathers of twins with the help and support from family, friends, and the people of Chilliwack.

Brett Rancourt (left) and Justin Mallard recently became fathers of Jordyn and Sawyer with the help and support from family

Brett Rancourt (left) and Justin Mallard recently became fathers of Jordyn and Sawyer with the help and support from family



Jordyn and Sawyer arrived in this world basked in love.

They don’t know it yet, but they have two adoring daddies, family, friends — and a growing number of supporters from all over the world.

Daddies Justin Mallard and Brett Rancourt, could not be more thrilled, enthralled and proud of their bundles of pure joy.

You can feel the intense pocket of love the tiny babies are swaddled in as soon as you enter the family’s well-appointed home on Promontory.

“This story has touched many people already, on so many levels,” explains Justin.

The circle keeps widening as their story acquires a global following. Several well-wishers came forward after reading the blog that Justin started called, Love and Science: Our Modern Family.

The blog was created to be a precious gift.

“I wanted our kids to see what it took to bring them into the world. The blog is for them. It took a community to bring them into the world it’s not something we could have done on our own.

What they didn’t expect was the huge reaction.

“The messages we get from people daily are just incredible.”

Thousands are now following the online story. They follow the trials and tribulations.

The joyous posts Justin wrote on blogspot.ca have received more than 170,000 hits so far, and have inspired others to go for their dreams of having a family. He chronicled the details of the surrogate pregnancy, the beautiful gender reveal party, the baby shower, the hospital experiences and the birth. All of it, including the ups and downs of it all.

“The support has been overwhelming, but in a good way,” says Justin.

A few weeks into fatherhood, the married couple works as a team. They share the feeding shifts every four hours, as they fall into a kind of routine of parenting their newborns. They work in synch, changing, dressing, feeding, burping, and holding the babies with a light touch.

“It’s not a one-person job,” Justin says. “You have to constantly work together and make sure you’re supporting one another.”

Having several people in their lives who were willing to help made all the difference. It helps that they both have sisters with kids under two who could be consulted about child-raising.

They are so gobsmacked and so grateful for so much now. But especially to the wonderful pair of friends, who agreed to be surrogate mother and egg donor, Raylene Bussinger and Lisa Wooldridge, respectively.

Goosebumps.

That’s what happens, Justin says, showing the Progress journalists his forearm, transformed by goosebumps, as if proof of something. Maybe the transformative power of parenting.

It happens more than once during the interview. The goosebumps, that is. It happens just talking about all the synchronicity and happy coincidences involved in bringing the babies into the world.

Jordyn and Sawyer were born several weeks premature at 34 weeks. They spent some time at Royal Columbian Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, but are settling in nicely to their Chilliwack home. Several things had to line up nicely for all this to happen.

Raylene Bussinger, a co-worker of Justin’s, says she felt compelled to do something to help Brett and Justin have what they wanted most: a family.

“Justin was very open about wanting kids, and we’d talked about it.”

She decided she wanted to help. The guys were going over all the options open to them, from adoption, to surrogacy. She discussed it with her own family first and then went for it.

Raylene and her husband, Jeremy, have three kids of their own, and she knew she could do it. And without attachment. She could carry that baby and then give it up to her friends when the time came.

“I will do it for you, if that is what you want,” she remembers telling Justin. She had it all planned out.

Justin and Brett had been looking into using an egg donor clinic in the states.

“But they found out that if you use fresh eggs, you have a higher success rate,” she recounts.

She phoned her friend, Lisa, to see if she would consider it.

Things went surprisingly smoothly from there. They implanted two embryos and both took.

When everyone found out Raylene was pregnant with Justin and Brett’s twins, everyone was ecstatic.

Amazing, is how Raylene describes the experience of being their surrogate. She was back to work just a few weeks after the birth of the twins.

“It was the best experience of my life,” she says.

Lisa Wooldridge says she didn’t think twice about becoming the egg donor for Brett and Justin.

Raylene had already agreed to be the surrogate, and when she got the call one day asking if she would ever consider being an egg donor, that was it.

