One resident, numerous anecdotes

Name: Jodie Meurer

Age: 40

Occupation: Doula

Where we found her:Century High School senior party meeting

Are you originally from Rochester?I am. I went to Mayo High School. I did like it—I was a chameleon and had friends from different groups—but I ended up moving to a very small town my junior year.

Where was that?It was Lakefield, Minnesota—west on I-90 by Worthington. There were 40, technically 36, people in my class, and I’d just come from a class at Mayo with 400. I hated it. It was a school where they’d had the same friends from kindergarten on, and I couldn’t break into those cliques.

What brought you there?My mom’s job. She let my sister, who was a senior, stay in Rochester, but not me. It’s just cruel! Not that I’m bitter!

What did you do after high school?I thought I was going to go to school … and then I got pregnant. I moved back to Rochester a year after I graduated. My parents had kept their house, so I moved back into my childhood home and had a baby.

You were a young mom.It was certainly not easy and definitely not ideal. I was 19 when he was born, and it turns out it’s a lot harder than it looks when other people are doing it, especially alone! But I have no regrets. It’s something I didn’t know I wanted.

Tell me about your kids.Oh, c’mon. They’re so cool. They’re 21 and 19. They’re fun to be around. They’re funny and sweet and so frickin’ charming and they’re so good-looking that I just want to stare at them. They’re also bratty and snotty sometimes, and they give me a lot of gray hair, too. Gosh, I love them.

And you’re expecting again!I am. I’m 17 weeks. This is the fourth boy I’ll deliver. The third, just last year, is awesome. He lives in Australia, but he’s got to have an American accent, right?!

OK, fill me in.It was a surrogacy. I’m a surrogate. This is our second time.

How did you come to that decision?I always wanted to be a surrogate, but I threw myself into raising our boys and the timing wasn’t right until they were older. Then a few other things were happening in our lives and I just felt God tapping on my shoulder and saying, "It’s your time to do this." We found an agency, and gave it a shot and we absolutely love the couple, adore them. They are family for us and for our kids. They are generous with sharing stories and pictures and it doesn’t end … that’s why we did it, for this part right here. The stuff about pregnancy is tough, but this part is easy.

They were in the room when you delivered?They were, the whole time. They had come two weeks before and largely stayed by our side to be there when something happened. I wasn’t really mindful of anything else in the room when I delivered, but when I look at the pictures, [baby Elliot’s parents] are stroking his face and nose and hair, and they have one hand on my head, too. And the moment when the grandparents met him, over video? They turned the phone to me and told me how appreciative they were and it was just so powerful. [My husband] Brian deserves as much of the credit as I do because he’s there just as much. This isn’t just my gig. He was all in, 100 percent, and still is.

How did you and Brian meet?We met at a housewarming party. [My son] was 6 weeks old, and I saw this boy I thought was super cute, so I pretended I didn’t know the card game so he’d teach me. He didn’t like me right away. He had a crush on another girl at the time, and it wasn’t until she rejected him that he was like, "Oh, you’re here!" But I got him!

You’re a doula?I signed on with Med City Doulas after the birth experience with the suro babe, Elliot. I just wanted to be part of that experience. I had been a stay-at-home mom, and I needed to find something. I thought, what will inspire me? As soon as I thought of being a doula, it was right. My instinct told me this is where I belong.

What drew you?After I had Elliot, he went home with his parents and I stayed home and took care of myself and had time for showers and naps—and it was still hard! It reminded me how much a mom needs after she’s had a baby, after everyone else has gone back to work and gone back home. That fourth trimester is real and that’s the part I want to be there for the most.

What’s in your closet?A good selection of mom cardigans, gifts for graduation, and things I probably shouldn’t put in a magazine. And costumes! When the costume shop in town closed, we bought a few costumes—the Queen and King of Hearts, Robin Hood and Maid Marian, Olive Oyl and Popeye.

Why costumes?I love theme parties! The one party I’m missing is a swinger party. Not that kind of swinger—but the ‘20s, flapper dresses, Charleston kind of party. I need Brian to get on board. I’ve worn that mom sweater enough.

Exciting moment?Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. Even with the bleaching of the coral, which is so sad, it was just incredible. We saw a grouper as big as a boat. It was huge. Its mouth was bigger than my body. It was amazing.

Advice you give your kids?Do the right thing. I want them to value their own integrity and do the right thing even when no one is looking. More than anything, I want them to be true to what’s important to them, whatever that looks like. I want them to define success for themselves. I had a lot of questions when I was growing up, and some people thought my choices were insane. But I don’t have regrets and I don’t want them to, either.