Saturday, April 30, 2011

Live From Bangkok

First, the important info (what little we know). We just received notice from Delhi that both of our babies are doing great! We will get all of the details later.

For now, greetings from sunny Bangkok! Today we had some of the best massages of our lives. I wrenched my back as we were leaving our house in Delhi; the worse I have in a long time. It made for an uncomfortable overnight flight to Bangkok. I have been known to frequent the chiropractor in the States, but we haven't been able to find a good chiropractor in Delhi. Massage therapists, however, abound! My massage man was a part time body builder and he nearly broke my back. At one point he said "if I hurt you, I am sorry... but you need it" I laughed and acknowledged he was right. I am still a bit sore, but everything has been put back into place. Any bruising will be well worth it.

Using English can be hard at times in India, but usually we can get to where we are going. Thailand on the other hand is crap-shoot of whether or not you will make it to your destination. The taxi drivers speak zero English and my Thai sounds like a bongo drum and tambourine ensemble. I had a map out today and showed the taxi driver where we presently were and exactly where we needed to go and he still had no clue. For whatever reason he couldn't understand that we needed to cross the river to reach our destination. Finally we could see our thirty-two story hotel and just pointed. I guess it is like ordering off a menu you can't pronounce.

We are having a great time; mostly relaxing in our king sized bed. Our giant wall sized window twenty-eight stories above Bangkok offers amazing views of the city. For those of you who have visited Delhi, you will appreciate the need we feel to leave Delhi every so often. A little five-star get away was just what the doctor ordered!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


The blogosphere has been too quite. That must mean that everyone is happy and healthy! Tomorrow we will be eight weeks pregnant, and Seema has another ultrasound on Friday. We are hoping for lots of growth and good heartbeats.

It is officially hot in Delhi. We have had more than one day of 105+ degree weather. It is a dry heat this time of year, but when you cross one hundred it doesn't matter. Douglas has been really sick this week. On Monday (the hottest day this year) he wore a hooded sweatshirt and was under a blanket. I am happy to report that he is on the mend.

We are leaving for Bangkok tomorrow night. My birthday is next week so we are going to celebrate for four days in an awesome city. We are really excited for the shopping, eating, and the sky pool at our hotel.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Cats, Babies, and Families; Oh My!

Tie that bag shut; the cat is trying to get out! Today started with a school-wide faculty meeting, and message from our director that finding housing to meet everyone's space requirements was very difficult this year because three couples with the same seniority are all expecting. The problem is, everyone knows about two of the couples but very few people know that we are expecting. We have started telling our inner circle of people, but we have yet to shout it from the rooftops that we are pregnant. So, as of today people are going to be looking at the staff directory trying to solve the mystery. I will be in the staff canteen starting rumors to divert attention from us!

With all that said, we are approaching the time to tell our families. Part of me wants to send and email saying "we are knocked up" and not miss a step. The other part of me wants to be less blunt and more respectful of their opinions; however in the end I don't care. I feel like if we sugar coat it just to make them comfortable, then we are willingly subjecting ourselves to their disapproval of our life and what we have a right to do. The only thing they should want is for us to be happy.

I value everyone's opinion. Where you lose me is when your opinions hurt other people. I told my family I was gay when I was eight-teen. We avoided the subject like the plague and never said one word about it for ten years. Then last year Douglas and I were planning to get married. I told them what our plans were because I wanted my family to know before the fact. The reaction I received was shocking, and it still turns my stomach. I can't imagine that my sister received the same reaction. My family is mid-western nice and would never be rude to my husband and I am very thankful for that. My mother even came to India this year for a visit. I think that if people could get over the "what will the neighbors think" mentality the mid-west would be a much more pleasant place to live. I am confident that if not in the beginning that over time our family will love our children as much as we do.

So for the good stuff... we are seven weeks and one day pregnant. We have not heard anything from Package, Doctor or Surromama this week. No news is good news at this point. We are having another ultrasound on next Friday (29th April). We hope to see growth and increased heart beat rate of our little ones. I think we are really close on choosing the names. After last night we have our two boys and one and half of our girls names, but they will remain a secret now so as not to elicit any comments from the peanut gallery.

