Monday, August 16, 2010

They are Born!!

A couple of hours ago, I received this email from Dr.Patel:


Panna delivered a baby Boy and baby Girl. C-section done on Saturday
night . Both Panna and babies are fine. Babies with Neonatal unit.
Neonatologist Dr. Anita - cell no. + 91 98240 27897.

DOB : 14th August 2010
Birth time : 11.00 PM
Weight : 1890 gms


Birht time : 11.01.03
weight : 1885 gms

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Labor Pains!

Since my last update was in May, and we are now in August, you would think that I have alot to say. Well, I do...and I don't....

The most recent "do" is that our surrogate, Panna, has started to have labor pains. They started the day that the babies turned 34 weeks. This was two days ago. Dr. Patel wrote to tell us that they are trying to stave it off (I assume by bed rest and anti-contraction medication) but that they may need to do an emergency c-section at any time. So I have been up at all odd hours of the night checking my email. So far, as of this Sunday morning. There is no news.

As of two days ago, the scan report showed the babies to be fine, but still on the small side. If they are born now, they will be in the NICU. One of them is 3.9 lbs, and the other is 4.3 lbs.

Another recent "do" is that my dear friend, Crystal, has booked a ticket to join us in India! She has some business to do there, but she timed it so that she could be there for me and the birth of our babies. I am so overjoyed about this, I cannot even describe it! Unfortunately, she is coming about 4 days after we get there, but she is coming nonetheless!!!! I say, "unfortunately" because I am as excited about seeing her as I am about seeing the babies! I just can't wait! I have not visited her since long before the babies were conceived because I have been working steadily to save every penny.

She will be able come to Mumbai with us to help us go through the exit process, which is the part of this whole journey that has me the most nervous. It means so much to me that she will be there. I cannot find the words to express it!

Crystal, my dear sister, you may not end up reading this since you have probably given up checking my blog, I am so horrible about updating it, but if you do, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart! This is one of the kindest, most loving things anyone has ever done for me! Thank you!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Just Bought Our Tickets!!!

It is 1AM right now, and I am taking Uma to Disneyland tomorrow, so I made a promise that I would not stay online much longer. I will do my updates later (and hopefully sooner rather than later!). I just wanted to post that I have bought our plane tickets! We are leaving on August 20. Right now, I have us returning on Sept 14, though I truly hope it does not take us that long (almost a month) and pray that it does not take longer!
Anyway, this feels like such a huge step!
Our little ones are 22 weeks, 5 days today. Dr Patel says that they will probably be born between August 18 and August 28. The 20th felt like a fairly safe date. It would be difficult to leave much earlier.
Time for bed...more later....

Friday, April 23, 2010

This is Anand!

This was filmed in Anand on January 3, 2010. It was the day after the egg retrival and the day before the transfer. The people we are with are Mark and Tricia. We had met them on Jan 2 at doctor Patel's clinic. Coincidently, it turned out that they live in Santa Monica, about 5 minutes away from us. We have remained friends since then. Mark is the one who filmed this.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Today Movement Begins

March 27 has always been a special date for me (too long to explain!). Today, according to the fetal growth website I have been following, movement begins. So our little ones are starting to move for the first time. Our twins are 14 weeks, 1 day today.

On March 23, Adhipen's birthday, they began the 2nd trimester, if you are looking at it by gestation, and on April 1, Uma's birthday, they began the 2nd trimester if you are looking at it by conception.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Story Behind the Little Blue Lights

Today is the first day of spring! I noticed the birds chirping in the early morning yesterday with new beginnings or life, and our little ones are now about thirteen and a half weeks.

Crystal was in India and saw the scan of the babies on the day they turned into their 2nd trimester. I was very excited that she was there! It felt in essence that it was my eyes watching. She said that all looked well, and the babies looked strong. I had sent a package to Pannaben with gifts. She was able to give it to her. My friend Tony is going in April and so we are sending a smaller package again.

