Wednesday, April 2, 2014


My mom went and had a really long conversation with the OB, and got the true picture of what happened in the last few days. The situation (and getting the details we did not have) was reassuring: her bp was down, and she has been sent home with beta-blocker pills.

The reason I was stressed out yesterday was I had NO idea what was going on: I did not know if her BP had stabilized, I did not know if her infection had cleared, or even what sort of infection she had. Even if she has no access to decent care where she is now, she is atleast stable, and has promised to come back in time for her weekly appointment next week.

We now have to set a date for induction. Unfortunately, we cannot wait for long because her home environment is not the sort of place you want to be in, in the event of any emergency; I've driven there; getting vehicles in and out is a nightmare, it is far away from the hospital, and the local medical care is definitely un-vetted  and far from ideal (it is the local clinic in a seriously poor neighborhood). So we will have to pick a date for stuff to happen at or close after 37 weeks, which is the 9th.

I'll be so very glad when this is over, hopefully, with a healthy baby in my arms. This is when knowing the gender would have been a little useful in making a decision. Have you guys heard about the "wimpy white boy syndrome?" This is a term that may be somewhat hurtful if bandied about in the NICU; don't know who is the insensitive genius who came up with it. Basically, it has arisen from the fact that, in general, girls mature faster than boys, and the maturation in utero also depends on race. White male babies are the slowest to develop and hit all the landmarks (lung maturation and various reflexes, including the suck-swallow-breathe one). My baby is half-white, and if it is a boy, the odds of him needing those last 2-3 weeks more is higher, give the race-specific data. I have NO idea what the influence of his Indian genes would be: Asian, black, and white babies have been studied, but not south-east Asian. Irrespective of race, it is a girl, we could, in theory, breathe a little easier about inducing close after the 37-week-point. But bleh, this is India, so I can't bloody find out.

Sigh. But still, overall, I can breathe again. Yesterday was rough.


  1. Glad to read you obtained reassuring news. Sounds like things are stable, and I'm so glad to read that.
    Uhm... the 9th is around the corner. You're going to be a mom in a matter of days!

    1. Yes, but the days are DDRRRRAAAGGGIIINNNGGG. It is amazing how time has slowed down!

  2. Been reading about your journey for a little while now, and I will be happy to read very soon that you have a healthy baby in your arms!

  3. Whew, what a relief! So glad to hear this news and am sending good thoughts for the whole timing situation

  4. I can only imagine the stress you must've been through but only a few more days now and you'll get to meet your baby! Wishing you well... hugs!

  5. Thanks for the update...You are going to have your babe in your arms before you know it!! I am so very excited for you!

  6. Wow, 9th is just days away! Are you ready --lol??? How exciting!

    And btw just to put your mind at ease, I had to have my baby between Week 37 and 38 via c-section, no later than 38 weeks due to a prior myomectomy. I was worried about the lung maturation too but she had been practice breathing for months in utero. They did tell me that she *may* need to be in NICU for a day or so but that they were confident I would take her home with me by the time I was discharged. She was born 37w6d and was just fine. No NICU time, breathing on her own. So chances are really good that your baby will be fine too.

    All the best. Looking forward to seeing your little one!

  7. So glad you got info, and the situation seems to be stable!

    The first time I heard a version of the "wimpy white boy" thing was when my mom told the story of my birth (~33 weeks, in 1972); she said the pediatrician asked if the baby was a girl, and if it was, he'd have a cup of coffee before heading to the hospital. If it was a boy, he just went straight there...

  8. Having been in NICU, I'm very well aware of this term and the data behind it. The idea is that males do worse than females when born under conditions of stress. The "white boy" end is because white mothers tend to come from less stressful environments that babies from minority backgrounds. So, because your surrogate lives in an improvised area, your baby may already have an advantage because of the stress of a surrogate who has less than ideal background.

    1. Hmmm, that does make sense to a limited extent in the modern context. But the asian bit would not fit: I think the order was black, asian, then white. However, this competence may also may have developed under/been molded by evolutionary pressures we just cannot understand.

      Still, an interesting theory, and yes, there have been stressors in this case (mostly an increased decibel level). My mom has also floated the theory that babies born of Indian surrogates would also be better protected by passive transfer of their antibodies, because these are the women that have been exposed to far more bugs than you or I, and have immunity to a very wide range of microbes.

  9. I'm so glad you got information and it seems everything is ok. I'm checking your blog multiple times a day now. I can't wait to hear your announcement when the big day comes.

    One of the things I liked about Hiranandani hospital was that the pediatrician agreed to allow us to stay for an extra day after he thought Asa should be discharged. Like I've mentioned before, he was born at 37 weeks and I was feeling insecure about his health. There was nothing wrong with him aside from jaundice, but I felt more comfortable keeping him close to the nurses and doctors. We upgraded to a deluxe hospital suite, and unlike the U.S. where we would have been kicked out after two days because it's super expensive, I think the extra day at the hospital was only $120. The room is kept spotless and on the premier maternity room floor there are hardly any other families, so it's nice and quiet. I also liked having my meals prepared for me, tea served twice a day, and the room tidied up as I found my footing. Especially since your mom may join you in the hospital, you may want to consider that option. We stayed for a total of five days. (As I type this I realize you won't be going to a hotel after the hospital like I did, so maybe my experience doesn't apply.)

