Monday, October 18, 2010

Dream Job

Shannon's upstairs, in bed, sensibly getting a good night's rest to fight a nagging head cold that kept her home from work today. Just before she turned in, the two of us sat together and talked about a dream she had the previous night. Shannon has a lot of dreams. Glossy, high color affairs that tend towards the dramatic and downright dangerous. Normally, my first question upon learning of a new dream is whether she was shooting the semi-automatic, running from the shooter or both. This time the dream was a bit more traditional, the naked-in-the-classroom kind. She and I were in India to pick up our baby, completely unprepared for departure. No idea how to get the birth certificate, visa, passport, social security number.....

It wouldn't be surrogacy in India without something nontraditional to worry about.

Sometimes Shannon and I receive questions about our experience and its implications that, well, let's just say folks haven't thought it through. "Ok. Shannon's egg, your sperm, an Indian carrier. Got it. So your baby could look Indian, huh?" Nope. As my father pointed out on one such occasion, cakes don't look like the oven. Other times, however, the questions we come across are well founded. "Will your baby have Indian citizenship?" (No.) "Do you need to take DNA tests to prove maternity and paternity?" (Used to but, apparently, no longer necessary. Possession of complete documentation detailing the process in chronological order suffices.) "How will you know when to go back for the pickup?" (We won't. As Shannon shared, all we know is that R won't go full term. We'll start waiting for phone calls mid-February. The call will either be, "We're going to induce on such-and-such day - come on down" or "R's in labor - come on down.")

Shannon and I think about this a lot now, about picking up our baby and slicing through the red tape. We're still figuring it out so it's premature to share details in this blog but, as with everything else, there's a bunch of folks who've gone through it all before us. If it can go wrong, it probably already has and the poor victims/couple are around to give the rest of us a heads-up. In the meantime, we've got the worrying covered with Shannon's nighttime drama.

As the optimist in our humble pair, I sleep like the dead and remember dreams maybe once a month. My recollections, hazy in muted tones, are funky more than anything else - Twin Peaks without the freaky music or backward talking midgets. This doesn't mean I don't have concerns though. Most compelling for me right now are names. We don't know the gender of our baby yet but I'm trying to be a good player and join Shannon to build a short-list. I just can't come up with any boy names. (Girl names haven't been a problem.) They say a person has mastered a language once he/she has dreamed in that language. I'm searching my highly infrequent dreams for names, putting the pressure on my subconscious. I just hope it doesn't have a sense of humor and comes up with something like Adolph.

(Our little one is doing quite well. By our clock we're 18 weeks into the pregnancy with all systems and screenings looking good. A couple weeks ago the ultrasound tech in Mumbai estimated our baby's age at 18 weeks based on various fetal measurements. As we were only 16 weeks along at the time, could this be a sign that there's a giant American baby growing in India? Our delivery date may be creeping up earlier and earlier.)