Over that weekend, with Lin having taken to bed, and me all mopes-alot, I drove out to JFK to pick up our friend Stef. We'd only recently gotten a car, and somehow it still seemed like a good idea to drive in a rainstorm, while depressed, to the very end of Atlantic Avenue to the airport.
Stef was getting back from a marginally enjoyable trip to France and Berlin, and was happy to be getting home. I asked if she wanted to go to a new restaurant down the street from us called Dean Street, and she did. The whole scene, the whole night, was moody. Not bad, just moody. I confided in her that Sara had decided not to be our surrogate, and told her how I was simultaneously relieved and crestfallen.
Stef's the kind of friend who’s deeply in the loop on pretty much everything in our lives. She was my anchor -- and really -- my savior, when I arrived in New York, and the dream job I’d come to NYC for on 24-hours-notice gave way to 5 months of intense unemployment. That she’s continued to be very important to my time here is an understatement. She also met Lin within days of me meeting him, and they became thick as thieves instantly, which I loved.
Anyway, she’s great to talk to, and I talked her through what had happened, and where Lin and I found ourselves now. And she and I started to break it down, and talk it out in a real way. Did we really want kids at this point or had our small defeats made us think better of the idea? Yes, really we did. At least, I knew I did, and I think Lin still did too. Were we really opposed to adoption? Not in theory, but for us, we didn’t feel like we were there yet. Maybe, but I didn't think so. Why did we want kids? The junior project had taken on a life of it's own by this point, and this was a good thing to consider again. We just did. Though it also crossed our minds that, being somewhat older parents, our children would feel extra-obligated to take care of us in our old age and infirmity. So there was that potential benefit.
We started talking figures. We talked about how envious Lin and I were of those who were able to just decide to go the gestational surrogacy route, those yuppie bastards, and how it made me bitter, and how I didn't like my joyful desire to have a kid co-mingled with all that bitter. And Stef asked, was it definitely not possible, or was it something that we just figured we couldn’t do, so hadn't even crunched the numbers?
No, we hadn't crunched the numbers, mainly because the important number, that of the entire cost of gestational surrogacy, seemed like monopoly money to me. Should you think about whether it would be financially possible, even if it isn’t plausible?
So we ordered another pint, and there, at our new neighborhood's latest-entrant-to-the-gastropub-frenzy, Stef and I crunched the numbers. Savings? Yeah, we had some. Nothing insane, but pretty significant, but man did I feel good to have and not be spending that savings, financial train wreck that I’d been for most of my life! But in terms of “possible”, maybe that would cover 25% of the cost. Do they offer loans? I think I'd read something about that, yeah, for some of the medical stuff. Are you willing to go into real debt to do this? Not something we'd even considered to this point, but I guess we could if this was fundamentally important to us. I mean, most of our money seemed to go to eating out with reckless abandon. Some weekends we'd dared to actually add up what we'd spent and it made us both blush. Surely, if we could eat burgers at Minetta Tavern, we could also put our money into something slightly less evanescent, like a goddamned human life!
We'd probably ordered one final pint by this point, but for the first time in several days I felt a spark. HOLY SHIT. If we were willing to tighten our belts significantly, and budget the hell out of the process, there was a very narrow pathway to gestational surrogacy!
Stef and I finished up and I walked home through the rain and woke up Lin, who was delirious with sick and sleep. I started in about how, maybe we could do it, maybe we could make a baby! It took him about 15 seconds to dart straight up in bed, and smile for the first time in days. And we hugged, and kissed, and got up and made a makeshift cocktail with whatever we had around, and we toasted. We toasted the hell out of the idea, and it was good.
Maybe we even knew someone willing to be our egg donor...