Thursday, November 21, 2013

525,600 minutes

One year. 

It's been one entire year. And this song couldn't be more appropriate...

How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights (our daytime adventures around the world)
In sunsets (the witching hour...turned the time when everything winds down and becomes peaceful)

In midnights (way too many of these at the beginning to count...they built character)

In cups of coffee (every morning. without fail. we didn't really drink much coffee before this, btw)

In inches (inches that increased month after month... i can't believe how much they've grown)

In miles (from Delhi to Zurich to London... then a visit home London to Chicago to San Francisco... then a trip to Paris... a week in Mykonos... a week in Cannes... a trip/move back to the US again... and a pre-first birthday celebration in Maui)

In laughter (so much of this... from them, from us, from our friends and family)

In strife (it's not always easy and we've survived a year. not sure how we did it.)

How about love? Measure in love. (Love. More love than we've ever had for anything. Ever. And they give it right back)

Exactly 525,600 minutes ago, Sienna and Sebastian were born. Thinking back to that day, it seems surreal. Actually, the entire eight months leading up to that day seem surreal. Did it all really happen? Did we actually spend years trying so hard to have something so special? Yes, we did. And I'm so happy that we have this blog to remind us. 

I have to be honest, we haven't been focused much on the blog. Maybe it's the uber focus we have on the kids. Or maybe it's because we realized that this was a wonderful documentation of a moment in time and that time has passed. Over the past year, we've thought a lot about when and how to post our final post to the blog. We were going to do it at six months, then nine... but we decided to share our latest update at twelve.

The past year has been amazing. Sienna and Sebastian have brought an unexplainable amount of happiness to our lives and to everyone around us. They have been such a blast. And we have been lucky. We're lucky not only to have them in our lives, but we're lucky that they are healthy, that they decided to sleep all night at about 9 weeks, that they have been on identical schedules since we brought them home from the hospital and that they have this amazing power that they use when they smile at you. It stops you right in your tracks. For a split second, you don't think of anything. No stress, no anger, no sleepiness, no frustration. Don't get me wrong though, there have been hard times. The beginning was tough, and I think we mentally prepared for it to be that way. There have been a few random tough days. But none of that really ends up mattering. Somehow those are easily forgotten.

As we close out this blog and begin to look towards the life of twin one year olds, we want to say thank you. Thank you to our amazing surrogate and her family. Thank you to Dr. Shivani and her team for taking such good care of our surrogate and our twins. Thank you to our friends and our family for being there right alongside us during this emotional and challenging journey. And thank you to all of you, our blog-friends. You provided us with a level of support that we can't put words to. You were the source of a wealth of information on what to expect, how to handle the tough parts, how to get through the process in India... and you always reminded us, even when we were down, to keep going. Keep trying. Don't give up. 

With that, Taj Ma Baby is finally coming to an end. For those of you who are on this journey, I hope that our blog has provided you with some insight, some encouragement and some faith.

Don't give up. It's hard, it's emotional. But the thing that matters most in this instance, is not the journey, it's the destination. And there is no destination as warm, as charming and as fulfilling as being a dad.

Friday, December 7, 2012

We're home!

Ok. We've been terrible bloggers. But I think we have a good excuse. Ok, two good excuses!

Our time in India came to an end on Monday night. Following two flights (which Sebastian and Sienna were AMAZING on), we are now back home, trying to get into the swing of things and nail down some sort of a routine.

Before I go on, I have to say HUGE thanks to Dr. Shivani and the team at SCI. They have made our dreams come true and everyone there was very great to work with as we went through the formalities following the birth of Sebastian and Sienna. Our wonderful surrogate has also been amazing. We'll never forget what she has done for us and she'll be a part of our family stories for the rest of our lives. If it wasn't for her nearly nine months of dedication, this wouldn't have been possible:

For those of you who are going through the process now, all of the waiting, stress, emotions, emails and late-night calls all become a distant memory the minute you hold your little ones in your arms. Many of you have asked for more details about logistics so we'll share what we can in hopes that it helps those of you who are descending on Delhi soon.

The biggest piece of advice we have is to be sure you have all of your paperwork ready and printed out, extra copies made and folders created for each of the offices that you'll need to visit (ie. Embassy, FRRO). It really helps you keep sane, though to be honest, the US Embassy was very simple. The FRRO was chaotic (and thank god we had somebody helping us navigate and expedite our way through) but ultimately, it comes down to having the right paperwork in order and ready for their review.

Here are some details on what we brought and what we used:

What we brought:

700 diapers, 1000 wipes, 14 bottles, electric sterilizer, 10 short sleeve onesies, 10 long sleeve onesies, 12 socks, 7 hats, 2 hooded towels, 4 pacifiers, 2 pacifier holders, 6 blankets, 2 packs of cloth diapers (used as spit-up rags), 5 swaddle blankets, 13 long sleeve pijamas, 2 sleep sacks, 1 crib sheets, 24 small liquid formula bottles, 5 boxes of powder formula, 1 baby soap, 2 baby lotion, 2 powder, 2 diaper rash cream, 1 thermometer, 1 saline nose drops, 1 gripe water, 2 books, 1 diaper bag, 2 Phil & Teds Cocoons, 2 Ergo baby carries, 2 Ergo inserts.

