Tuesday, April 30, 2013


We went to see my family this weekend for my mom's birthday party and to surprise them with the news that we were pregnant.  And a surprise it was!  I stealthily placed an anonymous "You're going to be a grandmother again!" card amongst the birthday gifts, and inside the card were just the ultrasound pictures.  When my mom opened the card and found the ultrasounds, all eyes turned to my sister, who was flabbergasted.  Since there are already five grandsons, the whole family was expecting, nay practically pressuring, her to try again for a little granddaughter.  So no one believed her denials that she wasn't pregnant!  She had to point out that she was drinking and wouldn't do that if she was pregnant!  Then the focus turned to my sister-in-law who succinctly replied "I'm not pregnant!"  She and my brother already have three boys and have claimed that they were done having kids.  So everyone turned back to my sister, not understanding why she was protesting so much.  Confused, they eventually asked if Travis and I were having a baby, and the reaction and surprise on their faces was priceless!  The excitement and happiness they expressed for us made it one of the best days in our lives, truly unforgettable.

That brings me to the title of this post.  For those who aren't familiar with the term, "jinx" according to Wikipedia refers to bad luck brought on by:
  • Talking about a future event with too much confidence. A statement such as "We're sure to win the contest!" can be seen as a jinx because it tempts fate, thereby bringing bad luck. The event itself is referred to as "jinxed". A dramatic historical example of this type of jinxing is the Titanic, which was said to be unsinkable, then sank on its maiden voyage.
  • In a similar way, calling attention to good fortune – e.g. noting that a certain athlete is having a streak of particularly good fortune – is thought to "jinx" it. If the good fortune ends immediately afterward, the jinx is then blamed for the turn of events.

So the very next day, Monday, we received one of those dreaded "unexpected emails from SCI" that I wrote about in my last post:

We hope you are doing well.

We would like to inform you that your surrogate mother Meera was admitted in the hospital yesterday due to bleeding.

In regards to the same our obstetrician team has reviewed & put her under necessary care and medications.

We have also sent her blood and urine investigation to the lab.

She is on complete bed rest & we are keeping very close eyes on her pregnancy.

We are taking very good care of her and our obstetrician has been checking her on regular intervals.

As soon as we receive any new updates, we will inform you ASAP.

We will keep you updated with her further progress & new status.

With Best Regards,
SCI Healthcare

We are obviously worried out of our minds, since we are so far away and feel helpless in this situation.  We frantically Googled "bleeding" and "pregnancy" and "9 weeks" to find out everything we could, just to conclude that it was inconclusive--sometimes it results in miscarriage and sometimes it doesn't.  We sent SCI an email with some follow up questions, relaying our concern that Meera wasn't in any pain or discomfort, and hoping that her son and husband were ok and not worrying as much as we were.

We also sent Meg and Margarida an email with some questions, SCI's historical outcomes with this, and what to expect.  We want to thank BrooklynCouple as we knew they recently went through this (their surrogate is fine now and they just recently passed the first trimester!); they were amazing with the details and helped to comfort and calm us a bit after I emailed them freaking out (I seem to be doing this a lot these days).

We would be interested to know anyone else's experience with bleeding in the third month of pregnancy.  You can leave a comment, point us to another blog, or email us (address in our blogger profile). 

I can't help but feel a bit like we jinxed ourselves, and I wish we had waited to tell our families.  They were so happy for us, but now we may have to deliver some heart-breaking news.  We have decided to wait a few days before telling them that Meera is in the hospital, hoping that everything improves quickly.  I guess I kind of half-expected that after all that we went through to finally get pregnant, that we were owed a trouble-free pregnancy.  But I know that's not how it works.  We just have to wait, hope, pray, and stay calm and positive.

Friday, April 26, 2013


We received another email from SCI earlier this week.  We had assumed that during the first trimester, scans were done every two weeks.  Since it had not been quite two weeks since the last scan, and as any IP knows, a moment of panic occurs when you hear unexpectedly from the clinic.  Especially after Meg's comment that 70% of SCI's miscarriages happen between weeks 6-8, I freaked out a little (a lot). 

But not to worry, all was fine:

Greetings from SCI Healthcare..!!!

We hope you are doing fine.

We would like to inform you that we have done USG scan for Meera as per our schedule.

Please find attached herewith files of the same.

We are happy to inform you that Dr. Shivani has reviewed the reports & found everything satisfactory.

Your surrogate mother is doing fine & her pregnancy is going well.

