Thursday, June 3, 2010

Just days to go

Counting down in DAYS.

I can't believe it. We have 16 days until we get on that plane Delhi bound. We are counting in days, not months, or even weeks now. Days! Are we prepared? No way. There will be a lot for our parents' to get finished off while we are in India. Note to everyone: don't try to extend your house before going to India for baby.

We've all but abandoned getting anything more done on the house. The bench tops go in tomorrow and we'll be at lock-up on Saturday. Appliances in kitchen are being purchased Saturday, including that new fridge - whoot! (some unexpected income has arrived at the 11th hour), installed next week, the floors done the week after. Then we are on the plane.

IF - baby decides to stay put. At 34 weeks one has to be on stand-by and drop everything at a moment's notice. Dr S and Dr M (the OBGYN) think we'll get to 38 weeks ... and if we do, baby will definitely be delivered at 38 weeks. I'm not so sure. I am ready. Anyway, we'll be there the start of 36 weeks and if babe decides to hang around a bit longer, I can do some work in Delhi. And some shopping : ))

Our lives are surreal right now. The end to a very long journey. A journey that started out with trying "the natural way", then lead us to infertility treatments, IVF, adoption at home, adoption overseas, surrogacy in US and finally surrogacy in India. At really then, that was only the start. I had to write on our visa applications previous trips to India. Three. It's hard to recall the dates now, when once I lived for every single departure date, now I have to look at the passports to get the dates right four our fourth trip to India.

Our first trip was November, 2008 - that seems so very long ago now. We didn't cycle due to our donor being delayed thanks to the Mumbai terror attacks,but went to Mumbai to check it out anyway. Boy, what naive little Indian surrogacy babes in arms we were back then. The expectations ones has packed into the suitcase of hope... We then flew back to Mumbai for our cycle in February 2009 - that is over a year ago! Our cycle wasn't great - especially considering it cost around $13, 000 extra as we were the first group from Nurture to fly in donors. We had no embies too freeze for a second try. That was our first heartbreak. Again ... the expectations .... If I knew now what I did then, I truly would have skipped straight to Indian ED. We did get pregnant however, and the pregnancy never ran smoothly. Each scan there was something odd, or not quite right - a funny shaped sac, low beta, low amnio, odd blood scores. April 2009 we miscarrried and very nearly quit.

We couldn't quit. Well, I couldn't quit. In grief and needing a task and a sense the journey wasn't all over, I contacted every single surrogacy clinic in India I could find and did a price and service comparison. Through this process I and met our friend CC who was also investigating the same. We compared notes and halved the load. Independent of each other we found the wonderful and amazing Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour at Phoenix Hospital in Delhi. That was May 2009. A whole year ago.

Dr Shivani - as we all call her - was not known to the internet, forum, blogging world of people going to Indian for surrogacy, but had already delivered around 25 surrogacy babies back then. Now she has (and I just counted them) 52 babes due by the end of December - all to foreign clients. She now offers treatment under the name of Surrogacy Centre India, and has become one of the major players in the Indian surrogacy world. Well, she always was, she just wasn't on the blogs or forums.

July 2009 we flew to Delhi with our friend, and former US surrogate, Amy, who offered to be our egg donor. The cycle didn't go well for a bunch of reasons, but we survived. That cycle really hurt Bob, but me, nope, I was just so numb by that stage, it was another day in the crazy land of surrogacy in India. I asked Dr Shivani to select a donor for us, cycle and tell us the results. We had sperm, we have money to try again, we had a donor and we had Dr Shivani. I didn't even see a photo of our donor until she was already well into her cycle. By then I had truly let go and I had to trust. And I did. I finally could because I had found the true gem of the surrogacy in India world. Those who meet her know what i mean. No-one is quite prepared for her professionalism, dignity, compassion and grace ... and quirky sense of humour - until they meet her. Everyone comes back feeling good.

After both our two surrogates became pregnant (and the fear of bringing home 4 babes), we had twins and singleton babe. We lost one twin, and miscarried our singleton babe. That was our 5th miscarriage, and third surrogacy loss. I guess we deserve a bit of a medal for hanging in there - but there are others in what I would consider a worse position to us, people who have had 10 years of IVF at home, then tries in India and are still waiting for the bliss.

One thing this journey will teach you is this: while there is always someone better off than you, but also others who have had a much worse time, no matter how bad you think you have it, one can always find someone worse off than themselves. I guess this is the key to happiness. Never covet nor compare what others have that you don't, and never forget the pain and suffering others endure, no matter how bad you think you have it. That's life, and life isn't fair.

Sometimes I am asked how much ill this cost - on average. My answer to this is: "How long is a piece of string?" For the fortunate - around $40-50,000 - first try lucky, uncomplicated pregnancy, all going well, all inclusive.

For us - we lost count of what we spent when we moved on from Mumbai, but back then it was around $50,000. I gave up counting a long time ago, but I will hazard a conservative guess that this whole process will have cost us around $90,000 at the end of the day. (Keep in mind we flew in two donors, and most don't need to do this. We also went back to cycle in Feb 09 when we didn't have to - our thoughts back then being 'We would at least like to be in the same country as our babes when s/he is conceived).

Had I known it would cost this much, would we have done it? Yes. If it cost more, would we have done it? Debatable, but probably the answer would be yes.

16 days out and I feel I am living in la-la land. Everything feels so surreal. I don't think it will actually hit us until we get on the plane, and then maybe not until we meet our beloved baby. Our baby - who is worth all the gold in the world, all the stars in the sky, every dream we could dream, every pain we endured, and every mountain we though we could never climb, much less overcome.

Baby darling we can't to meet you. You are the rivers and the oceans, the earth and the sky, the moon and the stars, and the heavens combined. You are our everything.


Stephaniekb said...

What a beautiful post. I am thrilled that this journey is almost over for you, and can't wait to follow along as you bring your bub home -- finally!

Pam said...

beautiful post about an extraordinary journey. thank you for sharing.

Edward said...

Your story seems so impossibly compact in one post! Congrats on finally arriving at the dénouement of one journey as you approach a new and exciting chapter. Enjoy and celebrate each morsel of goodness that is coming your way!
AND, according to your archive, this is the 376th post! You have shared personal ups and downs and there are literally hundreds of IPs who have benefited from your candor, perspective, and resolve! THANK YOU! We can’t wait to (virtually) meet your little bundle of happiness very soon!
Best best best best wishes.

jojo said...

wow - amazing to look back on all that's been in anticipation of what's to come.

can't wait to meet bubby. i'm hanging out for a photo!!


Will and Michael said...

Cant wait to see the results of all your hard work and this emotional roller coaster. We are watching and waiting, the 16 days to lift off will fly by!!

WendyandTyler said...

That is SO beautiful - thank you, thank you for sharing it, as I don't think I've known your whole journey. I can't wait to see your baby - you are going to be such a great mom!!!

Candice and Michael said...

Thankyou for your post.Sive I have found your blog I have already learnt so much. Good luck with the delivery and we look forward to hearing about the next trip to India

Candice and Michael said...

Thankyou for your post.Sive I have found your blog I have already learnt so much. Good luck with the delivery and we look forward to hearing about the next trip to India