What we actually used or wish we had more of:

~150 diapers, ~ 200 wipes, bottles and sterilizer, didn't use long-sleeve onesies, didn't use socks since they wore pajamas, only needed one hat each, wish we had brought two towels each (they like to pee when they are being dried off), glad we had extra pacifiers as we always dropped them, only needed two blankets each, really needed more swaddle blankets as they are in them a lot and they pee on them sometimes or milk gets all over them, didn't use sleep sacks, only needed like 6 of the small liquid pre-mixed formula as we only used it for our embassy/FRRO appointment and plane ride, had too much powder formula and only used one box, only needed one soap/lotion/powder/cream, didn't really use the books yet, the Cocoons were the BEST thing possible to bring, didn't need the Ergo carriers.

So that's what we used. Hope that helps, but also keep in mind that we were only in Delhi for 12 days after the twins were born. If it would have been longer, we probably would have used more of the stuff.

Back to twin duty now...


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Meet Sebastian and Sienna

Yes. November 21, 2012 is the day that we've been waiting so long to have.

Sienna Ann and Sebastian Luke were born yesterday afternoon. We'll share more details over the next few days but wanted to let everyone know that both the twins and our amazing surrogate are doing great.

Here are a few quick pics from yesterday (about 20 mins after they were born)!

This is the best Thanksgiving that we could ever have hoped for.



Friday, November 16, 2012

36 Week Scan: Live From Delhi

We made it.

After a long few weeks full of work, packing and questioning whether or not we have everything we need, we landed in Delhi. The trip over was pretty uneventful, apart from some "interesting" formalities that we had to go through to leave the airport (I'll post about those once we are back home). We arrived at the hotel around 3am and you'd think that we would have been exhausted. Instead of exhaustion, we found ourselves wide awake. We tried to sleep for a few hours but ended up drifting in and out of dreamland before we had to get up and head to the ultrasound appointment with our awesome surrogate.

We walked into Dr. Jolly's office and met two guys from Australia who were doing the same thing -- waiting for their surrogate to arrive to see how big her belly has gotten, as well as stare at the screen as their baby comes to life through the power of video. We were in the waiting room when we peeked out the door to see our surrogate waiting outside of the exam room. She looked great. There is something about her that is truly magical. She's a very shy woman and when we went into the exam room and said hello to her, it was her smile that stole the day. You could tell what a happy person she is and as we tried to have a broken conversation via a translator, her positive vibes made us both feel at ease.

The ultrasound was incredible. We got a few good videos and some great 4D pics of one twin, like the one below. The other was hiding his/her face and at one point actually turned his/her head as if he/she was looking at a camera, only to turn it away a second later, so we couldn't get a good shot.

Everything is looking good overall. The report came back today and they are happy with it. Both twins are measuring a bit smaller than the norm, but I guess that's pretty common with twins. Here are the latest stats (we are 36 weeks 2 days by our calculations):

Twin 1 -- 34 weeks 2 days
BPD- 85mm 34 weeks 4 days
HC- 312mm 35 weeks 0 days
AC- 292mm 33 weeks 2 days
FL- 66 mm 34weeks 1days
EFW- 2281grms (5.02 lbs.). Cephalic presentation.

Twin 2 --35 weeks 4 days
BPD- 88mm 35 weeks 5 days
HC- 327mm 37 weeks 1 days
AC- 305mm 34 weeks 3 days
FL- 68 mm 35 weeks 0 days
EFW- 2572grms (5.67 lbs.). Breech presentation.

We should know more on Monday but the latest estimate is that they would do a c-section on Nov 26 or 27 if everything continues to go well. That means we have just over a week to hang out and wait in Delhi. Any day trip suggestions?

Off to bed now. This time, I'm going to sleep.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

34 Weeks + Art

So we're at 34 weeks tomorrow and I can't believe it. Really, this is kind of unreal. I'm officially in the "freaking out" stage. I think the roller coaster of emotions goes somewhat like this:

Anxious (to get things started) ----> Excited (that things have gotten underway) -----> Nervous (that you have to wait for news on the transfer) ----> Over the moon (that it worked) ----> Nervous (that you have to wait again to see if it really worked) -----> Over the moon (that there are heartbeats) ------> Patient (as you wait for the next scan) ---------> Reluctant (to get too excited because there is a long road ahead) ------> Excited (that all is going well) BUT --------> Hesitant (to do anything because so many things can go wrong) -------> Reluctantly excited (as scans come back positive) ------> Denial (that this could really be happening and that it will all be OK) ----------> Continued Denial (that this is all OK... and that you should be excited) ---------> Desperate (for more information, thinking that there is no way you can get enough information to calm your nerves) -------> Reluctantly happy (that you are actually shopping for stuff and telling people about the good news... but will everything actually be OK?) ---------------> Overwhelmed (with the amount of stuff that you have to do before the new arrivals make their debut) --------------> Freaking Out (that this is just two weeks away).

