Sunday, July 24, 2011

Screw the tiaras! How about Toddlers and Jujutsu?

Tony here.

It's been a few days since the ultrasound, and it's hard to express how much things have changed.

Knowing Zoey is coming brings both intense joy, and immense trepidation.

The joy is the bricks and mortar of our family slowly coming together; all of the players, all of their roles. If you had told me 2 years ago all these amazing people were coming into my life, that Zoey would transit from being a concept, to being a reality; prayers having answers, life taking form. Halloween, Xmas, birthdays, soon to be a reality.

The journey of moments has been indescribable. The moment in the attorney's office when he told me we could be parents. The tests. The attempts. The joy of finding we were pregnant. There's too many to describe here.

The trepidation comes from raising a girl. Number one, how do I keep this little one from running away with my heart, and my wallet? Am I going to be able to enforce "Time-Outs" when this little girl has me wrapped around her finger. The boo-boo face when I know she's full on trying to manipulate me. I've never even thrown a tea party!

Mike and I are both "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fans. Between the two of us, from opposite sides of the spectrum, I think she'll actually be something like Buffy, a Force of Nature, introspective, fierce, vulnerable, and "on point". It's selfish, but without being deliberate, I am already building those "lists". The things I don't want her to do, the things I don't want her to be, to GOD PLEASE DON'T MAKE MY SAME MISTAKES. But she'll be intelligent, headstrong, independent, curious, and want to explore the world with wonder. Our influences on this girl will be both interesting and hilarious.

I looked online for the "Papa and Me" Hanbo Jutsu classes. This is a martial-arts style using short staffs to smack people up. A project in progress I guess. Maybe a toddler can benefit from jujutsu and tai jutsu on their first day of school? Zoey's not even born yet and I'm already leading the pimple-cream-smeared-haircut-I-hate-girl-crazy-teenage-freak-boy down the driveway past the elaborate defensive system I left turned off accidently that day.....

I need to stay right in this moment. The right now. I need to feel the almost indiscernible hum of all of us coming together, preparing for this angel to enter our lives. I can set down the Tazer Junior and martial arts brochures for now, and look out on the yard where out little girl will romp, play, and have adventures. I will teach her everything I know and more.....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

One can never have too many outfits

Before the ultrasound this week Tony and I wondered if we would be a little sad about whatever gender the baby was not. We KNEW we would be elated whether the baby was a girl or a boy. The truth is what we really wanted to hear was that she was fine and doing well, which she is. We really didn’t have a preference about the gender. But, would we be happy AND sad? The answer to that is a big fat NO. It is like we never entertained the idea that Zoey might be a boy. We are so over the moon to be having a girl! Just think… a little girl with TWO papa bears! Or correction, one papa bear and one daddy bear! I asked Tony if this made her our little Goldilocks, to which he replied “And these daddies are just right”. He is so frickin cute!

I am not completely sure where it came from, but last night I was struck all of the sudden with the fact that this baby might get sick once or twice. All of the sudden I HAD to know how to handle EVERY possible scenario of dealing with a sick infant. I texted every parent I had ever met (except my mom who was asleep). I love that we have so much love and support, and a bunch of people to tell me that those freak outs are normal. They also reminded me that I HAVE actually taken care of sick kids before, and my husband IS in the medical field. Zoey will be fine if she happens to get sick, which is something that I will absolutely FORBID.

In other news I am sad to report that there seems to be no little baby girl clothes left in the state of Washington as Megan and I have gone a little nuts. Whatever IS left will soon be purchased by my mother. So sad, all those new parents having to drive to Oregon to buy clothes… wait… Oregon is only 2 hours away, is an untapped resourse, AND HAS NO SALES TAX! Okay, gotta go Tony is on duty for the next 24 hours, I need to get to OREGON before he gets off work and starts droning on about “pacing yourself” and “saving money”, two phrases that sound like English, but make absolutely NO sense.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dear Zoey (20 weeks)

Dear Zoey,

We found out yesterday that you are a little girl.  Your Grammy, Grandma, Papa, Daddy, big sister, and of course Mama Megan were all crowded into the little room waiting for your picture to come up on the screen.  I looked around at everyone and realized what a lucky little girl you are.  This was just a fraction of the people who were waiting to hear word of how you were doing; just a fraction of people who are waiting for you to be born and to be there for you. 

