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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Preparing for the Holidays

The holiday season is here, and we’re still tired! I thought the sleep depravation was supposed to end around four months, but I thought wrong. The boys are doing well and now over seven months old, with one at 20 pounds and the other near 18, but our little night owl still won’t sleep through the night. This is still the biggest challenge for us, as we never get a full night’s sleep. His latest thing is that he gets up for a bottle, and then refuses to go back to sleep. Getting up for two hours in the middle of the night has been so frustrating. I’ve spoken to other parents who say their babies never slept through the night until they were over a year old, so this could continue for quite some time. Last night I finally let him cry for about 15 minutes, and then he fell back to sleep. I’m not a fan of the “cry it out” method, but it seemed to be the only option, other than getting out toys and staying awake half the night.

On the positive side, it’s been fun buying and wrapping Christmas presents for them, and last week I took them to get their picture taken with Santa. They did very well and neither one cried. They even seemed to enjoy doing our Christmas shopping at the mall after the picture and liked all the attention they received from strangers.

Both boys are now mobile, which introduces a whole new set of challenges around the house. We have a two-story home, so we’re going to get baby gates for the stairs soon. They’ve also discovered the Christmas tree, and it’s as if they know all those colorful presents are for them. I don’t think they’ve figured out what “no” means, so we keep steering them away from the temptation! We also had to lower the mattresses in their cribs because it looked like they would soon be able to pull themselves over the rail.

I took the boys last month to get RSV shots – apparently twins are at greater risk, so they need to get shots once per month until Spring. This was my first time with them at the doctor when they got shots, and I felt so bad for them. As soon as that needle went in, you would think someone had hit them over the head. It took about ten minutes to calm them and wipe away the tears after the shots. Next week we’ll have to do it all over again. I remember as a child being terrified of the doctor and shots, so I can definitely sympathize with them.

Dinner time has become interesting now that they’re eating solid baby food. The bigger twin eats anything we give him with no problems while the smaller twin takes a little coaxing at times. I think we already know who our picky eater will be! I know some of our neighbors make their own baby food, like boiling and then mashing sweet potatoes. I’m going to ask for advice on this to find out what works best at this age.

I can’t wait for Christmas morning to see the excitement on their faces as they rip open their presents. They’re really into tearing paper now, so they may enjoy the process more than the toys.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

I’ve been so busy lately, but keep meaning to post an update. This month both Nick and I had to travel for work, one week each, so we’ve both had the opportunity to take care of the boys alone. I was gone first, and I worried about home, the boys, the dog, and whether Nick was going crazy with all the responsibility dumped on him. But I’ll admit I enjoyed the freedom too. I was able to go out to nice restaurants, hit the gym in the evening without hurrying, and then sleep nine hours each night at a Marriott. I especially enjoyed the uninterrupted sleep!

I really dreaded the following week when it was time for payback. But it turned out to not be so bad. I was fortunate enough to be able to work from home all that week, so I didn’t have to worry about getting ready in the morning while the boys were up, which is a difficult thing to do. Plus a friend in our neighborhood stopped by in the evening to help with feeding the boys, or just keeping them occupied while I walked the dog and ate my own dinner.

Next Monday the boys will be 6 months old! They’re getting big (one is 17 pounds now) but the smaller guy still won’t sleep through the night. The doctor said it’s ok to start letting him cry it out, and that we shouldn’t feed him in the middle of the night. That’s easier said than done. I just don’t like the idea of letting him cry, but I’ve heard it’s better to break the habit now rather than a year from now. Last night I had to go to the guest room in the basement because I couldn’t sleep with his crying. Nick said he was asleep in 15 minutes, but I tend to just be on edge when I know he’s in the next room and could cry at any moment. We’ll see how things go in the next week.

The boys are going out this evening as Superman (twin Supermen) and our neighborhood is having a baby parade for all those too young to trick-or-treat before it gets dark. They enjoy any attention and excitement, so I’m sure they’ll enjoy themselves.

