Friday, July 31, 2009

Hotel Hiranandani

Standard Indian dinner here at Hotel Hiranandani, and me with Micah in one of the few calm moments of the day. Note that photos are in reverse chronological order from the narration below....

Our little boxer all taped up for his match....

Adam posing as the patient in room 411....

Micah in his "arabian caftan" and his fantasy sponge-bath -- you can see how much he enjoyed it.

We spent most of the morning waiting for the pediatrician's visit that we hoped would be our exit permit to the outside world. In the meantime, Adam actually left our hospital room for the first time in about 36 hours, and Micah got a lovely spongebath from a pretty nurse that he howled his way through. Dude, this nurse was pretty! Afterwards, we dressed him in this adorable green caftan with matching top, and she said he looked like an Arab.

Seeing him naked made us realize that he had started to look a bit jaundiced. Our diagnosis was confirmed by the pediatrician, but rather than sending us home and telling us it would get better on its own, he ordered up a heat lamp and said that we'll have to stay here another night or two. We were so desperate for freedome we could almost taste it. The only consolation is that we're hoping that most of our stay here will be partially covered by our insurance, but otherwise, it was quite a bummer.
The heat lamp brought a whole set of challenges. First, we asked about eye protection from the UV light, and were told to just pull a cap over the baby's eyes. My experience with the caps we'd brought told me that they are too big and wouldn't stay over his eyes, so they sent me down to the gift shop for what I thought were special heat-lamp hats. (why don't they have little goggles like any decent hospital would?) Turns out the special hats were just as ill-fitting.
As we were fussing with the hat, we had people affixing a little pee-pee collector to our boy's boys for a urine test, and then a technician came to draw blood from his heel for a panel of lab tests that screen for metabolic disorder. Lots of unhappy crying and squirming later, the pee-pee collector had gotten dislodged, the hat was off, Micah's flailing arms kept startling him away and howling, and we had one very unhappy naked boy at the spa. This spa should have offered a manicure first, because the poor little guy kept scratching himself.
Daddy was also keenly aware of the dangers of UV exposure to his baby's eyes. We finally taped some cotton balls over Micah's eyes, and taped the hat in place over his cheek, but not before at least one technical failure of the hat that we worry has blinded him. We also taped socks around his hands, giving the effect of having a very scrawny boxer. We couldn't believe the hospital didn't have some simple goggles to protect his eyes, or even a low-tech eye patch.
Micah's squirming also made me keenly aware of the dangers of the bassinet he's in -- it is basically one fallen baby away from a big lawsuit. Luckily when he's swaddled, he can't get into trouble.
Although the doctor told us us to keep him under the lights anytime he's asleep, we felt like that's a lot of UV exposure considering that he quickly started looking better, and worried about our improvised eye protection failing during the night when we weren't asleep. I'm storing up stories about Hiranandani for other IPs who will eventually be here, and this is a good example of the frustrations we've found.

One funny story from the day: At one point, a nurse came in and saw Adam watching TV (as in the photo above) and scolded him for not wearing his hospital gown. She was the infection prevention specialist, so we hadn't met her yet, and she thought Adam was the patient. (you know you've had a tedious day when that's the funniest story you can think of!)
Our day was definitely cheered up by the solicitous care from Amit, whose official role is that of travel agent, but who has become our go-to guy for many problems; finally reaching my parents in Italy and telling them all about our past few days; having a nice long chat with Nik, who has just arrived in town for his baby pick-up in a few weeks; and reading all of the notes of congratulations we received from friends.
I'm so happy that everyone seems to think we picked a good name, and I hope that it will derail Adam's continued campaign to choose a different middle name and change the spelling of Micah to Mikah. On the topic of names, I have to repeat this adorable conversation that my sister had with her son, who referred to "that baby who's just no years old" and, when reminded that the baby's name was Micah, said "I love that name." When my sister asked why, he said "because it's the perfect name for that baby. I can't wait to play with Baby Micah!" (I hope Micah's coulsin isn't disappointed when he comes to visit us in 8 weeks and finds that Baby Micah can't really play with him yet, and I also hope Victoria doesn't mind that I post this....)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Boy

Isn't it this 3-D scan of Micah amazingly close to the real thing! We think his nose looks better in person, though we wonder if it got a bit squashed in the womb. Adam took the 1:30-5:30 am shift tonight -- isn't he the best! -- and so I'm feeling much better now. Fun day of waiting to get discharged from the hospital will ensue.....

