Sunday, 27 November 2011

Apologies for being terribly lazy bloggers!!!!!

Beau is 19 weeks old today, and boy are we reminded how quickly he is growing and changing when we are sent photo's like this one below... this was taken by a lovely British family who were staying in the same accommodation as us in Delhi. It's was Adam's 30th birthday and the hotel owner put on a lovely evening dinner party. Beau was only 6 days old. They kindly emailed us the photo last week, it is actually one of the very few of the three of us together with Beau pretty much new born and extremely precious to us.

We took him to see his new pediatrician last week and Beau weighed in at a whopping 7kg, or about 15.5 pounds. The Doctor was helping me try to clarify what vaccinations he has had and what he needs to have. Given that we were in Delhi for about 3 months, Beau made a lot of visits to the pediatrician for vaccinations, and the Italian doctor was both surprised and impressed with how thorough the Indian vaccinations were. he was given a lot more injections in India than he would have been given in Italy (of course given the difference in conditions) but the Doctor was of the thinking that the more the better, and the injections he has been given can only strengthen his immune system even if they wouldn't have been given in Italy. Next injections are not now due until he is 12 months old, but he will of course keep regular check-ups.

Beau is coping remarkably well with the change in weather here, after 3 months outside the womb in Delhi and 9 months in, he's now having to deal with the harsh realities of a European winter, but doing it is a remarkably fashionable way! Although he absolutely hates wearing his big chunky puffer jacket, far too restrictive for him!!!! He would much rather be home half-naked with the central heating on full blast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Everywhere is Venice is starting to get a little more festive and 'Christmassy', although it makes a nice change from the UK where Christmas goods hit the shops the moment the last of the summer BBQ coals go on sale!!! We are excitedly anticipating the switch-on of the Christmas street lights and introduce Beau to a little festive cheer! We are planning Christmas day in Venice but will be traveling to the UK on 26th December where Beau will get to meet many new family and friends (8 aunties, 7 uncles, 16 cousins, a billion members of extended family, great aunts, great uncles, our old school friends.......) so this will no doubt be a fabulous and exhausting trip to our home land. It seems odd that Beau is British with a British passport and has yet to step foot on UK soil.. but he seems to be having a lovely time with our European neighbors. Venetians are a reserved and aloof breed, but they do melt when they see a baby and shower them with lovely attention, and Beau gets more than his fair share.

But although we can't believe how quickly our beautiful baby boy is growing up, we also can't believe that this is what he looked like on the 30th November 2010:

Saturday, 29 October 2011

14 Weeks Old and HOME!!!!!!!

Beau is 14 weeks old on Sunday, and we finally made it home after 12 weeks! The last 2 weeks at home have been amazing. As we haven't blogged for ages, I've uploaded a random selection of photo's from the last couple of weeks.

After 10-11 weeks, I received an email to say that Beau's passport had been printed in the UK and was finally on its way to Delhi. By 12 weeks it still hadn't arrived, when I got a call to say please come to the British High Commission. When I arrived, I was told that the passport had be found, in PAKISTAN!!!!!! They sent it from the UK to the wrong country!!!! I could do nothing but laugh at how ridiculous the situation was. Because the diplomatic postal service all has to go via London, I was told it would take at least 2 weeks to get the passport redirected to Delhi, so they issued beau an emergency travel document on the Tuesday. Adam had left the week before to set up the new flat in Venice, so it was so exciting to know that we were a matter of days away from being together as a family again.

I used the Wednesday to prepare all my paperwork for the MHA/FRRO exit visa, visited the MHA Thursday and the FRRO Friday. The senior gentleman on the 'In Charge' desk in the FRRO looked at all the paperwork and said they was happy all my documents were in order and they would not be doing an investigation (which was clearly a relief as this can be another 10 days), but as far as I understand, some senior director at the MHA now has to sign all exit visas involving surrogacy (not the guy at the In Charge desk as before). However, he was out for the day, and 'might' be back at 4pm. Given that this was a Friday, I had a flight booked for that evening, it was a real worry that he wouldn't come back to work at that time on a Friday and I would have to wait until Monday, but PRAISE BE, he decided to come back to his office, sign the exit visa and we was all ready to do our last minute packing and head home!!!!!

