It has been about three months since my last update at the end of February. If we’re measuring in pregnancy time, that’s one trimester, but if we’re measuring in pandemic time, it’s approximately an eternity.
Before the schools closed, before working from home, before quarantine and social distancing became our way of life, before everyone had an opinion on masks (good times).
Like most of us, I was aware but not overly concerned about the coronavirus at the time. I assumed it would all work out and the surrogacy agency all but assured me that the travel restrictions between the US and China (where the intended parents are) would likely not be an issue by the time the baby was due in May.
Even as time went on and we were well into March, the intended parents seemed strangely unworried about the travel ban, to the point that it was annoying me.
No one seemed interested in discussing a Plan B (or C or D) in much detail at the time.
“Can someone please worry with me?” I kept thinking, growing tired of the unrealistic optimism but feeling like I had no choice but to jump on board the hope train.
By April, I was extremely frustrated by what felt like a lack of clear communication from both the agency and the intended parents. At times, I have felt like I was just the pregnant girl on a “need to know” basis.
I know now that they were only trying to keep me from worrying, a very poor strategy for my personality type. The more I know, the less I stress. While I understand there is no manual on how to handle these situations during a global pandemic and everyone involved has been doing their best in unknown territory, I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me angry.
As I write this, I am 39 weeks pregnant, it is the 17th of May, and travel restrictions are still firmly in place. The intended parents have just missed the flight that would have brought them here in time for their child’s due date.
They applied for an exemption that would allow them entry into the US, and while they received word from the US Embassy in Shanghai that their case was under review, there have been no further updates for weeks. They have no choice but to continue to wait at home with their bags packed.
So what does all this mean?
Well, it does not mean that I will be taking the baby home (phew!). An employee of the surrogacy agency, a former surrogate herself, is ready to take care of the baby until his parents can get here. The parents have been introduced to her (virtually, of course) and everyone is aware of the plan. She will pick the baby up upon his discharge from the hospital…
Which means that during the hospital stay, I will be taking care of him. That is a situation I never wanted to be in, as cold as it may sound, but given the choice between caring for him or leaving that responsibility to the hospital staff, I know what the right thing to do is. I have carried him this far and I will carry him one step further than intended because that is what the situation calls for.
Before this, the birth was the finish line. Now that line has been extended a little further out and that is okay, I just need to get myself into the right mindset. That is something I am still working on.
Most of all, this means stolen moments.
The mother will not get to hear her baby’s first cry.
His parents will not get to cut the cord, do skin to skin, or even be with him on his birthday.
I will not get to see their faces when they meet their child for the first time and officially become a family.
All of these precious moments, the promise of which have carried us through, snatched away by a virus.
At this point, I feel the need to end this post on a positive note but I am going to resist that temptation. Sometimes we just need to mourn what has been lost before stepping forward with a brave smile.