Dear Future Surrogate,
It is so great to meet you! We are A and D Redding from Atlanta. We would love to take this opportunity to tell you more about ourselves!
As far as personalities go, I think most of our friends would describe us as very outgoing and friendly. D will stop and make conversation with anyone we meet. We often get into deep discussions with waitresses at restaurants, which always makes me worried that we are distracting her from the other tables! We recently spent a weekend in Miami, and D asked every single Uber driver where they were from and how many languages they speak… I could tell they were so happy to have someone to talk to! (A few times, we waited in the car to finish talking even when we had reached our destination!) Usually, I think it is funny when D stops to talk to people, but it really drives me crazy when he does it while we are walking around the park for exercise. If he spots someone with a dog, we have to stop every time and ask what breed the dog is and how old they are! (By the way, we are huge animal lovers but we don’t have any pets of our own yet… we hope to get one after life settles down a bit.)
I would describe us as pretty laid-back, but we tend to be relaxed in different ways. For example, whenever we are going out to meet friends for dinner, D likes to take his time getting ready. As for me, I always rush around so that I don’t run late (I am a bit of a people pleaser, so I hate the thought of people waiting on me!). On the flipside of things, I am the one who wants to stay up late at night to watch one more episode of a show on Netflix, while D reminds me of how awful we are going to feel the next day if we don’t stop and go to bed. (The most recent show we watched together is called Poldark… it has some history in it for D and a love story in it for me!)
D tends to be the more disciplined one in our relationship, while I am the more spontaneous one. While D is willing to go home and eat leftovers for dinner every night, I am the one who often ends up at the Chick Fil A drive thru because the leftovers don’t “sound good” to me. (I have to admit that I am still learning how to cook, so we go out to eat more often than we should.) I would say that D and I both stress out about things, but he tends to worry about bigger decisions in life like fertility treatments, finances, etc. I tend to worry about little things I cannot control, like why someone honked at me while driving, or whether the Publix is going to run out of rotisserie chicken before I can get there.
As far as our backgrounds go, D grew up in Sandy Springs, a suburb of Atlanta, GA. I spent my childhood in suburban Richmond, VA and then moved to Florence, SC in the 9th grade. Moving was really hard, but as I look back on it, I think it was a really good experience for me. It taught me to be more outgoing, and more willing to try new things so I could make friends. Because I missed cheerleading tryouts when I first moved, I decided to sign up for tennis in the 9th grade. They graciously let me join the team, but they wouldn’t let me play in any matches because I was so terrible. I ended up spending most of the season on the bleachers, eating all the snacks that the team mothers had brought! D, on the other hand, played tennis in high school and was actually pretty good… I am hoping that one day we can start playing tennis together (I should add this to my wish list of new hobbies along with cooking!)
D enjoyed camping and backpacking when he was young. He was active in Boy Scouts and he earned the rank of Eagle Scout, so he really wants to get involved in Scouts and camping in the future when we have a child. I like the idea of being outdoors, but I hate to admit that I am scared to use the bathroom in the woods! So far we have been able to compromise… D and I tend to go on short hikes around Atlanta using trails that are close to public restrooms. Honestly, if I had to choose, I would prefer to be on the lake instead of in the woods. I grew up boating, so I feel most relaxed when I am near the water. My parents have a cabin on a lake in South Carolina called Lake Wateree, and I love spending weekends there in the summer.
On the random weekends when D and I are apart, we like to use that time to do things that the other person doesn’t always enjoy. D loves to take golf lessons at a nearby GolfTec, which is funny because he hardly ever has the time to actually play golf! I personally love to go to movies at the theater. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I try to go about once a week when D is at work (I am off on Fridays with my current job). I love the experience of going to the movies… the popcorn and the reclining seats make me so happy. I also love to go to outdoor music concerts (D will sometimes go with me and wear his ear plugs!). We have tickets to see the Black Crowes in June at an outdoor amphitheater in Atlanta, so I am really excited! They are one of my favorite bands, but I like all different kinds of music.
Before we met, D went to college at the University of North Carolina and I went to a small school called Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC. We both studied a lot in college, but we both have some good memories of our experiences. D was in the Sigma Chi fraternity and I was in the Kappa Delta sorority, but we tried to have other interests as well. I was on the all-girls cheerleading team, so I loved the chance to get off campus and travel to some games (going out to dinner afterwards was such a nice break from the school cafeteria). D loved going to UNC football games on weekends and still follows the team now (which really frustrates him when they don’t do well… I hate seeing him get disappointed!)
