Psych appointments. Fun.
So in order for the clinic to move forward with the approval of surrogacy, they apparently want to make sure that both we, the intended parents, and Jen, the carrier, are sane. Fair enough I guess. But asking your best friend to head into the psychologist to be evaluated is not a normal friend request.
Again, Jen took it in stride. Dan and I were up first. This was the same doc that we had seen several times in helping us to deal with everything that was going on. He was a nice guy that had provided us support and help when we were in need of it previously… and we felt very comfortable with him. We walked into the appointment hand in hand and sat down.
This appointment felt different. It felt like we had to say the right things so that we would ‘pass’. I wasn’t sure what a right thing to say was. I had already sat in this chair and spilled my heart out. He knew about my history with depression. He knew about our struggles. He knew about my previous break downs after bad news after bad news.
Wait- did that make us not ‘pass-able’?
We sat down. I suddenly started to get nervous. He smiled and told us to relax. And the next words out of his mouth were magic to my ears. He said, “Adele, we have had the opportunity to discuss your upbringing, your struggles, and feelings throughout the other sessions, so I’m really just hoping to talk about Dan today”. HA! Score!
Plus, hell, he is the sane one out of both of us! He is my rock. The one who always has something funny to say to make me laugh or smile. The only who always sees the bright side. Plus, Dan talking about his feelings was a rare opportunity… I felt like I just scored tickets to a good movie. I say back and my heart rate slowed back to normal.
Dan lost his Father in a tragic car accident when he was 5. He has very few memories of him… and mostly fills in the blanks with stories and pictures from others. The doc asked him about how it was growing up without a father and how that played out. He then brought up his Mom… Dan’s Mom passed in 2008 of colon cancer.
While it wasn’t easy for him to talk about, he explained in detail about his Mom’s passing and how is affected the family. He spoke about his closeness to his older sister and the important role she now plays in our lives.
Listening to him talk about his life made me really sit back and think… Dan has not had an easy go at life this far, yet his outlook remained so bright. He is truly an incredible guy. Not once does he play the ‘woe is me’ card, instead, he has ensured that his life experiences assisted to build him into the man he is today. (a pretty awesome man, I would add!)
The appointment was supposed to be an hour. After about half an hour, he asked about he felt about my best friend carrying our child. He laughed and talked about his initial reaction and how we had come together to be genuinely excited about this new, and unique, opportunity. We were both 100% full steam ahead.
After asking a couple ‘what if’s’ he seemed happy and sent us on our way. I felt like stopping while walking out of his office and asking- wait, did we pass? The answer, I knew, was that this was just step 1.
Step 2 was Jen’s appointment. I called her as soon as she got home from her appointment (a week after ours). She laughed and said he asked the same basic questions surrounding her life, her upbringing, her motivation for volunteering, how she felt this would affect her and her children, and what her fears were.
She said he visit went very well and she was out of there in about 40 minutes. I took this to mean that this was good news. If he didn’t think she was sane enough for this, chances are he wouldn’t have sent her packing with a smile and a handshake after 40 minutes.
Well today was a great day. My best friend was indeed sane, and she wasn’t yet scared away from doing this!
Step 3: The next appointment was going to be the interesting one. The final ‘pass’ was an appointment scheduled with the three of us to discuss the plan and moving forward. This was the final session. The three of us met in the waiting room at the clinic and were chatting and joking around. No one in the waiting room knew quite what to do. First off, people we talking- unheard of in a fertility clinic waiting room. Second, we actually sounded happy- again pretty damn odd. And third, why was there THREE of us? We got stared at and lots of questioning looks.
The doc called us in and onward we trod into his office. Three chairs were set up in a nice little semi circle in front of his desk. I took the middle seat seeing as I was the binding piece to this whole arrangement. We sat down and all smiled at him. I think the three of us were weirdly anxious/nervous. A psych session with my best friend and my husband wasn’t exactly the most normal thing…
We talked about our plans, about our intentions surrounding the legal aspects, and how we hoped this process would move forward. The doc asked us a lot of hard questions:
– How would it affect our friendship if it didn’t work?
– What would happen if she miscarried?
– Did we think that jealousy was going to be an issue during the pregnancy or afterwards?
-What we do if we disagreed about how to move forward?
Jen and I promptly answered all the questions. There was no doubt, we were on the same page about everything. We both answered in unison about what would happen if she miscarried- we both looked at each other and said how terrible we would feel for each other. My concern was Jen feeling like she failed and holding that weight on her shoulders. Her first concern was to ensure Dan and I would make it.
Would this effect our friendship? Well, we couldn’t really get any closer. And our first priorities were each others feelings.
The doc nodded at all of our answers, then after about half an hour, he chuckled and asked how Dan really felt about this all. Dan looked at Jen and I and made some joke about getting a word in edgewise… He said he couldn’t be more supportive and happy about moving forward. We knew we couldn’t be doing this process with anyone else other than Jen- and he said this.
With a nod, and a pen stroke, the doc said he thought we had covered everything and offered his services for us on our journey. There was about 10 seconds of silence in which I blurted out- so does that mean we pass? He shook he head and said he wasn’t giving us a pass or fail grade. He felt like we had had the discussions we needed to have. We had the right attitude, and we were being realistic with our plans. So yes, he was giving us his blessing.
Dan got the bill (yes we have to pay for everything….!) and paid him while Jen and I walked out and high fived in the hallway.
This hurdle was cleared…. just a couple more to go!