Monday, December 29, 2008

And life begins.

"Hello Rhonda, this is Dr. Sudhir. I am sorry to wake you, but I wanted to share with you that your transfer just took place, and that you both are pregnant until proven otherwise." These were the words we awoke to at our 3:30 a.m telephone call this morning. All 12 embryo's fertilized, and in Dr. Yash's words, 'they are all beautiful Grade A embryo's.' What amazing news! 3 of those were transferred into Rekha and 2 more are to be transferred at the blastocyst phase in just 2 days. We were both awake with excitement at the wonderful news. Rekha was doing fine, and on her way to the clinic to rest. We sent along our love and hugs to her. Dr. Sudhir was there for the entire transfer. Dr. Yash said, it was sad not to see us in the waiting room and missed watching Gerry pacing back and forth as he did with our first transfer, while I was in with the surrogate holding her hand. Our second transfer, he was able to be in the room while I was the one left to pace. So, thanks Dr. Sudhir for taking over with the pacing in our absence. So needless to say, all day was pretty much spent on cloud nine and sharing our great news to anyone who was within ear shot and willing to listen.

Thank you all for your wonderful words of support and encouragement we thank you from the bottom of our hearts and only hope to share those 3 perfect words sometime soon...'We are pregnant!'

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas vacation is over.

We are literally hours away from embryo transfer to our surrogate...Mumbai time that is. It is so exciting. We can't wait for the results of how many embryo's fertilized and what the end results were/are.

We have been passing the time with a 4 day weekend holiday of just family and fun. Gerry and I decided to take a day road trip down south towards Tucson area and ran into SNOW! We don't get to enjoy that much anymore since moving away from Canada. It was kinda neat. We love Arizona and have no regrets with our decision to move here 2 1/2 years ago. The mountains never cease to amaze us. The scenery and peacefulness is incredible. We are truly blessed to live here and be able to enjoy this beauty every single day.

The Docs will probably call us late tonight, if not tomorrow. We will surely keep you posted as soon as we get the results of our day 2 transfer. It's back to work for both of us tomorrow.

Beautiful snowy mountains


Prickly Pear Cactus with snow...don't see that too often.


Almost home Frankie Girl, remember you wanted to come for a drive...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A DRUM ROLL PLEASE...

WE GOT EGGS...12 EGGS!!!!!

We were on the computer last night and Dr. Sudhir came on and chatted while our transfer was being done. It was really a neat feeling to know he was right outside the lab and retrieval room and keeping us up to date. Early this morning we got a wake-up call from Dr. Yashodhara saying that we have 12 EGGS, 10 mature, 2 immature. The 10 mature eggs were ICSI'd and put in for incubation. Dr. Yash the gem she is, smuggled her camera in to take a few photos for us and then had to pretend she was text messaging so not to be caught. She is too cute! Gerry's little guys looked good and we're hoping they're doing their job after being frozen in time for over 9 months now. Gerry javascript:void(0)told Dr. Yash to make sure that Dr. Pai and the team 'work their magic' just like they did in November with all the positives pregnancies with SI clients. She said the whole center knows they are Gerry and Rhonda's eggs and are all really rooting for us. What a great feeling that is! Rekha our surrogate even called up Dr. Yash to ask 'where we were' and wanted to visit with us. For confidentiality Dr. Yash told her we were not there and were using frozen embryo's. WOW Rekha is a wonderful lady who we have grown to adore and love. We have a very special bond with her and have been able to keep in touch although not even being pregnant. That in it's self really says a lot about this amazing woman! Her 2-day transfer will be done on Monday, where they will transfer 3 embryos. Then if all goes as planned on day 5 they will transfer another 2 blastocyst embryo's to her. She is looking forward to it, and we know she is the BEST girl for the job!

Our parcel is still MIA but we are hopeful it will arrive very soon. Once it left the U.S we were unable to track it, so we gave Dr. S the info, so he can check on his end to locate it.

WOW, those feelings are back! Nervous, excited, worried, happy, scared...so many feeling rolled into one. Although we are not able to be there in person, it is feeling all too real again and nothing and no one person can take that away from us!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Frankie opening her Christmas Gifts

video

We had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. Santa spoiled us all rotten again this year. We hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas as well. We were able to talk to both of the Docs on Christmas morning in India, and Dr. Yash was actually out enjoying some Christmas Day shopping since Christians are still very outnumbered in India and it was considered just another day by the majority.

We are anxiously awaiting the news of our retrieval tomorrow. This cycle is so different than the last 2 as we are using an egg donor and Gerry's frozen "boys" and are so far removed from it all. We are trying to stay as connected as we can, and are hoping that photos and a video will help us with that. We both feel so out of touch with the whole process. It's so different when you are actually in Mumbai, in the thick of things, at the hospital, sticking yourself with needles, and being a part of the transfer to the surrogate. Those are the things that make it feel so real. In the end though, the outcome remains the same...just wanting a beautiful bundle of joy to call our own.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Getting caught up...

FINALLY added our photos from our trip to Jaipur, India.
See post Sept.2nd, 2008

Medical Photos Trip #2...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A season of giving.

Got news today that our egg pick up is a little ahead of schedule. We are now on for Saturday December 27th. We are awaiting our results from Dr.Yash on the scan (number of follicles)and how our surrogate and egg donor are doing. We will talk to them tonight, it is our Christmas Eve and their Christmas Day.

On this,Christmas Eve, we would like to take the opportunity to wish all of our friends and family and those of you who are following along on our blog with love and support, a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of holidays, and a very productive 2009 (no pun intended!)

Mom, Dad, Gerry, Frankie and I are here home safe and sound in front of the fire and awaiting to open our gifts from Santa tomorrow morning. To our surprise, we received some hand delivered gifts today from a client who just returned from India. Special delivery from our Docs. What a beautiful and unexpected surprise. They are truly one in a million! Unfortuneately our parcel that we sent to the Docs and our surrogate and her family hasn't made it yet, we are still hoping that it arrives in time for Christmas day. We hope that they all know that we are thinking of them all on this very special occasion and send lots of love and well wishes their way.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Countdown to Christmas!

What a fabulous day of listening to Christmas carols and wrapping, wrapping, wrapping gifts!

We are anxiously awaiting our Docs to receive the parcel. They promised to go to our surro's home and hand deliver everything and translate our card to them. I sure hope it makes it on time.

We should also be receiving news and photos on our egg donors scans. It's all very exciting especially during this time of year.

I just love Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Right On Track!

Its a difficult time of year for childless couples like us. Going to the mall shopping and seeing tons of kids with their families shopping and waiting patiently in line to see Santa. Christmas is my favorite time of year, but it still feels like something huge is missing for us. I suppose that's why the saying goes, "Christmas is for children."

Got news from Dr. Yash the other day that both our surro and egg donor have started their cycles right on time. We shall be expecting news on our egg donors stimulation update and number of follicles any day now.

Here we go again...hoping and praying third time is our charm!!!

Just my opinion...

