Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Getting priorities in order, and new results

First, and most importantly, how is baby bubble doing?
We received results of a beta test taken last Thursday 26 March, the day after the amazing "yes you have a heartbeat" scan. The results: mixed. We had a beta done Monday 23 March which was 4904. Three days later we've gone to 8834. My math is poor so I can't work out if this is in the  60 per cent to doubling over 48-72 hours, but I think we scrape in.

However, when we received the report it said gestational age 5.1 weeks, normal beta range for 5.1 weeks is 23,100 - 1,51,000. Ouch we're way below that. I said to Bob, "Oh dear, not looking good", and he agreed. He encouraged me to not get upset and I said I wasn't, as I always do, then I walked from the room expecting the tears to come. Surprisingly, they didn't! 

Bob forwarded me the results, and I switched on my logical brain, opened up an excel spreadsheet and typed out every cycle day and result from LMP to date. And there was my answer.

If you use the LMP date that have been on all results until now, the test was taken on exactly five weeks gestational age. The beta range for 4-5 weeks GA is 2650 - 82,300, so we're looking slow but okay.  However, if you use the LMP day of one day earlier, as the lab has done in this case, we are 5 weeks one day and in the 5-6 weeks range, and not looking good.

So, for now, we are going by five weeks. Yes, we're slow, but we have a heartbeat, and more tests may reveal the viability of this pregnancy (sorry, I can't call this a baby just yet). I spoke with Dr S yesterday and he agreed, you can look at the results one way and lose all hope, or look at them the other way and be positive. Of course, the docs have been more than cautious hence the reason why our surrogate Mrs C has been in the clinic ... just in case. There are no signs of cramping or bleeding and Mrs C feels physically and emotionally good. I do feel for her having all these extra blood tests taken, poor love has had six blood tests for betas, which is well above what is normally required.  It's great to know that the docs are on top of things and being very cautious. 

The reason we're getting results later rather than sooner is because of public holidays in Mumbai and weekends, so the labs close and results don't come through. Ugh. Annoying? Yes. If we were in Australia and I was the one pregnant, I would get scan results on the spot - obviously because I would actually be there. Blood results come to us around 3pm the day of the test. You phone the clinic in the afternoon and a nurse coordinator gives your results over the phone.

Things work differently in India. The docs like to have the actual report in hand, rather than phone results. There is always the potential that a lab could give the wrong information, so it's best to be cautious. This does cause delay, especially if you encounter a public holiday or a weekend, or if results come in late in the day, in which case you have to deal with time differences between countries. But I am learning to deal with not getting information on the spot. In fact,  Bob and I asked the docs to not tell us when the next test will be because if I know a test is due, I will just fret and worry and want to call Dr Y 10 times a day. It's been a week since the last test, but I'll bet the docs have already done another scan or beta test, or will do one by week's end. Of course they won't tell us, at our request, so I'll blog the results once we have them.

Meditation has really worked for me as I am so much calmer now. I am able to just let things be, and that feels so much better than being anxious and constantly worrying. I have had to distance myself from this pregnancy because there is absolutely nothing I, or anyone else can do, to control the way nature plans to unfold. My prayer to bubble is this: we love you and want you, but if you decide you don't like the body we - Bob and I, the docs, the embryologists, our ED angel and our surrogate Mrs C - have grown for you, then it's okay to leave for now and we'll try again.

Our building project
In a nutshell, it's on hold. The builder came over on Monday with a contract to sign. I didn't agree to aluminium doors and windows and asked him to requote on timber joinery. I didn't even get to the discussion about him removing $23,000 worth of items, but not removing his 25 per cent markup on items he is not supplying nor installing. He basically had a bit of a hissy fit, told me I was abusing his good nature and we decided to part ways. Actually, it was a bit scary because he blew up, and I am proud of myself because I managed to stay calm and keep my voice low, while he started tossing documents at me. He sat outside in his car with his ex-wife, and business partner, and I fled inside peeking out the window willing him to go away. After 20 minutes or so with him ranting in his car for the whole street to hear, he departed and I  breathed a sign of relief. So glad we didn't sign with him.