This morning (Friday), Micah is opening up his eyes more. We think he's looking around the hospital room trying to decide what color it should be painted, like his Daddy would. His eyes are a still a combination of blue and grey, and we're hoping they take after his Cousin Jacob.

Thanks to everyone for all the nice comments, and for sharing in our excitement. It makes me feel much less alone over here knowing that you're all along for our journey. Still haven't talked to my mom and dad -- they're on a long tour of Italy -- but Micah has heard a lot about them and is looking forward to meeting them!

Updated Thursday Night: Introducing Micah Gabriel Sacks

(Note: Computer shut down unexpectedly while I was writing this, so am updating on Thursday night.)
Dear Micah,

You're here! On Tuesday night, we went to sleep not knowing whether you'd be born in one day or a week. The doctors promised that they'd call us to give us an update on Tuesday night, but by Wednesday morning when we woke at 5:3o, we hadn't heard anything, so we headed to the gym to let off some tension. We both had good, sweaty workouts, and came back to the room at around 7:15. No sooner had we walked in the door than we got a call from the doctor that we should be at the hospital in 5 minutes! Well, our hotel was at least 10 minutes from the hospital, so we ran around our hotel room likes chickens with our heads cut off to shower, pack, get our bags down to the front desk, and check out of the hotel. Not to mention that Daddy Adam can't have a 2 hour workout without a meal afterwards! So we didn't get to meet you until you were a whole hour old.
You were born at 7:29 am on 7/29/09! You weighed 5 lbs, 11 oz; we don't know how long you were because you were all bundled up like a little pea in a pod. You have a round face, a wide nose (we apologize for that one!), lots of reddish dark-brown hair, and light brown eyebrows and eyelashes. Your daddy was relieved to see that your ears lie flat to your head, but keeps adjusting your hat to make sure it stays that way. Your eyes have only been opening when you're not in direct light, but they look like a steely bluish-grey so far. Everyone Indian at the hospital thinks you look like your daddy, but we think its just that your coloring is much lighter than someone Indian. To me, you look a bit like my uncle Mel, which is not actually a surprise, because I thought our egg donor shared some characteristics with that side of my family.
We spend 2 or 3 hours with you in an empty delivery room waiting to get checked into our hospital "suite." Although it is a spacious 2-room, 2 br area, "suite" is far too grand for this room. Everything in the room is vanilla-colored, the bathrooms are spartan, and there's mold everywhere. We can't wait to check out. While it is nice to be able to call the nursing staff for help, we find it difficult to communicate our questions and needs, even though everyone is speaking English. Being here is a bit like being in a fairly nice foreign prison, in which a steady procession of caretakers come and go on a regular basis. Two pediatricians have visited for cursory check-ups, but we haven't gotten much information from them, either, and your Daddy was very frustrated that all possibilities of obtaining human milk were shut down.
Complaining aside (and Micah, you'll find that complaining is something we do fairly well), we're so happy to have you with us. We can't stop admiring how well you turned out, and being amazed that we created you practically through e-mail.
I did get to visit briefly with your surrogate, Rajeshree, as she recovered from the birth. She looked worn out but pleased with herself. We were amazed that she was recouperating just next door to the room we were in while waiting for our suite, and wondered whether she heard our cooing over you and your early cries. I gave her a gold ring that I used to wear in my 20's -- it is very delicate, with a cluster of sapphires and two small diamonds on opposite sides. I explained that it signified that even though we're separated from her across an ocean, we'll always be connected. Unlike a lot of the other surrogates who wear gold earings and noserings, she doesn't seem to wear a lot of gold jewelrey, so we hope she likes it.
The rest of today has been more challenging than yesterday. You are a bit fussier, and suffered from a long case of hiccups at one point, and we're a lot more tired. However, the nursing staff is leaving us alone more now, so we hope tonight will be a bit easier. We can't wait to check out of the hospital and settle in with you to our hotel suite that will have plush towns and won't smell like disinfectant. We hope to make the transfer by mid-day on Friday, although like most things in this process, it will probably require lots of waiting around and difficult-to-understand communication. Our hotel will have free internet access, so we plan to post more updates, although they will probably all sound something like "gee you're cute," "gee, we're tired," and "gee we can't wait to get home."
Speaking of, our appointment with the embassy is next Thursday, 8/6. We won't know whether they'll require a DNA test until we get there; if not, there's a chance we could head home the following week, but if they do, it may take us longer. More on that later.
BTW, if there are any IPs who want more scoop about Hirandani hospital, please send me a private message through the forum.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A few more photos

