Sunday, February 24, 2013

There, And Back Again (Part III): There's No Place Like Home

A tired daddy, a grumpy daddy, and a happy baby finally make it home!
22+ hours of travel time and Saffy was, to quote a fellow traveller, "a gem."  She never cried at all during the two long flights: Delhi to London, the five hour layover, and finally London to Boston.  I was so worried about the baby during traveling, but the bigger issue is other people.  

This is what I think celebrities must have to deal with...people, people, people!
People at all three airports (officials and travelers alike) are either so self-absorbed as they bump into you holding a baby and not caring that they almost made you fall over and effectively crush your newborn; or they act as if they've never seen a f**king baby in their lives and lose their shit!  It was an endless barrage of people pointing, gawking, coming up to the baby and saying "is that a baby?" when they can fully-well see it is clearly a live baby.    Strangers often want to touch the baby's face and hands, or put their face into the baby's carrier.  They send their sick, coughing children over to the baby carrier to point and see.   "How old is it?"  "Is it a boy or a girl?"  "Where's the mother?"  "Why are you traveling?"  Groups of tourists from one side of the airport gravitate to the other side to see the baby and giggle, wanting to take pictures.  Toward the end of the trip, I had to cover her face and hide her away.

"Where's the mother?"
Really?  I've read it on other blogs, but really?  Who's business is this?  Why does this concern you? Why does anyone care about these strangers?  There is a weird difference in cultures.  Foreigners tell me how warm they think Americans are.  Americans, they say, will talk to you and give you eye contact and are warm and welcoming.  I don't know if I believe this, Americans seem to mind their own business.  Not that many Americans noticeably gawked at the baby, but the ones that did then quickly minded their own business.  Very few of them asked any questions, and when they did, they were satisfied that there are two dads.  "That's cool" was the common response and nothing more.  I think Americans tend to mind their own business in public.  I really believe I should tell these people a horrific lie that makes them feel awful for even asking, but then I would be further questioned and I don't think I have the energy at this point for improv.

To the officer at Logan:  you live in New England, it gets cold here you horse's ass!
Cold babies need to wear snowsuits when going into snowy weather.  You see, snow = cold baby and cold baby = negligent parent.  I was questioned (rather rudely) by security at the luggage carousel in Boston airport, because I was changing Saffy into her snowsuit (essentially a sleeved sack with a hood that you put over her clothes to keep her warm).  Since Logan airport sees fit to not put ANY restrooms on this level, nor any seating areas, I had no choice but to find a secluded corner (there was an unused desk there), and dress her.  She was never naked, no diaper changed; I simply added a layer of clothing.  He spoke to me like I was a drug smuggler or child molester, and I gave it right back to him.  I'm not sorry I laid into you, you should know better;  you're an idiot.

Home, Sweet Home:
We've been away for a month, and I'd almost forgotten what you looked like.  I'm tired (so, so tired!) because of travel sickness.  Traveling back in time; spending so much time in economy class, in a cramped seat; eating terrible airline/airport food; and a daughter that doesn't want to sleep, but get used to her new surroundings, climate, time zone, and definitely takes it's toll on you.  John, who hadn't slept in a 48-hour period, was a champ.  He can certainly deal with sleep deprivation much better than myself and has been taking such good care of feedings and changings.  I worked myself into further exhaustion by cleaning bottles and cleaning massive loads of laundry.  I've been dizzy since getting off the plane.

Delhi, we miss you!
Yes, even after a few hours, I miss you.  I wept on the plane as we lifted off.  You were our home for a month and the birthplace of our daughter.  You will always have a special place in our hearts.

Until we meet again, my friend.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

There, And Back Again (Part II): The Ice Queen

We're leaving!  Finally after a month of living in New Delhi, we will be on our way home tomorrow.  We will both miss it, though Saffron has not expressed her opinion on the matter.  Today we will say our goodbyes to all our newfound friends, do some last minute shopping, and pack, pack, pack!

Yesterday was our adventure to FRRO (Foreign Region Registration Office), the most pointless part of this entire process.  You see, once your child is declared a U.S. citizen (or whatever country you're from) you need to get an exit visa in order to leave.    Yes, the child who has no claim of citizenship in the country he/she was born in has to get permission to go home.  And let me tell you (and I've already made a joke about the department of motor vehicles here before), this place makes the busiest day at a crowded L.A. county DMV look like a day at a library!  There is no order or efficiency.  They have computers, but don't seem to utilize them to their advantage.  It's almost as if they are purposely making their job more difficult and then bitching about it being so hard.

