Monday, October 31, 2011

Today Is the Seven Billion Day

Just not our seven billion day! So, no, neither twin will be the seven billionth inhabitant of planet earth. But, that doesn't make me any less excited. Far from it! I'm becoming nearly non-functional with excitement.

But, just to tide you over while our twins take their time to arrive, here are some interesting seven billion statistics:
  • It is estimated that the population of the world reached one billion for the first time in 1805. 
  • Right now only two countries, China and India, have populations over one billion. 
  • Because of higher population and longer lifespans, humanity's absolute numbers continue to rise, even though the number of children per woman has halved since 1950. 
  • The world's richest 500 million people produce half of the world's carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gasses responsible for climate change; whereas, the poorest three billion are responsible for only seven percent of emissions. 
  • Although it's an odd fact for a surrogacy blog, at least 150 million couples in the world want, but don't have, access to reproductive health services. 
  • There will be 125 million births this year! 
  • And, finally, this interesting estimation from the BBC about yours truly (based on my birth date):

According to the same website, twins A and B will be approximately 7,001,277,363rd and 7,001,277,364th (if they make it all the way to 37 weeks).  But, Just Two Out Of 7,001,277,364 doesn't quite have the same ring to it. I think we'll stick with our current blog title for now!



Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's in the Bag!

So, we're still getting ready. And just when I think we've bought the last thing that we need before the babies arrive, I walk through the nursery, and I immediately think of at least four more things that we have to have.

This weekend, we've been doing our final loads of laundry. Washing everything with natural cleaners (mostly a mild solution of vinegar and water), and packing the diaper bag to take to the hospital whenever we get the call. I know that some of the following things won't be needed. But, I figure it's nice to start practicing packing the bag for what we will need on days when we go out for a few hours.

Mostly, I followed this list for things to include in a diaper bag.

 First off, doesn't our diaper bag look sleek and masculine?  It does, right?  RIGHT? Obviously, we're both highly concerned with that.  Here is the list of what actually made it into the bag:

  • Four Dr. Brown small size bottles
  • Extra nipples with different flow
  • Two formula dispensers
  • Two receiving blankets
  • Four Carter's preemie size onesies
  • Four Gerber's newborn size onesies 
  • 8 tiny diaper
  • 2 full body suits
  • 4 burp cloths
  • 2 pacifiers
  • Wipes
  • Changing pad
  • Baby-safe insect repellent wipes
  • Re-usable bag for soiled cloth diapers
  • Plastic bags for disposable diapers
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Extra washable bag for soiled outfits
  • Hand sanitizer
Yet to be purchased and added:
  • Thermos for bottle water
  • Formula
Alright, expert parents (especially parents of multiples), what did I forget? What do you include in your diaper bags? Please add your comment below.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sharing is Caring, Right?

It happens to everyone. For me, it was my recent trip to Belgium, when I met several people from places I'd never been to who--it turns out--know all of the same people I know. In one instance, a teacher in The Netherlands had gone to college with the person who, twenty years later, gave me my first job as a pianist. You already know that I believe we are all connected to each other. But, it's experiences like this, the ones that happen half a world away from home, that leave you either wanting to hum It's A Small World After All, or the theme to The Twilight Zone.
Landry art? 

But, our interconnectedness makes me wonder about the nature of information sharing, and specifically blogging. Last night, I was spending time on Facebook. One of my college friends who is now pregnant was asking for advice on strollers. So, I sent her the link to our stroller. A little while later, I went and checked to see what other people had said. I was amazed to find there were 27 different comments. Some comments offered diverging viewpoints, some agreed. By the end of the whole thing, I am pretty sure that my poor friend was even more confused about her situation than she was before she asked her question. Situations like this beg the question: shouldn't we just sit down and shut up?

In the age of interconnectivity and way too much information, why contribute to a greater cloud of noise? Well, for me, and for this blog, our contribution to cyberspace's cacophony is to shed light on a path that might be misunderstood. Our journey with surrogacy has been our chosen path to get to the goal of a family of our own. Everyone takes a path, and everyone has a journey. And even if you are the typical opposite-sex couple, and you have the wedding, then the house in the burbs with the white picket fence, and perfectly-behaved labrador, and you are exactly like so many other couples in the world (or at least in North America), even then,  your journey to grow a family will be your own. It will not be the same as anyone else. There are many, many ways to make a family. Surrogacy is one way that people grow their families.