Me showing Rajeshree the gifts for her children; relaxing at breakfast our first morning; and Adam with the author of a small booklet of 50 tips of parenting advice that we met in the Newark airport. She happily sold it to us for only $10, a small price for such pearls of wisdom as
#11: Child is a keen observer. Parents please beware of this. Your child is always watching you. Children learn a lot by observation. Cild observes your behavior minutely. Words spoken by you are picked up by them so as your actions, when do my parents get angry, they understand it very well. When my parents can meet my demands and they act accordingly. Please do not do any thing in presence of the child which you do not want him/her to do."

It's for real!

We arrived in Mumbai on Sunday night, and immediately went to our swank hotel, the Ramada Powaii (highly recommend it; expecially for the included buffet brunch, which lasted us through most of our long days here.)

We spent most of the day on Monday with Amit, the awesome hotel booking agent who works with SI, and Kerrie and Mark, who are here to start their journey. Amit took us to see several long term stay apartments and gave us a good tour of Mumbai (and its crazy traffic and roads) as a bonus. We will probably move into the VITS hotel, which has nice 1 BR suites, after the baby is born.

Monday night we had a late dinner at the VITS, captured in the photo above, with (l-r) Dr. Yash and baby Isabella, Adam and me, Kerri, Mark, Amit, Dr. Sudhir, Shawn (Isabella's father), Chaya (with baby Ella), and Carrie Jo (Isabella's mother).

Monday night was relatively sleepless due to jet lag (11.5 hours difference between Denver and Mumbai,) and worries about all of the logistics, including wondering whether the embassy will require a DNA test and, if so, how much extra time that will add to our process. With each hotel night costing over $100, and restauarant costs being fairly high, we are feeling each day here quite keenly.

This morning we started the day waiting for the call to meet the doctors and Rajeshree at the hospital. We arrived and were so happy to see Rajeshee looking quite healthy. She's small, but has a lovely sized belly, and she looked quite glowing. We couldn't communicate with her when the doctors left us, but we gave lots of smiles and nods and let her know how beautiful she looks. Although she had already had a scan before we arrived, the doctors arranged for the radiologist to do another, and we were thrilled to see our baby's face, hands, feet and a complete set of kidneys. Baby's nose looks a bit funny, but we're hoping that it is the result of squashing in the womb! Adam was carefully watching to see the ears, and was delighted to see that they looked flat, but I'm personally hoping for a bit of ear-sticking out to prevent the need for a DNA test! The doctor estimates that the baby is about 5.5 lbs or 2.5 kg, which is OK for the end of 36 weeks. She now weights about 110 lbs, which is still less than I weighed at age 13, but looks very healthy.

Next we all traipsed up to see Dr. Soni, the OB. After just a quick peek, she found that Rajeshree was 2.5 cm dialated, although not in active labor! As a precaution, she decided to admit Rajeshree overnight, which we completely appreciated once we saw how long it took to get from the hospital to the clinic due to road construction and traffic. We'd be happy to avoid an emergency trip on those roads and over those bumps! If labor doesn't progress, she may be discharged back to the clinic tomorrow, but it sounds like our baby doesn't want to wait out week 37 as baby's father would like, so for now, our side trip to see the Taj Mahal is on hold, although Adam still is talking about taking the baby there while we wait for the paperwork.

Rajeshree seemed to take being admitted to the hospital in stride, but he husband, who we later saw in the clinic, was definitely surprised. He's taken time off of work to stay home with the children during this phase of the pregnancy, and was very concerned about her. We gave him the gifts we had brought for the children -- two backpacks full of school supplies and crafts material -- and completely embarrased me by touching my foot in gratitude. Class differences are very hard for us to get used to.

