Yesterday was another day in baby land. The three of us- me, Angela our surrogate, and the doula- sat in the waiting room, waiting for Angela to be called for an ultrasound. We talked of nothing in particular, of the in between spaces that fill up our lives. And then they called Angela. We both stood. And then the technician told me she would only take Angela back. Angela reneged. “She’s the mom,” she explained, “she needs to come.” My heart clenched again and the technician said no, explaining that I would compromise the exam. We argued for a moment, and I told her this is not a normal situation and not appropriate. Finally, I said, “Fine. Give me your supervisors number.” I will email. I will call. I will make sure they change this stupid, stupid policy.
They often say, “we’ll bring you in at the end, that’s what we do for the dads.” BUT HELLO, I AM NOT THE DAD. YOU ARE LOOKING AT MY BABIES AND THERE IS NO PARENT WITH THEM. Yes, I know that Angela will look after them. I know she will make the same decisions I would. I know it will be fine. But knowing it will be fine means nothing because still, someone is measuring my babies and looking at the length of their little legs and I am in the waiting room. In case I didn’t detest medical systems enough already, the wild inability to negotiate care with differently configured families makes me want to scream and cry and stomp. Did no one teach these people about difference? Did no one nudge them and say, sometimes we have families that don’t fit our policies, families not written into our regulations, families that don’t look like a pregnant mom and a doting dad and a single baby in the belly? What about queer families? What about families that speak another language? What about families that have a surrogate? Total inability to deal with difference. Total rigidity. Totally fucked.
But it was all ok, because then we came home and had this really intimate time, the three of us, making a cast of Angela’s oh-so-pregnant belly. We casted and smoothed and awed over how her body has stretched and changed and accommodated and made space for two tiny beings to grow inside of it. It was really quite incredible. During one of my breast-casting experiences, one of the women involved noted, “this just feels like something women do to take care of each other, like caring for each other in the way women always have.” And she was right, and yesterday, too, felt like hundreds of women behind us and in front of us, caring for each other. Sure, belly casts are a new fad- but women caring for each other is not. Women carrying babies for each other is not. Women making memories with each other is not. Women transferring knowledge is not. And sure enough, when I told my friend CJ she really taught me well with the breast casts, she reminded me it was, simply, the transfer of lesbian knowledge. From her community at Michigan Women’s Festival to me and mine in my living room the night before my mastectomy to Angela and the doula in the living room of the yoga retreat we are calling home until the babies come. So.
And then we took a photo, and we posted it to Facebook, and a jillion people liked it and commented on it and sent me loving messages. You know, social media gets a bad freaking rap. So many people tell me it depresses them, because people only post glossy images of their lives, images that showcase birthdays and perfectly decorated parties and newborns and bouncy puppies and friends in community— and the onslaught of “I’m so awesome and my life rocks” can be depressingfor the person scrolling through the feed. But you know— it’s like anything, I think. It’s an opportunity to appreciate life is going swimmingly for someone you remember from grade school. Sure, I’ve definitely complained to my cancer friends about how my news feed fills up with newborns and international trips, which is insanely painful because I am waiting on the oncologist who is already running late. But really, it’s not that other people are having babies or that I can see their international trips that makes the tears flow. It’s that I harbour an insane amount of grief related to what cancer did to my body, and when I see happy, healthy bodies I feel jealous and sad and overwhelmed because desperately, I wish I could have that and desperately, I wish there was a way to undo my cancer, and desperately, I wish it was not true. See how many “I’s” there are? It’s not about their glossy photos. It’s about the grief that lies just below the surface and makes my heart hurt. It’s about me, not them.
So- back to social media. So we posted this photo, right? A jillion people liked it. Tons of people commented. Every single person sent messages of love, congrats, hope, joy, utter excitement, awesomeness, love, silliness, and sparkle. People I haven’t talked to, since, literally, grad night after we graduated from high school and scattered away to college sent love, excitement, joy, hope, and excitement. I have to say, it was pretty overwhelming. And really awesome.
I’ve been so quiet on social media about this pregnancy, because I didn’t know what people would say. I can’t tell this story without telling also, about the cancer. I still feel so raw and heartbroken about the whole situation (and in case you doubted, check out the last post I made) and I knew I couldn’t take any weird comments. I knew I couldn’t take any weird comments and I knew I’d feel really icky if people were insensitive. But it wasn’t like that at all. There were a few comments about how mine is “such a sad story” (womp-womp-womp…. and I promise, my life isn’t “sad” or a “tragedy”) but for the most part, I felt insanely loved and cared about and like people were so freaking excited for us. Which is so freaking awesome.
And then I also got to connect with a few people over text. One young woman, who literally, I have not spoken with since high school. She has a baby. She can’t have another. She thought she’d breast feed, and can’t The details are unimportant. What is important is that she reached out, and she was so kind, and she shared her story, and she wanted to talk about giving her baby a sibling through surrogacy, and even though we were never even really friends growing up we could connect and support and love each other, and it was really freakin awesome. It was all the heart-feelings, all the time, as I asked her questions about formula feeding and she shared her experience and we talked about surrogacy. Like so incredible.
And the messages from people who were on my AMIGOS staffs- people I did wild and crazy things with. So sweet. People told me I meant so much to them and I taught them so much. I was overwhelmed. You just never know how you are touching people, and sometimes you might only find out ten years down the road.
Baby girls, you are going to be so loved. Please come soon. Mama is waiting. A whole wide community of people are eager to see your little faces. Papa wants to play the marimba to you. There is so much in this world to show you. So many sounds to hear and sensations to have and textures to touch and friends to make.
Plus, social media. It can save the day.
Oh and also- in case I didn’t feel loved enough already. Our surromama read the last blog post last night, about how this shit is freaking hard. She sent a text that was so kind about how her heart was breaking for me, too. And I went downstairs to her and we cried together and talked late into the night (10:30 is really freaking late when you’re nine months pregnant with twins), and I felt insanely connected, and she gets it so much, because she’s right here with us, carrying our baby girls in her belly. I felt so connected and loved. That’s all I want. Real connection. Raw feeling. Togetherness.
And then I fell asleep knowing, they will come. And it will be just as it should be. Soon enough.