Episode 17: My Family’s Surrogate, a Veterinary Cardiologist in Hong Kong, and a Husband who Works in DR Congo — Jehvana, Maxie and Tad

You and Me and Everyone We Know is an audio diary made by everyday people living through the Covid-19 pandemic, and in today’s episode, we hear from the woman who carried my babies through pregnancy – our surrogate! We also hear from a veterinary cardiologist in Hong Kong, and Carly interviews her husband Tad who’s working with Eastern Congo Initiative on their Covid19 response… and making the most out of his evacuation from Rwanda by making cookies. Press play below to listen to the latest episode (or find it on Apple PodcastsSpotify, Google Play Music, and Stitcher):

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In the first part of this episode, we’re talking to my surrogate, Jehvana. You’ll have to excuse me, because really, I want to go on and on about how amazing this woman is. We met in 2016 when she started a journey with my husband and I to help us bring our babies into the world. She carried two pregnancies for us, and now we have two incredible kids. We actually made a couple of episodes about our journey together on another podcast I make with Hope Surrogacy. You can hear all about our surrogacy journey there. Jehvana’s built an incredible career working in labs and manufacturing throughout Wisconsin, and three weeks before the pandemic hit she started a new position at a chocolate company. So, she’s starting a new job while raising three young kids at home with her husband while they both work full time.  On April 16, I checked in with Jehvana on what the pandemic was like for her, and what we’ve seen in the surrogacy world since the pandemic hit…

In the second part of this episode we’re talking to Maxie. Maxie is a veterinary cardiologist in Hong Kong. We met when Maxie lived in Minneapolis. When we hung out here, we mostly spent time talking food and culture, but when I called her on April 3, I wanted to know how she was handling the pandemic in a place hit so hard by the SARS outbreak in 2003. Maxie was cautious, especially since a second wave was hitting Hong Kong. She explained to me how she sees this second wave. She shared her thoughts about pets at the time, and we talk about the possibilities for her dating life during a pandemic…

In the last part of this episode, my friend Carly brings in a special guest – her husband, Tad! You’ll remember Carly from Episode 15 which she hosted. Now Carly and Tad are holed up in the same cabin in Wisconsin after evacuating from Rwanda about five weeks ago. Tad is the Product Manager for Eastern Congo Initiative  also known as ECI, an organization working alongside families, entrepreneurs, and local organizations to build a better future for the Democratic Republic of Congo. Carly and Tad evacuated Rwanda where they were living for Tad’s work. Now he’s working remotely with the team in Congo to build up their emergency response to Covid19. When Carly interviewed Tad on April 26th, they talked about that Groundhog Day feeling of quarantine, how ECI is helping Congo brace for impact, and why, as Carly puts it, Tad is completely turning into a cookie monster.  

Here’s some of the things we talked about in this episode:

Covid-19 and…
-Hong Kong
-Infected pets
The cat from Belgium
-Advice for people with dogs
-Growing up in Germany
-Huskies
-The second wave of cases in Hong Kong
-Dating during the pandemic
-Bodily Fluids
-Grindr
Love Is Blind on Netflix (Prophecy?)
-Veterinarians volunteering to take care of humans in Chicago
-The Tooth Fairy
-How to work with kids around
-Savoring the precious things about your kids right now
-How kids are changing
-After-dinner dance parties
-Getting a new job during a pandemic
-The boom in the chocolate business
Surrogacy
-Our delivery day
-Groundhog’s Day
Spring in a new place
Cabin life
-Things that are in the yard
-Inside the COVID-19 response in Congo
-How to prevent a pandemic in a high touch economy
-Working remotely when your team is halfway around the world
Salted brown butter butterscotch oatmeal cookies (aka the dream)
-The joy of cereal in cookies (pro tip) 
-Turning into a cookie monster
-The miracle of curbside pickup baked enchiladas from Centro
-How to have more empathy on the other side of this 

Links:
Find episodes about Jehvana and Brent’s surrogacy journey here.
Listen to Amy from Hope Surrogacy share her perspective of the pandemic here.
Find out more about Tad’s work at Eastern Congo Initiative here.

Thank you for listening. 

And thank you to Jehvana, Maxie and Tad for coming on the podcast and for connecting with all of us. 

If feel like someone you know might feel comforted by hearing how everyday people are getting through these tough days, please share this podcast with them.  

If YOU, dear listener, want to be part of this podcast go to heybrentlove.com and tap coronavirus podcast on the menu or find me on Instagram @ heybrentlove

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