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.....

Tuesday 22 May 2012

The final countdown....

We haven't posted for a while.  And I know now that no news is good news.  Our latest ultrasound came through the other day and our wonderful surrogate is now doing fine after a couple of hospital stays.

We're in our 31st week now and as predicted, we're now in the down phase of the rollercoaster ride!  Our second trimester seemed to last forever but now the days are flying by.  We're in the process of moving house right now so soon all of our nursery purchases will have a home.  I can't wait to have it all finished, then we'll really feel ready.

We've been avidly reading all the blogs we follow and they've been so helpful, both with practical advice and the support we feel knowing we're not alone.  So thank you to all of you.  And with that good advice I've been very efficiently gathering all the necessary paperwork and photocopies we'll need in Delhi into one file so that's another thing ticked off the never ending list of 'to do's'.

65 days to go.  Adam thinks we won't have to wait that long....

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Minor Hiccups?

15 weeks and 2 days to go.

Wow, how did that happen? Just as things seemed to be dragging, all of a sudden things feel like they're moving fast!

We've had (we hope) minor hiccups in the last couple of weeks. First our wonderful surrogate was in hospital with a UTI. I must say, Dr Google has a wonderful bedside manner! He reassured us that there's nothing unusual in this and as long as it's caught early, everything will be fine.

And so we were relaxed for a few days until we heard that she is back in hospital again with 'abdominal pain'. I must say this vague diagnosis is much harder to deal with. But we're assured there's nothing too much to worry about. We're sending all positive thoughts and good wishes to her.

Meanwhile we really appreciate reading all the news in blogland. We're thrilled that Hayden & Scarlett seem to be doing ok and we're loving all the cute pics of Hari......

Monday 19 March 2012

Boy or Girl?

The waiting doesn't get any easier, does it?

This week we were expecting our 20 week scan. Our regular day for updates has been Monday, then Thursday. We waited until Friday this time - we were nervous about the delay, but it was worth the wait. As well as the regular analysis we were greeted with these cool 3D images.

So let's have some fun. Boy or girl?

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Triple Marker Test: Passed

Another hurdle this week, our Triple Marker Test passed.

We're really starting to get into planning mode now. We've booked our flights and accommodation in Delhi for July, we've bought a pram, figured out a car seat and Adam has made a list for this and a list for that. It's all very exciting

I've been in New York for a couple of days and got the chance to properly catch up on our news with two close friends. I love all their questions and their delight for us.

126 days until we fly to India....and counting.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

First Trimester Over!

Phew! We made it!

We had our 12 week scan the other day and the result: normal, normal, normal, normal, normal! What a relief.

So we decided it was time to tell our friends and families and anyone else who cares to listen. We're going to be dads!

After we had spoken to our closest friends and family we were beaming with the enthusiasm our news was greeted with. And then, just before we headed out to dinner to celebrate, Adam and I updated our Facebook pages. We must have looked a right pair, sitting at the dinner table with our mobiles in front of us as we enjoyed each and every message that came back. Everyone's support is so gratefully received - and really affirming.

Buoyed by all this enthusiasm, we're moving into phase two of saving for the big day. We're in lock-down now!

Friday 13 January 2012

Immigration Bureaucracy

I had a meeting with a UK immigration lawyer yesterday (Barry at Wesley Gryk if anyone needs a recommendation). I'm not sure that everyone needs such advice, since much of what is 'out there' tells you what you need to know.

I have been looking for a ways around the waiting 3 months in Delhi problem that all Brits face. We're lucky to be Australian/British citizens so we plan to apply for an Australian passport in Delhi for baby and apply for baby's British passport from Perth (where Adam's parents live). This would mean we'd be out of Delhi in around 3 weeks instead of 3 months.

Our lawyer sees no pitfalls in this cunning plan but it's a timely reminder to get all paperwork in order long before baby is born, in particular, our surrogate's papers.

For Australians, I came across Meg's brilliant document by document account of the citizenship/passport process: http://www.amaniandbobsurrogacy.blogspot.com/
and click on the photo of the guy on the horse. Thanks Meg!

Thursday 12 January 2012

We have neighbours!

In my last post, I said my January task was to reach out to find some people in London who are in the same boat as us. Well I did, and the result is unbelievable. Two guys who live two streets away from us brought their twin boys home in December. They even used the same clinic as us. How cool is that! We're catching up at the weekend to share our stories. Happy days!