By: Kerrie Olejarz
It was now the second day of Cailyn’s precious little life. We were super excited to get back to the hospital to see her. At breakfast we were explaining to Hariz the cook that we were going to see her and he was very excited for us. He obviously loves children and I think he has a soft spot for all the surrogacy babies he sees come through.
After breakfast we walked to the main road and hailed a rickshaw to take us to the hospital. It was 50 Celsius outside, and just the simple two-minute walk to the main road had us dripping in sweat. When we arrived at the hospital it was comforting to know where we were going. We headed up to the second floor and the nurse said we could hold her. She escorted us to a private little sitting room next to the nursery and motioned that she would be back soon with Cailyn. The anticipation was killing us and the heat and lack of air conditioning were at some times overwhelming! We had air conditioning available to us, but we were told by the pediatrician to keep the AC to a minimum when the baby was in the room. What felt like forever finally ended when the nurse walked in with our daughter!
The nurse wanted to ensure we were able to handle the baby so she gave us a demo on diaper changing. (Ya ya, got it, let me hold the baby!!) Then she gave a demo on feeding. (YA YA, let me hold the baby!!) We were trying to be patient and polite, as the nurse was only doing her job, but come on, give me the baby!! Finally, she stood up and handed Cailyn to me.
I melted. Mark videoed my first moments holding her, and snapped a ton of pictures. She was so little, with blue eyes and what looked to be curly hair like mine. Her tiny little hands poked out of her swaddle and her hospital bracelet made of what looked like green painter’s tape was huge on her tiny little wrist. She was very alert, eyes open and aware of what was happening. I felt complete. It was at this moment when all the pain of the past seemed to unload in that hospital room in New Delhi.
I felt awfully greedy so I handed her off to Mark. Now Mark has never held such a tiny infant and was worried he would hurt her or hold her wrong. He leaned to me for a little coaching and reassurance, but, as I expected, he did just fine. Mark had no words. He just sat there with his daughter in his arms, silently smiling in love at her. I took pictures of him holding his daughter for the first time. He did look a bit stiff and awkward but I knew that was temporary. The intense heat was too much so we flicked on the AC for a few minutes, and of course, that is when the pediatrician walked in to talk to us and gave us a small lecture on using air conditioning with the baby. The doctor declared Cailyn fit to be discharged if we were comfortable with that. Um…ya…we waited 15 years for this moment; comfort is the least of our worries.
He said she could leave later in the day, and that we could stay or leave and come back around 4 pm, our choice. Staying meant minimal time with Cailyn as she would need to go back to the nursery after a couple of hours, so we opted to stay with her as long as we could then departed for a few hours looking forward to our return. Leaving was hard, but knowing that when we came back we would finally take our baby with us was what allowed us to put our shoes back on and exit the hospital, temporarily.
As the rickshaw dropped us off outside the B&B the security guard was excited. He had heard that our baby was born and was excited to talk to us. Now this security guard, named Fortopsy, must have been 75 years old and a whopping 125 lbs. He was a lovely man, with very limited English. From what we could make out, he was giving us God’s blessing for our new baby.
We headed into our room to organize a few items to take to the hospital to pick up Cailyn. We would need her carrier/bassinet, some fresh clothes, and blankets. It was hard to gauge the blanket situation since it was constantly steaming hot in Delhi. We lined the bassinet with a warm and cushy blanket and opted to take extra muslin blankets to cover her for the ride home. Dr. Shivani had loaned us a bottle sterilizer and since we were using the Playtex dropins, we only needed to run the sterilizer for the nipples. Fortunately we had purchased two cases of bottled water so we could run the sterilizer while we sorted out what we needed to take. As soon as the sterilizer was done we headed out for some lunch and to buy some formula.
It is funny how in India, everything gets delivered for free. Want a coffee and donut? Delivery. Want a box of maxi pads? Delivery! When we went to the chemist opposite M Block market to buy formula we were asked if we wanted delivery for the two cans of formula we purchased! We were there, paying for it, all two cans, and we were offered delivery! We obviously declined it and walked home with our purchase.
Hariz and Rama asked if we needed anything in anticipation of the baby’s arrival and we said no, not at this time. Since we previously had moved from a smaller room into a larger room, the boys asked if we wanted a crib brought in for the baby. We thought this might work out well and the boys worked hard at squeezing it through the door, placing in nicely in the corner of the room. Oh dear, not what we expected. The mattress sat at a weird angle which meant the undercarriage was broken and secondly, the mattress had a horribly musty smell – understandable due to the high humidity in Delhi, but we were not putting our baby in it – that was for sure! It became a very handy storage space for us, where we stacked unopened packs of diapers and laundry and diaper bags etc. It actually ended up providing us with a little organization that we may have missed had it not been for this ancient smelly crib.
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Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
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