Thursday, October 18, 2012

A day to remember

Wow what a day is about to end, in just 14 minutes this wonderful day will become a new one. That is the miracle of life. Everyday bring new hopes, new changes we need to face and challenges to commit to. Some days can be more forgettable than others, but I feel if I don't write about this day in particular, I can loose the memories like many others. It all started with my son Lorenzo searching in my pocket at 6 in the morning, still dark and trying to subtract my pen. I felt to sleep night before next to him, exhausted and I didn't even change my clothes, that is why I was dressing a shirt with a pen in my pocket. Lorenzo which is only 9 months and 23 days old is very curios and like to touch and test about everything, specially new objects. After that interesting wake up, the day turn into the daily routine, prepare the bottle, feed him (he already can hold his own bottle) get the coffee ready, well I need to clarify that this was an exception since is Patrick who does this task most of the weekdays.

We wait for Ismenia, own Peruvian nanny playing in the leaving room and having coffee. My work days start in the home office, turn my dual monitors and jump into my Facebook and twitter feeds, I usually waste some 20 minutes of pleasure learning about my friends life and then I check my emails, delete all the junk I receive daily and start working. I love my job, I do work for a couple of small company doing marketing and graphic design and some sales. I have the privilege and freedom to work from home and even if the money is not good I wouldn't trade it know that I am a dad and I want to be present for my son and future children. I heard in the background Patrick and Ismenia trying to communicate, Ismenia barely speak a few words in English and Patrick speaks an Spanish that he made up by adding a vocal O to any English word, such Oven-o for Oven (in spanish is Horno) The both manage to communicate anyways, provably using signals or the iPad app from Google translate, they both are pretty much trying to work on Lorenzo that at this age is very demanding and starting to show a very strong character and a very defined taste for things.

I just love my Wednesdays mornings, its good to have them around, knowing we are all working on this family but I still can fix LinkedIn profile and make friends with a few CEO of some important Architectural Companies, its feel like the coalition of both words work and family in a short time.

 Today , or better, Yesterday since is 12:05 AM now, we had our first appointment with our OB, our surrogate wanted to have her old OB at board and deliver in the same hospital she delivered her own children but she was turned down because they didn't take "high risk" nor "multiple" cases, which at a first make us nervous to know, no all OB clinics or hospital can handle our pregnancy. You never think of those details when it comes to multiple, all you think is how I am going to dress them, and the multiple stroller you are going to need. We learn from various sources that the right place bases on their experience and location was All Children Hospital in St. Pete.

 We left an hour earlier to be in time and have a quiet travel, in the way there we received a short text message from our Real estate agent saying, your home is sold. We got this. Yes, after only 13 days in the market we got an offer which we counter and it was accepted. In this time and this economy that is not very common. I celebrate and Patrick express some discontent for loosing his house, I have to say that Patrick tend to get more attached to stuff than me and even when he want to move to a better and bigger home he still want his cute home in historic district Palma Ceia. I love this neighborhood but also know our reality has changed since we learn we are having triplets and because old houses like our don't have storage space and because my partner special love for stuff. We are already cramped with baby stuff and lots of impulsive shopping in Home Goods.

 We arrived at the Perinatology Center at the exact same time that our surrogate. She was getting our of her car when we pull in the parking garage. We cheat chat for a second and we walked in the clinic like a big, unusual family. Quickly the took us inside and while we wait in a small room our surrogate inform the nurse outside that we were the intended fathers and that she was our surrogate. The when the nurse come back she had a better idea why 2 men and a baby come with this pregnant woman for a first doctor visit. After a few questions and formal introductions we were conducted to a bigger room with a Sonogram and an extra screen on the wall for us to see. After the first pass we can already see our babies, they are so clear, we already know them from weekly ultrasounds we had before, but this time is different, they look more sharp, more human, more animated. Quickly we can see their profile, the move so quick like fish movement. Like little mermaids, they are so close of each other but still they have some room in the placentas, 2 of the babies are identical twins as the result of one embryo split. The third one has his own placenta and his own genetic. The screen at moments is filled with little arms and legs and holes which are sacks.

The technician allow us to take pictures but not video she said, and I am holding my new iphone and can't resist to slide my finger and put it in video move and pretend I am taking still images. There is a great difference when you see an ultrasound with movement, your eyes and mind can complete what is missing and you can see shapes and forms better. I wanted to capture this so bad that i didn't follow the rule. I capture a dozen of great short videos showing our triplets dancing in the belly that was so generously lent to us.

After talking to the doctor, even when she observed one of the twins to have a thicker neck which could indicate a remote possibility of down syndrome. Which I think its too early to get alarm or even worry about. The hole scenario of doctors and nurses talking about triplets like they deliver them everyday give me great peace of mind.

 God is great, God is good that is my general feeling. I feel so grateful for today and how quickly things goes so well and in the direction we were hoping to go.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Week 9

It will take you some time to understand how I got here from the last post, I'm still guessing... Truth is our surrogate is pregnant with triplets, we have a 9 months old son and our life is about to change forever. More changes? Yes, it seems I am destined to live a life I am not suppose to according to the normal, a life I am not able to visualize until is already happening. Today I am OK with that.

This is week 9 pregnancy and babies (two identical twins in one sack and another sibling in separate sack) look a lot less than a tadpole and more like human, I saw their arms, legs and umbilical cord last week. They move a lot, like humanoid kind of movement.

