Opinion Time: why surrogacy should be legal, regulated, and fair

I have seen several really tragic stories in the news the last couple of weeks about surrogate pregnancies gone wrong. Very brief overview: one was a surrogate for two dads in the UK. They met through a Facebook group and had no written contract. The surrogate changed her mind and was advised by the owner of the Facebook group to lie to the dads and tell them she had miscarried. She carried the baby to term, claimed it as her own, and now the dads are fighting for custody. The other is about a paraplegic woman, an Israeli, whose niece carried a pregnancy for her. The baby was taken away and placed in foster care because surrogacy is only legal when the intended parents are a married husband and wife. The mom is now fighting for custody. The third is about a gay couple who hired a surrogate in Thailand. In Thailand, the surrogate is placed on the birth certificate, and the parents and surrogate must appear in court to get the birth certificate changed. The surrogate has gone MIA, refusing to complete the paperwork, so now the dads, the baby, and their older child are stuck in Thailand, unable to return to Spain where they live. In all three of these instances, the babies had absolutely no genetic relation to the surrogate, and in all but one (the woman in Israel), the babies were the biological children of one of their parents.

The common denominator here is that all of these surrogacies took place in countries that have outdated, discriminatory surrogacy laws or where surrogacy is largely unregulated. There are no protections in place for either the surrogate or the parents. I am not a lawyer, and I’m not going to pretend to understand the intricacies of surrogacy law, but I do have more first-hand experience with surrogacy than your average joe. Here is what I firmly believe: surrogacy must be legal, it must be regulated, and, in most cases, it must be done through a reputable agency.

Once I decided to become a surrogate, I did a ton of research on the various agencies in California. I chose one of the most established agencies with a long history of successful surrogacies which also happened to be the first surrogacy agency to accept gay couples at intended parents. The screening process for me was very rigorous: I went through a multitude of physical examinations and, perhaps even more importantly, several psychological screenings. My husband did the same. I was counseled on every step of the process, prepared for the emotional toll a surrogacy can take. My counselor was in constant contact with me throughout the process, especially at the end, when it was time for the babies to be born and to go home with their dads. When surrogacy is unregulated and done without a third party, there is no support for the surrogate. While what the surrogates in those stories from the UK and Thailand did was completely reprehensible, I must remind myself that these women had no one trained to counsel them through the process. I went into the experience completely prepared, with eyes wide open, with layers and layers of support, and it was still very difficult to say goodbye to those babes. I can only imagine what it would be like to enter into a surrogacy unprepared.

California has the best surrogacy laws in the country. Legally, the babies I carried were never mine. My contract stated that I had no parental rights, that the legal parents were, in fact, the babies’ parents. It even laid out next of kin by three degrees, should anything have happened to both of the dads. In addition to that, toward the end of the pregnancy, I was “sued for custody,” which was essentially just a legal document saying, once again, that I gave up parental rights and the dads were to have full custody from the moment of birth. Once the babies were born, both dads were automatically on the birth certificates. This legal process was easy and left no room for error or interpretation. All the parties involved were protected, and all our obligations were clear.

Bottom line is, when surrogacy is illegal or unregulated, none of these protections or support systems are in place, and someone is likely to get hurt.

So, what can we do about it? I, for one, will continue to tell people my story, to show everyone that surrogacy is a legitimate, safe way for people to grow their families. When I read horrid, judgmental, ignorant comments on a news article, I will respond respectfully and thoughtfully. I will teach my children that there is more than one way (or two or three) to create a family, and each is as beautiful as the next. Surrogacy became incrementally easier for gay couples with the SCOTUS decision to legalize gay marriage nation-wide, but there are still outdated, unfair laws across the nation and around the world. Children, surrogates, and parents alike are going to continue to be hurt if surrogacy is not legalized and regulated and if the laws continue to discriminate against certain kinds of family. Please help me spread the word about the beauty of surrogacy.

