My last post talked about what I’ll be missing out on in 16 years. This post is what I won’t be missing out on in a few weeks.

I’ve been a huge Conan O’Brien fan for years. Always regretted that I never got tickets when he was doing his Late Night gig just up the road in New York City. Then he moved to LA to take on the Tonight Show….and we all know what happened next.

Fast forward to today, as I was scanning the internets. There was a blurb about Conan taking  his act on the road while he is barred from being on TV. Checking the tour schedule….YES! He’s going to be in Atlantic City on May 30. My credit card number was already punched in when…………… I remembered.

Oh crap. Michelle’s due date. May 26.

And here’s the place — right HERE — where being the ‘surrogate’ and not the ‘intended parent’ has its advantages.

Because assuming Michelle is on schedule….. the Conan show is just four days after the big event.

Barb and Michelle, the intended parents, will be spending all their time getting to know the newest member of their family. Talk about ‘Late Night’ gigs.

Meanwhile, Michelle will be on her way to Atlantic City, hoisting a few glasses of champaign, laughing at CoCo’s antics.

Advertisements

In about 16 years — give or take a tolerant attitude — our IPs will be doing the exact same thing I’m doing right now.

It’s 11:30 p.m. on a Thursday night. I’ve just gotten home from dropping off my oldest daughter Emma at a midnight movie premiere of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Months before the movie was due to be released, I had promised my 16-year old that she and her good friend Tresier — both of them huge Tim Burton fans — could go see the movie on opening night. As it turned out, it’s opening on a school night. But a promise is a promise, and so I’m back home waiting until 2 a.m. to pick them up. Normally I’m a pretty strict parent, but this one time I’m going to let her skip school tomorrow.

So as I brew some coffee and attempt to stay awake another two hours, I’ve got some very quiet time to reflect on my current parenting role. And the role I’m going to miss out on with the child currently taking up more and more space inside Michelle. When this little one is Emma’s age, someone else — our IPs Barb and Michelle — will be the ones keeping the promise to let them stay out late. (Probably to view the latest in the Harry Potter saga, number 24 when middle aged Harry and his wizard friends do battle with the greatest enemy of all — the Dreaded Curse of Male Pattern Baldness!)

As the weeks go by, and Michelle’s due date actually starts to come within view, I’ll be spending more time reflecting on just how … different….this journey has been. This experience has been a lot of things so far.

Rewarding. Fascinating. Fulfilling.

But it’s also been strange. Foreign. Awkward at times. And sometimes just flat out weird. Even a feeling of emptiness at what — or in this case — does not lie ahead.

Now that’s something I did not expect.

From my vantage point, it’s been almost all positive. Course I’m not the one gobbling up Tums like they’re M&Ms, or having my internal organs used for soccer practice during all hours of the day and night. But now I find myself noticing how different things are going to be with this pregnancy, especially the final act. Most of all the differences in my own thinking. 

Sixteen years ago I was watching Michelle’s belly swell up at about the same rate as my worries and headaches. ‘Holy shit,’ I remember thinking, ‘My pretty much carefree life as I know it is over. (There’s a shocking GuestWomb entry to come on this topic. Brace yourself kids — but you were pretty much all your Mom’s idea. Sorry to break it to you)

While I might not have been ready for this change, I certainly didn’t shrink from my responsiblities then or now. And that’s what it really meant to me:  Life was to be all about the responsibilities.

Focusing on keeping the roof over our heads, the wife and kid (and soon to be kids) clothed and fed. Praying that everyone stayed healthy through doctor appointments. Nursery school and kindergarten. Braces. And on and on. Saving for college. Paying for weddings. A lot of it was panicky headtrash that seemed overwhelming at the time.

And yet all the responsibility for the little soul currently in residence somewhere east of Michelle’s spleen lies elsewhere. It’s Barb and Michelle, the IPs, that will assume all the burden and more.  They’ll be the ones shaking their heads at how expensive 5 years of braces can be. They’ll be worrying about making sure their boy gets into Honors Classes to make a better impression on college admissions committees.

