Michelle speaks:

Near the end of the journey. Currently 34 weeks, and so far so good.

Getting more and more uncomfortable and sleeping less and less, but I guess that it normal and to be expected.  I dont know how I am going to feel once this is all over, empty?  A void? Normal?

The life inside me is a strong kicker and likes to dance a lot especially when I drive.  Very distracting. 

Another thought that hits me is this is the last tiime that I can be this fat.  All of my skinny clothes are waiting for me and expecting me to put them on very soon……as does my husband. 

There are a lot of things I wasn,t prepared for or could have thought of way in advance, like being so out of breath and tired just from walking up a flight of stairs, or dropping something on the ground and letting it stay there because its too hard to pick it up.

My family has been so great helping around the house, and always asking if there is anything they can do to help……what a blessing.  This journey was to help another couple make their dreams come true but it also made us stonger as a married couple, closer as a family. On top of that, now we have new friends that we share a truly special bond and we will all love, nurture and watch this little boy grow up totally surrounded by those who cared enough to bring  him into the world.  I dont know how the majority of other surrogate/intended parent relationships go, but this one may be too good to be true.

With only a few weeks to go I am anxious about the birth, the unknown, the hows, the pain and the what happens after.  We as a family have a very busy summer, fall and winter planned. I do look forward to getting back on my feet, amping up my business, and rewarding my family for all of their support through this journey of love.

Thanks to all you folks who added comments or emailed me directly with ideas for my 18th wedding anniversary gifts. (The original post is right here.)

Truly, I’m touched by the heartfelt responses. And your generosity — at least how generous you all would be with spending my money.

After lengthy deliberation and carefully considering all my options, I’ll probably go with one of my two stand-by gift choices:

Oven mitts — can’t ever have too many of those! Or…

Who doesn’t need vacuum cleaner bags?

My wife said she looked long and hard to come up with just the right Valentine’s message this year. Something like:

I love it that you’re letting me have another man’s baby.

Unfortunately Hallmark doesn’t seem to stock that theme…

Michelle learned today that she’s carrying just the one child. As you no doubt remember from our breathless encounters earlier in the blog, she was implanted with two embryos.

The chances of her carrying twins was pretty good. As we’ll explain later, it was a good bet that M would be bringing a match pair into the world come late May/early June.

But thanks to the incredible technology available in sonograms and other medial devices, the doctors can already tell it’s just one little soul growing within Michelle.

I’m surprisingly a little sad about that. I have the same kind of regret when I think about the other two embryos that didn’t survive the ‘defrosting’ process at the IVF lab.

I know how hard M is working/going to work to provide an excellent start to this little one’s existence. And I know how lucky this child is to be placed in the loving arms of B and M, the intended parents so very soon….

Every child deserves this kind of jump start to life .

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Attention whores. You know who I’m talking about. You may call them something else, something more polite. But to me, they are what they are. They live only for other people noticing them, drawn to the glare of the spotlight like moths on a hot summer night.

‘Look at me,’ their clothes, piercings or tattoos scream.

‘It’s all about me, me, me’, screeches their flashy car or new face lift/boob job.

They measure their lives by the number of eyeballs trained upon them. You know them, work with them….you might live with them. In fact, you might be one. Though I doubt that, because instead of spending time reading MY blog you’d be writing your own.

Please forgive this rant about these self absorbed cretins. But I’m trying to make a point with my extreme disdain for these kinds of people and their selfish behavior. Because as Michelle begins this amazing journey, all of the attention is going to be focused on her. Rightfully so of course, because unlike your rank and file attention whore, the Blog Heroine is doing something pretty damned extraordinary. She’s going to be earning her place in the sun, basking in her well earned acclaim.

And I’ll be standing near her, slightly to the left of the center of attention. Just where I like it.

Sometimes I joke that I would have been happy having the tiny cabin next to Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. (I can imagine myself, walking over to his tiny place, knocking on the door and asking to borrow a cup of gunpowder or whatever he was using for explosives.) I enjoy my quiet time, my alone time. In fact I require it to turn down the static of life every now and then.

And my need — or extreme lack thereof — for attention follows suit. I’m not just being modest here. The center of attention is not a place I’ve ever sought, and this even goes back to my days as a sportswriter for a small local newspaper. Sure, I enjoyed seeing my byline atop a good column or story that I worked hard to put into ink and newsprint. I found the satisfaction in telling the tale. Not in the fact that I was the narrator.

At the same time, I don’t like being the passenger on this or any ride. I don’t like being a passive observer. I want to participate; I need to be an active partner to feel like I’m doing my part. And creating GuestWomb is the very best way I can contribute to this effort.

Chronicling the story is being a part of the story.

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Let’s get this out of the way right now.

It’s not about the money. That’s not why Michelle is doing this.

Yes, she’s getting paid. And pretty darn well. I’m not going to reveal exactly how much because, by the terms of the contract we signed, I’m not allowed to disclose that. But the average gestational carrier receives between $18,000 and $25,000 plus expenses. They get another 5 grand if they carry twins, and even more if — god forbid — it’s triplets. And if this not their first ‘project’, they earn a substantial amount more.

But we know we’re going to get the questions and the comments. In fact, we already have.

