By Kerrie Olejarz
Recently I wrote about the bumpy road of IVF and surrogacy. It came from a dreary place in me, because we had just received the news that our latest attempt in India did not work. My trip to Delhi in July was an amazing trip. Sadly I left my husband and daughter at home, yet was fortunate enough to have my sister accompany me. Leaving Cailyn and Mark was heart wrenching, I cried a lot, and then cried some more. I knew this trip was worth it as it could potentially give Cailyn a sibling which we feel is super important. We departed early evening from Toronto, heading to Montreal, then Brussels, then Delhi. The trip to India was smooth, no issues or delays. We were off to a good start! My best buddy Rahul picked us up at the airport and whisked us off to the hotel and in no time, we were checked in, and officially in Delhi! I immediately Skyped with Mark and Cailyn and cried alot. Cailyn is still so little and could understand that this was my voice, but the video aspect of Skype was yet to be comprehended. The first day in Delhi consisted of a trip to see Dr Shivani. We grabbed a rickshaw and flew over for my first appointment. This was my first experience at the ISIS IVF Hospital that Dr Shivani opened about a year ago. The hospital was great, as were the staff. And, of course, it was really great to see Dr Shivani again. My scan showed good follicles, lots of them too! Dr Shivani instructed me to come back in two days for a scan and to keep doing what I had been doing. Each day away from home was a little bit easier, as long as I was busy, and boy oh boy, were we busy. The jet lag and heat are a killer but we plowed through that easily! There were loads of surrogacy clients in Delhi that I knew and we spent the bulk of the trip visiting them and organizing nights out. It was great to see my sister really enjoy Delhi and see why we love it so much. It is a bit chaotic and can be tricky to navigate through the streets and blocks. While we were in Delhi every one was praying for rain as the monsoons were late and the people of India were desperate. The roads were dry and dusty and every one you met talked about the need for rain. In between Dr’s appointments we did some sightseeing, we shopped, and we ate. It was hot, 50 Celsius every day so our time outside was always planned and time limited. As the days went on, I started to feel full – IVF full!! My belly was growing as my 20 or so follicles plumped up and matured in preparation for egg retreival. My sister took an afternoon trip to the Taj Mahal which is about a five-hour drive from Delhi. Her trip was a good omen for India as she got stuck in the villages during the first monsoon rain! They could not leave the village of Agra because the roads were washed out, her driver did not speak English, and after 14 hours she returned to Delhi slightly frazzled and completely understanding why I had no desire to do this trip to Agra again. While my sister was on her trip from hell, I had another scan and later in the day received my two surrogate profiles. I opted to let Dr Shivani chose our surrogates on Thursday based on the scans and blood work they had. I wanted the best chances so leaving it to almost the last day was ideal, medically speaking. That evening I skyped with Mark and we reviewed the profiles. Our hopes and dreams of a sibling for Cailyn were trapped inside these two Word documents. Mark was relieved that I was doing well. He was a nervous wreck and when I told him I had just come back from dinner with our friends from Canada, Australia, and Europe he was very happy that I was enjoying my time despite missing my family. Finally at 2am my sister arrived and as I previously mentioned, she was frazzled. She had quite the trip to Agra and the rains added a whole new element of chaos and wonder.