Here's my point: our surrogacy experience is our path. In blogging about it, we demystify the smaller curves and corners, and we shed light  on how all of our paths are similar and different. I know that when I've read the blogs of others who have walked their paths before me, I saw new possibilities for myself and my family. I learned that everyone has choices; that everyone makes decisions about families; that our decisions are our own; that the judgements of others are not important; that there were supportive communities for families of all types; that all families are different; that all families are the same.

Through blogging, I also hope to make connections with people who are on a similar path because I think it will be important for our kids so, they can know other kids who have similar backgrounds. In doing this, they can feel a sense of belonging. I believe that everyone has a need to belong, just like everyone has a need to be independent, free and different!

I'm not sure what will happen to this blog after our twins are born. Already, I've noticed that not many parents of multiples maintain blogs (ha!). And, although I think it'd be very interesting to write about parenting, I've already noticed that even in talking with close friends about parenting, everyone has opinions, and it's hard to remove judgement from conversations. It's possibly worse than discussing religion, sex, or politics. Maybe, this blog will turn into a place for family and friends who live far away to check out how our kids are doing and how much they've grown. Who knows? The future is full of possibilities. Meanwhile, stay tuned, because the next few weeks are bound to be very interesting!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All Clean

Yesterday we made our way through the market and the mall to get a few new things. After seeing how much Labrador hair our housekeeper swept up on Monday we decided to get a vacuum cleaner. We are now the proud owners of a fuchsia colored vacuum. We also picked up some baskets and containers to keep the baby necessities organized. We will see how well we organize our organizer.

Douglas is in bed and under the weather. It never fails that on the loudest day of the year someone gets sick. It is Diwali today. Which is the equivalent of New Years, Christmas, and the Fourth of July rolled up into a bunch of noise. Definitely not our favorite holiday. Nonetheless Happy Diwali.

I opened and washed everything today. All of our bottles and pacifiers are squeaky clean. I clicked this picture while everything was drying. Then I did the math for a twenty hour journey to Indianapolis and realized that everything on the counter would be required. Luckily we also snagged a new set of wine glasses while we were out!


Monday, October 24, 2011


Our DNA test kits have been shipped. They should arrive in Delhi in a couple days. I have to say I am ready to get this show on the road. I know the babies are still growing, but I am so ready to get my arms around them. I have already completed all of the paperwork to make them into US citizens (I am a little crazy: I filled out four forms one for each of the four names we have chosen--two boys, two girls--you get the idea).

We had a meeting with Dr. Indira on Saturday. The first thing she said was "Seema is mad at you!" Turns out Seema has been packing on the pounds since we last saw her. Thirteen pounds in three weeks. Since it is Diwali season here she has been getting several visitors at her house and is a little embarrassed by her weight gain. Leaving the house and getting to the appointments has become quite the challenge, and so the doctor has provided a car and driver to get from place to place. For the comfort of everyone we decided not to have Seema trek across town to our fancy ultrasound clinic to get the 3D images and video. The great news is that everything is healthy with the babies and Seema.

The next ultrasound will be on Nov. 5. They will be doing a doppler to check that blood flow is reaching both babies equally. After that the babies can come anytime. However if they don't come before Nov. 17 they will induce her on Nov. 19 or 20!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thirty-Three Weeks

Our babies and surro-mama are resting comfortably at home. Everything has been quite, and we hope it stays that way for a few more weeks. The babies should be around four pounds each now. Lets hope that baby A is letting baby B catch up since our last scan. Their lungs should be functional by now and they should be gaining about a 1/2 lb each week now. We will have another ultrasound next week. We hope to get some great 3-D images to post this time.

We went over to the embassy yesterday to get an idea of what will go down in the coming weeks. Only one thing caught us by surprise. Apparently you have to order your DNA testing kits from the States, and have them delivered to the embassy PRIOR to having your interview. I didn't get that memo from reading their website. So we are very glad that we went over for a briefing before the babies come. Now we have to decide which company to use, and which type of tests to order. Does anyone have a recommendation and the test type? "At home private" or "Legal"? Does the cost of the test kit include the analysis and results?

We are meeting with Dr. Indira on Saturday to go over the delivery logistics. It is hard to believe it is almost time. We will be running around Delhi enjoying ourselves next week. We have the entire week off for fall break. It will be our last free week for awhile.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Where's Waldo?

