In the next month I started the birth control pills. We also opted to not book our flights back to India until the very last moment, and thank goodness we chose this path. I headed to the clinic for my routine Day Three scan and there it was –a 3cm bulbous mass that officially cancelled my cycle. It was typical of our journey; nothing would be easy and nothing would go to plan. We were just very happy that we had not booked anything yet and did not have to deal with the hassle of making the cancellations and possibly losing money.
I travelled to Germany for work and had a great trip despite the cancelled cycle. I met up with an intended mother whom I had met earlier in the year. She and her husband were on transfer number six or seven, I had lost track. They had a previous positive in India but sadly had a miscarriage at around the 20-week mark. She totally entertained me in Germany and we were able to catch up on all things surrogacy-related. It was really nice to talk to people who just get it, who are living it and understand. It was a wonderful visit and one I will always cherish. They drove me back to the airport via the Autobahn in her husband’s new Audi, which hit speeds of 240km! What a trip! We said our goodbyes at the airport and wished each other loads of baby dust.
Shortly after the trip to Germany we decided to sell our house to try and recover from the India debt. It was still a manageable amount but we knew this would help and we could find a home soon that would be our forever home. We dreamed of a big lot with tons of trees and privacy. Fortunately we sold our house in one day and we were able to make arrangements to stay with Mark’s parents short-term. We got ourselves moved and settled in and jumped into another IVF cycle. We decided that, because there was a risk for me to fly on the high hormones, and what had happened to our last shipment was a one in a million chance, we would try again, freeze our embryos, and ship to India.
The cycle went very well and on Day Seven I was showing a solid twenty follicles. Our egg retrieval was successful with a total of twenty-one eggs! A few days later we heard from the clinic that we had fourteen embryos to freeze. We were so happy! This cycle was stimulated with the Puregon we brought back from India. We had eighteen vials, enough for two cycles. The meds worked extremely well and we were relieved to only have to pay the clinic cost for IVF.
We decided to play it safe and only ship half of our embryos. We knew what had happened before was an impossibility but we were very cautious and certainly did not want to lose all our embryos if, god forbid, it happened again. The clinic in Toronto chose to use a different storage method. They were in constant contact with us on the day they were packing and shipping. The attention to detail and communication was hugely appreciated on our end. This cargo was so precious to us and the clinic did all they could to help us through the stress. Later we heard from both the clinic and Core that our dry vapour shipper had been picked up and was leaving Canada for the trip to India. Five days later our shipment had not arrived and we were very worried. Where was the shipment? Core confirmed that it had arrived and the doctors in India had not seen it. Oh no, what were we in for?! Fortunately, very late in the day, Dr Sudhir confirmed that the lab had indeed received them but failed to inform him.
Our shipment was safe and sound but the transfer could not happen soon because the lab needed to order thaw media. Our media was not the standard used so the doctors ordered it and we waited. It was Christmas-time now, December 2009. Another Christmas without children and sadly, not even one blooming in the belly of a beautiful Indian surrogate. Sadness was our main theme for this Christmas. As we looked back on the year we were amazed that we had made it. We had been challenged beyond what most people could handle. We were also very grateful for our friends around the world and the support and love they showed us. Our siblings were ultra-supportive which really helped at home. We made plans to travel to India in January to try another transfer. This was going to be a quick three days in India, mainly having to sign the contracts. We managed through Christmas and New Year’s and looked forward to 2010.
We opted to work with our surrogate again and she so graciously obliged us by waiting. We suffered through living in a cold basement at my in-laws until the third week of January, in which I was out of town for work and then on the way to India. On the way home from my work trip, I cracked a molar in three places but there was no time to get it fixed; I had to suffer through the pain until we returned home from India. And of course, I came home with a brutal cold on top of it all. Regardless of how I felt, we were India-bound and it was very exciting! As much as we dread the travel to India, we looked forward to a fresh start.
That morning we awoke to an email from the doctors in India that our surrogate was sick and they could not do the transfer. They promised to sort this out when we arrived, so we flew to Mumbai, disappointed that this would mean more waiting. This was our black cloud rearing its ugly head! Nothing seemed to go smoothly for us; there was always a problem. Fortunately our thaw media had arrived so we were ready to go when this could finally happen. Travel to India was smooth, despite being sick with a wicked head cold and suffering through a cracked tooth. We travelled through Germany this time and were fortunate the weather held up and our flights went as scheduled.
This time we opted to stay in Juhu Beach. This area was highly recommended to us by many people. It is not at all a convenient location in proximity to the doctors’ office and the hospitals, but it has a resort feel and you can walk the beach area and shop the local trendy streets. Amit had booked this for us and took special care to ensure we had everything we needed. We had an ocean view room and a bathtub! The bathtub is my must have, and these are rare to find in Indian hotels. Shortly after we settled into our room in Juhu in the wee hours of the morning, we had a visitor…Amit!! It was so great to see him, like seeing an old friend. He joked with Mark in typical guy fashion about who is losing the most hair and we had a great visit, albeit a short one.
The next day we met up with the doctors, Ajit was excited to see us again, and we felt at home, knowing our way around the doctors’ office and seeing familiar faces. We spent a considerable amount of time with the doctors and decided to switch our surrogate to expedite the transfer. Our previous surrogate was running a high fever and undergoing some testing. We hoped she was ok and it was not an easy decision to make the change. We flipped through surrogate files and had the opportunity to meet a gorgeous gal in person on the spot. She was spunky, not shy, and her smile lit up the room. She made it easy for us and we decided she was the girl for us. We planned to all meet the next day to do the legal paperwork and we really looked forward to seeing her again and meeting her husband.
Ajit’s driver took us back to Juhu. It was a long one-hour drive. We decided to spend the rest of the day by the pool and relax a bit. I enjoyed the super-sized hot tub and then slipping into the cooler water of the pool. The hotel was really quiet and our view of the Arabian Ocean was fantastic. We spent hours watching the kids play soccer and cricket on the beach, and were amazed how Indians dress at the beach. Most men were in business attire and the women were in full saris. This was a very different view of people on the beach than we were used to. We had a light dinner at the hotel and snuggled in to watch tv and catch up on some much needed sleep. Tomorrow was an exciting day and we needed to be well rested.