By: Kerrie Olejarz
Isn’t it funny how commonality brings strangers together? In the world of Indian surrogacy you become immediately ingrained in similar people’s lives. You find blogs and forums on the most important subject in your life: having a baby in India. Most of our Indian surrogacy bloggers are putting their story out there for the world to read. Many assume an alias, but their stories of years of heartache are very real, and as we follow along on their journeys we begin to feel connected, almost as if we knew them personally. I never imagined myself a blogger, but here I am four years later having grown in readership, all as a result of new readers looking for a glimmer of hope in India. I know there are a million blogs and forums on the web, but once you narrow down your key subject matter and find places in which you feel comfortable, it shrinks down a bit. Initially you are a lurker, reading stories and forum posts, trying to understand the lingo, the location, and the general goings on of the people. Soon you find the courage to introduce yourself, maybe disclose a bit of your history and eventually you will be sharing with these virtual friends details that you have not told your family or closest friends. The friends you make online in this situation are very real and very supportive of your unique circumstances. Then, maybe, you find someone who lives close to you and you meet for coffee, and if not, for sure when you hit Indian soil, you are sure to meet up with someone from a blog or website, or the non-techies who are in India doing the same things as you. When I walk into Dr Shivani’s office or hospital, I find others in the waiting rooms, and we immediately start a conversation, sharing infornation about our home cities, then whether or not we are self cycling or using an egg donor, or here for baby pick up. We might even recognize one another from blog pictures. Eventually, we make plans to have dinner and then a friendship is built. It is exciting to meet intended parents in the same part of the process, as you can imagine reconnecting with them in nine months. For me, every time I have been in Delhi I have spent time with the same Aussie woman. These were not planned meetings, it was just fate. We continue to keep in touch by email and sharing blog stories. We love to see each other’s babies develop and grow, even though it is all done by the internet. I think the bonds we make through this journey are positive bonds and more than likely lifelong. The original crew we met in Mumbai years ago is all planning a trip to Thailand together. We now plan for kid-friendly places and not adult-based holidays. If you are working on a baby via surrogacy in India, I encourage you to reach out to others through blogs and forums; you will gain great knowledge and hopefully a new lifelong friend.
By: Kerrie Olejarz
After all we had been through it was difficult to feel like a mom, whatever that was supposed to feel like. I cared for this little girl with love and concern, but did this make me a mom? I often felt like Cailyn was on loan to us, not ours to keep. Finally at the six-month point we decided to have professional photos taken of Cailyn and us. It was at this point, seeing the final photos of us as a family, looking so happy and complete that I think…I felt like a mom. Upon receiving the online proofs, I would sit and stare at the family shots in awe. This was it, finally, we were a family. But is being a family and feeling like a mom one in the same? Despite being a family, what was a mom? I decided not to wear high-waisted mom jeans and white runners. I didn’t drive a mini van and not every conversation I had was about the baby. Sure, I looked disheveled and didn’t bathe for days on end, but did that make me a mom? I proudly wore clothing covered in spit up, my hair was always tied back, and I didn’t care that the crotch in my yoga pants was full of holes. I don’t think moms give up on their appearances, maybe just go on hiatus for the first few months with baby due to lack of sleep and routine. I am not sure, other than in the dictionary, that there really is a true definition of a mom. When I googled the word mother, I find ” a term of address for a female parent or a woman having or regarded as having the status, function, or authority of a female parent”, so by this definition I was, and am, a mom/mother. I guess I struggled with becoming “mom” because I didn’t have the nine months to feel this little one grow. Instead, I received frequent emails from India with ultrasound pictures; I was having a baby by email! I held off on all things baby until 32 weeks in fear that something would go wrong. I spent almost fifteen years shielding my emotions and covering up how desperately I wanted to be a mom. The turning point for me was when Cailyn reached for me randomly one day; this meant she wanted or needed me, and it was at this moment that the reality of who I now am was very clear. I am a mom, I feel like a mom, and my baby calls me Mama.
