Elena & Liz – two years later... ●● cont’d from p.32
as a couple during the process?
My mom was so supportive – without her we wouldn’t have been able to do this. She took care of our older kids when I was put on bedrest. And everytime I went to the house to see them, she took pictures of my belly and of all of us together.
EQ: Everyone at my company has been so amazing. It is a small finance company and I’ve been there over ten years now. Back in 2007, twelve out of the fifteen employees came to our wedding. So they’ve always been great and really supportive. They held my job open when I had to take a leave for the pregnancy and my boss told me, ‘Don’t worry about your job at all; it’s waiting for you.’ They couldn’t wait for me to come back to work. And for the baby shower, my co-workers sent a check and gifts.
I actually lost my stepdad to lung cancer two weeks after we got pregnant the second time. It was so hard, because those last two weeks of his life he was in the hospital and I was not able to see him, because of the risk with the pregnancy. He was the only grandpa my kids have ever known; he actually attended our wedding against doctor’s orders (he had pneumonia at that time…) He’s been there for us all along. Losing him was so difficult. Liz Quinones (LQ): I just kept whispering to her, ‘Don’t get stressed, don’t get stressed.’ We didn’t want to lose this baby too. RWNM: As a couple you’ve been through so many unexpected challenges throughout the process of this conception. Your family has been through so much too. Our condolences. EQ: Thank you. RWNM: Would you mind sharing how the two of you decided to have Elena carry the baby? EQ: Again, I have biological kids while Liz doesn’t, and because of her occupation and her age (Liz is 43 and Elena is 31) it made sense for me to carry the baby. Our doctor actually said that if we’d wanted Liz to carry the baby after all, the only way for it to work would be for her to use my egg (because of the age issue.) And, I’m sure that it was harder for us to conceive -ultimately- because we did choose Liz’s egg. I was put on full bedrest at 11 weeks and I was still spotting at the beginning... Early on I thought I lost the baby but I actually lost part of the placenta. I had had a hematoma (bruise on the uterus) so that’s why I was put on bedrest. So at that time there was no way I could commute the 1 ½ hrs to our older kids’ school; that’s when Justine (13) and Patrick (10) went to stay with their grandmother. RWNM: Wow, this was such an intense journey for you and your entire family. How did your co-workers and supervisors handle everything? Were they supportive of you two
I was allowed 24 weeks of disability coverage and the rest was picked up by long-term disability. –That covered the last month of the pregnancy and eight weeks after the baby was born. All the guys Liz works with came to the shower and gave us gifts. Her chief came out and played with the baby since he’s been born… LQ: I am a police sergeant and I had just started my job three years ago. But with New Jersey’s Family Medical Act I was allowed up to twelve weeks unpaid leave to care for a loved one, and I did have to take some of that time. I was the one who shuttled Elena back and forth to doctor appointments, usually at least two appointments a week. It was a tough, long road. It seemed like every other day we had to go to the doctor for something. Elena developed gestational diabetes, so we were checking her blood at home five times a day there toward the end, and we had to go in for routine bloodwork too. But it was definitely all worth it in the long run. RWNM: Did you two encounter any awkward moments, being a lesbian couple? EQ: I was referred to a doctor from family, and he’s Spanish, which we wanted, and he’s been so great with
Heartland in Gay America