By: John Jericiau
We were within one week of the birth of our son. We started getting paranoid, listening during our daily phone calls for any signs of wavering from the birthmother, but she remained sure of her decision. She was 1000 miles away from Santa Monica, and it was time for her to travel to us. Unfortunately, the thought of a very pregnant young girl who has never been on a plane trying to make the trip alone was too much for us to bear, and even scarier for her. We decided that I would fly to her, spend the night at a nearby hotel, and then fly back with her to Santa Monica the following day. I was nervous! What if she didn’t like me? What if she really wasn’t pregnant? What if she changed her mind?
It was difficult for me to leave home for another reason. We were just about at the end of our calendar for round number 3 of IVF, and I was supporting my friend/surrogate as she endured daily injection and consumption of lots of funny sounding medications to help the success of the pending implantation. We planned the plane trip back east around the embryo implantation day, and before I knew it I was munching on some Southwest Airlines pretzels (when they used to give them). We left out the part about our attempt to have a child via IVF in our daily phone calls with the birthmother, which left me feeling a bit guilty (dishonest?), but we were doing everything we could to make this adoption a success and were afraid that talk about another baby would not make her feel as special as she was. Plus it was just another IVF attempt (the third!) and we were not even pregnant yet. We had even stopped giving our friends and family “status updates” (Facebook wasn’t around yet so “status updates” had to be handled in person, which is so 2007) so that there would be less stress for all involved.
I spent a fitful night in a comfortable hotel within walking distance of her apartment, and the following morning I went for a run, showered, dressed, and then cruised over and gently knocked on her door — hard enough so that she could hear it, but soft enough so that she could tell I would be a gentle father (crazy thoughts from a guy who was at this point very desperate). At least I knew that this was definitely where she lived. I had searched her address the night before and made sure that an apartment building actually existed there.
She opened the door and I was relieved to be greeted by a beautiful smile on the face of a very pregnant girl. I took one step into the apartment and gave her a hug, and as I did I scanned her apartment as quickly as you would flip through a magazine at the checkout stand to get an idea what the magazine was all about. A big mattress spanned the living room floor, which her 5-year-old son used as a trampoline as I said hello to him. The walls were bare, and there was no furniture except a television that was blaring Sponge Bob Square Pants. Her luggage (one bag) was waiting just inside the front door, and before I knew it I was one step backward and out the door with her.
Back in Santa Monica we had a busy schedule … a meeting with the attorney (and paperwork), some support at the adoption agency (and paperwork), and finally an appointment with the doctor (and paperwork), who assured us that everything looked great and let’s schedule the induction for the following Monday! Since Monday was a few days away, we had time to do the fun touristy things that out-of-towners love but we locals never take the time to do, and we enjoyed getting to know the birthmother and I think she genuinely liked us too.
Luckily pregnant women need some time off their feet, and she was no exception, which gave us the opportunity to schedule in the embryo implantation now that we were at the end of round number 3! Alen and I kept shaking our heads in disbelief at the IVF clinic, wondering how in the world this will all work out for us. Will we, come Monday, finally be fathers and fulfill a dream we have had for so long? And will we, ten days later, be pregnant with our second child?