We’re Pregnant – And the First Baby Boy is Due in the Spring!
For those of you who have been keeping up with our gestational surrogacy journey since it officially kicked off during the week in Chicago that changed our lives, I wanted to share an update. Our original plan to have four or more kids – ideally we hoped for two boys and two girls but that isn’t entirely within our control as the IVF process ended up creating a lot more male embryos than female embryos in our case – is moving ahead at full steam.
You may remember that we intended to have the first two babies, both of which were going to be boys, as close together in age as possible then wait a few years and have their siblings be born. For numerous reasons including the onset of the pandemic earlier this year, we had to adapt that plan so there will be a bit of a space between their births.
Baby Boy #1: The first embryo transfer was a success! The baby is due in the Spring. We recently attended the 20 week ultrasound via FaceTime, which was an incredible experience; seeing his little fingers and toes, watching him move around and be so active. The entire process has been amazing. Aaron and I find ourselves sometimes stopping and looking at each other going, “Our son is out there. He exists. He’ll be here before know it.”
Baby Boy #2: We are hoping to complete a second embryo transfer in the coming months which, if successful, would mean the pregnancies could overlap a little bit. In any event, short of something unexpected happening, we now expect him to be born within 7 to 12 months of his brother.
This means that with a little more than four months remaining until the birth of the first baby, we are working overtime to get as much done as we can both at the office and at home.
Getting the Nursery Ready for the Babies
One of the first things we did was design the nursery. We knew there were furniture delays due to the pandemic so it was important to have all of this done early so it was in place with a margin of safety to spare. As far as colors were concerned, we planned on going with either an olive green or a matte navy (though there was a brief period when we considered a sort of ivory cream with baby blue and that we both think would have looked great). In the end, we decided on the first, the olive green, and are thrilled with how it is coming together. For example, here is a photograph that was taken over the summer before we even had the mattresses, bedding, etc.:
Most of the room is done, or at least nearly done, but we haven’t shared pictures because we’ve been having items personalized with each child’s name. Given that the name is the only surprise we can keep for our family and friends – they’ve known about the whole process up to this point – we aren’t ready to give it away, yet. Plus, we want to hold each baby and look at him so we can really feel like, “Yes, this name fits you.” But, yeah … lots of it is ready. We have everything from a Mickey Mouse cuckoo clock and lamps to Scrooge McDuck comic book anthologies for when they are older and learning to read.
Among my favorites? Oh my gosh, I adore these two guys …
Looking at them makes me so happy. I can’t wait to see the kids carrying them around when they’re older.
One of the first things we picked out for the space were these personalized Mickey Mouse name plates we ordered to put on the walls above each crib. The woman who made them did a wonderful job! Each baby’s name is attached to these tiny little blocks that come out from the side of Mickey’s belt (which aren’t shown in this sample picture, though she has some examples on her storefront if you want to see what they look like with baby names). We figured the kids could keep them in their memory boxes when they grow up, keeping them long after they have kids and grandkids of their own and we have passed away. Seriously, she’s so great … you can check out this design and many others on her Etsy page.
Getting the Rest of the House Ready for Babies
One of the earliest things we did in anticipation of the babies being born involved a piano. In the Midwest, we had a grand piano but sold it when we moved since there wasn’t going to be room for it in Newport Beach until we settled down and figured out exactly where / if we wanted to buy a house. This was tricky because even though we have a three bedroom, two bathroom place with a lot of square footage, an upright was going to be our only space-saving option. Our kids had to be born in a house filled with music, where some of their earliest memories were both of their dads singing songs to them and letting them play on little instruments of their own. This was an absolute requirement for us.
One of the pianos we looked at was the Yamaha YUS5 upright in polished ebony. There aren’t a lot of them in the United States because they are more of a specialty instrument – at the price point, they tend to be used by professional musicians, music schools, or recording studios because most typical families would opt for a grand piano, instead. Thankfully, because we live in Orange County, there was a model at a nearby store, which we visited first. The same dealer had a larger store up on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles so we headed up there one afternoon to try out their selection.
We were sold on it except for one thing: What if we wanted to play at 2 a.m., or practice with the windows open? What if we disturbed our neighbors? Or what if they had babies of their own that were sleeping? Fortunately, Yamaha had a specialty make of the piano called the Yamaha YUS5 TransAcoustic 2 in polished ebony. I think the actual product name is the Yamaha YUS5 TA2. Essentially, there is a lever that we can pull that silences the hammers from striking the piano wire and, instead, lasers under the piano keys transmit the sound using a sampled digital recording of different pianos, including a concert grand Yamaha and a Bosendorfer Imperial grand piano, so you can play with headphones and not disturb anyone around you. Alternatively, you can have the digital signal output to speakers and adjust the volume. It was perfect for what we needed.