We learned some lovely things about Rajeshree from the folks at the clinic -- she's been one of the most cheerful surrogates, and yet is very strong in asking for what she needs for her children during the pregnancy. We were happy to learn that she is hoping to purchase a place for her family to live so they no longer have to rent with the proceeds from this venture.

Once again on this visit we've seen how frustrating India can be, with crazy traffic, rules that can easily be re--arranged for the right price, and sometimes incomprehensible waits for things, slow and almost unbearably formal service in restaurants. As case in point about the bureacratic mysteries of India, today we needed to obtain a cell phone, but were surprised to find out that you need a passport photo to obtain one. Dr. Yash came to our rescue by pulling down the photo of us that's posted underneath the world map where they mark the home towns of all their clients. Our cell phone number, for those who'd like to skype us, is 0091 (international code) 922-059-4603. We probalby won't have good internet connectivity until we move to the VITS after the baby is discharged from the hospital.

Tonight, we're back at the Ramada hoping to get a good night's sleep before the excitement starts. Adam has actually been asleep since about 7 pm, which means he'll be wide awake again at 3. I intended to take an Ambian at 10 and stay asleep all night. Maybe this will just set us up for different sleep shifts once the baby is here.

Until our next post, please keep Rajeshree and baby in your thoughts and prayers for a safe and speedy delivery!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Doesn't feel quite real

I've embarked on many airplane trips with the hint that my life might be different when I returned ... setting off alone to view my eventual college choice, Washington University; boarding an international flight alone for the first time to go to study abroad for the year in England; going to Israel on a community mission, to France for a bike trip, and on a singles trip in Costa Rica. But this trip I KNOW that my life will never be the same, and it is having a hard time sinking in. Getting ready for this trip has involved so many different project plans. Creating a baby's room out of a junk room. Assembling suitcases full of all the stuff a baby needs (when I've never really had much experience with babies.) Gathering all the necessary forms and documentation. Preparing to leave work for a month. Preparing to leave home for a month. Preparing to spend a month in a hotel room during monsoon season. Oh, and the fact that a baby is going to be coming home with us? Pretty easy to forget in all that.

And, as Adam pointed out, it's not like we've gotten a lot of evidence of a coming baby. One scan that looked like a baby. One picture of our glowing surrogate. Lots of money transferred out of our bank account, and sporadic e-mails with scant details.

So, baby, ready or not, here we come for you. We know you're going to change our lives, but can't imagine just how completely.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I misread the scale of the average rainfall. It was 886 mm, not cm. So that's 35 inches of rain for the month, not 350.... Better, but still a lot of rain!


  • Bookshelves: original Krisana Park kitchen cabinents from a neighbor's house, painted by Adam and added legs: $54
  • Books and toys in bookshelf, gifts and hand-me-downs from our wonderful Denver family
  • Curtains lovingly sewn by Grandma Judy: $48
  • Artwork: Embroidery alphabet sampler made by Stephanie in 1978 and 2008 Indian Hamsa print by Mike & Mike: $60 for print, $130 for framing
  • Batik print that Adam designed and had made in Malaysia, used as our chuppah, $75
  • Rocking chair from Adam's house in Providence, repainted by Stephanie with 3 coats of spray paint, $32
  • Armoire bought unfinished in Providence, repainted by Stephanie with 4 coats of white paint, $24
  • Crib: wonderful hand-me-down from Cousin Beth, free
  • Changing table: purchased on Craigslist, $20
  • High-traffic rug from Home Depot, $48
  • Pale peach and roasted squash paint for room, $50
  • Pale green sheets, crib bumper, and changing table pad: gifts from friends

Having a gorgous room to bring our baby home to: PRICELESS!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Some interesting numbers

July average monthly rainfall in Mumbai: 868 cm (that's 347 inches!)
Average temperature range: 24 c (75 degrees F) low; 29 c (85 degrees F) high

Our surrogate's CURRENT weight (at nearly 9 months pregnant): 49 kg (that's 107 lbs!). I wish I knew what she was at the start -- probably about 87 lbs.....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nothing to worry about

Here's the latest little tidbit of news we've received from our clinic:

Great to hear from you. As mentioned eariler, we are in touch with Dr Soni
and she has confirmed that Rajshree is doing absolutely great and nothign to
worry about. So we havent shifted her to clinic yet. We are hoping to shift
on sunday.
We will then go for another visit on tuesday to Dr Soni,
and you
can join for the same (scan and consultation).
She visited dr
soni today n
these are the details.Pulse: 78/min35-36 weeks by
We will repeat the scan next week. Hope to see you soon.