On my altar I have four pictures of the moon that I had taken last year (March 9, 2009) when I went to visit Crystal and my dear friend Neha, both of whom, to my chagrin, live on the East Coast. At that time, I was just not sure how I would pay for the surrogacy. My practice had dropped alot when I took off for maternity leave with Uma, and with the economy, money was tight. As always, the trip was just magical and I had resolved, deep in my heart, that somehow, I would find a way.

On the day I was supposed to leave, Neha and I got into some deep talking. Both of us literally flaked (very uncharacteristic of both of us) on how much time I would need to get to the airport and on the plane, and indeed, Uma and I ended up missing our plane. As we were driving back from the airport, we looked up and noticed the most amazing moon either of us had ever seen! It had rings and rings of color around it. Saturn, was placed dirctly below it and was shining brightly. With our camera's we both attempted to take a picture, but neither of us could capture the rings of color. My camera captured a bright white moon with beautiful Saturn below. Her camera captured, for whatever reason, captured the pictures you see to the right. There were four of them, each so interesting looking, almost like sperm and ovaries!

Neha and I started to talk about my dreams of surrogacy. I told her how I used to feed crows on Saturday for a whole year because Saturn in the planet in my vedic house of children, which causes fertility problems. In order to remedy this, vedic astrology had me saying a Saturn mantra and feeding crows. So it was very significant to me that the planet Saturn was actually there. It was a rare occurance, and had we not missed our plane, I never would have seen it.

I also told her how over the years of disappointment in trying to have a baby, everytime I would get discouraged, I would somehow either find a crow's feather, or suddenly see a blotch of beautiful blue light. I would feel in my heart that it was a message from my spirit baby to keep on trying. One time, I even had this light appear in the form of a discharge after my ovulation wa over. If it was not such a beautiful color, I would have been alarmed!

As I was telling Neha the story, she said, "wouldn't it be amazing if the blue light showed up in the photos?" I agreed it would be. We both looked at each other, and decided to check. Sure enough, under one of the photos, there was the blue light! When I got home, I noticed that a blue light had appeared under a second photo. Both Neha and I swear that it was not there initially! Unfortunately, you practically need a magnifying glass to see the lights in the photos posted here, but they are very clearly seen in the pictures on my altar.

I felt deep in my heart that this time the blue light was again affirming that I should not give up. I vowed as I flew back on the plane the next day that somehow I would find a way. Miraculously, within three weeks after that, my practice literally tripled!

And now here we are...!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Now We have Two....

I was sitting down to type and a friend emailed me to ask how things were going. I decided that the best thing to do was to post what I wrote to him:

We were supposed to have our next scan on March 10, which, in India, was last night. I hardly slept last night in anticipation. When I got up this morning and there was no word, I decided to call Dr. Patel tonight.

I called her about a half hour ago. Right away she told me that the procedure had already been done yesterday. The baby's heartbeat stopped while they watched it. When Crystal comes, Dr Patel is going to scan again to make sure that all is well, and that the baby is indeed dead. Right now all is well with Panna (our surrogate) and the other babies though she made me nervous when she said that there was something (I did not understand what that "something" was) that she still needs to do to make sure that Panna does not abort the other two.

I asked her how she chose which one to abort. She said that she chose the least robust one.

I must admit that I was shocked to have her say that it had already been done. Crystal and I predicted that this was what she would do. To be honest, I am very grateful to her. I feels that this was very compassionate of her - at least it feels that way to me. On one hand, I am very relieved that we did not need to give our "okay" like we would have here in the US. It would have been sheer agony to say the words" yes, we need to do the reduction", which is probably why I have avoided calling since our last scan. I would have felt like an emperor who signs a death sentence and someone's life is now taken. She did the "deed" to our child without our giving our verbal "consent." Still, I suppose our silence on the matter was as good as a verbal consent.

She said that she would send the scan of the two live fetuses and one dead one. I am feeling like I don't want her to, but then again, maybe I can use it to do a funeral of some sort for the little one who had to go. It is so very sad. We knew that this was a possibility by putting in four, but really hoped it would not amount to this. Well it did.

There are all the "reasons" why this was necessary, but still....