The next step we’re getting close to is crawling- probably within the next two weeks. They’re already somewhat mobile, but not actually crawling. Their smiling faces, giggles, and accomplishments amaze me every day!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Four Month Checkup Time

The boys go in for their four month checkup later this week, but they seem healthy and normal to me. They’ve both begun the teething process, and I’ve asked moms on our block about this since I was clueless. The first thing I noticed was constant drooling, and then they both began sucking on their hands. Each boy has had a couple “bad days” where they seem very irritable, a lot of screaming and crying, etc. We give them these little pills that dissolve on their gums to numb them, then we have teething chew toys, and if all else fails, a little baby Tylenol. I didn’t know this, but the teeth don’t just pop through in a few days. They move up and down in the gums over a period of time before finally popping through, so it just comes and goes from day to day.

We took the boys swimming a couple weekends ago and they really seemed to enjoy it. I bought them swim trunks and special diapers for swimming, then strap on sunglasses. We took them to a kid’s pool in our development that has no deep end, and just held them and moved around in the water for about an hour. By their lack of screaming or crying, I assume they enjoyed it!

The larger twin is still sleeping through the night while the smaller one still gets up for a bottle around 3 a.m. every night! It’s certainly easier than during the first couple months, but I have to wonder when he’ll start sleeping through the night. We definitely see big differences in personality between them, with the larger twin being fairly laid back and independent, and the smaller being much more challenging! I’ve asked other parents if the personalities they saw in their babies translated to their personalities when older, and the answers vary, meaning their personalities could change. They’re definitely getting fun to play with as they now grab things and like direct interaction. One twin likes “peek-a-boo” and is catching on to “gimme five!” while the other shows no interest. It’s amazing how they’ve developed in such a short amount of time.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Educator on Surrogacy by Default

Here are a few dumb statements and questions I’ve encountered lately regarding our children:

Twice people have said the boys “look like their Daddy”, meaning my partner. Uh, then who do you think I am? My name’s on the birth certificate too. I know the people who said this were in no way meaning to disrespect me, but it made me feel like I’m nothing more than a babysitter. We’ve decided that we’ll both be called Daddy and they can add our first names to clarify if they’re talking to or about one of us in particular.

While getting professional pictures taken a couple weeks ago, the photographer finally looked at me and said, “So who are you? A friend of the family?” I just said, “No, I’m also a father”. I watched the wheels spinning in his head, then clarified that we’re a couple, we had them via surrogacy/egg donor, and then he apologized.

“So where’s the mother. Will she be involved in their lives?” I guess the concept of egg donor is off most people’s radar, so when this question has been asked, I just explain that there was an egg donor who plays no part in their lives or even knows of their existence.

“Did you adopt outside the country?” This has been asked of me when I’m out in public with the boys by myself. No, we’re not “Bradgelina”. I just say tell them that the boys are bi-racial and not adopted. Then they get it. A neighbor who’s white and has bi-racial (black and white) children told me she gets dumb questions like that too.

“Oh, so you’re both parents?” This requires explaining the legal process and how we’re both considered legal parents in all states and both listed on the birth certificates.

“Are you guys married?” Apparently the uninformed youth of today think gay people can marry in this country. I’ve been asked this on three occasions by people in their lower 20s. While it’s positive to find out that younger people think gay marriage is perfectly fine, it requires explaining that it’s legal only in two states, that other states don’t recognize those marriages, that a few other states offer domestic partnerships, and that our state offers neither. So next time it’s on the ballot, we need you to stop texting long enough to go VOTE!

At the time, some of these questions or statements seemed a little insulting or dumb, but then I realized that the average person has never encountered our situation. Becoming a parent this way makes you an educator on surrogacy by default. I don’t let it get to me. I don’t think there will ever be so many gay parents out there with children from surrogacy that it just becomes common knowledge, so we’ll most likely have to explain the situation over and over for many years. So far no one’s reacted negatively to me when I explain, so I find that very positive.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Three Months Old!

We’ve survived the first three months! The boys are now approaching 15 weeks in this world and things are settling down a bit. The first couple months were rough with the sleep depravation. Like other parents say, the first few months with a newborn are just a blur. I lost ten pounds initially, but have gained back most of it and have been making it to the gym two or three times per week. I think I often just forgot to eat those first few weeks, or by 9:00 p.m., realized I hadn’t eaten, but was too tired to eat. We each had to care for one baby every night, which meant getting up every hour and a half to two hours, so there were nights where I didn’t get much more than four hours sleep. People say to “sleep when the baby sleeps”, but with twins, it seems like they rarely were sleeping at the same time. Plus we didn’t have the advantage of being able to stay home from work for three months, nor did we have any family help, so that added to the stress.

