It’s been a few days…
…since your lives changed forever.
You may think that you were preparing yourselves but the truth is that nothing can prepare you to be a parent. Nothing.
Ashley and I were together and planning things that we could do to help humanity. To help people feel good about themselves, to change lives, to better the world.
She told me that she really wanted to be a surrogate. While I was a little apprehensive about having a pregnant woman in the house again, I understood her reasoning and knew that she wanted to help a family that could not have children.
We both had to mentally prepare ourselves. Living with a pregnant woman you can still get attached to the “cargo” even though it’s not yours.
It all just seemed to move super fast. I don’t know why I imagined a super-rich couple that would have a nanny taking care of everything while they were on a yacht, but that is what I thought of. So my imagination was smashed when I found out that a gay couple were wanting twins (I’m pretty sure this is when twins came into play but it was all hitting pretty fast, so that’s what I’ll go with.)
Not that I cared it was a gay couple. A good friend of mine has always wanted a child of his own but has never had the means to make it happen. He happens to be gay as well but never in my life would I question his ability to be a good parent.
Actually, the whole thing made me think of this story about a man that came before state lawmakers to discuss how being raised by a lesbian couple has not changed their family dynamics from any other family.
Visiting Los Angeles to take care of things was fun and it became easier to deal with the fact that there would be someone in my house carrying children that I would maybe get to see for a few days before they went home half the country away.
Ashley’s stomach grew. Occasionally we would meet or FaceTime but very rarely for me since in the process of this adventure Ashley and I broke up. But I still wanted to be involved. I felt that I still needed to support her dream and the dream of the new Intended Parents because I was partially responsible for pushing her to continue on and dropping that support after the fact would make me feel like less of a man.
I never went to a doctor visit but there were times that I still wanted to help make the moments special such as shooting maternity photos and having fun with a few of them.
It was a little geeky but everyone loved it.
We stayed in regular contact with each other. It was really great to watch as everything went according to plan. It is actually a little difficult to believe that it did. Statistically it’s true that most pregnancies go off without a single hitch, but somehow you just never get used to things going well.
Maybe I shouldn’t always expect the worse.
And then there was ….
At an appointment on Wednesday the doctor said that the guys should get to Sherman no later than Friday. They scheduled their flight and got there Friday evening. I had planned to go and stay the weekend even though I knew that my kids and I would have to be back to Ardmore by Monday morning.
I almost didn’t make it that weekend at all because the water pump on my Jeep had crashed on me and I was sure it would not be done until at least Sunday. But, thanks to Cassie’s boyfriend it was ready later Friday evening.
At first I was sure all this hurry was for nothing. But sure enough, at 5:37 on Saturday morning we were headed to the hospital.
I was in a little bit of shock. Trying to get my girls up at moving before 6am was hell and making sure that we got everything was nuts because I really never expected it to happen while I was there.
We will skip the gory details of the birth except to say that it was gory. I’ve watched my own children born but never twins.
The more I took photos and watched reactions around the room the more I realized how scared Mike was. Chris was shooting as much video as he could but managed to be more curious and excited. I remember the birth of my children and feeling all those same emotions.
As I watched Mike I could tell he was trying not to look but very much wanted to witness the miracle. He looked constantly on the verge of tears.
Through the ordeal both men grew a little more adventurous and took a few extra peeks at their children when they were born. … And then there they were.
Sean and Maggie.
Two beautiful babies that were healthy, albeit a little early, and perfect. I managed to capture a few photos of the first real interactions between parent and child.
I could easily tell by the look on their faces that they simply could not believe what was happening. All those days and nights of planning, discussing, waiting…
It put into perspective how easy my life with my children really has been. My own kids just came along. I didn’t have to go through a complicated process, contracts, payments, doctors… They were just there and then I started taking care of them.
Chris and Mike didn’t have that luxury. They’ve had to fight and battle to get a family. Too many people take family for granted. Can you imagine how many less people there would be in this world if they all had to fight as much as these two? Most would have given up in the beginning.
Before I go on and this point gets lost, there is something I need to spend a few moments on.
Ashley was the one that agreed to carry, care for and give part of her life force to make sure that these two awesome guys could have a family. I think it was a little harder for her to let go of them than she would admit but she understands the greater purpose.
Though carrying the babies had its ups and downs, I believe that she was and is filled with a lot of pride to be able to say that she is one of the major reasons they exist (though they are not biologically related).
In the nursery Chris and Mike learned first hand about changing diapers, bathing and many other things that I was witness to. It was like looking through the glass at myself and seeing myself as a new parent. Trying not to break them. (And you can watch as many YouTube videos and go to as many classes as you’d like, there is no substitute for changing a real diaper for the first time.)
I was honestly scared at first that they would be too skiddish and some how doubt themselves. You could see it in the back of their thoughts. But they surprised me. A lot.
While I rambled a little about my own experiences and gave unsolicited advise on being a dad it made me think that I really wish I’d heard all of what I was saying when I was younger. If someone had told me everything though, I would not have had the experience that I do. So I tried to stop giving my advise and let them enjoy their moments. (Sorry guys!)
I think the stereotype is that surrogacy is a one-off thing. That most people do not stay in contact after the babies are born because of potential problems with bonds and emotions.
That doesn’t feel like the case at all here.
Here it feels like the family has grown not just to include two new children but to include two men that we might not have known otherwise. Two people that are dedicated to each other, their family and to being happy in life.
If after reading this you still believe that two men should not have children, you can kindly go fuck yourself because I promise they will be better parents than you or I. 🙂