Everything is going as per our schedule.

Please note that her next scan will be done within two weeks.

We will keep you updated.

With Regards,
SCI Healthcare

To my untrained eye, the scans do not seem as clear as the last ones, but as long as the doctors with their expertise tell me that everything is satisfactory, I'm happy.  This USG (ultrasonography) scan shows that the baby is at 8W2D, and is on track based on the last ultrasound (done 10 days ago, which showed it at 6W6D):

The "anteverted uterus" just means it's tilted forward toward the bladder (opposite is "retroverted" or tilted back), which is common and should not be anything to worry about.  The POD is the Pouch of Douglas or rectouterine pouch.  "No free fluid seen in POD" is good according to Dr. Google, as the pouch commonly gets fluid in it
due to its position at the base of the peritoneal cavity; occasionally, these fluids do not drain correctly and over time, can cause other medical issues
unless it is drained.  So everything is progressing well. 

As I have read over and over in everyone else's blogs, "no news is good news."  So I emailed Lalit who does the treatment scheduling at SCI to ask if we can get the date of each next appointment, so that we know when to expect the next communication, and he was very obliging.  Meera is scheduled for her next check up on May 3, and I'm glad to get updates a little more frequently than two weeks.

Since my last post, once we got the heartbeat, we broke the news to Travis' family that we had been trying to have a baby and were finally pregnant.  Their reactions were priceless.  When we told Travis' brother-in-law that we have a surprise and held up the ultrasound over Skype, he asked "Is that a hurricane?"   I guess it kinda looked like a weather radar scan.  When we told Travis' mom that she was going to be a grandmother again, she asked "What color is it?" thinking that we rescued another Siberian husky from the pound! 

My mom's birthday is this weekend, and since the whole family will be gathered together, Travis and I will announce to them then.  I expect more surprises and tears.  Happy ones, I'm sure.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


156 BPM!!

We received the following email from SCI this morning:

  Many Congratulations !!!
   We hope you are doing well.

   We would like to inform you that as per our schedule we have done
   USG Scan for your surrogate mother to detect the number of heartbeat.

   In regards to the same we are pleased to let you know that we have noted
   single heartbeat.
   Please find attached herewith scan reports of the same.
   Dr. Shivani has reviewed the report and noted that heartbeat rate is also

   We wish you good luck !!

   Please note that her next scan will be done within two weeks.

   We will keep you updated.

   With Best Regards,
   SCI Healthcare

I believe you can actually make out the baby's form in the bottom scans!

We are over the moon!  Our baby is an over-achiever, going from 4 weeks 2 days to 6 weeks 6 days in just over a week!  We are definitely proud papas already.

Thanks to everyone for keeping us (somewhat) sane this past week.  I especially want to thank those who gave us encouragement by sharing very personal details about when/how they informed their families of the exciting news.  We were very touched.  It made me realize that while this is a potentially worrisome and precarious period, it is also time I will never get back.  I need to be present and not live in fear of the uncertainty.  We've decided to share this news with family in the coming weeks and can't wait for their reaction.

Thanks for sharing our journey with us!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Statistics and Superstitions

We are slowly coming down from the high of finding out we are pregnant.  We feel so lucky, but scared at the same time.  So much can still go wrong.  Every time I think about finally being pregnant, I feel my emotions are like a kite and a gust of wind has just blown it higher, twisting and turning in the sky.  I'm desperately trying to reel the string back in, because we know the first trimester is a very critical time period, particularly these early weeks. 

We had a nice strong beta HCG number, for which I am so thankful.  And then we found out there is a pregnancy sac.  Once again we are lucky.  Maybe the tables have turned and we'll continue to be lucky!  Now we have to wait a week for the ultrasound scan to check for the heartbeat.  From my online research, chance of miscarriage in the first 4-5 weeks until a gestational sac is confirmed is about 12-15%.  Once a heartbeat is detected, the risk of miscarriage goes down to about 9% at 6 weeks, 4% at 7 weeks, 1.5% at 8 weeks, 0.5% at 9 weeks.  Those statistics are very specific and compelling; but being a finance and numbers guy, I know statistics are just a way of presenting data based on the story being told.   Basically, after the baby passes the first trimester, chances of miscarriage go down dramatically.  This is why conventional wisdom is to wait until after the first trimester before letting people know you are pregnant.