The store had one of those models in the manager’s office so we went in and tested it (not pictured here but the same acoustic instrument as the one above only with the digital capabilities built into it during manufacturing). This was one of the first times it became evident of the advantages of living in a major metropolitan area. Not only could we test it in person, but the manager looked at us and said, “I can have it in your place in Newport Beach in 24 hours or less.” Aaron and I looked at each other, handed him one of our American Express cards, and the next day, it was in the study. It has been one of the best purchases of our lives.
This Christmas, we’ve been practicing different Christmas music and songs so we’re ready when the kids are a bit older. Speaking of which …
Planning Out the Future Traditions of the Kennon-Green Family
We’ve also been thinking a lot about the things we want to do with the kids as they grow up; the traditions that form memories that stay with them for the rest of their lives. Christmas is one of the big ones. The current plan is that the day following Thanksgiving, and lasting until January 1st, everything in the house will be a full-fledged Christmas celebration.
The Holiday China and Flatware: We’re sticking with the Tiffany & Co. holiday china that I’ve loved forever – you all have seen it in the past from some of the old posts in Missouri but we were able to substantially expand the collection last winter when a representative from the New York store called me and let me know they were going to discontinue the pattern. She sent me an inventory sheet and told me to take my pick of whatever I wanted to fill in so we placed a follow-up order.
The Cookware: One of the things I am most excited about — oh my gosh, I cannot even contain myself on this it makes me so happy – is the Le Creuset Noel edition Dutch Oven. It has a vintage Santa Claus design on it. Look at it! Isn’t it great?!
I’ve also ordered a ton of baking supplies including pie molds, additional pastry tools, etc. No matter how busy we are, or how important our careers are, when they think of Christmas, both Aaron and I want our children to immediately be transported in their minds to the kitchen as we make cookies and candies together, the scent of a roast, glazed ham, or turkey in the oven … I even want to get Christmas aprons so the aprons are themed. It’s going to be so great!!!
I think we’re going to find ways to swap out the art, too, so the canvas paintings on the wall change to holiday scenes. The hand soaps and reed diffusers will be Christmas themed. It’s going to be amazing. And living so close to Disneyland, I cannot wait for us to go over there during the holidays to walk around and eat Christmas treats, listen to the music, and just hang out as a family. We can go to those special Disney parties that are held after the park closes. Wait … writing this, I realize we should probably put ourselves on the waiting list for Club 33. I need to do that immediately. Who do I even call? I’ll have to figure that out when I have a moment.
We’ve also been planning our beach outings. I think we might have a standing tradition of going to the beach a couple of times a month, spending the day with lunches packed in these Coca-Cola coolers we bought. Aaron and I have toyed with the idea of buying or leasing one of those Volkswagen Microbuses that are coming out in 2022 or later – the electric ones based on the classic design. We can call it the “Beach Bus” and pile into it on those days. In the meantime, we did pick up a second car but it won’t be delivered until January or February. Maybe I’ll write a post about it. It’s one of those Lincoln Aviator Black Label editions with a hybrid engine because Aaron has been really, really passionate about transitioning to clean energy as much as possible lately. We are having the dealership put a bike holder on the car so we can go up to the trails when the kids are older and they can ride their bikes on the easier paths as they learn.
And then there are the strollers … Aaron has picked those out, already, and is excited about them. I can’t recall off the top of my head what they’re called but I know he thinks they are amazing so I’m sure they will be due to his depth of research.
And baby clothes … I cannot wait to put them in little sweaters and tiny shoes. Or watch cartoons with them. Or teach them how to play board games.
Oh my gosh we are going to have to regularly schedule family pictures. I haven’t even worked that into the plans. It needs to be a standing thing so time doesn’t get away from us when we’re too busy with day-to-day life.
We have to think about school districts. And sports. Are we going to get them surfing lessons? Kids around here do that. It’s a thing. When my brother was out here for a medical conference earlier this year (pre-pandemic) he and his co-workers took a surfing lesson and he said it was a lot of fun to the point he wanted us to do it together the next time he visited. So maybe? Tennis? Golf? Those things can wait because it will come down to their interests; whatever things cause them to feel excitement and passion. Or painting lessons? Are we going to have get tutors? Like, should we just start having someone come into teach them Korean or Chinese or German or French from one year old and beyond so they are bilingual? Trilingual?
Who are they going to be? Will they be quiet and introverted? Extroverted? Will they want to go hiking or play the flute? Who are they going to develop into as people? I cannot wait to meet them. What if they are writers? Or fashion designers? What if they are engineers?
I probably need to slow down … the other day, Aaron and I were laughing at ourselves because we were talking about the kids and one of us exclaimed with delight, “Oh my goodness, someday they are going to grow up and most likely give us grandbabies! We’ll be grandparents!”. We got excited about the thought then realized we were getting way ahead of ourselves.
We cannot wait to join those of you who have kids in the parenthood club! There is so much to do…