Gay Dad Life

The Night Two Men Became Two Dads, Part 2

This is the second part of Anthony Romeo’s three-part post about the night his son was born. Read the first part of the series here. Tomorrow we will publish the third (and final) part.


7:49 a.m. It is still the morning of November 9, 2015, and I enter the operating room for Bio Mom’s c-section, to be her support system during the birth of my son. My husband has stashed himself at the freight elevator, along the path from the delivery room to the nursery, a location hinted to us by hospital staff willing to help two dads make a meeting work; Dom will wait there for awhile. Bio Mom is given two bracelets when she checks into the hospital, and while she wears one, I have been given the other. And so Dom finds himself waiting at an antiquated lift, to meet his son for the first time. I sit next to Bio Mom, and offer encouraging words.

7:50 a.m. I am amazed at the intricacy of the room. Like something in a Broadway show, a curtain is hung from the ceiling and draped to Bio Mom’s neck. Her head is surrounded by sheets, towels, cloths. It almost looks as if she’s placed her head into a wooden stand-up, only instead of a Victorian woman or a circus clown, it is a horror show of wires and tubes and pumps and monitors. And on the other side of that sheet, an iodine-stained stomach waiting for …

7:51 a.m. I am NOT thinking about the other side of the curtain. I am not thinking about my son. I am just trying to be present for Bio Mom, to encourage her, to listen. I tell myself that I do not hear snipping, or cutting, or wetness. I struggle to un-notice the occasional tug or smell of the surgical cauterization that finds its way into the smallest opening of my surgical mask and into my nose.

8:00 a.m. Why it is taking so long is a mystery to me. I’ve seen babies on a 3-D printer come out faster. I think back to my first phone call with the woman on the table, the woman who is strapped and sedated and delivering, and I remember asking her why she chose us. Out of 25 families, Bio Mom said our profile picture stood out to her because of the kiss. She said, “When I saw you kissing Dom on his forehead, I know what those kisses mean. It means you’re going to love somebody forever. That’s how I kiss people when I want to tell them I love them.” The light in the room must be brighter than I’d realized, I remember thinking, as the water pushed its way out of my eyes and onto my cheeks, tinting the top of my surgical mask with its transparent truth.

8:08 a.m. I hear the doctors say to Bio Mom, “Ok, now you’re going to feel that pressure we talked about.” And like something out of a exorcism movie, Bio Mom is pulled two inches down the table, as if a demonic presence has taken hold of her and is pulling her away. (My imagination, you’ll remember, at this point is deeply influenced by the lack of sleep and excess amounts of tension.)

8:09 a.m. And the world changes, because I can hear him. I can hear him for the very first time in my life, yelling at the room. My son is here, in the world, alive, and out. He is liberated, and he is barking orders at anyone and everyone who will listen. After everything, all of the things, and nothing, he is, at last, here. He is not yet ours, but he is the world’s.

I take a moment to look down at Bio Mom, who has tears of her own, hearing the baby cry for the first time. I bend down, and through the surgical mask, kiss her on her forehead, and with my lips pressed still against her head, I whisper a tiny truth to her. ”This kiss means I will love you forever.” She knows, and tears stop.

I do not know what time it is. The doctors ask if I would like to come and see the baby for the first time. I ask Bio Mom if that would be all right, and she is very supportive of that plan; she wants mine to be the first face the baby sees when he opens his eyes. I stand from her headrest, and walk around the other side of the curtain, averting my eyes completely from all that lies below the curtain.

And I see him, with a perfectly round head, white in patches, the rosiest of pinks in another. He is on a scale, and the nurse next to me instructs me to take out my phone, to capture these first moments of his life. She starts to say something to me about birth weight in grams. I cannot hear.

“I feel hot,” I say to her. She continues on, guiding me by the elbow to get in better position for the cell phone pictures I’m being encouraged to take. I am aware that my phone is now in my hand, though I do not remember taking it out or positioning it there. The nurse is now talking about birth weight in pounds.

“No. I feel ... hot.” She understands now and takes the phone from my hands. While she snaps photos of our son, another nurse takes me firmly by the elbow and back and walks me into the hallway. She tells me she is going to rub my back, and will bring me juice. I feel like Shelby in “Steel Magnolias." I am mortified. I survived the assorted sounds and smells of a major surgical procedure, but the sight of my son for the first time, the end and beginning of a story all at once, that is what buckled my knees. I take the juice.