They’ll be the ones waiting up until 2 a.m. like I am tonight.

Am I going to miss that? Maybe so. Because while Michelle takes the credit for prodding me into becoming a family man, being a parent has been the most rewarding part of my life.  Even those daunting responsibilities that caused sleepless nights so many years ago bring only a smile to my face.


Alert GuestWomb.com reader Micah spotted this above-the-fold story in today’s  New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/us/13surrogacy.html

Basically, it’s a series of surrogacy horror stories. And the victims are ultimately the children created in these flawed pairings of IP and surrogate.

The articles depicts the stories of three surrogacy arrangements — two that seemed fine at the beginning and then devolved. And another that was just wrong from the word go. I’ll let you read the article yourself and read these very sad stories.

(I take issue with the tone of it, insinuating that babies can be to simply ‘ordered up’ as if they’re an item on a menu. Take a look at the comments from others like us who are living in this world who rip the author.)

There’s a lot of blame to go around in these tales of woe. Begining with vague and inconsistent state laws dealing with surrogacy contracts. The real villains here in my mind are the doctors, lawyers and less-than-qualified surrogacy match makers who fail to adequately do their jobs of vetting each party.

And some blame goes to the intended parents themselves. In their emotion-filled rush to simply have babies at any cost they failed to think things through.

With all the factors in play, it was as if these surrogacies were doomed to fail.

Just like every other action you take this day, there’s a right way to do things, and plenty of wrong ways. I’ve documented before how our IPs have done everything right in preparing and executing this surrogacy, and this story just reinforces it. They chose highly regarded agency — Melissa Brissman — to find us. We were painstakingly vetted in every way so that all parties felt confident in each other. 

It was all about minimizing the risk of this arrangement. Together with our IPs, we took every step to make sure this journey would stay on the path. There is just too much at stake to do anything less. Especially for this new little life!

When I read in the article that only 750 surrogacy arrangements are made in the US every year, and that some of them go tragically wrong as described in the story, it makes me feel very fortunate to know our surrogacy was ‘done right’.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Game on.

And now that Michelle is official ‘with child’, what’s different in our lives? Not much in some ways. In others…a whole lot.

Michelle has turned into ‘Ms. Health Zealot’ as I expected. No more Diet Pepsi or anything with artificial sweetners.

10_3aspartame

No more coffee. Of course no alcohol or anything harmful. I really doubt that B and M realize the kind of determined and dutybound woman they’ve chosen to carry their little one! This is going to be one healthy kid.

Now I’m not saying Michelle is taking better care of herself now then when she had Emma and Sara. But somewhere in her pregnant past, she forget to eat the kinds of foods/nutrients/vitamins that would prevent teenage sass.  

But because nobody really knows our little secret — or at least not many — we go through life pretty much the same as we have been. Course that’s going to change in a couple of days when I announce the existence of this blog. And even more so when the baby bump starts blossoming out.

For now Michelle and I just share a knowing smile every once in awhile, amused by the happy little secret we’re harboring.

And then there are differences from the other times Michelle was pregnant. We aren’t putting together a nursery, shopping for baby clothes, picking out prospective names. (Well, except here in the blog. : ) No budgeting for diapers.

And yet we are both aware of this life-on-the-way. Well, of course M is. But I am too. It’s not in a possessive sense…and in this baby is ours. Of course it’s not. It’s more in a….protective sense. We’ve been charged with the responsibility of delivering a healthy, happy little one to the loving arms of B and M.

And yeah, I feel the responsibility too. It’s not a burden; it’s a duty that Michelle has been chosen to perform. My part in this? I’m called to support her in every way I can.

While this is about the last thing I ever expected to be involved in,  ultimately it doesn’t surprise me that we’re here. Both us are wired in a way that embraces responsibility in everything we do. This is no different.