By: Kerrie Olejarz
Cailyn was now 11 weeks old and started to laugh, a real hearty melt-my-heart-kind of laugh! Every new parent looks forward to the firsts, and the first laugh was just so enjoyable for Mark and me. The days started to become challenging as Miss Cailyn decided she was a girl who did not need naps. Some days I wished she would nap for at least an hour so I could either nap with her or get some things done around the house. No such luck with our busy and growing girl, she never napped yet continued to sleep through the night, so how could I complain! We finally purchased the new vehicle which would accommodate the car seat and all our baby gear with comfort -unlike my original car. Every day we tried to work on tummy time which was always fun for us and sometimes frustrating for Cailyn. She was magically able to throw her legs in the air at this age and roll over. We were noticing that she seemed quite long in length and that the typical 3-6 month sized jammies were a bit snug in length. At around week 13 Cailyn discovered television and this became her new obsession; if the tv was on she would contort herself in whatever way needed to look at it. Our new parent insecurities kicked in worrying about too much television and the effects on children, then, we decided to not worry about this and that in some way it provided visual and audio stimulation for her. It is so easy to get caught up in the must and must not do’s of parenting, and I think the best approach is to do what feels right in the moment, or figure out what works for you and your new baby and just go with it. We continued to be bombarded with unwanted advice but had gotten much better at laughing it off. We often joked about some of the crazy advice we were given which I think actually helped keep us sane! It was mid November and starting to get cold here, not cold like most Novembers, which was great as it allowed us to go out for a walk every day. Cailyn was still very young but seemed to enjoy the great outdoors, the cool winds and the sunny days. Every day was the same, but different. The same routine stuck around and it seemed to work. Cailyn continued to have gas and fussiness and spit up after every feed. The differences in the routine were where she would spit up in the house and what part of my body was splattered with semi digested formula. My two least favourite landing spots were 1. down my v-neck t-shirt into the cups of my bra and 2. smack dab into my crotch – nothing like warm formula puddled into your crotch as you continue to pat and rock a gassy baby! Not a day went by where my wardrobe was safe – every day I was covered in dried up spit up in some not so appealing spots! Between my spit up on clothes, Cailyn’s 10 outfit changes a day and Mark’s daily clothing plus his spit up clothes we seemed to have a fair bit more laundry than life before baby. I prayed for these days and as much as I hate doing laundry, it was always a pleasure to pull out tiny little socks or undershirts from a hot dryer. By the end of November Cailyn was finally starting to take a power nap during the day. It was 20 minutes on the dot; no less, no more. Barely enough time for me to pee or shower! These days are looked back upon with great fondness and love. As stressful as the gas and spitting up were, we would not change a thing. Christmas was fast approaching and I wondered how I would finally feel, being a mom at Christmas? Most Christmases for me in the past felt empty and dreaded. I typically hate the holidays and I was anxious to see how this one would play out emotionally. To circumvent any old feelings we decided to actually put up a tree and add some lights to our gardens outside. If getting into the spirit needed a push then we were on it , hoping and praying it would help break the painful memories of the past. The weeks were flying by at this point and we were enjoying every moment of having Cailyn in our lives. It was hard to believe that Cailyn was almost 14 weeks! Being home with her was not about surrogacy anymore, it was about enjoying her and our days as a family. It is hard for me to disconnect from the world of Indian surrogacy as I had spent almost 4 years engrossed in it. Everyday I would get up before Cailyn, make a coffee and catch up on all the surrogacy in India blogs and forums. I continued to cheer on the ever hopefuls, console the folks who had received negative betas, and congratulate those who finally met their firstborn. I chose to stay connected and others choose to close this chapter of their life and not look back. For me, I wanted to continue to share my experiences and knowledge and also enjoy watching all these international babies growing in India.
By: Kerrie Olejarz
Being at home with Cailyn felt like a temporary adventure. The fact that she was with us was surreal and the thought that she was with us for life was difficult to wrap our heads around. It is very difficult to explain this, but others who have struggled for years and finally had a baby understand this all too well. As we continued to share our story on our personal blog, some of our readers shared these feelings. By the mid two-month point Cailyn was almost sleeping through the night, and the tick tick tick of our Angel Care monitor was the best sound ever to hear through the quiet nights. Cailyn rarely woke during the night and when she did it was usually for a midnight snack or a spat of colic. The poor lamb really struggled with gas and abdominal fussiness. We tried switching formulas, we tried all the colic remedies available, and we always kept her upright after a feed for as long as we could. Any parent who deals with a colicky baby knows how exhausting this can be, and we were coupled with crazy moments of spitting up on top of this. Cailyn had a bout of constipation and this was quickly resolved with the addition of flax oil and probiotics to her bottles. Our daily routine included the typical new baby stuff with the addition of dance time. I would lay Cailyn down on a blanket on the floor and put on some good grooving tunes and she would pump her legs and fists and smile a lot. I was typically exhausted after this dancing and baby entertaining episode! Mid October we went to a free car seat clinic sponsored by GM Canada. The program is great; they have coffee and treats and give you 4 litres of windshield washer fluid then install your car seat -or reinstall, in our case. As the guy worked hard on our install and explained in detail the why’s and how’s of the install it became evident that the seat took up a lot of space when installed correctly. By the time it was installed, the front passenger seat was rendered unusable. Oh no, now what!! We asked if the seat could be moved to the centre of the back seat, and the answer was no as there was not enough room. Oh no…looks like we need a new car. We were on the GM lot and I guess part of the program hopes you will walk the lot and maybe find a new car, but, I am not a GM fan so we left with me hunched over in the passenger seat declaring that this cannot be, and we must find a new car! Mark agreed and we set out to start our research. It was close to Halloween and I was inspired by a pic on Face-book, and poor Cailyn became a model in a pumpkin. Mark’s brother came over with his super nice camera and we set up for the first seasonal shoot of our little girl. At first, things did not go too well as you can see from the picture, but after a nice warm bottle and some cuddle time, we captured our sweet pumpkin for her first Halloween. She was definitely our little pumpkin!