It’s nice to have other twin parents around for support. It’s very stressful on the parents and there were a few “disagreements” here and there. I think we were both doing so much work and so tired that we each, at some point, began to think the other person wasn’t pulling his weight. Other twin parents say they went through the same thing during the first few months, so it’s comforting to know we aren’t unusual. We’ve settled into a routine now so life is a lot calmer.

The boys are getting bigger, having more than doubled in weight since birth. One is over 13 pounds, the other around 12. The larger twin is sleeping through the night many nights from around 8:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. The smaller guy, not so much. He’s up once for a feeding around 2 a.m. and then up again around 6 a.m., but this is still much better than when he was up at least four times a night!

In the beginning, it was just survival mode. You feed and change them, they sleep or scream. So much work with no real feedback from them. I remember the first time one of them smiled big at me, my heart just melted! Now I can coax a smile out of them almost anytime I want. They seem to be recognizing us too. The other day I came home from work and one of them saw me and smiled. After work I spend time with them, talking or even reading a book to them. They love this and will coo and babble back at me. They have physical time too where they sit in bouncy chairs and kick their legs, building up muscles for crawling. They really seem to want to crawl, and both of them can move around a bit. I can see it won’t be long until they’re crawling all over the place. With the recent interaction and time to stop and appreciate them (as opposed to the “survival mode” times), I’m beginning to feel like a father and have completely fallen in love with my children. It’s a feeling I never could have imagined, that two little human beings rely on us for everything and feel comfort in our arms.

It’s still a strange feeling out in public when I have the boys, knowing that other people see me and know I’m a parent. People have told me that parents always worry, and now I worry too. I see little glimpses of their personalities and wonder what they’ll be like when they’re older. One is more easy going and focused (he can happily watch the ceiling fan for a half hour) while the other requires more attention and seems less focused. I never want them to experience pain or anything bad in life, but I know I can’t control that and we all experience pain at some point. They’re so innocent and perfect, but next year, we’ll need to start the discipline process when they begin to lose a little of that innocence. I see other parents in our neighborhood making that transition right now and it seems to require a bit of mental gear shifting on the parents’ part to move from only care to care and discipline.

My hopes and dreams for our sons are not that they’ll be rich or famous, or that they’ll be doctors or sports stars, but that they’ll be happy. I’m not concerned that they choose certain career paths, or even go to college, although we’ll certainly steer them toward college. I just want them to be capable of having healthy relationships with others and I want to help them discover their strengths and use those strengths to their advantage. If I had understood that 25 years ago, I could have avoided much trial and error in my own career path. I also want them to be strong, have a positive self image, and to love and allow themselves to be loved. These are the things I’ve been thinking about, and then how my own actions will guide them down this path.

Friday, May 30, 2008

There's No Closet for Gay Parents

Life has taken quite a turn recently with the birth of our two boys in all the expected ways – sleep depravation, middle-of-the-night feedings, juggling baby feeding with household chores, etc. All the typical things you’d expect a couple to experience upon the birth of their first child or children. But being a gay parent, there’s been another big change – coming out, again, and again, and again!

Many years ago I went through the “coming out” process in college – first to myself, then friends, and family. It was scary, difficult, and often liberating. But since that process in 1993, only rarely do I tell anyone I’m gay. Probably because anyone I think it’s important to already knows I’m gay. But when you become a same sex parents, you’re suddenly forced into the process in a whole new way. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve come out to in the past month, simply out of necessity.

Upon arrival at the hospital shortly after the twins’ birth, I had to explain to the security guard that I too, was a parent. Then I explained my situation to the women working in the nursery and other hospital staff when necessary. The hospital was used to same sex couples and the surrogacy process, so it really wasn’t a big deal. That Sunday when the boys were released and we left the hospital, our first stop was Target where I first realized how many people newborn twins attract. People just came up to see the babies and then looked at us and asked questions. Here I was in a Target in San Diego explaining to strangers that I was a gay parent! Then the same situation in a restaurant, in the airport on the way home, to the person sitting next to me on the plane… the “outings” just go on and on.

