Sunday, December 27, 2009

Squeakers, Bibs & Christmas Cheer

We had such a wonderful Christmas Day with family and friends. This was the first year in a very long time we did not have lunch or dinner at our place and it was nice to be waited on instead of waiting on others!!!
We always have a quiet breakfast at home with Darren's mum and her partner Michael. This is a lovely way to start our day; carols playing and maybe a chocolate truffle or two whilst we set the table and get ready for our breakfast. Ham, poached eggs, mango and an assortment of other treats kept the morning easy and we all enjoyed relaxing over a few hours and exchanging gifts.


This year Johnny's sister had Christmas lunch at her place. Darren and I, along with both sets of parents and Becky's partner Stephen's folks too. Beck is an amazing cook and a professional chef by trade so lunch was an extravaganza! Her house was so wonderfully festive with a beautifully decorated tree, garlands galore and Christmas lights. It was magical. Becky and Steve had prepared a delicious lunch for us all; ham, turkey, roast pork, potato salad, green salad, scrumptious prawns and the most sublime Tasmanian oysters! We had a perfect day with our extended families and of course ate far too much as one does. Look at the amazing cupcakes Becky made for Christmas!
She is so talented and is really hoping to expand her cake decorating business in 2010.
After our beautiful lunch we headed back to the Blue Mountains for Christmas dinner with Darren's sister Tracie and her husband and two nieces. Again, we had such a relaxing night enjoying each others company, enjoying a meal together, some wonderful Christmas punch and exchanged our gifts. All in all we have had one of the most relaxing Christmas Days ever. We returned home so full of cheer and happy that we decided we must be more low key when it comes to our own entertaining around this time of year. I think we need to apply this mantra to entertaining in general. I am unable to entertain low key full stop.
This will be one of the resolutions for 2010. I usually don't worry about new year resolutions but I will have to learn to entertain more simply right? We'll have a baby with us in a few months time.
Darren's niece bought us the most adorable squeaker rattle and bib for Christmas that I just had to post a photo for you. They are made by an Australian company; Alimrose Designs (they're online). Their squeakers and bibs use wonderfully vintage style fabrics and we just love it. The Scottie dog set it a gift from Hollie to us for Noddy and Darren and I bought the bunny months ago. It was in fact our first purchase for Noddy many, many months ago.
The last days of 2009 will be spent working. Both Darren and I are saving our annual leave for when Noddy arrives. Also, Darren is only three months into his new job and working in retail, December and January are some of the busiest months of the year for his industry. My job on the other hand has started to slow down now. If you haven't already booked you flight to the UK sorry love but you have probably missed out on the $1400 airfare your sister saw for you in the paper a month ago! We are now only days away from entering our last trimester....my mind is awash with the dream of what our life will be like in 2010. I see captured moments in my mind every now and then of Darren and I out with Noddy or at home and I blissfully let my subconscious get carried away with these dream like sequences of daily life. I know I keep repeating myself but we are so blessed I get goosebumps.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas & Week 23 Update

Tonight is Christmas Eve and this is going to be our last Christmas as a couple. Next year we will have an eight month old baby in our lives...and we can't wait.

These past couple of weeks we have been checking and re checking our paperwork for when Noddy is due, and again made contact with the Australian Embassy in New Delhi to reconfirm we knew what was expected of us legally to gain citizenship for Noddy. We are both very calm at this point in our pregnancy and I am thankful for this. Leading up to this point we have had our 'moments' all self inflicted mind you!

We have, as I have said before, still lots of things to do prior to April but hey;

We live in a wonderful free country, we have our health, each other and the love of family and friends. Tomorrow is Christmas day and we are thankful for each other and the wonderful gifts given to us. We are especially lucky and blessed this Christmas; we are going to be parents next year!

No point in sweating the small stuff right......Que sera sera.....What will be will be.

MERRY CHRISTMAS & GOD BLESS.

WEEK 23

Fetal size 20cm (8 inches). Fetal weight: 455 grams (1 pound). Your baby matures and starts to get plumper. Your baby's body and face start to resemble the appearance of a newborn. The pancreas develops further this week, enabling the production of insulin, which metabolises sugar.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Post Detox Post, Shopping, Baby Belly & Weeks 21 & 22 Updates

The self imposed internet detox from last week has worked wonders for my complexion! No more square eyes and my skin is just glowing, really it is.
I managed to last nine days without baby blogging, baby forums, Dr Google and everything else baby that had driven me to distraction leading to the 5th December. I still was using my emails since I have to for work and being online was still mandatory but without visiting baby websites in their hundreds, my mind had time for rest and relaxation. Many IPs going through the same process as us will agree that it is very, very overwhelming and even though I know it may be 1:00am in Mumbai, this doesn't stop me checking for updates from the docs at Surrogacy India 20+ times a day...seriously!
The week that was. I have spent so much time with my mum the past few weeks. Each weekend we are out together finishing Christmas shopping, visiting family friends or buying for Noddy. Mum is buying and Darren and I are resisting temptation. Last weekend we spent all day Saturday...all day from 8:30am til 6:45pm Christmas shopping, visiting friends and travelling half way across Sydney trying to find a baby bouncer I remembered from my childhood. My Mum is gorgeous and we always have fun together when we're out. When we finally found it, Mum bought it for us as 'another gift from Grandma'. I think it's great and it will work really well in Noddy's room once we get the ball rolling.
This past week has also seen more updates from Drs Sudhir and Yash about the progress of our pregnancy and our wonderful surrogate who looks beautifully pregnant. Trying to explain how I feel about leading up to B-Day is somewhat difficult to express. There are days that time seems to almost stand still. As though I am looking in on a life that can not possible be my own. A loving family and friends, a beautiful home and job I love. My amazing partner who has been a part of my life for 12 and a half years now (where has the time gone)?



Are we really going to be daddies? I thought this was not an option for an openly gay man? I get goosebumps just thinking of this...

And then, there are the days that B-Day seems to be approaching like a train out of control. 120 something days until our Noddy(ette) joins Darren and I and our lives will be forever changed. There is still so much to be done but I am not going to let this get the better of me. We will do what we can do and not stress about what isn't completed before we travel to India. I am going to enjoy the last 120 something days of our life together as a couple and look forward to the rest of our lives as a family. It's really happening!

This week our surrogate is going to be 23 weeks pregnant. Our latest scan results from Dr Sudhir & Yash are excellent....A+

Placenta maturity is Grade O
Head Circumference 18.5CM
Femur Length 3.5CM
Abdominal Circumference 16.5CM
Estimated Fetal Weight 420GRAMS




And our estimated due date has been brought forward to 18 April 2010. Gosh, can you believe how fast this is progressing. We are so eternally grateful to God for His gift to us and the blessings bestowed to us. Dr Sudhir and Dr Yash both know how much we care for them and the fantastic job they have done is making our parenthood dream a reality. They really are two of the most amazing people we have ever met.


WEEK 21
Fetal size 18cm (7.2 inches). Fetal weight 300grams (10.5 ounces).
Your baby has been growing rapidly, but over the last week and during this week, growth slows down and your baby continues to develop and mature in other ways while continuing to gain weight. At 21 weeks your baby can swallow amniotic fluid. Your baby absorbs the water from the fluid, while any other matter is pushed through the bowel by the muscle movements of the small intestine. The first bowel movement your baby passes will contain the undigested matter from the amniotic fluid. This green-black matter (called meconium) will be passed during or soon after birth.


WEEK 22
Fetal size 19cm (7.6 inches). Fetal weight 350grams (12.25 ounces).
Your baby is getting bigger as each day passes. Eyelids and eyebrows and fingernails are developed. Organs are developing to perform their particular functions. Your baby starts to build an immune system to act as a natural defense against infection. In addition he/she will begin to produce and store fatty tissue to produce body heat and keep warm. This fatty layer (called brown fat) starts to build up on different parts of the body and continues to do so until your baby is born. The skin is growing and is protected from the amniotic fluid by a waxy layer (called vernix). Until your baby develops more fat under the skin, it will remain red and wrinkly. The body is still covered by a fine layer of hair. Baby teeth have been formed and are waiting in the gums. Your baby can now taste and can tell the difference between sweet and bitter.


