PLEASANT GROVE, Utah — A Utah mother has given her daughter the gift of life twice.
Alayna Kait Chalise Munoz was born just before 9 p.m. on May 17 at American Fork Hospital.
"She was seven pounds, 13 ounces, 21 inches long, and came out just healthy and gave her little screams," said Chalise Smith, Alayna's grandmother.
Alayna's journey to get here was a unique one, to say the least.
It was her 50-year-old grandmother who carried Alayna for her 25-year-old daughter Kaitlyn Munoz, who lives in El Paso, Texas.
"I just felt like this is something that I could do for her, a gift that I could give her," said Chalise.
Katilyn has Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that left her kidneys damaged after the birth of her previous child, Callahan.
She was advised by her doctor to not have any more children. So, with two frozen embryos from Kaitlyn, Chalise stepped in to serve as a surrogate for her daughter.
"We went through the medical clearing, we had to go through other things that go along with an IVF process and surrogacy, and in September of 2021, the two embryos were placed," Chalise said.
Chalise, who is a mother of eight, said this pregnancy did come with some concerns.
"[I was] going to be 50... I have a bad right leg, [and] just with pregnancies, the sciatic nerve gets pinched off," she said. "And to be 100 percent honest, it was one of the easiest pregnancies."
The end result was exactly what Chalise, Kaitlyn and their entire family had hoped for.
"I thought, 'She's my baby, it's my baby, and I feel like when she's placed that it'll all feel right,'" Kaitlyn said, "And it did."
Kaitlyn said for now, she will have quite the story to tell her daughter when she grows up.
"I always tell people it's crazy because she was grown in the same uterus as me, just 25 years later," Kaitlyn said. "It's kind of crazy."
For this mother and daughter, who describe themselves as best friends throughout the years, the latest bundle of joy has brought them even closer together.
"I just feel like that bond is there and it has strengthened our bond," Chalise said.
She called Alayna's birth a miracle and said it helps complete her daughter's family — at least for right now.