On reflection, it wasn't quite so bad as it felt at the time, but between getting the exit visa and sitting on the plane, it felt like the scene in the Truman Show where Jim Carey was trying to leave town and everyone around him was trying to stop him! On check-out, my credit card wouldn't work, and I spent ages arranging my sister to pay the bill from the UK. When all was in order, they suddenly decided to add about US$50 worth of minibar charges to the bill that had already been paid. This took about an hour and plenty of shouting to resolve. When I got to the airport, I was told that there was a problem with Beau's ticket and Imight have to buy a new one (another hour at the ticket desk arguing, eventually resulting in Swiss Air realizing the ticket was actually fine.) By that time the bassinet seats had been taken.

The queue for immigration was now huge, and although I was dreading the passport inspection, it wasn't as bad as I anticipated. The guy behind the desk obviously asked where the mother was, to which I replied that my son was born through a surrogacy arrangement. He asked if I had any court orders, which I explained that court papers were not necessary. I gave him the signed 'No Objection' document from the SM, and he went off to check this with a senior customs/immigration official who I noticed gave it a quick skim read and said everything was ok. I am presuming that every immigration inspector at the desk might not quite understand surrogacy, but clearly their managers do, so even if they do go off to make some inquiries, it's not such a big deal, they are only doing their jobs and the reality of the situation will soon become clear...

My final 'just laugh' situation was when it was time to board the plane, a member of Swiss Air staff offered to help carry my many cabin baggage items to the plane. On the way, she asked where the mother was and I kindly advised her that I have been asked that question every 10 minutes for the last 12 weeks, so hopefully she won't be offended if I really can't be bothered to explain. She then offered to 'tell all cabin staff that we have a passenger on board traveling without a child's mother, so female staff might need to help feed and change the baby.' I declined her offer, and she looked very worried, asking me 'But what if he cries, what if he needs feeding, what if he needs a nappy changing?' She was extremely surprised to hear me say that I could actually manage all of those situations and will manage just fine. As frustrating as I find this presumption, I can only put it down to cultural difference and she was actually trying to be as helpful as possible.

But we were by now finally on the plane, I wouldn't have cared if we had to stand the whole way home! Beau was amazing on the flight, he cried once for about 30 seconds, but as it was an 8 hour flight leaving at 01:15AM, he sept for nearly all of it, waking to feed then go straight back to sleep. We had a quick 1.5 hour layover in Zurich, then a short 1 hour flight to Venice. Adam met e at the airport which was fantastic, and a 30 minute boat ride and we were home!!!!!!

Living in Venice is not the easiest place to have a baby, such as taking the pushchair out in a city with 409 bridges, but definitely has it's benefits with children as it's completely car fee, extremely safe, and the air is very fresh and clean. Venetians make me smile as the don't like to make a big deal about things, and its very impressive to see a mother with 3 or 4 kids and a pushchair laden with 4 or 5 bag of shopping on the back of her babies' stroller single handedly crossing an extremely steep bridge with small steps on the 'school run' declining all help from passers by. It's just the way it is here, you just deal with it without complaining, and it's just a small price to pay to live somewhere so beautiful. We have been using the Baby Bjorn carrier far more than the stroller, but we have been out for 'bridge crossing practice' on the realization that he's getting heavy and we're going to have to use the pushchair far more fairly soon. He's so happy here, he just loves being outside taking in all the crowds and scenery, and he revels in all the attention people give him as Venice is very much a baby-loving city.

Huge aplogies to all those who haven't hard from us for a while, looking forward to catching up on everyone else's blogs. At times we felt we would never get home, but of course we did and as hard as it sometimes was, we are already thinking about when we might do this all again in Delhi. We are hoping that SCI will do an new egg cycle with our same ED, and freeze the embryos so that Beau has genetically related siblings for our future family expansion. In the mean time we just adore our life with him, his smile, his squeeky noises that will soon be laughter, and his beautiful eyes that stare at you all the time.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Plenty to smile about...

Contrary to the title of this post, we are having an immensely frustrating time dealing with the red tape that goes with getting UK citizenship and a passport for Beau, and at times it's incredibly hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel (OF COURSE Beau is the light, but the end of the tunnel at times seams nowhere in sight, more on that later), but when Beau dishes out such a warm, radiant smile such as this corker pictured below, all of those frustrations temporarily disappear, and we have a magical moment that puts our fight to get home in clear context... we are SOOOOOOO amazingly lucky to have him and with time, more effort and as ever much perseverance, we get to have this magic at home (not hotel-home, but REAL HOME!!!!).

