Calif. Mother of 2 Who Was on Her Second Surrogacy for Another Family Dies Giving Birth

Michelle Reaves had two children of her own with her husband but wanted to help another family who couldn't conceive

Michelle Reaves family
Photo: Vintage Glass Photography

A San Diego community is in shock after a beloved wife, mother, and friend recently made the ultimate sacrifice and lost her life while giving another family the gift of life.

Michelle Reaves tragically died during childbirth on Wednesday after “one complication led to the next,” according to a GoFundMe page set up on behalf of her husband Chris Reaves and their two young children, Gage and Monroe.

Though doctors managed to deliver the baby successfully, Michelle, who was on her second surrogacy for the same family, “fought for her life” until the end.

“I can’t even begin to imagine what her husband Chris and her two babies are going through,” fundraiser creator Jaime Herwehe wrote on the page, which she launched in order to help Michelle’s husband and kids pay for funeral services and adjust to a new life as a family of three.

Michelle Reaves
Michelle Reaves. Michelle Reaves/Facebook

Herwehe said Michelle and Chris — who met in February 2010, according to the mother of two’s Facebook page — were done having children and decided to help others on their journey to parenthood.

Besides wanting to help other families, Michelle adored spending time with her husband and their children, whom Herwehe said “my heart breaks for, knowing they won’t grow old with their mama.”

“She will always be known for the love she had for her family,” Herwehe wrote. “Michelle has the best, most sarcastic, funny personality and always had you laughing.”

“You hear about these things happening all of the time but never in your life imagine it will happen to you,” she went on, before pleading for everyone to donate or share the fundraiser so that they could help the Reaves family.

“This all doesn’t even feel real, let’s be there for Michelle’s family like they would for us,” she added. “No one deserves to lose their mama so young or the mother of their children.”

Michelle Reaves

Since creating the GoFundMe six days ago, the fundraiser has brought in over $60,000. Many of those who donated also left behind a heartfelt message, remembering Michelle and praising her for serving as a surrogate.

“What a beautiful thing you and Michelle were doing, life doesn’t make sense sometimes. And what an unbelievably lucky baby the family have in their hands now,” wrote one user.

“May her selfless act be forever honored,” wrote someone else, while another added, “Surrogates accept a risk of death to fulfill the dreams of someone who can’t fulfill their own. The goodness in this woman’s heart was beyond words. May she rest in peace.”

“Heartbreaking. What a wonderful person she was,” commented one of Michelle’s loved ones.

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Others paid tribute to Michelle on Facebook, calling the mother of two a “selfless” person whose tragic death was indescribable.

“I am so devastated by this. She will be truly missed. My brother is crushed. I love you guys so much,” Andrea Rose Axelson, Chris’ sister, wrote in a post.

“Words can’t explain! My condolences to the entire family,” wrote family friend Alonzo Fierro. “Michelle Reaves you were always a great person. I enjoyed seeing you and your beautiful family you’ve created. I loved the snapchats. My heart goes out to your husband and kids.”

“To lose such a selfless and beautiful woman like Michelle Reaves is heartbreaking,” added another family friend, Cammy Kelly. “My prayers go out to Chris, those babies and her whole family and multitude of friends. It’s unreal and so sad. It seems so unfair.”

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