Back home, neighbors from blocks away, who I didn’t even know, would stop to see the babies when I was out walking with them in the stroller and then would ask about my “wife”, so again, I’ve had to explain the situation. Our pediatrician is great and everyone in the office seems to enjoy us and the boys – even commenting that they’re lucky to have us as parents. The biggest outing, however, has been at work!

I’ve never lied about being gay in the workplace, but then I don’t announce it either. I think this is the approach most gay people use, especially when they don’t work in a gay-friendly industry. I skirted the issue with coworkers and my boss when I had to explain in recent months that I was going to become a father and needed three weeks off work. While at home on vacation with the twins, I checked my work e-mail daily and received an e-mail from our administrative assistant, who I only knew casually. She asked if I was on extended leave because someone had asked about my empty desk, so I told her I was home with newborns. She asked for a picture, I sent one, and the next thing I knew, the Senior Vice President in our facility wanted to know my address and “wife’s name” to send us a card! I e-mailed back with an explanation, outed myself, and so far have suffered no negative consequences. The Vice President congratulated me in person once I returned to work, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I guess being outed in the workplace is something many gay people dread because even if your coworkers are fine with it, bosses and coworkers change over time and you never know if your next boss will be a homophobe who works on getting rid of you from the day he or she starts work. Being out at work can also work against you on promotions to other positions as well, if a hiring manager is anti-gay. You just never know, but so far I’m feeling fine with it.

I knew becoming a parent would require being out – way out! So far we haven’t receive a single negative comment from anyone about being parents, although I think I constantly have my guard up to some extent. But the process of explaining our situation and coming out will happen again and again as we raise our boys – from people in stores to teachers and neighbors. I might as well get used to coming out, because there’s no hiding now. If anything, the process has taught me that our society has come a long way in accepting gay people, and if people do have issues with two men being parents, they at least have the decency to keep their opinions to themselves. I think our boys were born at a very exciting time in history!

Friday, May 23, 2008

The First Three Weeks - Life Has Changed!

Tomorrow will mark the third week since our sons were born, and it’s been quite a wild time! The boys have gained weight, although one is still smaller than the other and requires more frequent feedings. It’s almost frightening how fast life changed on the evening of May 5th when we first walked into our home with the newborns.

We were both off work for two full weeks and I had part of this week off. We hired a nanny who started last Monday, but I wanted to spend some time with her in the house to help her adjust and learn where things were located, as well as to evaluate her and how she interacted with the twins. She seems very attentive with the boys and keeps the house in decent shape, so we’re feeling comfortable with her.

The biggest change in our lives seems to be that neither of us can just do what we want, whenever we want. Simply going for a walk requires a conversation to make sure one of us is on baby duty. Then there is the intense exhaustion from both lack of sleep and from being so busy all day. We live in a two-story house and I think I run up and down the stairs at least 25 times per day! There’s always something to be doing – loads of laundry, cleaning out the diaper pail, cleaning bottles, preparing bottles, feeding, changing, bathing, rocking babies, cleaning the house, maintaining the yard, and if everything is done and the babies are happy, the house is reasonably clean, and the dog is walked, then I need to be sleeping!

Lucky for me, I’m not much of a “sit still” type of person. Neighbors have already commented that our yard looks too nice and the house is too clean for having newborn twins, but I guess I’m just good at keeping things up. It’s amazing what I can accomplish in a half hour while the boys are asleep. I’m making it to the gym three days per week, not as often as before, but still pretty good, considering my schedule. But the absolute hardest part of parenting newborn twins is nighttime. I find it very difficult to get up and feed/burp/change a baby. Mostly the second time is most difficult, so once they’re down to one feeding per night, life will seem much easier. We started out with both babies in bed with us, and soon found out that didn’t work well. We were up most of the night! Other twin parents suggested what worked for them – each parent takes a baby to a different bedroom and is responsible for only one of them all night. I’ve found that if I’m in bed by 9 p.m., I can get in about six and a half hours sleep by 5 a.m. when I need to get up. People with one baby have it easy – you could simply trade nights taking care of the baby and get a full night’s sleep every other night. But with twins, it’s too much work for one person to take them both all night. Everyone keeps telling us, things get easier and the time passes quickly and soon they’ll be sleeping through the night - although I’ve heard a few horror stories about children who didn’t sleep through the night until age two.