By: Kerrie Olejarz
We had been home for a few weeks and it was time for Cailyn’s two-month check up at the doctor. We chose to stay with our family doctor and avoid a pediatrician unless absolutely necessary. We are fortunate that our family doctor does infant care, and that we really like her. I was excited to see Cailyn’s weight and length gains, but petrified of following through on vaccinations. Anyone who knows me knows that I always go to my naturopath for treatments: getting a cold – I go for a vitamin and homepathic IV; feeling sluggish – I go for blood ozone treatments. So, needless to say, I feared vaccinating and Mark and I laboured over what to do. We spent many a night discussing both the pros and cons of vaccinations, and at the end of it we were inconclusive. Before we had left for India I spoke with the doctor about my hesitations and she made it clear that she would support our decision, whichever way we went. After a week home, I packed up Cailyn and headed to the doctor with some anxiety. The appointment went well; we had a general discussion on how she eats, sleeps, and poops. Then we stripped her down to weigh her and I was pleasantly surprised to see Cailyn weigh in at 8.08lbs, up from her birth weight of 6.37lbs. This was a perfect weight gain and put Cailyn in the fiftieth percentile. She had also grown a whopping 4 cm in length, which also landed her in the fiftieth percentile. The doctor did a thorough physical exam on Cailyn who did not make any fuss. After the exam, Dr P asked me what we had decided to do with the whole vaccine drama. She said it was her job to explain to me WHY we should vaccinate, but it was ultimately the parents’ decision on whether or not to do it. I loved her understanding and support! I told her we were still on the fence and needed more time. Fortunately, Dr P totally understood and welcomed my/our hesitation. She told me to take time to consider it further, and if we decided to vaccinate that we would use the standard vaccine schedule, just at later dates than recommended. I felt a huge sense of relief having not been pressured into doing it right there and then. We also discussed the craziness of Cailyn’s spitting up, and as we did so, Cailyn showed off her wonderful spitting up abilities right there in the exam room. I was so happy she did it as she did not normally spit up a just a little bit, it was a lot. The volume that would come out at one time was alarming , yet, not too worrisome. The end result of the discussion was that Cailyn was gaining weight at a good pace and therefore the spitting up, at this point, was more of a laundry problem than anything. At the end of the visit I asked about the Neonatatl heel prick test as this is not standard in India. I felt it was important to have this test to look for any rare genetic or metabolic issues. Dr P was happy to oblige and told me she would find out where we go to do this and get back to me within a few days. Over all the first appointment at home went well, Cailyn was healthy and this is what was most important.