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8lbs 2oz of baby

My belly has developed its own gravitational pull

My belly has developed its own gravitational pull. Notice the amazing (and attractive) veins and stretch marks. All part of this labor of love.

Hello, friend. I know, I know, It’s been a while. Let’s blame my long absence on my broken home computer and not on my olympic level procrastination.

A quick update: I am now 31 weeks 4 days. The babies are growing (and growing), and every ultrasound confirms that all is well in utero. At my scan on Thursday, the ultrasound tech estimated that each baby is weighing in at approximately 4lbs 1oz. That’s over 8 pounds of baby! Neither of my kids ever reached 8lbs while on the inside. I’m getting a little uncomfortable (read: very, very uncomfortable but embarrassed to complain about it), and I honestly have no idea how my belly is going to make it another 6 weeks. Or my bladder. Or my internal organs.

Nuzzling head to head.

Nuzzling head to head.

The babies are currently both breech, nuzzling each other with their heads up in my ribs. Baby A needs to flip head down if I want to have any prayer of delivering vaginally, but since they are the same size, Baby B can remain breech and we’ll try for a vertex/breech delivery. I’m remaining optimistic (read: delusional); the ultrasound tech said there is still plenty of fluid around each of them, which means the little girl still has room to flip. Lots of down-dogs for me! I’ve also read that doing handstands in a pool could help a baby flip. Fun! And probably less hazardous than handstands on dry land.

The dads were in town a couple weeks ago for a quick visit. It was just lovely, as usual. And now that they live in Los Angeles, it’s less of a schlep for them to get up here. We began our visit at a check-up. My OB practically squealed when she saw the dads! She is so into this whole process. Some Kaiser OBs are not like OBs at other practices–there are OBs who do clinical work, seeing patients in their office, and there are OBs who work in the hospital, delivering babies. My doctor never got privileges at the hospital because she knew she wanted just clinical work. But she told us at our appointment the other day that she will apply for privileges so she can assist at the delivery! Talk about flattering! Now I just gotta keep the buggers in until the paperwork goes through.

After the doctor, we had lunch then headed over to the daddies’ hotel to hang out and talk about the birth plan. They are so patient, kind, and supportive in my delusion that I will be able to have a vaginal delivery. Gil also talked me through a C-section step by step in intricate, bloody detail. Really, I’m just terrified of drugs, so the thought of getting a spinal and having to take painkillers afterwards scares the crap out of me. A few days after the visit, I found out that a mom of one of Ramona’s classmates is an anesthesiologist at Kaiser. She very kindly talked with me about my concerns and made some suggestions. I’m hoping she’ll be on duty when I go in–it’ll be a party in the OR with her, my OB, and the daddies. Who says major abdominal surgery can’t be fun?

The next day, after amazing french toast a la Tomer, the dads and I headed off to get some 3D ultrasound pictures taken. I’m a little farther along than most women are when they get these photos done, and I’m much more full of baby than a woman with a singleton, so the babies look a little, well, squished. But their adorableness is undeniable, and maybe it’s just me, but the fact that they are both using their placentas as pillows is just too damn cute.

Last bit of news: I am officially off work! Friday was my last day. I am now a lady of leisure. Bon bon, anyone?

Thanks for your patience with my long absence. Coming soon–a reflection on my 15 minutes of (somewhat awkward) fame. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can peruse this article from the j. weekly and this blog post from Kveller, both published in the same week.

The Halfway Mark (in which the daddies feed me very well)

It’s Thanksgiving today. I’m sitting in my mother-in-law’s dining room, listening to my raucous family in the next room, laughing, playing games, and (for the moment) entertaining my children. I’d like to say that I’m sitting here quietly reflecting on all the things I have to be thankful for (spoiler alert: quite a lot), but who am I kidding? I am sitting here grabbing a few moments of peace while trying to digest the fourth helping of mashed potatoes I’ve had today. Have you ever had the potato-sweats? It’s like the meat-sweats, only saltier.