My heart aches right now. That is all I can say about that in this moment.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Brain Waves

According to a website on fetal development (, today is the day that the brainwaves begin.

Now we have Three......

We got an email yesterday that said, "Panna and babies are fine. See attached scan."
Only three fetuses were listed, all at normal growth, and in the comment box, it said, "quadruplet noted - one missed abortion - 3 trichorionic triplet. Follow up after 20 days."

So I guess we wait for the next 20 days and see what happens. It is hearwrenching, actually. A part of me says, "If all three are strong, how can we reduce one?" It feels, in some ways, like "Sophie's Choice," and if Dr. Patel gives us a choice, and we have to make it, I don't know if I will ever get over it. Still, having triplets just does not seem feasible.

Some of my friends have written me to voice their opinions. Most are in favor of reduction, but a few have encouraged me to fight for my babies. Here is the reply I wrote to one person. I decided to cut and paste it rather than rewrite it, because it does express what I am feeling/thinking right now.

Most everyone, including my husband feels that we should reduce. A few feel like you do. In the heart, what mother would not want to fight for her children, especially when she sees the one(s) she has now? The thought of having "reduced" that child is more than she could bare.

It is heart wrenching, and I truly hope that I am not faced with the decision to reduce or not. I have agonized about it and cannot even imagine which one of those three little lives would have to go.

However, I am very afraid for the pregnacy with a triplet pregnancy. It is not my body to monitor and feel. It is not even my country to be able to access what is going on and be privy to significant decisions. In truth, I am not really sure how well Dr. Patel could/would handle a high risk pregnancy like a triplet pregnancy. Her email to me today said, "Panna and the babies are fine. See attached report." That was it. Attached report showed a missed abortion of the 4th baby, so the "babies" were not fine. To say that communication from India is not extensive would be an understatement. It seems that she has a protocol. Would she deviate from it for a triplet pregnancy, or would she just go along as normal, and if one or all of them went, her response would be: "See attached report?"

With a triplet pregnancy, the surrogate is at risk, and in truth, that is unfair to her. She also has young children, but also, I could not be certain that she was informed of the risk in agreeing to do it for extra money. She might so very much need the money, set the risk aside, or not even really know what she was getting into. I just don't know.

She is at risk, and so are the other babies. From what I have researched, you have a higher risk of miscarriage with a triplet pregnancy (higher than the chance of miscarriage wtih a reduction procedure) and you also have a fairly high chance of disablities. The babies are born about a month early, and they are usually in the "preemie" category - all of them. Whereas with twins, you can still carry to a good weight to keep them out of the preemie category, with triplets, it gets more dangerous toward the end so they take them out early. So this means that what would have been twins or a singleton, normally healthy and a good enough weight to be just fine, now will have to be born a month early, and how this would affect them in the long run, no one truly knows. If it is nature's decision, that is one thing, but it would be my decision by wanting to keep triplets. How would this decision affect all of the children in the long run?

Even if I were willing to risk the above, because it is so heart wrenching to think of reduction, there is the issue of what do I do after they are born. We are not well off. I could not afford a nanny full time. Both my husband and I are self employed, and so there is much less job security than someone who is not self employed. My husband does not bring in enough to support the family alone so I need to work. Both of our businesses fluctuate with the economy.

Right now, I work 30 hours a week all crammed into three long and breakless days so that I can have the other days to spend with my daughter. They are three tough days, and coming home to one is enough, three will be alot, but three new borns, would be really hard. Right now, I am saving all of my money to pay for the surrogacy and 3 months maternity leave thereafter. I have not even been able to save up what I need for a singleton pregnancy yet. I still have time, but the more finacial pressure I have, the more it affects me in terms of setting limits on how much I am working now. Sometimes I am working 12 hour days as of late. I was quite sick when I was in India, and when I got back from India, I got even sicker because I was afraid to take off because I am saving for this surrogacy. I eventually had to because my health was falling by the day, but I worried about the money alot and suffered the days I pushed myself so hard.