Of course, its fantastic to have this time together as a family, but we know how special it will be when we get to relax in our own home, with no 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the door, with our crazy beloved dogs, close to family and friends, close to somewhere we can go a walk that has actual pavement and without the risk of getting run over by oncoming autorickshaws, and no one ringing the bedroom late at night asking 'what time do you want breakfast tomorrow sir? (actually, that last bit would be quite nice to have at home!!!!)

For us Brits, the citizenship and passport process is a total headache (of course it's a headache in it's own special way no matter who you are or where you're from) but the already tough rules and long processing times have been now been extended. Whereas the British High Commission up until recently advised that getting the citizenship could take around 6 weeks and the passport a further 4 weeks, they now advise that this will take 'many months', and if you call the UK Border Agency who deal with the citizenship applications, they repeatedly quote that they aim to deal with applications quickly 'usually no longer than 6 months'... minimum three, maximum SIX MONTHS!!!!!! That's without applying for the passport and dealing with the exit formalities. The new rules make it very clear that UK citizens will have a very tough time, but regardless of this, I remain optimistic that for future Brits coming to India for surrogacy, or anyone for that matter who has a tough time with red tape for those people who dream of having children with the help of India, this will merely be a hurdle and not a preventative measure. It took so long to get here, as much as we complain about a few more weeks, it's (hopefully) not going to kill us!!!!

We've been here in Delhi 8 going on 9 weeks, and we still have no idea when the UKBA will issue the Citizenship Certificate, their policy is not to give absolutely any information no matter where you are applying from, no matter how desperately you need to return to work, no matter if you might lose your job and have no income, no matter how much risk you face... they just say the usual expect to wait at least another 3 months. It's in a league of it's own for outrageously bad service, especially given it costs US$1000 approx to apply.

Not wishing to tempt fate, we have a feeling that our application MIGHT be progressing, but we're also preparing ourselves mentally for the fact that we might be here many more weeks... we'll keep you posted!

It's amazing how Beau has developed so much in just 7 weeks and a day! Time seems to fly where Beau is concerned, and totally drag where red tape is concerned... He is so alert and content, when he might want something he gives adequate warning with a few moans and grumbles and only rarely does he turn on the siren-wail when we're totally not understanding the urgency of his needs!!!! And his magical smile, it can really turn a tough day into something special!!!

This is such an obvious thing to write, but words can't describe how much we love him, how unbelievably special he is to us, how life has changed overnight since the day he was born and how difficult it is to remember what life felt like before he was born... We have paid the deposit and secured our new apartment in Venice, and knowing that in the hopefully not-too-distant-future, we get to be the family we are in our own home, in a beautiful city, with the dogs that we miss SOOOOOO much, that is an amazing thought that we cannot wait to happen!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

7 weeks in......

Well this post feels a bit like re-run of the wait to meet our baby! Yes we have been here 7 weeks on Tuesday going into our 8th Week!! It's starting to send us all a bit crazy now is all we can do is sit back and wait....We submitted our MN1 application to the British High Commission on 22nd July and then finally received an application number on the 11th August...Yes you heard right...20 days just to get a number for our application...we rang on Friday and was told we still don't even have a case worker....suprise suprise!! If you don't know the MN1 application is for citizenship in the UK and goes with every other person applying to get into the country, no matter what your circumstances. Every day they receive around 800 applications and ours is sat in a pile somewhere. We knew we would be here for around 12 weeks as they originally said on the Foreign Office website, 8 weeks for citizenship and then 4 weeks for passport application.....and now wait for it, the crappest news ever....this has now increased to 3-6 months for citizenship plus 1 month for Passport!! We've contacted the consulate and they do sweet FA! They are no longer in the position to help after its sent to the UK and its completely out of their hands...:(

So don't know what to do really but one can expedite the case as we're in a queue with everyone else.

On another completely different note, 28th August has always been quite a good day for us! We moved in to our first apartment in Hong Kong on the 28-08-08 (The chinese for 8 is "ba" which means lots of luck hopefully!) My ID card in HK is also the 28-08-08 and We came to Delhi for our first "Donation" on the 28-08-10 and the result was our Boy Beau, a year later! So tomorrow is 28-08 and we are hoping that this week brings us a step closer to home!! Our new apartment in Venice is number 4828....again, we met on the 08-04 and our lucky number 28 keeps coming up!!

