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!