We had to plan. We knew we had two days. We had to order the sperm. That was my job. Fed ex.

My name is Renee. I am 41 and Luca, our little boy is almost 2 years and we’re expecting a new arrival. My partner Caroline is at 15 weeks now.

I was pretty much a work-a-holic. I’m an architect. I’m also very social and go out quite a bit. When I met Caroline, we were together and then she went to graduate school. We were away from each other so I would work 24/7 and then go visit her. I had gotten into that pattern before we decided to have children.

I was basically fearful of kids. I had 2 nieces and a nephew. I had nothing to do with them until they were talking. When I met Caroline, she was very interested in having children. 10 years later I said, “O.k., we can do this.” I wouldn’t have done it without her. I was being supportive of what she wanted to do. I was very surprised with the outcome. I’ve got more maternal instincts than I thought I would ever have.

The process was very long. It was two years with a miscarriage in the middle. We had to plan. She was on a fertility monitor. We knew we had two days. We had to order the sperm. That was my job. Fed ex. Make sure it was here on time. Get all the equipment to do the insemination at home. We alternated—at home and at the doctor’s office. But each time we got pregnant we were at home so I felt good about that. It was very invasive. It’s not fun. It’s not sexual. It’s a procedure. It was tough on me because I was performing the procedure and I’m hurting her. But she endured it.

It was a very emotional roller coaster. Especially with the miscarriage. Didn’t think we would try again. It took so long and the excitement of finally getting pregnant. Having the sonogram and it not looking so good and the worry and then the inevitable.

The birth? We were in St. Croix and the rooms were small. We were told to pack everything. The hospital might not have supplies. I had a cooler with lots of ice, a pillow, a radio. I had all this stuff. This lady said, “you can’t fit that in the room.” So I put it in the hall. … they did the physical exam and realized that she was 9 cm already. The nurse said, “close your legs you don’t want me to deliver this baby. Call the doctor, call the doctor.” I have one leg and an arm and the doula has the other arm and leg. I remember during one of the contractions I got pinched between the wall and the table and I could empathize just a little with what she was going through… then this little hairy thing appears. I thought, what is that? Then the head popped out and he was beautiful and crying. He flew out. I’m hysterically laughing so relieved and full of joy. You never know how they’re going to treat two women, but everyone thought I was the grandmother. Which was fine, they let me do what I wanted to do. I remember holding on to Luca. Hopefully I’ll remember that moment forever.

Guardianship? Mixed feelings. I guess if I really felt the need for guardianship, I would be pushing it. We have all the paperwork. I have the insecurity because we’re not biologically connected. I don’t think a piece of paper is going to make that any different. At one point I thought it would be better if I carried so I would have that connection. I don’t know if I could have.

Caroline’s mom was there for the first three months. That first three months was a struggle because Caroline was connected to the baby biologically. She’s been a mom and knew how to be a mom. We needed the help. But it further heightened my insecurities. But after that, because Caroline wasn’t feeling well, I had a lot more contact. I even felt like I was almost the primary caregiver at times. That definitely lessened the insecurities. Now with the next one coming, I know where we’ll get to. I know I will develop that bond.

It’s gone from two of us to three of us. We’re both happy with that. We do feel a distance emotionally. But I guess there’s a void that’s filled with him. I think eventually we’ll come back. This is what we have to do now.

The hardest part… the no sleep, the whole life balance. Trying to figure out when to work during all of that and make some money. That wasn’t my fear. My fear was being a bad mom and not knowing how to change a diaper and not being interested. None of that happened. That daily routine and getting through it was the hardest.

The best? Seeing his smile, hearing him laugh. Being able to share his life. Just how much he makes us so happy. I wouldn’t sleep forever if I could just hear him laugh.

It’s changed me… I am playing. I have the kid within me that I never knew I had. I have slowed down as far as work goes. I really looking forward to family time, vacation time. I don’t worry as much. It would seem like I should worry more because I have more responsibilities. But I don’t. I’m more patient and flexible.

Advice? Just be patient. Don’t have a set plan. You will need to change it. Try to be as flexible as you can. Don’t worry. Everything’s going to be all right.

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