I am feeling better having gotten some decent sleep last night. It really improves my mood, to, you know, sleep. We decided to move the Rock n Play into our room by my side of the bed and put Baby G in it after the 11PM feeding. There is a lot of crying when he is asleep in his crib from 7 – 11. I’m really not sure what that is about since he’s been sleeping in it, albeit swaddled, for two months. Baby steps.
As much as Baby G doesn’t resemble my husband, my older son, or me, it’s something I rarely consider in terms of him being our son, my baby. It’s not that I don’t think of the donating couple, because I do (interestingly, I rarely think of the gamete donors, though, because I guess it just feels like I so had nothing to do with the putting together of their eggs and sperm; it was such happenstance), but I don’t think of him not being genetically ours except with respect to people who aren’t in the know who I can see are trying to piece together how I had a milky skinned, red-headed, blue-eyed baby at 46.
I surround myself with people, friends and service providers who love and care for me. I get to know people personally, enough that they are invested in my happiness and that of our family. Most of them, then, were at least aware of our desire to have another child, that my age was a factor in preventing that, and even that were in process to adopt. Some folks saw me pregnant (my pedicurist, my esthetician, my hair stylist, my cleaning woman, my landscaper, my jeweler). I am fiercely loyal to those who provide good service (my cleaning person has been with me almost 20 years, I’ve known my local jeweler for 25) and to a degree, in that they provide a long term service to me, they feel like extended family.
I actually think that most of them believe that if anyone could have a baby at 46, it’d be me. So, when they saw me pregnant, knowing I have an older son, no one thought much of it. Some may have inquired if we used fertility treatments again, knowing we did so with our first son, to which I replied, ‘yes’, but no one asked beyond that and I didn’t offer.
I broke up with my hair stylist about 2 years ago, at the time we were still trying to adopt. She happens to work at the same salon where I still get pedicures and waxes and where I patroned when I was pregnant with Baby G. I never told her I was leaving her, I just did, and she’s never asked me why, although she is awkward around me. I thought she saw me one of a number of times I was in the salon when I was pregnant.
I took Baby G with me, for the first time, to the salon today so that I could get a long overdue pedicure. Everyone fawned all over him as I knew they would. Everyone in the salon who knew me (and that’s easily a dozen people) came over to meet him, including my former hair stylist who was SHOCKED to see that I had a baby AND that I had been pregnant with him. In fact, as she tried to piece the puzzle together, I saw her exchanging validating glances with Hannah, who does my toes, as if to confirm, “she was really pregnant?”.
Everyone was genuinely happy to meet him and to hold him and to be around such a cute, happy, smiling baby. But, for the first time, I saw a sideways glance from my former hair stylist. It wasn’t mean-spirited, but I could tell what she was thinking. How did I go from being in the hopeful process to domestically adopt to giving birth to a cherubic baby who looks nothing like me, my husband or my son (all of whose hair she cut at one time or another)? She was sweet as can be in biting my son’s legs and cooing at him and sharing her happiness for me with me, but the raised eyebrow was there. Since she didn’t ask, I didn’t offer.
But, it was the first in what I am sure will be a long line of experiences I will have in mothering a child that I carried who is not genetically linked to my husband or me. And, while I know his story will matter to him, just as the story of how we created our family matters to me, he is as mine to me as my older son, perhaps more so for the moving of heaven and earth it took to bring him to us. I don’t feel I owe anyone but an explanation.
I love that he captivates others. I love that his perfectly round head, piercing blue eyes, and broad toothless smile draw attention. I love sharing him, talking about him, being with him in the presence of others. I feel oddly protective of him, in the sense that I wouldn’t want anyone to ask about his origins in his presence in a way that could hurt his feelings. I know I need to role play and practice how I might respond when they do.
I am thankful to live in So CA, land of the highest number of fertility clinics, per capita, of anywhere else in the US. It seems that everyone, if even in a Six Degrees of Separation kind of way, has been touched by infertility. There is a
My own parents are part of the right-wing conservative Republican, pro-life, anti-Obama, old money generation, so, yeah, there’s that. Families are created in a lot of ways.
This is a lot of rambling to say that Baby G couldn’t feel more mine than if we shared the same genes. I never doubted that he would but am so glad that he does. For me, at least, genes don’t matter.