I am not a huge a fan of predictability. I find comfort in diverting from the well-traveled path. When we got married, we decided in May that we should go on vacation in June. At some point, that vacation was defined as, “go somewhere on our own to tie the knot.” While my husband traveled to Africa for two weeks to visit his sister, I worked out the travel plans. Turns out, Antigua was a place where getting married was easy and where SkyAuction had a good deal. His part in the wedding planning – bring back a ring from Kenya. He returned from his trip and, a week later, we left for Antigua. Barefoot in the ocean, with the head of housekeeping and head of guest services as our witnesses, we did, in fact, tie the knot.
Next week we will celebrate seven years of marriage. In that time, we have diverted from the norm many times. Our own ‘normal’ has changed again and again. Nine months after our wedding, it changed with the birth of our oldest. Eighteen months after that, it changed again with the birth of our second. To be honest, the next phase of ‘normal’ is a bit of a blur as we tried to figure out how on earth people keep up with two kids at once and when you’re supposed to sleep.
Once we came up for air, normal became coordinating schedules to minimize daycare, which then became coordinating schedules with grandparents to have daycare, but without the cost (cannot express the gratitude we have for this). My kids know my office and they know my parents’ office. Their teachers know that one of at least five different people might pick them up from school on any given day. Some weeks are easy, others not so much. For us, though, it all seems normal.
This week, I entered a new normal. With a transfer date scheduled for less than a month away, the clinical side of surrogacy has officially begun. I’ve transitioned from someone who rarely uses medicine to self-administering daily injections. Those, of course, are just the start. My Type A side has reared its head to try and keep all of the medications straight. Inject this…take that…this one daily…that one every other day…some for weeks…one for only 4 days. I’m coordinating my schedule to be home for the regular injections (clearly, those don’t slip easily into your purse). I’m trying to figure out where the hazardous waste collection container fits on the counter, and whether I should disguise it to put a damper on questions from curious kids at this early stage.
This new normal has another side, too. Now that the contract is signed, we get to reconnect with the parents of the peanut-to-be. We get a glimpse of what the agency saw in a potential match – what we have in common, how we all might engage in this process. As someone whose job revolves around building partnerships and connecting people, I can comfortably say they definitely saw the qualities that will make this match a good one.
Normal, like perfection, is a matter of perspective. The definition is unique to each of us and there is no wrong answer. It’s fluid, shaped by each experience. This is a worldview that I want my children to have. It is part of the motivation for being a gestational surrogate. Everyone has their own way of arriving at wherever they are supposed to be. In my family, it is now normal to be part of someone else’s journey to parenthood. For that lesson my kids will learn, I am very grateful.