Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Milky. Cereal, Baby.

I'm hungry, mama!
Later this afternoon, after my discount eye exam at a box store retailer, I am going to drive down a country road near where I grew up to pick up (breathe) a hospital-grade, dual-expression, electric, breast pump from a durable medical equipment rental company.

That is way too many words. They all terrify me.

I made the decision to attempt induced lactation well before we chose our gestational surrogate. Another one of those, well if I can't do that, maybe I could do this....kind of things. She, and our health care providers (hers and mine) have been fully supportive. Curious, kind of new to the idea themselves, but total cheerleaders. For the past two months, I've been dutifully taking my pills, eating my oatmeal, stocking up on herbs for later, watching my boobs expand and grow along with my husband's eyes. Whoa.

But this week, this week right here is where the rubber hits the road, or rather, the suction cup hits the tit. And I confess, I'm nervous.

What if it doesn't work? What if it hurts? What if I just can't manage the schedule. Every three hours? Before the baby even gets here? For real?

I've already told myself all I can do is try. Stick with it. Have at it. All that. I'm not going to beat myself up if my nipples don't secrete the nectar of the gods. I've already resigned myself to that fact that most books on breastfeeding suck (ha). No, really. Save your money. They really do. It took me several attempts at various libraries to find one that didn't spend 100+ pages on why breast milk is essential to your child's health and manufacturers of formula are the devil.

Spare me, eye-rolls the imitation similac-eating, survived-just-fine grown up over here.

In the end, the only one I've liked so far is one I found nestled in my pile of boxes. This one. The edition I have is old. It still talks about car seats as an option. (can you imagine?) But it spends 2 pages, not 100, on the value of breast milk and then gets into the nitty gritty. Like, pictures. And charts, And troubleshooting tips, and best of all, it doesn't use the cooing, soothing, you just had a baby so your brain must be mush language that so much of this shit does. It doesn't assume your baby will be ok or that you will manage this just fine. There is a robust chapter on Special Moms, Special Babies. I confess, I haven't read this cover to cover yet, but I think its one I will actually use as a reference. Phew.

Because I can't do the support group thing, guys. I just can't. Not yet. Not now. Maybe never. We were at a local hospital the other day visiting M's mom who had a minor procedure and just in case all of my triggers and synapses weren't afire already, we ran into an elevator full of full-on pregnant women coming back from a tour. My knees buckled. I didn't cry (then) and I can't explain the emotion. It wasn't sadness, it wasn't anger. It was more like, aversion? At any rate, the idea of spending any amount of time in a space of new moms....I'm just not there yet (ever, maybe).

Friday, January 25, 2013


By the end of this week, I think I will have told everyone that needs to be told that BBB is on his way and PS leave me the heck alone for at least three months. My board was ecstatic and super supportive. Everyone has been. People barely bat an eyelid when I talk about surrogacy. If anything, they want to know more.

I had no idea how many IVF pioneers, trailblazers even! that I knew in my immediate circles. Somehow talking about surrogacy opens the door for people to reminisce about their own journeys, heartaches, expenses (!)

I have had more 60+ year old men tell me about the shots their wives had to take, the constant trips to the clinics, the affairs with the plastics cups (boys! stop! TMI!) than I ever would have imagined. It makes me humble.

The things we don't know.

Yesterday, I broke the news to another batch of colleagues. But it was at the end of the meeting as we were winding up. I didn't get to the surrogacy part, and figured this wasn't a group that needed to know everything. I will be absent. That's what they need to know. But then my boss goes into talking about her own adoption adventures. Because it's all about her, right? It always is.  So I think the assumption made was that we are adopting.

And I almost clarified. And then I decided. You know, its ok. In some respects, it really doesn't matter where/how our family comes into being. It just matters that it IS. Adoption, surrogacy, having "The Sex" as Dresden likes to call it....none of these processes create a son or daughter that is any less loved. In two months, he will be here. That is what matters.

This isn't to say origins don't matter. They do. Oh golly they do. But those are our conversations to have. We will never be untrue to BBB about where and how he came about. That is our pledge. Once he arrives, it will be his choice with whom and when and how he shares that information. That is our pledge. To ourselves, to each other, to our surrogate, to BBB.  The only reason I mention the surrogacy now is because:
  1. It is obvious I am not pregnant. In fact, I am 30+ lbs lighter these days. Holla!
  2. I usually have a glass of wine or cup of coffee in hand, so I need to stem the tsk-tsking which would occur right after I say, "we're having a baby!" 
  3. I kind of like putting it out there. In everyday conversation. At least right now. And as I've mentioned, response has been awesome. 
  4. I still feel like we are in the process. Therefore, the process can take precedence. It ain't over yet.  
I don't think I'm going to be that "out there" once BBB is here. Because I cringe when a certain someone I know introduces her kids as "I have two adopted kids from _____" before she even mentions their names. As an adoptee, oooh it burns me! Like the act of adopting is more important than the individuals themselves. Especially when they are standing only a few feet away. I wonder if they introduce themselves like that? "Hi, I'm ____ I was adopted from _____." Somehow, I think its doubtful. 