So, it's back to the proverbial drawing board. I think we'll get a project manager not a builder. For now, I am visiting salvage yards and I have sourced $5000 of not only timber, but original art deco lead light windows and doors that have come from a demolished house. Now, that is the same price as those awful aluminium numbers the builder insisted we agreed to, and a saving of $10,000 on new timber windows and doors, sans lead light. Bargain!

I've also managed to source recycle jarrah floorboards at a saving of around $7000. Next I'll check out crappy kitchens. An Ikea or Bunnings kitchen will do for a few years ... anything will be better than the cramped little kitchen we have now.

I have to go back to our designer so he can adjust the plans to fit our doors and windows to the plan, then we can start again. We need to save every dollar we can on this extension because we don't know how much surrogacy will end up costing at the end of the day, even if things go smoothly from here-on-in. But bubble is our priority and I am not going spend any money on a build until I know exactly what it will cost and what we need to bring bubble home.

Other news
I am back in the garden. That is meditation in itself. Everything is overgrown, so I am chopping and weeding and removing debris and replanting plants. Okay, I'll fess up. After I had the scare with the builder I bought $50 plants. Plants shopping is my retail therapy. It's off to the garden for me now!


Anonymous said...

Bubble is going to cost you more than you originally thought. Sorry! Being Australian, you will also need to hire a lawyer, who has had nothing to do with the original contract you signed with your surrogate and he will have to write a report on its legality. It cost me $5000 USD - ouch! This is so you can can citizenship.

Amani said...

I have crunched the numbers. Due to the global financial crisis and the low Aussie dollar, every charge in USD costs an Aussie roughly 30 per cent more.

I do not agree we need an Australian lawyer. There are no Australian lawyers who have acted on behalf of Australian clients doing surrogacy in India. The USA, maybe, but the two countries laws are not the same.

Two Australian couples have successfully negotiated their way through getting citizenship for their babies and have not had to use a lawyer get get citizenship. Sorry you had to pay $5000 - yes, ouch, but I think you were ripped off.

If it comes to that, doing no building work will free up money and we'll be fine.

jojo said...

Hi Am

I just had a thought - doesn't the beta rate slow down after heartbeat is detected?

I remember reading that fom a few different reliable sources.


Amani said...

Yeah, it does slow, but not until 10-12 weeks I think. Certainly not at this stage.

Anonymous said...

The Australian High Commission asks you to use one for Citizenship. They recommend the one you use and it has to be an Indian lawyer but it is in USD

Anonymous said...

a statement from the doctor to the courts stating clearly that genetic material from person A and/or person B has been implanted in person C (note: the court may require DNA tests to confirm the genetic material of all parties); and
Court documentation stating clearly the legal custody of the surrogate child and waiving the rights of the surrogate mother. The statement must also confirm the doctor’s statement regarding the person/s donating the genetic material.

Check out

Amani said...

Anon, have you actually gone through this process, or are you getting your info from the website. The two couples who have done this have not had to pay for an independent lawyer to my knowledge, and things written on that site are a little outdated given that the first Australian baby born to Australian parents came home in January and the site hasn't changed.

At any rate, I would not pay an Indian lawyer, nor clinic, nor any Indian service provider in USD, the bulk of our payments are in INR. Why charge us in USD when it is not our currency?

and US$5000 for an Indian lawyer is ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

Yes I brought my baby home last Saturday. The laws have recently changed. I was just letting you know what I had to do. Whether you think something is ridiculous or not means nothing. It is their rules. But hey ... The government told me that since there are so many Australians having babies that they are having to change the way they process the applications. But hey to each his own.

Anonymous said...

Anon, my friend had to do exactly the same thing.It is true and you will find a lot of lawyers ask for fees in American money.Don't worry she is in for a steep learning curve.

Amani said...

Thanks for all that Anon.

Firstly, congratulations!

I can't believe the number of Aussies coming out of the woodworks. When we signed up last November, we thought we may be the first. I've since found out we're down to around no. 8 to bring home bub.