This is the first moment I’ve had to reflect on the past week, which was pretty incredible. The visit from the daddies included our anatomy scan, a meeting with the hospital, trips to Toys R Us and Buy Buy Baby, lots and lots of meals, and a talk at the synagogue, all compounded by some ridiculousness at work. What struck me the most was how close I felt to the daddies, how comfortable it was just to be with them. We’ve only met in person once before at our match meeting, but the events of the past several months (you know…me getting knocked up with their babies) have made us like family. I was so sad to see them go, and not just because they kept me so well fed.

Their visit began with a quick tour of the JCC where they are quite famous amongst my coworkers. Then they took me and Mike out to dinner at La Fondue, where we enjoyed a long, lingering meal, sometimes chatting about the babies but mostly just chatting about nothing in particular, enjoying each other’s company.

Selfie at the doctor before our appointment.

The next morning, the three of us grabbed some breakfast (which I insisted on paying for to assuage my guilt for the very expensive pots of cheese and chocolate from the night before). Then we headed to the doctor for the much anticipated anatomy scan. This is the scan where the tech measures every little part of each fetus, and it was incredible to watch. I could see the folds of their brains, the texture of their kidneys, every little bone in their hands and feet. This was the first ultrasound the daddies got to see first-hand, and I reveled in every little gasp, sigh, and comment. It felt so good to have them there with me, sharing in this pregnancy.

A beautiful shot of Baby B.

A beautiful shot of Baby B.

“Do you have any guesses about the sexes?” the tech asked.

“We already know Baby B is a boy,” I replied. “Gil thinks A is a boy, too, and Tomer thinks it’s a girl.”

“Well, Tomer is right!,” she said. “Baby A is a girl!” That’s when the waterworks really started. Gil and Tomer both began texting their families, spreading the news.

The daddies proudly displaying the roll of ultrasound pics.

The daddies proudly displaying the roll of ultrasound pics.

The rest of the scan went quickly, and we met with the perinatologist briefly. Both fetuses are developing wonderfully, and the doctor said my cervix looks beautiful. It’s not every day a girl gets a compliment about her cervix!

After the scan, we popped over to Labor and Delivery to speak with the nurse manager about the logistics of the birth itself. Turns our Kaiser is pretty accommodating. I will have to deliver in the OR (apparently standard procedure for twins), and normally only one other person is allowed to be present. For us, they will let both dads be in the delivery room. The only bummer is that Mike can’t be in there, so I don’t get a support person. But I have a feeling Tomer will want to be up near my head anyhow (because really, who wants to see all that?), and he can probably shout, “Breathe!” as well as anyone. Once we’re in the postpartum ward, the daddies will get their own room next to mine, and the babies will room in with them. They can be brought to me to nurse or, if I’m recovering well, I can pop next door. Just one big party! Hopefully, after a few days, we will all be released at the same time.

After the meeting at the hospital, the daddies dropped me back off at work (for a verrry long evening, it turned out), and then met Mike and the kids at Toys R Us. They ended up with an awesome remote control car. All Gil would tell me about the evening was that he was impressed with Mike’s patience and parenting skills. Ummm…uh oh. The next day, I played hooky from work and, after yet another delicious meal out, I took the daddies to Buy Buy Baby to give them the lowdown on baby gear.

Next came Shabbat dinner, cooked by Tomer and my mom. Delicious, of course. Once again, just like back in June, the daddies blended right in with my family. The next morning, I headed over to Beth David to give my talk. I was really nervous, not so much because I was worried about people’s reactions to surrogacy, but mostly because I hate public speaking. It went really well, though. I was glad I didn’t prepare much because it ended up feeling really natural. The rabbi started things off with some basic thoughts about the conservative movement’s position on surrogacy (mostly positive), then he turned it over to me. I told the basic outline of my story so far and then opened it up to questions. I told people they could ask me anything, and they did, although no one was disrespectful. Everyone seemed really interested, and I was really proud to be an advocate for this beautiful process.