As I write, the music students with whom I am traveling are reflecting on their week: the things they've heard, seen, experienced and thought. So, I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on this impromptu trip to Brussels, and coming back to Europe. Ever since living in France for a year when I was 15, I've often contemplated where I wanted to live in the world, never coming to any firm conclusions, and certainly never thinking that living in India would be a possibility. Maybe I'm destined to be a world wanderer. I sure hope Chad doesn't mind!

Now that we are so close to having our own children with us, I think about it even more. Is India the place where we want to stay? We live in such a great community, have wonderful friends, have an excellent support system, live more comfortably than we would almost anywhere else in the world. But, the flip side to that list has many detractors that make me want to pack up our babies and go. Traveling to Europe always makes me want to move there... that is until I talk to the music teacher from Luxembourg, who told me that a one-bedroom apartment there costs upwards of $300,000. Yikes!

Then, there is the difficulty of being so far from our families. That weighs into the decision about where to live as well.

But, as I think about this very worldly group of students, and their experiences living all over the world, I think of the immense learning opportunities they've had, and also how they must have had to depend on their families throughout every move, adjustment and transition. On Wednesday evening, when I left Delhi, I was staying with 16 juniors and seniors in high school who were saying goodbye to their parents. I have to say that the affection they showed their parents was surprising. More than a few 17-year-old boys unabashedly initiated public displays of affection with their moms and dads. You can tell that among many expat families, the bond between parent and child is strong. And, the child ends up having a strong sense of independence and self. 

So, now, I'm going to put my teacher hat on and have us play a familial game of Where's Waldo. If work and money were no option, where would you choose to raise your children? Why? 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thirty-Two Weeks

Let me hear a hooray! Everything is quite on the baby front. Surro-mama and babies are resting comfortably at home. At this point their little lungs should be close to functional and ready to scream "feed me" in the middle of the night. The majority of the next few weeks is dedicated to fat building. Genetically speaking they should be good at that thinking back to our summer in the states. We hope they stay put for a few weeks longer. We want healthy and fat babies to bring home. It is hard to believe we are about five weeks out!

Douglas left for Belgium last night. Kinda jealous of the Europe trip, but he will be too busy supervising HS students to have much fun. I took full advantage this morning and may or may not have hit snooze several times, and I may or may not have given Jyoti proper exercise. Although every time he leaves I get a good story like I did this morning...

It was very quite around the house this morning until I went outside to water my vegetables. I was surprised/terrified to see a pigeon had made his way inside the bird netting and couldn't find his way out. I startled him and he flew into the net, the door, and the window. I solicited a solution from our neighbor and she recommended I call the emergency school number and have someone else deal with it. I thought about it... but envisioned ten men standing on each other's shoulders shaking sticks and eventually knocking all my plants over and the bird would still be on the balcony in the end. I decided to go to work and let the bird calm down. About an hour later I ran back home and from the kitchen window was able to detach one side of the netting. Then I scared the bird into flying that direction and when he hit the net he broke free! That will be the last time he tries to peep in on us. I deserve a medal or something: "Bird Eradicator Extraordinaire".


Monday, October 10, 2011

It's A Race!

and I won!

Who can make the crib the fastest?

Ready... Set... Go: flitted sheet, flat sheet, blanket, sheep, and panda.

I beat Douglas by a panda, a sheep, AND half the blanket!

All smiles tonight.


Sunday, October 9, 2011


We're starting to launder all of the twins' clothes (basically, a lot of onesies). Is this the last time that their whites will actually be white? I'm thinking yes.

Meanwhile, it's still very green in Delhi (as you can tell from the view on our balcony). The temperature has started to fall. The temperature is still climbing into the 90s every day, but the mornings and evenings are lovely, with very little humidity.

The weather, the laundry, the vivid dreams, the baby shopping trips -- all of these things are reminding me that we are so close to having our babies with us. The excitement continues to grow!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Detailed Report

We received the official report from last weekends ultrasound. It provided a lot more detail than what we could see by looking at the babies jumping around on the screen. Yesterday I round up some tailor's measuring tape so I could visualize the baby size on my desk.

A big thank you to Dr. Google for translating all of the medical terms.