Of course, I'm doing nothing but worrying. Will she be able to get to the right hospital quickly if something does happen? Does this mean that the baby is now in the right direction for a normal delivery? If so, will we sit around in Mumbai with nothing to do for 2 weeks? Have I packed everything that I need for the baby. Should I repack to have a bag-within-a-bag to take to the hospital so I don't have to arrive at the hospital with 3 huge suitcases? How many bottles should I bring. Is my laptop that isn't working very well fixable, or should I run out and buy a new laptop before we go?

Postscript: laptop is being looked at by my new favorite neighbor, Mark of Myth Systems (he's awesome!), and as it turns out, my worries over imprisoning our surrogate were for naught since she isn't even at the clinic yet. I asked our doctors if she'd be OK in the event of heavy flooding that Mumbai could potentially receive this weekend, and they said that our surrogate lives near one of the clinic's OBs, so she should be OK.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monsoon Baby

OK, I'm not feeling at all guilty about moving our surrogate to the clinic after reading about the monsoon rains. This photo is from some hotel lobby earlier this month. There are many many warnings online (why didn't I look before I booked tickets) about the potential for the most serious flooding Mumbai has ever experienced for July 24 and 25, two days before we arrive. Sounds like fun, no?

Warning: Avoid Travel to Mumbai Around July 24
Thursday May 21,

Mumbai received its first pre-monsoon shower last night. According
to the Meteorological Department, the monsoon is due to arrive in the city
around June 8, 2009. It's very difficult to give an accurate prediction
As usual, Mumbai is hopelessly unprepared for the monsoon rains.
What's even more concerning is that the Department has predicted that city will
have the highest tide in 100 years -- 5.05 meters -- on July 24.
Mumbai's municipal council has admitted that it isn't equipped to handle more than 25 millimeters of rain per hour, coupled with a high tide of more than 4.5 meters.
The consequences could be disastrous. In the case of high rainfall,
widespread flooding will result and the city could be brought to a standstill
for days. A similar thing happened on July 26, 2005 - and the tide was only 4.48
meters high!
The municipal council has advised visitors to stay away from
Mumbai on or around July 24, 2009. There's no guarantee that the adverse weather
conditions will eventuate. However, with the monsoon being so unpredictable, it
sounds like a good idea.
Although it is purely a coincidence, the girl's name we've chosen, Maya, is related in Hebrew to the word for water. Our original choice for a middle name for a boy was River, but we recently decided to switch to the more conventional, less water-related middle name "Gabriel." Giving a boy the middle name River would have made his initials MRS, which we decided was cruel (yes, hold your comments on whether River would have been cruel in and of itself.....)

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Believe it or not, I just got around to downloading the photo from our last trip to India (yes, that was 8 months ago, for those of you keeping track.) One reason it took so long is that the photos weren't very good -- we spent most of our time in Mumbai in cars, and what we saw from the car wasn't always pretty. But here are photos from some of the key players in our surrogacy journey.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

We had help....

Those of you following our surrogacy journey might enjoy this very timely article in the NY Times about parents talking to their children about egg donation and surrogacy. I'm not sure if the cupcake metaphor quite captures it, so if anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

All is quiet on the surrogacy front today, and I hope it remains so. We're leaving town two weeks from today, so hoping our little one continues to enjoy the last few weeks quietly swimming and doesn't feel the need to come up for air before we get there.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Feeling Feudal

Throughout this pregnancy, I've never felt like I was taking advantage of our surrogate, or exploiting her in any way. She signed up to do this brave thing that involves quite a bit of inconvenience for her, but that will allow her to dramatically improve her family's life. In just a year, she'll earn money that may be as much as her husband could earn in 4 or 5 years, and it will enable her to keep her children in school longer, buy a better house for them, or start a business. I hope I get a chance to ask her how she'll be spending the money.

