Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fatherhood

I can't believe how time has flown. Aiden and Zara were released from Eden hospital on December 20. We've settled in nicely at Camp Svelte. Needless to say, we've had a crash course in everything baby since then. It's amazing how my life has changed from one day to the next. I find myself staring at them constantly... did this really happen? Are we really fathers? Suddenly a blood curdling screach awakens me from my daydream.... time to change another diaper!!! It's definitely real... Nights have been the most challenging. They sleep like angels during the day. Party time starts at about 3am! We've been getting a night nurse about every 3rd night just to remain sane and get some sleep. It's also amazing how different they are... Zara is definitely my little princess. She sleeps beautifully for the most part and has been so easy to feed. Aiden is what I call a "fine diner." He takes almost an hour to finish an ounce of formula and has no problem voicing his displeasure! Passports and other documentation are coming along. We hope to have passports by Wednesday or Thursday next week and plan to leave on January 9. I'll post some tips for future IPs in a few days. Happy New Year  everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Happiest Day of My Life

I will never forget the events of yesterday, December 18. This amazing day will remain seared in my mind as long as I live. Yesterday I became a father. At 1:30pm we were called and told to be at Eden hospital at 3pm because our surrogate would be undergoing her c-section. As we sat in the adjoining lounge,  at 3:38 I heard the first cry and burst into tears. Our son, Aiden Ishan Guzman was born and weighed exactly 7 pounds (3.17 kg). At 3:39pm, Zara Neena Guzman was born and weighed 6 pounds (2.74 kg). A beautiful, healthy baby boy and a gorgeous, healthy baby girl. I couldn't have asked for anything more. We are absolutely thrilled beyond words. Our surrogate is doing fine and we hope to see her next week. Tomorrow morning the babies will be discharged from Eden and coming back to Svelte with us. These photos were taken 20 minutes after birth - the four of us were moved to tears!

Me with Aiden

Ruben with Zara

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Expect the Unexpected

We made it to Delhi. Not without a little drama of course. Not to worry fellow bloggers, I swear these things only happen to me. The babies and our surrogate are doing great so far. Our drama started before we left at about midnight when we discovered that the woman we had entrusted to watch our house and our furry babies was a convicted felon who did time for drug trafficking. "Where do you meet these women?" Ruben always asks me. At the JFK ticket counter for Air India, we were informed we had too many bags and would either have to re-pack or pay over $500 in excess baggage fees. We had to make quick decisions - keep the diapers or the size 12 tennis shoes. The diapers won. We arrived at the hotel in Gurgaon. What the $&@/ was I thinking booking our hotel all the way out there? Seriously, our hotel is a compound in the middle of nowhere. I think we are moving to Svelte on Monday. Last night we had a great time catching up with "M" and "A" from New Year Dreaming. Today we met our surrogate at Dr. Jolly's for her 36 week scan. What an awesome experience. Our surrogate is extremely shy and somewhat difficult to read or converse with but we are so grateful she allowed us to be present for the scan. Twin 1 now weighs 6.7 pounds and twin 2 is coming in at 5.9. This woman is seriously huge. I can't believe they weigh this much. From the looks of things, it won't be much longer.

Monday, December 10, 2012

What Happened to October and November?

These two months seemed to have disappeared and I need them back! Tomorrow morning we leave for New York. We plan to spend the night in the city and will leave on Wednesday afternoon for Delhi. As hard as I tried to be organized and have everything ready, I'm going crazy packing and buying last minute things I forgot to pack. We are super excited nonetheless. So far, so good...

Who knew 2 babies needed so much stuff?
So far, I've packed the following:

2 Phil & Ted's cocoons
2 Baby Bjorn carriers
2 newborn inserts for carriers
Diaper Bag
410 diapers (preemie and newborn)
20 burp cloths
12 blankets
22 bottles
6 pacifiers
Electric bottle sterilizer
Diaper cream/diaper rash ointment
800 baby wipes
small trash bags (some hotels don't put them in rooms)
hand sanitizer
Thermometer and grooming kit
nasal aspirator
clothes - 20 onesies (short and long sleeves), 4 night gowns, t-shirts, socks, 6 caps, mittens, 4 sleep & plays, 8 bodysuits
6 swaddler wraps
1 bottle of champagne

I don't think I have space for our own clothes!

In the meantime, my house has become a mini baby store:

 The dogs like the City Select stroller, my favorite toy of all!

 I'm being told I need to stop wasting time on the computer and start packing! Next stop, Delhi!!!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Kudos to Princess Mette-Marit


This story is too good not to share. I like the part about the clinic thinking she was the nanny!!! I like stories that show there are still good people in the world.