During our pregnancy we had people tell us that they would “help” us when we got home, that we would indeed need help. I took this personally, as in “you are not carrying the baby so how can you care for it?” Maybe taking it personally was my own insecurities and emotional challenges, but, regardless, I was quite fed up of being told we would most definitely need help. I could understand these comments if we were expecting multiples, but we had a singleton pregnancy! As we did it all on our own, with our simpleton minds and lack of uterine ability, in India we were proud and enjoyed every moment of it…then we came home. Despite the fact that we had spent four weeks alone in India and brought home a healthy and unscathed baby, we were still considered by some unable to do the task. It was infuriating to me, and I know all new parents get unwanted advice, but for me, I waited and suffered 15 years, watching all my friends rear and raise perfectly healthy and normal children; therefore, I could do it. The onslaught was like a machine gun, firing at full throttle. It was emotionally exhausting, and to this day I am angry that I had been treated like a preteen mom who could not grasp the common sense of caring for a newborn. Of course I have wonderful friends who I could lean on for advice, or to swap experiences with, and these are the friends that did not bombard me with advice -harsh “you must do this” advice. The worst of it came from Mark’s side of the family, and at some point I assumed it was a cultural thing, and after many times addressing it and being ignored I threw in the towel. I think in their minds they were doing it for the good of us and Cailyn, yet my emotionally damaged brain and heart were in complete and utter chaos. How do you politely tell someone to stay the fuck out of your business when it comes to your child? Thankfully this phase is over and we are on to a whole new phase, but this one is easier to deal with. I think as new parents we should all have the right to do what we think is best for our baby, our child. Before we had Cailyn, I never told people what to do with their children, and I would never bombard them with a flurry of “you are doing this wrong” crap! If a parent chooses to discuss child raising issues with me, I feel this is an opportunity to have a civilized conversation and hopefully spitball some ideas and most importantly, walk away having learned something, or at least understanding where s/he is coming from. I hope that our parenting skills have proven that we are indeed capable of doing this, despite having a faulty uterus. I guess when baby number two comes along we will find out! And to answer the title of this post; for DAMN sure we are!
After having been home for a while we started to be pleasantly bombarded with enquiries from local couples looking to see if this was indeed real. We spent our weekends proudly showing off our baby, meeting perfect strangers for coffee, brunch, and inviting them into our home. It was a true pleasure to share our success with these hopeful infertiles. We were more than happy to give a glowing recommendation of the clinic and Dr Shivani, after all we had been through, it was a pleasure. Besides these couples seeing our success and checking out if it was indeed real, the constant end to our visits was always the question “was it hard to get the baby out of the country?”
This leads me into this week’s blog post, as I think it is important to share our knowledge based on our experience. As Canadians, we knew that it would take approximately four weeks to take all the necessary steps to bring our baby home. Knowing an approximate timeline in advance of baby pick up is critical! We highly suggest that you reach out to others from your own country to find out how their experience was, how long it took, and what would they recommend changing to improve or expedite the process. We often read blog posts and forum updates of new parents who are frustrated with the going home process, and this is unfortunate. Because the joy of the experience is lost if it is spent in a flurry of frustration and anger. When in India, you are on Indian time. The critical services that you will require may not work at the speed you expect; there are also a million public holidays in India which can also slow down the exit process, and also remember that holidays at home can put a damper on your ideal time line. BUT if you are prepared for this, and plan for this, the experience can and will be wonderful. Your clinic or doctor’s team should have an exit package ready for you. When you receive it, review it carefully; look for correct spelling of names, correct dates, and check for accuracy as best you can. Your clinic will put their best effort into preparing it, and will be accommodating in fixing any errors, this may just take a day or two extra. If your clinic offers a lawyer or liaison at a charge, we recommend you use it. Pay the cost and enjoy the experience. Dr Shivani offered up an immigration liaison, and although the cost was not cheap, the process was a breeze and we would not change a thing about it! There were additional costs to consider as well at the end so be prepared! We ended up paying for our surrogate’s c-section and her hospital stay, as expected. Also, we paid for Cailyn’s hospital stay, photos for our DNA procedure, handling fees at all government offices etc. Our full cost breakdown can be found here: http://surrogacy.ca/intendedparents/markkerrie.html. Picking up your baby should be a joyful experience, and I know that babies born early requiring NICU services add an extra challenge to this and also a financial burden. We all know going into this program that there are potential costs at the end and we would be stupid to firstly have not asked for a price list and secondly, have not prepared ourselves for these costs. The final cost that may impact your budget is changing your flights home. More than likely you will have to change your return flight, and also get your baby a ticket. For us, we were able to change our flight home saving us 5 extra days in India, and adding on our baby at a cost of $1000.00, worth every penny! Best advice is to be prepared to go with the flow, know that the monsoon rains may make you three hours late for a government appointment and most importantly, learn to laugh at the absurdity of the chaos! You will get home and when you do, the stress of the exit process is soon forgotten!