In other news this week, our babies are hard at work:

* 1/2 inch long (the size of your pinky finger nail)
*mouths, nostrils, and ears are forming
*lenses in the eyes are forming and the iris color is visible
*arms, shoulders, hands, legs, feet take shape (toes and fingers next week!)
*neck is starting to straighten

So much excitement!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

All the What Ifs

Five years ago today two of my best friends, and former college roommates were killed in a plane crash. They were both in grad school at the time, and I was working in Indianapolis. I will forever remember driving to work that morning and hearing about a plane that went off the radar and thinking nothing. Then, after having taught all day, I got the tragic news. Both friends were killed on impact. I didn't even know they were flying that day.

I have to say that I have had a very difficult time remaining positive today. A million what if scenarios have gone through my mind. A father is not supposed to be around to see his child die. I've tried not to dwell on these ideas today, but trying not to dwell on an idea is usually an exercise in futility.

What an incredible risk parenthood must be. Given my profession, I'd like to think I have a slightly better understanding of appreciation for how complex the task is; but, what I am just starting to comprehend is the feeling of helplessness that parents must have--and our babies are wrapped in the relative safety and comfort of a nearby womb. How will I feel once they're out in the world?

Today, I reflect on my friends, and dream about my children. Yes, I've thought about all the what ifs. But, I've also thought about lives lived with passion. And as I do that, I try to forget the fear that can paralyze us in our journeys.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Two Daddies

Just saw these on Jeni's blog. I had to swipe them and put them on ours. Yes, I know enough to know that it won't be as easy as they make it look!

It's possible that there has been some movement around our housing situation for next year. Hopefully, we'll get moved to a bigger place. I'll update when there's more info. I'm crossing my fingers.


I got word at our after school meeting today that we don't have to live in a shoebox next year. After a little begging, the school put us in a larger apartment. SO HAPPY!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Little Boxes

Yikes! News just came out today about housing assignments for next year at our school. I think we might be the only family in the world to consider downsizing before having two babies. Let me give a little bit of back story for this one. . .

Chad and I are fortunate to work at a school in Delhi that is wonderfully progressive and equitable in how it treats all the staff regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. We both feel quite privileged to work where we do. Most of the teachers and administrators at this particular school are ex-pats, and as part of our benefits, the school provides us housing. Some of the teachers live off of the campus, and some live on campus. Generally, singles and married couples without kids live off campus, and couples with children live on campus.

There are benefits to living on and off campus. But, some of the reasons why we requested to be moved on campus are that the buildings have central air, central heating (which is more of an issue than you'd think in Delhi), reverse osmosis and uber-purified water in all taps and showers, and that the community is very supportive of parents and raising children. There are at least two other couples (hopefully three!!) that are pregnant right now along with us. So, there will definitely be other first time parents going through this experience right alongside us.

That said, imagine living where you work. I can't say that the idea of sleeping fewer than 500 feet from my classroom is very appealing to me. Further, one of the big benefits of living off campus is maintaining a relatively private existence. Being able to leave work, and having some solitude are things both Chad and I enjoy. Not to mention that we like our current apartment and its location.

Well, today, I am working very hard to remind myself of all of the positive things about living on campus, because seeing how small our apartment is going to be next year was definitely a shock. It's significantly smaller than the apartment we're in now, and I find myself wondering how we will all fit in such a little space.

In the big scheme of things, I know that this is not a very big deal at all (pun definitely not intended). We are moving for our children, who will be safer, cleaner and warmer because they are in the tiny little box of an apartment on campus, so this is really a no brainer. This is a sacrifice that I am so definitely--and happily--willing to make.

But, if anyone has any creative space-saving ideas, please leave them in the comments.

And meanwhile, here's a little folk music love for everyone.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Parenting Faux Pas

When I posted ultrasound pictures yesterday, I inadvertently posted two pictures of twin B and no pictures of twin A. I hope I have not caused undue emotional duress to our little dude or dudette. So, here's a short post to correct the inequity, and to provide a bit more information.

Also, here is a great website that explains scans in the first trimester.

