Maria Menounos will always remember what it was like to carry her child woman for the primary time.
“It was probably the most particular second of my life,” the 45-year-old star, who welcomed daughter Athena Alexandra on June 23 through surrogate alongside her husband, Keven Undergaro, remembers completely within the new challenge of Us Weekly. “The physician actually grabbed her and hiked her onto me. I sat together with her on my chest, and Keven and I saved one another like, ‘Oh, my God.’ It was simply pure pleasure.”
Provides Undergaro: “It was like Christmas morning instances one million.”
Menounos’ 10-year journey to motherhood has been a protracted and tough one. Infertility points led to IVF remedies, which had been halted when the “Heal Squad” podcast host and former E! Information anchor was recognized with a mind tumor in 2017; the tumor was eliminated, and she or he was given a clear invoice of well being, however her neurosurgeon suggested her towards carrying a baby. When their first surrogate fell by means of in 2020, Menounos had all however given up hope — then she and 55-year-old Undergaro, the founding father of AfterBuzz TV, introduced they had been anticipating in February. “Athena is our miracle child,” she says. “I’m so grateful for her.”
Congratulations! How does it really feel to be a mother?
Higher than I might’ve ever imagined. It’s euphoric. For therefore lengthy, I’ve felt one thing’s been lacking. I’d go to children’ birthday events, and I’d be a bit unhappy as a result of I wished my family. And now I really feel so grounded, like I lastly know the place I belong.
What have the primary few weeks been like at dwelling with Athena?
The entire home is on comfortable crack! My dad, her Abuelita, her child nurse, all of us simply, it’s simply a lot love. Individuals say you gained’t care about your canines anymore, but when I’m not squishing Athena, I’m squishing them.
How did you select the identify Athena?
We knew we wished a Greek identify. We had a listing, and everybody says if you see the child, you’ll know, however that was completely unfaithful for us. We had been like, “What will we do?” Athena is the goddess of warfare and knowledge, and Keven cherished the facility of that identify, in order that was it!
You had been in Wisconsin to your daughter’s delivery. What had been the times main as much as that like?
Athena was born in Milwaukee, and we had been there for like every week earlier than, driving the surrogate to the physician’s appointments and having dinner together with her household. However as we received nearer to the [due date], we booked her a room on the lodge with us so she’d be nearer to the hospital. So we received to the lodge, and it occurred that night time!
Wow! That’s wonderful timing.
She and I had been in my room simply chatting, and I confirmed her all of Athena’s stuff and her garments and I simply began bawling about how I’ve been ready for her. I used to be like, “My husband retains saying I’m being impatient, wanting the child to rush up and are available.” I advised her, “It’s not that I’m impatient. I’m simply so excited to satisfy her.” So she left the room, and her contractions began at two within the morning.
Inform Us about being within the supply room.
Surreal. We had been strolling within the halls together with her, after which they gave her the epidural, and our room was subsequent door, so I went to take an influence nap. Then her husband is available in and says, “It’s time!” I arrange my iPad so I might movie the delivery from an angle that was acceptable, and my telephone was with the surrogate’s husband as a result of she put him on image responsibility.
So all people had a job.
Everybody had a job. My dad didn’t wish to keep within the room. He wasn’t there for [my] delivery both. I’m going, “Dad, new behaviors, new patterns, new outcomes. You’ve by no means skilled this. Why don’t you wish to do that?” Then the surrogate compelled him to. [Laughs.] She goes, “You’re staying. What if I want your assist?” Hastily, [she does] a few pushes, and I’m seeing [Athena’s] head. They had been like, “Are you able to seize her?” I saved saying, “What do I do?” [Laughs.]
Had been you nervous?
I used to be so excited. However I used to be nervous I’d drop her as a result of I believed she was going to be slippery.
Did you are feeling an on the spot bond?
It felt wonderful, but additionally actually pure, like we had been collectively a very long time. A psychic stated she was going to be my mother from one other life. So I remembered that after, and I [thought] possibly that’s what that feeling was.
Inform Us concerning the starting of your fertility journey.
I’m fairly positive I did three rounds [of IVF]. I keep in mind calling my physician and telling her I wished to drive my automobile by means of a brick wall. It was actually, actually painful, I keep in mind [working at a music festival], and I forgot my needle. They usually needed to give me a horse needle from the world. It’s so tough since you’re doing it between interviews, and then you definitely’re attempting to do pictures on a airplane. It was only a lot again then.
