I go inside my lovely hotel, the Rama Residency. Sure there are nicer and more expensive ones around for those folks that care about amenities and a westernized feel, but this is plenty nice and is within a 1 minute walk to the Akanksha IVF Clinic/Dr. Patel and also to the NICU. Why stay anywhere else when you are going there on a daily basis one or more times? http://www.hotelramaresidency.com/
The hotel is nice and the BEST place to meet other patients of Dr. Patel and pump them for info and stare at their babies with longing. The AC in your room turns on when you insert your key into a device in the wall, so you can't leave it on when you leave.
|Rama decorated for Diwali--the biggest Holiday in India|
|Cafeteria with great daily breakfasts|
|Our room looked just like this. Seating area at right off camera.|
He is the super awesome creator of the forum of Dr. Patel's patients where you can find loads of info and some posts from me. Anything I write here I'll try to make additional to that and not repeat to save myself time.
So I get to the clinic and Dr. Hitesh can see how tired I am and greets me and tells me to go back to the hotel and get some rest, then come back later in the afternoon for my first IVF shot. There are lots of men and rickshaws waiting around the area, and the waiting room is full of folks. They always smile at the foreigners, or maybe just me because I wear a saree and follow the custom to remove my shoes and leave them outside even though they don't expect me to. I sign in up front with my name and contact info, and they write down and give me a patient # that I will use for reference during my trip. They don't seem to be expecting me or know this is my first day, and this alarms me a bit. They immediately direct me to Dr. Hitesh's office outside.
Dr Hitesh's English is great, and I'm used to Indian accents so no problems understanding anything he is telling me. He gives me a map (copy found on blog) of the area and where to eat, and says we can take care of business details later. I follow orders and get some sleep. I find out later I am on their schedule for surrogacy and they are expecting me, but Dr. Patel has that info and Dr. Hitesh and the front desk don't have immediate access to scheduling and so it seems a little more disorganized than it is. Dr. Patel has a lot of people assisting her, medical or otherwise, and I see her pass by in a flurry of activity as I depart to take a long overdue nap.
When I go back in the late afternoon the clinic that was previously a hustle and bustle of activity, it is almost abandoned. Now let me say if you are used to American medical clinics that are perfectly sterile, then India will be a shock for you. Having been there before and finding the USA to be a little overboard with sterile conditions I had no problems whatsoever, save the one occurence on this one day. Even my American physician said that somewhere between the US and India is probably the happy medium on sterile conditions, and the US takes it a little overboard. The equipment is not brand new but everything is clean enough and they take new needles out of the package everytime. The "Vampire" guy that takes your blood doesn't wear gloves. But the man is good...this is all he does. But the only thing that bothered me regarding conditions was on this day, because the sharps container is just a bucket. This late in the day it was overflowing and there were needles on the floor. Remember that I was barefoot, so I tread carefully. But other than that, I felt perfectly safe. I get my first shot in my belly, and that's it. This was my first time doing IVF since we were hoping to use my eggs.
2. Your time with Dr. Patel will be brief and to the point. She will give you updates on how many eggs are growing and such. You can ask questions. However, I recommend letting the doctor be the doctor and not try to control everything, and if you are very experienced with IVF and into all the details that may be challenging for you. Communication here is not what you would expect in the US, but some of that is a cultural difference that I knew to expect. She will make the decisions and inform you after, to include how many eggs she implants.
3. Unless you've never been to India and want to do the tourist/shopping thing, there is not much to do in Anand. All the places to eat and shop are on Dr. Hitesh's map and in the blog link above. I was bored, and so nauseated I barely left the room. It was a little too hot for me to go out in that state in the middle of the day in October, but I ventured out a few times. Thank goodness for wireless internet and TV, with I think 2-3 channels in English that were playing a Schwarzzenager movie marathon unfortunately. I saw True Lies 5 times. I mostly went out to Big Bazaar for foods that didn't make me want to puke. I hated buying westernized food when I love to eat local fare, but I have never been so consistently nauseated and bloated in my life. For this reason I won't comment on the food at Rama Residency, because it may have been much better than it tasted to me at the time. I did drink the milk and eat fruit with peels, but as long as you stay away from the non-bottled water or unheated water you should be fine in my opinion.
|Kellogg's & Cadbury are the few recognizable brands you'll see|
They do track payments but aren't really demanding or communicative about due dates, so when I asked about the first payment transfer I found out that I did need to get the money transferred. Below is a chart I made of what it costs for those who are curious about doing it themselves. This is only what I came up with and not something they gave me, and doesn't include initial travel costs like airfare and lodging and food, etc. Some stuff I won't be sure on until we actually pick up the babies. I'm told the NICU fees are about $40 per day per baby, and with twins 1.5-2 wks in the NICU is common and she tends to delivery by C-section at 35 weeks. We'll see how true that is come September!
I did get to meet the surrogate, and it was a tad awkward and while Dr. Hitesh was available to translate....I didn't have much to ask beyond basic chit chat. I got a very good vibe off of her and she seemed like a confident and strong young woman who was determined to do this for her family.. Dr. Hitesh offered to take a pic with her so I did. I no longer have it because I deleted it when our attempt did not work. Anyway, she was cute as a button and got married at 15 years old to a farmer, and had been married 10yrs. She looked healthy and was shorter and smaller than me, and had very demure mannerisms. He asked if there was anything I wanted to say to her after I read the very basic profile of her he had handed me. I just said directly to her "Ghano ghano dhanyavad" which means thank you very much in her language. I got choked up when I said it to her, and that was the first time she smiled. I realized that was all I needed to say.
I did meet some couples who were suprised at the surrogate selected for them as they were older or very skinny, however ours was young and very healthy looking. I think the more slender body type is common here. You don't have control over who your surrogate is, but they will be married with at least one child. They will select one whose cycle is synced up with yours or the egg donor's. I trust Dr. Patel and I trust her selection process. I'm sad that it didn't work out with our first surrogate. I haven't met our second surrogate because we used donor eggs and a frozen sample, but I can't wait to meet her. I sent her a package with sarees, photos of us, and a personalized letter of thanks that I had translated into Gujarati below.
We thank you so very much for what you are doing for us. My husband and I are finally so happy! You are making our dreams come true. We know that carrying two babies will be difficult and you are sacrificing much time with your family. Your help in creating our family is giving us the happiness we have hoped for over eight long years of waiting. We hope that the money you receive for this incredible gift will help to make your dreams come true also.
I have not been able to carry a baby for more than a few months before it would die, so I have grieved for so many years. But you have made hope possible again. My husband and I and our entire family pray for you and your family every day. All of our parents are older and in failing health, but now they all have new life because they will get to meet their grandchildren. My husband and I married in 2004, and we have wished for children since then.
In 2003 before my husband and I were married we traveled to New Delhi India so he could introduce me to his family. We did not think then that we would get married, but a wise old man who was dying read our palms on our hands and told us our future. He said that we should be married as soon as possible, and our marriage would be very long and successful. He had never met us and knew things there was no possible way he could know. He told us that one day we would have two children, and then someday adopt a little girl. For so many years I thought he did not speak the truth, but now I know he was sent from God to give us hope...just like you were.
We will give both babies a wonderful home in the United States in the state of Texas. They will always be loved and well taken care of. We have sent you some pictures of us and our family from our wedding. Later when we finish the room for the babies we will send you pictures of our house. Please also accept these gifts of sarees. I hope you like them and wear them, but if you do not wear them I’m sure you can give them to someone who will be able to use them. Even though I am not from India I have always loved and worn sarees, so we hope you will like these.
Thank you and God bless you