Stats on twin A:
Gestational age - 5w 5d
Yolk sack - .18 cm
Crown-rump length - .21 cm (takes after Doug? Height = 5'8")
Fetal heart rate - 115 bpm

Stats on twin B:
Gestational age - 6w 1d
Yolk sack - .21 cm
Crown-rump length - .41 cm (takes after Chad? Height = 6'2)
Fetal heart rate - 141 bpm

So, there you have it. In other news, it's raining here in Delhi. Monsoon season is still a few months off, and when it is not monsooning, Delhi gets very little rain. So, rain is always welcome at this time of the year. For those of you who are planning on visiting Delhi in the next few months, be prepared for heat! The temperature and humidity will steadily rise until it's about 110 ºF every day. Fortunately, Chad and I will be on a plane headed for the US just about the time that the heat becomes unbearable. Then, we'll get back in Delhi in time for the end of monsoon season.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

My How You've Grown!

When last we saw our tiny progeny, they were floating in a petri dish, waiting to be transferred into our surromama. You can see for yourself that things are going quite well. All of the scans indicate that things are progressing as they should. During the scan two heartbeats were detected: one beating at 115 and the other at 141 BPM. Chad and I were both thrilled to see the pictures of our little ones.

Our IVF specialist, Dr. Indira, just opened a new office in South Extension. So, Chad and I drove (ourselves) over this morning. It was super easy to find, and the clinic looks wonderful. She is planning on doing most of her consultations at this new office, and then doing the medical procedures at a new clinic that she is constructing in a nearby neighborhood. The new clinic is slated to open in about two or three months (not sure if that is real time, or Indian time. I imagine real time because Dr. Indira is about the most straightforward Indian we have met!).

We sat in her new office and discussed what the ultrasound tells us. What I am taking away from the discussion is our need for cautious optimism. It is still so very early in our pregnancy--we're right around the 6 week marker--and there are things that could go wrong. Right now it looks like we will be having two babies. Hopefully it will look the same in 7 weeks, and then again in 30 weeks.

I guess that is the key word, "hopefully." Even though it is early on in our pregnancy, I see no reason not to think about our situation from a positive perspective. Everyone is walking a different journey with respect to surrogacy, or even IVF and assisted fertility treatments. Some paths take considerable detours or encounter many bumps. Others are more direct. Regardless of the journey, I can't imagine walking this road with the mindset that we are just waiting for something to go wrong.

What an incredible place and moment we are experiencing! Chad and I, with no plans to do so, found ourselves living long term in India. Then, we decided to start a family. Now, we are in contact with people who are helping us do that. How incredible is that? In spite of the risks associated with the first trimester, we are still making it our daily practice to remain positive.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Just One Out Of Seven Billion?

How about two? Yes, it's official, we have two strong heartbeats. The ultrasound went well, and we will give more details soon. For now, it's been a long week of anticipation followed by a concert that I was a part of, so we're going to bed!

Good night and sweet dreams,

Ultrasound Day

I have been in a super jolly mood today, and I totally know why. It was not the practice evacuation drill we just had, or the fact that it is Friday, but in two hours from now our lady Seema will be having the first ultrasound. Our doctor will call us later with all of the details, like quantity of babies and heart rates. Saturday we have a face to face meeting with our doctor and we will get to see the ultrasound pictures. We are very exctied to take a look at our babies. I have been searching Google images so I know what to expect, but it looks like a black hole to me.

Another post really soon!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How I Met Your Father

Perhaps our lives could be made into a mini-series; it would surely end better than the Charlie Sheen saga. This entry has been a long time coming, but I want to get the story perfect and didn't know where to start.

I moved to Indianapolis in 2005 with a good friend from my college days. Indy is a great town with tons of things to do. One of our favorite things to do was go country line dancing and two stepping on Friday nights at the local gay bar. No snickering from the peanut gallery! We would always stand over on the edge of the dance floor and watch everyone twist and spin around the dance floor never actually dancing ourselves. Every once in a while you would find me trying to dance, but it was usually too late in the evening for acquiring any additional skills.