But am I being hypocritical? Unfair to my colleague? Is there a problem in mentioning process once the person has arrived? Is there a difference? Am I just doing the same thing? I would really love your honest assessment here. Feel free to be anonymous if you prefer. Because this discussion of origin. It ain't going away. And I would love there to be some open dialog about it here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


65 more days until ETA. I can barely sleep. When I'm not dreaming of the rockstar cupcakes that apparently we are getting for The Shower, I'm dreaming of me and M and BBB spending the night in the world's worst B*st W*estern (which, in itself is hilarious since I haven't stayed in a BW since I was a kid on holiday with my thrifty parents).

In that particular dream, we had a crappy hotel room attached to the hotel lobby with a bathroom out in the hallway, also attached to the lobby. the bathroom was so tiny there was barely enough room to sit on the toilet without your knees grinding against the opposite wall, and constructed so poorly you could actually see into our room, the lobby and the game room in the basement below by peeking through the cracks in the walls and the floor.

Sidenote: do you worry when you dream about bathrooms and toilets? Do you wake up and think, oh crap, did I pee the bed? I do. (think it, not actually pee the bed. So far....)

Back to the dream: We were obviously in a hotel room since we were bringing BBB home. But instead of being a few days old infant, he had suddenly fast forwarded to fussy toddler stage, and for some reason, kept wanting to take off his diapers and walk around naked. In the hotel.

"BBB, why don't you have any pants on?"

"I don't knowwwwwwwww!!!" he would wail. Like he just found himself in that predicament and had no idea what to do about it.

"Well, how about this - why don't we put them back on?"

"Okaayyyyyyyy" he would sniff and acquiesce. And I would laugh. And M would roll his eyes and chuckle. And then we'd continue to hang out in our crappy hotel room.

At one point, BBB was pantless, again, and peed all over the bed. His little pee pee spraying everywhere. And I remember thinking, you know what? Awesome. Good. There  you go, crappy hotel room. That's our gift to you. Let's blow this joint. And we did.

And we ran to the parking lot together and laughed and laughed.

Me and M and BBB. Against the world. Or at least crappy hotels. That dream, days later, still has me in a good mood.

Last night, my dreams were a mix of awesome and suck. One part just had me hanging out with infant BBB, crouched over him on the floor. My hair kept hanging down and tickling his face. I was just stroking his sweet skin. I could dream that over and over again. Other parts were based on The Shower. Again. (Sorry! I've never had a shower for anything before. I never even go to them. So this whole thing is a thing of mystery and awe for me.) In one section of The Shower dream, our shower got mixed in with a Mexican wedding reception. And our cupcakes were interspersed with Mexican taco stands and actual venders selling the most awesome fried awesomeness.

I kept thinking. Oh gosh, I hope no one notices. We definitely got the better end of this deal. I brought over a cupcake to one of the vendors that had just fried me up something spectacular when M wasn't looking.

In another part of the same shower dream, there was a lot of suck. M's dad called from the car to tell me that he and one of his lawyer friends looked over the parentage paperwork that our attorney prepared and found this and this and this wrong with it and as a result weren't really sure whether BBB was legally ours or not...Cue me screaming, yelling, crying, hanging up, but not before saying, you couldn't wait 2 hours to tell me this? You had to tell me minutes before I walk into a room of people to celebrate our family? WTF you guys? 

So, the excitement. It's not without a little anxiety.

65 more days, y'all. 65 more days....Can you stand it? I can't stand it. 

the best GC in the world is doing great. She reports BBB is head down and still squirming. For the record, the running streak streaks on. 193 days strong, albeit some limited mileage these days. Damn you winter. Bring on the spring. Bring on BBB.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Spilling Beans

There. I've done it. With 78 days to go and M's reluctant ok, I've finally spilled the beans. I've managed to find a space to talk with each of my co-workers, and this email went out last night to friends and family who didn't already know:

Dear friends,

The last time I used this list it was to share the painful news of the loss of our daughters, Isobel and Jovita. Four years later, we still feel their absence every day.

But this year, I am overjoyed to tell you that we are expecting the birth of our son in just two and a half months! Big baby ____ is due March 31, 2013. Yes, we've taken a while to spill the beans....

As most of you know, our journey towards a family has been long, and anything but straightforward. We have a wonderful woman named _____ and her supportive family to thank for this gift. She is our gestational carrier (aka surrogate) and has been doing a rock solid job so far. We are really so happy to have _____, her husband and her own four children as part of our extended family now.

We’ll be traveling out to the Midwest in about two months for the birth, and then bringing BB_ home. We can’t wait for you to meet him.

Thank you for all of the love and patience you have given us. Thank you for your friendship as we struggled with our grief, and found happiness in our lives again. We are so excited to share this next piece of the journey with you.


m. and M.

So my inbox is a pretty steady stream of "OMG!!"s" and "Holy Shit!!!s this morning, along with some very sweet remarks about what kind of parents people think we will be. It's kind of fun.

Now, I'm not done yet, I still haven't gotten the word out to colleagues and volunteers I connect and work with, but most of them weren't really around for the long haul. I don't feel the same kind of obligation to them. They'll figure it out soon enough.

So, phew. That's done. And it is a nice weight removed. An elephant exposed. Look! There it is! Now we can talk about it!Baby! On the way! That's what we've been up to. That's what's new.

Now we just need to figure out how to assemble the crib. Gasp.