Energywise, I am turning 50 next week. I feel that Uma has made me younger, but realistically, I am not sure that I have the energy for more than two newborns. I will be on my own plus I have a four year old already. As you know as a mother with twins, even easy babies need attention, focus and energy. One is alot. Two is even more, but three?!!

Three times the cost for school, clothing, diapers, health insurance, medical care, and since we are both self employed, we have to buy our own health insurance. If one or all of the children were born with a health issue or disablity because of the triplet risk, we would not be able to get an independent policies. In fact, we might not be able to get independent policies anyway based on the fact that they were born preemies. This could be considered a "pre-exsisting condition." I remember when we applied for Uma's insurance, they asked about this. I guess I could lie, but I would risk their contacting Dr. Patel for birth records since they would know that triplets are usually born premature. I suppose we would grease some palms in India to say that they were each a normal weight at birth, but again, that is a risk. By law, our health insurance would have to take the children on, but that alone would cost us an additional $225 per child each month. Multiplied by three, plus what we pay for ourselves and Uma (who thankfully has an inexpensive individual policy), what we paid for health insurance alone would be more than we currently pay for rent!

Finances, and energy into consideration, there is also the issue of how having three rather than two will change my ability to care for the children in the way I would want. I believe in attachment parenting in the beginning years. This means wearing the babies on my body in carriers, and cosleeping. This is very possible with twins as I have two sides of my body, and two sides of my bed. With three, I will always have to rotate one out, and this will, I think, affect all of the children - they will all have less of me.

There are other issues as well, but then there is the heart wrenching fact that this little life that is struggling to be would have to be terminated by will. I don't know if I could ever get over that either.

The scan report said that they will rescan in 20 days. I am truly hoping that nature makes the decision for me. If not, then I will see what Dr. Patel says. If she says that it is up to me, I think my heart will break in half, or maybe three pieces! There are very solid, and practical reasons for not continuing with a triplet pregancy. There are risks to the other babies if we reduce or if we don't. Despite all of the practicalities, my heart is not yet fully convinced. I will probably need to consult with medical experts before Dr. Patel advises me, just in case she leaves it up to us to decide.

It is an agonizing place to be in right now.


Friday, February 12, 2010

We have been waiting to see a heartbeat...and.....

We have four!!!!!!!!!!

Fetus one: 140 bpm
Fetus two: 128 bpm
Fetus three: 128 bpm
Fetus four: 118 bpm


That's all I can say about that right now....

Friday, January 22, 2010

2nd Beta

Our second betas came in on Tuesday at 4138.8...more than doubled. Wow!
It is amazing how my heart is beating these days, as if to help our baby(babies) along!

Monday, January 18, 2010

So now what happens...?

Now we pray and we wait....
1824 is a pretty high number for a two day transfer after 14 days. So we either have twins or one very strong fetus. Either way, we are thrilled from the core of our hearts!
We will know for sure, in terms of twins or not, in a few weeks after the first ultrasound. We will know how viable the pregnancy is after the 8 week scan for a heartbeat. My heart is beating now just to feel that!

So then what happened....?

We arrived in Anand, Gujarat on December 31st. The next day we arrived at Dr. Patel's clinic to meet her, the surrogate and family and everyone else involved. As we waited to meet Dr. Patel, another couple walked into the office. Amazingly, it turned out that they live 5 blocks from us in Santa Monica. What are the chances of that occuring?! We could have run into each other at Whole Foods, or the Chevron gas station on the corner. But if that had happened, they would have simply been among the other thousands of strangers we pass by on a daily basis. But here we were on a similar journey, and so we met and connected.
We retrieved 8 eggs on January 2 and they were fertilized that day. Two days later, four of the eight had fertilized and we waited almost the whole day at the clinic just to be able to see them before they were transferred into the surrogate.
After that, we left Anand, spent one more magical day in Amnedabad and flew back to Delhi. We rested a relaxed a few days and then set out for home on what turned out to be one of the most grueling travel back (due to flight delays and cancellations). To make a long story short, we were supposed to be home on January 7, but did not end up arriving home until January 10.
Even as I write this, we have not fully recovered from the exhaustion. Though in my fog and fatigue, however, last night, I could not sleep. I had been reminded by my friend, Pamela, that we should be getting the news any day now. I had a deep feeling that it was coming now.
I tossed and turned all night vowing that I would not check the emails until morning. However, finally, at about 6 AM, I broke down and checked. This was what I opened up:
Dear Najla,
Panna has a Positive result. Beta HCG is 1824. Here with attached report.--