The first night home was great. Clean water, clean clothes, and a proper nursery for our little girl. We spent most of the evening just staring at her in awe, like most new parents would. We received phone calls and a drop in visit from friends. They wanted to see Cailyn but she was asleep in her crib. They could not get over how little she was, and this was surprising as they had a five-month-old little girl! Cailyn slept through their visit, and they promised to see her again really soon when she was awake. That night was a normal Cailyn night; she fed every couple of hours, we burped her, she would spit up a bit, we could change her bum and her clothes, then do it all over again a couple hours later. The one item we had on our registry and received as a gift was the Angel Care monitor, and we were so happy to have that. While in India, we checked Cailyn frequently as she slept, for fear that she might have stopped breathing, but here at home we had the Angel Care which ticks with her breathing. We could now sit and relax a bit as she slept, knowing that if god forbid she stopped breathing the alarm would go off right away. The next morning we all were up an at em’, just kicking our heels with JOY that we were home, as a family. We were expecting a visit from my girlfriend who was super anxious to meet Cailyn after almost daily chats on skype. I was lucky to have her on skype speed dial to answer any of my questions, or just talk about ideas when it came to me being a new mom. After we fed Cailyn I decided to tackle some laundry. Yuck, it would seem that we brought home a pound of dust from India, and every time I moved clothing from the luggage, more dirt and dust appeared. It was great to get the laundry going, but man oh man, did we have a lot of it! My first load was baby clothes. We had so many items that were fitting Cailyn and they all needed to be washed, and since she was a spitter upper, it was important to have lots of clean dry clothes handy for her. We decided to put Cailyn in her swing, and despite the fact that it seemed to gobble up her tiny body, she seemed to enjoy the soothing motion, all bundled up in cozy blankets. Mid-day my girlfriend dropped by with her five-month-old daughter, and the obligatory coffee from Tim Horton’s. It was great to see her and her always warm and bubbly personality. She was shocked at how small Cailyn was, and totally thought she would see a bigger baby, like she saw on skype. Turns out skpye adds ten pounds!! She enjoyed cuddling Cailyn and chatting about our trip. Her little girl sat so nicely on the couch and enjoyed our adult company. Of course my friend brought a large bag of adorable hand-me-downs from her daughter, which was just so generous! She has great taste so we knew the bag would be full of the ultimate in cuteness for a baby girl. We had a great gab, fed the babies, enjoyed our coffee, and soon our visit ended and we were again just Mom, Dad and Baby. We had noticed that Cailyn seemed to be very alert from birth, and this was reinforced by both friends and family. She not only was alert, but strong! Cailyn was able to hold her neck up from birth, and when not sleeping, always had her eyes open. The rest of the day was just spent enjoying our little girl and introducing her to the cats. It was mid September and the weather was still great so we were able to take Cailyn for a walk in her new hypo stroller. We were very excited to go to a christening on Saturday and see a lot of people who we could share our little girl with. Saturday ended up being somewhat cool, so we drove to the christening even though it was less than a 15-minute walk. We arrived just in time for the outdoor ceremony to begin. The guest of honor looked adorable in her white christening gown, and her big brother dressed in his best apparel. The ceremony was short and sweet, just perfect. We all headed inside for some food and drinks, and were now able to unwrap our little bundle to show her off a bit. We were worried that she would steal the show that day as many people were waiting in anticipation to see our little miracle; I expressed this to the host mom, and she said not to worry, she was equally excited to have Cailyn with them on this special day. Cailyn was held by many that day and admired. It was wonderful to share Cailyn with friends. Most people were quite surprised that I was that mom saying “do you want to hold her?” I had promised myself I would not be the possessive new mom and so far so good!