Such a roller coaster, but in just a few more weeks, it will all be worth it. We leave for India in two weeks. Even writing that makes me nervous. Though I guess that's normal for anyone who is about to welcome twins into their world.

We've gotten one bag packed (full of diapers so wasn't too tough). And the rest of the packing of the baby bags is happening this weekend. We'll be as ready as we can be, just in case they decide to make an early debut. I'll share our full list once we finish up packing.

In other news, our DNA kits have arrived at the Embassy and are awaiting our arrival. So all smooth on that front.

Check out this painting that C drew and painted for the nursery. It's amazing. So perfect for the elephant/giraffe theme of the room! This is where having somebody who can draw, paint and take pictures comes in handy. I told him he should start to do it as a business along with his photography! Right?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

32 Week Ultrasound (and a few shower pics)

Now that we are getting closer to the big day, time seems to be flying by. I haven't had a chance to update the blog at all as work travel has been uber insane.

The positive? I have been in the US alot so have been able to see my prego sister and my mom.

In fact, I went to my mom's house two weeks ago and her and her girlfriends surprised me with a shower! It was awesome. Carlos was in the UK so he couldn't be there... :( but we sent pics and Facetimed him in. Isn't this a cool cupcake cake that they ordered???

The next week, my US colleagues got together and threw us a surprise shower in the office. It was such a great surprise and everyone has been super cool. Cute elephant and giraffe cake, huh?!

Last week, we got an update and our 32 week ultrasound. Everything is looking good. The pics didn't show much again (grrrrrr!) but the important thing is that the twins are both growing well. The small echogenic intracardiac focus didn't show up in this last fingers crossed that whole thing is all over with. The only issue that we are dealing with right now is our awesome surrogate having gestational diabetes but they have been treating that with insulin everyday and that seems to be working.

So here is what is happening with the twins. The scan was done at about 31 weeks 5 days:

Cephalic presentation
The approx. gestational age is 31 weeks 0 days
BPD- 77 mm 31 weeks 0 days
HC- 292mm 32 weeks 2 days
AC- 259mm 30 weeks 1 days
FL-. 5.9 mm 30 weeks 5 days
EFW- 1607grms

Breech presentation
The approx. gestational age is 32 weeks 2 days
BPD- 81 mm 32 weeks 4 days
HC- 297mm 32 weeks 6 days
AC- 286mm 32 weeks 5 days
FL- 59 mm 30 weeks 5 days
EFW- 1909grms


I guess we should start to get ready for the trip, huh? We are scheduled to leave for India in just 3.5 weeks. This is so crazy. Is this really happening?

I've finally started to get stressed out. Mostly about the details of things like passports and visas... luggage and lists of what to bring...


Saturday, September 29, 2012

So many updates...

I have been the worst blogger. Ever.

So more than a month has passed since our last blog. I don't know what has happened with the time. Carlos and I have so much to update everyone on. So here we go...

Just after I wrote our last blog we received an email from Dr. Shivani. Our awesome surrogate had completed her diabetes test and unfortunately they found that she has a mild case of gestational diabetes. Of course, I went straight to Google -- the absolute worst thing to do. I read a ton about the condition and it made me worry even more than I already was. That said, everything has gone just fine since then and our surrogate is responding well to her daily insulin doses so I guess we shouldn't worry.

Since our last scan, we have had another scan, one surprise shower with friends and family and one virtual shower with everyone from the U.S. I have gotten my DNA test done (we used Chromosomal Labs in Arizona and I had my DNA collected when I was home in the US last weekend) and we have put together the cribs.

Our 28 week scan came just on time (two weeks ago). Pics aren't great, but here they are:

Cephalic presentation
Approximate gestational age is 27 weeks 4 days
BPD - 69mm, HC - 259mm, AC -220mm, FL - 5lmm, EFW : l020gms

They still see the small echogenic intracardiac focus. Ugghhhh.

Breech presentation
The approx . gestational age is 28 weeks 5 days
BPD - 75mm, HC - 268mm, AC - 239mm, FL - 50mm, EFW: 1169gms

Last weekend, we went to see friends in Chicago. Little did we know that they had planned a surprise shower for us and my dad and step mom flew in to surprise us as well! It was a great weekend and something we'll always remember and tell stories about for years to come. Oh, and the bloody mary bar was awesome. Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with us and my family and friends for organizing it!

This weekend, we had a virtual baby shower with our friends and family back in the U.S. It was so great to see everyone and share our new pics of the nursery with them! Before the shower though, we had our day-long Caring for a Newborn Baby class here in London. It was just the two of us so we had our own personal teacher for the day. Most of what she went through was pretty straight forward and actually the material that she taught from was free material that anyone can access.

Literally, visit this site and go to the "Your Newborn" tab at the top, it has everything you need to know including a few videos. It was nice to be able to ask questions and try a few things out but really could have saved the money and just read most of this on our own. We did get baby and child first aid and CPR though, so that was a plus.

The shower was amazing. Even though it was virtual. We did it in the nursery so that everyone could see. Here are a few pics of the virtual shower and the latest happenings in the nursery (ignore the screwdriver on the floor and the little table between the cribs -- it's leftover from the guest room):