I wanted to title this post "This S*** Is Getting Real" but I held back. I do have a potty mouth at times when I'm left to my own devices.
The other day we received an email from our surrogacy agency regarding the parentage petition!! I cannot believe we're at this point already. Basically, it's a legal petition to the court to ask for an order that recognizes us, legally, as the parents of our babies, and not Gabby and her husband.
Under common law, a woman who gives birth to a baby is automatically considered the mother for birth certificate purposes, and in many states, the husband is considered the father, even if he isn't (i.e. she slept with someone else). Seriously, even today, some states will put the legal husband as the father, even if the mother says, "Nope, I slept around! Definitely not his."
Luckily we are doing gestational surrogacy in the state of Massachussets which recognizes Pre-Birth Orders, which will legally tell the hospital when we arrive for the birth and after birth that me and my husband are the legal parents, and it is our names that will automatically go on the birth certificate. Gabby and her husband will never be on it, and it also entitles me and L to those parent wristbands to go see the babies in the ...nursery (is that what they call it in the hospital?). Gabby will NOT get one of those, even though she is the one giving birth the babies, because of this pre-birth order.
Not that we would care if she did of course! It's just that they only give them to the parents of the babies.
The pre-birth order is one nice thing that a few states do that helps you feel like you really are the parent of these babies, which is hard to feel at times. If we weren't in a state that did this, we'd be treated more as a "second-class citizen" at the hospital, and would have to legally adopt our genetic children back from Gabby. It's not something I would ever worry about, she doesn't want two more kids!! (haha) but it is nice to get the recognition that we're the parents before they are even born.
So we were sent some parent questionnaire which asks obvious stuff to put in the petition. In the first section, it's pretty straightforward: names, birthdates, social security numbers, etc. of the mother and father. And I have to tell you, when I looked at the sheet initially and saw the columns for "Mother" and "Father" - my first thought was that it was referring to MY mother and father. Man, I have been childless for way too long :)
Gabby and her husband also have a section to fill out, and it includes a place for how many children she has and the name and address of her OB.
In the third section it gets a little more wonky to me. Asks the name, and address of the IVF clinic used, and the doctor's name. Ok. Then it asks whether an egg or sperm donor was used and if the donor was anonymous. For us, this was inapplicable, but I wonder what other information must be given if it is. And then it asks for retrieval date, number of eggs retrieved, number of embryos transferred (and my heart caught a little, as I wrote down 3). Why is that necessary? Then it asks if it's a singleton, twin, triplet, or quads, etc. pregnancy? (I especially liked the "etc." they put there). Estimated due date, hospital planning to deliver at - and then two additional question that I don't know why they ask the intended parents:
1) Will you be in the hospital delivery room at the time of birth?
Um...I hope so? If I'm allowed to be? If both the hospital and Gabby say it's ok. If it's not a c-section which I *think* limits the number of people allowed in the room. I mean, who knows? I think it's a dumb quesiton.
2) Is the GC going to pump breast milk at the hospital?
Why isn't this question on the GC part of the questionnaire? Isn't that up to her? We've briefly discussed it and I'm fine with (actually would love it) but it's totally up to her.
The only thing that sucks about this process is that after the baby is born but before the birth certificate is actually filled out by us, we have been told that in order to track the baby at the hospital, the name on the babies' wristbands and files will actually say Baby (last name of Gabby). Boo. It's nice to be forewarned though. And our agency says -->this isn't limited to children born of surrogacy. If the mother of a child has a different last name than the father (i.e. she kept her maiden name) the wristband will also say Baby (mother's last name). Even if they are legally married and the husband is the biological dad :)
So I filled out the forms and sent them back to the agency and can't wait until we get that order! That will also make me feel better in case, God forbid, anything happens. Then we will legally considered the parents even if they're born too early.