Hauz Khaus market area was beautiful, lush, green and quiet. We enjoyed our time there; we ate bagels and cream cheese and peeked in the beautiful vintage shops. We were not there to shop, just enjoy the day as a family. The outside of the market area contained the tombs of a ruler from the 1300’s, and these were a beautiful sight, so rich in history. On the weekend we headed to Select Citywalk Mall. This is a ginormous western style mall with high end stores like Rayban, Mac Cosmetics and Crocs. Mark was desperate for a hair cut, and decided to avoid the barbers at the side of the road with rusty razors and try out a proper salon at the mall. He ended up with a great haircut for less than six bucks! We cruised the mall and had some coffee, enjoying the air-conditioning and keeping busy. Monday we were booked to have family photos taken at Lodi Gardens, but, being that it was monsoon season, we ended up postponing until Tuesday with hopes the skies would clear. Since it was raining on Monday, we decided to grab a rickshaw and head to McDonalds for breakfast. It was barely raining and was quite fun to strap Cailyn into the Blue Celery sling and boot out for breakfast. McDonalds in India is very similar to what we know in North America. The obvious difference is the absence of beef, and all beef is replaced by chicken or a vegetarian alternative. We had the pancake breakfast and Egg McMuffins, coffee and juice. The cost for breakfast was nominal, and the end result is the food tasted the same, and sadly, settled into our bellies the same as it would at home! We spent the rest of the day at the BnB, enjoying our baby girl and relaxing. That evening we spent some time with Rahul from Western Taxi Services. He was in the process of creating a business website and wanted our help to ensure his English wording was understandable. Rahul stayed a short time and then it was time for wine! Our Irish neighbours brought their baby boy out to the living room and we cracked open a bottle of Australian wine and enjoyed the babies and the company. This continues to be a very fond memory of ours, spending time with this family, and enjoying conversation. We checked the weather and it looked like Tuesday would pan out nicely for out photo shoot. We were super excited to do this and had bought Cailyn a very adorable dress at Monnalisa in the mall. After the wine I pulled out my sewing kit and shortened the little shoulder straps on the dress so that it fit Cailyn perfectly for our pictures. Since this was Labour Day at home, we were able to have some Skype time with friends and family to catch up on all that had been going on both in India and at home. Tuesday we awoke to a nice day and firmed up with our photographer that we were still on and set our meet time for around 10:00am. Rahul’s driver got us to the correct entrance gate at Lodi Gardens and met up with Tim the photographer. As we entered the park we were taken aback at how beautiful it was, how lush and green and the historic tombs and monuments standing tall in historic glory. We ended up taking most of our pictures with the monuments in the back ground. It was so muggy that day, I would think the humidity was at 90%! It was a task to hold Cailyn and pose for the pictures as we were all very dewy and sweaty from the humidity and heat. Tim was so great to work with, he was patient with us as we juggled a sweaty baby, and also aware that we were limited for time due to having a baby out in this heat. We ended up getting a good 50 pictures in the gardens and then Tim suggested that we head back to his home to do some individual shots of Cailyn. At Tim’s house we had such a wonderful time watching our very alert little girl pose for pictures. In between some shots we gave her a feed and a diaper change and eventually she was just tuckered out and needed her sleep. As we departed for the day it started to rain, which made for a lengthy car ride back to the bed and breakfast. When we finally made it back we received a call from the Canadian High Commission asking for some further detail on Mark’s employment. We were optimistic that we would get Cailyn’s passport on Thursday morning as we had an appointment scheduled with one of the Indian government offices. Later in the evening, Tim sent us a few samples of the day’s pictures and we were more than impressed. We now had four beautiful pictures to share on our blog and with family. Baby Cailyn looked so gorgeous in the pictures and they just melted our hearts. Wednesday morning we awoke to the awful news that there had been a terrorist attack in New Delhi, outside the Delhi High Court. All the TV channels were engaged in the activity with speculation of what had happened and who was responsible. We were fortunate that we were about twenty minutes away from this location, but it still was unnerving to know this had happened so close to our current home. We immediately contacted everyone at home to let them know we were ok and not affected at all by this attack. It was surreal to be in New Delhi as this played out. It certainly put a small reminder in our heads that despite as comfortable as we felt, we should hike up our awareness when out and about, especially at the local markets and larger shopping complexes. As if this day was not anxiety-ridden enough, late in the evening we had an earthquake! All of us at the bed and breakfast immediately jumped out of bed and rushed into the common area. Hariz the cook went outside to look around and we all assumed it was an earthquake, and sure enough, by the time we returned to our rooms it was all over the news, that New Delhi had felt a 6.1 quake on the Richter scale! That was enough excitement for one day, and we were sure tomorrow would bring us a new, fresh, and less stressful day.