A girl.

A daughter.

Your papa and I both started crying when the technician said you are definitely a girl.  I think Papa immediately started planning your self defense/karate lessons, while I had visions of bows and pink frilly stuff everywhere.   Whoever you are Zoey is absolutely perfect.  If you want bows, Barbies, baby dolls, and pink you got it!  If you want to play in the dirt and would rather have a fire truck than a doll, that is excellent too!  I am just so grateful and thrilled that you are you.  I will admit that there is something magical that happens when you find out you are going to be a father to a little girl.  This place in my heart and soul, that I didn’t even know existed, kicked into gear.  I promise you that I will always protect you and keep you safe.  Your papa and I will treat you with love and respect, just as I hope your future partner does.  We will model for you how you should be treated by whomever you fall in love with. 

The best news of the day was when the Dr. told us you were perfect.  She said that everything is developing exactly like it is supposed to and you are healthy.  I love hearing that.  You are quite an active little baby, which both thrills and terrifies me.  I see a lot of coffee in our future, and we probably need to get on our cardio as well.

20 more weeks and I will hold you in my arms.  Until then I am holding you in my heart.

I love you,


Zoey’s face shot with her arm hiding her eyes.
Nose,mouth, and chin!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

IT'S A.....

We had the 20 week ultrasound today.  Megan, Tony, me, my mom, Megan’s mom, and Megan’s daughter were all crowded into the room and got to all find out together that we are having a perfect little princess.  Tony and I clung to each other, tears streaming down our faces.  There wasn’t a dry in the house.  I looked over at my husband and realized that this amazing man was who God had chosen for me.  I get to raise this beautiful little girl with this man.  It will be him that I watch play barbies, tea party, and dress up with our DAUGHTER.  I will be sitting next to him at soccer games, ballet recitals, karate lessons, and whatever else this little girl wants to try.  A little girl.  WOW!  Thank you God.

The doctor came in and commented on how active this baby is.  At one point, as the baby was all squirmy and jumpy, the doctor looked at Tony and I, smiled and said “You are so screwed”.  Tony asked if that was her professional opinion.  The absolute best part was when she said that everything was “perfect, absolutely normal, text book”.  I think that is when we cried the hardest.  I cannot believe how much I love this little girl.  She is my entire world and already has me eating out of the palm of her tiny little hands. 


Friday, July 15, 2011

19 weeks 4 days (Dear Baby)

Dear Baby,
You are almost 20 weeks along… halfway there.  You have been a dream in your Papa’s and my heart for so long and soon you will be here with us.  I cannot wait.  We are working hard on getting everything ready for you.  We all got very spoiled at the beginning of this pregnancy.  An ultrasound was done every week or two and we got to see you grow and change through the first trimester.  It has been almost 9 weeks since we have been able to see you.  Next week we will be going in for the 20 week scan and I can barely stand it.  It is like the week before Christmas and I am waiting for Santa to come.   Every single day the love I feel for you multiplies.  Sometimes I feel like my heart will surely explode from the sheer magnitude of love I have for you.  Everything that I have ever done, or experienced has been for this moment; to teach me how to be the best daddy I possibly can for you.  I promise you that although I will absolutely make mistakes, I will always always love you and take care of you.  Whoever you become, I will think of you as the best thing about me, and my biggest accomplishment. 

We went to your check up yesterday.  As we were trying to hear your heartbeat you kept moving.  We could tell because of the blips we heard on the Fethoscope as you moved away.  Amy, the midwife who is taking care of you and Mama Megan, laughed at how active you are.  This came as no surprise to us, at your 11 week ultrasound you were jumping and dancing, it appeared as if you were using your umbilical cord as a bungee.  I think this may be indicative of what is in store for us after you are born.  She also said you “couldn’t be healthier”.  Couldn't be to my ears.  It was absolutely the best thing she possibly could have said.  Your papa cries every time he hears you, and often when he thinks about you.  It is so amazing to me to see such a big strong man turn into putty in your tiny little hands.  Tiny little hands that have yet to born.

