Moose Kiss Press Presents

Papa and Daddy and Babies in Alaska

On a late August day in 2003, John Kruse and Gary Beuschel flew with grim urgency from San Francisco, where they live, to Anchorage, where their daughters were soon to be born more than three months premature at Providence Alaska Medical Center. It wasnít supposed to happen that way. Cathy, their surrogate, was supposed to give birth to healthy baby girls in San Francisco in December, when they were due. Instead, Veronica and Zola were born at 26 weeks, weighing less than two lbs each, with a tenuous grasp on life.

Zola and Veronica were so premature, their brains were still developing the circuitry required for managing the basic functions of life. Their lungs were so immature, they couldnít breathe without help. They couldnít see or hear. They couldnít eat or drink. They couldnít survive at room temperature. Zola and Veronica were on a journey of survival, and required highly-specialized around-the-clock care in order to make it.

John and Gary worried that a hospital in Alaska wouldnít be able to give Veronica and Zola the care they needed. They worried that a gay San Francisco couple would be treated with hostility at a Catholic hospital. They neednít have worried. They were treated with friendliness and respect. As they talked with the doctors and nurses, and witnessed the care their daughters were receiving, they realized they had the good fortune of being in a world-class NICU.

Slowly but surely, over the course of three months, Zola and Veronica went from being very sick stick-figure preemies to healthy babies ready to go home. John and Gary went from being baby-care neophytes to diaper-changing, bottle-feeding, baby-wrangling super-dads. On this journey, John and Gary relied heavily on the support of their family and friends, and yes, even the kindness of strangers.

Papa and Daddy and Babies in Alaska is the story of John and Garyís quest for children, and an appreciation of all the help they had along the way. Itís an intimate look at the surrogacy process. Itís an exploration of the medical advances that made it possible for Veronica and Zola to survive and thrive. Itís a heartfelt thank-you to the NICU staff. Itís a sampling of the pleasures of life in Anchorage. Itís a love letter to Zola and Veronica to let them know how much they were wanted.