I think I’m still in the bonding stage with the twins this week. Women who carry their child seem to be bonded by the time birth occurs, but in my case, it seem to be happening post birth. One thing I’ve felt is that there is no feedback from the twins at this age, and other parents have confirmed they had the same feeling. Not that it’s expected by any means, but you put so much work and effort into nurturing the little guys and they just look back at you like they don’t know you. I’m looking forward to that first grin or smile, the first little hug, or any sign that I’m recognized and loved. I know it’ll happen soon enough and be worth every ounce of effort!

This morning I hated to leave them at home when I left for work, even though work seems like a break at this point. But I can tell I’m falling in love with the little guys and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them. Their eyes are open more now and I get lost in those beautiful little pools of brown. I keep wondering what it’ll be like to play ball with them in the park, to read to them, or help them explore and learn. Everyone says to appreciate them when they’re so young and tiny, because it goes by fast and you can never go back to that innocent stage. I’m trying to focus on living in the present and being where I need to be right now for the babies. Every new day brings so much work and challenge, worrying about next week, next month or next year is overwhelming, so I’m finding living in the present to be easier than ever.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Two Dads "2 Be" No More - The Boys are Home!

So May 3rd it was! Nick called me just as I was about to walk out the door for the airport and let me know we were officially daddies! I filled out the stork signs with their names, weights, and lengths, stuck them in the front yard under cover of darkness, and headed to the airport.

I arrived in San Diego early Saturday and friends of ours picked me up and took me straight to the hospital where I met our newborn sons, one at 6 pounds, 2 oz. and the other at 5 pounds, 5 oz. They were so tiny, but beautiful. It all seemed so surreal being in the nursery with them and the other babies. Our boys were swaddled and very quiet compared to some of the other babies. I spent some time getting to know them and all the staff was great. They treated us both as parents, just like the rest. Actually, there was another gay couple about ready to head back to the East Coast with their twins as well, so this hospital seemed used to having same sex parents and surrogates.

We took the boys up to see our surrogate and at first sight, I felt so sorry for her. She was resting, full of morphine for the pain from the c-section. Her family had been there with her through the night but had left to get some rest. We showed her the boys and let her hold them for a while, but then let her get back to sleep. We left the babies to go to our friends’ house to take showers and have dinner, then back to the hospital for the evening to spend time with the boys. We bought our surrogate a spa package, some flowers, and a card to cheer her up before heading back to the nursery to spend time with the babies.

Sunday afternoon, they were released from the hospital – much sooner than expected. We talked to the pediatrician Sunday morning and she said since their lung development was perfect and they were eating, they could go home. I had planned to fly back home Sunday afternoon, expecting them to be in the hospital for a few days, so I cancelled my flight and we booked a flight together on Monday afternoon.

Sunday we took the boys for another visit with our surrogate, then left and went on our first family outing – Sunday dinner and a trip to Target. We soon discovered how much attention you get with two very cute newborns with people coming up to see them and ask questions. People seemed to just understand that we were both the parents, and no one said anything negative to us. The boys just slept through it all.

Sunday night was interesting, to say the least. All four of us were packed into a double bed in a guest room. It was confusing when they’d wake up, looking for a bottle, looking for bibs and diapers. By dawn we were exhausted, but probably got four to five hours of sleep. Monday morning a good friend of our drove down from L.A. to visit us and see the babies. We enjoyed visiting with him as we packed up and got ready to leave. We went out to eat with friends at a diner before heading back to visit our surrogate and then we headed for the airport.

Our surrogate was doing much better, walking around and eating. Her family was visiting her and her daughter got to see the babies. We were worried about her becoming depressed once the babies were gone, and she said nurses kept asking her if she was feeling bad about it. She said she was fine and knew up front this was the process and that they weren’t her children. She seemed fine, but I still worry about her in the coming days. We’re keeping in close contact with her by phone and e-mail and plan on seeing her in the future. We plan on taking the boys back to San Diego since it’s a short plane ride and a great place to take kids for vacation. Plus we have plenty of people visit there, so we’ll be back in a few years. I think we both really feel a close bond with our surrogate now and consider her a special part of our family tree.