    I'd also like to mention that despite the fact that this is a surrogate pregnancy and you won't have the intense hormone changes, do prepare for the "baby blues." As happy as I was to finally have my baby, I was completely disoriented and weepy for the first ten days following his birth. (And this wasn't my first baby, either.) So expect a myriad of emotions. This is the conclusion to a long journey (the beginning of another!) and just because your baby is in your arms, doesn't mean you've entirely processed the experience.

    One other thing. Make sure to bring diapers to the hospital and see if you can give them one to put on your baby as soon as he is born. The Indian "diaper" was literally taped to my son's body with surgical tape. It left a welt when I changed it. He screamed when I pulled the tape off. It didn't do any real damage to his skin, but I certainly didn't need that worry in the first hours after he was born.

    1. Lol...I should also ask you what you did not like about Hiranandani. There may be some rude surprises coming my way.

      Thanks for the heads up about the suite and the diaper. I'm sort of steeling myself for the fact that I'll be taken from calmness and tossed into chaos, with intense emotions thrown in. I sort of know in the back of my head that the first few days will be rough, but of course, till you live through it, you will have no clue.

      But at the forefront is also the unimaginable joy that a baby will bring, especially if there is no accompanying worry/fear.

      Did your friends have their babies?

    2. Yes. Healthy babies. Each about 5 1/2 pounds. They look wonderful. Winning pair--a boy and a girl.

      The annoying things about the hospital:
      It was incredibly frustrating getting the wifi to work at the hospital. We had to ask a dozen people for help.
      It took quite a while to get our standard room switched to the deluxe. Again, asking lots of people, being a pest, is your best way of getting anything done.
      The nurses were obsessed with covering Asa's head (something I didn't worry about).
      Asa had blood drawn for a jaundice test and we had to suggest that they call us with results since their standard procedure is for the patient to come back to the hospital to ask for the results. Again, we asked if they could just phone us, and they did. It always pays to speak up and ask.
      The cafeteria is not very good. But the meals to the room are nice. Bring your own snacks, but be sneaky about it.
      Despite the frequent cleanings, the products they use aren't harsh.
      But really it was a lovely experience. Despite being in a hospital it was serene and pleasant. There was no strangeness about the circumstances of his birth. I think they're quite used to surrogate deliveries at this point.
      My doctor's from SI brought him out to me immediately. They minimally cleaned him leaving most of the vernix which I preferred. Asa didn't have a real bath until he was about 5 weeks old, just sponge baths under his neck and around his bottom and genitals.

      It was a magical experience and so very surreal. I wish there were a way to send you the picture of when I first held him because the look of shock on my face and total relief is indescribable. I truly didn't believe I would have a baby until he was in my arms. And he was so worth the wait and the anxiety of the years of trying.

      I'm curious to see what you think. I hope you'll find it as nice as I did.

    3. YAY, good to hear that everything went well with your friend's babies.

      Overall, I sort of like what I've seen of the 5th floor so far, it is rather quiet and peaceful, and is that the "premier" maternity floor, or is that like one above, or something?

      And BOY yes, are they used to surrogate deliveries; According to Dr. Soni, they deliver about 34 surrogates a month. Rather staggering, that.

      I'll hopefully be able to report good things soon: things are set to happen on the 9th. Keeping fingers, toes, and everything very tightly crossed.

    4. I think I am referring to the 5th floor. The one on a higher floor is a Presidential suite, which my husband, in a moment of postpartum madness, thought we should have. Hello? As if we hadn't spent a fortune already. Fifth floor is is two connected rooms and two bathrooms. There are probably also shared rooms, but we didn't see those. Another positive aspect of the 5th floor is that most babies take sun baths in the large windows at the end of the hall and It's quite peaceful up there, in the hallway for the 15 minutes your baby is bathing.

      Dr. Soni delivered our son. She was a wonderful advocate for us, and made sure the nurses allowed me into the recovery suite quickly so I could nurse my son.

      The 9th...I have goosebumps for you! I hope these next few days allow you quiet reflection and the nerves aren't too bad.

  10. I'm sorry about the added stress. I'm very familiar with 'wimpy white boy'… but I also know plenty of white boys who were born earlier and AFTER Ella who are doing quite well developmentally. While you want the baby to 'bake' as long as possible, 37 weeks will typically land you no NICU time. I need to read up on your previous posts. Thinking of you!!

  11. Is there still a chance for them to give J the shots to help mature the baby's lungs just in case? You'll be holding your sweet baby soon. :-)

    1. After 34 weeks, the shots don't help, and may be even slightly detrimental, as the newest studies indicate.

      About the other thing, yes! Can 't wait :)

  12. Wow! You are going to be holding your beautiful baby soon! Can't wait to meet him or her!