We think about you every day, most of my days are filled with thoughts of you.  Even when I am doing something else you are in the back of my mind.  Papa and I were cuddled up on the couch last night and we both realized that soon you will be here sitting in between us.  Amazing.

Continue to grow and get big. 

I love you little baby,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Surro...whoops! SUPER moms

I have been thinking a lot about what an amazing thing surrogacy is, and what an amazing person it takes to be a surrogate.  Amazing hardly seems like a strong enough word right?  I mean it is more than just creating parents out of people who are desperate for that honor.  It is more than devoting a year or more to help someone else’s dreams come true.  It is truly about creating families.  Is there anything more loving and incredible than that?  Since we have started this journey I have been reading a ton of different types of blogs about different types of families and how they are created.  I have read gay parenting blogs, adoption blogs, and surrogacy blogs (from the perspective of both SMs and IPs).  And I just had no idea how amazing these women are. The experiences and journeys that lead these women to surrogacy are as varied as the experiences and journeys of the IPs they are working with.  The one thing that is a constant is the generosity of their souls.

Lately I have been getting asked lately how much this process has cost us.  I start explaining about the cost of all of the tests and about the procedure itself and I realize pretty quickly they want to know how much we paid our surrogate.  This question pisses me off.  First of all I don’t see how this is of any relevance.  From what I have read from other surrogacy blogs money is absolutely NOT the reason, and if money were the primary motivating factor the amount wouldn’t be worth it.  The state we live in prohibits compensation for surrogacy, and only recognizes and allows “compassionate surrogacy” (as if ALL surrogacy isn’t chock full of compassion).  It’s funny how we as Americans take everything down to dollars and cents.

I am incredibly lucky.  I am able to watch Megan grow every day.  I get to see her, touch her belly, and watch as her hair and skin get more radiant every day.  I know a lot of IPs don’t have this luxury.  I am reminded each day as she passes me to go to the bathroom (again) of the amazing spirit she has inside of her.  To be doing something so huge for us… well as you already know overwhelms me with love.  And as an added bonus this binds us forever and ever, which means she can never escape me.  AND I didn’t have to keep her chained up in our basement!!  I am of course kidding.

To all of the surro moms out there, whether through traditional or gestational surrogacy, you are all angels.  Thank you so much for your incredible love and strength!

I mean really... have you EVER seen a cuter pregnant belly?!?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Out of the gutter...

I debated about posting about this, because this blog really isn’t about my recovery from drugs and alcohol, but then I realized that it’s my blog and I can post about whatever I want.  Today is my 6 year AA/NA “birthday”.  This anniversary is always a really emotional time for me under normal circumstances, but this one is especially so because of everything that has happened this year.  I am pretty much filled with gratitude for having survived my addiction, repairing my relationship with my family, regaining my soul, and getting my life together on a daily basis.  This year what I am the most grateful to my recovery for is not having to take my children hostage in my addiction.  That is absolutely not a judgmental statement for those addicts who did have to.  It is just a statement of gratitude.  This baby and any other children that come into our family never have to see daddy loaded, or suffer the lack of my presence because of drugs.  I have heard stories from recovering addicts who are not so lucky.  They have to live with the fallout from those fractured and decimated relationships with their children.  I cannot even imagine. 

I have been doing A LOT of reflecting and it seems to me that everything in the past 6 years has been to prepare me for this.  In learning how to live without drugs and alcohol, and to change my irrational belief systems, and behaviors, I have been prepared to be a better son, friend, brother, cousin, nephew, and finally partner.  And now I get to be someone’s dad.  Wow… that just blows my mind.  That God, Allah, Mother Nature, the Universe, Janet Jackson, whoever is your higher power, trusts me with this little soul.  The fact that something about me was worth saving, and now something about me is WORTHY of being someone’s dad… it’s mind blowing and humbling to say the least.

I know the last two posts have been pretty heavy.  Thanks for sticking in there.  

19 weeks and BEYOND Gorgeous!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mama's boy

Mike here (I just love when Tony starts his blogs that way, I just picture him talking in his "man" voice).