After one last meal that evening, it was time to say goodbye. I can’t believe I won’t see the dads again until the birth! Tomer made a few hints that he might think about coming to stay a few weeks early in late March, just to be safe. I hope he decides to do that, for a couple of reasons. I am terrified that I will go into labor early and the dads won’t be here for the birth. What gets me through all those hard evenings is thinking about that moment the babies are born, when I will get to hand these amazing people their children. I think I would be devastated if they miss it. Oh, and less selfishly, I want Gil and Tomer to have the experience of watching their kids be born. I also think it would be awesome for at least one of them to be around, in the trenches, those last few weeks. Those of you who have been through a pregnancy (as either the preggo or the preggo’s partner) know that those last few weeks are some of the most intense. The aches, the pains, and the fluids that leak out of embarrassing places. The insatiable hunger and the maddening inability to eat more than a few bites because your stomach is smushed up against your sternum. The Braxton-Hicks, the cervical pain, the sleeplessness. And the amazing things, too. The strong, reassuring kicks. Watching your belly jump rhythmically when the baby gets the hiccups. I want the daddies to experience all of this. (And I wouldn’t complain if they fed me, too.)

I am halfway done with this journey. It hasn’t all been easy, but it’s been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. Here is to smooth sailing in the second half.

The Daddies are Coming (and a brief lesson on Jewish law)!

bump in the woodsskeleton shirtThe daddies are coming for a visit next week. I haven’t seen them since before the transfer. I can’t believe it’s been that long. We skype and facetime regularly, so it doesn’t feel like that long, but it’ll be so nice to have them here and get the opportunity to really share this pregnancy with them. You can only convey so much through pictures, even pictures as cute as these.

They fly in on Wednesday, and we have some big plans. Wednesday night, they are taking me and Mike out to La Fondue (ooh la la). Then Thursday morning, they are treating me to a pedicure before the main event, the anatomy ultrasound and the big gender reveal.

14w6d ultrasound(Although we kind of accidentally found out that Baby B is a boy. At my last doctors appointment, my OB was doing a routine scan just to check their heartbeats, when Baby B suddenly flipped over and presented us with his bottom and his very obvious boy bits. Both the doctor and I gasped in unison, causing the daddies, who were facetiming with us, to say “What, what?!” “Well,” said the doctor, “I could tell you Baby B’s gender, if you want…” The daddies said sure, so we shared the news. She tried to get a look at Baby A, too, but to no avail. Baby A stayed resolutely in a tight little ball. But I digress…)

After the ultrasound, we’ll grab lunch before I have to go to work, where I will stay late for an event (boo) while the daddies take Ramona and Solomon to Toys R Us for some good, old fashioned spoiling. The next day, Tomer is insisting on cooking Shabbat dinner for the family, which is exciting not only because I’ve been dying for him to cook for me but also because it will be amusing to watch him arm wrestle my mom for control over the kitchen. Tee hee.

It will be a whirlwind few days, and I’m sure it will be over too soon. But I’m going to do my best to savor the time we have together, especially because this will be their only visit before the birth.

After the daddies fly home Saturday morning, I will be heading to Congregation Beth David. They asked me to come speak about my journey so far at a learning session after services–they even made a flyer! One of the rabbis will teach about Jewish halacha (law) regarding surrogacy and then I’ll add a personal touch by telling my story. Here’s an interesting tidbit: Judaism is a matrilineal religion; people born of a Jewish mother are themselves considered Jewish. I always thought that meant that if an egg donor is used, she needed to be Jewish for the child to be born Jewish. I recently learned that it is not the egg that matters but the womb. A Jewish womb is like a mikveh, and any child born of that womb is Jewish. (“Jewish law does not recognize the microbial,” a rabbi said to me today, “only things that can be seen with the naked eye.” Interesting…) I thought that my being Jewish was just an emotional plus, but now that I know it is actually halachically imperative that I am Jewish, this entire endeavor is imbued with even more meaning. I am looking forward to learning more next Saturday. Now I just need to figure out what I’m going to say… I kinda hate public speaking.