“Right away I knew it was for them. I didn’t think twice. I said, ‘I would love to.’ I wanted to help them experience the love you feel as a parent, knowing they would be wonderful parents. I didn’t have to think twice.”

It’s not something she would do for just anyone.

“It’s because of who they would be as parents,” she explains.

“I knew they would be so well loved and taken care of. I love that I was able to help fulfill their dream.”

In terms of everything that went right, how does Raylene explain it?

“It was meant to be,” she replies.

When Lisa saw the babies for the first time, it was surreal.

“They’re a part of me, but I don’t think of them as mine. I didn’t do it for me. I did it for them.”

Justin is now back at work at Murray Honda, while Brett is taking a year off as the stay-at-home dad from his job at HSBC.

Part of what’s special is the unbelievable bond the twins have.

The first night they had Jordyn home and Sawyer was still in the hospital with breathing problems that have since been resolved.

“She was finicky,” Brett remembers. She was definitely missing her brother.

When they are put together, even just touching, there is an audible sound of relief.

“Their connection is so special. It’s more than anyone will know.”

Chilliwack has been exceedingly supportive as well.

“I had my reservations,” Justin admits.

It made him hesitant at first to even think about putting down roots.

“Coming from the city, I wasn’t sure how Chilliwack would perceive our little family. Well, every single person has proven me wrong. We’re so blessed.”

These days they get recognized in public because of how many people have seen the blog.

“One of the cool things is that now I will go to Tim Hortons or the Toys R Us Express and someone will recognize us from the blog photos,” Justin says. “It’s pretty cool that people are following our story.”

The readers are eager for updates.

“I’ve received so many messages from all kinds of couples going for in-vitro or other kinds of fertility assistance.”

Brett describes the visceral moment he saw the babies as “instant love,” and was unprepared for how strong the feeling was.

“It was an instant bond and connection.”

He shared that when he came out, at about the age of 15, he knew he definitely wanted kids.

“The biggest struggle was thinking about how I could have a family. I wanted to give my mom and dad some grandkids.”

“Yay!” offers grandma, Brett’s mom, from the kitchen.

Brett says he was less concerned about Chilliwack’s acceptance of them as a community than Justin was, having grown up here.

“Sure it is the Bible Belt and there’s a large religious element, but we found that so many are starting to accept us for who we are, and support us.

“Once they get to know us, they like us.”

To follow their story, go to loveandscience-ourmodernfamily.blogspot.ca

jfeinberg@theprogress.comtwitter.com/chwkjourno

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sam Darkoh in his music video ‘Ruby Fever’ which was shot in Yarrow. (Sterling Gold Production)
VIDEO: Yarrow, Chilliwack backdrop for professionally shot music video of Aldergrove rapper

Lots of hospitality, kind people while filming Ruby Fever, says hip-hop artist Sam Darkoh

Brian VanGarderen is one of four candidates running in the Chilliwack School Board byelection on Feb. 13, 2021. (Submitted photo)
VIDEO: Chilliwack byelection candidate would like to see district-wide connections

Brian Vangarderen hopes Chilliwack school board will focus on policy making and positive connections

Chilliwack is expected to be among the province’s hottest real estate markets in 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Chilliwack housing market projected to be among B.C.’s hottest in 2021

B.C. Real Estate Association projects Chilliwack and District to grow by 17.1 per cent

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon. (Submitted)
Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon funding equity and social change scholarships

One of the scholarships is open to any graduating student in the Chilliwack-Kent electoral district

Eva Pucci Couture in this file shot from May 29, 2019, when she came to Chilliwack asking for the public’s help in locating her missing son, Kristofer Shawn Couture. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Missing man’s mom still hopeful, 2 years after his car was found abandoned at Chilliwack trail

‘I wish someone would come forward with insight into your whereabouts,’ pleads mom of missing man

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
RCMP appeal for witnesses after hit-and-run leaves girl, 17, in critical condition

The Metro Vancouver teenager was found unconscious and critically injured after being hit: police

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read