The flight home went well, other than schlepping all our luggage into the airport and getting through security. We were flying on standby passes from a friend who works for an airline. Again, everyone was incredibly helpful and friendly in the airport when the saw we had babies. Luckily there wasn’t a line at the security checkpoint because it was quite a process. When you fly standby, you’re already subject to extra checking in security. I think it was just a bit overwhelming because I’d never done this before, but we got through in plenty of time and drew a small crowd at the gate while waiting to get on the plane. They gave us each two seats in the same row so each baby stayed in his car seat. I think that made the flight much easier, and neither boy cried at all during the flight.

We arrived back home around 8 p.m., but were up until midnight putting things away and settling in. Our dog nearly hyperventilated when she met the babies and we think she believes they’re her own to care for. She nuzzled them and wanted to lick them all over, like newborn puppies. She’s right there when we feed them and gets up with is in the middle of the night. I was worried she’d be jealous, but it seems she’s accepted them as members of her “pack”, so that’s a relief. Neighbors have been bringing us dinner and offering help, so if we just figure out how to get a decent night’s sleep, we’d be set. Last night they really kicked our butts! We’re going to seek advice from other twin parents to see if we can avoid hiring a night nurse to get some sleep.

I’ll post more on the babies’ first week home as I find time, but now they’re asleep so I need to get a shower while I can.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Here they come!

It's 2 a.m., May 3rd. Nick just called me from California and our surrogate's water broke! My flight leaves at 7 a.m., so I very well may miss the birth, but he has a video camera and I'll be there as soon as possible.

They had scheduled a c-section for today, so I booked my flight last evening. I'm so incredibly tired, yet so awake at the same time. I'm packed, will take a shower, and head to the airport in 3 hours. Dog sitters are arranged, two signs with the babie's names are ready to be placed in the front yard announcing the birth. A new chapter in my life is about to begin!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April 17, 2008

We received a call yesterday from our surrogate that she was having contractions and heading to the hospital, so Nick already flew out to San Diego to be nearby. They ended up stopping the contractions and gave her a steroid to speed the lung development of the babies in anticipation of delivery within seven days. They sent her home and some decision is supposed to be made tomorrow as to whether they think it’s time for birth or not. If so, the plan is that I’ll fly out for the birth and then return home the following day. Nick can work from San Diego while I cannot, and I need to save my vacation for when they come home. The doctor said they should be in the NICU a minimum of seven days, so I’ll fly back out to help Nick bring the boys home. But then birth could be quick, meaning I’ll miss it. I’ll be upset if I miss it, but it’s not the end of the world. I’ll bond as soon as I see them, but I’ve always wanted to be there for that once-in-a-lifetime event.

My head was spinning today, and I continued my attempt at preparing the nest here at home. It seems like everyone’s giving me advice and words of encouragement. I’ve received contradictory advice on diapers though. “Huggies. You’ve got to use them”. “Get Luvs – they’re the only ones that prevent blow outs”. “Get the Costco brand. They’re just as good and half the price”. OK, I’ve decided diapers are like buying jeans. You have to try on 15 different cuts and brands before you find a pair that fit you perfect and make your ass look good!

I received a copy of Details magazine today and it had an article titled, “The Gay Baby Boom”. I guess Details knows who butters their bread! I found it interesting that they said single gay men who adopt or have a baby via surrogate and egg donor find that having a baby makes them more attractive in the dating scene. I would have thought the opposite, but it said gay men with a child are seen as more stable.

If the birth isn’t scheduled for Saturday, then, as a neighbor suggested, I should do something tomorrow I won’t be able to do for a long time. Maybe a pedicure? Go out to lunch and read a magazine? Rid the house of wine? It’s supposed to be a beautiful, warm day so maybe I’ll take the dog to Petsmart (she goes nuts) and a nice, long walk in the park.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Down to the Wire

I’ve been busy with last minute preparations – every day I seem to think of one more thing that needs to be done, one more chore around the house I don’t think I’ll have time for once the boys arrive. Our baby shower was a wonderful success and we received so many things we’ll need from our friends and neighbors. I don’t think I’ve ever opened so many presents at once in my life. We still have a few things to buy, and I’m sure there will be things we didn’t anticipate that we’ll get once the boys are here.

