Grooooooooow babies!!

How 2 men + 2 women - sex + science = 2 babies!!

This is the funny, heart-warming, tearful, inspiring, and shocking truth about my journey to have a child.

How a man, another man, a woman, another woman, a couple lawyers, a few doctors, a psychologist, a couple social workers and some agencies make a baby.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I've Won the Lottery

Well, I didn't really win the lottery. I don't have a million dollars. But I do feel like I've won the lottery.

As I've gone through this process a lot of my friends have confided in me that they are going through similar struggles to start a family. Their reasons for not being able to have a child the "traditional way" are varied. It pains me to see some of my friends -- who would be amazing parents -- struggle as I have and not succeed. Anyone who has dealt with an infertility problem, for any reason, understands how high the highs are and also how low the lows can be.

Sometimes I wonder why I was the lucky lottery winner. I wonder why I was blessed with enough finances to pursue my dream. I wonder how I got the right combination of egg donor, sperm, surrogate, doctor, embryologist, lawyer, and agency. I wonder what I did to be blessed with twins. It's not that I doubt myself; I just wonder why luck can't hit every deserving person the way it hit me. Like a lot of things in life, this lottery isn't fair and it's unfortunate the game doesn't always reward hard work and good hearts.

I sincerely hope this entry isn't like pouring salt into a wound of those who are still waiting to see if their lottery ticket is a winner. I know sometimes it can be hard to celebrate a friend's success when you want to achieve the same dream and it hasn't come true yet. Maybe I'm writing this as a reminder to myself to be grateful during those days when I want to tear out my hair as the kids are screaming or talking back to me. Maybe I'm writing this to let my friends know that I understand what they are feeling and that I am there for them as they have been there for me. Maybe I'm writing this because someone on the internet will stumble across this posting and gain some hope. Who knows. For now I guess I'm just writing this to say thank you to all those people who helped me feel grateful this year.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This Is the Audience Participation Portion of the Blog

Here we go, people. It's time for all of you "lurkers" (as you like to call yourselves) out there to get in the game. I know there are a lot of readers out there (10,244 hits so far) but not a lot of comments. Well, here's your chance to help me out with comments, suggestions, advice, etc. The babies are due April 11th and will probably arrive end of March because twins usually come early. Let the preparations begin!

1. The question I've been thinking about for a while is: What do children with two dads call their dads? Dad and daddy? Daddy 1 and Daddy 2? Daddy Michael and Daddy Derek? Brainy dad and brawny dad? (Derek and I decided on our second date he was the brains and I was the brawn because he beat me at a trivia game at Dave and Buster's and I beat him at skeeball and a snowboarding arcade game.)

2. Derek and I are looking to connect with parents of twins to learn more about what twins need. My big question is about the stroller. Anyone know good strollers for twins? Should we get the side by side kind or the front and back kind? Or should we just buy a large, loyal dog and strap the babies to the dog? Maybe a St. Bernard? What's the maximum weight a St. Bernard can carry? Is it worth investing in a miniature pony instead?

3. Should we buy stock in Pepridge Farm or General Mills? Will we go through more Goldfish crackers or Cheerios? Will it make a difference if we have boys or girls since boys use Cheerios as a target during potty training?

4. I have a long last name. How frustrated will a child get if he or she has a 16 letter hyphenated last name vs. a 10 letter last name?

5. Derek and I will most likely become regulars at Babies 'R Us very soon. What should we definitely get? What was a waste of your money? Do you know of a good brand of car seats? What about those beds that grow with your baby? How many binkies do we need? And why on earth does no one use the word pacifier anymore? And is it a binky or a binkie? Inquiring minds want to know.

6. Derek keeps talking about matching outfits for the twins. I say no. Pick a side. Take a stand. This is like toilet paper rolls going over vs. under, Team Jennifer vs. Team Angelina or Team Edward vs. whatever that vampire guy's name is. ( Edward the vampire? I don't know and I don't care. I don't have a teenage daughter.)

7. Now that the twins can hear, Derek got us a lullabelly and our amazing surrogate said she would use it. While Derek and I have our own favorite childhood stories we want to read, we'd love to know your favorite stories too. What books should we read to the twins? Goodnight Moon? The Hungry Caterpillar? Samuel L. Jackson's Go the F**k to Sleep?

8. Lastly, but still an extremely important question, what can I do for my surrogate after the babies are born? I know every surrogate is different and has a unique relationship with her IPs so it's hard to know for sure what to do. Does anyone have any ideas? How do you thank someone for doing this? Any advice from IPs or surrogates? My surrogate and I both had said, at the start of this process, that we hope to be in touch and be friends. That is what is happening. We care for each other but we don't go out for lunch and call each other every week. I do hope to stay in touch with her after the babies are born and I think she would like to stay in touch with me. I've read surrogate blogs and the women are thrilled to see their IPs' dreams come true, but some have had a little bit of mixed emotions seeing their journey end. If you could tell your IPs anything, what would you want them to know?

I know my questions were silly and funny, but I really am looking for advice.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Better Half

I was just looking at the title of my blog and realized that I wrote it has taken one man and two women to make these babies. Well, I think I need to make a little amendment: it's really TWO men and two women.

If you have read my blog you have seen me mention Derek from time to time. Hopefully he won't mind me talking about him, but he's as much a part of this as anybody so I want to introduce you to him.

In December of 2009 Derek and I met online and I wasn't interested in dating. I was getting close to putting down my deposit with the surrogacy agency. After 10ish years of dating men who always said, "Those kids are so cute but I'm glad I don't have one" or "I love being an uncle so I can give the kids back to their parents at the end of the day" I had resolved (or maybe resigned?) myself to being a single parent. Derek had emailed me to say he was moving to Chicago and asked where he should live. Being the nice guy that I am, however, I emailed him back by answering his question. Done. Case closed. I wasn't going to date.