We had dinner with my mom and dad last night.  It is funny how much I enjoy the time we spend with them, now that I am not 16.  This amazing awareness hit me last night though about my parents, especially my mom.  After dinner we watched a documentary about gay fathers.  There was this scene where one of the dads’ mom is telling the camera about how when he came out she had to let go of some of her own ideas and longings regarding how she thought her son’s life would turn out.  She mentioned that she had to mourn the idea of seeing her son as a parent.  She is holding her new grandson as she is relaying this story.  I looked over at my mom, who had her head on my dad’s chest and she was weeping into his shirt.  I realized in that moment how huge this is for her.  That when I came out she had to mourn the loss, or at least the possible loss, of dreams that she had for me since I was born.  Never one time when I was struggling through that process did I even think about what it must have been like for her.  And then a little later, as I began my descent into the hell of drug addiction she must have thought she had buried those longings and dreams of seeing me as a father, of watching me parent my own children, of fighting with me about “Back in my day we….”.   I realized that as much as this baby means to me and Tony, he or she means close to as much to my parents.  Megan’s gift has a greater impact than I think she even can know.  And I just don’t have the ability to explain to her or thank her for this… thank that seems like such an inadequate word.

I think that I am starting to gain a better understanding of the impossible love that parents have for their children, and that is allowing me to see my mom and dad differently.  I have also been thinking about what this child will have to face.  In the movie it was also stated that “every kid has something”.  I just hope that Tony and I are able to give this kid the love and support they will need to get through it (whatever “it” is); like my mom did for me when I was growing up the bastard child of a single mom deep in Butthole Louisiana.  Actually I know Tony will.  He has this never ending reserve of strength and love.  You know, I think this kid will be alright.

Me and my mommy, like thirty twenty five years ago.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

6 Degrees of Separation on Middle Ground~ Tony's Post

Tony here.   Being a 44 year old gay man it’s been a massive change to prepare for the arrival of our precious one.   The change inside my own head has been enough, but the world around us is changing too.   New York becoming another state for Gay Marriage.    I never thought of it happening anywhere in my lifetime, so maybe baby will have two parents who are married, not a “Marriage Light” solution.   Now if the IRS would get in line….

Hey, By The Way…… This timer clock thingy that Mike has put on the blog is wrong slightly.   I’ll be asking Megan to hold on another couple of weeks so I can get another coat of paint on something.   I’m thinking February instead of after Thanksgiving for the baby.   I’m so glad she’s understanding and flexible about this whole “childbirth thing”.

Back to the changes inside my head.   I think the transition there is the most significant.    For many many years I’ve been a Party Dog.   Seriously.    Yeah, had to quit that.    Amsterdam for a circuit party, Sydney Australia for Gay Marti Gras, New York for…., well, let’s not discuss New York in my party days.   It’s long, and I don’t come out well in the story.

Suffice it to say, I’m not sure what this all looks like to Average Joe Citizen.     Let’s begin the hyphenated portion of my descriptor.    Gay-Former-Marine-Public-Safety-Employee-Clean-And-Sober-Soon-To-Be-Papa.    If we were in Mississippi or Alabama I think they’d just put us in jail.   Are people happy in those states?  Can we just pave it over with asphalt and build a really good theme park?  Six Flags anyone???

Papa.    You know that first 10 seconds after you wake up from that really really cool dream, then you realize it wasn’t real?    I still feel that when I say, “Papa”.   But it’s real.

The “6 degrees of Separation on Middle Ground” is the part where I still don’t know where we’ll land in all of this socially.    We know MANY straight people who don’t care we’re gay, and are excited for our baby.   We know MANY of our gay friends that are going to be “fists and elbows” to hold our little tyke.   AND we have our gay friends that convey, although without words, that we should have gotten the dog and Louis Vuitton luggage instead.   And I continue to have problems dealing with that part.   Having a baby is NOT for everyone.   But from the first time Mike and I talked about it, I knew it was right.   It was a defining moment.    I have no doubts.

But I realize that people come and go into and out of our lives.    And starting a family ushers in this transition.   As a gay man I never knew I’d have to deal with Pampers and baby spew, instead of fabulous cocktails and sumptuous dinners at the newest restaurant.    Or vacations in Key West.   Sigh.