But today I agreed to have her housed in the clinic for the remainder of the pregnancy, and I'm feeling guilty. She's actually been there before, resting for about 2 weeks after the implantation until we had a confirmed pregnancy. For some reason now, though, I feel like I'm imprisoning her. This is definitely the best place for her as far as we are concerned -- if there's any emergency, she can be taking to the very best hospital in Mumbai right away. In addition this hospital is "surrogate friendly"; not every hospital is so amenable to putting our names on the birth certificate. Maybe she'll even welcome the respite from her daily chores during these last two or three weeks before the baby arrives (since it will be a C-section, I hope she'll have lots of help at home after the delivery, too.) If only I could ask her some of these things, and not feel like I'm arranging her fate like some feudal lady of the manor....

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Nerves and nervy

I've started to get quite nervous. Not about the baby yet (I'm sure that will kick in soon too) but more about getting ourselves ready to leave the house, having everything we'll need in India prepared, and getting there before the baby does (but not too much before -- every day I'm in India before the baby arrives is one day less that I can spend at home with the baby.....)

This week I learned from two different sources that the previous straightforward process to obtain the baby's birth certificate, which was taking about a week, has now become more complicated and is now taking 3-4 weeks. At issue seems to be a crackdown by Mumbai officials on the officials in the birth certificate office who were "helping" get the intended mother's name is on the birth certificate even if she wasn't the genetic mother. This could end up costing us a few thousand dollars more in legal fees if an official adoption will be required in the US. I just hope it doesn't also extend our stay in Mumbai.

Thinking about being nervous, though, reminded me how bold, adventurous, and downright nervy it was of us to pursue this path. Back when I was a little girl whose idea of adventure was to settle down in Daddy's big leather chair to read the Phantom Tollbooth, the idea that someone might use any of those words to describe me or my life would have been just ridiculous. I'm proud that I've grown into those descriptions (although, to borrow from the Phantom Tollbooth, I'm probably either the most timid adventurer you've ever met or the most adventurous timid person).

This weekend will be a busy one for me of getting things packed, making some final purchases for baby, and doing some creative scrapbooking to try to get the baby's pre-birth scrapbook done before we leave.

Monday, July 6, 2009


I realized today that I've posted extensively about the "stuff" we've received for the baby, but not the important stuff. There have been so many great, intangible gifts we've received though this process:
  • The gift of complete acceptance from our friends and family of this non-traditional way we've chosen to have a family. At many points, they could have asked challenging questions that might have burst our bubble, but they chose to trust that we've made good decisions, to boost our morale when we had doubts, and to be happy for our success.
  • The gift of having communities of friends and families where a biracial baby will be happily accepted, and where his or her ethnicies will be celebrated.
  • The gift of so much great parenting advice from friends, and the knowledge that we aren't going to be only "oldest parents on the block"
  • The gift of so much enthusiasm for our little one's arrival, and support in getting us ready, physically and emotionally.

So to all of you who have helped us get through this uneventful but still stressful 8 months, thank you! And to all of you who will read future whiny or ungrateful-sounding posts during our travels in India, please remember that in a sense, our family is being birthed in the this three or four week monsoon odessey, and it is bound to be a bit painful and messy, but ultimately the result will be worth it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

(End of) Independence Day

It is really hard to wrap my mind around the fact that, after 25 years of being completely independent, in another three weeks there will be someone who totally depends on me for the next 18 or so. Getting adjusted to the fact is quite a bit harder without having any visable evidence of a baby. I can imagine it is going to be quite a shock to us when a nurse or doctor puts the baby in our arms for the first time -- but perhaps in that way we aren't much different from any new parent.

Despite the lack of evidence, we spend the weekend doing mostly nesting-type things -- rearranging our shed full of outdoor gear, doing a big shopping trip to BabiesRUs, and hanging out with three couples who have 6-12 month olds. The baby's suitcase for India is nearly all packed, and weighs more than the baby will weigh for another 7 or 8 years, and doesn't even include the bouncer seat that we've just deemed necessary for the trip.

