Sunday, March 27, 2011

Focusing on Our Family

Still no news from our surrogate, other than she is resting at home. We hadn't expected to hear anything this week anyway. So, I thought I'd take this time to fill in some details about Chad and myself.

I think I've already said that we've been living in India for about three years. Before we moved here we were together for a little over a year, so we've been an official couple for about four years. I'll let Chad tell the story about how we met, because it's more interesting when he tells that particular piece of history.

I grew up in a very conservative farming family in southern Ohio. I have an older sister and brother, and then a younger brother. We all were raised in a fundamentalist Christian tradition. So, coming out to my parents right after I graduated college was not the easiest thing. My parents have some pretty strong views about same-sex relationships, and they are holding fast to their beliefs. The silver lining might be that although we see the world very differently (they view my sexual orientation as a choice), they are so respectful--actually very welcoming--to my husband.

I've given significant thought as of late about how to tell them that we are embarking on a journey to become parents, and I go back and forth between thinking that they will take the news in stride and continue respecting, although disagreeing, with our version of what family is, and that this will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

The whole conundrum can be summed up in a discussion that I had with my sister last year. My sister works for an evangelical fundamentalist Christian organization that purports to focus on ministering to families (was that too descriptive?). She is intelligent and well-spoken, and we often have interesting discussions on our rather divergent points of view. I told her that Chad and I were getting married, and she was very taken aback. After she took a minute and collected her thoughts we continued having a discussion about family and the reasons why she is so uncomfortable with the idea of two men marrying each other. I hinted to her that one of the reasons we wanted to get married was that we'd like to have a family some day. This elicited further astonishment. My sister then added that although she doesn't think that gay men should get married or raise families, she thought that I'd make a good parent. I'm not sure how to reconcile those two statements.

In the spectrum of possible reactions to life's twists and turns, I realize that there could be much worse reactions to this kind of news. So, I'm hoping that my entire family will have that same reaction and greet any children we have with open and loving arms.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Eight-Ball Says

The two week wait is just creeping by. So today I consulted the magic eight-ball to get some real answers.

1. Are we pregnant? "It is decidedly so"
2. Are we going to have twins? "Without a doubt"
3. Will they both be girls? "Signs point to yes"
4. Will they be blonde? "Don't count on it"

I hope all this comes true! I totally asked the blonde question to gauge the accuracy. The chance of a blonde child with Indian genes is slim to none.

A rush of fear just ran through me... what if we have two little ladies running around.

Who thinks the doctor should do the test on Saturday April 2nd? It would technically be on day 14 since the transfer... but since it was an evening transfer the doctor is saying it shouldn't be counted as the day. On top of that the technical day 14 falls on Sunday meaning the appointment will happen on Monday. I vote for an early appointment; nobody should have to wait 16 days for good news!


No Word from Tom

There is no official baby news to report, other than that this is turning out to be the longest two weeks of our lives. Chad and I are both visited every night be recurring baby dreams. And, it turns out, so are some of our friends. I have had two colleagues tell me that they have dreamed as of late of Chad and me having a baby. One of them actually dreamed that Chad was pregnant (that would definitely simplify things).

The only thing that could possibly be considered news is that we got the official, unofficial word that we would be moving next year to an apartment on the school campus. There are about 40 families or so that live on the school grounds of where we work. The on-campus housing is a wonderful space for children, and there will be several tiny tots born to our collegial family next year. Of the 20 faculty members that we came to Delhi with 3 years ago, 2 couples are already pregnant, and there is another couple besides us that is trying to get pregnant through IVF. All of that just to say that there is a very supportive community around us.

Our pregnancy test will be during the Monday of Spring Break. So, we won't even be in Delhi when we hear the news. Although we'll be up in the mountains we have been told that we will have cell phone service (the Indians are just crazy for their cell phones!). But, now I'm starting to get nervous about being away.

In the meanwhile, I'm feeling that the blog has been void of pictures/videos, so I'm making an obscure opera reference in honor of our silent embryos. We definitely are not thinking of Tom for a name, still, the sentiment in the aria is one we echo:"We'd really like to hear from you all, but take your time! Get good and cozy!!"