When I have steadied myself and apologized for the care it had become clear I needed, a different nurse comes out to talk to me. She tells me that he is almost perfectly healthy, he has been given an Apgar score of 9, but that there is a complication and he will not be taken to the nursery. He is having difficulty with his breathing, they tell me. He is going to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, now.

I tell them we need to get Dom, I need to find Dom, they need to get Dom. Someone does, and we are given to each other, and we walk to the NICU together, hand in hand, for our next chapter.

 

Read the third part of Anthony Romeo’s series here.

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

Dads Tell Us Their 'Gayest Moment Ever' as Parents

We may be dads — but we're still gay, damnit! And these "gayest moments ever," sent to us from our Instagram community, prove it.

Did your child know all the lyrics to Madonna songs by age 3? Do your kids critique all the red carpet lewks from the Tony Awards? Do you often have baby food, diapers, sparkling white wine, gourmet appetizer, and fresh cut flowers in your shopping cart — all in one trip? If you answered 'yes' to any of the above, you just might be... a gay dad.

We asked the dads in our Instagram community to share their gayest moments as a dad, ever, and their responses were just as hilarious as they were relatable.

Here's a great way to start the week...

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Photo Essays

How Single Dads Are Celebrating Valentine's Day This Year

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers! We caught up with 8 single gay dads to see how they plan to celebrate Valentine's Day with this year.

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers; it's also a day to celebrate our loved ones. And that's exactly what these single dads are doing.

Within our community, GWK has a large group of admirable, active, and awesome (!) single dads and we want to honor them! On Valentine's Day, they and their kids celebrate their family unit in the sweetest possible ways. We asked the dads to share these moments with us, and, where possible, one of the most heartwarming things they've experienced with their kids on Valentine's Day to date.

Hear their stories below.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Photo Essays

11 Gay Couples Share Secrets to Their Long-Term Relationships This Valentine's Day

This Valentine's Day, we spoke with 11 gay dad couples who've been together for almost a decade or longer to learn what's made their relationships last

You're the peanut butter to my jelly, the gin to my tonic, the strawberries to my cream, the Mr. to my Mr.!

Happy Valentine's Day folks! We're excited to celebrate this day of lurrrrvvve by featuring a few dads in our community who've been together for almost a decade or more! And they're ready to share their secrets to a successful relationship and parenting partnership.

Keep reading...
Politics

Supreme Court to Hear Major Case Concerning LGBTQ Foster Care Parents

The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether cities are allowed to exclude tax-funded adoption agencies from foster care systems if they refuse to work with gay couples.

In 2018, city officials in Philadelphia decided to exclude Catholic Social Services, which refuses to work with LGBTQ couples, from participating in its foster-care system. The agency sued, claiming religious discrimination, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit unanimously ruled against the agency, citing the need to comply with nondiscrimination policies.

The case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, follows a 2018 Supreme Court decision regarding a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. In that case, the court narrowly ruled that the baker bad been discriminated against, on religious grounds, by the state's civil rights commission. It did not decide the broader issue: whether an entity can be exempt from local non-discrimination ordinances on the basis of religious freedom.

The court — whose ideological center has shifted to the right since the addition of Justice Brett Kavanaugh in fall 2018 — may choose to do so now. Advocates quickly called on the court to consider the potential impact on the more than 400,000 children currently in the foster care system:

"We already have a severe shortage of foster families willing and able to open their hearts and homes to these children," said Leslie Cooper, deputy director of the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project. "Allowing foster care agencies to exclude qualified families based on religious requirements that have nothing to do with the ability to care for a child such as their sexual orientation or faith would make it even worse. We can't afford to have loving families turned away or deterred by the risk of discrimination."

"It is unconscionable to turn away prospective foster and adoptive families because they are LGBTQ, religious minorities, or for any other reason unrelated to their capacity to love and care for children," said HRC President Alphonso David. "We reject the suggestion that taxpayer-funded child welfare services should be allowed to put discrimination over a child's best interest. This case could also have implications for religious refusals that go far beyond child welfare. The Supreme Court must make it clear that freedom of religion does not include using taxpayer funds to further marginalize vulnerable communities."