We are meant to flying home on the 20th September but at the minute I don't see this happening, so we will be looking to change our flights in the next week or two as one of us will have to go back to Florence to pick up our pups and empty our Florence apartment by the 30th September.

What else has happened??? Beau has continued to be a beautiful boy and fun to be with....he still has his umbilical hernia but his colic does not seem to be as bad which has been good for us, as he is now on a four hour eating pattern! Yay!! Adam has been ill again and his Veneer then broke! So we have all been a bit up and down lately but we have to keep our eye on the prize....HOME!!!!!! Michael went to see Doug and chad with Beau last week and really enjoyed the great company and BBQ ribs! Beau loved the copious amount of cuddles!

Here's some cute pics to finish with as he is the thing that keeps us going and the light of our lives.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Long overdue update!!!!!!!

SO MUCH has happened in the last 5 weeks (tomorrow) since Beau was born!!!!!! It's been a rollercoaster of experiences and moments, all part of the rich tapestry of our time in Delhi.

Firstly, huge congratulations to Mark and Kerry on the birth of their beautiful baby girl Cailyn, we're really hoping we get to meet up together with Beau soon! And we really hope Sam and Phil are having a fabulous time back home with Ruby and Zoe!!!

A few days after Beau's birth we received the most lovely, generous parcel of gifts sent from Edward, Paul, Vivian, Aria and Sydney (Faith to Vishwas) and here is Beau with a fabulous selection (clearly enjoying his new outfit!!!) Such a kind and lovely thought, we were so touched and grateful.

A few day's after Beau's birth, we started the process of citizenship application. It's impossible to put into words the frustration of this process. When we did our research on surrogacy, we was perfectly aware that for Brits, no matter what country they work with, the citizenship application is a red-tape-bureaucracy-filled headache. When we sent the MN1 citizenship application from the British High Commission, it has to be sent to the UK via the diplomatic postal service. This only leaves and arrives 2 days a week from/to Delhi, and can take up to 2 weeks for the package to arrive at it's intended destination. So it doesn't take a genius to work out that when the citizenship certificate is issued, a month has been wasted sending the application and waiting for the certificate to arrive, That doesn't even begin to include the time taken to process the application!!!!!!!

When we planned our time in Delhi, we studied closely the British High Commission website on the processes involved in applying for UK citizenship from New Delhi. It strongly suggests 6 weeks (ish minimum) to get the certificate and another 4 weeks to get the passport, then 1-15 days to get the FRRO exit via, so we planned 12 weeks in India.

When we called the Home Office in the UK who process the applications, they say 'Applications take 3 to 6 months', yes you heard that correctly, MONTHS!!!!!!!!! Since sending our application 4 weeks ago, we have only just received an application reference number as it took this long for the application to reach the UK via snail-mail, and get inputed onto their computer system. The next stage is for it to wait in a queue to be allocated a case worker who will assess the application. However, with our application being in the same pile as the 800 applications a day for UK citizenship, we can be assured that this will take weeks to be looked at.

So in the mean time, the wait and worry continues... but we remain hopeful that our application lands in the hands of someone who realizes we need to return to our lives and work as quickly as possible. Hopefully in a week or 2 we might be lucky enough to have a case worker allocated, so we will keep you posted!!!!

A great friend from Hong Kong came to Delhi to visit us an see Beau last week, so we took this as an opportunity to travel to Jaipur for some culture and a change of scenery. We LOVED Jaipur!!!!!!! And Jaipur seemed to love Beau, he got so much attention, (all good I'm glad to say).

Jaipur is such a lovely city full of contradictions, hectic but charming, gritty but extremely pretty, definitely one of the most fascinating and rewarding trips we've been on and so wonderful that it was part of our India Odyssey.

(Love this pic of a dog and a monkey haha!)

Adam recently became victim to some form of stomach bug and ended up having a whole day in hospital on various drips. After 2 or 3 days he was right as rain again!

However hard our application process might be, we are still very much enjoying our time in India. We find that Delhi is a city where, although the pleasures are not immediately obvious, the city can take you pleasantly by surprise, whether it's the genuine warmth of it's people, a wonderful meal, people becoming really friendly when you return to the same shops or restaurants, some great shopping (which might not be immediately obvious, but great when you finally hunt it down!) and as crazy and chaotic it's reputation might be, we find it can be surprisingly relaxing. For us, Delhi was not love at first sight, it's a place that grabs your heart over time, and like a great friendship just gets better and stronger with time.