Dr. Nayana PatelAkanksha IVF CenterKaival Hospital, Anand, Gujarat 388001Ph: +

Our Journey Begins!!!

Here I am! The world's worst blogger finally sitting down to write! Well, I promise you that it is not laziness or lack of interest that I have not entered a blog here since July (or on Uma's since her birthday in April!!! Yikes!!) It is truly for lack of time as for this Mom, as it is for many Moms, any time to myself means that I need to plop Uma in front of the TV, or ignore her requests to come play with her, or stay up late at night (which does not work for my energy levels these days) or forfeit gettting the things around the house that I can get done during the hour and a half naptime, which, by the way, seems to be diminishing as Uma gets closer to age 4. Today, an amazing day for many reasons, I actually discovered that Uma's favorite place to be, Giggles and Hugs (a children's restaurant with an indoor playground and yummy food) had Wiifi and a plug. This could be a solution assuming I am willing to lug my computer here each time we come!
However for this blog, there is another reason why I have not entered anything....I just could not. I was very stuck for many months....The pain of the disappointment was paralyzing. I just could not!
I started this blog after we got a negative with Dr Patel in June. When I reread what I wrote, for the first time today, I saw that I did not even mention that! That is how painful it was! After that negative, I spent the next few months doing ALOT of research on IVF and surrogacy. I consulted with a fertility expert in August, read about four books, made friends with other people going through the process. I wrote to many clinics. I was not certain if we would go back to Dr Patel, or try somewhere else. One thing, the only thing, I was certain about was that this time, whereever we went, I needed to go too, so I could speak to and meet the people involved and so that I could see the land where my baby would come from and my first baby and my husband had come from. We needed to go to India in order to make this happen.
I bought plane tickets to New Delhi for the three of us in October, still not totally sure what exactly we were doing, though I had a rough plan in mind . We would travel on Christmas day and come back January 7th. That was really the only time we could travel because of Uma's school. Another whirlwind of events occured and I flowed with it. They led to feel that Dr. Patel was where we needed to go. Just after Thanksgiving, I contacted Dr. Patel and asked her if we could do another fresh cycle when we were in India. To my astonishment, despite her long waiting lists, she agreed to do it Jan.2 with the transfer on Jan. 4. No doubt she extended me this kindness because of my dear friend, Crystal, who is close to her (in India, it definitely helps to know someone!!).
I was terrified of the travel. It seemed soooo intense, and India is an intense place anyway. But I swallowed my fear and all three of us packed up and left on Christmas day. From the stress and angst, my system broke down the day before we traveled and I came down with a terrible cold, which ended up lasting me the entire trip (but that is another story!).
Despite my cold, the trip ended up being totally magical. I absolutely fell in love with India! My fears soon melted into magic and joy as we experienced our first time together on a "vacation" as a family of three. In fact, Adhipen and I had never had a vacation together since we got married! So even as a coule, we had not taken a trip together that would allow us ample time to sightsee and enjoy ourselves. However, it was not just for the joy of the trip, but also for the purpose of our surrogacy journey, that I think that the decision to take that trip was one of the best ones I have ever made. We saw the places, met the people, felt the land, prayed in the temples, tied a red string wishing for our baby at Fatipor Sikri (the place where the Emperor Akbar made a pilgrimage to pray for a baby) and made a statement to the Gods, the Goddesses and the Universe to move the earth and help us bring in our heartfelt dream of a sibling for Uma - a little baby to join our family, to fill our hearts and souls and bring this intense desire, and prior journey of about 5 years, of mine to completion.