BravoTV.com: Did you and Sara become closer after she was a surrogate for you?
Emily Simpson: My sister, Sara, and I have always been extremely close. We grew up in Ohio, out in the country, where all the homes were far apart. There weren't many other kids to play with, so we spent most of our childhood playing with each other. Our summer days were spent barefoot, running wild and free, playing in the barn or catching frogs in the pond. We grew up in a divorced home without a lot of structure, and so we learned to really just depend on one other. My sister is the closest person to me and has been my whole life.
In 2011, after I miscarried twins, my sister and her family came to Utah to spend Thanksgiving with us at our home in Utah. Although I had literally lost the babies just a few days before and had barely recovered from the trauma, I felt it would be therapeutic to have my sister there with me. I remember standing in my kitchen on Thanksgiving day telling her about the loss of the babies in detaiI and about my health ordeal after (I had to have an emergency D&C and a blood transfusion). I mentioned that I had no idea what to do now as far as trying to have children. That’s the moment my sister told me to stop trying and that she would “do it for me." I knew in that moment that what she was saying was a genuine offer to be a surrogate for me.
The surrogacy journey to have Annabelle was long and arduous for both of us. Even though Sara was my sister, we still had to go through the formal surrogacy process. We both had to have pyschological examinations, contracts, lawyers, and my sister had to have a multitude of exams, etc., in addition to all of the fertility drugs she had to take! Because Sara lives in Ohio, she had to communicate with my fertility doctor, Dr. Najmabadi in Beverly Hills, often via text and email, and then eventually travel to California for the actual implantation. We implanted two embryos into my sister: one boy and one girl. My sister was convinced she was carrying twins. However, after her first sonogram, Sara called me sobbing after having learned there was only one embryo. She was completely devastated. Honestly, I was too, but at the same time I knew that we were so lucky that one viable embryo was growing. Nine months later, on February 19, 2013, my "feral child" Annabelle was born in Kettering, Ohio!
Although my sister and I had always been best friends, going through the surrogacy process made our relationship even closer. Not only did she make the huge sacrifice to carry a child for me for nine months, but she never once complained or expressed regret for her decision. She treated the pregnancy as if she were carrying her own child. I know she ate very healthy and was very careful to rest and stay in good shape. We spoke daily as she kept me updated on the progress. I even flew out to Ohio for her 16-week sonogram, when we learned the sex of the baby—a surprise to us since we didn’t know which embryo survived. A girl!! My Annabelle. I'll never get over the loss of the two babies I lost, but the closest person to me, my sister, gave me greatest gift you could ever give someone...the gift of life.
BravoTV.com: Is the decision of whether to have another baby or not still a point of contention in your marriage?
ES: The fact that I would like to have another daughter but that Shane does not want more kids isn't necessarily a source of contention in our relationship. While it’s a discussion we often have, we don't necessarily fight or argue about it. It's true that another child is something that I really want, but Shane’s reasons for not wanting more children are valid and reasonable, so I respect his position.
Shane has five children: two daughters from his first marriage, Shelby (17) and Chanel (12), and then our three little ones. He is an amazing dad and makes sure to spend quality time with all of his children. He feels that his time is consumed with the five children and that to have another would take away from the others. I respect his position, but that doesn't mean I won't stop trying to change his mind!
It is because my sister and I grew up so close that I’ve always wanted Annabelle to have that same relationship with a sister. I have always yearned for two daughters, probably trying to recreate the Emily/Sara dynamic! My husband reminds me to focus on the three children we have, because there was a very dark time in my life when we were not sure we would ever have any children, and so I should count my blessings. I understand this mentality, and I do cherish the three miracles I do have. But I can't help what my heart wants, and my heart wants to have another daughter.
BravoTV.com: What are your impressions of the other ladies so far?
ES: I'm really excited about finally healing the relationship with Tamra. I connected with her really quickly years ago, and I feel like we are just getting right back into that groove. She's funny, sassy, and witty, and I really enjoy spending time with her.
At the nail salon, it was like no time at all had passed and we were cracking jokes and having a great time together. It’s here that I had the opportunity to meet Kelly for the first time. My first impression of Kelly was that she's extremely beautiful, confident, and a lot of fun! She asked me personal questions right out of the gate, but it didn't bother me, because that's how I roll too. I'm an open book, and I feel that true friendships are established by just opening up, being yourself, and trying to get to know one another. So I appreciate that she's asking me about my life and my relationship with Shane. I'm look forward to spending more time with her and getting to know her better, because it didn't take much time to figure out that Kelly is down for fun!
I met Gina at Cut Fitness (after the most grueling work out ever...thank you Eddie Judge for killing me!). My first impression of Gina is that she is sweet, funny, and has a great personality. As soon as she tells us that she has three young children (who are almost the exact ages as my three), I think to myself, "OK this chick is cool and we are about to be best friends!" Who better to connect with and hang out with than someone who is dealing with the exact same things that you are?! I mean, we can bond over a glass of wine and potty training stories. Maybe Gina knows the key to being able to shower, put makeup on, and get my kids ready too? I have yet to figure that out, but maybe together we can help each other figure out this parenting stuff! Plus... her accent? How fun is that?! "Gina, say cawfee."
Hope everyone is enjoying the new season and you can follow me on Instagram @rhoc_emilysimpson!