AJ and JJ are our first set of twins born through surrogacy in the Summer of 2007. Up until their birth we took turns visiting the surrogate Marie in California to spend time with her and her family, as well as prepare for the arrivals. Josh had in fact spent the weekend before they were born in California to attend the 32 week ultrasound and tour the hospital. Josh returned to our home in Florida on a red-eye flight early Monday morning, only to get that fateful call Monday evening that the babies had decided to make an early arrival! The boys were born premature at just over 4 lbs. each. We both raced back to meet our boys in the NICU Tuesday morning and instantly fell in love. Marie graciously agreed to pump breast milk to help the boys thrive in the NICU. We spent several weeks camped out in an extended stay hotel close to the hospital shuttling breast milk to the hospital every three hours to help the NICU nurses feed and care for our boys. I remember the NICU nurses fondly because they were so kind to us as a gay couple and helped teach us the basics of feeding, diapering, and not panicking when these fragile little babies starting crying. The boys were discharged from the hospital after they had grown to 5 lbs., and we returned to Florida where our parenting adventure continued.
We tried to juggle AJ and JJ on our own for the first few months, but with some of the preemie issues they had feeding and apnea, we felt our sanity slipping by the Fall. We met our wonderful nanny Pat, who has been a godsend for all of our children ever since. These preemie twin boys grew to have some typical speech delay issues, so they spent a year going to speech therapy before entering preschool. They have flourished since, and AJ and JJ are now working their way through elementary school in the gifted program.
JJ is older than AJ by one minute. He frequently points out that he is the oldest brother, even if it was an arbitrary designation based on whomever got grabbed first by the obstetrician during the emergency c-section. They are named after both of Josh’s grandfathers, and share a middle initial to denote their kinship as twins. AJ and JJ have personalities that complement but sometimes clash. JJ has a detail oriented approach to life, and has turned out to be an avid gamer just like his Papa (me!). AJ is an easygoing kid and has distinguished himself as a bit of an athlete. He enjoys basketball, bicycling, and swimming in the pool at our home at every opportunity. They get along well most of the time, but their level of twin closeness naturally leads to occasional flareups as well. I foresee them sharing a special bond as twins and in their special circumstance for many years to come.