I am very hurt with some peoples perspectives of India and specifically Mumbai after some of their most recent surrogacy trips. They truly sound like spoiled, snobbish Westerners who have lived a life with a silver spoon up their butt. I fully agree with people having their own opinions and views, and know that they will greatly differ then mine, but when it offends and it is completely over exaggerated (in my opinion) then I don't think its fair.

I live in America and I am proud to do so, I am even prouder to say I am Canadian. If anyone were to insult Canada I would not only be completely offended but hurt.

The people of Mumbai are extremely proud people and love to share everything about their culture and city with others. We were told by our friends from Mumbai prior to going, 'It is very different and all we ask is that you go with an open-mind.' Before these last 2 trips to India I have never traveled outside of the safe and comfortable surroundings of North America and its Westernized culture. So in all reality I should be the first person to be in shock and disgust with the poverty and dirt of Mumbai. However it was quite the opposite. I was in awe with everything in a wonderfully enlightening way. I never looked down on the people or their city, but became enthused with there smiles and laughter and different way of life. Never did I frown upon these people or look down upon them. I stared in amazement and took every little bit in. I saw the poverty and dirt, but I also realized it is a city with the population of all of Arizona and a third world country, not my comfortable clean little home. I asked questions and learned as much as I could from our Doctors who have truly become like family to us now(I suppose that it one of the reason's I am upset, because I know for them, reading others comments will be hurtful to them). I smiled and giggled with joy at the children bathing in the streets outside there small little huts they call home while they laugh and play. I asked about a million questions and educated myself in culture, religious beliefs and just a completely different way of life then I am accustomed to. I never felt bad for these people or pitied them. I did however appreciate how fortunate I am to have all that I have and live the life that I do, but never once felt or acted like I was better then anyone. I never once was scared or felt intimidated, felt dirty or appalled with what I saw.

This is the country where my child will be conceived and I will be proud to say this and share this with them. I want them to learn like I did and appreciate the diversity in the world and what amazing, gifted, happy individuals the people from Mumbai are. No city or country is perfect. No culture is ideal. No one group of citizens are faultless, but these people are one of the most kind and loving generous, giving societies that I have come across in my lifetime. Their love for their city and all its idiosyncrasies is totally apparent when you see them. I am proud to have been apart of it and can say that I will have a life long tie to this culture and the awesome people of Mumbai. I can't imagine being apart of this emotional roller coaster and not having this kind of attitude towards the country or the people. If I in any way looked down upon this city and its culture I myself would be wondering why people wouldn't think I was even considering having my child being born there if that's the way I felt.

I know I will get some very harsh comments to this post from people I truly consider my surrogacy support group buddies, however I am somewhat disturbed at some of their views of this place I call my home-away-from-home.

I feel it is an unfair and embellished view of a place I have first hand knowledge of experiencing not once but twice. My journey is a journal of sorts to share with family and friends and our soon to be child and I want it to be as accurate as I can, but it is also a place for others to come and have a little light shed on a sometimes dark situation. I can't in all honesty scare others away from a hope that is often the last resort to the light at the end of the tunnel.

These are strictly my views and my honest opinion in how I see Mumbai. I am not ignorant to the facts but merely look at it with 'an open-mind' and positive attitude. It is certainly not meant to judge or question anyone else's intentions or their own opinions or stories.

Differences of opinion are what makes the world go round.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Santa's little helpers!


We made it!!! After 3 hours of waiting in line and 2 trips to the post office we FINALLY got our parcel off to India. It was a chore, but it is SO worth it when we think of the smiling faces of those who will be receiving gifts from America this Christmas. So many gifts... 40 plus pounds! Goodies for our amazing Docs; Dr. Sudhir and Dr. Yash, her sweet little girl Megs and of course our wonderful surrogate and her entire family(even Grandma). Complete with a small Christmas tree to decorate and stockings for all. We hope we didn't forget anyone.

Now we can concentrate on buying for family and friends here at home.

Today we took Frankie to visit Santa too and get her very own photo with Santa Claus.

The lights are up, the tree is trimmed and we are enjoying the beautiful weather while we await the BIG day!

On the surrogacy front: Our Egg Donor has her cycle start any day now and in the coming days we should be receiving news of how many follicles she has for retrieval. We are hoping and praying for some very happy news of a bundle of joy(or two)in the new year.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy...

At the hockey game


Gerry and Dad working on Mom & Dad's place


Frankie helping with the lights


Our Christmas lights

I love Skype. We have been chatting with the Docs via web cam and it truly feels like we are right next to them. What a wonderful feeling. We even got to meet (well via web cam) 2 of the couples that are cycling in Mumbai right now.

We are busy, busy trying to prepare for Christmas and I am SO bad!!! I haven't even sat and wrote out Christmas cards this year. With trying to put together all our gifts for Mumbai, working and keeping up with the support group and certainly spending time with Mom and Dad, time has truly flown by. No excuses, just truly doesn't seem like there are enough hours in the day.

We did manage to take some time for an NHL game. My team Toronto Maple Leafs played the Phoenix Coyotes last Thursday night. My wonderful military man got the 4 of us 8th row seats from the ice with his military discount. WOOOHOOO! We had a blast! Unfortuneately the Leafs choked in the last few minutes and lost, but it was a great game and so much fun to go with a Die Hard Leafs Fan...my Dad!

So much work, So little time...

Everyone has a purpose.

Took me a long time to grasp this, but I realized very recently that by having started this blog it has brought so much joy, help and inspiration to others then I could ever have imagined. I go back to one of my first posts about 'Biting the bullet with hesitation' for fear of publicly dealing with failure and look how far we have come since then. Has it been hard?...for sure, but I can't begin to tell you the overwhelming amount of support and love we have received, as well as 'thank you's' from people literally all over the world. Who would have thought that by pouring our hearts and souls out on the computer that others would follow along and actually get something out of our blog? Certainly not me!!! We truly are just simple and plain people struggling like many others to have a family. It is amazing at the impact we have had. I am constantly blown away! Never in a million years would I have ever imagined the number of people we have helped in their own journeys either here on the blog or on our Support Group Forum. It kind of just hit me the other day when the Docs and some other people along with my hubby said, 'Look at all the people who look to you for support and guidance, and everyone you have helped.' I just kind of let it roll off my shoulders before and their comments really hit home. I am humbled by all these people and never intended to be a 'Pioneer' as others have called me. It has made all of this entire crazy, roller coaster of a ride I call a journey all worth while.

Whatever the outcome, I have had a purpose and it feels good.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fun with Mike and Mike...


BEWARE PUPPY WE KNOW WHERE YOUR DADDIES ARE!!!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

We give thanks...


Today we celebrated our Thanksgiving as both Gerry and I worked yesterday. Mom and Dad came and we had a nice quiet day with lots of great food and rest. We even had our very own American Indian Girl with us for the meal (Okay so maybe it was just Frankie dressed up for the holiday). We ate till we couldn't eat anymore and we gave thanks.
Thanks that Dad is here with us after our huge medical scare with him this past year. Thanks that we have one another to share this day with and are blessed to have a table full of food. Thanks that all of our dear friends in India, Docs, medical team, Surrogates, Egg Donors and Henry and family are safe and well. Thanks that we live in a country where we do not have to face terrorism and fear for our safety every day we step outside. Thanks for our friends and family who have shown support and love through our long and difficult journey. Thanks that we are not in Mumbai at this time as I know my husband, being a firefighter and military guy would have been wanting to do anything he could do to help whether it meant putting him in harms way or not. The list of things we are grateful for is endless and I could write for days.

