Originally created 02/28/05

Pregnant woman auctions marketing rights for birth



MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - One day next month, Amber Rainey will get the nudge that only expectant mothers know. It's time, she'll say to her husband, Ed. They'll have a bag already packed with hospital clothes and a camera. The adventure of parenthood will begin.

Plus, if all goes to plan, they'll put on T-shirts and hats that bear a company's logo. They'll slap a magnetic sign with that same logo on the car they drive to the hospital. This birth, brought to you by...

Amber Rainey, 22 years old and from Myrtle Beach, is auctioning on eBay the marketing rights to her first child's big day. The winning bidder will get banners in the hospital room, plus pictures or video of the drive there. Internet rights also come with the package.

Amber, however, is iffy on visuals of the actual labor process.

She doesn't want to be, well, distasteful.

How far would you go for a few thousand bucks? We've had a recent run of eBay weirdness here in the Carolinas. In December, a Belmont man auctioned three tablespoons of water from a cup he said Elvis drank out of in 1977. Last month, a Matthews man briefly offered a brick with a natural smudge that looked like Jesus.

And now, a new frontier.

"Historic," says Amber, who's not expecting a million-dollar baby for her efforts. About five grand would do.

Already, the kid has been good to her. Last month on eBay, in what began as an office joke at the Myrtle Beach radio station where she works, she auctioned ad space on her pregnant belly. She hoped a diaper company or some other baby-related marketer would see a fun opportunity. She settled for $4,050 from Golden Palace, an online casino.

"My husband wasn't too appreciative of the idea at first," Amber says. Then Golden Palace flew Amber and Ed to the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., to display their temporarily tattooed ad. "He's not complaining now," Amber says.

Ed also is on board with the new auction, as is Amber's mother, who like her daughter is the unconventional type. Other family members are less pleased, and Amber knows some people out there will arch a disapproving eyebrow. It is, after all, a cheapening of a joyful day, yet another thing sold to an age of public intimacy.

Amber says her auction isn't so much about the cash.

"This would be the first of its kind," she says. "I think you'll regret not doing something more than you'll regret doing something."

That philosophy might change as her child approaches the teen years.

But for now, it's about the fun, the attention, the Super Bowl. "What's to regret?" Amber says. One person's immodesty is another person's adventure.

The bidding, which ends Monday, was at $4,730 on Wednesday evening. The baby, by the way, will be a boy. He's due March 21. Amber likes the name Parker a lot.

Maybe she should consider Adrian.

Just call him "Ad," for short.