Norway princess, incognito, rushes to aid surrogate twins

Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit rushed to India on her own dime in October to help care, incognito, for twins delivered by a surrogate until their parents, a Norwegian gay couple, could arrive, the palace said Monday.
Mette-Marit flew to New Delhi to help care for the babies until their parents -- a male couple who are friends of the princess and her husband Crown Prince Haakon -- could resolve a visa delay.
During her stay at the clinic with the newborns, the 39-year-old royal, often praised for her modern ways, went unrecognised. According to Norwegian media, medical staff thought the blonde woman was a nanny.
The princess, a commoner who was a single mother until she married Haakon in 2001, said she did not want to get involved in the debate over surrogate mothers, a practice prohibited in Norway.
"Sometimes in life, we find ourselves in a difficult situation where there are few, or no, good solutions. In those situations you have to make difficult choices even if it sometimes comes at a price," she said on the palace's website.
"An important debate is taking place in society about the issue of children brought to the world by surrogates. In my eyes, this was not a contribution to the debate. For me, this was simply about helping two newborns, who were alone in the world, because I could," she said.
While the practice is illegal in otherwise liberal Norway, the former national chief of police Oeystein Maeland recently had a child with his male partner through a surrogate in the United States.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Baby Name Obsession

As the days quickly pass by and the upcoming trip to India becomes increasingly more imminent, I've delayed packing and am focusing my attention on my most recent obsession: baby names. It's certainly not an easy decision. The babies will carry these names for their entire lives - this can't be a flippant decision. Since Ruben's family is from Puerto Rico, he wants names that are easy for Spanish speakers to pronounce. At the same time, the names can't have so many vowels that my family can't pronounce them either. For awhile, we thought we had settled on the perfect names. They sound great on a resume and aren't crazy like Gwyneth Paltrow's baby "Apple" or Beyonce's "Blue Ivy." I mean really, even if both of these kids went to Oxford or Harvard, would you really hire them for a job? Apple? Next... Then I started "googling" and found that all four names we picked (2 boy names and 2 girl names) were all in the top 10 baby names this year. Maybe it's back to the drawing board...


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In Awe

Late last night I decided I needed to see a picture of my surrogate. Seriously, I want to see how she looks. It's bad enough the scans have all been detailed images of baby brains. At least let me see my surrogate's belly... I fired off an e-mail to the clinic and woke up this morning to this:


O-M-G. I've been staring at it all day long. I'm not sure how she's going to make it to the end of the week, much less hold out until next month. I'm amazed on so many levels... that we will be parents soon, at what this woman is doing for us, that our babies are really in there... So many things are running through my head. I'm still staring in awe...


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nursery Reveal


After several weeks working on this room, it's finally open for business! The only thing we're missing are the babies of course. At this point, if we don't have it, they don't need it! We've even started hoarding diapers!

The sad before picture.
Future daddy at work.
  I'm so glad we found these for the walls. Check them out here




Monday, October 22, 2012

My Big Day in Court

Today was my first time ever in a courtroom. I have to admit, I was a little nervous. Granted, this isn't the trial of the century or the O.J. Simpson case, but it's important to me. Today I'm officially getting my name changed.

My lawyer briefed me before our appearance before the judge. "Is she going to ask me why I'm doing this and what should I really tell her," I asked my lawyer. "Just be honest. I know this judge and I don't think she's one of those conservatives who'll give us any problems," my lawyer told me. "I've never had a petition like this denied."

We marched into the huge courtroom. The only people there were my lawyer, myself, the judge and the bailiff. "So, Mr. Lindsay, why are you changing your name," the judge asks. "Well your honor, my partner and I are expecting twins in a few weeks. We decided that we would like our children to carry his surname," I told her, hoping that would be sufficient. "And why is that?" she smilingly asked. I didn't really want to go into too many details about India, surrogacy, the fact that Americans get confused by hyphenated last names, or that if we kept our separate names one of us would forever be the "real" father in the minds of many.  "I wanted both my partner and myself to give something equally important to our children. I've already contributed their DNA. Now I would like my partner to contribute his last name. Both are gifts from each of us that they can carry throughout their lives." With that she smiled, granted the name change and wished me luck.

Now if I can just get used to being called Mr. Guzman.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

And the Baby Shopping Spree Continues

I'm not really a big spender. Actually, I get no intrinsic joy out of shopping whatsoever. I suppose that's one way of saying it... Ruben would just call me a tightwad. I'm not sure what happened, but today I let down my guard. We've needed a new car for awhile now. I drive a truck and Ruben has a motorcycle - neither of which will comfortably fit 2 adults and 2 car seats. We bit the bullet and bought a small station wagon/hatchback. I think this means I'm officially old - I drive a station wagon. There's no going back now... I'm destined to be a "soccer mom" and not the distinguished middle-aged man driving a convertible Porsche as I had envisioned myself!


Hopefully the kids won't be too embarrassed by it one day. I remember when I was a child, I hated my mother's station wagon - the one with the wood paneling on the side. They'll probably look back on this car one day, as I look back on the car my parents had when I was young. We called it "The Green Monster."


Saturday, October 13, 2012

28 Weeks and Counting...

Today we finally received the 28 week scans. So far, so good. The gestational age of Twin I is approximately 27 weeks 6 days, while Twin II is coming in at 29 weeks, 1 day. Looks like #2 is starting to overtake #1. The scans were a little disappointing again. I don't know, maybe I want to see something along the lines of a little Gerber baby in there but all we're getting are head shots (I think that's what that is anyway)!!!






