Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting F in the hospital where she was recovering after giving birth to a surrobaby just after midnight on Wednesday, making another couple’s dreams come true. It was another sweet little boy, and his weight and length were very similar to Daniel’s. I didn’t get to hold him because he was being circumcised, but I did get to see him through the glass later. He was so tiny! It is mind boggling that Daniel was that small too because he is so tall and energetic now and most definitely not a baby anymore.
The new daddies were ecstatic, and F had another easy labor. Daddy D and I commiserated over similar birth certificate screw-ups the hospital made in both of our situations. I spent more time with Daddy J, and he hugged me over and over and said it felt like we were family. And it did, which mirrored a feeling I’ve been having since I found out F was in labor and then once the baby was born.
It’s odd, but I feel like this little boy is like a new member of the family. I kept wanting to tell Daniel, “F had a baby, and he’s your…” but there’s no word for it. Technically, that baby boy, baby G, is absolutely no relation to D at all. But it seems like he should be. What do you call someone who came from the same uterus you did? Usually the word is “sibling,” but that’s not accurate for this situation. Two unrelated sets of parents, two unrelated babies and one unrelated uterus.
“Cousin” seems closer to what I feel. However, I wonder if there is some connection between the boys that we don’t see. They did share the same uterus, and F’s body nurtured them. If they ever met, would they recognize a connection? Normally we try to avoid questions like that because it brings up messy issues about biology, genetics and parentage.
Even if there is no physical or familial connection between the boys, I think we all felt a larger connection between us: Two couples who couldn’t have a baby themselves trusting another woman to help them; wrangling with lawyers and doctors and process issues that never seem to go smoothly no matter how much you’ve planned; the joy of success after years of heartache and overwhelming gratitude towards the woman who made it happen. The four of us have been in that crucible and emerged wiser and more thankful, relieved and grateful and amazed at the kindness of a stranger.
Sometimes family is biology; sometimes it is shared experiences. There isn’t a word that describes what we are, but family comes close.