Thursday, August 25, 2011

Twenty Five On The Twenty Fifth

Today we are twenty-five weeks pregnant. It is really awesome to get to say that! Some days it feels like it has been an eternity, but other days feel like we just started this whole thing. I have not done one of these "what is happening with the baby this week" posts in a long time. So here you go:

"Your baby's crown-to-rump length is about 8.8 inches. Weight has increased to around 1.5 pounds and fat is still being deposited at a high rate. Your uterus is about the size of a soccer ball now! (Does that mean two soccer balls for us?!)

You can hear your baby's heartbeat with both a Doppler and a stethoscope at this time. Sex differentiation is being completed now. If you are expecting a baby boy, the testes start to descend into the scrotum. In baby girls, the vagina is hollowing out. (I had a dream last night that we had one boy and one girl.) Your baby is able to do more with their fingers now and can move his fingers to make a complete fist. As your baby becomes more dexterous, he will be able to touch and hold his feet. Babies also begin to prefer their left hand or right hand at this time. Because babies settle into routines of sleep and activity."

I keep having vivid dreams about our babies. Once they were two girls, and last night we had one boy and one girl. It is really exciting that we won't know the gender until they are born. Everyone keeps asking for the genders and I keep saying... "they are one or the other!"


Monday, August 22, 2011

Children's Music Review #1

I am privileged to work as the music teacher for younger elementary students in a great school here in Delhi. In that capacity, I sometimes get asked what music I would recommend for home listening.

That's a great question, and although it's a little early to be thinking about what music I am going to share with my own babies first, I have been thinking about our nursery playlist. So, I've decided to compile a top ten children's music list.

The first CD I'd like to share is Doc Watson's Songs for Little Pickers.

Here, Doc is playing with fellow folk musician David Holt.

Doc Watson is a powerhouse of American folk, bluegrass and country music, and one of the true virtuosos of flatpicking on the accoustic guitar. Born in North Carolina in the late 20's, this blind musician has few rivals when it comes to musicianship.

The reason why I love this CD is it takes so many of the songs we are familiar with from childhood and removes all off the candy-coating and dumbing down that often accompanies music specifically marketed as children's music. Doc takes these songs back to their roots, and shares them to a new generation in a way that children love, and even adults find entertaining. In short, this is a CD that your kids will love, and you will actually want to listen to as well.

Tracks on this CD are:
Froggy Went A Courtin
The Tennessee Stud
Crawdad Hole
John Henry
And the Green Grass Grew All Around
The Riddle Song
Sing Song Kitty
Mole in the Ground
Shady Grove
Liza Jane
Mama Blues
Talking Guitar
Sally Goodin

This CD is definitely going on the top of my nursery playlist. It is available on iTunes and through Amazon.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Weekend and a 24 Week Update

Today I worked the ground in my garden plot and planted several seeds in pots on our terrace. Once those get going I will move them down into their official home in the community garden. If I plant them directly in the plot now, chances are the monsoon rains would wash them away. This is my first garden so with a little luck we should have lettuce, spinach, spring onions, radishes, carrots, eggplant, and peppers very soon.

We had a good meeting with our doctor yesterday. Our surromama is doing great. She is having normal everything, weight gain is good, and is not experiencing any discomfort other than concern of how her body will look after the twins are born. She sounds all together happy which in turn makes us very happy. The doctor will not let her go beyond 38 weeks, and advised against traveling too far from Delhi after Diwali.

The carpet shopping continues as we now have a 50-year old carpet that was acquired from the tribal mountains near the Iran - Afghanistan border. Thankfully we didn't have to trek there to get it. According to the carpet man it was used as a window/door cover for someone's home. When guests came they would take it down, sit on it, and drink tea. Which is really cool if all that is true. We are planning to look at a few more pieces tomorrow before we seal the deal.

Our weekend is ending with chocolate chip cookies... I can't think of a better way!


Friday, August 19, 2011

It's Finally Friday

Let the good times roll!

Yesterday we crossed the 24 week mark in our journey to become awesome parents. Cheers to that! Seema had a routine checkup yesterday and we should be getting the official report before the end of the day. As far as we know everyone is healthy, happy, and growing.

We have not been in a baby store since we left America. I think we might have to have a shopping excursion this weekend. I am really excited to go buy everything and get the nursery set up. I have been trying to persuade Douglas into letting me put our stroller together, but have been unsuccessful so far. He is right... "it will just be in the way." Although maybe we could start off season training our labrador how to pull it?!?

On the work front, I got invited to a conference in Shanghai next month. This will be my first time in China and I am super excited. It is bound to be a good time since there are so many awesome people going along.

Last weekend we brought home four rugs from the carpet party. Three of them are a no-go and one of them I am starting to fall for. My big hangup is that it is really dark and our labrador shedder is really light; however since Douglas loves it I guess it is a keeper. The carpet man will come on Sunday to collect the three we don't want to keep, and probably show us more rugs. In the mean time we are making a run over to the competitor carpet man Saturday to check out his selections. Just in case we find something that we like better!

Happy hour in seven!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This Happens Every Now and Then

Got this message in my inbox at work this morning from the US Embassy. For those of you in India right now, just be aware:

Dear American citizens:

We bring this emergency message to your attention so you can carefully

consider the information it contains. Please pass along the information

below to the U.S. citizens in your area or put this information on your

notice boards for dissemination. Thank you for your cooperation.