Hoping to meet up with Doug and Chad very soon!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

A whole week old!

Well our boy Beau is a whole week old today!

He is feeding well, sleeping well and in general being a very good baby! We know this probably won't keep up but we can hope :)
We submitted our application for registration as a British Citizen on Friday so we now need to wait 6 weeks to see if it all goes through, we then have to apply for a UK passport which then takes a further 4 weeks! It all seems a very long time but we are trying not to think of the amount of days waiting but instead concentrating on spending quality family time with our boy.

Adam turned 30 yesterday and we had a very pampered day, body massage, body wraps, pedicures, manicures, facials, scalp massage followed by chinese food! We took it in turns to look after Beau and then when we were both wrapped up, the staff helped us feed and change our boy. The staff at VY lodging and some guests threw a little party for Adam with food and drinks which was great and then we had a night nurse for the first time which was most welcomed and managed to get a whole nights sleep! We still woke when he cried but it was nice to have the help on hand and the sleep was much welcomed!

We've been here 2 weeks now and have about 10 more to go! So lots of time to blog and upload pictures!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Beau Huckleberry is Home (Well Hotel at least!)

Our baby Beau has been discharged from hospital after only 1 evening, total of 27 hours!! Amazing as we thought it might be 2-3 days!! He is back in our apartment and eating, pooping and sicking to his hearts content! Here's a few more pics with eyes finally open....

Saturday, 16 July 2011

It's a...


Beau Huckleberry Allton-Nee

Born 9:39am

6lb 3oz / 2.85kg

Words can't express the overwhelming joy, tears and the love that fills our hearts. This photo was taken by the Doctor literally seconds after his heel prick hence the distress!!! There isn't a word that adequately describes the sheer brilliance of today.

The anxious wait continues...

After a few agonizing days of apprehension and anxious waiting, it looks like our SM has been booked in for a C-Section tomorrow morning (Sunday 17th) at 9am.

We're not entirely sure if the hospital aimed for a natural birth as the dates of cervical sweep and then gel induction 48 hours later may have lead to a natural birth some time today or possibly yesterday. It probably would have alleviated a huge deal of stress and worry if we had just fixed the 17th as a C-Section and been able to focus all our hope and energy on this date.

But at least some of the doubt and worry is shifting and we can focus it on tomorrow morning. If anything changes, we'll keep you posted. We're hoping and praying that this week of anxiety and worry will soon turn to happiness and joy. In the meantime, ENORMOUS thanks to everyone who has sent their warm wishes and kind messages, we hugely appreciate this!!!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Final Scan Pic...

As much as we'd be liking to show you a photo of our baby outside the womb, here's a lovely pic that the hospital have just sent us from this morning's scan. He/she is looking quite peaceful and relaxed to us, not showing any expression of any desire to leave the comfort of where they are right now...

Ultrasound and meeting our SM

We met with Shilpi at Dr Jolly's ultrasound clinic at lunchtime today. We were both amazed how busy the place is, the waiting room was packed. This was the first time we met our SM. Whilst we were sat down waiting, Shilpi led our SM to the back of the clinic to prepare for the scan. On first sight, our SM didn't look too happy, (we are sure she is hot, bothered, tired etc so this is totally understandable) and all sorts of thoughts ran through our heads. We were then called into the ultrasound room. When we were introduced, we found her to be very warm with a lovely glowing smile (exactly like the warm smile, bordering on a cheeky grin that we first saw in her photo 9 months ago, that made us say 'Absolutely! This is our wonderful SM, horray!!!!!!!!!"

Dr Jolly is also very warm, cheerful and one of those people with a real air of being distinguished. He explained really well all the magical images we saw on the monitor, what he was looking at and what it all meant.

It crossed our minds and we spoke about on many occasions what it must feel like to finally meet our SM. Would we cry, be overcome with emotion, would we burst into tears when we saw an ultrasound for ourselves? We was actually just struck with awe, almost silent, amazed and transfixed with the miracle of what we were seeing, and overcome with the most sincere gratitude for what our amazing SM is actually doing for us. To see our baby on the monitor, knowing that in maybe hours or at most a few days, we get to hold them and shower them with love was simply amazing. And we left knowing that the petite lady, with a much smaller bump than we imagined, with her lovely warm smile will have our deepest gratitude and respect until the day we die.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Watch this space for just a little longer...