Sometimes I get a little sad, but I know if one door closes, another one opens…….


3 day weekend followed by a short week... SCORE!

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!!  Tony and I went to a pool party yesterday, which was fun in itself, but the true star for both of us was the 20 month old ADORABLE little girl named Emma.  She was wearing the cutest little polka dot sun dress and was all smiles.  This little girl’s eyes completely disappeared when she smiled.  It was as if her smile ate them.  Tony and I of course zeroed in on her.  I think we were both clocking her development and lost in our own individual thoughts about what this holiday will look like for us next year.  

Several months ago I posted that not all of our friends were on board with the idea of us having a baby, and I feel badly because the truth is that is a very very small percentage of our friends.  The other day I was babysitting a family friend’s 11 month old son and took him to a picnic with me.  It was amazing to watch all of our friends rush over to see the baby and interact with the baby.  All the while they would say “We can’t wait till our baby comes”.  “Our baby”.  I love that.  And the reality is that we are SURROUNDED by people who can’t wait to love our child as if he or she was their own.  What an incredible blessing to be able to give this child, a bunch of guncles of their very own to love and spoil them.

I did not see Megan for 3 whole days and over that time she popped.  She says that she is feeling the baby move more frequently and she looks… AMAZING.  I am starting to see what people mean when they say that the 10 months of pregnancy actually flies by.  We are getting close to the half way mark and it seems like not too long ago we were still going through tests and legal hurdles. 

I am in awe of the female body.  The fact that a person is conceived, nourished, grown, and protected all inside of the mother is like magic to me.  As I watch our child growing inside of Megan, and I think about what an amazing process this is, I get even more frustrated by the increasing prevalence of misogyny and disrespect I see heaped on women in this country and all over the world.  I truly believe that women are actually the stronger gender.  When you consider all of the oppression and victimization that is heaped on their shoulders… okay I will step down from my soap box. 

Here is the 18 week belly shot…

Friday, July 1, 2011

911 on my speed dial

I have a confession to make.  I am OBSESSED with that television show “19 Kids and Counting”… I know I know.  Poor Tony whenever he catches me watching or I tell him about something I saw on the show, his eyes widen and he starts kind of bouncing from foot to foot and he reminds me that children are expensive and making them is REALLY expensive. 

I am not 100% sure what it is about this show exactly.  I think it has something to do with appreciating some of their advice on raising kids.  I am not so keen on the reading the bible to the children all the time.  Don’t get me wrong, we will read cute little fictional stories to this baby, just not THOSE fictional stories.  Also, I am fascinated by the mom.  You just know she is either HIGHLY medicated, or is taking a few nips out of the flask she has hidden in “mommy’s special bible” when the cameras aren’t rolling.  I am just waiting for the episode where she is getting after one of her children in that little sing song voice of hers and just SNAPS and screams “Josh…Josi…Jack…WHATEVER THE HELL YOUR NAME IS GET OUT OF THAT @#%*&%$ TREE NOW!!!!”  

Today I was slightly late for work because the Duggers had me held captive and I just could not stop watching them and get moving.  As I sat trapped by their dark magic I learned something about myself.  One of the little girls on the show had fallen down and messed up her precious little face and needed stitches.  As I was watching the parents calmly take her to the Dr. and watch as the Dr. jabbed a giant needle into her little baby face and then sew her up, it occurred to me that I am in TROUBLE!  One day our little one will fall and break, slice, scratch, tear something on their little baby body.  On the show Michelle was saying that if the parents stay calm the kid will freak out less… RUH ROH!  I can just see it now I will be screaming at the top of my lungs “HELP!!  HELP!!  SOMEONE CALL AN AMBULANCE!  I NEED A SURGEON/PARAMEDIC IMMEDIATELY!!!  THE BABY IS BLEEDING!” 

Thankfully Tony’s job requires frequent exposure to blood and guts, and he is trained in handling emergency situations.  I am a little more prone to taking the “Lets freak out because the sky is falling” approach to emergencies. 

Any suggestions for those of you that have lived through this trauma?