BPD: bi-parietal diameter; transverse of head temple to temple
FL: femur length
HC: head circumference
AC: abdominal circumference
EFW: estimated fetal weight

Twin A:
BPD: 79.1 mm (3.1 in)
FL: 57.7 mm (2.27 in)
HC: 274.2 mm (10.8 in)
AC: 267 mm (10.5 in)
EFW: 1605 gms +/- 240 gms (3.5 lbs)

Twin B:
BPD: 77.7 mm (3.05 in)
FL: 54.6 mm (2.14 in)
HC: 284.5 mm (11.2 in)
AC: 232 mm (9.13 in)
EFW: 1248 gms +/- 187 gms (2.75 lbs)

Placenta is on the upper anterior segment. No placenta previa. Amniotic fluid is adequate. No focal defect seen. No fetal deformity seen.

So by the looks of these measurements... twin A has the big stomach and twin B has the big head! I had a very casual conversation with Dr. Indira on Monday while I was shopping at Khan Market. I came around the corner and there she was. She is happy with the reports and doesn't see any reason why we won't sail through this month.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

Even though I am kinda freaked out by twins who wear the same clothes beyond age 8, I have to say that this is pretty cool!

Happy Tuesday,

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nursery Reveal!

After months of anticipation, we finally completed all of the major work in putting our nursery together. We are really pleased with the results, and can't wait to introduce our kids into their space.

There were two big challenges in designing this space. First, not knowing whether we're having boys, girls, or one of each. So, the colors needed to be more-or-less gender non-specific. Second, our nursery is not very big. Fitting two cribs, a changing table and a love seat into one space took a lot of trial and error.

Our nursery has been a work in progress for about a month now. Actually, the germinal idea for our nursery came from two baby blankets purchased way back in the spring by Mary, one of our greatest friends here in Delhi. The blankets, in delicate crimson and grey, were block printed with beautiful designs. Something just seemed to click with both of us about the colors and the design (both of my parents are Ohio State grads, so it's possible I was conditioned to love those colors from a very young age).

The baby blankets came from Anoukhi in Khan Market, a store that sells beautiful textiles of all types.Next came a beautiful Indian rug, brought to us by Lordson's Carpet. If you are in Delhi and are looking to purchase your next family heirloom, you should look up Mr. Lordson.


Then we added in two natural wood cribs and a changing table from Mothercare. While we were hunting for cribs and carseats we found four paintings of common modes of transportation in India: bus, rickshaw, bicycle and taxi. Up close, you can see that each of the paintings is a group of small word typically associated with mass transit in India.

Next, we spent a ridiculous amount of time hunting for the right fabric to match the crimson in our carpet (which matched the crimson in the baby blanket). We finally found the right texture, color and pattern at Lal Furnishings in Sarojini Nagar Market. This really fun market has been transformed over the years since we've been in Delhi into a great one-stop place for all you could possibly need in India. Prices are still lower at this market than many of the other markets in Delhi.

We owe my boss, Susan a big thanks as well for helping us Feng Shui the placement of the art in our nursery.

Then we added some fun, soft things. I got the sleep sheep in the US, and Chad got the pandas on his recent trip to China (Yes, we know, you're not supposed to put stuffed animals in cribs... but they're fine for now. And, they're super cute!)

Finally, we added four soft pillows from my new favorite store in India, Maspar. The blue, off-white and the green bring out the non-red colors in the rug, and soften up the room quite a bit. We we're also lucky to acquire a love seat from one of our co-workers whose family has outgrown it.  It will be perfect for those late-night feeds when we just can't make it back to our own bed.

So, finally, after all of the tailors, carpet sellers, carpenters, delivery people and painters have come an gone, this is the end result. And we are really pleased with how everything came together.  But, now, we are SO ready to have our kids here with us that it's hardly bearable!

Ultrasound Brief

We just got back from the ultrasound. Our surrogate is looking great. We were definitely impressed by her mobility. We will get the detailed report later, but this is what we can remember from looking across the ultrasound tech's shoulder.

Twin A:
Head down
Heart rate: 146 bpm
Weight 3 lbs 9 oz.

Twin B:
Head up
Heart rate: 133 bpm
Weight: 2 lbs 12 oz.

Stay tuned for pictures and more details.

Everything is healthy and normal, and the doctor couldn't be more pleased. I will have to consult Dr. Google to see how normal it is to have twin A stealing all of twin B's food though.