We both arrived in Delhi very late on Tuesday night and got to our accommodation a little past 1am Wednesday morning. We met with Dr Shivani this evening (loving the new offices btw!!!) Our SM had a membrane sweep this morning, so anything can (or might not) happen in the coming hours/days.

If nothing happens within 2 days, on Friday morning our SM will be given the gel/medical induction, and if nothing still happens quickly enough, we're looking at C-section Saturday or Sunday at the latest.

Our last trip to Delhi was incredibly short and we didn't really have much time to get a feel for the place (half the trip was spent on the journey to and from Agra). We took a quick trip to M-Block Market this morning, pleasantly surprised with the quality and price of the baby goods on offer, and to us, the products in Mothercare are really rather nice, no different from back home. The prices are almost like-for-like compared to Mothercare in Europe which is good.

So unless our SM goes into spontaneous labour, our next update will be after meeting her tomorrow lunchtime and seeing the final ultrasound before the birth. We had Thursday or Friday in our minds as the predicted day of our babies birth, but whats a couple more days of waiting on a journey as exciting as this one?

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Final Countdown...

Where on earth has the last 35-ish weeks gone?

We are in a final few days of preparation before we head to Delhi. We both planned to travel together (of course) on Tuesday 12th from Italy arriving in Delhi about 11:30pm so arriving at our accommodation in the very early hours of the 13th. Unfortunately, one of us has to go the very long way round, Italy to China, quick work meeting then China to Delhi (talk about 'popping into the office') but we'll both arrive within hours of each other.

Dr Shivani is planning to perform a membrane sweep on the 13th July, we will then be meeting Dr Shivani at 7pm on the 13th for an update. Our SM will be given 2 days from then to see if she goes into natural labour, then if not she will be taken to hospital to be induced. So it looks like fatherhood is little over a week away!

With all our baby shopping, we have tried to be as neutral as possible, but (maybe we are just shopping in the wrong cities) there is a massive void in the neutral department, everything is either solidly blue/boy or pink/girl... getting all our clothes out we did realize that much of the neutral still falls on a slightly boyish side, and we have a complete void of especially girly clothes. So yesterday we did a bit of top-up-girl-shopping so we are prepared to have some lovely clothes whatever the sex (and huge surprise) we get in Delhi.

In the mean time, we are playing what seem silly games on the 'boy or girl' front. We have decided the name for him or her already. When we are out, we might hear a song mentioning the girl's name and get excited thinking 'it's a sign!!!!!'. But then we will quickly spot or hear something with the boy's name, and we realize we are just being plain stupid.

So not it looks like it is time to start packing, this is one scenario where we definitely won't be doing our last minute packing shouting 'the taxi will be here in half an hour!!!!!'

So now, we just hope and pray that the next week brings a safe, healthy birth for our baby and simply wonderful god-sent SM.

Monday, 27 June 2011

What a thoroughly exciting day!

What a thoroughly exciting day! Firstly, me and Adam are THRILLED with the fantastic news of the safe arrival of Zoe and Ruby to Sam and Phil, we couldn't be more happy for them and wish them the happiest and most beautiful life together.

We exchanged a few emails with Dr Shivani last night, and a this stage, our SM is likely to be induced on the 13th or 14th July. So long as our baby holds in there and doesn't decide to come early, we will arrive in Delhi very late the evening of 12th July and parenthood might await us in 12 to 36 hours after arrival!!!!! Of course, this might change nearer the time, but right now it's such a thrilling reality to have a specific date in mind!!!!

The weeks up to about 30 weeks went at lightening speed, we feel like the last 5 weeks have felt like 5 months, but the reality of having a date in mind feels like we now have minutes to prepare and the next couple of weeks will fly by... 2 weeks tomorrow we will most likely be sat in Zurich airport waiting to board the connecting flight to Delhi.

But in the mean time, we are glued to Sam and Phil's blog, eagerly awaiting photos and updates of their amazing day.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Flight and accommodation booked, visas issued....

We've been rather quiet on the blogging front lately, mostly down to us making frantic preparations for India and also settling into our new life in Italy. We completely forgot how tiresome and hard work relocating can be, and pretty much 2 weeks after our return from Delhi, we all have to move permanently to Venice. The thought of all that reboxing and unboxing is hideous but it's a lovely thought that the next place we move to will be our family home for quite some time to come!