3 of our Support Group members who just got back from India received the wonderful news they are pregnant and we couldn't be happier for them. We are truly hoping that this is an amazing year ahead for all and for us, that we will be holding our beautiful child in our arms at long last.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai under attack!

video

Beautiful Taj Hotel Sept. 9th, 2008



Terrorists have attacked Mumbai!

Just got off the phone with both Docs, both them and their families are safe at home. Not such a fun Birthday for our dear Dr.Yash, but she is home with her dear beautiful daughter and resting. So sad to see photos of the gorgeous historic Taj up in smoke. Just seems like yesterday we were taking our carriage ride together just outside on those very streets. We wish all of our extended SI family (surro's, egg donors and our dear Mansi and entire medical team) peace and safety in this very sad and terrible time. Us American's feel the pain of terrorists invading your home and only hope this passes swiftly and the pain subsides.

Sending much love to our home away from home, Mumbai.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

As promised...Our Weekend Get-away photos.


PINETOP, ARIZONA

The Christmas crunch is on!!!!

Gerry and I finally got some time to spend together and regroup and prepare for the holidays. After weeks of hard work, Mom and Dad's place is finally all done and it looks amazing. They are so happy with the results and can't thank Gerry enough for all his help.

Yesterday we had a 'date day' and it was so much fun. We spent the day at Arizona Mills (a huge outlet mall) shopping for Christmas gifts and even took some time out to see the movie Role Models. It was an amazing day just sharing and laughing and bonding. WE REALLY NEEDED IT! We got gifts for our surrogate and her family, for our great Docs and for our family and friends here in the U.S. All in all, it was a very productive day. We are certainly down to the crunch as it will take a few weeks to get it all together and mail it off to India in time for Christmas.

Let's hope we can do it!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Our surrogate is AWESOME...

We received a wonderful and much needed surprise, an unexpected email from the Docs the other day. They were trying to send it for a few days but couldn't get the attachment to stick. Well, it was certainly worth the wait. A beautiful video of Rekha, our surrogate. She was trying very hard to speak English with Dr. Yash's help and giggling with embarrassment as she concentrates on each of her spoken words. She tells us she misses us and hopes we have a wonderful Christmas and the most endearing of all, that she will do everything in her power and take all the precautions to ensure we have a pregnancy this time as she is certain we will be successful.

It brought such a big smile to both of our faces and truly made our day.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why God created woman...


Feeling very sad and finding it difficult to really get into this next cycle of ours. Looks like it won't be now till closer to Christmas. We feel so out of touch. We aren't there in India this time and all we can do is sit and wait and wonder... Last 2 times we felt as though we had a part, taking shots and the long flight and being there for the whole thing, beginning to end. This time is so much different.

I am finding it very hard to be an active part of the support group. I am so happy to hear others excitement and anticipation of their results and upcoming cycles and positive pregnancies, but overwhelmed with sadness for us. We still don't know why we failed? What went wrong? Why others like us get positives and we continue to keep getting negatives? I am trying to be strong, but part of me wonders if I am the right person to even think of giving anyone of these people hope or advice in this area, especially being the Moderator of the support group forum???

I am trying to stay positive and hopeful, but this stuff really wears on a person. I never imagined growing up that I would ever have this much trouble trying to have a family. Oh to be young again in the back of Mom and Dad's car! Infertility is such a sad and lonely place. Of the simplest terms, I am a woman who was put on this earth to procreate. What use are we if we can't do this simple task? What purpose does a woman have other then to be a mother and raise children? I know I would make a terrible woman's rights activist. But ever since I was a little girl, all i ever wanted was to grow up, marry a wonderful man, have a nice home with a white picket fence and be a MOM. I would trade everything in tomorrow (my career, my possessions, everything) for this one wish. IT SHOULDN'T BE THIS HARD OR PAINFUL TO HAVE A CHILD!!!!

Will I ever get my happy ending?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I am American...


Today was a momentus day for America and for me. I participated in my first election as a citizen of the United States. Those who have followed my blog know that early this year I recieved my American citizenship. I am proud to belong to this country but never forget my Canadian roots. I for one am very proud to be from Canada and will always consider myself a dual citizen of both countries. I am not going to tell you who I voted for, just that I am very proud of my husband who serves as a soldier for the American AirForce and support all of our wonderful men and woman who fight for our freedom. Whoever becomes our new president, I only hope they take care of all of our military troops here in the U.S and over seas.

God Bless the U.S.A.

Monday, November 3, 2008

No matter how old we get, we still need Mommy and Daddy.


Mom and Dad arrived safely yesterday and we were busy bees from he moment their plane landed. Funny thing happened at the airport. A bunch of people from Gerry's Air Force base were there in uniform and we found out that his base Commander was arriving from Afghanistan on the same flight as the folks. So, we teased Gerry he was under dressed for their arrival. We headed to their trailer and started work on it. They bought it literally days before they left for home last year and so we had lots of work to do to make it their own. We've got quite a bit of work ahead of us, but it will be a great little home-away-from-home place for them while they snow-bird here in AZ with us. We are thrilled they are here again and each year that passes we convince them to stay a little bit longer. But no one is more thrilled then Frankie!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

People who don't even know you???

Why do people make anonymous comments on blogs when it is on stuff they know nothing about??? They make it seem like you are a terrible person for sharing your feelings. They judge you without knowing the whole story (or even a small bit of the story).

Anyone wishing to make comments on our blog please sign your name, nothing is more frustrating for someone to take the time and effort to share, pour out their feeling and really put themselves out there for the world to see only to have someone bash them and be cowardly about it.

If you want your comments posted then you will all have to put yourself out there just as we have so generously done so.

For the person you seems to 'know me so well'. For the record...Have I been selfish and consumed in my journey?...ABSOLUTELY! But, I have NEVER forgot any one of my friends or family during this time, in fact, it has been just the opposite. When you can really use someone to lean on and they abandon you in your toughest of times because they are wrapped up in there own lives and what is important to them...then you can only question the true meaning of friendship. For me, friendship is a 2 way street, if you are there when they need you most, they should only return the favor.

You don't have to agree with either of our opinions or what we have to say, but be kind enough to sign your name. Thanks,

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!


Finally got a few more pics of our egg donor today. I stared at her for hours, imagining what our child will look like. I came to the realization...I don't care, I just want a healthy child and she is one of the important pieces that is going to make it all happen.

We had a bunch of trick-or-treaters come to work today. They do a big thing every year where we invite all the kids in Fountain Hills to come to the Nursing facility and the residents give out candy. Gerry came and we both dressed up as, what else...fire fighters. I fooled a few people though as they really thought I was one for real!!! Too funny, like I would know how to fight a fire?! Seeing all the little one in costumes and holding the new born that lives next door, made it more of a reality that we REALLY want a kid!!!!!