Time is starting to speed up very quickly and I'm starting to freak out (in a good way - kinda!). I've been making to-do lists for my to-do lists. So far, flights are booked. We're scheduled to go over on Air India from JFK to Delhi on Dec. 14. For the flight back home, we're booked on Swiss Air from Delhi to Zurich to Miami on January 10 (my birthday!). The Marriott in Gurgaon is booked for our stay. Yesterday I contacted Chromosomal Labs to discuss getting the DNA kits and have them sent to the embassy. In other exciting news, the nursery is just about complete! Pics to come...  I'm taking next week off just to get myself together and cross off a few more things on my list.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nanny Interview Questions

As we get closer and closer to the pending arrival of our babies, the to do list is getting longer and longer. We've started thinking about getting a nanny or someone to come in maybe one or two days a week to help out with the babies and do light housework. A friend of a friend of a friend has recommended someone, so we may be interviewing her soon. What kind of questions can I ask to make sure she isn't a psycho killer? I've been googling this topic and these are the questions I've come up with. Spanish is her first language - this is important to us as we want them to be bilingual - so some questions may be lost in translation but we'll give it a shot:

On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you? 
How would you describe an atom to my newborn twins?
Who is more responsible for original sin, Adam or Eve?
If a train leaves Los Angeles bound for Honolulu at 1:20 pm carrying 300 passengers, what time does flight 286 from Brooklyn land in New York City?
For the next 10 minutes, I will remain silent. Entertain me.
We will be giving you a Christmas bonus every year. Would you prefer ice cream or candy?
We like to let our babies scream for hours while we watch TV and drink martinis. Is this fine with you?
I do not think I am qualified to lead this interview. Actually it has become quite boring. What is your opinion?


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Shopping Mayhem

Today I decided to swing by the Babies 'R Us store and start browsing for baby things. After doing a few errands, I pulled up to the store to find hundreds of people outside with a huge sign out front: "Moving Sale - Everything 40% Off." First, I must admit I'm not much of a shopper. Actually neither Ruben nor I can be described as "brand queens." Just the other day I tossed one of Ruben's t-shirts in the trash that I'm pretty sure he has had since high school.

I was a little lost to say the least. Pregnant women were scurrying around the store like mad throwing all kinds of things in their carts while I was just trying to figure out what everything was and what I really needed. After 2 meltdowns and circling the store about 7 times, I had had enough. This whole experience reminded me of the annual Filene's Basement wedding dress sale.

I have no idea what I bought. I had to put two little outfits back that said "mommy loves me" - not sure how they ended up in my cart. I remember buying 2 mattresses for the cribs, a digital thermometer and a stuffed monkey. The rest of the stuff is still in the back of the truck. I think the rest of the shopping I will do on line.

It was something like this, except all of the women were pregnant and I was wondering around like a fish out of water:


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Our Little Martians

This week we received the e-mail we've been anticipating: the arrival of the 20 week scans. The 3D scan I find a little creepy. It's all getting a little more real by the day...

Martian #1 - 20 weeks, 1 day

Martian #2 - 19 weeks, 6 days

Friday, August 10, 2012

Human Resources Hell

Yesterday I decided it was time to break down and let the powers that be at work know of our upcoming baby plans. I was kinda dreading explaining the whole process and answering the nosey questions. Turns out women from 5 cubicles over where listening in to my story and a small crowd gathered around me and the maternity coordinator. "Why India?" "How much did it cost?" "I saw this on Oprah!" "Are your babies going to be Indian?" All I wanted to figure out was how much time off Ruben and I were going to get.

This must be my HR coordinator.
After a lengthy explanation, I was handed a 75 page "Maternity Packet." As I flipped through the packet later in the day,  I wondered if anybody was listening to me at all. The packet was clearly not meant for me. Bullet number 9 was "How to discretely express and store your breast milk while at work", while Bullet number 2 explained the importance of not going into labor at work.

Later in the day I marched back into her office. "I'm not lactating, not adopting, and not going into labor. Ruben and I are leaving for India on December 14. What do you need from me?"  She had no idea. After a 45 minute phone call to headquarters in Dallas, she still didn't know. Turns out a company with 80,000 employees doesn't have a clue what to do with 2 gay men working for the same company having children via a surrogate in India. Looks like somebody in Dallas is gonna have to get busy making a new folder for this scenario!




Friday, August 3, 2012

Baby Practice

Every year at about this time, it seems that half of the island of Puerto Rico descends on my house, turning it into a bed and breakfast for Ruben's family. We do enjoy the visits, but they can be exhausting after several weeks. The other night at about 2 am I got up to have a bowl of cereal (one of my bad habits). As I crawled back into the bed, I asked Ruben, "Who's that woman sleeping on the floor in the living room?" "Oh she's my cousin's godmother's sister," he said. I guess most would flinch but I've gotten used to it...

Part of the posse this year is Ruben's nephew, born on my birthday and now about 6 months old. He's a handsome little fella and providing us much needed practice in all things "baby." Tonight just might be the night I attempt my first diaper change!

