After Amy moved on, there was little to do but wait. That, and absorb the reality, at last and fully, that absolutely nothing in this process was in our control. Save of course for writing checks that seemed like they should be on a 3'x5' chipboard, with Publishers Clearinghouse written in the upper-left corner.
"You want the baby, right baby?" we'd say to each other in cute baby voices.
"Only if it bounces! I want a bouncy baby", the other would say. (We really do want a bouncy baby, as it happens. We talk about it often. Opinion varies, but apparently, they actually do not come out "bouncy" - you must teach them to bounce. )
It was pretty clear that, yes, we did still want the as-yet not existing baby to materialize, but man, this was getting hard. Though the agency said new profiles would come soon, we started to feel that maybe we'd been spoiled by the semingly easy path to finding Amy. If it was more difficult this second time around, it would be the equal and crappy reaction to the hubris we'd displayed back in July, all excited that we'd jumped the pack. Now, we were just another couple on the list again, hoping for the best.
A silver lining was that it was the nicest fall of the five I'd had in New York to that point. Summer was holding firm to the ledge, not wanting to let go. Leaves fell, but they fell late, and temperatures were above 60 a shocking amount of time. Then, on Halloween weekend, all hell broke loose.
That Saturday, it was our friend Stef's baby shower in Bloomfield, New Jersey. And us, with the car, were designated to drive Stef and Manny and their unborn child. It was grey and weird out and there had been a few predictions of snow. But me, who never seeks out weather forecasts, and when I do encounter one I'm pretty likely to give a pirate-style, "arghhhh...whadda they know, anyway, " kind of response. Well hot damn if they weren't so so right on this day! As we got into the car to pick them up, flurries began to fall, and with most of New York barely out of shorts and tee-shirts, there was a genral sense of delirium. Owing to that, traffic was so insane getting to Stef and Manny's that it took us 45 minutes to get 1.6 miles to their house. Then, in a fit of pique, I decided to avoid Manhattan altogether and negotiate most of Brooklyn and all of Staten Island, and get to our destination via I-95. It was a dumb idea, one of the dumber I've ever had. I really showed that Manhattan traffic, didn't I?
In whiteout conditions on I-95, when we'd finally reached it after an hour and a half, a truck passing to our right (thanks, New Jersey) kicked up enough sleet and snow into our windshield that for a good four seconds, careening at about 50 mph through chutes of driven slush, I couldn't see a damn thing. I've driven a LOT in my life, and this was the first time I'd actually been terrified due to road conditions. But we got there, each in one piece, and the freak storm had become such a sensation, that no one seemed too peeved when we walked in two hours after the appointed time. New York - and New Jersey, as always by extension - loves a big, dramatic mess.
Apart from the joys of gifting a pregnant woman a boatload of plastic gifts, Lin and I had another reason to be excited about this day. The agency had contacted us a few days before about a new potential surrogate, Jen, and we had a call scheduled with her that very afternoon! So in the unused upstairs/storage area of a Bloomfield Thai restaurant, we sat down for another "first chat" with a would-be surrogate to our would-be kid. And we thought she was the bees knees! She was from Texas but lived in Massachusetts, closeby and the legal shangri la for this type of stuff! She was smart and funny and a little sassy, and we didn't get the feeling as we had with Amy, that she was saying what we wanted to hear. Also, she and her husband were actively excited to help a gay couple like us. She was was refreshing; and talking to her buoyed our spirits and made us feel like the rut our cart had fallen into was a temporary rut, perhaps even a rut that we would soon have a sense of humor about now; now that we may had found "the one". We made plans to meet in person a few days.
The next day we called the agency and let them know the call went great. We were happy, and told ourselves that if it took Amy to get to Jen, then that was just the way things were supposed to unfold, clearly. Our karma may have been slow, but it was steady, and it was good, y'all! We relayed that we made plans to meet, and our agency contact was very happy, and said she just needed to verify one thing real quick and would get right back to us.
She got back to us. Not right back, but for them it was pretty quick, sometime the next day. She was, terribly, awfully, really lugubriously sorry, but there had been a mistake. An oversight. A failure to vet. It turned out that Jen's insurance - even though she lived in Massachusetts and Massachusetts plans are forbidden by law from excluding pregnancy coverage, however you get pregnant (Thanks, Mitt!) - had a surrogacy exclusion. She got her insurance through her husband, a long-haul trucker, and his insurance was based - you guessed it - in somewhere not Massachusetts. The only way to move forward with Jen would be to purchase a $27,000 surrogacy insurance plan, which essentially is the same as paying cash for the pregnancy in full, including delivery.
Did I mention the agency is also a law firm? As someone who has been rejected from at least three of the top law schools in the country, the Sliding Doors lawyer version of myself was ripshit. Are you fucking kidding me? You didn't READ her insurance plan before you set her up with your recently-jilted clients!? It was all very, very unusual , they assured us, and had never even happened to them before. Well that made us feel so much better, really.
Our previous ennui turned into fury for a few days. We managed to get the head of the agency on the phone and prod him into acknowledging that this was a pretty big mistake, one that he was very sorry for, he told us, at the end of a long conversation during which he never offered an apology until I brought up their half-assed work and how it was sloppy and incompetent. (I used nicer words, but the sub-text was there.) But he's a lawyer, and he actually apologized, and that will live in my heart forever - it's the pot of gold at the end of this crappy no-rainbow episode.
So back to square one, for seemingly the ninth time since making a baby crossed our minds. I think we drank a lot that month. At least I hope we did.