Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Kids (and Mommy) are All Right: Delhi Day 116

In response to the overwhelming number of messages and emails and where-the-heck-are-you inquiries, I thought it much easier to just post a quick note to let you know that yes, the three of us-- Mommy, Princess and the Cheeks-- are still in India, and more importantly, yes, we are all right.

See?

We celebrate 4 months...

with another round of vaccinations...
and make daily visits...

to see our favorite little guy...


we visit our favorite church...

and all of our favorite shopkeepers...

and as always, we do our best to stay cool.

Thanks for checking in!


~With love from India, B, H & S

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Operation Princess and the Cheeks: Delhi Day 111

So as we approach the two affectionately dubbed

Princess


and the

Cheeks'

four month birthday, we have come to the conclusion that we need to start formulating a "future" plan... whether Hayden is ready or not.

Unfortunately, a full scale medical evacuation is not in the cards, as we could order all the "cards" we want and still not come close to funding it. Which leaves us with the following options:

1. Fly Hayden home on a commercial flight with a doctor and oxygen support.
2. Take up residence in India, learn to drive on the right side of the road and fill out a job application with Rahul.
3. Call Oprah.

Unfortunately, my left side road driving is nothing to write home about which leaves me to think that my right side road driving would be downright scary. And as for Oprah? eh-- the whole surrogacy in India thing is so 6 years ago.

...which leaves us with Option Number One.

And at first glance, I have to say that it sounds pretty darn simple. Find a doctor, secure some oxygen and off we go. But like everything about our journey thusfar, it's just a little bit more complicated than appears.

The issues filling my head during the time of day which I used to refer to as "sleep time" are-- supplementation of airport oxygen during a layover in a foreign country, transport of Hayden from the arrival state to our state and admission to [what will likely have to be a pediatrics unit-- not a NICU] upon same, securing seats on a flight in August which it appears to be the month that all of India migrates to the U.S., and how to keep costs "affordable"-- and trust me, at this point in our journey, I use that word very very loosely.

Nevertheless, I am working to come up with some creative solutions-- because hey, that's what us IPs do best-- and meanwhile, soaking up my remaining days in India with the world's two most amazing children (as well as a handful of some really amazing IPs).

In the meantime, The Cheeks is hanging out on 30% oxygen and the Princess, well, she continues to hold court everywhere we go...

The Cheeks asked that I show you his latest trick in real time.



My son in a nutshell-- oxygen tube out of his nose, feeding tube tape over his mouth and diaper so disarranged, I had to do a crop and edit before posting publicly! This little guy has got such a big personality.
Hayden had a name tag on his back today. A little added security, I guess, should he come up with an exit plan of his own.
Hey Scarlett, my belly is bigger than yours!
Oh, yeah? Says who? I'm the big sister and don't you forget it.
Smile for the... painting?!? Since coming "home," Scarlett has been obsessed with the painting on the wall. She has finally started smiling, however, a majority are reserved for her favorite inanimate object. Seriously wondering how we can fit it in our bag home!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Princess (in pictures): Delhi Day 109

Off to see Hayden. I've totally mastered the single-handed carseat/baby bag/thermos carry.
Hi Hayden!
Positive that nobody is looking, Hayden surreptitiously removes his oxygen.
Back at the hotel, Scarlett preps for her South Indian modeling career.

Later, Scarlett sneaks in a bit of  pool time after her nurse instructs me no less than 20 times "not to tan her."  Got it. Eyeliner? Ok. Tanning? Not ok.

Catching up on her beauty sleep with an afternoon  nap.
Scarlett has started a trend with her Indian anklets. She now takes all of her new friends to "her" jeweler. 
All dolled up for dinner. This girl has got one heck of a social calendar.
It's my party and I'll cry if I want to. It's rare we see a smile between 5-7 p.m.
But come 8:00 and she's back to her charming self. I had to take this picture, as it was the first time I actually took the stroller outside. Due to a lack of ramps and even ground it will likely be my last as well. 


Bath and bed. Good night!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Just Skip to the Pictures: Delhi Day 104


So I had the pleasure of having Rahul, himself, drive me these past two days and it was really lovely since I hadn't seen him in awhile. What I appreciate most about Rahul is his unfiltered honesty-- a really refreshing trait.

Of course, sometimes, the truth hurts. Like when someone looks at you and says, "Ma'am, you are not looking good today." Well gosh, Rahul, thanks. But I knew what he meant, as he clarified that it looks like I have really lost the weight and am looking tired.

And you know what? He's right.

Monsoon season began last week


and after three and a half sunny months, the atmosphere in Delhi has suddenly turned very grey.

I am ready to go home.

Master Hayden, on the other hand, apparently has his doubts. Currently, he is on 30% oxygen. The doctors have concluded that he has Chronic Lung Disease-- a tricky diagnosis as it's now up to Hayden to decide when he's ready to kick the oxygen. Could be tomorrow. Could be months from now. And unfortunately, there's not a whole lot we can do to motivate him one way or the other.

Rest assured, however, that his doctor and I are working on a plan to get us home. I'll keep you posted...


Meanwhile, Scarlett just told me that this is my most boring post ever. 

I couldn't agree more. Serious blogging does not come naturally to me.

My dad suggested that I post some photos, so I think I'll take him up on it and leave you with a collection of pictures that I like to call The Many Faces of Hayden:


I am scared.

I am silly.

I am angry.