Taken right before a major spit up landed all
over my iPhone.
I was told to get used to this!
Feed me Tio Ruben.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Babies and Bell Peppers

Well I haven't updated my blog lately because not much has happened. That's a good thing! No news really from SCI at all. Sixteen week scans came over a week ago. They were pretty bad actually and we couldn't see much at all. I'm fine with that as long as they are still growing strong! I've been referring to my new favorite website baby center. This is what they say about the babies at this point, about 18 weeks:

Head to rump, your baby is about 5 1/2 inches long (about the length of a bell pepper) and he weighs almost 7 ounces. He's busy flexing his arms and legs. His blood vessels are visible through his thin skin, and his ears are now in their final position, although they're still standing out from his head a bit. A protective covering of myelin is beginning to form around his nerves, a process that will continue for a year after he's born. If you're having a girl, her uterus and fallopian tubes are formed and in place. If you're having a boy, his genitals are noticeable now, but he may hide them from you during an ultrasound.


 I'm starting to get really excited. Time is starting to move really quickly. I still have so much to do, learn and buy before this really happens. I hope I can get it all done! Cheers to several more weeks of "boring" scans from SCI!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Grieving with a Friend

Today I received horrible news that a friend I met in blog-land lost their twins - at almost 7 months. I know that no words can express the pain and sorrow they are feeling. I just wanted to dedicate this post to them and let them know they are in my thoughts and prayers. This was a real wake up call for me that nothing is certain about this process. In the spirit of grieving, moving on and trying again, I thought this quote was appropriate from my favorite poet/writer:

Joy and sorrow are inseparable. . . together they come and when one sits alone with you . . remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Khalil Gibran

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Babies and Airplanes

I have a confession. I am secretly terrified of something when our babies arrive - we've got awhile but I'm scared nonetheless. No it's not staying awake all night feeding, burping, and changing the babies. It's not even the stress it may put on our relationship. I'm scared of flying with babies. Yes, I said it. I work on airplanes everyday. One would think I would be most comfortable there. I'm terrified. It's a 15 hour flight from Delhi to New York and then we will make a connection for a 2 hour flight to Florida.

I've been having this nightmare over and over. Ruben and I are half way into our 15 hour flight. My baby won't stop screaming. I'm walking all over the plane trying to calm him/her. "I'll buy you a horse if you be quiet." Ruben of course is sitting with his Bose headsets on and his baby is fast asleep. Each time I walk past, he tells me, "You've got to see this movie." Passengers are screaming at me "Shut that thing up." The pilot even comes out and tells me they will land in Kenya to dump me off if I can't quiet my baby.

Since I doubt taking a boat is an option, I imagine I'll manage somehow. I hope this lady is working my flight when we return:


In other news, I finally broke down and told 2 of my six siblings about our impending baby plans. Surprisingly they were really cool about it. Even my conservative, Fox news loving younger sister was excited. And they asked no stupid questions from my prior post. I thought that was a plus.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Stupid Questions

For weeks now we've been getting the same 3 or 4 questions from people curious about what we're going through. I think some people just can't comprehend surrogacy in itself and then you mention India and it really confuses them. I've decided these are my top most annoying questions:

You're having a baby? OMG! What are you going to do?
When I get this question I have to pause. I think one of two things. First I think, well, I guess we're gonna keep it. We did go all the way to India and are spending lots of money to do this so yeah, we're gonna keep it. Besides, it's not like we're 16, went to the drive-in and I came home pregnant. We kinda planned this. Secondly, I think people ask this because we're guys. Deep down, I don't think they have confidence that we can handle it.  I honestly think most people think us guys will do something like this if a woman isn't around to stop us:


How much did it cost?
Maybe I just don't like talking about money but I think it's kinda rude unless I know you very well or you want information because you are researching surrogacy in India yourself. I wouldn't dream of asking you how much your nose job cost so why is it ok to ask me how much I'm paying someone to have my children?

Who's the father?
This one gets me every time. My first response is, "Well we both are of course." Then they want to know who "donated." I find it so awkward. It feels like they are differentiating between who is the "real" father and who is not.  I certainly couldn't do this without Ruben and I don't think he could do it without me. Lately we've just been telling people the surrogate is pregnant with both of our children - since she's carrying twins. Why not just confuse them even more.

dfsgssdg
Happy Birthday to the love of my life!
You're gonna be the best baby daddy ever!





Saturday, June 23, 2012

Is this really happening?

The 1st trimester is officially behind us! I'm still trying to comprehend that this is all really happening. Twins... fatherhood... It seems like yesterday we were talking about how this would play out. Should we really go to India? Do you think we'll get pregnant on the first try? What if, what if, what if... When I saw these scans this morning, it all seems a little surreal. There are two real, live babies in there! Amazing!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Random Advice

I have yet to tell anyone in my family what Ruben and I were really up to in India. For many reasons, I have felt more comfortable talking to random strangers about our impending baby plans. The old lady in the grocery store, the mother with 4 kids riding the train, and acquaintances at work that I will probably never see again have all heard my story. It's not that my family won't be excited for us, I guess I'm just prolonging the inevitable but I digress...

Today I made my semi-annual visit to the dentist. The dentist's receptionist (another random person to know my story) was more than thrilled to know we are expecting, as she recently had a child herself. "You're not going to give them breast milk?" she shockingly asked. "Well since neither Ruben nor I will be lactating..." She goes into an entire spiel about how we are doing a disservice to our babies by not signing up at a breast milk bank and using donated breast milk. To be honest, I've never contemplated or even heard of such a thing. I'm sure kids that have taken formula as babies have grown up to be something other than circus clowns and mimes. She then declares, "I would give you mine but I'm not eating healthy at the moment." Uh... thanks that's very nice of you?!?! 