A few months later I got an email from him saying he was in Chicago. By this time I had already started with the surrogacy process and it was right around the time I got matched with my surrogate. I was even less interested in dating than when Derek had first contacted me. I wasn't going to date.

Well, this man kept emailing me. I would respond because he seemed like a nice guy and I didn't want to be rude. Plus, I am a sign language interpreter and it was great to see in his profile he is fluent in American Sign Language, but that alone wasn't enough to meet him. I wasn't going to date.

After two months of him "bothering" me I agreed to meet him so we could eat dinner, realize we weren't a match and finally he would stop contacting me. We had a great time and he asked to see me again. I still wasn't going to date.

We went out a few more times. He was nice. He was cute. He was smart! I didn't know if we were starting a relationship or not. I was resistant. Maybe I was going to date.

My birthday was three weeks after we met. That morning I emailed Derek and told him I was getting together with friends and he was invited to join us for dinner. He accepted. Thirty minutes before dinner I thought, "Oh *$#@!!! Someone is going to ask me how the baby making process is going and Derek will have no idea what is going on." So I asked to meet with Derek before he came into the restaurant. I told him of my plans to have kids. His response was, "I think that's wonderful." I said he could leave now before dinner and never call me again. Or he could eat dinner and then leave and never call me again. He stayed. Hmmm...maybe dating was a possibility.

For weeks I didn't believe he was OK with this twist in our relationship. I questioned if he understood what he was getting into. I worried that he didn't really want kids and I was wasting my time. I worried that he only wanted kids and didn't want me. I worried about anything and everything. (You all know me by now...that's just what I do!) And yet he stayed. We became closer. He told me that he had wanted to be a dad for a while. I think I could date him.

Over the last 18 months, as I've gone through the process, Derek has been added into the mix slowly but surely. At the beginning the kids were 95% mine, then 90%, then 80% and it has slowly worked its way down to 50/50. I entered this process alone and needed to protect my babies. Derek has now proven himself time and time again. He has been there for me through all the ups and downs. He helps coordinate doctor appointments and wakes up at 5 a.m. to go to transfers. He holds my hand as I hold my breath during ultrasounds. The babies are ours now. There are moments that I freak out realizing that I'm not in control all the time and I may have to make compromises about how to raise the babies, but I know these babies will be lucky to have both of us in their lives raising them together.

I love you, Derek. I can't wait for us to meet our babies.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Amazing Facts

There's not a lot going on right now. I guess this really is the honeymoon trimester. Isn't that what people call it? We've made it past the scary first trimester and we're not at the "I-need-my-cell-phone-with-me-24/7-in-case-something-happens-at-3-a.m." phase. My lovely friend Michaela had a scare like that. Her surrogate thought she was in labor a month early and Michaela got on a plane only to find out it was a false alarm. But it was a good trial run. And in true Michaela fashion - since she always finds the bright side in this crazy journey - she said "next time, when it's for real, I'll remember to bring pajamas." Hope she doesn't mind me telling this story to you all.

Since I don't have much to say but I gotta keep all my internet fans out there entertained, here are some fun facts about babies, pregnancy and everyone's favorite topic of sex.

1. The largest cell in the human body is the female egg and the smallest is the male sperm. While you can’t see skin cells or muscle cells, the ovum is typically large enough to be seen with the naked eye with a diameter of about a millimeter. The sperm cell, on the other hand, is tiny, consisting of little more than nucleus.

2. On any given day, sexual intercourse takes place 120 million times on earth. Humans are a quickly proliferating species, and with about 4% of the world’s population having sex on any given day, it’s no wonder that birth rates continue to increase in many places all over the world.

3. The three things pregnant women dream most of during their first trimester are frogs, worms and potted plants. Pregnancy hormones can cause mood swings, cravings and many other unexpected changes. Oddly enough, hormones can often affect the types of dreams women have and their vividness. The most common are these three types, but many women also dream of water, giving birth or even have violent or sexually charged dreams.

4. Your teeth start growing 6 months before you are born. While few babies are born with teeth in place, the teeth that will eventually push through the gums of young children are formed long before the child even leaves the womb. At 9 to 12 weeks the fetus starts to form the teeth buds that will turn into baby teeth.

5. Babies are always born with blue eyes. The color of your eyes depends on the genes you get from your parents, but at birth most babies appear to have blue eyes. The reason behind this is the pigment melanin. The melanin in a newborn’s eyes often needs time after birth to be fully deposited or to be darkened by exposure to ultraviolet light, later revealing the baby’s true eye color.

6. Babies are, pound for pound, stronger than an ox. While a baby certainly couldn’t pull a covered wagon at its present size, if the child were the size of an oxen it just might very well be able to. Babies have especially strong and powerful legs for such tiny creatures, so watch out for those kicks.

7. A fetus acquires fingerprints at the age of three months. When only a small fraction of the way through its development, a fetus will have already developed one of the most unique human traits: fingerprints. At only 6-13 weeks of development, the whorls of what will be fingerprints have already developed. Oddly enough, those fingerprints will not change throughout the person’s life and will be one of the last things to disappear after death.

8. Every human spent about half an hour as a single cell. All life has to begin somewhere, and even the largest humans spent a short part of their lives as a single celled organism when sperm and egg cells first combine. Shortly afterward, the cells begin rapidly dividing and begin forming the components of a tiny embryo.