I am not guilty. 
I am happy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

100 Days in Delhi

Please send any and all prizes and awards to Saket, New Delhi, addressed to "Scarlett's Mummy" or  "Madam H." or "The Lady with the Baby in Room XXX"... and I promise they will reach me.

Because the "er" pronunciation does not come naturally to the Hindi speaker, I've learned to answer to various others names-- essentially, anything but Bernadette.

Fortunately, the only one I've had to veto thusfar is Scarlett's nurse telling people that I am "her madam." I explained that such an introduction takes on a whole new meaning in the Western world, and that I'd much prefer to just be "her friend."


Anyways, I've always said that one of my 20s regrets is not traveling abroad, so  when we purchased my one way ticket to India, Duane and I jokingly started referring to this trip as my "semester abroad." And what a semester it has been! As such, I thought it only appropriate that today I share the following Lessons Learned After 100 Days in India: 
  • Always check if there are additional family members in the background, before racing to answer your husband's Skype in a towel
  • "Qualified" babysitter is open to interpretation. 
No experience necessary. Golla doubles as driver and sitter so that I can visit Hayden in the nursery.  He loves Scarlett and I think the feeling is mutual
  • 100 degrees Fahrenheit is not hot.
  • Which means that neither is 38 degrees Celsius.
  • You can wire thousands of dollars from the U.S.A. to a perfumery in a small market in India... and it will get there.

  • I am not the only one to accidentally lock my child in my hotel room. (But I promise not to mention the names of others who have done it.)
  • It's never too late in life to acquire a new best friend 

  • Cotton wool means cotton balls, cot means crib, and food can be "nice"... if you hail from Australia or U.K.
  • It's not a good deal until you've walked away and the shopkeeper proceeds to run after you
My favorite-- Sarojini Market
  • In India, all you really need is one pair of shoes... so long as they have enough sparkle

  • 100 days in Delhi with my kids is nothing compared to 100 days in Maryland without them-- I've got the greatest husband in the world!

Happy 100th to us! 

~With love from India, B, S & H

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Few to Make You Smile: Delhi Day 94

Darn right cheek.

Scarlett calls this one Disco Winnie the Pooh

Seriously, Mom, what's taking Hayden so long? I had this breathing thing  down months ago!

Fine. I'll go to Pitampura to see Hayden. But do not wake me until we're there.  I am not a morning person.

Yes, it's 4 a.m., but I dare you to try to tell me to get back in my cot.

 American pride on the 4th!

Handsome Hayden off oxygen today

Topless Thursday!

Kim instructs us to "own it" as we necessarily walk through the mall to dinner. (We totally blend in here.)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Regrets Only: Delhi Day 91


On April 17, 2011, I wrote:

I have started this blog from the very beginning with the purpose being threefold: 1) to raise awareness of this unique family building option, 2) to serve as our children’s story so that they can understand just how desperately we wanted  them, and 3) to keep our friends and family updated on our situation...

One year, one month and fourteen days later, my purpose in writing has not changed. 

This blog was never meant to be anything other than an outlet for me to capture the highs and lows of this journey-- often raw and unfiltered-- the only way I know how.

It's difficult to explain what it's like to purchase a one way ticket to India... to leave your job, your husband, your family, everything you know... to arrive alone with no support in a foreign country... to find your babies, which you have spent four agonizingly long years trying to conceive and never had the opportunity to carry, in a NICU hooked up to every tube and monitor imaginable... to find yourself still there after three months.

But I've done the best I can.

Often, through humor.

And it has never been my intent to hurt or offend anyone in the process.

Today was, hands down, the absolute worst day of all my 91 days in Delhi, as it was sadly, brought to my attention that I may have done so. 

India is not America. And through my writing, I have not meant to imply that the latter is any greater than the former. Indeed, I have found myself many a time remarking that I have fallen in love and could see myself living here. (Although I question whether Carlos could survive the heat.)

And although it is not greater, it is different. And it is these differences in culture which have most often stood out in my mind at the end of the day, and thus, made it into many a post. 

This blog was never meant as an advertising mechanism for anyone or anything. Accordingly, there are many things that I have experienced-- both good and bad-- which have not made their way into my posts.

Because I write what I write when I am feeling it.

After today, however, it is important to me that I share the following, which though I may have failed to include on my blog thusfar, has been included in every email I've ever received from prospective parents regarding preterm babies born in India:

My babies were both transported to Delhi New Born Centre shortly after birth. If yours are too, then you should consider yourself lucky. Regardless of where in the world you are from, you will NEVER find care that matches that which your children will receive in this NICU. To all those who work there, this is not a job. Rather, it is a vocation, performed with love. Though initially, there will be inevitable difficulties in communicating across cultures, you will quickly find that such differences dissipate as you become a part of the Delhi New Born family. I choose to make the 1-2 hour trek each way to Delhi New Born (almost) every day, not for the lack of frilly hospitals steps from my hotel, but because I have the utmost trust and faith in everyone who works at this centre. I have found that trust and faith can, unfortunately, be two difficult things to come by in India. I am thankful every day that I have found them there.

On a final note, I am incredibly saddened by the events that led to my potentially hurting my friends in India, however, I do not intend to stop blogging. After all, if I was the type of person that felt prompted to do so by what has transpired, then likely I would not be the type of person to still be smiling after 91 days alone in Delhi.

What I do intend to do, however, is to be more sensitive if I do find myself writing about my friends in India, as they are the very last people I would ever want to hurt...