Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Making a Baby is the Funny Part

Sometimes fact is, in fact, stranger than fiction.  When life becomes weird, funny and yet touching, it is time to share… even though the subject matter is somewhat of a private nature.  Let me say, before I get going on this, that everyone involved approved my post ahead of time – they even encouraged it thinking it too good a story not to share.

For quite a few years, Emmett and I have been very good friends with Erika and Sunni.  We were even there for their wedding a few years ago.  The wedding was beautiful and it was a lot of fun for Emmett and me. There was great food, fun music, wonderful people and just enough drama to make it salacious.  Personally, I was excited because I got to tick another item off of my bucket list:  attend a gay wedding.  Of course, I had always thought more in terms of attending a gay guy wedding because, let’s be honest, it would have to be fabulous right?  Still, Erika and Sunni really rose to the occasion and threw a bash to be proud of.
Emmett and Erika are particularly close.  They both love beer… Erika brews it and Emmett is happy to taste it for her.  They are always the last ones standing at any party.  They are both outgoing and have never met a stranger.  Erika is a medic and Emmett was one in the Air Force.  They are both suckers for animals, children and old people.  They are both a little outrageous and don’t care who knows it.  They are like twins separated at birth.

Still it came as a bit of a surprise last year when Erika and Sunni asked us if Emmett would be a sperm donor.  Erika explained that they would use Sunni’s eggs and Emmett’s sperm and Sunni would carry the baby.  They thought Emmett would be a great choice because Emmett, in their opinion, is the one guy friend they have who most resembles Erika in terms of personality, plus he’s attractive.  It was flattering for Emmett.
I was surprised at my reaction.  I would have thought I would be outraged that some other women would be interested utilizing Emmett’s sperm with the thought of having a baby.  Honestly, I was touched that they trusted both of us enough to share such an important piece of their lives with us.  They told us that we would have no official responsibility towards the child but that should this work, we could be as involved, or not, as we chose.  Emmett and I talked seriously about it and decided that we would prefer to be considered a favored aunt and uncle and be included in as many life events as possible with the child.

A lot of people might ask why I didn’t mind since I have not had children with Emmett.  The answer is simple.  We tried and it didn’t happen.  We have left it in God’s hands and apparently we are not meant to have children together.  Had Emmett refused to have children with me, I think I would have felt differently.  I might have felt resentful.  In this case though, I honestly understood.  Erika and Sunni could not have a baby without help. 
The plan had always been that Sunni would carry the baby.  Erika was happy with the plan because she abhorred the thought of being pregnant, much like a guy might.  In fact, we would all laugh at the thought of a pregnant Erika.  It would be like seeing a guy pregnant.  It would be weird.  Although Erika is a woman, she embraces her masculine side.  She loves wearing jeans and t-shirts.  She wears baseball caps and loves sports and beer.  She never wears make up but does wear her hair cut very short.  She is strikingly attractive but chooses to downplay it.  When Erika and Sunni married, Sunni wore a beautiful wedding gown and Erika wore a white suit.  The only time I’ve ever seen Erika in a dress is when she dressed like a woman for Halloween.  So, when after much testing, it was determined that Sunni could not carry a baby to term, it was decided that Erika would have to be the birth mother. 

I wasn’t there in the doctor’s office with Sunni and Erika but I can only imagine, first their despair at the news that Sunni could not carry the baby and then second, the realization that Erika would have to carry the baby.  To Erika’s credit, she took it like a champ.  She rallied.  She saw the humor in the situation.
A lot of time passed and Emmett and I heard nothing from the girls.  We had moved to Alabama and we thought that perhaps they had either abandoned the project or else decided that someone closer would be more convenient.  Imagine our surprise when a few months ago, Erika and Sunni reiterated their interest in utilizing Emmett’s sperm… especially since now it would have to involve UPS and some very expensive, and strange, shipments.

The girls sent us a Styrofoam shipping package, some small vials (which contained some cloudy liquid solution), and an ice pack in preparation for the day when the call would come and Emmett would too.  The plan was that Erika would contact Emmett when she ovulated and Emmett “produce” and then rush to UPS for the last shipment of the day with first possible delivery to Erika in the morning.
A few months went by and timing proved a little challenging as Erika would ovulate when Emmett had no access to the baby kit.  Finally though this past month, Erika contacted Emmett that she was ovulating.  The timing was great.  Emmett had a break in the day and was able to lend a hand.  The problem was though he had to get to work and didn’t have time to go to UPS.  I had to do it.

