Okay then, did that.
It’s been a surreal day. Then again, I’m not sure that walking into an office building to go get impregnated could feel any other way. We arrived right on time to find two men waiting with their surrogate and her mother to go in for their transfer. One of the dads-to-be was practically giddy as I overheard a discussion of all their failed attempts along the way to create a child. “It was meant to be,” they said. This time it would work. Such positive energy. Such hope.
The doctor called us back and said they were delayed a bit, because they needed to make sure the embryo was expanding properly. Though he didn’t say so outright, it seemed like maybe it wasn’t. Amazingly, Vivianne and David had 21 embryos to work with so the doctor assured us that we’d definitely be having the transfer today – it was just a question of which embryo. He suggested we go get some lunch and come back about an hour later.
When we returned, we found the dads in the parking lot waiving their embryo printout proudly in the air as we cheered each other on. Jamie and I went upstairs and waited some more. About an hour and a half more. Finally they called us back: two embryos had not thawed properly, but a third looked great. We got to see it on a big screen – a blob of a cell conglomeration that may one day become a mathematician, or a dancer, or a rabbi, or who knows what.
The transfer itself was quick and simple, just like I expected. Except for that part where my bladder had to be full in order for them to better see where they were going on the ultrasound. Let’s just say that last week I heard about one woman who accidentally peed on the doctor after the transfer. And trust me – I get it. Thank God I’m not writing that kind of blog post right now…
David and Vivianne joined us on Skype from London. We all watched on the ultrasound as a long white catheter traveled on its way and a puff of liquid floated out slowly to find its way into a comfortable spot in my womb. We waited until the embryologist gave the ‘all clear’ when I could finally dash to the ladies’ room.
And that was that.
Now I have earned the status of “pregnant until proven otherwise,” that liminal state of we-don’t-really-know-I-am but we-don’t-really-know-I’m-not. So we wait. Almost two weeks until the blood tests will reveal more about what’s going on inside me.
I’m feeling part completely freaked out by this whole thing, and part completely at ease. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to prepare for such an experience. First, I worked on the costume design phase. I mean, you can’t just wear any old t-shirt for this type of occasion, right? I stumbled on a comfy short-sleeved sweatshirt that says, “Chase the Adventure” in a store. Totally cheesy. And yet, I couldn’t resist. And then I just happened to stumble on a pair of Union Jack knee-high socks on Amazon. I needed to have those, too.
And yesterday, I went to the mikveh. Lisa, Mayyim Hayyim’s Mikveh and Education Director, helped me think about what I wanted the experience to be like, and helped shape my intention that this point would mark the transition between a time of focus on all the adults that came together to make this process happen, to a time of focusing all of our collective efforts on this eventual child. I spent some time thinking about the very odd relationship this baby and I would share. And I wrote that child a letter that, who knows, maybe I’ll get to share with him or her someday.
I looked at our immersion ceremonies and as wonderful and as many as they are, none quite fit the bill for this particular experience. So I didn’t use one. Something about that felt quite jarring – to walk into the mikveh room without a ceremony in hand. And yet, something about it felt just right – it was a reminder that we still need more resources and awareness to make this all commonplace, which is why I’m keeping this blog in the first place. I immersed in the same pool that Vivianne and David went in when they came to Boston last summer. And I felt content.
And today, I found a prayer written by Rabbi Rachel Kobrin called, “A Modern Prayer for a Surrogate Mother.” I read it in the moments before the transfer, and it was perfect:
Makor HaChayim, Source of Life,
Inspire me to become a holy vessel, blessed with the opportunity to carry this precious seed, providing nourishment and warmth within the deep embrace of my womb.
Infuse me with patience. Through each hour of each day, may I have the strength to feel the blessing of the moment, knowing that with each breath that we share, life is closer to being renewed.
Rekindle within me courage, for in holding this seed, I am not merely making a child — I am also creating a mother and a father. I am forming a family. And within that family, a whole universe of possibility dwells.
And at this time, especially, instill within me the power and potential of love, that I may remain tender and devoted to all those who are connected to my heart. As my body changes and grows, so may my capacity to embody love expand and unfold as well.
So now… we wait.