The pages of this little, black notebook had yellowed in color, a couple of rips and a worn binding. But as the cover opened to the first page, the memories written in that familiar handwriting remained...
Journal Entry #1 - 7/13/17
This has been the best birthday ever.
We worried for so long about how to afford it. We went over our finances and made phone calls and probably broke our calculator with all the numbers we typed into it… we just couldn’t afford it.
And we want it so bad. We’ve dreamed about it for years. We wished for it on every star that passed. We searched for four-leaf clovers in the park and avoided those stray black cats and crossed every finger… but nothing.
Frank Sinatra had nothing on us. This was the impossible dream.
Until I blew out the candles and found out about the trust fund. Sitting right there in the bank, in my name, all this time. Grandpa came through again.
Talk about a birthday present. I had no idea he left me so much money… more than enough to finally start our family. More than enough to pay for surrogacy.
Journal Entry #2 - 7/20/17
We met our surrogate today. Her name is Finola. Such a pretty name… and so Irish! She’s perfect.
A big chunk of Grandpa’s trust fund paid for Finola’s help today. We feel like we signed our lives away… I guess in a way we have. We signed away our life as married adults to become parents. And we never want them back.
Journal Entry #3 - 9/2/17
Finola had the embryo implantation today… and now we wait. This is going to be the longest few weeks of our lives. Longer than the day before we said “I do.” Longer than it took to save up to buy my own car. Longer than every last day of school.
Because at any moment, Finola could become pregnant.
And at any moment, we could become expecting parents.
At any moment, I could become an expecting father.
Journal Entry #4 - 9/15/17
Ice cream was eaten tonight. We watched our favorite tv show. Had lots of cuddling.
Not to celebrate… it was a false positive.
Finola took a test. It was the little plus sign, she even showed us… but the doctor broke it to us gently. She’s not pregnant yet.
We’re still waiting. Longest few weeks of our lives, for sure.
Journal Entry #5 - 9/22/17
I haven’t stopped smiling. I think my face forgot how to frown.
Finola went to the doctor’s alone this morning. She said she didn’t want to get our hopes up again if it wasn’t true. But her morning sickness all but confirmed it.
It’s really happening... we’re becoming parents... I can’t wait for June 23, 2018.
Journal Entry #6 - 1/1/18
I haven’t picked this up in a while. Sorry about that. Life’s been pretty crazy with a baby on the way.
Finola is already in her second trimester. She even has a little bump now.
Sure, the medical bills are starting to pile in, but in the end, this will be priceless.
Journal Entry #7 - 2/4/18
We went out for a drink with Finola last night (she had sparkling water, I promise!) and we realized we could find out the gender at Finola’s doctor’s appointment today.
Except, I wanted it to be a surprise. I’ve always dreamed of that moment when the doctor holds the little baby in their arms and says, “Congratulations, it’s a…”
But as soon as we were gathered in that room with the lights dimmed and the monitor on and heard another heart beating, it was like a switch flipped. I didn’t just want to know, I needed to know.
And it’s not because I had a preference. It never mattered to me whether I was having a son or a daughter.
But I’m really glad I’m having a daughter.
Journal Entry #8 - 2/5/18
I always thought couples were so cheesy when they threw big, elaborate gender reveal parties… but when it’s your baby you’re revealing the gender of, it’s far too tempting not to.
We called everyone over today and ordered a bunch of cupcakes. We didn’t even tell anyone why they were here. We just handed them each a cupcake and waited for them to put it together once they took a bite and spotted that spongy, pink cake inside.
There was screaming and crying and pink crumbs everywhere. Everyone knows we’re having a daughter.
Journal Entry #9 - 2/14/18
Valentine’s Day is almost over when I’m writing this, but we got the best surprise today. Everyone was there, even Finola. They threw us a baby shower!
They got us a bunch of things we’re going to need, but the surprise didn’t end there. We were led upstairs to find out that they all decorated the nursery. The walls are pink and the dresser is full of the tiniest clothes and the crib looks snugglier than our bed!
We didn’t expect to come home from our Valentine’s date to a baby shower. We never liked the idea of everyone buying us a bunch of baby necessities when we’re more than capable of affording it all. And I know, I know, it’s a tradition… but we’re anything but traditional.
Journal Entries #10, #11, #12 and #13 - 5/9/18
There’s so much to catch you up on!
Finola is about a month away from giving birth. It went by so fast. Grandpa’s trust fund went pretty fast, too.
First and foremost, we finally picked out a name. We rattled off loads of names to each other, everything from Ellie to Nancy to Susan. I thought we would never agree. Until it hit us...
It’s Irish and musical and is so, so beautiful.
Another thing I forgot to journal about was the time we were out with Finola and all of a sudden, she let out a yelp. We both froze, worried something was wrong or she was about to go into premature labor or something… but it was a kick. We each put a hand to her baby bump and felt what had to be the teeniest foot. I swear I fell more in love with each kick.
And then there’s the baby-proofing. We basically locked ourselves out of every drawer in the house. And if we trip, there is not one pointy edge in sight. But the baby monitors were the most fun. We didn’t pretend we were some kind of commandos using them as walkie talkies and ending every sentence with the word “over” or anything…
And then there was the day I raided the library of every baby book on the shelves. I probably seemed nuts, but I wanted to make sure I was the most prepared dad-to-be in the world.
I know everything there is to know about changing and feeding and sleeping. Did you know babies sleep between 16 and 17 hours a day? Lucky. I bet we’ll be wishing we had that luxury soon.
But even if I never sleep again, it’ll be worth it to become a father. The moment we’ve waited so long for is happening in just a few days. I can’t wait.
Journal Entry #14 - 6/17/18
This day has felt like a whirlwind. Like that rollercoaster we went on last summer. Like my birthday all over again.
We thought we had one more week. That’s what the due date said, anyway.
But no, the second Finola’s name lit up the incoming call on my phone, I had a feeling. I knew it before she said it... her water broke.
I don’t think I’ve ever driven faster. I’m surprised I didn’t get a speeding ticket. Do they wave first-time speeding offenses for first-time expecting dads?
Finola squeezed my hand during every contraction. We talked about the last 9 months, choosing her as our surrogate and her becoming pregnant and carrying a child that wasn’t hers.
I asked her what she planned to do with her payment. I was curious to find out where the rest of Grandpa’s trust fund was going. She said this experience… helping us become parents… bringing a child into this world… it was priceless. I completely agreed.
And then it was just like in the movies. The nurse walked in and said, “It’s time.” They wheeled her off, and we followed behind to sit in on the birth.
It happened in a blur, and all of a sudden we heard crying.
It was me. I was crying. I couldn’t help it. I was seconds away from becoming a father…
And then we had you.
Melody smiled, a tear falling down onto the page at her dad’s words. When she asked what it was like having her through surrogacy, she never expected to read the entire experience, written just for her, documented inside her dad’s little, black notebook.