So, realizing the strangeness of the situation, I took the Styrofoam box which had been carefully packaged with the now-full vial and ice pack, to UPS.  I just knew they were going to ask me what the contents were.  I just knew I was going to have to find another UPS to use in the future.  Even though it was embarrassing, I decided to use humor to cover up the mortification.  When I clerk asked what was in the package, I stated “sperm.  My husband’s actually.”  The young guy tried to remain professional but his eyebrows shot up.  The UPS store manager happened to be nearby and she told me that they have been known to ship bull sperm.  “Well,” I told her, “he’s not a bull, but he is bullheaded.”
When I left UPS, I called Emmett to let him know his sperm was on the way.  He was relieved but his thoughts were elsewhere.  “Listen, I’m trying to train Kim and she needs to make a pudding.  We are out of eggs.  I need four.  Can you deliver them to me at the restaurant?”

I stopped short.  “Are you serious?”  I asked.  “First you want me to drop off sperm and now eggs?”  Emmett laughed, “Yeah, I guess so.”  I shook my head.  “I feel like the advance team for the stork.”  We both chuckled at the bazar circumstances. 
Later that week Erika texted and said that she should know by Halloween whether or not she is pregnant, and if so the baby’s due date would be the 4th of July.  As of this post, we don't know what the outcome will be but we do know that a universal truth has proven true:  making a baby is the fun(ny) part.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Create or Stagnate

It’s been a while since I last posted.  In fact, it has been almost exactly five months.  Now due to popular demand, and a shift in my own thinking, I have decided to try my hand at blogging again. 

Why, you may ask, did I stop blogging?  Was it because nothing interesting was happening down here in the Gump?  Absolutely not!  The opposite is true.  In the five months since I last posted, Emmett has gone through general management training at Baumhower’s Restaurant and since taken over his own store (the Downtown Montgomery location). The girls are now in a good, local technical high school and doing fantastically.  In July, Kiera, Kylie and my nephew Fletcher and I drove from Alabama to Massachusetts (and back!) to visit family and friends.  We have picked up two new family members:  Bella Lovato-Moore our sweet Rat Terrier who we adopted from our dear friend Myra who passed away suddenly this summer and Ms. Mocha Moore, our half-faced kitten (14 weeks as of this writing) who was found wandering the mean streets of Montgomery.  As you can see, I did not stop blogging because there was nothing of interest to report on.

Did I stop because I was too busy?  No.  Although I do have plenty to do, there are hours every day where I don’t have any plans and end up catching up on reading, cleaning, organizing, job hunting, working out… well you get the picture.  I have never been less busy.  I am enjoying my non-stressed out life.  I prayed for a long time for a break and now I have it.  So, I am not too busy to write.

The truth is that I got mad.  I got hurt.  I got scared.  I let these negative feelings get in the way of my creativity.  It took me a while to identify why I wanted to anything else rather than write… and I do mean anything (shampooing rugs, weeding, watching Honey Boo Boo, etc.).  Finally, though, I pinpointed what it was that gave me the biggest case of writer’s block in history.

The last blog that I posted about was Love, Gaming and Saving.  In general, I got nice comments on the post (which of course anyone would like to hear), but then I got an “off the record” comment from someone (who shall remain nameless) saying how “mortified” he was that I was making excuses for my husband’s bad behavior of gaming.  He felt that I was enabling Emmett’s gaming and not being truthful with myself about how I felt.  This reader, I know, is not the only one that felt that way.  He just happened to be the only one who actually said something.

I could go into all the reasons why I “enable” my husband’s gaming but I don’t think any minds would be changed anyway.  If you want to know why, go back and read Love, Gaming and Saving.  Instead, I am choosing to press on and write about what interests me; my observations, my thoughts and my opinions.  I am going to not let someone’s disapproval keep me from pursuing what makes me happy.  I am going to choose creativity over stagnation.

In retrospect, what I should have done is shut out the negativity.  I could have used my emotions to create instead of stagnate.  But, the truth is, I was afraid that by putting myself “out there” in such a public way, I was inviting negative criticism about my life, my writing “talent”, my choices.

Hearing criticism is always hard and never pleasant.  I can’t think of anyone who relishes hearing disapproval.  People react in different ways to criticism. Some people get mad, make a public scene and drag everyone into their drama.  There are other people who shut down their creativity and let the outside voices rule their inner goddess (to steal a phrase from Fifty Shades of Grey) and then there are others who take disappointment, sadness, depression, disapproval, etc. and create.  Think of all of those famous painters who did not let the naysayers win.  Imagine if they had?  We might never have had Degas, Monet and Renoir to enjoy. When the French Impressionist movement first began in the late 1800’s, they were highly criticized for their style. The artists pursued their individualism and eventually the misunderstood Impressionists were embraced by the world.   

Had they let popular convention dictate their actions and stifle their creativity, we would never have heard the words of magnificent women writers such as Austen, Eliot, and the Brontë sisters.  No Heathcliff?  No Mr. Darcy?  What a duller, less romantic world we would live in.  I am by no means comparing myself to those great artists; merely, I am noting the actions of those who I admire so much and hoping to follow, humbly, in their footsteps… fearlessly.