There is this dichotomy between the ideal and romanticism of this unusual  reproductive memento of having triplets and the reality of having to feed, change and to keep calmed 3 real babies plus my toddler to be, son Lorenzo. My minds keep telling me what I was inculcated during most of my life, females has this special power and natural ability to rise children, men are spoiled people who only provide money to the household and drink during the weekends, my hearts keep fighting and telling me, that is a lie, You Juan in the other hand are a good father, you have the courage to do this and you can see how Lorenzo is turning into a beautiful human being with the help your parenting ability.

Even with all the joy that 3 new babies can bring to our family, the fear is constant and consistent. I have to battle with my own demons on a daily basis, but I keep going with a large shield of hope and faith. God wants this to happen to us for a good reason, why me? I don't know why, my sponsor would say: why not you Juan? why not? and he is always right.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Day One

This blog is about family; my family, about life; our life and about the mystery of God; a God, I barely know. Along my journey and beyond my dreams, He insisted on showing me his generous power and presence by giving me a load of gifts and opportunities. 

I guess I should start from the beginning so you will know where I come from. I was born in the mid 60's to Juan Carlos and Ana Maria; a young, married, Catholic couple. I was their firstborn son and it is assumed that in their early 20's they were caring, loving and they had lots of hopes and dreams for their new family.

My brothers, grandfather, sister and me
We lived in a 2 room house, pretty poor for today’s standards yet with a big lot and potential. Although, in time, the house expanded as the family grew. In fact, our inside bathroom was inaugurated when I was born, before that we had a water closet outside, 4 wooden walls with no roof and a toilet seat. My older cousin, from the city, would love to go in there because he said he could see the stars while he was sitting on the toilet, we used to laugh about that for years! Additional bedrooms and social areas were added to the house every year matching with my mom pregnancies.

By the time I was 18 years old, we ended up having a house with 2 levels and a pool, 7 kids, an occasional pet and a pair of over tired parents. We all lived there in a very small town in Northern Argentina, a hot, dusty town lost in the woods of the subtropical region in the province of Salta.

First explorers opening roads in C. Vespucio
My grandmother, along with her sisters and her single mother were the first females to occupy the tents of the once encampment called Campamento Vespucio.   They were innovative in opening the first cantina that fed the men working at the Oil company run by Don Francisco Tobar, Circa 1925. My grandmother Francisca was a pioneer in my home town, married at age 17 to a 40 y.o. man named, Lorenzo Brito, she had 8 kids which one of them is my mother. Their wedding and her life as a wife deserves a whole separate chapter!

As a child I grew up with the feeling that I was in the wrong place, I didn't fit in and each year a new born sibling would become a contender for my parent’s attention.  I would often complain to my mom as to why she had to have so many kids and I have so little opportunities. I dreamed, often, that one day some random parents from Europe would recognize me as their legitimate son  and would come to pick me up and take me to that imaginary world where I would belong. A world of luxury, sophistication and Egyptian antiques,  I prayed for that. 
 I remember, vividly, one day I went to my mom while she was tending the laundry in the backyard and said – “Mom, I want to be an Egyptologist”. I was 9! She looked at me and said – “great.”  With a funny smile on her face, she didn't fool me. I was smart enough to know she was saying that just to be nice but she didn't believe it.  

I was a curious boy. I loved hieroglyphs, secret codes and labyrinths. I was an avid reader of my mom’s Reader Digest Selections and her anatomy books, (she was a nurse).  I live in a world of fantasy as much as I could.  All I had in my mind was to travel, discover and get the hell out of there. Soon, thereafter, by using a dictionary, I found out I was homosexual.  I was, by definition, a person with a sexual “depravation”  by the age of 11, just one year after I took my first communion. 

Hopeless for my future moral incapacity to be a happy “normal” person, I started to build a person, who after years, I barely recognized. This was a person  full of fears, resentment, hate and high expectations accompanied by a very low self-esteem.  I desperately wanted to feel loved and to be accepted. 

The years of high school were hell for me.  I barely remember details and my practical mind has erased most of the memories. I do remember though being bullied daily, hating my body and my entire family. 

College was my first taste of freedom and social acceptance but I wasn't ready to make something good of it.  I just used that freedom to let all my demons work in a very auto destructive path and became addicted to people, sex, lies and drugs. 

I dropped out of Architectural School when I was 23. After I left one of the most prestigious Universities in Argentina I asked my mom to be locked in a cage so I wouldn't kill myself! I got to the point where I couldn't live like that anymore, I was scared and desperate that I was going to die. A few days later I went to rehab to treat my drug addition and I remember my father leaving me there like a package and telling the admission person, do whatever you need to do I am done with him. 

During those 2 years of treatment in an isolated house in the middle of the mountains in Salta, I learned a bit of who I was, how to change some of my behaviors and to recognize my feelings. I remember crying in that place every single day, they used some medieval techniques of confrontational therapy and dynamics groups that will look like demonic practices for those who were not familiar with it. In the house of feelings (that's the way they used to call it) we live with no electricity and cooking our own meals and cleaning the house (what it used to be an elementary school, abandoned after the rail company decided to leave the town vacant) for 2 long years, we had a personal tag that we needed to keep moving in a board that included all the spaces of the house, any time we forgot to move the tag to the correct location we were be confronted. After a few weeks of adaptation, it became an interesting life game, I have to admit I had great memories from the adventures during that process. 

When I left Argentina I was 10 years clean, I had just about enough of children, family, unfair gods, bulling and discrimination.  I was ready for the “American Dream”, my own idea of a dream at least, a dream of freedom; financial and moral freedom. I was ready to conquer the corporate world with my unusual talents. I brought, with me a poorly translated portfolio, 2 suitcases, a codependent relationship, a few hundred dollars and millions of expectations