Did you ever really feel like giving up?
I nearly did [when my first surrogate fell through]. Then my lawyer, Andrew Vorzimer — who Kim Kardashian had linked me to — put me in contact with Stephanie Levich from Household Match Consulting. Stephanie referred to as me and stated she had somebody, and the following day we had been on the telephone with our surrogate. These angels — Andy and Stephanie and my doula, Lori Bregman — got here collectively to assist us.
So Kim Kardashian helped put this in movement?
Sure. I give her a lot credit score. She helped us get began and guided me by means of the fears and the method. She was the primary to know we had been pregnant! We had been at a gala [in November], and I couldn’t resist telling her. She’s such a chill, calm individual. Anytime I had questions or wanted recommendation, her responses had been on the spot. I had actually leaned on her quite a bit.
Did you might have any moments of hesitation earlier than beginning the surrogacy course of?
Really, I’ve a loopy story. Two days earlier than we implanted, Keven and I had been sitting outdoors, and I stated to him, “It’s do or die; [the surrogate and her husband are] flying in [to L.A. from Wisconsin]. We’re going to implant these embryos. If we don’t assume that is proper for us, we now have to decide now.” Hastily I hear rustling, and an enormous stork flies out of this tree throughout the road. I’ve the f—ing video!
It was an indication! You additionally received near your surrogate. Inform Us about that.
It was a magical expertise. All through the being pregnant, I’d ship voice recordings for her to play for Athena. We love her and her household a lot. They gave us the best present ever. We nonetheless speak on a regular basis and take into account them household.
That’s nice that you’ve got such an exquisite bond.
I additionally lucked out with my surrogate as a result of the very first thing she stated to me was, “I wish to do no matter you’d do for those who had been pregnant.” I used to be like, “Nicely, with all of the diabetes in our household, I wouldn’t eat sugar. However if in case you have cravings, I don’t need you to really feel like you possibly can’t, as a result of I’d give in in that second.” I stated I’d eat natural, so I offered her with Thrive Marketplace for deliveries and despatched her natural merchandise for her home and pores and skin. However I didn’t obsess together with her about something. I knew she was accountable, I knew she wished to do an amazing job, and she or he wished to maintain this child.
You had been recognized with a pancreatic tumor in January. That should have been terrifying, figuring out the child was coming.
I used to be my church icons on my mantel, considering, “How will you bless me with a child, and I’m not going to satisfy her?” I used to be guttural crying, Keven was crying, and he by no means cries. It was a nightmare.
They efficiently eliminated the tumor. How are you feeling now?
Wonderful, thank God. The fibroid was the scale of a child. I’ve a C-section scar, mainly, though I by no means had a child — I gave delivery otherwise! [Laughs.]
How do you handle to remain optimistic, contemplating every little thing you’ve been by means of?
I’ve had quite a lot of low moments, so I’ve had quite a lot of follow in overcoming them. It’s a must to come out of the sufferer mentality. Everybody asks, “Why me?” And my factor is, “Why not me?” That helps me get out of issues quicker. I simply beat this tumor as a result of I discovered it early, and different folks don’t, so I’m fortunate. I attempt to deal with how I wish to really feel relatively than the opposite stuff. It takes a minute; it’s not straightforward.
You and Keven have been collectively for 25 years. How are you staying linked with a child within the combine?
We did one date night time already!
Has your relationship modified?
I believe the most important shift has been me going into my female aspect. In years previous, after I was flying tens of millions of miles a yr, Keven was like, “Maria, cease worrying; when we now have a child, you’re simply going to hike it to me, and I received it from there.” In order that’s what we thought the journey was going to be like, however our roles have actually shifted.
You’re actually having fun with nesting.
Yeah. I joke day-after-day I like maternity go away. I referred to as my boss and stated, “I would want a bit extra time.” The boss was like, no drawback. I’m the boss! [Laughs.] It’s so nice that Keven has been operating my present, so I’m capable of take this time.
Would you like extra children?
Sure! I would like 50 extra. I’ve one good embryo left. We’ll see, it must be quick. The enjoyment that Athena has delivered to this home — I would like extra of that. It feels so good. There have been quite a lot of tough instances, however I do know all of that’s behind us, and all the good things is forward.