I've read the reports about how "superior" breast milk is for the baby. I know what the doctors say. It just never crossed my mind that anything other than formula is an option. According to the receptionist, babies taking breast milk "have an exceptionally higher IQ." Ok.... I just wanted to pay my co-pay and leave but it went on and on and on.

By the time I left, she had me feeling like the next Joan Crawford if I give my children formula.


I'm sure Joan Crawford gave Tina formula.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

8 weeks and counting... So Far, So Good

Time is slowly creeping on. The latest scan has come with not much fanfare from SCI. In summary - all is normal with your two little beans, talk to you in 2 more weeks! That sounds good to me - I'll take that!

The last few weeks have crept by as we've been working like mad. I've spent my days off finishing and starting new projects around the house that I've been meaning to complete. I think I need to get myself in check though... will my newborn(s) be terribly disappointed in me as a father if I don't finish that koi pond in the backyard I've been putting off? Maybe not... I'll leave that for later. On to the next project. Today I'm channeling my inner Martha Stewart as I go to the paint store to choose paint for the dining room...

In a little less than two weeks, we'll have completed 10 weeks... time is starting to speed up.

Making a wish (hint - it had something to do with babies!) in Punta del Este, Uruguay.










































































































































Friday, May 18, 2012

2 Heartbeats!!!

F-I-N-A-L-L-Y the e-mail I've been waiting for... 2 confirmed heartbeats! I was starting to think they forgot about me ;-) This waiting thing isn't all that fun. Two more weeks until the next scan. Now I'm thinking no news is good news right?

Friday, May 11, 2012

And the wait goes on...

Today my little jelly beans have been in the oven for 5weeks and 4 days. Today we were supposed to get confirmation of heartbeats. Unfortunately, the Dr. was unable to see/confirm heartbeats. My first reaction was panic. After consulting Dr. Google and Dr. Shivani and crew, I've learned that we shouldn't be so worried. This seems to be a normal occurance at this stage. From the scans and the dr. notes, my little beans appear to have doubled in size over the last week - just no heartbeats yet. I will say that this entire experience is teaching me a valuable lesson that I never seemed to have mastered in my 40 years: patience. I'm optimistic and hoping for the best. Cheers to hope and another weeklong wait.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Good News x 2

Last night I woke up in Quito, Ecuador at about 3am to check my e-mail. I always have trouble sleeping and breathing in Quito, one of the highest cities in the world at about 10,000ft. Since coming back from India, I find myself constantly checking my e-mail for updates from SCI. Well, last night more news came.

We are happy to inform you that two pregnancy sacs have been seen during her scan.

Dr. Shivani has reviewed the reports and found everything within normal limit.

Kindly note that we will do her next scan in one week to check the heartbeat.

Does this mean what I think it means? All of this is very foreign to me - uterus lining, gestational sacs, egg count etc. To be honest, I've never even seen a woman's private parts in person so sometimes I have to re-read things to make sure I understand correctly. 2 sacs?!?! At this point, I'm vacillating between panic/utter joy/shock/terror/elation, all at 3am. The combination of the high altitude, my bursts of tears and my exhaustion sent me into a hyperventilating fit. I got so worked up, I must've knocked myself out because I woke up at 7am and had to re-read the e-mail to make sure I wasn't dreaming. 


I know it's early in the game and I should control myself because anything can happen at any time. I wasn't even sure this was going to happen on the first try. I've spent the last week convincing myself that I am indeed capable of properly caring for ONE child. But possibly TWO?!?! Until now, my biggest dilemmas during the day are deciding what time I'm going to the gym and what I will make for dinner. I'm not sure how our surrogate is dealing with this news, but my hormones are going wild.


Two sacs?

Friday, April 27, 2012

OMG!! OMG!! ..... BFP!! BFP!!!!!!!!!!


I would like to go outside and start screaming but the neighbors would probably call the police. Instead, I'll do it here... WE ARE PREGNANT!!!!! I know it's early and I should be cautiously optimistic but I'm so incredibly overjoyed right now... I never thought it would happen this fast! The beta value is 175.75. I'm trying to confirm how good this is with Dr. Google.  Am I really, possibly, going to be a father???!!!!!! The last 2 weeks have felt like 6 months... I have so many things going through my head right now. As I walk around my house, I'm thinking to myself: what's it going to be like to have a little person here?  Do I have what it takes to be a great father? Where can I sign up for a baby class - there's so many things I don't know? What color should I paint the nursery? Is it too early to check out pre-schools for gifted children?!!! Back to reality... I know this is just the beginning. Is it too early to begin happy hour?!!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Let the Two Week Wait Begin

Just received confirmation that the embryos were successfully transferred to our surrogate. Dr. S will do a test on April 27 to determine the results. God that seems like a long way away.

Google defines Patience as "the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one can take before negativity."