Mom and Dad R. arrive in a couple of days from the great white north. I know they are anxious to get out of that cold and down to the sunny Arizona dessert. We can't wait to see them and we get them for 5 whole months! I see them more now that I have moved here then I ever did when I lived in Canada. They got a new place last year in their park before they left so we will be busy fixing it all up to make it their home away from home. They say they are excited to see us, but I know they are more excited to see their grand-doggy Frankie. She is certainly Papa's girl!

Well its off to bed for me, but not before I give a shout out to our dear friends Lisa and Nic who just got the amazing news their Indian surrogate is pregnant. We couldn't be more happy for the two of them. CHEER'S!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My husband...my best friend!


Been thinking a lot about friendship lately. Thinking it would be nice to have a best girlfriend to share girl stuff with. I have been so terribly burnt over the years I just end up not getting too close to anyone. There have been those friends who you move away from and loose touch and those that find something or someone else(usually a man)and then forget about you. Those that just stop calling out of the blue and those that you give your all to and they call on you every single bad moment they have then when you really need them they are MIA. Those that you grow up with and are friends for years and they let someone come between you and you never talk again. Boy do I have my share of stories! Not that I am completely innocent, but I do consider myself to be a very good friend. One that drops pretty much everything to be there when needed. I include them in family gatherings and go out of my way to make them feel included in most everything. I suppose after time you just get indifferent to it all and realize that friends are few and far between and so why put so much effort into it? I can't help think though how great it would be to have a childhood friend, or one I have known forever and have a million stories to share and laugh about. I was never your 'typical girl' either, I got along much better with the guys as I didn't like the way most girls were. All about the drama and backstabbing, petty ways that girls can tend to be. I guess I am the only one to blame for that. Still...would be nice to have someone to really share things with. I have a lot of acquaintances and friends I see or talk to every so often but not that one you call every other day just to chat about merely nothing. I am very blessed to have my husband as my best friend and I am certainly not wanting to replace him. We do pretty much everything together and I love that we get along so well. Mom would definitely take a close second to Gerry. So, I put all my energy into my family and poohy on everyone else! But still, there is a small emptiness there. I certainly have learned the hard way over the years...friends come and go, but family is forever!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

SKUNK ATTACK!!!!


OK, so I am being a good Mommy after getting home from work late and decide while Daddy is at work I will take my little girl for a walk. We head out on our usual route. Let me say that Frankie is a great dog and never goes on a leash. We cross the street to the golf course where she heads over to her usual sniff area. I see her run towards something a few feet away and think, "Oh silly dog she is thinking the bushes are something alive". Jokes on me when I see something REALLY move and I shine the light on her leash towards it. A SKUNK, yep, just walking away with its tail in the air all proud! So...my sweet puppy walks over to me shaking her head and licking like crazy. Can you guess how I spent the rest of my evening??? Let's just say I love Google! I immediately searched the remedy for 'removing skunk smell' as the last time for her was 10 years ago in Niagara Falls at Grandma and Papa's place and tomato juice was the therapy of choice. Vinegar, warm water, Dawn liquid soap and baking soda is the current most popular way in case anyone is in need of a skunk smell removal remedy.


Last evening was much more enjoyable. Gerry and I went to the annual Arizona State Fair here in Phoenix. It brings back such childhood memories for me going to carnivals and fairs with my family. There were elephant rides and it made us miss India, SO much! We went to the petting zoo twice...OF COURSE!!! Rhonda the animal lover would not miss out on that. Camels, emu's, giraffe, water buffalo, zebra, pigs, ostrich, and a whole bunch more. Gerry had to tear me away from feeding each and everyone of them as I couldn't leave anyone out! We ate fair food, walked and watched people play games and ride the rides and even went to the Sheryl Crow Concert included in our fair admission. Yes, Gerry is NOT a huge fan of Sheryl Crow for the record, but he went for me! It was a fabulous night, although it was break for all the school kids and it was tough seeing family after family with 4 and 5 children and all sorts of pregnant teenage girls . Its so hard sometimes when all you wish for is 1 and so many people are blessed with such big beautiful families. But we remained positive saying we will bring our children someday to enjoy the fair. Eat fair food and watch Daddy as he tries to tear them and Mommy away from the animals at the petting zoo.

I am totally pooped from hours of scrubbing and bathing my white girl Frankie (I hope she knows how much she is loved!) so its off to bed for me.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A weekend get-away.

Well we decided to clear our heads and go away for a day this past weekend. We drove up to Pinetop (about 3 hours north) stopping at antique places on the way. Gerry made a special bed in the back of the Durango for Frankie so not to be hard on her back legs. She is the Queen afterall! We had a relaxing time in the cabin with a roaring fire and cool fresh mountain air. We went fishing and walking on the trails and fed the ducks. It was a fabulous time!

We reviewed our donor profiles and talked a bunch on the trip and finally decided on a beautiful young 21 year old Muslim girl from Mumbai area. She has long black wavy hair, dark brown eyes, small facial features (like me), and a beautiful smile. She is a petite woman(hard to find a tall woman in India)who is a housewife and enjoys singing and cooking. Gerry hopes the later rubs off on our child as I am not a domestic goddess by any means! Dr. Yash said she has good eggs and just had a previous successful donor pregnancy a few months back. So...she has started on her BCP's and Rekha has as well. We are hoping to be doing a embryo transfer sometime in early December at this point. The Docs were sad we won't be able to travel for the transfer, but 3 trips to India in one year is just a bit too much. We assured them we will make the trip next year in August to pick up our newborn.

We are really excited about this decision and are hoping and praying this will be the answer to our prayers.

Sometimes God is so cruel...I was 4 days late this month with my period and thought forsure all my positive thinking had us pregnant, but old Aunt Flow reared her ugly head after playing with me for days! Oh well, back to the drawing board again. Besides I wouldn't have been able to travel to pick up our little one had I been pregnant this close to transfer.

Will post some photos of our lovely weekend when we get our computer back from the shop and up and working... SEE Sunday, November 23, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

What a wonderful surprise!!!

1045 pm last night the phone rang and it was Dr. Yash. She called to say that Rehka our surrogate wanted to speak with us but that it wouldn't be for another hour or more as she had to travel to the clinic and asked if it would be too late. Of course I wouldn't give up a opportunity like that! So I tried desperately to fall back to sleep while I waited, but no such luck I was much too excited. Unfortuneately Gerry would miss out as he was working. It was so wonderful to hear her voice say 'hello Rhonda, how are you?' Dr. Yash helped translate as she told me how her son was so fond of Gerry and I and keeps asking when we will be back. She proceeded to say that when he found out his Mom wasn't pregnant he told her that maybe he hadn't taken good enough care of her. It made me sad to think that a 13 year old boy would even burden himself with such a task, but so completely touched that he would and had done so dilegently. What an amazing young man! I told her to be sure to get her Christmas list together for the whole family as we needed some ideas for gifts to send. We laughed and joked about how she wished I was there during the recent Devali festival so we could go shopping together. She said she is absolutely ready to try again for us. Dr. Yash ended by telling me that Rekah had called her to ask if she could make the trip (a long trip at that) to the clinic that day just to talk to me. I was completely touched. Needless to say I got very little sleep last evening after that as I was on cloud nine the rest of the night...it was well worth losing a nights sleep in my books!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

This is SURREAL!!!

