This past Christmas was a bit different for us. Every year prior we would say to each other, “this is our LAST Christmas as just us” and every year we would only hang two stockings. Well, more like 2.5 stockings if you count our furbaby’s. Don’t judge, you know you gift wrap a bone or some ridiculously over priced dog/cat/hamster toy every year for your furry family member. This year we received a very simple gift from Chris’s mom, it was a “Count Down to Baby” clock. For the first trimester of our surrogacy we were in complete disbelief. There had just been so many upsets and detours that we were trying to prepare for the next one that would inevitably happen. Then every week would pass by and we would approach new milestones, each one with less cautionary approach then the last. Hope continued to grow and just like the walls of Jericho the bricks of our so tightly guarded fort would come down one by one. Every morning, I look at our count down clock that is placed on our dresser and smile, because that is yet another day closer to meeting her.
You know, a funny thing happened the day we set that clock. Our life hit “Play” for the first time in in many years. It had been on hold, that pause button had been stuck with industrial strength super glue and we had not been able to move forward. The future was unclear because we could not seem to get past the one hurtle that was holding us back. Don’t get me wrong here, we didn’t sit at home and have intense staring contests at each other. We traveled, enjoyed being a couple but at the end of each day we were still imprisoned by our infertility. When you are trying to conceive or going through the adoption process it feels like all you do is wait. You wait throughout the dreaded TWW. You wait to get your home study approved. You wait for news that maybe this time that exceptionally late stork will air drop that bundle into your arms. This time though, through the miracle of our wonder surro, she was the catalyst. Our life-remote has hit play and we are planning our future again and have been busy preparing for next adventure of new parenthood.
Anyone that has been following us for a while will know that calling me an analytical person would be a bit of an understatement. When we are on a road trip, partly to annoy Candace and partly just because that is how my dude-brain works, I will announce what percentage of the trip we have completed, where we will be when we are 50% of the way there and how long it will be until we get to our next big milestone. And if it is really getting under Candace’s skin, I, of course considering her feelings, increase the frequency of these announcements … even up to announcing every single percent progress we make on our trip. That is of course until she punches my arm and threatens to either jump out of the car or leave me at the next gas station.
With my mandatory digression over, every time I walk by the countdown clock, something goes off in me. It is a combination of joy, anxiety, and terror. Sounds like fun right? It almost feels like taking a bite into that weird Jello-fruit cocktail dessert and you are not sure if it will be just Jello (good), Jello with fruit (okay), or Jello with fruit and metal shrapnel (typical for Candace and I). I walk by that countdown clock and do the math, okay our wonder-surro has been pregnant for 20 weeks, that means that 20 weeks is over and 20 weeks is left, that means that we are halfway done, that means that we have finished half of this gestational journey, that means that there are still 20 weeks for something to go wrong, that means that there are still 20 weeks that we could wake up and realize that this was all some sort of masochistic dream, that means that I could be a dad in 20 weeks, that means I need to figure out how to be a dad in 20 weeks … you get the idea. As the number of days left on the countdown clock gets smaller and smaller, my anticipation grows and some of the fears start to fade away while others come on the scene that have previously been lurking in the shadows of seemingly impossible situations.
For example, since Candace and I never thought we would even get this far, I never gave much thought to the worry associated with the actual childbirth. Now though, I have no idea what to expect, having only been to one before (my own), I have no clue how long things should take, what is okay for a baby heart rate during child birth, whether Candace will be able to be in the room, the list is nearly infinite.
With all this unknown though, it is those fundamental necessities that keep me from biting off all my, and all my coworkers’ fingernails. Candace and I have a great, open relationship; we strive to live God-centered lives; we plan to show our little Jelly Bean all of the love we have saved for over 7 years and all of the love from our surrounding “village” that has enabled us to get to this point. So, abacus in hand, I will keep counting down the days, keep calculating what percentage of pregnancy is left, and keep praying that no one pinches me and wakes me up from this dream.