It's so hard waiting and not sharing our journey with any close friends or family.  We decided not to tell them early on, to spare them the worry with each attempt, the heartbreak of each failure; and to spare ourselves having to tell everyone each time that it didn't work and avoiding their well-meaning but sometimes painful condolences or awkward conversations.  Only those who have endured infertility or engaged in surrogacy know what it's truly like. 

I want to tell my parents so badly, especially my dad.  A week ago Sunday, the whole family (my brother and sister and their families) was at my parents' house for Easter.  About an hour after dinner, my dad suddenly became ill.  He was pale and cold, trembling and unsteady on his feet.  He's 77 and has a history of poor health, exacerbated by not taking the best care of himself, although the rest of the family implores him to do so.  My sister-in-law is a nurse and quickly came to his aid.  His blood pressure was high, but we couldn't find much else wrong with him.  As his condition didn't seem to be improving, we decided to err on the side of caution and take him to the hospital.  They ran an EKG and further tests on him; he seemed to improve once they told him the results did not indicate anything serious was wrong.  They concluded that he was probably dehydrated and had a panic or anxiety attack when he began to feel out of sorts.  It was a very scary episode, but my dad was released, and with some rest and fluids was feeling back to normal a day or so later.

Now, in certain cultures it is bad luck to announce a pregnancy before the first trimester is over.  But I really want to tell my dad, to give him something to look forward to, so that possibly, possibly, he will start taking better care of himself to see the birth of another grandchild.  Travis is also eager to start spreading the news.  I feel like such a jerk and wet blanket, dampening his enthusiasm about the pregnancy because I'm so worried that something could go still go wrong because we were too happy, too soon. 

I'm not normally superstitious, but when we have so much riding on this final attempt, why take any chances?  I've been checking myself, trying not to plan so that we don't tempt fate, don't jinx or bring bad luck upon ourselves.  While we were in India, we met another blogger who gave us an Indian coin for good luck.  It was the sweetest gesture, but did it work?  Our first four attempts would suggest otherwise, but our fifth attempt worked, so....?

We'll hold on to the Indian coin for sentimental reasons.  And who knows, for whatever lucky powers it may still confer.

Are you superstitious?  When did (or would) you tell your family and friends?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pregnancy Sac

I got to work and saw an email from SCI on my phone.  I was not expecting an update until Monday, so I immediately got worried that something was wrong.  All fears (well, most) were allayed once I opened the email:

Greetings from SCI Healthcare..!!!

We would like to inform you that as per our schedule we have done a USG scan for Meera.

Please find attached herewith files of the same.

We are happy to inform you that we have noted single pregnancy sac in her scan reports.

Our obstetrician have also reviewed the reports & found everything within normal limit.

Meera is also doing fine.

Please note that her next scan will be done within one week to check heartbeat.

We wish you good luck for her next scan.

We will keep you updated.

With Best Regards,
SCI Healthcare

I was so relieved to find out that our baby--wow, "our baby"--was doing well (I'm going to refrain from using the terms embryo, fetus, etc., as they seem too clinical).  It was also comforting to know that our lovely surrogate Meera is also doing well.

The only concern I had was that the baby seemed to be tracking a bit behind at 4 weeks 2 days.  By my calculations, the baby should be closer to 5 weeks by now.  I realize that the small size could make it difficult to accurately determine the gestational age, so that is what I am clinging too, plus the fact that the doctor finds everything within normal limits.  At least we're not outliers again; this is one of those times when I don't mind hearing the words "average," "normal," or "adequate."

Like most IPs, I've been staring at our ultrasound scans for hours.  Who knew these grainy, black and white images would be so enthralling?

And for those curious about the report:

Interesting to note the disclaimer the doctor had to sign, indicating that the sex of the baby was not detected or disclosed, as this is against the law in India due to cultural preference for boys.  Of course, it's too early to be able to determine the baby's sex from an ultrasound.  Really and truly, we don't care what sex the baby is so long as it is healthy and continues to be so.  We would take a dozen girls if we could.  OK, Travis made me change that to half a dozen girls, but not all at once.

Crossing our fingers for a strong heartbeat on our next scan.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The news we were waiting for....

We would like to inform you that we have done Beta HCG test for Meera.
Kindly find the enclosed report for the same.

We would like to inform you that her Beta HCG value is 251.55 which is very good.

We will do a USG scan for her within a week to check the pregnancy sacs.
Once her scan will be done, we will get back to you at the earliest.
SCI wishing you good luck for this beautiful journey ahead.

With Best Regards,
SCI Healthcare