Our surrogate delivered our daughter two days before Thanksgiving. The delivery was the most unforgettable moment of my life (I wrote about it on my own blog here!). Our baby brought magic into the world the moment she arrived. Magic floated around us for days. It filled the apartment where we stayed while we waited for our parentage hearing before a Wisconsin Judge.
We’ll talk about parentage hearings on the blog soon, but I’m thinking now about the time we had to wait between our baby’s delivery and the parentage hearing that we had to attend with our baby and our surrogate. We stayed in Wisconsin for over a week after our girl was born.
During our pregnancy, I knew this “in between time” was coming. I was worried that I would feel anxious to get back to Minnesota after the delivery. I imagined the sleepless nights and being so far from my bed, my couch, the comforts that I imagined I would need to get through the hard nights. My husband created the most beautiful nursery, and I wanted desperately to see our daughter in it.
However, we stayed, and, it turns out, the time was a godsend.
We rented an apartment that was so comfortable and sweet that we nearly moved into it all together. We found it through Amy. (If you need a place to stay in Madison, email Amy. Seriously. This apartment was magic. firstname.lastname@example.org).
On those very first days of her life, our girl woke up every few hours to eat, and during her 6 am bottle, the sun rose, morning’s first light beaming through the apartment windows, sweeping over my baby while I held her in my arms to nurse. The sun painted Lake Monona in pink and orange and light blue. I watched the world wake up – joggers bounding down the lakeside, the train slowly sailing along the edge of downtown. These were the first mornings of my life as a dad. They were quiet and beautiful. By the time the sun was fully up, we were all in there together, my husband holding our daughter and me making coffee and whipping up scrambled eggs.
We celebrated Thanksgiving during that time in Madison. We ordered a pre-cooked Thanksgiving meal from a local grocery store and celebrated with our parents. This was our daughter’s first holiday, and her gay dads may have gone overboard on the outfit.
Because it was so close, we stopped by Hope’s office nearly every day, visiting Mary, LeeAnn, and Amy to tell them about the newest, cutest coo or smile. They brought to our apartment a futon so we could sleep next to the bassinet in the living room. They also brought wine and cheese and celebrated every new day with us, thrilled to see us as a new family of three.
I look back at those first dad days, and they feel like they stretched out forever – walks at the edge of Lake Monona, crepes at Bradbury’s, buying our girl a receiving blanket covered in zebras at a shop by the Capitol. Then suddenly, right after the court hearing, it was time to go home. Suddenly it was time to pack.
LeeAnn, Mary, and Amy always make me laugh about packing up the apartment that day. We had “NEW DADS” written all over us, and we were a total mess.
Diapers by the box. A huge stroller. Three suitcases. A cooler of dry ice and breastmilk. Formula. A bottle warmer. Extra clothes we’d bought because the label that says “0-3 months” does NOT mean they fit newborn babies. Odds and ends of new dad life we hadn’t prepared for… all of it had to get into one car with two grown men and a brand new baby.
LeeAnn spotted me on the street on her way into the office, surrounded by boxes and bags, putting them in the car, then pulling them out of the car and trying a new configuration, a challenge for which I was channeling all parents who have ever had to solve the car packing puzzle.
“Do you need some help?” she asked. Yes! Yes, I needed help because my husband had come down with a cold bad enough that the doctor told him not to touch our newborn until he had been on antibiotics for 24 hours. So, he couldn’t watch the baby and because he was sick he couldn’t load the car by himself.
“Could you hold the baby?” I asked LeeAnn.
“Like you have to ask!” LeeAnn said. Not only did she watch our babe while my husband and I ran up and down with bags and boxes, she called Mary and Amy, and soon all five of us were packing our clown car with every newborn bit and bob.
By the time Mary and Amy arrived to help, I had half the car unloaded again trying the packing puzzle an entirely different way. That’s when I heard Mary talking to the traffic cop who was on his way to write me at a parking ticket. Seeing the mess of baby things on the sidewalk and my sleepless eyes staring at it all, he took pity and simply walked away.
We finally got everything stuffed into every nook and cranny of our car with just enough room for my husband to drive, my baby to sit in her car seat and me to sit next to her with both a small suitcase and the diaper bag in my lap. Before we settled into the car, there were hugs all around.
“It’s just you guys now,” Mary said. “The two of you and your daughter. Can you believe it?”
Barely. Except there she was, already asleep in the backseat. We drove away waving at the women from our surrogacy agency who’d become our friends.
We made one stop on our way home, driving straight to our surrogate’s house. Though we knew we’d see them again, we didn’t know when, so with tears in our eyes, we carried our daughter into their home for hugs which turned to tears. There she was, our baby in her surrogate’s house where she grew for 9 months listening to the sounds of our surrogate, her husband, her kids playing with their dogs.
We drove away from their house one last time, surrounded by more supplies than we probably needed and more gratitude that we could possibly express. Finally, we were heading home, a family.
Brent Love is the newest member of the team at Hope Surrogacy. Have a question you’d like answered on the blog? Have a story you’d like to share with us? Email Brent at email@example.com
Did this story spark a question? We’d love to talk about the answer! Email us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here.
http://hopesurrogacy.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/IMG_2171.jpg23203088Brent Lovehttp://hopesurrogacy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Hope-Surrogacy-Logo-340x234.pngBrent Love2018-06-07 06:54:322018-07-05 21:44:04Waiting to Bring Our Baby Home