Wednesday 3 July 2013

Happy 1st Birthday!

Today is our amazing son Noah's 1st birthday.  As we celebrate, our thoughts turn to the people who made this day possible and the support we've felt along the way.

We're especially thankful to our anonymous donor; we'll never meet you and yet we see you in Noah's eyes every day.  To our incredible surrogate who carried Noah with a smile despite him kicking his way through the pregnancy.  And to the team at our clinic for their care and professionalism.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Along the way we met some wonderful couples. We shared the same determination to become parents yet most had had more challenging journies than ours. We're thrilled that all are now either parents already or becoming parents very shortly.  Where there's a will, there's a way.

Our own families are richer for the arrival of our little one and Noah's four grandparents, two aunts and uncle are there for us all the way with their loving support.

And finally, we're now surrounded by other parents with great kids of Noah's age.  Most of those families have a mum and a dad but we share exactly the same daily challenges of raising our little one and so we don't feel any different.

Adam and I were chatting last night about this year gone by.  So much has happened that for once it doesn't feel like a year that has flown by.  We've had so many milestones to celebrate along the way: the precious time we spent in India as we recalibrated our lives as new dads, introducing Noah to our families, first smile, sitting up, crawling, first word......

We often reflect on how our lives took a fork in the road this day last year when we heard "It's a boy!".  As I'm writing this I can hear Noah playing "Bam Bam" with some object he's found that makes a loud noise.  And Adam shouting "Ouch ouch" as he's being slapped.  A boy he certainly is!

So Happy 1st Birthday to our precious little man.  You really are the best thing that ever happened to us.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

We are home!

We made it home on August 11th and our new version of normal life has begun.  On reflection, our experience in India was a really happy one in so many ways: priceless time with our wonderful son Noah, quality time with Adam's family, rewarding time spent with the community of parents and intended parents and lastly, sufficient time to handle all the bureaucracy without getting stressed. 

Someone very wise said to me that the people who don't enjoy their experience in India are the ones who come with the aim of trying to leave in record time. They get frustrated when things take longer than expected.
I realise we are so fortunate to be Australian/British dual citizens. Unlike all the other Brits who wait at the behest of the British High Commission, we were able to side-step all of the waiting by applying for Noah's Australian passport and travelling to the UK as a visitor.  Perhaps this strategy more than anything made our trip so pleasant.

Now that we're home we've had the pleasure of introducing Noah to my family and our friends.  And we've begun to experience what everyday life is like as a family.  This is the priceless part that makes the whole journey worthwhile.  Seeing Noah's every milestone of development is such a joy.  At the weekend he smiled for me for the first time.  What a precious moment that was.

So here are a few pictures.....


We are incredibly happy right now and we wish all the wonderful people we've met along the way who are still striving to become parents the joy of family life.  Never give up on your dreams.

Sunday 15 July 2012

Life in Delhi - accommodation choices

Choosing where to stay in Delhi is a big issue for parents who are expecting a long stay.  We have experienced two of the options on offer and both have their advantages....

Svelte Suites
Two great things about Svelte. 1. As the name suggests you get a bedroom and a living room.  2.  It's attached to an air-conditioned mall.  Svelte is the perfect place to bring your new arrival.  In the heat of summer and the dust of winter, it's a haven from the elements.  Having a living room is ideal for middle of the night feeds, allowing one of you to get some rest.  Being attached to the mall also means you won't go stir-crazy in your room.  We even bought a stroller so we could take walks around the mall and visit the many great restaurants and food courts.  If you don't have a little one, visit the cinema - bigger and better than any multiplex we've visited at home.

But the best thing about Svelte is the community of parents and couples hoping to start a family.  Breakfast time turned out to be one of the nicest times of the day - a chance to commune with others from all over the world, doin' what you're doin'.  Here I learned that it isn't the affluent few that get involved with surrogacy; just everyday folk with a shared, incredibly strong urge to become parents.  We mortgage our homes, we save like we've never saved before and we will stop at nothing to reach our goal.  (It's about time governments that make it difficult for us get that  - I'm certain every one of the people we've met will make exceptional parents and raise kids that will be a credit to them.)

(Final bill came to around £GBP80/INR6800/$US125 per night)

Tulip Apartments
Tulip got a bad rap on blogs recently.  And it does sound as though one of the apartments, B40, is to be avoided.  We moved into E-177 and it's great.  OK, so the decor isn't what you'd choose, but it's clean, air conditioned and big!  We chose a 3 bedroom apartment on a recommendation because we have family coming to stay but we have space to turn the third bedroom into a laundry!  For families with new arrivals, having a washing machine is brilliant (and a big advantage over Svelte).  It's also close to two shopping areas - M-Block Market and Kailash Colony Market. 

This is certainly closer to 'real life' in up-market Delhi but for long stayers, you can get into something more like a normal routine.  Other advantages are wifi, satellite tv and a proper kitchen.

Because Noah arrived early, we experienced both of these accommodation options.  Our first week was spent at Svelte and now we've settled into a month at Tulip.  On reflection this was the best of both worlds.  First a haven of tranquillity and an introduction to some wonderful people, then something that more closely approximates to home.

(Final bill came to £GBP47/INR4000/$US75 per night)

Sunday 8 July 2012

Our journey is complete!

We arrived in Delhi late on Thursday night and barely slept as we waited with excitement to meet our baby son.  By 8.30am the next morning we were on our way to Delhi New Born - they had been doing a wonderful job of babysitting for us until we could get here.  When we arrived and as we waited, we could see through a window a chubby little fella that we were sure was ours.  And sure enough it was Noah.

So our meeting wasn't quite the emotional picture we had painted in our minds of a doctor holding baby up declaring "it's a boy!", but this was how we became a family and that's good enough for us. 

So after we were able to feed and change him under the watchful eye of one of the wonderfully attentive nurses, we were on our way back to the hotel with baby in tow.

Noah is a cherub most of the time but we found out last night he has some lungs on him already!  But how could you not forgive this beautiful face?

Baby Noah. 5 days old.

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Introducing baby Noah!

The countdown said 23 days to go.  Baby decided otherwise!

Baby Noah, born at 1.45pm on Tuesday 3rd July weighing 3.145kg (6.9lb).

I can't describe how thrilled we are.  Baby and our wonderful surrogate are both doing fine.

So we're now scrambling to get to Delhi in double-quick time.  More pics when we get there.....

Tuesday 26 June 2012

New Baby Training for UK Parents

Adam and I just completed a one day training course that I think is perfect for intended parents expecting via surrogacy. 
There's lots of brilliant help and advice provided to pregnant women here in the UK but not to us as we don't exactly meet the criteria!  So we had been looking for some time for a suitable course but found almost everything out there is geared towards pregnancy, birth and breast feeding. 
This course is designed for nannies and doulas.  We found it to be brilliantly practical for people with zero experience (like me!) and entirely supportive of us as future gay dads.  So with the help of an anatomically correct doll that we named Jacob, I can now bathe, change and generally nurse an inanimate doll - let's hope I can transfer these skills to the real thing.  I highly recommend it:

Monday 18 June 2012

Nursery Pics!

So now that we've moved house, we finally have a room that's called The Nursery.  Except that it didn't look much like one.  So we've spent the last few days painting walls....

creating a cot from an unfathomable flat pack....


and decorating....



Over the weekend we had our latest scan.  We're at 34 weeks now and everything is fine except baby is in breach position right now so the next scan, just as we're due to travel, will answer whether we can expect a c-section or not.

Are we supposed to be this relaxed at this stage?  I suspect not.....