The nursery is complete, other than missing the dresser and changing table. We ordered it with the cribs last December, and it looks like it’s not coming anytime soon. Apparently all furniture is now made in Asia and takes months to get to the U.S. I guess we’ll figure something out. I washed all their clothes in Dreft last week, and I discovered the joy of folding tiny clothes and sorting out little socks. We installed a video monitor, put together vibrating, music-playing swings, and made space in the storage room for diapers and items we won’t need immediately, like high chairs.

This past weekend was busy with yard work, window cleaning, another neighborhood 1st birthday party, and time with friends. I’m already feeling exhausted, so I suppose I should get used to this feeling. Our surrogate is on bed rest and feeling very uncomfortable with both babies kicking. She’s still scheduled for a May 5th birth, but we know it could come sooner. I think our biggest fear at this point is getting a call that they’re coming “right now” and we don’t get a chance to be there in time for the birth. If all goes as scheduled on the 5th, we’ll fly out on the 4th. We’re hoping they keep growing for the next three weeks and won’t need to spend time, or not much time, in the NICU anyway. They were estimated to be over 4 pounds each a couple weeks ago, so they’re doing well for size.

I’ve recently had a few panicky dreams, usually with me alone with the babies, unable to do things I need to do. I’ve been told this is normal for first time parents. Mostly my thoughts are about what they’ll look like, what their personalities will be like, what it’ll be like to run errands with one or both of them. I tend to get a little panicky in anticipation of any huge, life-altering event. I don’t know why I worry so much about all the little details. Like everyone with babies tells me, you just do what you have to do, and as difficult as it is at times, it’s wonderful!

I had one more major purchase last month. After trying the baby car seats in my old car and figuring out how to wedge the double stroller into the trunk, I realized that it just wasn’t going to work. I had to move the driver’s seat up so far, my knees were against the dash board. I looked online at minivans for about five minutes before deciding against buying one. I don’t like how minivans handle, it would be too big for our garage, and then they don’t get the best gas mileage. I had noticed that Prius’ have plenty of leg room in the back seat, plus the hatchback, so I took the baby gear down to the Toyota dealership to see how it would all fit. There was plenty of room, plus space in the rear for the stroller and diaper bags. I don’t know if it’s an optical illusion or what, but Prius’ are bigger than they look. So after years with no car payment, it was time to buy something new and I’m very happy with my Prius and the 48 mpg. I’m getting.

We finally came to a compromise on one other issue – church. Nick had been going to a Catholic church in recent years and insisted that the babies be baptized. I pointed out all my problems with the Catholic Church, and I had a huge problem with him trying to raise them Catholic. The compromise was to join a Presbyterian church that’s somewhat similar in liturgy to Catholicism, but very different in doctrine. We found out many of our neighbors attend this church, and they accept gay people as they are. In fact, they were thrilled to find out that we were a couple having children. It’s a very open, caring environment, and the church is very much into environmentalism and global and local missions, so we feel very comfortable and welcome in this church.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Babies Still Growing!

It’s been a while since an update, but the babies have been growing. The latest report is that they’re about a pound and a half each, in the 90th percentile for size and very active. (my apologies to our poor surrogate for the nighttime kicking!) That’s great, since they’re twins. We have another appointment in a couple weeks, but so far everything is going great. The doctor also set the date for birth (induced labor or c-section, depending) for May 5th, an entire month earlier than the original due date. I can’t believe we only have about 9 weeks!

We’re still waiting on the nursery furniture to arrive, but the room is painted, closet organizer is in, and we already have some clothes, diapers and other things donated by neighbors who had leftovers. We’ve been gathering names, addresses, and e-mail addresses for our neighbor who’s coordinating our baby shower next month. I think we’re inviting over 70 people, so it could be a full house. We’ll also serve brunch and Mimosas, so it should be festive. I never imagined I'd be having a baby shower in my lifetime, but it's going to be fun.