Our suitcases aren't packed, but I have started assembling a gigantic medicine kit, and Adam will be getting our electronics organized this week. This task includes learning how to operate our fab new camcorder that my family purchased for us -- hopefully we'll learn to use it before the airplane trip, because the 100 page, 6 point manual isn't as good airplane reading as the "What to Expect in the First Year" book that I'll be lugging along. Also on my reading list, though perhaps when we get back, is the Baby Signs book that faithful garage-saler Aunt Jackie purchased for us. Watching adorable Ruth sign the word for "more" over and over today at brunch showed me how wonderful it is for a baby to be able to communicate before they can talk.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


After the "do you know whether its a boy or a girl?" question, the most commonly asked question we get asked is "how long will you have to be in India?" That, my friends, is the 6,000,000 rupee question.

Our official due date is August 19. However, given that most surrogacy babies whose progress I've been following seem to come at around 37 weeks, we made our reservation to fly to India on July 25, which will be 36.5 weeks.

Once the baby makes his or her arrival, here's what we need to do:

  • Obtain a birth certificate from the local authorities. Getting this done quickly apparently requires some financial lubrication.

  • Call the US embassy and schedule someone to come witness a DNA test for the baby and Adam to prove that the baby is related to Adam and thereby a US citizen. This is very serious -- the DNA test we ordered came in a fedex envelope marked "evidence" and can't be opened by anyone except the government official.

  • The DNA test (a cotton swab of cells from the inside of cheeks) has to be sent to a lab in the US for analysis.

  • Once the results are back (probably 2 weeks?), we have to make an appointment to bring the baby to the embassy for an appointment, bringing lots of different forms and documents proving that Adam is a US citizen.

  • It takes the US embassy a few days to a week to create a passport for the baby. Once we have that, we go to an Indian government office to obtain an exit visa for the baby to prove that we can legally leave the country with baby. Another rupee-making opportunity for someone.

  • Somewhere along the way, when we figure out when all these formalities will be done, we call our airline to buy a seat for the baby (international flights have a bassinett available for bulkhead seats, cost is 10% above the individual ticket price) and $250 each to re-book our return ticket (we'll try to get a doctor's note to prove that we needed to get home with the baby to get this fee refunded.)

So total time from baby's birth to return to the US is anyone's guess. If the baby needs additional medical care, it may delay things a bit. We're figuring 4 weeks and will be delighted if it is less. If we can make it through 4 weeks in a hotel suite, endles government bureaucracy, and a 26 hour flight with a newborn baby, everything else should be a piece of cake, right?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Nesting; tired and grateful

Spent the whole evening re-arranging the house so I could bring some order to the baby's room. And still, there's a huge pile of clothing to be sorted and put away. Looking around at all the stuff we've acquired in the last week, I was amazed: we went from being totally unprepared to an outfitted nursery, thanks to the generocity of our friends and relatives. We are so grateful to everyone who has helped supply us with so much fun stuff. Cousins on the Kaminsky side have outfitted us with a crib, high chair, and fun toys; Cousin Kerri & family arrived at our house with a minivan full of toys, playyard, and more. I'll try to post a picture of the nursery in a few days when we can see the floor again.

Today also marked a major step in our preparation: we bought a "travel system" of infant carrier, stroller, and two car bases -- the same model we were going to buy new for $300 -- from Craigslist for only $100. All we need to do is to install those babies into our cars and we're officially good to go.

And the clothes! Our baby had better stay 3 months old for at least 6 months to make sure he or she gets to wear all the clothing we have! that is, unless he or she wants to wear a color other than yellow or green. I'm sure there will be gender-identifiable clothing we'll have to pick up as soon as we know what we've got in the gender department.

Speaking of, although its beginning to look like we're having a boy -- the playyard, travel system, feeding seat, etc are all blues and tans -- we really haven't a clue. Our surro thinks it is a boy, so I've been thinking that way too, and I realized today that I'm really OK with having a boy, even though I've been hoping all along for a girl (maybe hearing the stories of niece Natasha's strong moods helped nudge me along that path!)

Anyway, the baby's suitcase is now started, just need to go stock up on some bottles and formula, and I think we'll officially be ready to leave the country! 3 weeks and a day to go!