I can’t believe it. I’m finally making last preparations for my flight to the USA to realize the biggest dream of my life. My suitcases have been packed for nearly a week now and all documents, hotel confirmations and logistical details have been printed out and placed in a beautiful leather-bound travel wallet. I can’t sleep. Within weeks I will be a father! As I prepare for the journey ahead, I wonder how I will occupy the 24 hours of travel time and the 3 flights it takes to get to Arizona in America? Will I stress? Will I freak out? All I know is that the excitement is so unbearable that I am on the verge of crying happy tears.
Now I am paranoid that my luggage won’t arrive. Think positive, think positive! Yes, everything will be OK. I still have a few weeks before my surrogate Carlie will give birth via a planned C-Section so when I arrive it will be shopping, shopping, shopping and more shopping. I must also savor every last moment of my final weeks as a ‘bachelor’. I arrive safely in Atlanta and as I am preparing to board for my last flight on this very long journey, I receive an SMS from Carlie with 4 words I will never forget- “MY WATER HAS BROKEN”!
As the plane takes off bound for Arizona, I am feeling so excited by the adrenaline that I am nauseas. For what feels like an eternity, we finally touch down. I collect my luggage, hail a taxi and head for the hospital. Half an hour later I am dressed and ready to enter the operating room. The medical staff are briefing me on the process but all I am hearing is white noise. As I enter, I finally meet Carlie face to face. This was certainly not how I imagined meeting her. We had planned to do so much together in the 3 weeks prior to the birth. I was looking forward to meeting her at her home and giving her the biggest hug but as it turns out, fate had other plans for us! Despite the chaos, meeting Carlie for the first time was very emotional, an indescribable feeling that only those who require a surrogate to carry their child could ever understand. It was emotional for Carlie too. It was brief, I handed her some gifts and we hugged it out one more time. Then, just moments later, I was a father!
A little over 24 hours have passed since the birth of my son. 24 hours of being a father. 24 of the greatest hours of my life. It’s been both exciting and challenging. From the moment I received the text from Carlie, I have been on auto pilot, completely feeding off the adrenaline and instinctively kicking in to parental mode. From the last flight to the trip to the airport to the delivery room and then finally meeting Carlie for the first time, it’s been a blur really, a series of events with excitement levels surpassing anything I’ve ever felt before.
From the moment Carlie and I were matched we maintained weekly contact either via Skype or WhatsApp. Our relationship strengthened week to week and by the time we met it was if we had known each other for years, we were close, there was an incredible connection. I also felt an incredible connection to Carlie’s husband Bruce and also both of their parents who showered me with gifts for my son. It felt good. It felt right. They are family now.
I am now adjusting to a brand-new schedule that is completely dictated by my newborn son. He is schedule fed which means feeding every three hours including in the middle of the night. People warned of the fatigue and exhaustion, but I am so fulfilled, excited and grateful for every minute, for every second that I spend with him. He is a gift. In between meals and when he is resting, I rest or make calls, and then the cycle starts again.
It’s been ten days since I made a journal entry. It’s so easy to get lost in the miracle and wonder of your newborn child. You get lost in time, in space and in love. Especially because I have to juggle parenthood with organizing my little one’s documents so I can take him home. The process is mentally exhausting but strangely enough I am enjoying every moment! It’s a blessing I am so busy as the home sickness has well and truly kicked in now. I miss my family and friends and am dreaming of returning to Israel and starting my new life as a proud parent.
On my journey to parenthood I have been blessed with an army of supporters and even here in the USA I recently met some Israelis who, by hanging out just briefly with them, took away a little bit of that home sickness. But my biggest supporter and the person who has really guided me throughout the journey has been Carlie. She joined me for the 3-hour drive to Tuscon to collect my son’s passport on her birthday, so we celebrated after with a typical American feast. There’s not much more to do now before returning home. I’ll be home soon.
A few days before the flight we were warned there could be delays due to a storm that was headed to Atlanta. The same storm had wreaked havoc in other cities and caused delays to hundreds of flights. It wasn’t the best news to receive but a certain wave of calm swept over me as I had my son and that was really all that mattered. The day before the flight I reconnected with the Israeli couple who I’d met recently. We did some sight-seeing together and I was informed that the flights would not be delayed and that the storm was not expected to hit Atlanta as previously thought.
The day finally arrived where I could take my son back home. I could have returned to Israel several days ago, but I decided to spend as much quality time as I could with Carlie and her family. I’ve never felt such mixed emotions in my life. On the one hand I was desperate to get home, but on the other hand, how am I supposed to say good bye to the person that literally gave me life? Carlie came over last night and did the night feeds for me so I could catch up on some sleep. I woke up so refreshed, it’s incredible what an uninterrupted sleep feels like. But my thoughts are constantly turning to the journey home to Israel. To my family. To my new life. Our life.
Returning to Israel was surreal. All the familiar surroundings from the moment I touched down at Ben Gurion, but now I had a +1! The past 3 weeks will undoubtedly go down as the most life-changing and significant weeks of my life, an experience that I will cherish forever.
Welcome to life bubby! Oh how I love you…