We got our first batch of donor profiles today. I took some time at work to print out all their profiles and the photos. WOW! This is so completely different then choosing a surrogate who will carry your child, this is a complete genetic link. Now that these beautiful women's faces are here in front of me it is really starting to sink in. WHOA...this is huge! Gerry is on a 24 hour shift at the Fire Dept tonight so he won't see them till tomorrow. I am so anxious for him to share these with me. Dr. Yash called and we chatted all about each of them. Their personalities, their families, their physical features, their education, everything. It was really neat! I am truly at a loss for words. I can't even begin to express the emotions I am feeling right at this very moment. Its like looking at a complete stranger and thinking to yourself...'Well does she look like I would want her to be part of my child?' Something I had never in a million years imagined I would be doing. It is a great responsibility and delicate decision. I am overwhelmed with emotions as I type this and look over at these Indian woman's photos surrounding me. They are gorgeous, with long dark ebony hair and stunning dark eyes with fair skin and beautiful teeth. They are educated and young and artistic and have all had positive pregnancies with donating their eggs before. I wish I could share them with the world. This could very possibly be one of the women who will be apart of our child forever. This is REAL.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Patiently waiting...



We are still waiting for donor profiles and are extremely anxious to see them and make our choice. We are really excited about the idea of moving along in our journey in a slight different but exciting direction. If all goes as planned we will be starting another cycle as early as end of November.

We are both keeping busy with work and household stuff. Here are some of our latest photos. A picture of our newest addition...an 18 foot saguaro cactus (only found in this part of AZ) and me all dressed up for work in my salwar kameez we got in India.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Love CAN last a life time...

Gerry keeps bugging me that I still haven't posted for October...so here I am!

Well we are getting back into the swing of things, work, preparing for winter(if you call it that in sunny AZ) and getting ready for Mom and Dad to come snowbird for 5 months. November 2nd is their arrival date and it can't come soon enough. We have picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off and are moving forward in a positive direction.

I often wondered if love truly grows with couples after being together so many years and I realized this past week it certainly does. My parents have always had the 'Leave it to Beaver' marriage for the past 40 something years, but that was a little close to home and I hoped for even a little of what they share in my own marriage. As many of you know I am a Director of Nursing at a long term care/rehab center. I visited with a couple of my patients the other day. One little old man and his wife were celebrating their 70th (no joke) Wedding Anniversary. They were all smiles and when I asked him at one point where his 'beautiful wife was?' He replied without hesitation and a huge smile that lit up his face, 'and you know Rhonda she gets more and more beautiful to me every single day!' It truly brought tears to my eyes. The other couple were sitting on the couch holding hands and I went over to do some 'nursey' stuff and they were chatting about how they had been married for 68 years. I smiled and said, 'how absolutely wonderful that was.' She looked up at me and beamed,'it is so wonderful to spend every day with my very best friend.' Okay, at that point I truly lost it! I had to walk away as I had tears rolling down my face. I know you are all probably thinking this is all way off topic to what our entire blog is all about, but I don't believe so. Through all of the struggles, disappointments, heartache, exhaustion, hormones, tears and so much more, Gerry and I continue to fall more in love every single day. I am proud to say after 10 years (since we met back in Oct.1998) that I truly am blessed to have my best friend and soulmate by my side. I truly cannot imagine spending forever with anyone else than him.

So on to the surrogacy stuff...
We have talked and discussed till we are blue in the face and we have decided that we are going to go ahead with egg donation very soon while we continue to try on our own. We won't have to make a trip back to India for this until our child is born because Gerry still has his frozen 'back up' sample there. But we may just go back 1/2 way through since I am sure we will be going crazy with anticipation. I was having some hesitation about it not being 'my baby'. I have talked with some people on the forum who are going through this and talked with friends and family who have all been extremely supportive and insightful. I am still the baby in the family and my parents opinions have, and will always be important to me. I called and talked with my Mom and she made me cry. I guess it doesn't take much for tears these days. She said, it WILL be my baby and no matter what we decide they will both love that baby as if it came from my belly. Her and Dad are 100% in favor of us using donor eggs Indian or other. My dear friend and co-blogger Amani said the most amazing thing, 'Also remember, you love Frankie to bits and she has no genetics from either you or Gerry, not even a human! Love just is.' She is so RIGHT!!! It will be our child and I will love it like no other. A baby is a miracle and we will be the best, most amazing family together. We will work through others ignorance if it comes and we will talk to our child and tell them how they were created and they will know they were brought into this world because of our love and desire to have them. Gerry on the other hand is having absolutely no hesitations he is ready for our family and as he says, had we adopted it would have been neither of our genes and we would love that child like it was our own.

We are proceeding to the next step. Picking our Indian egg donor and deciding which factors our important to both of us. We both agree certain traits like intelligence and arts or musical stuff are a learned behavior, maybe that goes against what the experts say, but my sister has a beautiful voice and you don't want my parents or any of us other kids to sing! As far as physical traits...I don't really know, I think when we see our donor we will know she is the one! Our wonderful surrogate has agreed to try again with us. She has the opportunity to go with other couples soon, but when the doctors asked her if she would wait for us to decide what our path would be and that it may be 6 months or so, she told them she was honored that we wanted her and she would absolutely wait. So, for those people out there saying Indian surrogates are forced into this...I say that's just a load of S@%T, just listen to our surrogate and decide!

Gerry has been following the India news on-line and misses our wonderful Mumbai and Docs daily, he is ready to go back and even said tonight,'can't we find a way to work there half of the year?' I finally hung our beautiful curtains we purchased while in Jaipur and it is wonderful to look at them every day and remember our fabulous vacation.

Will keep you posted and I promise Gerry will be back with some more tips for you future India travelers. Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weighing out the options...

Well we are still taking time to grieve but trying to look towards our future. Its certainly not easy with so many disappointments, but we are determined not to give up on having a child of our own.

We talked to both the Docs tonight. It was so wonderful to hear their voices and and with all 4 of us on the phone it felt like we were all just sitting chatting and laughing back in Mumbai. We really miss them. It is truly amazing how you can be 1/2 a world away and create such a special friendship with others. They really are much more then just our Doctors, they are like family to us. We feel blessed to have had them come into our lives.

We talked about our options and discussed what comes next. Gerry is currently in a 6 month active duty program with the Fire Dept. on the Air Force base here in AZ, so...that means we are not going to be doing any traveling for a while. Dr. Yash suggested I could come on my own as we still have Gerry's frozen sample in Mumbai. But he quickly responded with, "Yah right, like I am going to let her go and have all the fun without me!" I think its more about us being separated and so far away. We both find it very hard to be apart. Someone actually heard us on the phone the other day and asked Gerry if we were newlyweds. Too funny, after 10 years!!! It actually made me feel really great. I am a lucky woman to have such a wonderful man in my life and I can't and don't want to ever take that for granted.