With the date closing in, I’ve had odd dreams – some scary, like me being home alone with the babies and unable to leave or get any sleep. Others have been about playing with them when they’re older and crawling. More than one person told me this is typical for first time parents who don’t really know what to expect. I suppose it’s anxiety mixed with anticipation and happiness. Everyone says the parental instinct kicks in and you do what you have to do. I also wonder what they’ll look like all the time, how tall they’ll become and what activities they’ll someday participate in.

I haven’t talked much to my parents lately. Maybe twice this year to my mom. She keeps telling me to pray for them in the womb, check out their church website for parenting tips, and other odd things. I think she’s really gone off the deep end with her religious beliefs at this point. I have no contact with any other family members and we’re not inviting them to the baby shower. I doubt they’d drive all the way anyway, but I dont' think I would feel comfortable with them here. I have a feeling they may come out sometime after the boys are born, and I’m afraid I’ll dread it with all the “in your face” religion I’ve been getting. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Genetic Testing Complete

We received our package yesterday with a DVD of the 4-D ultrasound plus still pictures. Nick wasn’t impressed with the quality, so they’re doing it over. But I could see one face fairly well and hands and feet. It would probably help to have a doctor there to explain what you’re seeing. We also received the results of genetic testing and everything came back fine. Having a handicapped brother and seeing what he’s gone through in life, this is a great relief. Mostly we did the testing in order to be prepared if something was wrong. I’d hate to find out a baby had a birth defect at the actual time of birth.

As the date of birth draws nearer each day, I find myself wondering how my life will change. Sometimes I think about the logistics of it all – how will I get ready in the morning, walk the dog, change diapers, feed babies, etc.? But I'm forgetting that parents actually fall in love with their babies, these little, helpless human beings. In the beginning it’s just taking care of basic needs, but soon they’ll be able to interact with us and talk. I don’t think it’s anything I can possibly understand until it happens. There’s no need to worry or wonder. It’ll just happen and be amazing.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

We Know the Sexes!

The holidays are over and it’s time for an update.

Our surrogate flew out to visit us from California for four days the week before Christmas. It was exciting to get to know her better and we did our best to make her feel at home and like a part of our family. She had never been to our city, so we gave her the tour, took her out to dinner two nights and one night we all worked together to prepare a home-cooked meal. She also went with us on a shopping trip to Babies R Us, giving us pointers on things to get and what’s really unnecessary. It sounds like first time parents usually buy more than they need and end up giving many things away. Since she’s already a parent, any advice she had was very welcome. She also attended our neighborhood Christmas party and met many of our neighbors and their kids/babies. I did a little baby sitting for a while to give a friend time to eat and socialize at the party, so hopefully our surrogate got a chance to feel comfortable with us becoming parents.

Christmas was rather uneventful at our house as I caught a nasty cold. I haven’t had a cold or flu in years, so I’m not happy with this! We spent New Year’s Eve at our neighbor’s house with several other couples, where I lost my voice during a round of Cranium. I still don’t have it back completely, but don’t really feel bad at this point.

And now on to the exciting news! Our surrogate went to the doctor on New Year’s Eve for a 4-D ultrasound to find out the sexes of the babies. They’re also sending us a DVD so we can see their faces and see them actually moving around. So the news is, we’ve got two boys! Nick and our surrogate both thought it was two boys, and I was expecting a boy and a girl. I’m not sure why I didn’t think about the possibility of two girls, but boys it is. We were hoping for one of each, but we’re happy with what we’ve got. So far we have one boy’s name picked out, but haven’t decided on the second. We’re planning on painting the nursery soon, now that we know we can go with a design for boys. The room next door to the nursery, currently a guest room, will become one of the boys’ rooms once we decide it’s time to split them up. It’s already a grey/blue color, so all we’ll need to do is get rid of the bed in that room. Neighbors down the street with 8 month old twins already split them up into separate rooms because one keeps the other one awake, so it’s hard to say when we’ll need the second room.

The next milestone will be testing for birth defects next week. I’m not too worried about it and don’t expect anything, but I would want to know well in advance of any issues and be prepared.

Happy New Year!