Your baby starts to move more, becoming more coordinated as muscles develop and strength increases. He/she can now turn and stretch. These movements will build muscle, strengthen bones and improve motor skills.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Time Again For Detox

Internet detox that is. It has been seven months to the day (5 May) since I last had my self imposed internet detox and another is long overdue!

I'm sure many of you will agree with me when I say this is the hardest thing we have gone through in our lives to date. Searching for a clinic to help us become parents, searching for a suitable egg donor and then a suitable surrogate. Then, surrogate numbers one and two are no longer available. Thank you surrogate number three! Our angel and wonder woman who is making our dreams come true.

Then to further add to the mayhem in my head, there's international air travel, hotels, visas, vaccinations, DNA tests, citizenship applications, passport applications, pregnancy updates including ultrasound results and films, blood, urine and other tests to boot! I believe that the stress I feel is compounded by the fact I am on a computer five days a week for around 50+ hours. Then there is the time online at home; I'm sending myself CRAZY!

I have to detox. I am making the most trivial, tiny news from India a MEGA MOUNTAIN from a tiny mole hill. There is no reason for me to doubt that our pregnancy is going normally and nothing is wrong. Noddy is perfectly safe and well as is our surrogate and they are both being taken cared for by the wonderful team at Surrogacy India.

So, here it is. No blogs, forums, emails, websites, parent chat rooms, you tube or anything baby related for seven days from today. It begins......now.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Five Months Pregnant!

Darren and I have just finished chatting with our wonderful surrogate on SKYPE and she looks AMAZING!

I know we're biased when I say our surrogate is the best in the world. But hey, she is! Her skin is glowing, her smile and laughter are infectious and she is so warm and wonderful toward us I only wish we were closer to India than a 13+ hour flight.

Today we hit the 20 week mark in our pregnancy. 20 WEEKS! We have successfully reached the half way point. There are no words to express how we feel. I (Johnny) have been having more and more recurring dreams about Noddy (Nodette)? and each one is more real than the next. God has a wonderful plan in store for Darren and I, even if it involves some sleepless nights.

Darren here: Yes I awake most mornings to a story of bizarre baby happenings in Johnnies imagination that are fantastic & sometime a little weird.

Tonight Sarika met my mum & it was just a wonderful moment that makes it that little bit more real for her who, up until this point has only really heard that about our conversations with Sarika & all of the wonderful people we have meet along the way to babydom.

Today is the half way point in our journey to become daddies: it feels amazing and scary. Heck we need to get it together. There is so much to do in the next 4 months before we bring Noddy home.

WEEK 20

Fetal size 14-16cm, (5.6-6.4 inches). Fetal weight 315g
(9 ounces).

Your baby's skin has now formed two layers. The epidermis (outer layer) and the dermis (deep skin tissue). From 20 weeks, your baby's skin starts to secrete vernix (a white pasty substance) that protects your baby's skin from the amniotic fluid. The vernix will be present on your baby's skin at birth.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Week 19 Update & Latest Ultrasound Results

Can you believe that we are now days from reaching the half way point of our pregnancy! One of the major mental milestones to be passed one would say.

We are so blessed to have by our side, our family, friends and a great community of online supporters following our journey. We sincerely thank you all for your kindness and kind words.

Our surrogate is doing very well from our last conversation with Dr Sudhir and we are very excited for the next day she will be back at SI's clinic so we can SKYPE with her again. I (Johnny) am still amazed that this is really happening to us. I am still scared to give myself over completely to the idea that I am going to be a parent in less than 6 months time. Our wonderful surrogate is being so well taken care of and is in the best of health, this pregnancy has thus fare been uneventful; which is just what we want.

I posted a while back that just because we want to be daddies does not mean it will happen. I won't be completely satisfied (and relieved) until Noddy is in our arms. I am so very fearful of this wonderful gift being snatched from Darren and I before we even realise it.

I am sure these emotions are normal though, right?

Our most recent ultrasound results from India are very impressive with all kinds of information for the medico lamen to ponder - yay for Dr Google.

A quick overview reads: A single live fetus is seen in unstable lie. Liqor volume is adequate. Placenta is situated at the fundus and extends along the anterior wall. It shows grade I maturity. No praevia is seen. Cervical Os and canal are closed. Cervix measures 3.3cm. Normal fetal cardiac activity and fetal biophysical profile is seen. No obvious anatomical anomalies are seen.

All in all a good report card wouldn't you agree? Our revised due date is now the 19th April 2010.

WEEK 19

Fetal size 13-15cm (5.2-6 inches). Fetal weight 200g (7 ounces). This week your baby continues to develop and grow.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Remembering Mumbai, 26 November 2008

On the 26th November 2008, we all woke to the news of horrific terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Our time spent in India in July of this year gave us the opportunity to meet some people that this day a year ago tomorrow had a direct impact on. Staff at our hotel who were fortunate enough to avoid the gun fire at the Oberoi and Taj Mahal Hotels. We can not begin to imagine the fear they have experienced. We now also have a personal and life long connection to Mother India. This is where Noddy was conceived. Through the generosity of two wonderful Indian woman and Dr Sudhir and Yash from Surrogacy India. We remember 26-11-08 because of them. The world we live in in vastly more aware of global conflict that that of our grandparents and great grand parents. The changed world we now live in seems to be desperately clinging onto peace; at least, this is my opinion. The nightly news without fail always seems to have a terrible story on war, famine and terrorism. The world and the people living here are crying out for help.

Innocent people, caught in the middle of political, religious and territorial motivated hate crimes. This is after all what is happening; crimes against your fellow man are not only terribly hateful but hurtful. The hate has a flow on affect sometimes lasting generations.

I loathe conflict and war. Whenever I hear of the terrible things happening in our world today I'm saddened. I do not understand what it is like to be hungry. I do not understand what it is like not to have fresh, clean drinking water available to me. I do not understand what it is like to have lost family members to war and I do not understand what it is like to have my family home taken from me due to no wrong doing on my part. I am in many way a naive person and perhaps selfish? We live in the Western, developed world a very decadent life. I cringe now when I think of the thousands of dollars spent on trivial, fleeting things; food, possessions long gone and the list could go on.

I love to travel the world, meet new people and experience daily life in a country vastly different from my own. But, as a tourist travelling for leisure one wears rose coloured glasses to a certain degree. This was evident during our time in India. Darren and I were fortunate enough due to my line of work to stay in an amazing 5* hotel with all the bells and whistles one could ask for. As we have said in earlier posts though, there was extreme poverty no more than a stones throw from our hotel lobby!

After my GOOGLE search, I learned the following facts:
~ At least 80% of humanity live on less than $10 a day
~ According to UNICEF, 25,000 children die every day due to poverty. 25,000!
~ Nearly 1 billion people entered the 21st century unable to read or sign their own name
~ Less than 1% of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child
into school by the year 2000.

Both Darren and I know how blessed we are.
We live in a free country ~ free to be ourselves
~ free to practice our religion without fear of attack
~ free from hunger and thirst
~ free from war
~ free from homelessness and poverty
This is the changing world we are going to bring our child into. I hope and pray that our children can make a difference.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Week 18 Update & Baby Belly

WEEK 18

This week your baby measures approximately 12.5-14cm (5-5.6 inches) in length and weighs about 150 grams (5.25 ounces). Your baby is looking more and more human as time goes by. Your baby can now make facial expressions, including frowning and squinting. Eyes are still closed, but are sensitive to light outside the abdomen. Eyelashes and eyebrows have started to grow.

Limbs become longer and start to gain proportion and begin to move as the connections between the nerves and muscles are established. The nerves are now being coated in myelin (a fatty later), enabling them to pass messages to and from the brain. Your baby's hands can now form fists and if they meet, will clasp together. The lungs are developing , but until birth the placenta will provide your baby's oxygen.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

LIFE Magazine Cover: April 30 1965

LIFE magazine's cover from 30 April 1965 showing an 18 week old fetus in utero, taken by Swedish photographer Linnart Nilsson, using an endoscopic camera with electronic flash.

How amazing to know that this is how our Noddy is looking like around this week. A real person, a human being with all his/her limbs and now able to respond to light and dark from the outside world!


This week we enter our 18th week gestation, or thereabouts. Each week we receive an email update from an online baby forum here in Australia with information on how Noddy should be developing and growing and it is great to have this information available to us. These weekly emails combined with updates from Dr Sudhir and Dr Yash and chatting with our surrogate on SKYPE help to make us feel closer to our pregnancy.

At this stage, from our latest ultrasound films from SI, Noddy is due to join us some time from the 15th to the 27th April 2010. Gosh, not long now until our dream of parenthood becomes reality!

There are so many couples undertaking this life changing journey of starting a family via surrogacy in India, the USA, Thailand and other countries it is easy to forget that for some, the process of becoming parents is very long and exhausting. Not everyone has a positive pregnancy. We are both so very blessed to have had success on our first attempt and count our blessings every single day. We receive continued support from couples world wide, some who have tried in vain time and time again with no success to become parents.

We are equally happy to hear that these people are not giving in to negative results and continue going back for their third, fourth and fifth attempt. As others have already said before us, the one guarantee that surrogacy offers us is options and hope. Hope that this time will be 'our time'.

The surrogacy community is small. Nastiness, lies and malice toward others is not called for and when you behave this way it shows nothing other than ones immaturity and inability to care for your fellow man. Darren and I both believe that we need to be there and support each other with kind words, prayers and messages of hope.

Is this not what we would want for our children? I know I would.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Baby Booty & Week 17 Update

Not that kind of booty! Our baby booty; gifts that we have received so far for Noddy are stacking up next to the book shelf in our study which is to become Noddy's room. We have received some lovely gifts from family and friends so far; mainly clothes, some soft toys and lots and lots of books! We can't wait to start reading with Noddy. Below is our BEFORE photo of our study as it currently is and once we have made changes turning into our nursery we'll post those too.



We are now only three weeks away from the half way point - 20 weeks! My the time really has flown. We contacted our local hospital this week and obtained the 'blue book' which all new parents in the state of NSW receive on the birth of their child to record vaccinations and development...

The blue book or personal health record
When you have a baby, you will be given a Blue Book. This will be your baby's personal health record for their entire life. The blue book contains information about development, health checks and services from birth to school age. The Blue Book contains a guide when to bring your child to routine health checks to check your child's development in on track. This includes screening of all babies for hearing problems, called the NSW Statewide Infant Screening - Hearing Programs or (SWISH).

There are also other checks for movement, vision and language development. When your child turns four, the health check will also include the Statewide Eyesight Preschooler Screening (STEPS), to check you child's vision so any issue can be dealt with before starting school.


WEEK 17
This week your baby is about 11-12 cm (4.4-4.8 inches) in length and weighs approximately 100 grams (3.5 ounces). Fat begins to form on the fetus and aids in heat production and metabolism. The fetus can also now hear noises from the outside world.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Outing Ourselves & Week 16 Update

This week we officially outed ourselves as expecting parents! This was more an event for Johnny as he had been keeping the news of our pregnancy quiet, waiting until we were into our second trimester before telling many people.

Our mothers both know already, as does Johnny's step father and our siblings. Most of our friends know but not everyone in our family know our exciting news. This week was Darren's Aunt's 60th birthday and Uncle's 70th so what better time to fill the extended family in our our news! Especially since we had a captive audience and everyone was together celebrating birthdays which does not happen very often. We also officially told Johnny's dad, step mother and children who were visiting Sydney from the NSW North Coast for a few days.




Johnny also told the rest of his work colleagues who did not know already. We had a great morning tea at work and Lisa (Johnny's manager) made the yummiest pink and blue cupcakes. Everyone at work has been great and really supportive as are most people that we come into contact with.

WEEK 16

This week your baby is approximately 11-12cm (4.3-4.6 inches) long and weighs about 80 grams (2.8 ounces). All embryos start off looking much the same, as far as outward appearances are concerned, but this week sexual differentiation is more definite. Your baby's legs are now longer than its arms, and they are moving around.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Irrational Thoughts Be Gone!

Why oh why do I even give credit to these irrational and crazy thoughts??? Nothing will go wrong and our pregnancy & it shall be one of the smooth, trouble free ones that you read about. 9 months of bliss for our surrogate and Noddy!

> Thank you to God for taking care of our surrogate and keeping her in the best of health.

> Thank you for keeping Noddy growing steadily and as he/she should be.

> Thank you for watching over Dr Yash, Dr Sudhir, Dr Soni and everyone else caring for our
surrogate and Noddy.

> Thank you for keep Darren, Johnny and our families in the best of health, ready and waiting
for the day Noddy will join all of us .

> Thank you for the opportunity to be daddies and share our lives with our amazing child.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Celebration Photos & Week 15 Update

We just LOVE Sykpe! This week we were fortunate enough to catch our surrogate in SI's office again after some appointments and had the chance to see her beautiful face again! She is looking so well and had the most amazing glow in her face, she truly did!

Gopa also sent us some great photos of our surrogate opening her diwali gifts and she looked so happy. Dr Sudhir said that she was very grateful and happy with what we had sent her. We are so glad and are looking forward to sending a hamper full of Aussie goodies for Christmas time. We saw so many friendly faces at the SI office it made us both so melancholy to return to India now. Our surrogate was asking us when we were coming back to see her and we would love to be there now but financial and work constraints mean it's not likely I'm afraid...If anyone out there has some Qantas frequent flyer points they want to donate to us please feel free to do so!

We are coming into our 15th week of pregnancy which means only another five weeks until we hit the half way mark!!!!! Oh my, this is fact approaching and we have still so much to do. We are going to start our nursery preparations in the new year and we'll post photos of the before and after shots for your enjoyment.

We have a green check wallpaper in our study (that is to become Noddy's room) that needs to be removed, walls repainted, panelling installed, furniture painted and the list goes on. Luckily we have some handy family members who have agreed to help us as we are not that handy. Sure, we can put colours together and select some wonderful co-ordinating fabrics but, handy we aint!

Below is the 14 and a half'ish week baby belly care of wonderful Gopa at SI!

WEEK 15

This week your baby is around 93-104mm (3.4-4.1 inches) in length and weighs approximately 50 grams (1.75 ounces).

The fetus continues to grow rapidly and is starting to look more and more like a baby. The external ears and eyes are well developed and lanugo (a fine, downy hair) covers the body. As the neck further extends and the chin becomes prominent, the head becomes well defined. Your baby may now start to suck it's thumb.









Friday, October 23, 2009

Government Requirements & Week 14 Update

This week has seen us emailing the Australian Embassy in New Delhi back and forth and back and forth. The paper trail has us daunted again!

Under Australian law, any child born overseas to Australian parents is required to undergo DNA testing to prove their paternal/maternal link to obtain citizenship.

For us, this means we undergo mandatory DNA testing prior to travelling to India in April and then, once Noddy is born he/she must do the same.

Basically once Noddy is born, our time will be spent as follows:

Obtain birth certificate in Mumbai ~ Around 7 days to have this done

Noddy has his/her DNA test (preferably with the Consul General in Mumbai). The Embassy in New Delhi is considering each case of children born via surrogacy & hopefully Noddy will not have to come to Delhi too.

Once birth certificate is obtained, one of us will have to travel to the Australian Embassy in New Delhi to apply for citizenship by descent & then an Australian passport.

We then (hope) to return to Mumbai and await the courier for Noddy's passport and then off to the FRRO office for an exit visa....Argh!

There's nothing to stress about, right?

WEEK 14

This week your baby is about 80-89mm in length and weighs approximately 25 grams
(0.9 ounces). The head is now about one third of your baby's whole length and the neck continues to get longer, meaning that the chin no longer rests on the chest.

The placenta has fully developed and its rich network of blood vessels is functioning as your baby's life support system. The placenta also manufactures some of the pregnancy hormones. The umbilical cord is also completely mature and is made up of three entwined blood vessels (covered by a fatty layer). The large vein of the umbilical cord carries nourishment and oxygen rich blood to the fetus, while the two smaller arteries are responsible for carrying waste products and carbon dioxide from the fetus to the placenta, which then processes waste. The placenta also passes antibodies that help fight infections from the mother to the fetus. Your baby's circulation continues to develop and he/she can now swallow amniotic fluid, which is excreted as urine. Your baby starts to establish a sucking reflex, and exercises the muscles that will help him/her swallow and breath after birth.

The profile of your baby is now more human, and features such as chin, forehead and nose are are more clearly defined. Fingers and toes are becoming fully formed and the external genitals differentiate. By the end of this week your baby is fully formed. From here, he/she needs to mature.

Monday, October 12, 2009

We Welcome Our Second Trimester...Namaste

It really is true. The time does fly by. Months and months of waiting, emailing, blogging, travelling, emailing and then some more waiting and..voila the first trimester has been and gone.

Welcome Noddy to your second trimester, week 13! Not a single day goes by when your Daddies do not think of the wonder, joy and miracle that is life and the day when we will hold you and know you are our child.

The latest results from our surrogate's 12 week ultrasound and blood tests are excellent;

Noddy's heart rate ~ 178bpm
Gestational Age ~ 11 weeks & four days at 07-10-09
Estimated due date ~ 24-04-2010
No anomolies detected

We are so thankful to everyone who has made this dream a reality. Dr Sudhir and Dr Yash of Surrogacy India, Dr Pai who performed our egg transfer, Dr Soni who is regularly checking on Noddy's progress, our egg donor (a wonderful, selfless woman) and our surrogate who we constantly think of and pray for her good health.

Of course we also have the support of both our extended families, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the newest member to our family. We also have our faith and the love of God in our lives without whom none of this would be in the realm of possibility. We thank him every day for the gifts bestowed on us and will never forget the wonder of his creation. The dream of becoming parents is that one step closer and we are not letting go!

*******

WEEK 13

This week your baby is approximately 65-78mm (2.6-3.1 inches) long and weighs about 14-20 grams (0.5-0.7 ounces)

This week your baby starts to gro rapidly, and his/her body is now growing fater than the head. Maturation of the tissuesnd organs continues. The heart is beating at about twice the rate of a normal adult heart and can be detected using an ultrasonic device or Doppler.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Our New Family Friendly Vehicle

Darren has just started his new job and no longer has a company car, so we have been looking for a replacement vehicle for the past couple of months. One that is family friendly and will accommodate our growing need for space so we can picnic on Sundays and enjoy long weekends together as a family! We can either take a standard vehicle from their fleet and salary sacrifice (as the costs still come out of his package) or hire purchase a new vehicle ourselves that we will eventually own. We chose the latter option.


Our car wish list is;

Safety. There is no skimping here people - 5* safety rating only
Practical, there has to be space for a pram and overnight bags
Parking sensors (for Johnny)
Sunroof (if possible)
Cream Leather (for Darren)
Sat Nav (Forget the UBD)
Euro Wagon (would be nice)

We already own a cute Mazda 3 sedan; Yuki and she is great. Very fuel efficient and a zippy little love that has us travelling care free as an Andrews Sister from A to B and then some. For some reason we feel the need to name our cars and we have had a few during our time together;

Erica - Darren's first car, a SAAB 900 sedan
Veronica - Our first car together, a VOLVO 850 sedan
Ethan - Our second car together, a VOLVO S60 sedan
Yuki - Our current car together, a MAZDA 3 sedan

Darren is and has always been a car fanatic and since meeting him, Johnny is now the same...well almost. Unlike some men who like cars, racing, engines etc we are more selective in our interest and only enjoy some cars. They are mainly European and way out of our price range or something dreamy and totally impractical. There's no harm in dreaming right?


Every year we look forward to the Sydney International Motor Show and always have our standard manufactures we visit; Mercedes, Volvo, BMW, Saab, Audi and then the dreamers Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin. It has been three years though since we've been to a motor show given the recent 'GFC'. Two Australian cities hold a motor show each year, Melbourne and Sydney but the Sydney show has been given the boot my manufactures given the high costs of attending and it is now going to be held bi-annually in each city. Next year will Sydney's turn and we are so excited. We'll also be attending as a threesome, the first time with Noddy!

It is amazing the price difference between Australia, the US and some European countries when it comes to cars. For example;

Mercedes' G class SUV in the USA has a starting price of $59,950 and Audi's Q5 SUV a starting price of $37,350. Converted into AUD that's around $70,000 & $43,600 respectively. The same cars in Australia start from $114,000 & $66,700 given the 33% luxury car tax care of the Australian government!


After many weeks of web browsing, brochure reading and test driving we can now happily announce the newest vehicular member of our family:














"Orlando" the Ocean Racer Volvo XC70 Station Wagon


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Diwali Festival & Week 12 Update

We have just finished chatting with our surrogate on sykpe. AMAZING!
She looks so well and is really happy in herself she said. We both only wish we were closer to her so we could visit her now. It is the first time we have seen her since we left India & believe it is such a great way of staying connected to Noddy's pregnancy. She will next be in the clinic in around 10-15 days time and we'll chat again on skype then. We also got to chat with Ravi and Gopa at SI and it was great to see their friendly faces again. The Hindu Festival of Diwali is fast approaching and we are preparing to send our surrogate a hamper of gifts for her and her kids. We both were a little unsure as to what Diwali was other than being known as "The Festival of Lights". We found the below on http://www.diwalifestival.org/

Diwali is one of the biggest festival of Hindus, celebrated with great enthusiasm and happiness in India. The festival is celebrated for five continuous days, where the third days is celebrated as the main Diwali festival or 'Festival of lights'. Different colorful varieties of fireworks are always associated with this festival. On this auspicious day, people light up diyas and candles all around their house. They perform Laxmi Puja in the evening and seek divine blessings of Goddess of Wealth. The festival od Diwali is never complete without exchange of gifts. People present diwali gifts to all near and dear ones.



Week 12

Your baby is approximately 60mm (2.5 inches) in length and weighs between 9 and 14 grams (0.3-0.5 ounces).

From this week onwards your baby is recognisable as a human being and is now called a fetus as opposed to an embryo. Now, or close to this time, you should be able to hear your baby's heartbeat with a Doppler (a special listening device). The fingers and toes develop, and nails and teeth are beginning to form. The skeletal system, which began developing earlier, now has centres of bone formation (ossification) in most bones. The external genital organs are growing. The amount of amniotic fluid is increasing. The nervous system has continued to develop, and the digestive system is now capable of making the contractions that process food.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

12 week baby belly




Our day, week and month has been made today with photos from Dr Sudhir & Yash of our wonderful surrogate and a 'baby belly'!
Our surrogate is looking really well and has put on weight in her face from when we met her. We are both so elated at receiving these wonderful photos and want to share them with you.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Double Marker Test

Well the results are in. Last night before bed and after checking the email for the 250th time that day, there were our double marker results...

1:949 chance of trisomy 21
1:5172 chance of trisomy 18

We couldn't be happier and our results done on the 24th September show Noddy's gestational age at 9 weeks and four days which means on the Monday the 12th October, the same day that Darren starts his new job we will officially begin our second trimester. We have joined an online parent website & forum, http://www.essentialbaby.com.au/ and we are receiving weekly updates on how Noddy should be progressing and this is it for week 11:

Week 11

Your baby is approximately 44-60mm (1.75-2.4 inches) long and weighs about 8 grams
(0.3 ounces). Rapid growth occurs during this time period. The head is still large, and takes up almost half of the entire length of the body. The eyes are formed, although the eyelids remain closed while they continue to develop. The rest of the face is also formed. Your baby's body has straightened out, and bones and ribs appear. Although your baby can now respond to touch, you won't yet be able to feel it move. Nutrients pass from your body into the placenta and umbilical cord to feed your baby and support his/her rapid growth.

Johnny is in the process of preparing a hamper full of treats and body products to send our wonderful surrogate since we won't be able to visit mid pregnancy although we would love to. We are both saving our holidays for when Noddy arrives so we can have the most amount of time together as a family. With Darren starting a new job soon we are hoping that he will be permitted to have more than just two weeks annual leave in April 2010 (fingers crossed).

Other highlights this week include buying a cot. We have been trying to find something that will suit our French Provencial decorated home and we wanted it to be just right. We ended up finding a beautiful white sleigh cot that converts to a toddler bed too and we saved $650 off the retail price so how can one not be happy!

We will convert our study into Noddy's nursery and our front guest room will become our new study. It is more than twice the size of our current study and means will will still be able to have guets stay over as we're going to buy an ottoman sofa bed to pop in there too. On the list of other things to do before Noddy joins us;




Build cupboards in our upstairs loft which will become our permanent bedroom
Install new floorboards downstairs as the carpet is looking tiiired
Repaint skirting boards downstairs prior to floorboards being installed
Paint Noddy's bedroom

We have six months in which to do the above and other things too tedious to mention here. Thankfully we're coming into our Summer months and daylight saving starts this Sunday and runs for a full six months so we're gonna be OK.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Waiting Game

Is not so bad this week. Johnny spoke with Dr Sudhir last night and it's sounds as though he and Dr Yash have had an exceptionally busy week with IPs the world over. Our surrogate had her double marker test late last week and we are waiting on the results some time this week. We are fast approaching our twelve week mark, the end of the first trimester and I think we'll celebrate with close friends and family and a glass of bubbles or two.

On the home front we have some exciting news; Darren is going to start a new job much closer to home in a couple of weeks. For close to ten years he has been working with a major furniture/homewares retailer and travelling more than an hour each way to and from work and putting in very long hours. His new job will be so much closer to home, around ten minutes door to door and will be better for our family in the long run.

Being close to home when Noddy arrives is going to be great and an added bonus which we have never had before is that we will have every second weekend together.Now this may not seem very exciting to the majority but we have never had a proper weekend (SAT & SUN) together in the twelve years we have been together. It is very exciting and already we can see long weekends away with Noddy and Sunday picnics at the lake close to home feeding the ducks....Aaaah.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Role Reversal

The high we feel after speaking with Dr Sudhir & Yash about our pregnancy and surrogate is surreal. I've said before that this information is like a drug & calms the nerves until our next instalment as we wait with baited breath across the seas.

We have just spoken with both Dr Sudhir and Yash (enroute to Lilavati Hospital) to meet new IPs; these guys are so busy and never stop, and all is well. This of course we already knew but still needed to chat with them. We really have been missing not only them but India so greatly these past couple of weeks it's crazy.

Our surrogate is well & feeling very healthy other than morning sickness and a loss of apetite; the poor girl. The double marker test is scheduled for later this week followed shortly by the nuchal fold test and then in around 14 days or less we will officially be in our second trimester. This is where relief will come to Johnny's mental state...I hope.

There has been a strange role reversal for Darren & Johnny when it comes to Noddy's pending arrival & our surrogate's pregnancy. It is usually the case with anything exciting we have planned that Darren takes a back seat and will not get excited until the event is upon us.

Holidays, parties, anything exciting he waits until it is here. Our trip to India in July was a perfect example; Darren would not allow himself to get excited until we were at the airport checking in for our flight. Johnny on the other hand can't wait and is excited four years ahead of time.

Our pregnancy has been different for us in that Darren feels so confident in that we will have nine months of bliss and then Noddy will be here without a hiccup. All of Darren's co workers already we know we are ten weeks pregnant and are sharing the excitement of every week with him. He is ready to tell the entire neighbourhood whereas Johnny is the one waiting for the prize, so to speak. I am so excited that it scares me and maybe this is why I am holding off telling people.

Only one of Johnny's co workers knows of our pregnancy and everyone else is currently in the dark. It is hard I will admit but for some reason the mental obstacle of passing the twelve week mark is significant for me. I can't explain it and I am fully aware that even into the second and third trimester we can have bad news that could bring our dreams crashing down.

I am so scared of losing Noddy that it frightens me to think of this. I have to stop myself thinking these kinds of thoughts and won't give them a second's credibility in my mind. I can't believe how much we already love our unborn child.

I pray we do have the perfect pregnancy & all goes to Darren's plans (and dreams). I pray to God that it does.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sympathy Baby Brain & Delusions of Pram Grandeur

We must be suffering from sympathy baby brain or at least that's the angle we're playing at the moment. Johnny had thought we were coming into our nineth week of pregnancy from today (the 21st September) but we are in fact in our tenth week. Or at least I think so.


Dr Sudhir has confirmed that our surrogate will be having her double marker test this Friday the 25th and, typically this is done around the tenth week of gestation. We are both amazed that we are almost at the end of the first trimester. It has almost been three whole months since Noddy was created and we are amazed every day at the wonderful gift of life being offered to us by our surrogate and Drs Sudhir & Yash.


Both Johnny & Darren have been missing India, the Drs at Surrogacy India and the wonderful people we met there two months ago now. I wish we were closer so we could visit them again. Reading other IP's blogs about their first time arriving into Mumbai and travelling around the city is really making us both melancholy. Silly we know but this is how we're feeling. We also want to be back in Mumbai to see our surrogate again; just to see her and say over and over how much what she is doing for us means to all our family. We are all so blessed and amazed at her generosity and selflesness.


Yesterday was the last day of the Sydney Baby Expo and Johnny and his mum decided to go together. Unfortunately Darren had to work but since it was the last day and all we had to go. To date, most of our spare time is spent either online browsing every imaginable baby website and forum deciding on which pram is best, which nappies are best, debating the pros and cons of paccifers vs self soothing, which formula we should be using, bottles we should be using etc etc etc. It is never ending & there is so much information out there. We are now asking ourselves if this is necessarily a good thing? Hmmm?


Combine this with the mountain (and we mean mountain) of baby catalogues, books & magazines taking over our study we are on the way to knowing all there is about how to prepare for a newborn baby....We're sure this will all fly out the window when Noddy actually joins our family & we'll be just as dumbfounded, scared to death & amazed as any other new parent.


Back to the baby expo & in particular, prams. There are so may choices when it comes to prams and strollers out there we are still undecided as to which pram is best for us.


In a moment of baby brain disillusionment, Johnny had dreams of the Silver Cross Kensington or Balmoral baby carriage...see below picture for the jolt back to reality!





One exhibitor at the expo was Silver Cross & I was so excited to finally see their entire range in the flesh after months and months of brochure adoration. One thing on the above carriage is that it is HUGE! HUGE I TELL YOU......HUGE!


Now I should also tell you, dear reader that the above baby carriage weighs in at a hefty 37KG or 81.4LBS, is 125cm high, 59cm wide and 133cm long. It also does not collapse at all and am told first hand by the exhibitor that Silver Cross are yet to find a vehicle big enough to fit this thing into. But, for those of you out there willing to forgo practicality and more than a few thousand dollars, dream a little dream with me


http://www.silvercross.com.au/balmoral_pram.php


For us however, it is a sudden jolt back to reality since all our savings will be spent on surrogacy. We now present you with our pram of choice below!



Monday, September 14, 2009

9 Week Update

We are now into our eighth week of pregnancy and last week received our latest test results from Drs Yash & Sudhir on how our wonderful surrogate is progressing.

We received full blood work results including blood sugar levels, thyroid function tests, glycosylated hemoglobin (had to look this one up on GOOGLE) & full urine test results. ON first reading of these results the non medially trained amongst us will definitely have some questions as we did. The internet and GOOGLE are an invaluable tool is deciphering these tests and answering our questions.

Our surrogate is very healthy and doing well according to Dr Yash. Our next update should be in a couple of weeks time when we will have the 'double marker' test via ultrasound to check if there is a risk of down syndrome. The past two weeks since our 'heartbeat' result have flown by and both Darren and Johnny were amazed at how quickly the first two months of pregnancy have gone by. Our only wish would be that we were closer to India so that we could visit our surrogate and the fantastic people at Surrogacy India. We really miss them & are so looking forward to April 2010 when we will return. One of the great things keeping us going is all the other blogs from people around the world in the same boat as us. We check our emails and blog updates daily waiting for the next update from intending parents the world over. This and the SI online forum which has been a blessing of information & support to us in our early stages of research and planning.

Patience is a virtue we are quickly learning.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Our Wait Is Over

We have just heard from Dr Yash & Sudhir at Surrogacy India and our ultrasound results are:



A Single live foetus is noted well defined in gestation sac with good choriodecidual reaction. Yolk sac is identfied & fetal cardiac activity is well appreciated.



WE ARE PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6 weeks and 4 days according to the sonolgy report.

Just in time for Fathers day here in Australia.


Noddy, we already love you so very much our darling little one.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Waiting for Noddy's Heartbeat

Isn't the anguish of waiting supposed to be over now that we are pregnant?

Ha!

There is always something we are waiting to hear about or anxious to know, so the waiting and not knowing continues to haunt us. Johnny is repeating to himself that 'no news is good news' but it is very difficult being on a computer for work all day and trying not be distracted by everything baby.

Some of the happy news from intending parents who went to India in July/August has turned very sad; two couples we know of who had a positive pregnancy have recently miscarried and it's terribly, terribly sad. We can't begin to express to these wonderful people how we feel for them & it makes us even more grateful that we are still pregnant. Thank you Lord.

From our conversations with Drs Sudhir & Yash, our wonderful surrogate is feeling well and in good health. Dr Sudhir said the other day that when our SM next comes into their office he will take a couple of new photos for us. What a great guy!

We are expecting the latest ulstrasound results from Dr Sudhir either tomorrow night or Saturday night (we hope) confirming Noddy's heartbeat. 48 hours seems like such a long time!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Darren & Our Ultrasound Result

Darren had his 40th birthday on the 19th August & we have been celebrating with family & friends over the past fourteen days or so. A very merry unbirthday to you!

Festivities started with our annual 'August Birthday' dinner/lunch at our place on Sunday the 16th August. Darren, his sister and brother are all born in August and we typically have a shared birthday celebration at our place. This year was a BBQ lunch since we had an early taste of our approaching Summer. What a lovely day we all had, great food with our extended family celebrating our love for each other and celebrating the exciting news of the soon to be new addition to our family; Noddy!

The actual day of Darren's birthday, 19 August we both had to work so were invited to enjoy probably our last Winter roast dinner at our dear friend's home - roasted lamb & veg. We were quickly reminded that although three days earlier we were enjoying a taste of Summer, we are still in the grasp of Winter! We live in the Blue Mountains, West of Sydney and were reminded that it is still infact Winter and three seasons in one day is not uncommon.

We spent the night with our dear friends Tanya & Trent and their three children. Thanks Tannie for the wonderful banoffee pies you made (another favourite of Darren's).
To further celebrate the four decades of DRD, we had dinner with Johnny's mum & dad two days later on Friday the 21st. We ordered take out to keep things easy - - - of course we ate too much and had to finish off with chocolate cake.
Three days later the extravaganza continued with an hour long massage with a local masseuse who also specialised in reiki. Johnny has not been to this particular woman but Darren and Tanya both have & both fall asleep after one of her massages so there's something good going on here.

This now brings us to the weekend that just was; 29 & 30 August & the final installment of the DRD chronicles, chapter 40.


Johnny's sister, brother in law and two nieces travelled to the Mountains from the NSW North Coast on Friday night to spend the weekend with us. Friday night was a catch up, wine and curry night after the long drive from Newcastle via Sydney. Saturday morning, Johnny, Murray & the girls went to source supplies for Saturday nights dinner, a BBQ with Johnny's side of the family. Dinner was fantastic & lots of fun; sticky ginger/garlic ribs, soft shell salt & pepper crab, satay chicken & salads kept the menu easy and dessert was....WOW!

Johnny's younger sister is a head chef at a Sydney golf and country club and has recently started pastry cooking and in particular has an interest in cake decorating. Becky made the most amazing 40th birthday cake for Darren and it was utterly delicious. Three tiers of chocolate and coconut cake with lashings of smooth ganache, iced to perfection. It was a masterpiece and she did a great job. Thanks Beck!



The weekend finished on Sunday with an afternoon rendezvous at a local golf club with friends & family for drinks, food, laughter and...barefoot lawn bowls. Hilariously fun is really the only way to describe the day. We had a blast and thanks to everyone for making it so special & the effort for travelling up to see Darren.

During the weekend's activities, we did speak with Dr Yash regarding our ultrasound. The line was not the best and there was loads of background noise but the news is good. We have yet to receive our written report but we have one gestational sac well implanted from what we could hear Dr Yash saying.

Now an update from Dr Wikipedia on this most recent medical update;
The gestational sac (or gestation sac) is the only available intrauterine structure that can be used to determine if an intrauterine pregnancy (IUP) exists, until the embryo is identified.
On ultrasound, it is an anechoic (dark) space surrounded by a hyperchoic (white) rim.
It is spherical in shape, and usually located in the upper uterine fundus.
The mean gestational sac diameter (MGD) is an effective estimate of gestational age[1] between 5 and 6 weeks, with an accuracy of about +/- 5 days. [2]
The yolk sac and embryo should be readily identified when the gestational sac reaches a certain size and the yolk sac is 20 mm in size or the fetal pole is 25 mm in size.

We are both overwhelmed and greatful to have made it this far. We pray that our wonderful surrogate stays healthy and happy & we now look forward to our next U/S to check for Noddy's heartbeat. We have never before been so scared about losing something we have not even seen yet or realised as part of our life. The dream of becoming fathers through surrogacy is fragile and fraught with uncertainty. All we can do is remain positive & pray Noddy wants to be with us as much as we do with him/her.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Waiting Game

By all accounts we are just under six weeks pregnant & any news from the doctors at SI is like a drug, our fix if you will. This makes the waiting game for our next piece of news easier to cope with.

Waiting for news from India on how our surrogate is feeling and our pregnancy progressing is starting to send Johnny more than Darren crazy. It's when we're waiting for news that the irrational thoughts enter your head. Those undergoing surrogacy in India and other parts of the world will know exactly what we mean here;

"I haven't heard today beacuase.....(insert your own disater or bad news)"

Of course we know that both Drs Sudhir & Yash are very busy and run off their feet. Working with couples from around the world offering a service unlike any other we have heard of. Very personalised with great care shown to intending parents. Our time in Mumbai with then was testament to this work ethic. There has been such good news of late coming from India; the birth of three baby boys to couples in the USA and Australia and positive pregnancies from August cyclers. April and May 2010 will be a very exciting time for those of us returning to India to complete our family.

We should have that all important next update if not today tomorrow we hope. Our first ultrasound result & are waiting with baited breath.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We Are Pregnant!


Our two week wait is now offically over. We have had the very exciting news from Drs Sudhir & Yash that our amazing surrogate is confirmed pregnant with our child!!!
Our beta or 'HCG' levels to date are as follows:
12 days past ovulation - 69
17 days past ovulation - 441
What is a beta I hear you ask?
The 'beta' is the blood test one takes to confirm their pregnancy. The test measures the amount of HCG in your bloodstream. In very early pregnancy, the numbers might not be very high but they should quickly increase. A single HCG level can't really tell you much about your pregnancy but watching the increase over several days is one way of measuring the viability of the pregnancy. There is a large variation in beta numbers in a "normal" pregnancy. Caution must be used in making too much of HCG numbers. An ultrasound at five or six weeks of pregnancy can better predict a good pregnancy outcome than any number of beta tests. As a note, you won't expect to see a gestational sac or the fetus until the HCG level reaches at least 1,200 mIU/ml. And you probably won't see a heartbeat until that level reaches at least 6,000 mIU/ml.
Good steady increases indicating a strong singleton pregnancy. We'll have our first ultrasound in seven days time to check the position of our embryo and that it's well and truly happy in our surrogates uterine lining & the following week will be the all important ultrasound to check for Noddy's heartbeat. At this stage we are both over the moon and enjoying the moment. It is amazing to think that we are already four weeks pregnant by the account of the doctors at Surrogacy India - WOW! Both Darren and I are so very grateful to the wonderful DRs at SI, our ED and SM and the other people who have made our dream of being parents come true.
Noddy will be with us before we know it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Farewell India, We're Home & Reflection

Day 7
The morning of our last day in India. We spent the better half of the day lazing around our hotel room, packing our luggage, ordering room service and enjoying every last ounce of our room at the Taj. We had a late check out but did not use it as we had agreed with the docs from SI to meet one last time at Lilavati for our goodbyes and meet our new friends from Victoria there.

We left Drs Yash & Sudhir in the early afternoon and went back to the guy’s hotel closer to the airport for some farewell cocktails & an early dinner. They have been amazing and it has been a better experience having shared this with the two of them.

Our flight home was long but necessary so we're not complaining. This brings us to our newest mantra having seen how the millions of those living in poverty in Mumbai survive day to day. We have nothing to complain about - NOTHING! Our home, humble to us is unimaginable to many in India. We both have stable, secure jobs a bountiful supply of food & clean drinking water...from any tap in the house or garden. The number of people living on the street, sleeping on the sidewalks, under bridges was a sobering experience for the both of us.
Happily riding in our air conditioned car from our hotel to the hospital, apartments, hotels and restaurants; the plight of the poor is hard to fathom and put into words. It has changed how we view the world. How could it not?

Reflection
Now home, back to our reality it is easy to become dismissive of what we experienced in Mumbai. Meeting Drs Yash, Sudhir, Soni and all the other fantastic people who are making our dreams reality was a highlight of course. However the people we met on the street and in the places we visisted made the experience very real and for that we are thankful.

Our new friends from Victoria who shared this experience with us - thank you! Your friendship & the laughter shared have made becoming parents an even more amazing experience than we could have imagined.
The people we encountered during our week in India have been utterly beautiful. Our amazing surrogate, her mother, caretaker, sister and the people in the street. All caring, beautiful and amazing.



A 'taste' of fatherhood whilst in India....What a beauty (the two of them).

xxx

Saturday, August 8, 2009

India...Days 4, 5 and 6

Sensory overload, sensory overload!
Day 4
This morning Dr Sudhir woke us at 7.30am with the news that our transfer was going to be today..WOW. We caught a cab from our hotel to Lilavati & the drive is lovely past some of Mumbai's great places to visit - Marine Drive, Haji Ali Mosque etc. We had breakfast there as the Indian food in the cafeteria is fantastic & what a bargain - Rs150 for the two of us including coffee & juice. Dr Yash confirmed that our embryos are of an excellent standard and she could not be happier. We again met our SM this time with her mother. This was very humbling and we said our ' Namastes' & tried in vain to express our eternal gratitude to her and her daughter. Transfer seemed to take a lifetime when in fact it was only around 1-2 hours of waiting for us and nothing like what our SM went through.
We then travelled to the VITS to meet a Canadian IP who has just had a baby girl around three weeks earlier and it was great to chat with her & her experiences post birth. What a doll her cherub is! We met the guys from Victoria there too & they have been so fantastic to talk to and share our surrogacy journey with. The four of us went back to their hotel for a light lunch & a G&T...India really is amazing!

Day 5
Today we returned to Lilavati for our frozen sample (just in case). We laughed at how much easier it was the second time round - most likely having overcome the shock of the 'sample room'. We then drove to Hiranandani Gardens with the SI doctors - an amazing complex of corporate offices, shops, restaurants and the Hiranandani Hospital. The birth hospital that SI use for their International IPs. Even more amazing is the fact that the area is only around 15 years old. We met Dr Anita Soni who will be delivering Noddy & what an amazing woman. No nonsence & what you see is what you get. Exactly what we like. We toured the hospital and visited their NICU & suites where IPs can stay post birth. Basic but great being at the hospital if need be. We again met up with our new Mumbai contact, who was introduced to us through the Melbourne couple & the five of us went back to the Colaba Causeway for some more shopping. We stopped in at a fantastic silver store and bought a beautiful rattle for Noddy.
We said bye to Tara & the four of us then went to the Regal Theatre to see a newly released Bollywood movie - Love Aaj Kal which is advertised everywhere in Mumbai at the moment. The seating is all reserved & the four us us went for the dress circle tickets at Rs150 pp. What an experience! The movie, although in Hindi was easy to follow. A typical love story that was so great to have experienced. We then went back to Khyber with the guys for our dinner. A fantastic restaurant & highly recommended for others travelling to the South of Mumbai.

Day 6
Our first sleep in...We spent the morning in our room today. With nothing planned we ordered breakfast in & then ventured out of the sanctuary being our hotel room. The two of us took a ferry to Elephanta Island. Only 11km from our hotel but a long boat ride. Again another experience if visiting the South of Mumbai. The series of caves on the island are amazing and definitely worth a visit...Johnny fell in love with the monkeys but was cautious not to get too close due to the warning signs:
Do not tease the monkeys, they may bite you. Enough said. The trip back to the Gateway where the ferries depart/arrive was another experince. Monsoon decided to pay us a visit around 15 minutes into the 45-60 minute trip back to the city. Horizontal rain and BIG WAVES!
Another experience, that's all folks. Safely back on terra firma we showered and travelled to North Mumbai for a birthday dinner with the guys - now this needs to be said. Our first couple of trips to the North have been very quick; 35-45 minutes. This time we left at 5.30ish and we took a little over two hours. Long, long, long but hey we're not complaining. The poverty we have seen in this city of 23 million is unimaginable to many I'm sure. Families living under bridges on the highways, small children & smaller babies struggling to find their next meal while we live it up gives us goosebumps.
This experience has truly made us appreciate the gifts in our lives even more so. We had a lovely dinner with the guys; enjoyed some wonderful food, drinks & more importantly their beautiful company. They will be friends for life.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

India...Days 1, 2 and 3

We were going to wait until we returned home to post with photos but hey, why wait and I know what we were like waiting for updates from those IPs in India so here goes, boring bits and all:

DAY 1
Today we woke very early again and had breakfast in our hotel - divine deliciousness. Our appointment with the DRs from SI has been made for tomorrow & Dr Sudhir confirmed our EPU & fresh semen sample with be done at Lilavati, we're so excited. We'll then visit the SI office in Bandra to meet our surrogate and sign our contracts. We spent the majority of the day exploring the surrounding area close to our hotel; The Gateway of India, Colaba Causeway etc. We did some shopping from the street vendors at Colaba Markets - FUN, and stopped in at Leopolds Cafe for a cold drink and snack - BARGAIN!
We had lunch at a fantastic Indian restaurant Khyber - great food and very reasonable. Our afternoon was spent lazing by the pool at the Taj in what felt like our own private oasis. As to Johnny's pre travel meltdown regarding monsoon...not a drop. Perfect weather and very warm. We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant recommended to us by a customer of Darren's, again close to our hotel, The Links Pavillion. The poverty & people begging is more noticable at night on our way back to the hotel than in the day, terribly sad considering the wealth just around the next corner. This seems to be the case with this city.

DAY 2
SI's driver Ajit was at our hotel this morning at 8am for the trip to Lilavati for our EPU and semen sample. We drove via the new Link Bridge & took us around 35 minutes from South Mumbai. We met another Aussie couple cycling at the same time as us and they are great guys. We had our EPU & 'fun in a cup' & then travelled to the SI office to sign our contract & meet our amazing surrogate. This was overwhelming and personally we're glad we had the opportunity to do this. We gave her gifts for her two children and some gifts for her too. She is very sweet & we are both so blessed to have met her.
Drs Sudhir & Yash then took the four of us to a wonderful vegetarian restaurant close to their clinic; Rajdhani (we like our food) YUM!

We both had an utterly amazing day & made some wonderful new friends for life. Dr Yash confirmed our transfer will be in two to three days time depending on development & we'll then meet our SM again at this time. For something different, we had curry for dinner at Leopolds. India is more amazing than we had expected and we love it.

DAY 3
Well folks here it is: results. We woke this morning to a text message from Dr Yash, 12 eggs, 10 mature and all fertilised. We could not stop the happy dance or wipe the smiles from our faces all day! SI's driver Ajit collected us from our hotel today for some sightseeing around the city with the other couple we met from Victoria. Dhobi Ghat, Ghandi's House, The Hanging Gardens & Mumbai University. Again, being ruled by our stomachs our next fabulous place to eat was a restaurant named Trishna; fantastic Indian & prawns the size of a small kitten or puppy - seriously enormous!
More shopping in the afternoon at the Colaba Street markets....We had such an amazing day & spent the night recovering from our running around the city...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Good Morning Mumbai!

We have just woken up after 3.5 hours of very short sleep after arriving into Mumbai six hours ago....The flights from Sydney to Singapore and then to Mumbai were OK, pleasant and not too overcrowded.
The Qantas rep from Johnny's office was good enough to provide us with Qantas lounge access whilst in Sydney and we had extra space on the flight to Singapore so wer'e chuffed. It's now just after 8.30am and we've woken to the buzz of an amazing city - unlike any other we have experienced and can't wait to get out there amongst it all. What a life changing experience this will be... Even arriving into India at 2am in the morning you can feel the city bursting at the seams with people, cars, pollution and poverty. So many people asleep on the sidewalks, under busses and on cars it is very sad and a sobering reminder of just how lucky we are back home...

Prior to leaving home we visited Darren's sister, brother in law and two nieces to share our news & they are very happy and excited for us. It's great to have more family 'in the loop' and praying for a positive for us (WE LOVE YOU GUYS).

Our hotel is as expected, beautiful and the people we have met so far equally lovely. The docs from SI had flowers in our room on our arrival and we look forward to nmeeting them today. It is hot, humid, hazy but so far today not wet...No rain and even if there was, hah we can deal with it; we're in INDIA!!!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Final Countdown...

Three days remaining until our much anticipated journey to Mumbai to meet our wonderful docs at Surrogacy India, our SM and everyone else involved in our quest to become parents. I can't actually believe that our time has come; it is somewhat surreal and foreign to me to be feeling this way.

I'm amazed at the relative calm both Darren and I now feel that we're in the home stretch of this part of our journey. The past nine months have really flown by quickly (in retrospect) & we both now know how fast the next nine will pass!

I finish work today and the rest of my afternoon will be spent getting things in order for the time I'll be away from the office, Darren finishes tomorrow & we're both looking forward to 12 days together.

Tomorrow I'll be finishing the final stages of 'Operation Noddy'

Haircut - Check!
Packing - Check!
Currency - Check!
Passports & Travel Vouchers - Check!

Mini Meltdown??? I don't think so!

We'll be staying at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower for our week in Mumbai and only because I managed to get an UNBELIEVABLE discounted rate of 5000 rupee per night for the two of us. Times like this I'm glad I'm still in the travel industry. Otherwise it was going to be Betty Budget for us...

I am so lucky to have Darren in my life and we are both so blessed to have been given the opportunity of living in a society that enables us to be parents.

Our lives together over the past 12 years have been utterly amazing & we both appreciate all of our blessings. We can’t begin to express how overwhelmed we are at starting the next chapter of our lives together….with our child. This stage of our lives will be unlike any of the preceding chapters & we’re ecstatic to see how the pages unfold.

We were both chatting the other night about our time so far to have reached this point & we both are amazed that this is really happening for us; amazed I suppose as like I've said earlier we never thought this was really a possibility for us. Darren ended up saying to me that he was thankful to me for making his dream of becoming a parent come true. I too am thankful, without him in my life I don't know if I would be here right now becoming a daddy too.

GOOSEBUMPS!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The results are in....that high tide!

MUMBAI: The civic body, which was on its toes for the last two days as high tides measuring over 5 metres hit the city's shores, has warned of similar occurrence for next two-three years because of global warming and called for steps to stop possible flooding. "We must consider ourselves lucky as there were no heavy rain (along with tides) and hence the effect was not much. But due to global warming more such high tides will hit the city in next two-three years," Municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak said. We must learn from our sister cities - St Petersburg, Barcelona and New York - who faced similar situation like Mumbai, but have come out with their own solutions, he said. "At St Petersburg, they constructed a dam outside the city limit and also a wall because of which the high tide does not hit the city directly. Though this is not possible for a city like Mumbai, which is surrounded by sea, but we will study what other cities have done and would then think what can be done here," Phatak said. The civic officials had warned of July 26, 2005-like deluge as the city today witnessed a 5.05 metre high tide, but fortunately heavy rains did not coincide with the tide. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was geared up for the day and had taken several precautionary measures, like evacuating people from low-lying areas.



Johnny was chatting with an old work colleague living in Mumbai yesterday confirming we'll all meet up for a spot of eating and shopping perhaps while in India.



FIVE SLEEPS TO GO!!!



Readers of the 'Mikes' blog will remember their gorgeous kurtas purchased whilst on baby pick up & Johnny has wanted one ever since; picture attached FYI. Shobs (Mumbai pal) assures us that the rain is really not that bad and hey, when in Rome!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ONLINE ARTICLE - BMC's highest tide in 100 years claim sunk

Further to my recent findings online and managing to worry about yet another aspect of our journey out of our control - the weather, I just the following online.....

The Survey of India (SoI) has slammed the BMC for creating panic by declaring the 5.05-metre high tide expected on July 24 as the “highest

of the century’’. The survey’s research cell has pointed out the error in a letter to the civic agency. The “so-called hi-ghest tide of the century of 5.05 m’’ was factually incorrect, it said. “Tides of this height are quite normal for Mumbai,’’ read the letter from SoI expert Varuna Guddanti Kumar. SoI figures show that Mumbai witnessed its highest tide of 2009 in January, when water levels touched the 5.13-m mark. Yet another high tide of 5.07 m occurred at 1.14 am on February 11. SoI, a research body under the central department of science and te-chnology, has been giving accurate tidal predictions for the past 120 years. The ‘tide of the century’ claims had created panic among the citizens of Mumbai, Kumar told TOI. “I’m not saying that the BMC figures are wrong, but someone should have been aware of the fact that the highest tide to hit Mumbai’s shore was of 5.59 metres in 1989,’’ Kumar told TOI. BMC officials explained that a high tide alone may not mean anything. Mumbaikars might be affected if extremely heavy rains were to coincide with the tide. A comprehensive disaster management plan is in place for July 24, when the 5.05-m high tide is expected to hit, they said. BMC commissioner Jairaj Phatak admitted that there could have been an error on the civic body’s part. “The highest tides for this monsoon were compiled late in the night and therefore were not verified,’’ Phatak said. Last month, as part of its monsoon-preparedness plans, the BMC had declared dates for the highest tides expected on the city’s shore during the rainy season. It declared the July 24 tide of 5.05 m as the highest in the last 100 years. The other days when above-average high tides are expected are July 23 (1.23 pm, high tide of 5.01 m) and July 25 (2.43 pm, high tide of 4.94 m).