Here's wishing for lots of patience and  a great level of endurance. It's out of our hands now!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Explaining India

Many people have asked me about my trip to India. Since I haven't told anyone about the true reason of our trip, most think we were on another exotic vacation. I've had quite a difficult time explaining the complexities and contradictions of India: the feelings of love/hate and beauty/disgust, along with a little culture shock. For some reason, when most people hear vacation, they automatically think of Cancun and margaritas. I've tried explaining that this trip wasn't like that at all; it was more of an experience. My sister, a self anointed princess, called last night to inquire about my trip. "I know exactly what you mean [about the culture shock]. The last time we were in the south of France I had a complete meltdown because there weren't any hand towels in the bathroom." Really? I was stepping over dead dogs on the sidewalk in Old Delhi but if you can somehow find a comparison with the south of France... ok. I think from now on, I'm just going to tell people my trip was "Great."

 I'm expecting an email from Dr. S at any time now to confirm embryo transfer.

The Princess Diana bench at the Taj Mahal

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Meeting our Surrogate and Egg Collection

A day or two before leaving India, we had the opportunity to meet our surrogate. Of course I jumped at the chance. I had been nervous for some time at the prospect of meeting her: what would I say and how could I ever express my true gratitude. Thank you seemed trite. When she entered the room with her translator, I could feel my knees get weak and had to sit. I'm not even really sure what I said to her. She has children and I think I asked her if they would be properly cared for during this ordeal. More important than what was said, was what wasn't said. As I stared at this woman, so obviously nervous and shy by my presence, I realized this meeting was not for her. She didn't need to meet me like I needed to meet her. The cultural divide between this poor illiterate woman from Northeastern India and us, two middle class white gay Western men, was thicker than a concrete wall. As hard as I tried not to, I began to cry and thank her for giving us this opportunity. I hope she was able to comprehend how much I truly appreciate her act of generosity but truthfully, I'll never know.

Yesterday was egg collection day. We left Delhi late last night. While transiting in London, I received this e-mail:

"We would like to inform you that 17 eggs were matured out of 19 collected.

We are very happy to inform you that the fertilization was very good and all the 17 eggs have fertilized.

We will get back to you soon with further updates."

Hey this sounds good to me. As with everything with this process, I have to Google everything to double check. Impatiently awaiting the next e-mail.

We just got home this afternoon. I'm exhausted: not sure if it's from the 20+ hours of flying, the baby drama waiting and uncertainty or the mentally taxing India visit. I think I'm gonna crawl into bed and stay there for the next few days.

Celebrating an interesting and hopefully successful India visit

Flight from London to Miami April 10, 2012

Sunday, April 8, 2012

An Observation on Driving in India


video

I think I've finally figured out the road rules in India. It took me awhile but I think I've got it. The right of way is given to the larger vehicle: a car yields to a bus, a rickshaw yields to a car, a bicycle yields to a rickshaw etc. The aforementioned rule is completely moot if a vehicle of any size is able to cut off or overtake any other vehicle and thus create their own lane of traffic. A cow and/or stray dog would have the right of way above all others. A pedestrian would never have the right of way. Ever. The car horn should be used randomly and often: it merely lets others know you are awake and still proceeding to your destination. A note on crossing the street: it's not advisable to "look both ways" as we were taught as children. I actually stopped doing this 3 days ago. Instead, find a local heading in your direction. Approach the local from behind, to the point where you are actually breathing on their neck (in my case I'm actually breathing on their head as they tend to be shorter than me). When they move, you move. If you can't follow this rule, you'll probably never be able to cross and forced to only see sights on your respective side of the street.

Even though I understand these rules, I'm still not ready to rent a car in India.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Old Delhi: Sensory Overload

Just got back from sightseeing in Old Delhi. My God what a day. I feel like each one of my senses have been severely violated. The sights, sounds, SMELLS, noise... When we started out this morning, I think I was unconsciously fighting the whole thing. It was so, so hot, combined with the most violent smells known to man, along with more trash than I've ever seen on the street in my life. Add to that a few million flies, people, cows, stray dogs, rickshaws, beggars and more trash. Honestly, I'm not a princess but I was over it. I told Ruben, "Get me the Hell outa here."

Fortunately, I still had "must see" places on my sightseeing list so we ventured on. In the evening I had signed us up for a small group tour with this guy that took us around Old Delhi to sample local food (http://www.delhifoodadventure.com). It turned out to be one of the sightseeing highlights of our trip. We sampled all kinds of local foods that I wouldn't have dared to try on my own. As we were walking down the middle of the street - sidewalks are completely unnavigable - with cars, bikes, people and animals on all sides of us, I told Ruben "I'm kinda getting into this." I think once I just gave up completely and submitted myself to the fact that I was indeed on a completely different planet, it all kinda felt fun in a way. Not sure if this makes sense as I'm still trying to process it all. All I really want to do right now is dip myself into a vat of antibacterial hand gel. I guess I'll have to settle for a hot shower. I feel disgusting.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Meeting the Famous Dr. S

Today was a big day. My first appointment at SCI went well. We met Dr. S and she answered all my questions and gave us a tour of the facility. I'm now comfortable my $ isn't going to some unmarked house on some side street in Delhi! She's got some operation - I was impressed. We met accountants, lawyers, etc. and even caught a glimpse of a few surrogates. She even told me she's expecting our donor to give us a large number of eggs! I know this is only the first step but I'll celebrate where I can! Seems like Monday will be collection day so we should know for sure then. Next up is choosing the surrogate but I think we're gonna leave that to the Dr.