We had been frequenting our place for a year when I took notice of an extremely graceful dancer being spun around the dance floor like gravity didn't exist. I couldn't take my eyes off of him, but didn't know what to say to him. I started calling him my "boyfriend" even though I didn't even know his name. I am the first to admit that is major stalker-ish, but what he didn't know would never hurt him. I would see this amazing dancer every week. This went on for way too long, and one day he disappeared.

My "quasi boyfriend" was gone all summer. By this time I had started taking dancing lessons and was moving and shaking on the dance floor on my own. I had not thought about him in quite some time, and then out of the blue there he was. I grabbed my roommate and told him tonight is the night I am going to talk to him. But what on Earth would I say. "Hello" wouldn't be good enough. I had to be prepared. I sat and watched the dancing most of the night, and between songs he was standing about five feet to my right. I finally worked up the courage to get off my ass, and as I was jumping off the stool to go talk to him... he started walking towards me.

We chatted about nothing of which I can remember. Shortly after we started talking my roommate wanted to move down the street to another place. I was not ready to leave but was at the mercy of someone else's driving that night. I gave my number to the cute little dancer and conveniently dropped the hint that we were changing venues. Fifteen minutes later at the new place and over my shoulder was Douglas. We talked for a bit longer and then made plans to meet for dinner.

We were both super busy in the beginning. He was working more than one job, and living on the north side. I was living on the south side and working on the north side spending hours in traffic everyday, but we made it work for us. We would meet in the middle for dinner and hang out all weekend. We fell hard and fast for each other... the timing was perfect.

On July 4th 2008 we went downtown to watch fireworks. After the fireworks were over, we tried to leave the parking garage. As soon as we pulled out of our space traffic was gridlocked. We had to sit for over an hour before the top floor was empty and then our level could exit. What could have been a very stressful situation for anyone turned into one of the best evenings of my life. We sat and talked the entire time and totally forgot where we were. At that moment I knew he was the one.

One month later... Douglas moved to India. Talk about a curveball. When I first heard the news I was in shock; then I said "have fun, I am not moving." We Skyped daily and ran up the phone bill with international calls. We made plans to meet in Paris for Christmas. Fast forward four months I am meeting Douglas in Charlotte for a conference and interviewing for a job in India in the stairwell of the Westin very late at night. We had a great few days before heading back home (him to India and me to Indianapolis), and by the time I was back to Indianapolis I got a new job and was moving to India.

The scariest thing I have ever done was book that one-way ticket from Paris to Delhi. That day I had two tickets booked: one to Indiana and the other to India. I had never been outside the US, and Douglas and I had never even lived together. I knew it was either going to work perfectly or end miserably. Fast forward three happy years in Delhi and we are married in a handful of states, and adding to our family.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Retail Therapy

Spring break is coming to a close. For the first half of the vacation, we headed up north to Dharamsala and ate as many momos as we could get our hands on. Having lived in Delhi for most of three years now, we find that leaving Delhi is almost a requirement every couple of months. Going up to Dharamsala was a very hassle-free trip and it afforded us some great sites as well as some semi-fresh air.

The second half of our break was spent here in Delhi. We recuperated our lab, Jyoti from the kennel (a.k.a. puppy camp) and have had some quality time with her. Then, today we hit up our two favorite malls, The Promenade/Ambience Mall at Vasant Kunj and Select City Walk/The Metropolitan at Saket. I guess, technically we hit up FOUR malls today, but Indians love to put malls so close together--actually, right smack dab next to each other--that I don't think they count as separate malls, even though you have to go outside to get from one to the other.

I am not usually a mall rat. Neither is Chad. But, this was retail therapy with a point. We wanted to start scouting out what baby things are going to be available to us in Delhi, and what do we want to cram in our suitcases and bring on the plane when we come back to Delhi after summer vacation. We found our new favorite store; or, as Chad says, "We found our winner, winner chicken dinner." Mothercare will be the motherload for all our baby needs in Delhi. And, the runner up in the contest is Chicco. Interestingly enough, there was a Mothercare store (I can't say that I feel very affirmed by the name of the store) both at Saket and at Vasant Kunj. The one at Saket was a bit bigger, but not as nicely organized. The one at Vasant Kunj had better organization but not quite as much merchandise. Similarly, there were Chiccos at Saket and at Vasant Kunj, and both were of similar size/layout.