There is an interview process with a woman who thinks she knows all about surrogacy, but knows nothing.  She cannot really relate to anyone from another culture.  The gentleman I spoke to at FRRO said this interview is a mandatory procedure that everyone going through surrogacy has to do.  This is a flat-out LIE.  Two days prior, four people got through FRRO without ever having to see her.  So they pick and choose.  And I'll give her the benefit of the doubt too, she may be a nice and compassionate person outside of her "profession" and her higher-ups may be telling her to do/say/ask certain things, but she has to live with the things she says and the reputation she's getting (and lady, it ain't good!). She also had the nerve to tell me that the laws of surrogacy changed, that I got this far was a complete "fluke", and that I can never do it again.  She, and the people trying to change the laws in India, need to examine very carefully how much surrogacy and other medical tourism adds to their economy and what it actually means to people and families. Yes, regulations need to be put into place, but people also need to make their own decisions.  Honestly, the nicest person I dealt with there was the cashier who liked my shirt.
Excited to go home!

Earlier in the week, we met our surrogate for the first time.  It was a very emotional and personal experience that I will never forget.  We've shared some very personal things on this blog, but I this is one moment that I think we'll keep to ourselves.  But for those of you going through the process, I recommend it - but let it be on her terms.  It may be too emotional for her and she may want to forget it and move on.  I will say that it brought closure to us and I hope for her as well.

Photo courtesy of Randy Schmidt (thank you!)

Lastly, we were one of a few couples that did a television interview with CBS regarding medical tourism in India, emphasizing on surrogacy.  We had to think really hard before doing this:  1) because it will air nationally, privacy was our main concern (despite having a blog seen around the globe, there are varying degrees of anonymity); 2) we didn't know what angle the interview would take (would we be demonized and put in a negative light?); and 3) I hate seeing and hearing myself on video.  Then we thought about the positives - and if we can help people realize their dream of having a child, it would be worth it. People will see this interview once and never again.  We said to each other that if either of us felt uncomfortable during the interview, we would walk.  Plus, we thought Dr. Shivani wouldn't have let them in the door had they been there to exploit anyone. The CBS crew ended up being amazing and I wish them the best of luck on the feature. They were very cool to hang out with and their photographer, Randy Schmidt, was kind enough to take some photos of us.  I was very impressed that they made no mention that we were a same-sex couple or that it was even an issue.  I hope the televised version still treats that aspect as a non-issue.  That's all for now - more when we're stateside!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Brief Update & Thank You's

Today we went to the US Embassy to apply for CRBA (citizenship/passport/DNA test) & SSN.  Let me tell you, this process (with the use of Ms. Poonam's services) was a piece of cake!  You'll spend more time at the DMV getting a blank renewal form than bestowing citizenship to your new baby.

When she was born, Miss Saffy's fingernails were very long.  Like, "I was planning to claw myself out of the womb" long.  So today was the day we decided (after much apprehension) to use the baby safety clippers.  She did not like this experience at all.  First, she was pissed that we were holding her little fingers; second, we nicked her - twice and drew blood (just a little).  She SCREAMED!  We both sat there wanting to cry.  But then it was over and she went back to sleep and all was well again and I used the emery board to clean up any sharp edges.  Poor little thing.

A BIG thank you to Tim & Nathan from Dallas.  Blog followers who are just beginning their journey:  I wish you all the best, please keep in touch.  Tim was kind enough to actually bring me a French press and Starbucks coffee all the way from home. It was great visiting with you.  This will be used a lot!

Angela from Australia, thank you so much for the girls pants and the cute clip-on koala bear.  We were in desperate need of something girlish and not yellow or green.  These were the first pants we've put on her that didn't make her cry!  Don't forget we need to meet up this week!  We leave next Friday.

Oh yeah, we leave next Friday!  We finally booked our return tickets home.  Lufthansa wanted to charge sooo much to reschedule our flights, we had to buy new tickets through British Airways.  Lufthansa tickets = money lost.  John is quite unhappy. But we are excited to finally go home; we will have lived a whole month here in New Delhi.

Lastly, while John was buying groceries yesterday, Saffy and I went to the park and hung out watching these dogs.  It was her first time spending any extended period of time outside and the fresh air did us good. Not one dog attack, and no dingos got my baby!  Sorry, I've met so many Aussies lately, I had to throw that in.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Don't worry, these bitches be cool.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Welcome Home!...Well, not really.

Little Miss S, looking smart after her diaper change.
Well, Allison Z. - my oldest friend! - you were pretty much dead-on (minus an ounce) on guessing Saffron's stats.  Kudos!

We got to bring her home yesterday morning and (so far) changed several multicolored-shits and quite a few pees! And missy wants to eat: ALL. THE. TIME.

The only confusing moment: an impromptu anatomy lesson.  We knew "front to back", but neither of us have much experience with a "pikachu" (as Chelsea Handler would call it).  And girls can spray pee?  Whaaaat?

Our biggest surprise:  She holds her head up and looks around during her burping.  And can absolutely melt these two guys hearts with her cries.

But after nappies are changed, and Saffy is fed, all is well with the world.  Last night was the first in a lot of long nights.