The U.S. Embassy wishes to alert U.S. citizens about large

demonstrations currently taking place in Central Delhi. You are urged

avoid areas around Connaught Place and India Gate. Please monitor local

television and print media for further information and updates about the

current situation in the affected areas.

The email makes no mention of any specific danger. When these types of events have taken place over our 3+ years in India, it typically means just avoid being in the above mentioned places, and be alert when in markets. For those wanting further information about what is going on, check out the continuing coverage on The Times of India, or read the very interesting article about Anna Hazare on Wikipedia.

Personally, I really hope that there is success in passing a strong anti-corruption bill. So, I wish success, safety and peace to the protesters.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Favorite Things

Who doesn't like raindrops on roses?

Last night we had a few friends over after a carpet party thrown by some of our colleagues (yes, that's what we do in India for fun, throw parties and buy expensive, but way WAY underpriced by American standards carpets). The dealer explains where the rug comes from, how old it is, how much it costs and then lets you take it home for a week to try it.

We brought home four. Now, we absolutely cannot afford four of these rugs right now, but they're fun to try out, and we probably will end up buying one (a 50 year old Armenian rug that is quite dark, but beautiful).

Anyhow, the carpet part isn't really the part of the story I wanted to tell, just an amusing aside about ex-pat life in Delhi. We had dinner in our apartment with four impromptu guests. Luckily, I had already given myself the goal of making Lasagna entirely from scratch (homemade sauce and homemade noodles). I'm sure it looked like there was a mad man in the kitchen when they showed up. I had sheets of pasta everywhere. But it wasn't long until things got settled, and the pasta got into the oven.

This leads me to my two favorite things: food and friends. I've loved coming back to Delhi this year as we have been surrounded by the most supportive people. I can't help but want to cook for them! I feel like we are just any other couple having a baby, and our friends are so excited for us.

In honor of my fun weekend with food and friends, here is a new cooking website for you to check out: Chasing Delicious. I love the simple, beautiful pictures in this blog, and the lasagna recipe I sort-of-followed was to die for. And, if any of our blog friends come to Delhi, we promise that we will take you carpet shopping (there's really no shopping experience like it!), and then we can gaggle over some good grub.

If you haven't spent some time with your favorite things lately, go do it. It does the body and soul some definite good.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Re-Culturing & The American Way

One would think that after three years in India nothing would shock me; however everyday I am reminded that culturally, I am very different than everyone around me. From the urgency with which I respond to a problem, to the way I drink from a bottle, everything is different. Even though we only leave India for two months each year there is still a culture shock upon returning. It has taken a couple of weeks, but I think I am getting back into the groove.

Yesterday, I started working out again. I had been putting it off for far too long, and consequently I am in the worse shape I have been in since my late night runs to the drive thru in college. Ironically, or congruently rather,my dietary habits while on summer break in America were surprisingly similar to those of a college student. Don't tell anyone, but I gained ten pounds in seven weeks. So operation "be a hot dad" is in full swing.

We finally got the big flat screen TV that I wanted. It was a top priority since we moved as our current one looked silly. That being said, we don't watch all that much TV. We have about 150 stations, and only 25 of those are in English; however, I expect the endless reruns of CSI, and McGyver will all become much more exciting to watch on 37 inches of LCD.

In baby news, we have nothing to report other than everything is quiet, growing, and healthy. We have an ultrasound next week and should know more then. We purchased a washing machine for inside our house. I know this is crazy, but we didn't hire a dhobi to wash our clothes... we are diversifying our housekeeper's skills and this way we don't have so many people to keep track of.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Delhi and Around

Two Babies on the Way had an excellent blog post last week about things to do around Delhi. It inspired me to write a post about Delhi's offerings.

View Fun Delhi Paces in a larger map

Click on the icons to see my comments about each location. I'll try to update as I think of more.

DLF Promenade
Pahar Ganj
Khan Market
Sarojini Nagar Market
Select City Walk
Hauz Kaus Village

Public Parks:
Lodhi Park
Nehru Park

Lodhi Restaurant
China Kitchen (in the Hyatt)
The Yum Yum Tree

VLCC Day Spa

Grocery Stores:
Le Marche (Basat Lok Market, Saket, and Vasant Kunj's DLF Promenade)
Moti Mahal Deluxe

Thursday, August 4, 2011

When Did You Get Bit?

It's my guess that most of the people who are exploring the possibility of surrogacy in India, and even more of the people who are actually engaged in surrogacy in India are people who are not fearful of travel. Maybe they are people who even love to travel.

I got bit by the travel bug when I was 15 and went for a year to live in France as an exchange student. Then, I really got bit again when we moved to India.

When did you get bit? (respond in the comments)

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

For those who are interested, here's the backstory of this film:

"3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage... all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ....into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films....."

Cheers, Douglas

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What Are Your Top 10 Questions?

Throughout the summer and now that we are back in India, Chad and I have answered a lot of questions about our surrogacy journey lately. Here is our best estimation of the top 10 most frequent questions we are asked.

1. What are the genders?
2. When are you due?
3. Do you get leave from work?
4. Who is the father? (or, Do you know who the father is?)
5. Is the egg donor Indian?
6. How did you find your surrogate?
7. Are they going to be American?
8. Are you going to have one nanny or two? (welcome to life in India)
9. Have you thought of names?
10. Do you know the egg donor? (or, What do you know about the egg donor?)

If you're an IP, or already have children through surrogacy, or if you've been or currently are a surrogate, what are the questions you are frequently asked? Please leave your response in the comment section. I think this could be very helpful for those considering surrogacy.