Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 3/4

Day 3 was a rough day, partly because everything was closed for a holy day, the ATM was broken, and Dr. Hitesh was not in the office. So it wasn't until day 4 I could get my money exchanged to pay the NICU bills and lab fees ($47,000 rupees approximately for 2 weeks)and  pay a deposit for what I vaguely understand is the next 10 days of care ($20,000 rupees each baby). I think Monday after I've adjusted more to the hours and weather and routine here I'll try to get my account straight with Dr. Patel. 

The toughest part of day 3 was doing kangaroo care in the early afternoon with Tara. It scared me so much that in the evening when I came back and they were sleeping peacefully I did not do kangaroo care and just let them rest.  She appeared to have a long de-sat episode but none of the nurses reacted. I patted her on the back and it helped only a little but she was so tiny it was hard to tell if she was breathing, though the apnea monitor did not go off. She had one earlier where the nurse stimulated her a bit by patting her and rubbing her, but seemed unconcerned. They moved her back to the crib and again adjusted the monitor on her foot that records pulse and oxygen saturation. Part of it is the language barrier that causes me to not have trust built in all the nurses yet, and part of it was that this was the very first de-sat I've witnessed and it is scary even though you know it is normal. but I think the biggest reason I reacted is that I have a lot of buried emotion built up the last few days. As soon as she appeared to be more stable I started quietly crying and couldn't seem to stop myself. I was embarassed and mad at myself for crying, and mad that I couldn't seem to shut it off...which is a skill that in so many years of emergency services I thought I'd mastered. But with your own children I guess it is different. The nurse Suvarna comforted me and explained why she was sure it was the foot monitor not touching the skin properly that was the problem, and that if something happened that was cause for worry she assured me she would tell me.

Soon after this I was summoned to go meet my surrogate, who was just upstairs in room 201. I was already worried because this flood of emotion was still trying to overwhelm me. As soon as the door opened and I saw Manju I began crying uncontrollably upon the sight of her. I told her "Ghano ghano dhanyavad" repeatedly (thank you very very much) and when I tried to touch her feet in a cultural gesture of abasement and gratitude she pulled them away and wouldn't let me. Nothing can really prepare you in life for a moment like this.  I somehow managed to pull myself together after a few minutes. We awkwardly tried to communicate despite a language barrier, and I was able to determine that both my children were born naturally and not via C-section. The South African couple with twins apparently spoke Hindi, so they were summoned in to translate. Awkward conversation ensued, but I told her the babies names. It turns out she is divorced and has a 3 year old son. She made a sign of victory when she talked about being divorced, so she is quite happy with her marital status I deduced. She lives in Ahmedabad and her mother takes care of her son while she was in Anand. The other surrogate who was also pumping for my babies was the more talkative and had questions. They said they get up 3 times a night to pump. I explained that I do too but am not producing near enough.  We agreed the babies are tiny but with time will get bigger. I explained that my husband was tall. We agreed Vivek likes to thrash and move his little arms all over the place. They asked me my room # at Rama Residency, and I lied and said I wasn't sure. I don't want my room # getting out there else people come and ask me for money as has happened in the past. I will visit Manju on occasion and perhaps bring some gifts for her and her son but I can't do as much as I'd like. I hope a store clerk can help me select an outfit that would fit a 3 year old boy, because I'm not all that sure about sizes.

I did wander into my favorite winding backstreet marketplace, and stumbled across a place and paid a bit too much for two shirts and two pants, but they button down the front and now I'll have about 5 outfits I can rotate for kangaroo care. I'm not looking forward to doing laundry in my room but tomorrow I can't put it off any longer given my new small rotation of outfits as everything else I brought are sarees that linger in the closet unused.

The highlight of day 3 was spending a nice hour chatting with Lakshmi and her husband Madhu(?). It was nice to chat and be sociable, and I got some great advice. Hearing everyone else's tales of infertility is staggering at times to ponder the horrors that they have been through, many times which far exceeds my own trials.  On day 4 as I waited to exchange money in Dr. Hitesh's office I met a gal from England who is on her 3rd try in Anand. However, her tale of infertility horror was absolutely shocking. After multiple failed IVF attempts in London, during an egg extraction procedure one of the top IVF clinics in London ruptures her artery. She almost dies on the table, has a stroke, and for the next two years she is disabled and has to learn to speak again. Her uterine lining is destroyed as a result and she will never be able to carry. She says if this last attempt in Anand doesn't work with her eggs, she is done.

I also meet a 21 year old gal and her sister from Montana in Dr. Hitesh's office. The blond is an egg donor who was flown in by an American couple. She says she wants to share the wealth because she gets pregnant so easily and already has 3 children. She had the first at 14years old. My mother told me if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

Moving on, here are a few pics:
Vivek foreground, Tara background

Sleepy Tara
Tara opens her eyes

Vivek stretched out

Vivek curled up
 Both babies gained 10 grams yesterday...I think . Tara is at 960, which is 40 over her birth weight. Vivek is still 10 a tad under his birth weight, I forgot by how much. But with all the numbers flying around in my head, the point is they are both gaining and still doing well. Other babies next to them are requiring more oxygen support and are full term or almost full term and several pounds bigger.

I'm trying to stay positive, but the honest truth is when I'm not with the babies I'm not that upbeat. It is sinking in that I'll be in this poor, dusty town for several months alone. I miss home. I miss my husband. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss my home. I miss my freedom. I miss being able to communicate clearly at all times. And God help me I want a hamburger so freaking bad. I didn't let myself think about the downside much on the way here, because none of my wants really matter in the bigger picture here. I won't feel sorry for myself, but I won't pretend that living here is super awesome either. I hope I can video chat with my husband soon to cheer me up a bit.

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