Italy seems an fascinatingly odd country, and I always question any place where a 250ml can of Coke Light can be EURO 2.5 and a 1500ml bottle of (really quite good) wine can be a mere EURO 2!!!!! The smallest tasks seem to take forever to do here, it seems to take an hour to buy a stamp at the chaotic postoffice, and always seems to involve a lot of shouting and possibly unnecessary complexity, but that is all made up by the fact that it really is quite a stunning place to live.

Festivities here seem to involve a lot of pride, history and passion, and we have tickets to watch 'Il Calcio", a notoriously violent football game that has been played in Florence since the 16th Century. Since we know very little about sport, I thought Wikipedia might help me better understand the rules of the game. I think the wikipedia entry "The modern version allows tactics such as head-butting, punching, elbowing, and choking, but forbids sucker punching and kicks to the head" definitely gives us a sense of what will be in store!!! Sounds like a true gentlemanly sport.

All our shipping arrived from Hong Kong on Friday, and it was truly wonderful to look through all the baby clothes and items we have bought and not seen for about 8 weeks. We recently bought our return tickets to Delhi, received our tourist visas, and finally secured some good quality accommodation in Delhi. The accommodation problem was no mean feat to resolve!!!! We have to stay 70 to 80 days to complete all the complex passport and UK citizenship red tape, so even cheap accommodation can add up in no time for that length of stay. Add the fact that, like most people, we have to keep our flat in Italy during this time, we've spent ages bashing calculators and making budgets to ensure that all goes to plan.

Fortunately my work means I can easily relocate to Delhi for 3 months and work from the apartment, but I do have a sneaky suspicion that the UK government make it as long winded and complex as possible to gain citizenship for children born through surrogacy as a preventative measure. Fortunately life (and a great employer!!!!) has allowed us to work through this to make it a reality that might be impossible for many UK IP's, so we feel blessed that our 3 months in Delhi is achievable.

And of course, if the UK government allowed it, we would like to return home with our baby as soon as possible. But we take great comfort and excitement in the fact that we get 3 months together in India to be a family. Sadly family and friends (and our beloved dogs) will not get to meet him/her until they are 3 months old, but at least we get 3 months of private time to privately be the family we have wanted to be for so long.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

New Pics Inside and Outside the Belly!!!!!!!

What a great day, we've been sent some photo's of all the action taking place inside and outside the belly :)

Adam was thrilled to know that our lovely SM clearly shares his love of orange (which is especially Tuscan and wouldn't be out of place in our new living room!)

We also got sent a few 3D images, not sure if our baby is blowing outwards or just has ENORMOUS cheeks!!!!! Guesses on boy or girl are most welcome. We're still quite undecided. It's amazing how much he/she seems to have changed and developed from the previous 3D scan, although in the previous scans our baby seems to cover their face in a "leave me alone, no pictures please" kind of way so it was hard to tell quite what they look like anyway.

But all we can be grateful and happy for right now is that, after our SM's recent and unfortunate week in hospital, all is now better, she is perfectly healthy and recovered and our baby appears to be doing just fine! Add all this to the lovely sunny weather we have here today and life couldn't be much better!!!!

So it looks like the next time we see his/her face, they will be in our arms.

'La Dolce Vita' all round I say :)

Saturday, 7 May 2011

There's 'Tuscan' and there's 'Tat'...

We are nearly at the end of our first week in Italy. On arrival, our new landlords kindly gave us 2 free nights accommodation in an apartment in the same building as our's wasn't available until the 3rd. It did the job for a couple of nights until we got into the 'real one'. To be honest, the pics of the apartment on the internet we're actually a fair representation of the real thing (what a relief) and the actual bonus is that it appears much bigger in real life.

My only small gripe is that there is 'Tuscan' and then there's 'Tat' and there is a very fine line between the two!!!!! It's amazing that in a fairly sizable city like Florence, shops only sell food, clothes, shoes, wine and cigarettes, and you can't find boring but albeit essential things like clothes airers, washing bowls, cleaning utensils or anything useful for the home for blood nor money!!! I guess Italians prioritize being fed and looking good above all else!!!! Who would want to do anything so boring as mop a floor? So failing to find anything useful, we jumped straight in a taxi and in our best Italian asked the driver "Ikea per favore!!!!!!!!! (Note to self, avoid using taxis like the plague, it would probably be cheaper to charter a helicopter).