“We’re finding out today how many things are coming out of mommy!”

“I will tell you right away–there’s two!” The ultrasound wand had been inside me for approximately 0.3 seconds before the doctor made this announcement.

“Can you guys see?!” This was my mom, talking to the daddies. I had called them on Skype, and my mom was pointing them toward the ultrasound machine.

“Yes, yes!” replied Tomer, his voice heavy with tears.

7w1d ultrasoundEven to the layman, the fact that it was twins was obvious. Each embryo was nestled into it’s own little sac, looking like a yin and yang in my uterus. And each embryo sported the tiny flutter of healthy heartbeats. I stifled a slightly hysterical giggle. Some unarticulated worry deep inside me relaxed, and I settled back more comfortably onto the pillow.

The rest of the appointment passed in relative silence, punctuated by the occasional emotional gasp or sniffle. The daddies, my mom, and I watched the doctor take measurements, each of us processing the information privately. At one point, my mom wiped her face and exclaimed, “You guys are making me cry! It’s not even my grandkids and you’re making me cry!!” I glanced at them on my phone–Tomer had his head on Gil’s shoulder, tears streaming down both their faces.

Baby A (the blob on the right in the picture above) is measuring 6 weeks 6 days, and Baby B (the blob on the left) is measuring 7 weeks 1 day. The heartbeats are both strong, and there is nothing alarming going on in there. Well, except for the fact that there are two creatures occupying the same space space that each of my average sized children occupied separately–that is slightly alarming, I must admit. (Word of advice: do not look at Baby Center images of twins in the womb right after finding out you are, in fact, carrying twins. You will never sleep soundly again). But aside from that, everything looks good.

After the appointment was over, my mom drove me back to work. I sat in the passenger seat, staring down at the grainy ultrasound picture in my lap, trying to work my head around the idea of twins. All sorts of worst-case scenarios tried to worm their ways into my head, but I resolutely shut them out, thinking only of how happy the daddies had been.

flowers from daddiesThe next day, two baskets of flowers arrived at the JCC, one for me and one for my mom, from the daddies of course–classy as ever. The card read, “Thank you for making our dream come true. You are the most generous woman we know. Love, Tomer and Gil.”

No pressure or anything. =) I’ll get back to gestating now.

A match made in Sonoma

“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.

Tomer and Gil in San Francisco

Tomer and Gil in San Francisco

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.

Tomer's gorgeous homemade challah.

Tomer’s gorgeous homemade challah.

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…

Tomer's signature 'feet on the dashboard' shot

Tomer’s signature ‘feet on the dashboard’ shot

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…

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match!

One April day, about 4 months after I had put my file on hold, I got a phone call. It was Donna, my counselor from CSP.

Since putting my file on hold, I had been trying to put the surrogacy out of my mind, mostly because I didn’t want to rush weaning Solly, even unconsciously. But I had joined the agency’s surrogate-only Facebook group, and I would see several posts daily from women in every stage of the process–some posting check-ins at the IVF center about to receive an embryo transfers, some complaining about the mood swings and nausea caused by the hormones, some posting proud belly pics, some posting 3 month or 6 month or 2-year pictures of their adorable surro-babies. Most touching of all, though, had to be the posts about their couples (the intended parents or IPs): pictures of them all together at an ultrasound appointment, bragging posts about the care packages they received from their IPs, pics from visits to the IPs and the surro-baby on the baby’s first birthday, or questions about an appropriate Mother’s Day gift for their Intended Mom who is using a surrogate after years of failed infertility treatment. There were also achingly sad posts about failed transfers, miscarriages, surro-babes diagnosed with congenital diseases or chromosomal abnormalities.