We are having a great time meeting other IPs here at the hotel. Last night we had a great dinner with fellow bloggers from "New Year Dreaming." It was also a pleasure to meet Preet and her husband for breakfast. It's kinda cool being with other people who are going through the same thing. I hope we're all together here at the Svelte in 9 months.

Tomorrow's agenda includes a full day of sightseeing in Delhi.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Leaving Jaipur

We've had quite the week here in Jaipur. What can I say about India? Well... It's certainly the most complex country I've ever visited. Before I left home, someone told me, "either you're gonna love it, or you're gonna hate it." Honestly, for me that's not been true. I'm somewhere in between. For me, India has been beautiful, vile, happy and miserable all at the same time. It's so hard to describe. I'm enjoying learning what I can about the country, but somehow I feel like it won't be enough. I'll never truly grasp it.

One thing that has been a little funny is watching people try to figure out why 2 middle aged men are traveling together alone. At our hotel here in Jaipur, the owner insisted on having 2 comforters placed on our bed, creating a distinct separation for us. At dinner, we've been asked 2 or 3 times about our "wives." So today while riding an elephant through the desert, I came up with my comeback. Next time this happens, I will tell them that "No, I'm not married. Actually my wife died. Tragic accident. The investigation is ongoing but I can assure you I'm innocent." That should quiet them down for awhile.

Next stop... Delhi.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Today is the big day. We leave New York in a few hours for our first trip to India. We plan to spend a few days in Jaipur, before heading to Delhi and then to Agra. I'm excited about visiting India - not sure of what to expect. I'm sure it's like nowhere I've visited before. For weeks, co-workers have been giving me advice: don't eat anything, you're gonna hate it, you're gonna love it, don't drink anything, etc. I can't wait to finally experience it for myself. I'm getting a little anxious about the whole baby thing... Fingers and toes crossed for a successful egg collection!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Psychic Predictions

My view of London from my hotel  


My partner has always told me not to follow my nose as it will invariably get me into trouble. Unfortunately, he's usually right. I arrived in London yesterday morning on a work trip and was wondering around looking for something to eat and glanced over at this sign: "Spiritualist Association of Great Britain - Come In!" Of course I went in and ended up making an appointment with a psychic/ medium. I figured this would be a great time to learn about my future - India, babies etc. - or at least have a little fun. All I really wanted to hear was... "I see a beautiful, healthy baby in your future" or "you're going to have twins" or something like "you will have the first baby born to a surrogate to become President of the United States." Basically, all he told me was to be very, very careful in India and make sure to get my inoculations. He also foresaw gastrointestinal problems in my future. Did I just pay this guy £35 to tell me I'm going to get diarrhea in India? Oh well... so much for that.


On my way back to the hotel, I stopped at Harrods to look at baby things. This store always amazes me. I found the perfect stroller.  This is what I've been looking for! As I was wondering how I could possibly get this on the airplane, I saw the price - about the same as a small Toyota. I suppose my future baby will have to make do with much, much less.
Getting close now... only 11 days until India!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

An Insane First Baby Purchase


I would imagine most people's first baby purchase is something practical - maybe a crib or bassinet or even some baby clothes. Ruben and I have found ourselves wondering through baby stores in amazement at all the really cool baby items available nowadays - but we've never even thought of purchasing something yet.  The practical side of me says wait until about 6 months into this whole thing before even considering it. We haven't even made our first trip to India yet! So much to my amazement, I came home from the gym today to find this:


What the heck is this? Well Ruben found one of our neighbors was having a yard sale. He couldn't resist buying this cart/contraption that hooks onto the back of the bicycle. He plans to pull our little toddler to the beach in this - at least that's what he says. I couldn't help but shake my head "Do we really need this?"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Benefits?

So yesterday I panicked and bought a full fare airline ticket from Delhi to London. Since I work for a major airline, I travel for "virtually" nothing. I haven't bought a full fare ticket since 1996. Indeed, this is probably the best benefit about my job. Yesterday I panicked. Delhi is notorious for being extremely difficult to fly out of standby. A co-worker was there last year in February and was told to try back in June - there "might" be seats available then. The flights going over look ok in April but coming out they are starting to fill up... I couldn't handle the stress of being stuck in Delhi for days on end wondering if, when and how we would get out. British Airways had good fares so I broke down and bought 2 one-way tickets to London. Ruben says "forget about it - we're buying peace of mind." Regardless, this is how I will feel if there's an open seat on that flight to London...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Decisions, Decisions...

So I thought I'd write a brief post about how we chose this path and our clinic. I stumbled across Indian surrogacy from an ad on Google of all places. To be honest, I never gave surrogacy any serious consideration. Being male and being gay, I never thought I would have the opportunity to have my own child. It never really bothered me either - I had always considered adoption as a viable alternative. Unfortunately, the adoption process in the State of Florida is wrought with bureaucracy and inefficiency. It was enough to make us just about give up. Until I saw that ad on Google. The idea of actually being a father left both of us with such a feeling of excitement and happiness. I guess that Google ad changed our lives.