From The Rake's Progress by Stravinsky: "No Word from Tom"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Been There, Done That, Doing It Again

It's my turn to go to FRRO to renew my visa. I'd definitely rather be teaching. But, I wonder if I will get to see any babies going for their exit visas. That'd make my day!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Outsourcing Ourselves to India

While we wait, and if anyone is interested, I'll tell a little story about how Chad and I ended up living in India.

Way back in the spring of 2008, I was working at a public elementary school in Indianapolis, Indiana teaching music to students in grades 1-5. I love working with younger students. And at the time, I was also working on my master's degree in music education with a specialization in elementary pedagogy. So, let's just say that elementary school is my thing. About the same time, my school district was getting ready to downsize from 8 elementary buildings to 6. Some crackerjack business person figured out that the school corporation could save money if they weren't operating as many buildings (bigger schools = better education, right?). And although I was assured at first that my job was secure, one Wednesday in February I got the dreaded call from HR to come in to the main office and discuss my "employment possibilities" for the next year. To make a short story a bit longer, they offered me my choice of middle school band or high school orchestra, neither of which I have any desire to teach.

Coincidentally (or not) on the day before, I had received an email from one of my grad school colleagues who was teaching in India. She wrote to inform the grad students in our program about a job opening in New Delhi teaching 1st-3rd grade music. So, not having a job for the next year, and having had it in the back of my mind that at some point I wanted to live outside the US, I asked myself, "why not?," and I emailed my resume to the principal of the elementary school. The next day (Thursday), she called and said she wanted to interview me over the phone on Saturday. Saturday she called and I had one of the most difficult, and fun interviews I have ever had. She knew exactly what to ask and really had me on my toes. A few hours later, the director of the school called me and offered me a job in India.

For those keeping track at home, I got word of a job in India on a Tuesday, lost my job on a Wednesday and was outsourced to India on a Saturday. When I was hired, the director of our school said, "Come to India; you'll never regret it!" Come to find out--three years later-- he knew exactly what he was saying. India is not the kind of place where everything is rosy colored and happy all the time. But, it is the kind of place that changes you forever.

At that time, Chad and I were together, but not married, and I came to India alone. One of two things was going to happen. Either (A) he would come to India once we found him a job, or, (B) he'd stay in the US, I'd do my two years in India, and then come back to the US and resume life as usual.

When I got to India, I had no idea what kind of social environment I'd be working in. Turns out that I work with the most open, loving and accepting group of people you could ask for. In October of my first year, a job became available in the technology department at school. Although the administration was planning to hire a local person for the position, I asked the director of the school if my overqualified boyfriend could apply. He said yes, and a month later, when the application period and interviews had concluded, Chad had been hired, and school purchased a one-way ticket to India.

We both find our work at school extremely rewarding. The school really lives up to the values we teachers try to instill in our students, and when we got married the school didn't bat an eyelid before giving Chad and I the same benefits given to every other married couple at the school (being a teacher, my benefits were better than his, so this was a pretty big deal to us). To a large extent, we've gotten accustomed to being in this egalitarian environment. I have to stretch my mind to think about what it would be like to work at a place that didn't recognize my marriage, let alone a place where we couldn't be open and honest about who we are. A few of our colleagues know that we are in the early stages of growing our family through surrogacy, one of whom is my principal. During a recent conversation with her, she intimated to me that she was so happy about our plans to have a child because, "Our students need to see that kind of example about diverse families." She's an amazing woman to work for and with. But, I could say that about all of my colleagues. No exaggeration.

Since we are only two days into this waiting game, I'll save stories about life in India outside of school for another day. For now, I'll leave you with a story that the director of our school shared with us during the opening of school this year that highlights the interconnectedness of all people (gay, straight, black, brown, white, rich, poor, etc.). This is the story of Indra's net as told by Francis Harold Cook:

"Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each "eye" of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars in the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process occurring."