Mothercare had almost everything I can imagine that we will need: clothes for newborns, even some clothes for premies, blankets, hats, sweaters, bedding, bassinets, cribs, mattresses, reusable diapers, changing tables, baby toiletries, strollers, car-seats, bibs, nipples, bottles, sterilizers, steamers and baby food makers, safety items (household baby-proofing items), carry-cots, bathtubs and car seats. I am sure that I am forgetting many things that they had in the store.

If you are an IP and are afraid that you are going to forget something in your home country, and are afraid to shop in Delhi, this will be the place for you. Furthermore, the prices at these stores didn't seem exorbitant. I haven't been to a baby store in the US, so I'll keep you posted on what we find when we get back to Indiana, but, the prices at the mall in Delhi for baby things seemed reasonable. The rule of thumb for shopping in India is this: local goods are CHEAP, and imported goods are REALLY EXPENSIVE. So, for example, when buying electronic items in India, one can expect to pay 1.5 to 2 times the cost of the same item in the US (Macbook Air that I'm coveting in the US is $1000, and in India is $1500). But, I can have the tailor come to my house, measure me, and copy my linen pants for a quarter of what they cost me at Banana Republic in the US.

Needless to say, I am so glad we found these baby stores because it will save us having to cart so many items from the US. Only two disappointing things about Mothercare (beside the name): first, I felt like all of the strollers were a bit rickety. We are a family that loves to walk. I can't imagine that this will change after we have children. While we live in a very nice part of Delhi with wide streets and some usable sidewalks, I don't think that any of these strollers would make it as an out-of-doors stroller in Delhi. Second, while they did have some clothing for teeny, tiny babies (preemies up to 5 lbs), there wasn't a huge selection. If it turns out that we are having twins, I imagine that we will need some itsy-bitsy clothes, and I think that we'll have to bring some clothes with us next time we fly from the US to Delhi. Fortunately, though, the store had quite a few outfits for babies up to 7.5 lbs (these clothes were labeled "tiny babies").

Chicco also had a decent selection of baby clothes, strollers, car seats, baby monitors, nipples and bottles and a few other odds and ends. The selection was much more limited than Mothercare, and they didn't have any clothes for preemies or tiny babies like Mothercare did.

We are so early in our pregnancy that we resisted the temptation to buy anything. But, it was a lot of fun getting out there and seeing what's available in Delhi. Our plan is to make a list of the things we'll need and then go fake-shopping at the end of the school year in about 6 weeks, which will also be near the end of our first trimester. We won't buy anything then, but we'll know what we need to buy in the US. Then, we head back to Indiana for June and July. We'll get all of the things that we can't get in India. Then, when we come back to Delhi at the very end of July (nearing the end of our second trimester), we'll move to a different (hopefully bigger) apartment and start to set up a nursery.

What a fun way to end Spring Break!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Big Numbers

We just received more great news! Our doctor says we are four weeks and four days pregnant, and the result of the second beta test is 8586. Now if someone could explain this timeline to me before our doctor gets back to us that would be great. I would love to match our beta number with some averages. We "conceived" on March 17th and transferred on March 19th. In my eyes that would make us five weeks one day pregnant?!?

We have our first ultrasound one week from today on April 15th... so excited!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Checklist Manifestos

Since the arrival of the good news from our surrogate, there has been a fury of internet related activity. It's like google meets surrogacy meets joy/worry beyond measure meets ADHD all at the click of a mouse. In the last 48 hours we have been researching (or re-researching, as these are all topics that have been infinitely researched in preparing for this process) fetal development, hospitals in Delhi, same-sex parenting guides, adoption laws, pregnancy characteristics and--my personal favorite--baby checklists.