Being limited on the housing options, we opted for an open plan-ish loft apartment, so our baby will be sharing our room for the first few months until we know exactly where we want to put down some roots. Unfortunately that means we don't have all the fun of setting up a nursery, however we have spent the day buying exactly the same things for the baby 'zone'. Feels a shame not for them to have their own room, but we at least know we made the right decision, we could fit our old Hong Kong flat into our new apartment about 8 times, so the lack of dividing walls is a small price to pay for the most space we have had in years!!!!!! The dogs are freaked out by having so much space in comparison too. And they are loving the more scenic walks. Florence is surprisingly full of dog lovers, and they do seem to enjoy being the only Pekingese dogs we've seen here so far.

But the most amazing part of the week so far has been food!!!!!! Although quite obvious, all our favorite European treats (ham, cheeses, nice wine) were all imported in Hong Kong and outrageously priced (ie US$15 for a small block of imported cheese, parma ham was pretty much the same price as a second hand family saloon car, a decent bottle of wine possibly the same price as a year's school fees, I severely exaggerate but you catch my drift.... so we pretty much deprived ourselves of tasty European treats for 3 years), so by comparison, the supermarkets here are pretty much giving the food away for free!!!!!!

So our first week in Italy has been surprisingly relaxing, although it has mostly been spent in Ikea!!!! We just booked our flights to Delhi as we've been advised to plan to arrive around 37 weeks going into week 38. That in itself feels like a very proud and exciting moment!

So now it's time to open a bottle of wine, grab an alan key and start putting some furniture together.


Friday, 29 April 2011

A bizarre week of mixed emotions

What a strange week! We don't know where to begin.

Some people say the three biggest stresses are getting married (done), moving house (doing) and having a baby (definitely doing!!!!!) in 24 hours, we will be sat on the plane, gin and tonic almost definitely in hand on our way to our new life in Italy.

This week has been full of worry and anxiety as our surrogate mum has been having mild but frequent contractions and has been closely monitored whilst staying in hospital for over a week now. Fingers excrutiatingly tightly crossed that she will be discharged from hospital in the next day or so. Of course, this is a horrible scenario for anyone, especially given we're not even 30 weeks, but Dr Shivani and her team of medical magicians have done all the possibly can to allow them to give us a much more positive 'we're nearly in the clear' update today which is hugely encouraging. Throughout all this, utrasounds have shown no real stress on our baby. We just hope and pray that they are perfectly happy where they are and have no desire to come any time soon!

We had our leaving party in Hong Kong last night which was an amazing evening. In honour of the Royal Wedding, our party was decorated in a thoroughly patriotic and achingly kitsch array of 'Britishness', union jacks, picture of the royal family (Liz, Phil, Charles, Camilla, Moody Margaret, a sorely missed Queen Mum, and Sarah Ferguson banished somewhere near the toilet doors). A less fitting addition was Bruno the stripper that Adam's colleague arranged, although the Union Jack G-String did at least fit the theme. I really can't give a full explaination that would be believed in a court of law of how 'mid lapdance' Adam managed to knock out a front tooth veneer. That's definitely one we won't be telling our children and grandchildren about!!!!! (although it was far more innocent and less sordid than it sounds).

By the end of the night there was pretty much a hour's free flow of tears, possibly enhanced by the very reasonably priced 4 hours 'all you can drink' included in the ticket price, but never the less a wonderful evening with some much loved friends. It was of course achingly sad to say goodbye to some wonderful people as we leave here after 3 years.

Our 'what a hangover but so worth it' morning was further enhanced by a much more positive update from Delhi that has allowed us to end an anxious, stressful and worry-filled week in a much more relaxed and happy state of mind.

And this post would not be complete without (forgive a little bit of British pride here) making mention of a magical royal wedding that we don't feel embarrassed to say has given us Brits (who as a nation haven't had much to smile about recently) revel in some self indulgent pomp and ceremony.

As we (nearly) breathe a huge sigh of relief that our baby and SM our healthy and safe, say a sad farewell to a frantic concrete jungle that at times drives us crazy but will always be held dearly in our hearts for giving us some much and allowed us to pursue our dream of parenthood, say goodbye to much loved friends, leave one of the many apartments we have lived in that actually did feel like home, we can end a week filled with highs and lows, laughter and tears with a determination to make a fantastic happy life and home for our baby, us and our dogs in Italy. We are filled with hope and optimism that our new life will be as magical as today's fairytale wedding!