Other than waiting to leave the scorching Delhi heat of late May this is the most important thing we have waited for. Today is day two of our little ones floating around in our surrogate. I hope they are all looking for a comfortable place to rest for the next nine months, but not being too selective as our home on the outside will be even better. I will definitely need a hobby for the next two weeks.

Counting the days...


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Baby's First Picture!

Here are two of our little dudes! They look pretty clear, right?

Don't Let This Go To Your Head

"You provide a great sample... you should considering become a sperm donor." This is what we heard today while consulting with our doctor before the transfer. The embryos were looking great today; our embryologist gave them all a grade 1. We kept asking ourselves at what point do you cross the line of wanting to get pregnant and what number is unethical. In the end we felt four was right for us. So fourteen days from now we will hopefully be hearing happy news. We will be on vacation high in the Himalayan Mountains where I have already confirmed we will have mobile phone reception.

I keep seeing babies... and today I saw twins.


Hang On Little Ones!

Right now our embryos are floating around in our surrogate. Talk about surreal!

Having been in India for about 3 years, we are now well aware of Indians' feelings about auspiciousness. There are auspicious colors that people wear on a weakly basis, and there are auspicious days for big events. Usually, people who are planning events like weddings consult an astrologer to decide when the event should take place.

So, no, we didn't consult our neighborhood astrologer about the conception and implantation of our little embryos. But we decided on the way home that today is an auspicious day for two reasons. First, there is a full moon tonight. And the moon is as close to earth as it will be for quite some time. Second, it is Holi weekend. For those of you who do not celebrate, Holi is a festival of color to mark the end of the winter season. It is also our favorite holiday. We will be gathering with many of our friends at our house tomorrow to throw colors on each other. Good times will be had by all!

But I'm sure that there will be a part of my mind that won't be able to escape pondering what is happening across the city inside the body of our surrogate. I will be sending my positive thoughts for sticky embryos. If you don't mind, I would appreciate if you would do the same.

Cheers and Happy Holi,


Why did I just spend 30 minutes looking at cloth diapers? Our eggs are being implanted today. I think this is probably jumping the gun. Don't you?

Friday, March 18, 2011

What We Know

Quick update: all seven eggs have been fertilized and are looking good. We meet with the doctor tomorrow at 2, and then she is going straight into the OR to implant our embryos into our surrogate.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

And We're Off!

There are hardly words to describe what a week it has been in India. But, let's start with the most important thing. This afternoon/evening, our DNA is getting mixed with the DNA of our egg donor. She produced 10 eggs, 7 of which are of good quality. The doctor injected the sperm into the 7 eggs, and we will find out how many embryos we have tomorrow.

This is the most powerful powerless feeling.

Chad and I drove ourselves over to the clinic (yes, we've been in India long enough to drive ourselves now rather than rely on taxis all the time), and I'm glad that we did because after "doing the deed" at the clinic, we parked the car at the nearby market and went and got massages at one of our favorite spas here in town. It was a relaxing way to end the afternoon. Then we drove home. I drove, and I'm glad that I had something to concentrate on (not hitting anyone, and surviving the chaos that is Delhi traffic) rather than just sit in the back of a cab and think about what a waiting game we will have to play for the next who knows how many months. It's funny, Chad just yelled in from the living room: "If we get pregnant, you know it's going to be nine more months of this waiting feeling."

I know. And, I don't know how people have dealt with this feeling. Maybe I'll get used to it.

We'll take it in baby steps... pun intended.

Our first little baby step will be to wait for about 24 hours to find out how many of the eggs are dividing into multiple-cells.

Then we'll wait a few more baby steps until Saturday when we will meet the doctor and hear about the implantation.

And then some more baby steps until we find out if we're actually pregnant.

And on, and on, and on.

Meanwhile, I've been finding out about this extended community of people involved in surrogacy who are connected through the blogosphere. And, I spent most of the day at work reading about the various experiences people are having or have had. This deserves its own post, so I'll leave the story here and will pick it up another time.


