Life truly began, Ryan says, on May 16, 2017, when his twins, Connor and Olivia, were born via surrogacy. Hours before that moment, Ryan wrote the post below. While life now is filled diapers and late night feedings, then his days were filled with the excitement, anxieties, and fears of all dads-to-be.
My twin babies will be born in a matter of days. To know with certainty my entire life is about to change while sitting idly by a phone awaiting the call. The only word is limbo. Mounting anxiety looms because, much like the oncoming of a hurricane, all I can do is prepare and wait. Well I've prepared. Now for the wait. The calm before the storm. The surreal experience of continuing with day-to-day routine; sitting at the office, watching television, eating dinner – all the while hearing winds slowly pick up outside. Whistling through palm fronds and fence boards, clouds fold to grey sheets, a slight chill in the air meets a lingering buzz of intensity.
In a matter of seconds, minutes, days, these two lives will collide with mine. They will look to me and Chris for everything and we will look to each other for everything. Our routine will never exist again, replaced by new modes of operation. The quiet dinner home alone will be something very different. This year-and-a-half long journey with surrogacy will be over and our life will begin as parents, our family will grow and our hearts will expand.
But the waiting.
It's the hardest part.
And the thing about surrogacy is it's constant waiting. Counting of days, of dollars, of new people in and out of your life. Doctors, nurses, egg donors, surrogates, agencies, escrow agents, lawyers. Meeting countless couples currently going through, or who have gone through, the same journey. All the while we try to maintain a level head and open mind as things out of our control fall apart. As dollars are spent faster than we can count, as obstacles are bound to happen, as constant opinions are given, continuous heavy decisions made.
Through all of this you wait.
You wait for the right agency, wait for the right egg donor, wait for a surrogate to appear who everyone feels comfortable with, wait for psychological and physical testing on all, wait for doctor appointments, for fertilization of eggs, to find out if they actually worked, how many survive till day five for transfer, wait for the transfer, to see if the transfer worked and if she is pregnant, wait anxiously to make sure we're in a safe zone to avoid miscarriage, wait to find out if both embryos take and we'll have the twins we hoped for.
Then we're finally at a space of waiting like any normal soon-to-be parents – ultrasound appointments, finding out the gender, waiting as week-by-week goes by. That is to say all goes smoothly. Our first embryo transfer failed, we did not have enough fertilized eggs to try again, so we had to start the process all over. An unexpected financial, emotional and mental strain.
But we reminded each other how badly we want these babies. No matter what, we had to keep moving – and we did. We waited another two months for a new egg donor, then continued with the process again. Our surrogate was an incredible woman who stayed strong with us the entire time, enduring countless injections and emotional, physical and mental obstacles along the way. But together we faced those challenges and felt overwhelming joy when we learned she was pregnant.
Ryan and his surrogate at a baby shower
Where any other couple experiences the development of pregnancy together in real time, we get updates from afar. Mostly life remains the same all the while knowing our future children are growing in someone else's womb hundreds of miles away with no tangible proof at our fingertips. We don't experience the kicks, the tummy growth or baby movement, the random food cravings or doctor appointments. We wait for updates over the phone and celebrate mini-milestones like hearing the fetus size because it's all we have. I say this not as a complaint, but as an example of how foreign the pregnancy can be. How our life remains relatively normal as we wait for this massive change to hit. Waiting for the big call that we need to haul ass to Daytona Beach for the birth of our twins. Then two days later come home and – bam – we're parents.
It's all very strange, very exciting and very frustrating. It's one of those things no one could understand unless they've been through it. The emotional rollercoaster of surrogacy simply leads up to the emotional rollercoaster of being parents just like anyone else. But it's an over yearlong marathon to the finish line and the hustle is serious.
Thankfully the end is in sight; or rather the beginning is near. At any moment we will receive a call that Connor and Olivia are ready for their arrival into this world, the waiting game is almost over. For certain we know a C-Section is scheduled for May 24th, but they could very well come on their own time before then. Nine days. Nine days to the final countdown. Home stretch.
And then life begins again.