It would be great to get in touch. I am perturbed about this independent lawyer requirement as the two couples I know who have done this haven't mentioned it. i will re-check with them. At any rate, thanks for the heads up, we're going to be prepared. (Ugh, another $5000US into the budget). I know there are rules, but it is the Indian lawyers charging more than US prices and for what? Heck, it cost my husband less than $6000 to do property settlement with his ex-wife and sort out a nasty custody issue.

If you feel like it can you send me an email at

Amani said...

Other anonymous - you comment is a bit sanctimonious. How about you enlighten me so i can enlighten others.

I am not in for a steep learning curve, and I am not at all naieve about this process. What I do happen to do is spend a great deal of my time, free of charge, assisting other Australians with their surrogacy journies, and making ED agencies and clinics a lot of money off my support. Can I ask what you are doing if you know it all?

Have you set up a blog giving people the most up-to-date info that you have? Did you set up an organisation for Australians pursuing surrogacy in India?

I guess not, because I have already done that. And why? Because I don't just want to go to India get a baby and get out without helping others in my situation.

It would be really super nice if you would share your information so I can share it with others, rather than just take a swipe at me from your moral high ground.

Kerrie and Mark said...

I think you are doing the right thing...trying not to stress and taking it all in stride. Your prayer to bubble is perfect. Its all you can do now. I am really hoping everything is ok and bubble is just testing your strength and faith.

maggie said...

Hey Anon,
what your saying is different to what other couples have recently or currently going through. I know of one couple who are in the process of picking up their baby now - and none of this has been mentioned!

It is different info, can you talk about this experience on the surrogacy India forum?

Amani said...

I just checked with one of the couples who has successfully brought home bub to Australia.

They have confirmed that yes, the Aussie High Commission wants an independent lawyer to look at contracts and DNA testing etc. He never thought to tell me this was a fee because it was such a small fee.

This couple was referred to one lawyer who wanted to charge a crap load of money, as you say you paid.

They subsequently found an independent lawyer who charged them 15,000 rupiah = $430 AUD at today's rate - VERY different to what you say you paid. This lawyer is now assisting Aussie couples.

So yes, you pay for an indy lawyer in India, but you do not pay $5000US for the pleasure when there are other experienced people and other options.

Again, congrats on your bub, but don't come on here and get up me when you appear to be doing diddly squat for anyone else, are posting as anon, and then second anon comes on and guess what - sitetracker tells me you are the same person at the same IP address. Nice.

Anonymous said...

I initially wrote to you to let you know of a few things we have learnt along the way, hoping this may help someone. You immediately screamed "ripped off!". I was guided by the head of immigration in New Delhi. This is not a situation where you can simply say "but so and so did it this way". The most sensible way would be to contact the Australian High Commission and speak to the head of immigration. Whether or not people agree to what I am saying, does not bother me. I have succesfully got through the process without a hiccup at any stage. I reaise Amani that you are yet to do any of this stage and you can only go by what people say. But I would recommend that for someone who claims to "want to help people" you first listen and not criticise. You have only started and really do not have a clue as to what is involved. The laws have recently changed as there are now approximately 30 Australian couples going through this process and they are eliminating the courts from the process to speed things up. Really Amani you are the one with the least amount of knowledge and yet the most to say. The sign of very little intelligence. Now if you will excuse me, I have a baby to see to.

Amani said...

Anonymous - you've been invited to contact me via email. If you truly want to help people, don't come on my blog and attack me. Be part fot eh solution not the problem.

NO - I have not done the legal thing, but YES i have repeatedly emailed and spoken with the Aussie High Commission, also Dept Foreign Affairs and trading here in Australia, also the feneral AG's office.

Two couples I regularly email with keep me up to date with what they went through to get their babies home.

These are people who have done it both before and after you. So don't go attacking my lack of knowledge, when you seem to have it all worked out, but can't be arsed to share anything with anyone.

As for my lack of intelligence, go look in the mirror yourself. I scream ripped off -- because you were!!!!! Now who has egg all over their smug face paying US$5000 for a lawyer when others who have done exactly what you have done, paid around $400.

You don't own the rights to knowledge about the legal process for bringing Aussie bubs home.

Bugger off and start your own blog or organisation.