Eight Hours Until Blastocyst

Our little swimmers are screaming to be set free and make us the proud parents of a beautiful child, or ten. Today at 4 PM New Delhi time, nature--with the helping hand of science--will start its magic. Then the excruciation waiting period begins. We will have to find a hobby to keep ourselves busy. I have found some incredible blogs recently. I never realized how many people are sharing in an experience similar to ours. Truly amazing!

On an auspicious note, our tomato plants bloomed this morning. Sign, sign, everywhere a sign!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Harvest Time

It is official! We found out today that the egg collection/fertilization will be on Thursday. Then transfer to our surrogate on Saturday! This is very exciting news to end the day. I have been running around all day trying to stay busy and keep my mind off the eggs. I was jumping up and down with anticipation and anxiousness. So very happy we have everything on the calendar now.

Feeling: excited, hopeful, & ready.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Opening Windows

We've thrown open the windows. It's been lovely here in Delhi with copious amounts of sunshine, and clear skies. So, we've taken what opportunities we can to open up the double doors that go out to the screen porch, and even the door that opens directly onto the cemented back yard. The breeze blowing through the house has been sweeping out the stale air. Thankfully, Delhi hasn't seemed very polluted as of late.

We've also taken big steps lately on our journey to parenthood. On Sunday, we met the oven where our little bun will be heating up for nine months. The meeting, although short, gave us the opportunity to ask a few questions; and, it afforded her the same opportunity. We wanted to know about her health, what her other pregnancies had been like, and whether or not her family was ready for and supportive of this journey. Her answers were affirming, and her husband, who was also there, seemed quite sincere in his support. They have two daughters, and they intimated that they were doing this for their daughters. Baby Doctor asked whether or not they would have problems giving the baby to us, and they laughed and said "No," they have enough children of their own.

We were also comforted by the fact that our surrogate is not as petite as so many Indian women that we see in Delhi. We hadn't really thought about the necessity of a surrogate with a larger frame, but more and more we have been thinking about the elevated possibility of having twins. It is quite difficult for us to contemplate four little feet running around.

All in all, it has been an eventful, and beautiful few days. What's more, in the next few days, we will know the exact date of the egg extraction, semen collection, fertilization and implantation. Excitement is buzzing all around us.

Yes, we have been about the business of opening windows for ourselves, and the air has been full of possibilities!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Eggs In Our Basket

News! News! News! The egg donor is carying around 10 eggs that we will harvest sometime in the next 5 to 7 days. How exciting! We are still having an internal debate about how many of those to implant. I guess we'll wait and see how many of them fertilize.

We also had a slight change. We will not be doing the IVF at the lab where we initially thought we'd be. We will be at a different lab where the doctor feels she can give us better care, and supervise the surrogate closer. We're not sure whether this is a change because the doctor feels more comfortable, or because of the gay issue (more on that at a later time, and, if you're interested, check out the new link in my blog roll to a great site that deals with a lot of the legal issues surrounding surrogacy).

Good night from India!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Delay of Game

Well, it seems that everything was not as we thought it would be this weekend. On Friday, we were expecting to have news about numbers of eggs and extraction and fertilization and implantation. But, we are not quite at that stage. Somehow there was a miscommunication, and Baby Mama didn't get her period until later than was anticipated. So, now we have to wait until next weekend to find out the things we thought we were going to find out this weekend. Yes, it's disappointing to not have the information we thought we were going to have; but, according to Dr. Indiran, things look like they're going as they should.

Meanwhile, Chad and I have been kicking around baby names, and we finally have at least one girl name that we like. I hope that talking about names isn't tempting fate, but I am certain that posting one on the interwebs would be, so I am definitely not going to do that!

In non-baby-related news, it was a LOVELY weekend here in Delhi, and our dog got plenty of attention. I think that we even wore her out a couple of times, which is saying something!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Eeek! Today is the day for the ultrasound and I can't wait to hear how many eggs we are about to receive. We won't hear the results until tomorrow but the anticipation is killing me.