The court may choose to override a 1990 decision, Employment Division v. Smith, which created the current standard for carving out religious exemptions. In that case, the court ruled that laws that target a specific faith, or express hostility towards certain beliefs, are unconstitutional — but this standard has long been abhorred by religious conservatives, who think it doesn't offer enough protections for religions. If the court does overrule Smith, it could have far-ranging consequences. " As noted on Slate, "it would allow anyone to demand a carve-out from laws that go against their religion, unless those laws are 'narrowly tailored' to serve a 'compelling government interest.'"

The four members of the court's conservative wing — Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh —have all signaled an openness to reconsider Smith. The ruling's fate, then, likely rests in the hands of the court's new swing vote, Chief Justice Roberts.

For more, read the full article on Slate.

News

What's it Like to Be a Child of the 'Gayby Boom'?

Tosca Langbert, who grew up with two dads, writes a piece for the Harvard Business Review about what it's like being among the first children of the "Gayby Boom" to come of age.

We've previously written about the pressure on LGBTQ parents to appear perfect, given that so many in the United States still feel out families shouldn't exist in the first place. And we know this pressure trickles down to our kids. But In an article for the Harvard Business Review titled 'The Gayby Boom Is Here to Stay," author Tosca Langbert eloquently writes, from her perspective, about the experience of beingone of the first children to come of age during an era when LGBTQ parenthood is far more commonplace. She and her two siblings, she notes, "were raised in a family that was an impossibility only decades ago."

In the article, Langbert said she knew from a young age that her family was different from those of most of her peers, who had one a father and a mother. But otherwise, she writes, she didn't feel like her family differed much. "Like any other parents, Dad sat in the carpool lane after school and taught us how to ride our bikes," she writes, "while Papa took us to the movies on the weekends and separated the whites from the colors."

Keep reading...
Politics

Utah Bill Would Allow Gay Men to Enter Surrogacy Contracts

Rep. Patrice Arent of Utah is sponsoring a bill that will remove a provision that currently prohibits gay men from entering into commercial surrogacy contracts in the state.

Though Utah is not one of the three states that currently prohibit commercial surrogacy contracts, the state's current policy does specifically exclude gay men from doing so. That may soon changed, however, thanks to a bill in the state's legislature that was unanimously voted out of a House Committee that would remove that restriction.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, a Democrat, was created in response to a ruling by the Utah Supreme Court this past August that found the ban on gay men unconstitutional.

Gay men have been excluded from legally entering surrogacy contracts due to a provision in the current law that requires medical evidence "that the intended mother is unable to bear a child or is unable to do so without unreasonable risk to her physical or mental health or to the unborn child," Rep. Arent told the Salt Lake Tribune — a requirement that clearly excludes gay male couples.

The state's original surrogacy law dates back to 2005, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state, which accounts for the gendered language. Though the state's Supreme Court already ruled the provision unconstitutional, Rep Arent further told the Tribute that, "People do not look to Supreme Court opinions to figure out the law, they look to the code and the code should be constitutional."

Politics

Colorado Republicans Try and Fail to Outlaw LGBTQ Marriage and Adoption Rights

A bill introduced by four Republican state legislators in Colorado that would outlaw same-sex marriage and adoption rights was voted down.

The "Colorado Natural Marriage and Adoption Act," which would have outlawed gay marriage and adoption in the state of Colorado, was voted down in the state legislature this week. The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Stephen Humphrey and three of his conservative colleagues: Dave Williams, Shane Sandridge and Mark Baisley.

If enacted, the bill would have enforced "state law that marriage is between one man and one woman" and restrict "adoption of children by spouses in a marriage ... that consist of one man and one woman."

The bill, which had little chance of success, particularly in Colorado which has trended more progressive over the past several election cycles, was mostly symbolic, according to Sanridrge. "We all know this bill isn't gonna pass in this current left-wing environment," he told Colorado Public Radio. "It's to remind everyone, this is the ultimate way to conceive a child."

In a sign of how far we've come on the issue of LGBTQ marriage and parenting rights, most Republican legislators in the state did not endorse the bill.

Though the bill had little chance of passage, LGBTQ advocacy groups in the state are taking the threats seriously nonetheless. Daniel Ramos, director of the LGBTQ group One Colorado, told LGBTQ Nation that the bills were an attempt to return Colorado to its "hate status" of the 1990s, adding the aggressiveness of the measures were "a bit surprising."

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse