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 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?

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).


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:

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.

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.

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...