A Belly Full of Follicles

The Next Family

By: Kerrie Olejarz

After all the excitement of the evening we decided to order room service and try to relax. My ass was aching from the HMG shot and my abdomen was swollen and sore from the last 11 days’ of injections. It was great to just relax with Mark and slow down the pace a bit. We chatted on end about our surrogates and the differences between them. We re-read their profiles that had previously been emailed to us, which were even more precious now that we had met these two wonderful ladies.

Sunita stated in her profile that she wanted to be a surrogate to allow funding to open her own craft shop. We were impressed with her honesty in this answer and hoped that we could help make her dreams come true. Sumita stated her reason for becoming a surrogate was to gather funds for her daughter’s wedding. Again, a very honest answer, one which we hoped we could help with. Some surrogates state that the reason to become a surrogate is to help another couple. As romantic as this sounds, we often wondered if they were 100% truthful. We admired our two surrogates for having the guts to be honest about their need for the money. The reality of working with an Indian surrogate is that there is a substantial amount of remuneration involved and we held our two surrogates in high regard for this. A funny observation about our Sumita: in person she was beyond shy, in her profile, her pictures put out the energy of a woman with attitude! I imagine meeting us was stressful for her and we just prayed that one embryo would stick with each surrogate and we could help both of them. At the same time we feared multiple embryos would stick but decided to take on that worry only when and if we needed to.

After all the excitement of the day I worried about over sleeping my trigger shot. I emailed family at home to please Skype us at 5:30 am India time Sunday morning. I set the alarm on my iPod and called the front desk for a wake up call. Timing of the trigger shot is critical. It must be 36 hours before egg retrieval and there is very little wiggle room with this. We finally lay down for a good night’s rest, only to wake two hours later at midnight, wide awake. Burn Notice it was, Friends after, and then Legally Blonde. Finally around 3 am we went back to sleep but woke again at 5 am. We put on the kettle to make coffee and waited for half an hour for my trigger. Right on time my sister Skyped us, and she got to witness the joy of my trigger shot.

The day ahead was booked with sightseeing. We planned to visit the five quintessential New Delhi tourist traps with Rahul. We were not heading out until later in the morning so we had a lot of time to kill. We were exhausted from all the excitement and the time change. We sipped our coffee and Mark decided to try to catch some more sleep. As he snored away, I was wide awake. I watched some more bad TV and tried to relax, but with my mind and body in hyper-overdrive, it was impossible. I pondered the reality of having a surgical procedure in what some consider a third-world country. I was feeling mildly freaked out, yet consciously reassured based on the referrals of past intended parents and the medical competency of Dr Shivani. I felt like Fred Flinstone with the Great Gazoo buzzing around me, having internal conversations with myself in an outer body experience. I had moments of “what the hell am I doing” and moments of “this is the best chance and opportunity we have”. My internal struggles stayed with me because I was not able to vocalize them. I am not one to let my fears out; I choose to keep them in my personal vault.

Around 9 am Mark woke up and I was starving! At breakfast I ate like a horse. We took our coffees up to the roof top patio and enjoyed the Sunday morning calm in Delhi. As we sat, the streets started to fill up with cars, trucks, rickshaws, and loads of people. The harmony of the honking horns was less annoying to our now seasoned ears. The sun was shining and it was going to be a great day to do some sightseeing. I was starting to really feel the effects of the trigger shot. The feeling of carting a ten-pound bag of flour on my abdomen plus the tightness of my elastic waist band were good signs that my follicles were maturing and getting ready for the next day’s extraction.

Our first stop on our tour was the Lotus Temple a Baha’i House of Worship. It was packed with people. We had to remove our shoes and check them in at an underground sort of coat check. The tour started with a brief overview from a guide and then we were invited into the temple for silent prayer. As we sat in the temple I had a small spiritual discussion with God –or maybe not God, but with myself. I prayed for success. I prayed for our surrogates’ health and happiness. As we walked to the shoe check cubbyhole, we looked back in astonishment at the sheer size and beauty of the temple. It is constructed to look like a lotus flower, with 27 marble petals in three circular rows of nine. It is truly a beautiful structure and a must-see in Delhi.

Next stop was Humayun’s Tomb. The tomb site sprawled an entire city block, each structure build in red sand stone erected in 1533. As we lined up to enter the site a gaggle of school boys saw me –and when I say “gaggle”, I mean over 100 boys all dressed in school uniforms. They started yelling hello! to me and the voices got louder and more rambunctious. Before we knew it I was swarmed by 40 of them all cuddling into me. I was laughing so hard and Mark captured this moment with the camera.

Soon the sun started to get pretty intense…and my follicles, heavier. We decided to leave the tombs and head on to our next destination. As we walked the path to find our driver, a middle-aged couple came up to us with big smiles on their faces, asking if they could take a picture with us. They were a lovely, chubby couple, and so excited to have a picture with…white people. They were just too cute and all giggly! They made no bones about why they asked for the picture and we rolled with it and had fun.

After we snapped the pictures on both their and our cameras, we found our driver who said our next stop was the President’s House. There is a rule, for security reasons, that you cannot stop for more than three minutes –and the hundred guards with machine guns made it clear that this rule was not to be broken. Mark hopped out of the car to snap some pictures of the gated buildings while the driver and I drove in circles. We gathered up Mark and headed to India Gate. This was obviously the place to be on a Sunday afternoon. The place was packed with families, food vendors, and entertainment. Once again we were a spectacle as school girls and families came up to us asking to take a picture. We felt like Brangelina being followed by star-struck fans.

But we had had enough of this fun and decided to call it a day. Our driver took us to a few shops to do some gift buying, and we bought some wonderful India teas and must-have pashminas. The selection of pashminas was overwhelming –multiple vendors with walls and walls of neatly folded shawls. Each vendor laid out one after another, trying to upsell us on quality. We ended up buying a few beautiful shawls for Christmas gifts. (Christmas was only two weeks away.)

Back at the hotel, we ordered some lunch and relaxed a bit. We took a nap. Mark was still struggling with jet lag and I was exhausted from lugging around a belly full of follicles. After a couple hours’ of solid sleep, we decided we should eat again, since the next day was egg retrieval day and I would not be allowed to eat after 10am. We decided to order a pizza from Pizza Hut. In Delhi, you must order food and have it delivered on a motorcycle.

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