Can you spot the 4 monkeys in this picture?
Day 2: Saturday – 1st Medical Visits
We woke up at 4:30 am and our bodies were totally out of sync with the time zone. After a breakfast of PB&J (so glad we had a few basics stocked in the fridge ahead of arrival), we pulled out the DVDs and watched a few Big Bang Theory episodes. Nothing is happening in Delhi at that time of day, and in fact, nothing much gets going before 9am. It's perhaps the only time of the day/night that you don't hear a constant blaring of horns and street vendors. We napped later in the morning, and then met with Dr. Shivani for the first time at noon down the road at ISIS Hospital. One thing I got clarification on is that ISIS actually has 2 facilities. The "clinic" is on the corner at the end of our block. The "hospital" is about a block and a half away from us. The IP treatments are done at the hospital, not the clinic. At the clinic, the staff that I've corresponded with are hard at work on behalf of IPs and surrogates alike. Rachnna (puts you at ease, helps make connections for what you need, calls the apartment manager when your shower doesn't work - THANK HEAVENS FOR HER!), Lalit (the man that sets up treatment schedules and maintains Dr. Shivani's schedule), Shilpi (helps coordinate things to do in Delhi/India), and all the others are based here. At the hospital, there are nurses, a receptionist, and IPs. Dr. Shivani shuffles back and forth between the two as needed. She was very welcoming and gave us information about the timing for this week's treatments. She did my first ultrasound (no cysts!) and showed us around the clinic where the surrogates were waiting and introduced us to the staff as well. Everyone was so very respectful of us and Dr. Shivani - well beyond the professional level in the States. There was no non-essential chit-chat or banter, just professional dialogue. Dr. Shivani opened almost every door at the clinic to show us the facility (VERY clean, well lit, smelled good) including the office where contracts are signed by the surrogate. The paperwork for the surrogate is VERY comprehensive and lengthy. It includes things we didn't think about at first like a pre-surrogacy psychological evaluation and a section where both husband and wife had to agree that they wouldn't have marital relations during the surrogacy period. Dr. Shivani sent me over to Dr. Modi's office for her to do the blood draw personally since I have very tiny weak veins that roll and make blood draws horrible. Dr. Modi is AWESOME!!! It's the first time in my entire life that I have had blood drawn and not had bruising. I was a little embarrased because I didn't realize Dr. Modi was Dr. Modi - She is a very unassuming woman who was dressed traditionally and spoke softly. She sat on the edge of the bed with me and held my hand while directing the nurse where to draw and how to prevent problems. I wish she could come home with us! All labs were back to me within 4 hours via email, and I had a message from the Hospital that everything was within normal range. We made contact with Aleksandra and Rich Saturday night and then headed to bed early.
ISIS Clinic from our terrace
Day 3: Sunday – Meds, Sightseeing, Select City Walk & Dinner with Friends (IPs)
Again up at 4:30, ate breakfast, and called about going to the mall with one of the drivers. We ate, waited for the caretaker to come and try to fix the washing machine, and went to the hospital to check-in with Dr. Shivani and pick up my Gonal F pens. While there, we met another IP named Joanne from Australia. We invited her to dinner and later made plans with Aleksandra and Rich to bring the babies for dinner too. (It won’t surprise my cousin, Wendy, to realize it took me only 2 days to find enough friends to have a little dinner party!) At 1:00, we left with Rahul and saw the Lotus Temple, saw the Indian Parliament and living quarters, the President’s mansion, India Gate, the Red Fort, Humauyum’s Tomb, and then went to Select City Walk mall for a taste of Western culture. The sights were beautiful and we had a good time. I think Rahul was surprised at the quick pace we moved thru them – we’re not ones to linger anywhere…we toured the Louvre (including the Mona Lisa) in about 2 hours. I bought a beautiful pashmina with hand embroidery at the mall. We ran by Nature’s Basket and picked up chicken, salsa, rice, and flour tortillas for dinner. Harris and I had a great time visiting with our new friends and holding the beautiful babies for a while!
Yes, those are Cobras
Day 4: Monday – Agra & Taj Mahal
Satish got to the apartment around 5:45 this morning and we were not ready – but it wasn’t our fault. We’d been up long enough, but the shower didn’t have any hot water at all. Thankfully, we have a second bathroom with independent hot water heaters so we were able to wait the 20 minutes and jump in there. After showers, a quick bite, and dressing, we hit the road about 6:30. We were so thankful to have eaten, because it wasn’t until about 2:00 when we were able to eat again. It took us 4 hours to get to Agra. We picked up a guide (that we didn’t realize we’d have to pay for…maybe we were told, but I don’t remember.) and headed to the Taj Mahal. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Pictures do not do it justice at all. There is such detail and artistry in every piece of it. Afterwards, we went and saw how a carpet is made by hand – and declined purchase of same despite best selling efforts. Then, we saw how stones are inlaid into marble like was done in the Taj – where again, we declined purchase despite best selling efforts. We left there and went to MacDonald’s (yes, it’s “Mac” here) where Harris got the Indian version of a Big Mac, called a Majaraja Mac and is made with chicken instead of beef. I got the MacChicken Spicy and fries. Yes, I ate the lettuce, and yes, my stomach is okay…I think it’s the meds that are causing the stomach upset. Oh, and MacDonald’s fries taste the same in America, France, and India…believe it or not, that’s comforting. Even better, I saw Mountain Dew in the little market stalls yesterday! I’m not having any because of the caffeine, but once the retrieval is done, I’m all over it! Still haven’t found M&Ms yet, but I haven’t given up hope! We got home, totally exhausted, at 8:30 last night. We were planning to wash clothes, but found that there was no water stopped completely in the kitchen after the wash cycle, no rinse, – fun times – and decided to go to bed.
Does this really need a caption?
I have had mild cramping around my ovaries and my face is looking bloated from the meds already. Dr. Shivani put me on 375 iu of the Gonal F in order to produce as many good follicles as possible. Harris gives another sample Tuesday afternoon, I go back in for a blood draw Wednesday, and another ultrasound on Thursday.