Friday, February 8, 2013

We're Just Mad About Saffron...

And on the 15th day...It's a girl!!!!

Saffron Juliet
Born February 8, 2013 @ 2:59pm (New Delhi)
Weight:  7 lbs., 4 oz. (3.3. kg)
Length:  19" (49 cm)

Healthy (and beautiful, of course) - the extra baking sure seemed to pay off!  We should get to take her home (to our Delhi apartment) on Sunday.

Here are a few initial pics (we tried to upload a slideshow, but hours later...  we'll wait for better internet).

What is this strange place?

I wanna go back inside!  Daddies - comfort me!

We'll do far better thank yous very soon - but our heart goes out to our wonderful surrogate and of course to Dr. Shivani - but a special thanks to Meg for helping us cross the finish line!

More pics tomorrow after we get to hold and feed her for the first time!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Calm Before the Storm...

Last night it was really hard to sleep.  We had a H-U-G-E thunderstorm last night!  We're due to have more this evening and tomorrow, but right now it is calm.  I've never experienced thunder, lightning, or rain like it in my life.  It made New England look like Southern California.  Frightening and awesome!  No word yet, but here's the list from the previous post.  It's like "Survivor"; 15 have been voted out already, who will win this thing?

  1. 1/18 - B - 8lb. 8oz. - Jeff K.
  2. 1/26 - G - 6lb. 8oz. - Jill M.
  3. 1/29 - G - 6lb. 6oz. - Patty C.
  4. 1/29 - G - 6lb. 10oz. - Morgan
  5. 1/29 - B - 5lb. 9oz. - John
  6. 1/31 - B - 7lb. 6oz - Kelly H.
  7. 2/01 - G - 7lb. 4oz. - Steph K.
  8. 2/01 - G - 6lb. 0oz. - Tony D.
  9. 2/02 - B - 7lb. 9oz. - Michelle O.
  10. 2/02 - G - 7lb. 11oz. - Tracey F.
  11. 2/02 - G - 6lb. 8oz. - Auntie Dana
  12. 2/02 - G - 6lb 11oz. - "Gangy"
  13. 2/02 - G - 7lb. 2oz. - "Pop-pop"
  14. 2/05 - G - 6lb. 4oz. - Uncle Greg
  15. 2/06 - G - 6lb. 12oz. - Aunt Cathy
  16. 2/07 - G - 6lb. 2oz. - Kelli T.
  17. 2/07 - B - 7lb. 2oz. - Aunt Stacy
  18. 2/07 - G - 7lb. 8oz. - Brooke M.
  19. 2/07 - B - 7lb. 5oz. - Jolene H.
  20. 2/08 - G - 7lb. 3oz. - Allison Z.
  21. 2/09 - G - 6lb. 8oz. - Cousin Jessica
  22. 2/11 - B - 6lb. 12oz. - Grandma Lori
  23. 2/12 - G - 8lb. 5oz. - Jill S.
  24. 2/15 - B/G - 9lb. twins - Bob S. (Oh, Bob!

Monday, February 4, 2013


We shop at M-Block;  where, when 4 rupees is your change, you get gum.

 is equal to

You have to smile at that!

In other news, it rained and thundered briefly this morning (I thought to myself, is this a sign of the imminent arrival of mini-me?).

And look at that counter to your right?  Have you ever seen it get that low with no baby?  Are we really going to run that thing to ZERO???

Zero Mostel and Willy Wonka in "The Producers"
If we do, we should seriously consider that for a baby name.  After all, there was an actor named Zero (not his given name).

Saturday, February 2, 2013

It's All a Ruse

Delhi:  Day 9

39 Weeks Today!  (according to our calculations anyway)

I'm beginning to think this is all an elaborate hoax - the scans, the other blogs - even the other IPs/new parents we've met.  Just hired hands (here, take this baby, and go have coffee with them).  Good actors every one - I'm truly impressed by the whole production.

But why?

The money?  No - we're not rich.

The entertainment value?  No - we're not interesting.

I know - just for shear pleasure of the ruse!  Let's mess with the poor American couple - they look like naive - we can stretch this on for WEEKS.  Did I just type that word????

Kidding of course - and it is wonderful that our baby is fattening up (hopefully) and growing as much as he/she can in utero.  But we really didn't want to set any records for being here so long before birth!

Believe it or not, when we were deciding if we should come on the date suggested or just wait until last minute, I scoured all the blogs and charted out at what point everyone had their babies.  The average was 37 weeks for singleton natural births, and only one set of parents went to 39 weeks.  I know, with this much rigorously scientific analysis, what could go wrong?

We did cash in some points to stay at a nicer hotel last night and tonight - we move to a new apartment Sunday, so we wanted to get some rest while we were still baby-less.  Beautiful hotel (managed by Hilton) and very close to SCI and the hospital.

Perhaps we'll do some sight seeing locally today.  Perhaps not.