“So we’ll see you on Monday. Oh, and make sure to take 800 milligrams of ibuprofen an hour before your appointment.”
That’s something every woman wants to hear before visiting a lady-parts doctor.
I was flown down to LA for my medical clearance exam with the fancy fertility doctor. The ibuprofen was for the saline injection, in which the doctor shoves a rather large catheter through my cervix and into my uterus before shooting saline solution up there to blow my uterus up like a balloon. Not the most fun thing I’ve ever done in LA, but definitely not the most uncomfortable, either (I’m looking at you, summer of 2005).
Things were moving quickly now. After a remarkably non-awkward Skype call with my potential couple, an in-person visit was quickly arranged. It felt like a first date on steroids. We exchanged a few emails to work out some details, and each one was torturous. I read, reread, rewrote, and reworded each 3 sentence email a thousand times. I worried about what they would read into these messages, whether I was emailing them too much, whether I should sound formal or casual, so on and so forth. I worried about what I was going to wear, what the kids were going to wear, whether Mike was going to say something stupid or embarrassing (sorry, honey), whether we’d find things to talk about. I wanted them to like me so badly that I forgot that I was supposed to be feeling them out, too. I even didn’t think about the possibility that maybe I wouldn’t like them. (Spoiler: There’s nothing not to like.)
The plan was for them to come to Shabbat dinner at our compound complex to be overwhelmed by meet my family. Then we’d have our official match meeting at CSP in Sonoma the next day. The official match meeting was to discuss all of the potentially uncomfortable subjects like how many embryos they want to transfer, my willingness to carry multiples, how we all feel about selective reduction and therapeutic termination, what kind of food/lifestyle restriction they want put in the contract, etc. Seeing them the day before was the get-to-know-you time, the do-we-mesh time. We were both given explicit instructions from Donna at CSP to steer clear of all surrogacy related topics. So of course I fretted about that—what if they wanted to talk about it, what if one of my family members brought it up and said something stupid or embarrassing (sorry guys), what if we didn’t have anything else to talk about?
The day of the visit, I waited anxiously for their call. When it came, a sudden calm came over me, and Ramona and I went out front to greet them.
Gil and Tomer, classy as only a certain kind of homosexual couple can be, walked up the front steps with a beautiful orchid for me, a wrapped gift for the kids, and a gorgeous homemade challah. Ramona, sensing the gift was for her, skipped the standard I’m-shy-for-about-30-seconds and went straight to you’re-my-new-best-friends! After slightly awkward hugs all around, Ramona led Gil and Tomer (who I now think of as ‘the daddies’) out into the courtyard to try out her gift, a nerf rocket launcher.
The rest of the family gathered out there with us, and introductions were made. Any tension or weirdness that may have occurred was eased by the kids’ delight in their new toy, and pleasant chit-chat soon filled the courtyard.
Shabbat dinner, as per usual, was boisterous and fun, filled with chaos, singing, and laughter. Tomer commented that it reminded him of the Shabbat dinners of his childhood. For the first time, I began to think past the pregnancy and the birth, past my own role in this adventure, and forward to the two of them creating traditions with their own kids–Shabbat dinners, Sunday morning pancakes, yearly trips to visit their families in Israel. It began to dawn on me that this was it, this was the beginning of the creation of their family. And I felt enormously lucky to be there to witness it, to be a part of it.
Our Sonoma meeting was easy, uneventful. There were no surprises, no outrageous restrictions. Gil is a doctor, so he seems to be pretty levelheaded about things. Well, about most things. Apparently there is some new research about artificial sweeteners, and he requested that I severely limit my intake. “Of course!” I said, while on the inside I was wailing, “Noooo! Splenda…my sweet, sweet Splenda! Whatever will I do without you?! No sushi I can handle. No wine? Ok, fine. But no Diet Dr. Pepper? No Coke Zero?? What will I put in my tea??!” Deep breaths…
After our meeting, the daddies took me out to an amazing lunch, where we chatted about pregnancy, parenting, and life in general. I drove home from Sonoma pleasantly full and eager to move forward.
Not two weeks later, I found myself in stirrups, a catheter up my cervix and saline solution in my uterus.
Next stop, self-administered hormone injections…