Okay so enough of all that mushy stuff. So here we stand with some of our options:

1. Go back to India and try again with my eggs (but we need to decide soon as a women's hormones change every 3 months and at my age we can't afford to wait too long).

2. Use an egg donor (either Caucasian or Indian)with Gerry's frozen sample.

3. Possibly do both(1 and 2)in one cycle.

4. Start looking again into adoption much more seriously and determine first if we are even eligible.

5. Continue to try the old fashion way and see what happens. (The Docs here say there is no reason that I am not getting pregnant, just that there is a good chance I will be high risk if that happens) We got pregnant once before and implantation was good...so who knows???

6. Maybe try an IUI since its a lot cheaper then options 1 thru 4 and may just work!

We decided, for now we will definitely take some time to mull it all over and certainly work on option #5 until then.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Noah's Ark lands in India.

Gerry charming the Cobra...

video

Well that feels better...

I got it off my chest! Mom called and I had a good cry and a huge pity party. She said I shouldn't be upset with others just trying to help and most of all not to blame myself.

I am not upset at others trying to help or not knowing what else to say. I just get frustrated when adoption is all someone has to give as an answer but seems to have little compassion of what we are going through. For the most part everyone is incredible I guess it only takes one comment of, 'Sorry, have you thought of adoption?' to set a person off...and yes that person set off was me.

If I hurt anyone's feeling again, that was not my intentions. It helps to pour out my feelings. Good, bad or indifferent that is what this is, our story of fun, pain, hurt, emotions and hopefully success...someday.

Thanks for listening and hopefully understanding.

Sharing the road with elephants in Jaipur.

video

Much harder then I thought...

This is SO much harder then I thought it would be. Being the second time, I thought it would be easier to deal with, but it is so much more difficult. I am keeping it all bottled up inside and know that I need a really good cry, just haven't yet. I took yesterday off of work to regroup and Gerry had to drag me out of bed to at least have something to eat. Today I went into work, but only lasted a half a day before breaking down. Everyone there knows and they just look at me with such pity. I know they all mean well, but it is so hard to concentrate on something other then NOT being pregnant. I so feel like I have disappointed SO many people especially my husband. Maybe if he had know that I couldn't have his child his choice would have been different? Why did I have to be born with these reproductive abnormalities? What did I do so bad to be punished by God to never, ever have my prayers answered?

Everyone has been so supportive. I am just really frustrated when people start offering their opinions like we haven't already thought of every single one of their ideas. People who have not cared to ask about why we chose surrogacy or really cared to follow in our journey at all. People who I am sure feel that we made the wrong decision or that its not 'normal' to do surrogacy. I have read hateful and mean posts on forums of people saying its, 'disgusting' and 'selfish'. It really hurts when you don't know someones whole story to make such comments about others.

ADOPTION!!!! If one more person tells me to adopt, I think I am going to scream. Like that wasn't our first choice and we haven't completely looked into both domestic and international adoption. When they can give us the $30-40,000 AND guarantee that the birth mother won't change her mind while we are waiting at the hospital elated to take our baby home and have to leave heartbroken and empty handed, OR have to send her letters and photos every single year we celebrate OUR babies birthday OR have a nosy social worker come into our home and pick apart every little thing about our health, finances, etc. OR have to wait years and years before we may be eligible to get a toddler OR have to struggle with the foster system. NOW, who wants to mention ADOPTION again to us????? I am truly sorry to those who have offered their opinions and don't mean to sound hateful or ungrateful, just sometimes its nice for someone to just say 'sorry' and they are here if you need them. Opinions and ideas are the very last thing we need right now. I know EVERYONE means well, but for lack of better words, unless you have walked a mile in someone else's shoes you don't know how they feel or what they are going through.

And just for the record, because I have 2 small uteri we cannot do IVF treatments on me for fear of multiples as I am at high risk in the first place for pre-term labor with just a single birth. So...that is not an option either.

So, for the last time...YES we have thoroughly looked into adoption and other options and when and if it is something we can or choose to do we will happily do so.

Its not all about having our own child, its about having a family of our own, raising a child or our own and growing old remembering all the wonderful family times we have had together(like I so dearly cherish about my own childhood). Yes, part of me does want to look at my baby and see my squinty little eyes or Grandpa's double chin or Daddy's beautiful smile. Who doesn't want their own child, for others to say, "Oh, they look just like you or Daddy."

Unless you have never struggled with infertility you have NO IDEA!!! I guess that's why my support group buddies are so near and dear to me, they know not to give opinions just love, support and words of condolence.

Thank you truly to EVERYONE for their heartfelt support and love. I know you all mean well. I hope I didn't hurt anyone's feelings(that was not my intentions), but just think about what you say before you say it. I suppose that sometimes things are better left unsaid.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another negative result...

I am starting to believe I will never know what it will feel like to be a mother. I don't know where to turn or what to do. I don't know if I can bear never being a mother. It is all I want in the world and can't imagine never knowing what it will be like to hold my baby in my arms. I love my husband but I can't comprehend growing old just the 2 of us.
thank you all for your love, prayers and support. Sorry to disappoint everyone once again with bad news.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I think we might burst holding our breath...


So glad you are all enjoying Gerry's posts. He truly is my better half and I am so lucky to have him in my life!

We are going crazy with anticipation of our results. Last night we spoke with the Docs and they said all the Surrogates are at the clinic doing well, keeping busy chatting and knitting and watching T.V. It sounds like one big slumber party. It makes us so happy to know they are all staying positive and being taken such great care of. Our surrogate had her blood test yesterday morning(Monday a.m India time). So we are down to the count as the blood is sent away to a lab and they will receive the results in approximately 2 days time. We both admit it is much harder waiting this time then last as we are together and driving each other nuts and everyone else is calling and asking almost every moment of the day so we can't even forget or take our mind off of it for even a minute. My Mom said this is harder then waiting for me to have the baby myself. I got in trouble yesterday for not having the phone next to me when she called in case I heard something by now. We truly want this more then we both have wanted anything else in our lives. It is hard to really describe the feelings. We are just continuing to pray and I am reading my book on staying positive. Please continue to think positive and send all your good vibes to India while the blood is being tested for a positive pregnancy result!