D and I first met about 16 years ago in Charleston, SC, where D had recently finished his residency training in Internal Medicine and I was in my 3rd year of medical school. We just talked about this recently, and we cannot exactly remember how we met! D says it was in the library, but I could have sworn that we first saw each other out at a bar with mutual friends. (The library story sounds so sad and boring.) I think part of the reason we can’t get our stories straight is because D is an identical twin, and his brother Alan was also in Charleston working in the same job as D. For the first few months, I honestly wasn’t sure which person I was talking to! I do remember flirting with one of them by asking them to go with me to a Guns N’ Roses cover band concert. (I knew we probably couldn’t go, but I thought I would get credit for asking!)
As I made more of an effort to tell the twins apart, I ended up connecting more with D, and we quickly became friends. We had so much in common. We were both from the South, we both grew up Baptist, and we were both really close to our parents and siblings (I have an older brother named Rick, whom I adore). The awkward part of this “love story” is that D went as my best friend Amanda’s date to a medical school fundraiser party called the Charity Ball. I remember seeing him there all nice and dressed up, and I wondered why I hadn’t invited him to go with me! Fortunately, D and my friend Amanda never hit it off, but I think it hurt her feelings a little bit when D and I started dating a few months later (which was right before he moved out of state…talk about bad timing!).
Over those next years we continued a long distance relationship, as we ended up living in different states to continue our individual medical training. D went into Allergy/Immunology and I went into Family Medicine. When D finished his fellowship training in Texas, he ended up moving back home to Atlanta to start a practice with his brother. Soon after that, I finished my residency at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, NC and moved to Columbia, SC to start my first job (which was where my brother Rick lived). Throughout all of this moving around, D and I were able to take turns traveling to see each other about once a month, and our relationship continued to grow.
Looking back on the situation, I think one reason we were able to keep the long distance relationship going for so long was because we would sometimes meet up in different places to keep things fun. For example, in my 4th year of medical school I went on a mission trip to Costa Rica, and I talked D into meeting me there on the last day of my trip. I gave him the address that was listed on my itinerary and told him to take a cab there from the local airport. Well, it turns out that the address was to a monastery! When my tour bus pulled up to the entrance, the first thing I saw was D walking around the campus wearing a floral button down shirt…he really stood out from the monks!!
I have so many funny stories of our weekend get-togethers over the years. Even now, whenever we visit a new city, we have to compromise because I want to walk around and shop while D wants to go to a museum. One time we visited New Orleans for a wedding, and D dragged me into a history museum for a couple of hours. Since he can’t seem to point at objects without actually touching them, D put his finger all over this old colonial map that was hanging on the wall. The man who worked at the museum was not very happy, because it turned out that the map was an original, not a copy!! I thought we were going to get kicked out of the place. I was so embarrassed, but then I realized they probably should have put a layer of glass over the map before they put it on display!
About 3 years ago, D and I finally decided to get married. We had a lovely outdoor wedding in July 2019 in Lake Oconee outside of Atlanta. I finished up my job in South Carolina and moved to Georgia during COVID in 2020, where we lived together for the first time. I have to tell you that moving in together was really difficult for those first few months! I know it sounds silly, but the way he did certain chores bothered me… he loaded the dishwasher all wrong, and he ran the washing machine just to wash two or three T-shirts! I quickly realized I had to pick and choose my battles. Looking back, I think moving in together during COVID was a good experience for us. Since everything was closed, it allowed us to spend a lot of time together at home without so many distractions.
A lot of our friends think it is strange that D and I had a long distance relationship for so many years before deciding to get married. From the outside looking in, I have to agree! At the time, it made sense to put off marriage until we were both settled in our careers. Then after we got settled in, I think we just got complacent and lost track of time. Frankly, if we would have known we were going to have such a hard time getting pregnant, we wouldn’t have waited so long to get married. This is something that we think about a lot. Because D was 43 and I was 38 years old when we got married, we figured we would have to do some fertility treatments to make embryos, but we assumed that the rest of it would be easy! Gosh, were we wrong!
For the past two years, we have had multiple successful IVF cycles with the creation of healthy embryos, but for some unknown reason the embryos will not implant in my uterus. The process has been so frustrating, because I assumed if we were willing to pay money for a procedure, it should work! After having had five failed embryo transfers, our fertility doctor decided it is now time to start looking into gestational surrogacy. When I heard this news, the first thing I thought about was my closet full of maternity clothes that my sister-in-law gave me….I was really looking forward to wearing them one day and showing off my big pregnant belly! It made me sad to have to return those clothes to her, knowing that I will never get to know what pregnancy feels like.
Over the past few years we have become really close to my 4 year old niece named April and 7 year old nephew named Michael (my brother’s children), but I know that this isn’t the same as having a child of our own. Even though I cherish every moment we spend with them, at the end of the day we have to give them back to their parents! Although we are so disappointed that I have been unable to get pregnant, we both know that if we find the right person to help us, we could still be blessed with a child.
We are so excited about this upcoming surrogacy journey! We can’t wait to meet you… you are already such a blessing to us! We are so thankful to have this opportunity to be a part of such a special relationship; it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
A and D