Many in Michelle’s family think it’s for the money. That doesn’t surprise me much because frankly it’s how those folks think. It’s not a unanimous viewpoint certainly, but if they conducted a family vote I think that’s how it would go down.

But my family? Well that’s a bit of a surprise. My own sister-in-law, who’s been somewhat estranged from us, called for the first time in years after learning about it from my brother. She grilled Michelle about the situation and then pronounced herself satisfied to learn that I’m not forcing her to do it for the money. (What???)

And you’ve already read what my kids are worried about. They think their classmates will think that somehow we’re victims of the bad economy, that we’re poor, we’re going to lose our house or that we need the cash to survive.

The truth is: We don’t need it. The money is going to go straight into an account for that special trip to Italy, or that grand landscaping project that we keep meaning to do. Not a rainy day fund. But a little something to make a sunny day just a little brighter.

I make pretty good coin as a VP of Marketing for a good company in south Jersey. Michelle will be making more than me pretty soon if her Fabric Goddess home decor business continues its meteroic trajectory.

If you want some more proof, you can click here on our listing at HomeExchange.com. Our house. We’ve listed our house, trying to trade homes with a family in Europe next summer or fall. So you can see we’re not exactly living in some falling down shack.

And yet it’s an issue. I have to admit I’ve been slightly weirded out by the money aspect of it. She’s getting paid to use her body. Some people might ask: How is that different than a prostitute? Well, for one there ain’t a lot of pleasure happening here. Between all the injections and drugs today, the invasive procedures to come and that little thing called labor and giving birth….well, this is a selfless act of sacrifice. Made a little easier by monthly checks.

But the fruit of her labor makes all the difference. Growing and nurturing a life. Providing the ultimate gift to a couple who desperately want to add to their family.

If I didn’t fully understand the real reasons why Michelle is led to do this, I would have discouraged her from going through with it. No, that’s not right. I would have vetoed it. But her intentions are as honorable as can be. True and innocent. She’s been blessed with a young body and soul that can host a miracle.

Maybe I would feel better if we just donated the money. Give to a charity. To a random homeless person.

But something tells me that nine months from now, as Michelle is screaming her head off while producing a living, breathing bundle of joy, she’ll be happy knowing her trip to Tuscany is a little closer.

It comes down to this: Why is Michelle doing it? Because she can.


Before we go any further: It’s time to introduce the cast of characters in this production. And really what characters they are.

Ok, WE are. Because I’m in this rogue’s gallery too.

So let’s start at the top, with the person who has brought us all together in this place and time.

I call her the Blog Heroine. She is variously known as wife, mom, corresponding sister to her far flung brothers and sisters, and of course the Fabric Goddess of Bucks County — that’s her side business.

And that’s the first thing you would notice about her. She takes on many roles in this life. And does an amazing job in mastering them all. You’ll learn much much more about her as this blog goes on but this is the time and place to place some words that might not otherwise be said here.

Suffice to say that she’s my one and only. Married for 17+ years, we’ve had more than the usual number of ups and downs in our lives together. And a few twists and turns thrown in. But we’ve always hung fast to this roller coaster and that’s probably the thing I most admire about her. Her steely determination to make things work.

I’ve had the fortune to have met/worked with/learned about very driven people. Count Michelle in this group. She has an absolute fierce desire to succeed, not just survive. Not in an ‘at any cost, cut throat way’ you might associate with that phrase. But more in terms of doing things the right way. Hard work. Consistent effort.

And then there’s that stubborn streak. Like a dog sinking his teeth into a bone and never, ever letting go. In a good way, if that’s possible. Never being satisfied until something is done to her liking. Her standards. This quality is one of the reasons we’re here today, me writing and you reading.

Her IPs — uh, that’s Intended Parents in Surrogacy lingo, the folks who are wanting/getting the kid — really have no idea just yet how lucky they were to find Michelle as a partner. They will. Very soon I’m sure. In fact I’m sure they already have an inkling.

So here’s what was going through Michelle’s head when that fateful Sunday morning broadcast played…..

I remember around the time I was thinking a lot about getting old. The years seem to be going by so quickly, and I have had a problem accepting that notion, the notion of being old, getting older. I just can’t see myself in that way. I still feel so young, even if my face is showing the world my true age.

I have often thought that by having another child would help me cling to my youth just a little longer. Not a good enough reason to get pregnant of course but it had crossed my mind. I had experienced great pregnancies and all the memories came flooding back whenever I toy with the idea of getting pregnant again.

Plus I loved being a stay at home mom. I could never accept a latch key kid kind of thing.

But now I’m onto new things. I’m working from home full time and building a very promising business, so having another child is not in the cards for me. And I know it wasn’t in Steven’s mind either.

So it made me sad to think that chapter in my life was over. I was thinking at that moment how old I suddenly felt and how that whole time in my life seemed over.

Then I saw the Sunday Morning program and my whole attitude changed. I thought of only one thing: I can have it all.

This is an opportunity to go through pregnancy again without the long term responsibilty of raising another child.

And a way to give the gift of life to someone who cannot otherwise have a child of thier own. For me, it was just the perfect solution. So within the next couple of days I started making some phone calls…..

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