Now what? Where to go? What to do? I think I stayed up researching "surrogacy+India" until 2 or 3am the night I read that ad. All I can say is that it felt like the right thing to do for both of us. Immediately we said "Let's go for it." It became obvious very quickly that there are really only a handful of clinics in India with a good international reputation. I researched all of them. I then contacted all of them. The responses from the clinics couldn't have been more different. One sent a brochure without answering any of my questions at all. The other didn't get back to me for about 3 weeks. This helped me narrow the field down even further. I then requested references from the clinics - I also found a few on these blogs.  In the end, SCI was really the only clinic that met my criteria. Although I have not had any contact with Dr. Shivani, I like how the clinic is run from what I've experienced. Her client managers have answered all of my questions and concerns - usually within record time. I remember thinking - I just sent them an e-mail 30 minutes ago. It must be about 3 am in Australia and they are already writing me back. This is reassuring for neurotic people like me!

The next decision was picking a donor. This wasn't hard at all. I was sent about 50 or 60 donor profiles. Initially I thought it would be a much more difficult process. I was so excited to get the profiles. I looked through them all in about 3 minutes. No, No, No....No, She's The One! Something in her eyes drew me to her. Luckily she was available and will be ready for us in April. Fingers crossed...

I thought I'd leave you with a picture of my four-legged babies.

Pancho and Tito

Friday, February 3, 2012

Counting Down

We've been busy bees the last couple of weeks. We normally take our annual vacation during the month of January. Last year at this time we were heading back from taking a bus trip across Laos. We love, love, love southeast Asia. Since April and the India trip are right around the corner, we decided to stay home and work on the house.  Chinese takeout was as close as we got to Asia this year!

Since we had so much time off, I decided it would be a great time to get our Visas in order for India. Ruben and I are both flight attendants and fly to South America and Europe. We can't be without our passports since we need them for work. According to the agency that does Visas for India, we would be able to get the visa the same day if we made an appointment at the Houston agency. Great! I made an appointment and had the entire plan all set up - take the first flight of the day from Miami to Houston, land at 9:00am, rent a car and drive to the agency for a 10:45 appointment, hang out in Houston until the passports were ready at 4:30 and take the 6pm flight back home to Miami. Sounded good to me... Everything went great until we got to the little window to hand in our passports - "Would you like to come back in 2 days or have them mailed to you?" the woman asked. "Excuse me?" Ruben says in his no nonsense New Yorker way. She went on to explain that Visas are only done on the same day for special circumstances... "How about you make a special circumstance for me" Ruben barks as I'm trying to diffuse the situation. Long story short... we left with no passport and received the passports with our 5 year visas a few days ago. I'm thinking to myself, just wait, just wait until we get to India... this is nothing compared to what we will encounter!

Ruben building the deck (I'm supervising!)
On a more depressing note, things are not going good for me at work.  My company filed bankruptcy and big changes are coming - many not for the better. Our pensions have been ripped away from us, about 15,000 people will loose their jobs etc. I could go on but I'll spare you my sadness. Luckily I do not think I will be one of those loosing their job. Right now, I'm a little nervous and scared. This couldn't have come at a worst time with us planning to start a family. Thoughts have been racing through my head - Am I crazy having a kid now? Maybe I should wait until things are more stable? Is there ever a "perfect" time in life to start a family? On the other hand, I think everything will work out, many people get pregnant everyday without even planning for it - they somehow survive. As luck would have it, my company is ceasing flights to Delhi on March 1st. We've been flying the route for 6 years and they stop one month before my trip!!!! That means no first class to Delhi for me... I'll probably be stuck flying standby on British Airways in a middle seat in coach. Yikes! I guess that's really the least of my worries now...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Journey Begins...

After stalking several blogs for many months, I've decided to throw my hat in the ring and make my own blog. I've never done this before and can't imagine strangers would be interested in my life journey! I suppose above all it would be nice to have a chronological history of our journey for our future offspring.

First, a little about us. Ruben and I have been together for 11 years. I would say Ruben wanted children since the very beginning of our relationship. Being the planner/worrier that I am, I always thought it was something we could plan for later in life. Once we get that pool put in, or as soon as the bathroom has been remodeled, I would say to myself, then we'll be ready! Well, yesterday was my  birthday. I decided it's now or never. We are both ecstatic about the possibility of growing our family. For a time, I thought adoption was our calling. I attended classes, workshops, and met with lawyers about how to go forward with adopting from the state. Throughout the whole process, something just didn't feel quite right to me. The hurdles, bureaucracy and uncertainty of adoption just weren't for us. When I accidentally discovered surrogacy in India, I avidly started my research. It just felt like the right thing to do for both of us. For once I decided to listen to that little voice in my head and go for it. We ended up choosing SCI in Delhi. More about how we made that choice in a later post.

At this point, we've chosen a donor and I have had my necessary medical tests done, as I will be the donor. We are scheduled to make our first visit to India during the first week of April.  In a few weeks we will be applying for our Indian Visas.  Now to get that bathroom remodeled before our big trip...

Ruben and Ryan