This is me with Gerry's Mumbai Indian's (cricket team)shirt that was bought for him, but didn't fit, so I go it...sorry Honey, I do look good though!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Some food for thought



































 Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write comments on my posts, I am glad that they are proving to be a bit helpful to some of you. I am actually enjoying writing, as I think of points to write about and look through all of the wonderful pictures that we have taken, I get to think back to all of the great times Rhonda and I have shared during our visits to India. A few of you have asked questions concerning the food in Mumbai. This is definitely an important aspect of the trip, hey, everybody has to eat!!! For Rhonda and I, we are at opposite ends of the food spectrum, I like food to be spicy, Rhonda doesn't. I like to try new and different foods, Rhonda plays it pretty safe. A definite recommendation prior to your trip is to find an Indian restaurant and try some of the different foods. Rhonda and I, luckily enough, have an awesome couple as our good friends, who are from India and are living in Phoenix. Melanie is from Mumbai and her husband Brijesh is from Bangalore which is in the south of India. They took us to two different Indian restaurants, one was vegetarian and the other was non-vegetarian. They ordered a bunch of different dishes and we were able to try a good sampling of what food India had to offer. I enjoyed the non-veg (they serve meat) restaurant a bit more. The hotel we stayed in had an incredible breakfast buffet with both Indian and western foods to chose from. Since we had gone and eaten at Indian restaurants prior to traveling to Mumbai, we were comfortable in knowing what foods we liked and what we didn't like. When making your hotel bookings it's a good idea to check to see if they have a breakfast buffet. It is definitely a great way to start the day. At most hotels and restaurants it is safe to drink the water including juices and milkshakes. Ice in the hotels and restaurants is OK as well. We drank bottled water mostly since we could get it cold. Most Indians do not have ice in their drinks since it is not readily available. When purchasing water always check that there is a seal prior to opening it. At your hotel and restaurants they will make a point of showing you that there is a seal prior to opening it. Street food no matter how good it smells, and believe me it smells great! DO NOT eat it, the process of handling, cooking and serving it is not as hygienic as in your hotel and restaurants. As for different restaurants, the great thing about going with Surrogacy India is that Dr.Sudhir and Dr. Yash know all of the good restaurants. My favorite was a place in Bandra called BBQ Nation. Your table has a small grill in the center of it and all throughout your meal, the servers are constantly bringing you skewers of chicken, fish, prawns, potatoes, vegetables and paneer (Indian cheese) They also bring you different types of chicken, mutton, fish and vegetables and put a bit on everyones plate. But remember to save room since there is a full buffet complete with dessert and something that you definitely have to try, Gulab jamun, which are small, hot balls of pastry in a sweet syrup and best when eaten over ice cream, Yummy!!! There are a couple of great Chinese restaurants that we tried, Mainland China in Andeheri was very authentic having the rice cooked in clay pots, and the other was in the Peninsula hotel and was very good as well. At both restaurants the service was fantastic, they made you feel like you were a VIP. A fun restaurant to go to is Tator Pops. they are a chain and are like a fun family restaurant where you can kick back and have finger foods or full meals and enjoy some drinks during happy hour (which runs all day). This one you will get a laugh from. Believe it or not, I think that the best pizza Rhonda and I have eaten was from Pizza Hut in Mumbai. I mean it, the cheese and the pepperoni tasted incredible. The menu has quite a bit of variety in the choices of toppings, with western style such as pepperoni or Hawaiian or Indian such as Chicken Tikka (spiced chicken cooked in a clay oven). Another place we tried was good old KFC, and in India don't call it Kentucky Fried Chicken, they won't know what you are talking about. If you are venturing over to Juhu Beach area, there are two great spots to try while over there. The first is one of the best seafood restaurants in Mumbai. It's called Mahesh Lunch Home. Great place to have fresh seafood and I mean fresh, they actually bring it to your table alive to show you. I recommend the lobster and the prawn biryani (rice cooked with prawns). The second restaurant is called DelItalia, a small and quaint hole in the wall with authentic Italian cuisine and great garlic bread, Rhonda's favorite. We are not fancy, and Mumbai has a mix of people from different walks of life. If you want to dress up and go to a 5 star restaurant you can and if you want to go in your shorts and t-shirt, like I do, then you can do that as well. When it comes to tipping, ensure that you check the bill, the tip may be already included in the total, it will come under the hearing of service charge. If it is not included, you normally take 10% of the total and that is the tip in Rupees. They are not like the US and expect 15 or 20% tip, and the service is far superior. If you want to add more, feel free but it is not necessary. If anyone is interested, our friend Brijesh made us a food cheat sheet complete with pictures and descriptions of different Indian food. We found it quite useful to identify foods. We can email this to anyone that requests it. Once again email Rhonda at frankiewile@cox.net. Well once again I hope this was helpful. It sure is helping to keep my mind occupied while we are waiting on pins and needles for our results.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Just me again, with more pointers




It's me again, Gerry, I hope I didn't scare any of our loyal followers away with my last post. I feel that there is a lot of useful information to be passed on and if it helps just one person then it was worth it.

Well I guess I will continue where I left off. Internet access is something that we definitely take for granted. Our hotel had free wireless internet when we first travelled to Mumbai in April. All we had to do was connect to the hotels network and we were able to get on to the internet. It was slow but manageable. When we recently travelled to Mumbai, and again stayed at the same hotel, and coincidentally, the same room, we had to get a password to allow us access to the hotels network. It took several calls to the front desk and the internet staff, but eventually we were able to get on the internet. It was very slow and we were unable to access several sites, the most important one being our blog. We were told that it was free and so we left it on for hours at a time with hopes that it would connect to the sites that we wanted. Upon checkout we were shocked when reviewing our bill, there was a charge for the "free" internet. A pretty hefty charge of over 13000 Rupees which is over $300 US. After pointing this out to the manager and telling him that we were told that the internet was free, the charges were removed. The moral is that we take free hotel internet access for granted, make sure that you find out if there will be any charges for internet usage before logging on.

Money is always a subject that is important. Carrying US dollars to Mumbai and then exchanging them in Mumbai will give you the best exchange rate. Travellers checks proved to be a great big hassle. The rate is lower than dollars,and it is difficult to find a money exchange that won't charge a fee to exchange them for rupees. It is very safe to carry US dollars to Mumbai, and use the hotels in-room safe to keep them secure. Exchange as much as you need and keep an eye on the exchange rate as it changes daily. Rupee bills come in denominations of 1000, 500, 50, 20 and 10. There are also rupee coins that come in 5, 2, 1 and 50 paise. Try to keep some small rupee bills for taxis and tips, 10 or 20's will work for this. Credit cards are accepted at most restaurants and larger department type stores. The street vendors will deal only with rupees and remember to haggle. Rhonda even got into haggling, and picked herself up 2 beautiful Punjabi suits and a nice pair of hand made leather shoes at half price.

Well I will give one more pointer for this post so as to not totally bore you to death. Something that both Rhonda and I feel is very important to ensure that you have an enjoyable trip to Mumbai is to go with an open mind. Now this is something that you have to work on constantly. Upon arrival, you will immediately be bombarded with so many things that your senses will be overwhelmed. The sights are amazing, you will not be able to take in everything all at once. There is so much beauty, from the architecture of the buildings, and the different and at times contrasting colors of everything, and if you are fortunate enough to travel during a festival time, be prepared to be amazed. Mixed in with this beauty are the slums, which are everywhere. Mostly metal or wooden walls with a blue tarp roof. The overwhelming number of people at any given time is mind boggling, and with this comes the beautiful and intricate designs of the woman's sari's and other forms of clothing. And again, you will also see the slum dwellers and their tattered clothing or at times lack of clothing. The street noise is at times very overpowering. With so many vehicles on the road (I was told that there are 15000 more vehicles on the each day, Wow!!) and they all use their horn constantly, you can just imagine the noise. I can't leave out the smells. Each day you will encounter the beautiful smells of fresh flowers to the overpowering odor of garbage, and everything in between. Now this is where you have to have an open mind. The beauty can be obscured by the dirt and the filth and the poverty, but look through all of this and enjoy it. The people are incredible. We have never encountered anyone who was not friendly or helpful or happy to interact with a "foreigner" Even the slum dwellers seem happy. A good point to remember as well is to not give any money to the beggars. It's hard to do, but you must ignore them or give them a simple "no thank you" and they will go away.

