So we are at the end of our 9-day visit to Seattle, which culminated in a day of medical appointments and the all-important 20-week ultrasound. This has given us a lot of relief that everything is progressing OK, and a good dose of reality about what the experience will be like when we return in just 18 weeks!
A few highlights of our visit...
The scan:This was the world's longest ultrasound, lasting almost two hours, which had us all silently worrying about what on earth the radiologist was looking at. Apparently our little Joey was just being uncooperative and sitting at the wrong angle. But she eventually performed, and at 13 ounces, with long arms and legs, and again with the hand to the face... We can tell already that this girl is a princess.
The hospital tour:
The staff at the hospital were so lovely, flexible and accommodating to our needs. Although they haven't seen a whole lot of surrogacy cases, they are familiar enough with it to know that we may have special needs, such as an additional room at the birth and some flexibility around security procedures and the like, which is a relief.
There have been many pleasant surprises on this trip, not least of all the news we are having a girl! We decided to add one more surprise into the mix and a few months ago began talking a outs ow this visit would be a good opportunity to formalize our commitment to each other after our nearly 10 years together.
With same-sex marriage not yet legal in a Australia, we found a judge, filed some forms and on the 26th December, we got married on the Seattle Great Wheel, with Mandy and family present as witnesses. This was a good old-fashioned shotgun wedding with a modern twist, and surprising our friends family back home with this news was so much fun. It sounds like they have already started party planning. We have promised our mums that there will be no more surprises in the near future!
The past nine days have been incredible, building a relationship with Mandy and her family, who have been generous, welcoming and hospitable beyond words. We never thought at the beginning of this process that we would gain friends, but that is exactly what has happened over the past week.
It's mind-blowing to think the next time we see Mandy that it will be (hopefully) just days before the arrival of our little girl. We have told our 'bump' that she must wait until we are in Seattle before making her grand entrance, as the thought of enduring a 20-hour flight knowing the baby was on her way (or worse, has already arrived) doesn't bear thinking about!
As we begin the long journey home, we feel relieved and excited, but most of all, utterly grateful for the joy this little bean has already brought to the world, before she has even drawn her first breath.