Come to find out, there isn't much to do during the first trimester if you are the intended parent (our surrogate, however, has some work to do). Of course, most of these lists aren't targeted at gay men having a baby through surrogacy in India, so some of them aren't very helpful. But even some of these lists get the cerebral juices flowing even if they are only peripherally applicable. For example, here is a sampling from one first trimester list:
  • Time to share the good news with your partner - check... we're both in the know.
  • Find out what to expect from the first trimester - check!
  • Learn what's in store for the first four weeks of pregnancy - check!
  • If you aren't already, begin taking folic acid each day - umm... Our Surromamma is, so, check!
  • Start keeping track of name ideas for Baby in your online Name Basket - Fabian, Fabian, Fabian!!
  • Begin researching hospitals - leaning towards Phoenix, but we'll have to see what some of our colleagues who have had babies in Delhi say.
  • Choose your OB-GYN or midwife - check!
  • Schedule your first prenatal visit - check... or really, NA!
  • Get to know the basics of fetal development - check!
  • Figure out your due date - this will probably wait until the ultrasound next week.
  • Stop smoking, drinking, and cut back on caffeine. Know what's safe and what isn't during pregnancy - giving up caffeine in the land of chai isn't going to happen, but we did both quit smoking this year.
  • Begin a pregnancy journal - does this blog count?
  • Connect with other women who are due the same month you are - Jeni, I think you're it. Everyone else seems either further along or already have had babies.
OK, so we've knocked off most of the first trimester checklist. Can we get started on the second trimester checklist? That one involves shopping and looks more fun!

On a more serious note, most of the early pregnancy information on the interwebs is about what can go wrong. And, while I believe it is helpful to know what the possibilities are, I am recommitting myself every day to remaining positive, and devoting my energies to the pursuit of becoming a more informed, better prepared parent and not to thinking about the endless things that could go wrong in the first trimester. Or, let me rephrase that, I are making it my daily practice to remain positive. This mindset is not the flick of the switch, its the continual movement in a direction of remaining open and optimistic about the possibilities that life holds for us.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Now We're Cooking

It is official! We got someone pregnant... something I never imagined I would need to tell my parents. I hope they are as excited as we are. I have to admit that I am a bit nervous about what will come in the next nine months.

While waiting for the results to arrive I did a number on my finger nails. So today Kate and I had a mani/pedi while our husbands were losing rupees playing poker. Kate has been our "lady parts guru" throughout this whole process, and we are not sure what would have done without all of the nitty gritty details. I am very happy to officially add her to our Cast of Characters.

Let it be known that our child will not be named Fabian regardless of the quantity of children we are blessed with. When I hear "Fabian" I can't help but think of a Fabio, Yanni, Ricola combo pack, and I could never put a child through the torture of a bad name. Fabian will remain our pretend baby name... it will serve the purpose well.

Cheers to a healthy pregnancy!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Fabulous Fabian

It seemed like an excellent idea at the time. In fact, if it was just me, I’d probably go for it. His name would be Fabian. That’s a great boys name; strong but not overpowering, sensitive but not wimpy, charming but not fake. He’d be the kind of boy everyone wanted to be friends with.

Turns out Fabian is about the gayest name you could have. At least that’s what Chad says. Well, honestly, Chad and all of my friends. In fact, exactly nobody appreciated the name Fabian. Nobody, that is, except me. I could definitely picture Fabian toddling through the wildflowers on top of an Austrian butte as Julie Andrews wonders aimlessly by singing something about hills and music.

If it was just our DNA making little Fabian, then chances are, he would blend in quite well with those musical alpine hills. However, little Fab’s bio mom is a little Indian woman from Delhi. Chances of little blonde-headed kiddos running around in our future are slim to none. Still, Fabian wouldn’t be a bad name for a Bollywood hotshot.

Anyhow, much to my chagrin, Fab got crossed off the list pretty immediately. Other names have been floated to replace my cherished Fabian. But, none that flow so effortlessly off the tongue. Fabian and I will have to get over it.

By the way, our beta count is 1432. We may have to keep Fabian as a backup name.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

And The Results

Are still pending! Sorry for the teaser. We received notice that Seema is scheduled for a Monday 10am appointment and the results should be in by 6pm on the same day.

We are enjoying a relaxing day in Dharamsala high in the mountains. The overnight train was pleasant, the drive up the mountains was not. We have internet, but no cell phone reception... very strange for India.

Only one more day of this waiting non-sense!