Well, again this is enough for now. I really think that I am enjoying this. Don't worry, my beautiful wife will continue to write her posts. If anyone has any particular questions, please feel free to email us at frankiewile@cox.net.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Now It's My Turn




Well here goes. Tonight I thought that I would give my beautiful wife a break from updating our blog, since she is busy answering the multitude of emails she receives each day and also the questions on the support group forum. Before I start, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you that have blessed us with well wishes, prayers and words of encouragement. When Rhonda started the blog, it was to allow others to see that they are not alone when dealing with infertility. Each day, as we check the visits to the blog, we are amazed to see that there are so many people following our journey, and from all over the world. It is very humbling. We are just a plain couple, no one special, that wants to have a baby more than anything else.

As a husband sharing in this amazing journey, I can definitely see how having the blog and the support group has made my Rhonda more positive. It allows her to express her feelings, be them good or bad, positive or negative. The journey to having a baby is not an easy one, but in the end when we are looking into the eyes of a tiny little "us" then it will all be worth it. So my point is, that if you are dreaming of having a baby, but can't, Surrogacy might be the answer that you are looking for and joining the support group may give you the answers to questions you might have or at least allow you to make informed decisions. Well enough of that.

Prior to starting out on our journey half way around the world to have a baby, I made it a point to do as much research as possible into IVF, surrogacy, India and Mumbai. So I would like to share some tips and pointers for your upcoming trip to Mumbai.

My grandfather always said that there are lots of ways to skin a cat (sorry cat lovers!), which means that just because we did it a particular way, you don't have to. You may find a better way, and if you do, please share it.

For our flights, we used Delta. We booked and purchased directly from delta.com which I found to be the best price and the best choice for flight times. They have a direct flight from JFK to Mumbai, and both times it has been an hour early which is a bonus. The aircraft they use is the brand new Boeing 777. An amazing aircraft, lots of room, very comfortable, great meals and free movies on your own portable built in video player. I managed to watch 6 movies from JFK to Mumbai, see if anyone can top that!! Try to get some sleep on the flight so that you are not totally exhausted. It doesn't take long to get through immigration, and by the time you do your bags are ready for pickup and you will need some energy to get through it all, since it may be a while until you are checked in and in bed.

Mumbai Airport in my opinion is not bad. It is definitely changing rapidly, and for the better. On our return trip home from Mumbai, the airport drastically changed in just a matter of 2 weeks. On arrival, like I mentioned earlier, you have to clear immigration first. You get your passport stamped and turn in the customs form to the inspector. The inspector will return your passports to you and also give you the bottom portion of the customs form, don't lose this!! It is pretty non eventful for US Citizens and Canadians, it is more of a hassle for returning Indian Citizens. On to get your bags. The carousels are clearly marked. They even provide carts and guess what, they are free!!! Definitely take advantage of the carts since it is a long haul through the airport to the exit and where you can get picked up. Once you have your bags then it is off to customs. Just follow the crowd since everyone has to go through. All it involves is putting all of your bags on a conveyor belt and they go through an xray machine and out the other side where you put them back on your cart and head for the exit. Remember the bottom part of your customs form that you didn't lose? You have to turn it in to one of the military looking guys in order to exit. Follow the crowd until you come to the exit. You will know it when you see it, it is when you will be smacked right in the face with your first glimpse of Mumbai and everything that makes it unique. The noise, the smells, the activity and all of the people, did I mention lots and lots of people? This is where you will catch a taxi to get to your hotel or if you have a hotel that has an airport shuttle, then look for their sign among the 100's that are there waiting for you.

I guess now is a good time to talk about taxi's. There are 3 types: A/C cab, Non-A/C cab and my favorite, the auto-rickshaw. A/C cabs are the most expensive, then Non-A/C cabs are somewhat cheaper and then auto rickshaws are very inexpensive and fun!! I went online to the Mumbai traffic police website and printed copies of the taxi tariff cards. These are the cards that have the rate they will charge you. All of the taxis have meters but since it is not still 1960 they haven't been updated and thus they need a conversion card for the current rate. Having a copy of these helps to alleviate the possibility of being ripped off due to you being a "rich foreigner" The tariff cards show the meter reading and the appropriate amount in rupees that you have to pay. It is up to you to add a few Rupees for a tip if the service was good, and don't forget to tip anyone who helps with your luggage. 10 or 20 rupees will do. There are also prepaid cabs available from the airport and most hotels. They will tell you how much it will cost to go to your destination and that is what you will pay when you arrive. Again this helps to alleviate any possibility of being taken advantage of. I want to make it clear that in all of our dealings with taxis we were never taken advantage of, so don't be worried, just be aware. The auto rickshaws are 3 wheeled enclosed motorcycles. On a nice day or evening it is a great way to experience all that is Mumbai. Be aware that it is a bit noisy and you do every now and then get a whiff of car exhaust, but hey isn't that what's it all about? But talk about fun. They zip in and out of traffic and at times you are mere inches from other vehicles. Maybe not for everyone, but give it a try! These are very inexpensive and they are literally everywhere. Whatever the meter reads, subtract 1 from it and that is what you pay in Rupees. An example would be if the meter reads 7.6 then you would pay 75 Rupees, got the idea? Again if you want to give a tip a couple of rupees would suffice.

Well, Rhonda is telling me that I am writing too much and no one wants to go through so much information. Maybe she has a point there, but I just wanted to give what I thought was useful information. I will continue with this in a later post, let me know if it is useful to you. Gerry Out!

While we wait...

Just a quick hello to let you know we are back in the swing of things here in AZ. Gerry has been pretty jet lagged falling asleep on the couch for the last few nights. Poor dear! Tonight we had a date night with supper and a movie. Went to see Wanted with Angelina Jolie. We enjoyed it! Gerry just got off the phone with the Docs. They were at the clinic and they put our surrogate on the phone. She said, 'hi', and 'thank you.' They said she was embarrassed. It is such a wonderful feeling to know that they are there watching over her. I am sure they are all having one big party, just like we all were when we were in Mumbai. There are 5 other surrogates there just from our little group, and probably a few others that were there already. We told the Docs we missed them and Mumbai, and Dr. Yashodhara said, 'Well you will be back in 9 months!' It was nice to hear.

I picked up a book tonight that a few of the girls on the support group recommended. Its called The Secret, and it is supposed to help with positive energy. Boy do I need that!!!!

Another week or so and counting. Gosh this is tough...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Street Life in Mumbai

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