couples

The beautiful moment Jayson Brunsdon and Aaron Elias Brunsdon finally became fathers.

Telstra Smart Home
Thanks to our brand partner, Telstra Smart Home

In a Bangkok hospital in 2015, Australian fashion designer Jayson Brunsdon and his partner Aaron Elias Brunsdon were waiting to meet their son.

After years of wanting a child, the couple took a leap of faith and decided to go ahead with a surrogate in Thailand.

Aaron and Jayson sat down with Mia Freedman to talk about becoming fathers for the first time, and the book, Designer Baby, that Aaron has written about how they’re family came to be…this is an extract from that book.

I confidently hold the camera up while following the nurse’s every step, first through a tall, narrow door that feels like you are entering into a space odyssey.

My first peep of the operating room is through two circular windows in the door.

I tremble slightly as she opens the door to the operating room, and as it flings open it reveals a sea of scrubs. I hear the wailing of a baby, his loud screams echoing as vibrations inside me.

He wriggles on an aluminum bed, his body smeared with blood and slimy white mucus. He wails louder, and the nurses wrap him in a green hospital blanket.

Jayson and Aaron tell Mia Freedman about meeting Roman for the first time: 

I turn around to glance at Porn (the surrogate) who is unconscious.

Dr Nitwat and others work on her – stitching her up, I think, but I can’t see because I am blind with inexpressible happiness. I am blown away to a different realm. “Hello, darling, Daddy is here…Daddy is here,” I say before I start to cry. I am so still – I can’t move.

It is like I’ve been struck by an angel. This baby is crying; my baby, and my son. I sense he is frightened and wants to be held, comforted. “He’s OK, normal, healthy baby.” I hear the calm voice of a female doctor, who seconds ago I didn’t know existed. “Don’t worry; I think you must sit down before we take photos,” she adds.

The moment is unforgettable. I want to hold him to let him know I am here and that he is not alone. I will never be far from him. I promise to protect, love and guide him, as long as I live.

The nurse brings him to me, and when I hold him he settles a little and then starts screaming again. The nurse takes pictures of us. I beam, holding him. My emotions are wild, trembling. I can’t believe he is here, in my arms, me holding him. The feeling is indescribable.

“Papa wants to meet you. He is outside, my darling.” I know he won’t understand me but it doesn’t matter because I want him to hear my voice. The woman with the calming voice, the English-speaking one who asked me to sit a minute ago, is a pediatrician, I later learn.

ADVERTISEMENT

She asks me nicely to wait outside while the doctor attends to Porn and she will bring the baby to the nursery. I agree and walk out of the operating theatre.

I want to hold him to let him know I am here and that he is not alone. I will never be far from him. I promise to protect, love and guide him, as long as I live. The nurse brings him to me, and when I hold him he settles a little and then starts screaming again.

She asks me nicely to wait outside while the doctor attends to Porn and she will bring the baby to the nursery. I agree and walk out of the operating theatre.

Still overwhelmed, I see Jayson and Kay from a distance. I can’t talk but I notice our son behind me, in an incubator, on his way to the nursery with a nurse. Jayson catches him on the way, and takes pictures.

He is teary and just before they move him away from us we hug each other, holding each other tight, softly crying tears of joy before we walk with them to the nursery.

Aaron, Roman and Jayson.
ADVERTISEMENT

We can hardly concentrate on what the nurse is saying. Our attention is fixed on where he now lies in a plastic cot behind the window.

We are mesmerised, staring at him, while Kay repeats the nurse’s orders.

“First they bathe him, then inject him, two injections, one hep B and the other BCG. You are not allowed to carry him or touch him for twenty four hours but tomorrow you can come to feed him, two times in one day, 10am and 6pm so I think better you take turns, one at a time only.

"He will stay here for four days and if everything is OK on the fourth day, you can bring him home. He is well and a very healthy baby. I am so happy for you.”

We nod our heads to agree, hardly digesting much of what Kay has said, our eyes still fixated on him. “Does he have a name? The nurse wants to put it in the records and on the baby’s bed so you know which one is your baby when you come later,” she asks. There is silence from us and she asks again.

“Does your son have a name?” We both look at each other and then again at him.

We know which of the names we picked suits him most. “Yes, yes, he does,” Jayson stammers. “We will call him Roman, Roman Elias Brunsdon,” he says.

“Yes, he is a Roman – our son, powerful and strong, from the Bible,” I whisper to Jayson. “Our little emperor, a gladiator, he fought his way to us,” Jayson adds. “Yes, so true, he has.” For the next two hours, we watch how they primp, poke and clean Roman and at each action he wails, like most newborns do.

ADVERTISEMENT

---

I had never imagined so many gay men congregating outside a nursery, all gaga over their babies.

It is emotional, and we feel privileged. Everyone compares notes, asking question after question about our origins, and most want to know how many babies we have just had.

I am happy to reply “one”, and I feel sorry for the couples who had three, but they don’t seem too worried about it. I find myself playing Mother Teresa and offering important information to the couples.

ADVERTISEMENT

Some are hysterically bragging about their baby’s weight and size like proud new parents do.

“My baby weighed four point four kilos at birth. This means he won’t be kicked around at school when someone says ‘your daddy’s gay’,” says one of the Seattle couple.

“Good for you, mate. We are Asians so our babies are smaller, but we have three of them. You could fight one off on the school field but three, you would think again. Look at them, aren’t they adorable?” says the Australian.

Listen to the full episode of No Filter here:

“Are you the biological father?” the Canadian asks me.

“No, my partner is but my cousin is our egg donor, so he has both of us in him,” I say proudly, marvelling at him in his cot. “Oh, really? Why didn’t you want one of yourself too?” he asks inquisitively. I want to slap him for his indiscretion.

“Because we do not want three babies, or even two for that matter,” I reply.

“True. I figure we are going to have a pretty rough time coping when we get home so we are getting mileage out of being here as long as possible. We have a nanny to help us here and we can’t afford one in Perth, even with the new government grants,” says Kevin the Australian.

Tim and Scott interrupt. Tim asks us which one is Roman, while Scott is preparing to enter to feed Bonnie Rose, born yesterday. After twenty minutes of boasting, comparing notes and deciding whose baby is the best, we say goodbye to the other gay dads.

Tomorrow, Jayson will do the first feed and he is looking forward to being with his son for the first time.

This is an extract from Aaron Elias Brunsdon's book 'Designer Baby,' that has been published here with full permission. To buy the book click here or go to ibooks at apple.co/mamamia

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Telstra Smart Home.