One experienced surrogate on her third surro-baby noted that we as surrogate mothers tend to take on our couples’ infertility struggles. Their pain becomes our pain, all their hopes for growing their families gets placed on our shoulders (well, in our uteri), and when there is a failed transfer or no heartbeat at the 8-week ultrasound, we feel it right alongside the parents. With gay couples (I had told CSP that I was specifically interested in working with a gay couple), there is often guilt on the part of the surrogate that the couple has to go to such lengths to have a baby that is biologically related to one of them.

The women I got to know via Facebook obviously love their couples and develop amazingly rich relationships with them.  I began to wonder about who I would get matched with and what our relationship would become. I would fantasize about the perfect way to tell them I’m pregnant and the looks on their faces during the anatomy ultrasound. I imagined what the birth would be like and the feeling I would get when the doctor hands them the baby. Just knowing that they were out there, yearning for the child I was going to carry for them, made me eager to get started.

“I didn’t want to do this, ” Donna began, “because I don’t want you to feel pressure to wean before you’re ready. But there’s this couple, and they’re prefect for you.”

Ugh. It was like a punch in the gut. Solly was clearly not ready to wean, and while I was getting there, I was not interested in rushing him. But to have them think of me, out of at least a hundred other women, must mean something. But, no, my kid comes first.

“We’re really not ready yet. How soon are they looking to get started?”

“Right away,” Donna said. “They are very eager.”

Sigh. “I’m sorry, but I just can’t right now.” Pause. “But tell me about them.”

“They are a gay couple, Jewish, Israeli, living in Texas. They are sweet guys who have been wanting to have a baby for 10 years. One is a doctor and the other is an actor and a chef. We don’t get many gay Jewish couples, so I wanted to check to see if you were ready before I passed them off.”

Double sigh. They did sound perfect. “I have to pass. I’m really sorry.”

“Don’t be!” Donna replied. “You have to be ready or it won’t be a good experience for anyone. Just call when you’re weaned. I’m sure we’ll find another couple just as perfect.”

I had a hard time letting that phone call go. I should have been able to logic the regret away–certainly there isn’t just one perfect couple out there for me. There will be another. But for whatever reason, this couple took up residency in my head. I didn’t even know their names, but I often found myself wondering who they got matched with and how everything was going.

A month later, Donna called again, this time just to check in. Coincidentally, Mike and I had night weaned Solly just that week, and the end of the Era of Boobs was in sight. She told me to go ahead and update my profile and make it live so I could begin the matching process.

The matching process! The very idea made my stomach leap and my inner soundtrack switch to show tunes. For mama, make him a scholar. For papa, make him rich as a king… I went straight to my computer, updated my profile, and emailed Donna to let her know I was done. At the end of that email, right before I hit send, I added a post-script: “By the way, what ever happened to that Israeli couple from Texas?”

Donna emailed me back immediately. Turns out they had some sort of delay with their egg donor, and they were not matched yet. Huzzah!

“Can you commit to being weaned by the end of June?” Donna asked.

I thought for a second. Then I thought again. “Yes.”

Two months. I can wean Solly in two months. Uh huh, absolutely. Now this could be a blog all its own, so I won’t go into too much detail. Long story short, it’s currently July 4th and I have not nursed Solly since June 8th. He still asks for it, which is terribly guilt inducing, but what about motherhood isn’t? Here is a typical post-weaning interaction:

“Nurse, peese,” he says, ever so politely.

“We don’t nurse anymore,” I reply, “There’s no more milk.”

All politeness gone, he reaches down my shirt and gives me a full on titty-twister.”Noooooo! Nurse, want nurse! Boobies! Nurse!”

“Do you want chocolate milk instead?”

All screaming stops instantly. “Yeah. Kitchen.”

So the kid is clearly traumatized and I’m sure he’s going to have some weird psycho-sexual chocolate milk fetish when he’s older, but that’s just par for the course, right? Right?!

And now that I have digressed yet again, I will leave you for now with this… because I learned in college that if you mention a show tune in Act I, you better sing that show tune in Act II. Thank you, Chekhov.