Sunday 24 March 2013

Frozen Embryo Limbo

Dr. Shivani has been great in communicating with me regarding my frozen embryos. She advised me that they are proactively pursuing clarification on the status of the frozen embryos. I'm sure there are many who are in the same boat as I.

As mentioned, I'm still hopeful that these frozen embryos are available to me so I can bring over a surrogate. Initially, I was hoping they could ship my frozen embryos to my clinic here in Canada. You can ship your embryos to India so you would think they could be shipped back. But alas, I was advised that shipment was not possible.

I wholeheartedly trust SCI and am not questioning them, but I have read information online that contradicts that. Some clients of Indian clinics are writing that they can have their embryos shipped to North America - not sure if they are doing this legally but one would assume so. I'm curious how their clinics are able to do this. Also, I found the following Q&A quite informative - it speaks to this situation directly but it also comes from this side of the pond. It's what India decides that is the determining ruling one would assume.

So I'm a bit confused - it would be great if I could ship them to my clinic for sure. Of course, laws, regulations, etc. can change on the drop of a dime as we are experiencing right now. There could have been a loop-hole that they are sealing up tightly as I type this :) Nonetheless, this provides some hope in my eyes. For now, we continue to wait.

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!

PS - Another article on the current surrogacy situation in India.

Saturday 23 March 2013

Potpourri of Thoughts Part 2

Recently, we had a nice stretch of sunshine so I took my son to a local bike shop to get his first real bike. The options were limited but I prefer supporting local businesses versus the big sporting stores even if it means spending a little bit more. After saying that, the prices are quite comparable. What really impresses me with most local bike shops is that they provide free service for up to a year after purchase.

I especially like these guys because they are focused on the customer needs and not the sale. The owner told me, given my son's height is at the cusp of smaller and medium bikes, I should get  him a used small bike and purchase a new one at the end of the year. However, my son is just over 5 years old so it would be nice to have the training wheels to start even if it is for a week. I believe in the approach of taking off the pedals and training wheels as seen in this video. But since it's my son's first time on a real bike, the training wheels will let him get used to sitting on and riding a bike. He loves his bike so I'm a happy parent. Of course, he also got a helmet. Once he learns to ride a bike, I will get one as well so we can go bike riding together.

With 8 more months of parental leave remaining, I've started to think about a vacation. We usually take two splurge trips per year - last year we went to Disneyland twice and stayed onsite. India was fun but not necessarily a pure vacation. This year, we'll probably just do one splurge vacation - I don't count trips to Vancouver Island, other locations in BC, Washington or Oregon states, etc. because they are so close.

I'm not concerned with travelling with my daughter - my son went to Australia at 3 months. I've always said that when I have kids, I will show them the world, which I started with my son. Sometimes, people say, they are too young to remember. My usual responses include there are photo memories, and you can take them again and again and again. Most importantly, the joy they experience at the moment in time cannot be replaced even if the memory is gone when they are older. But again, to each his or her own. Of course, my son wants to go to Disneyland again - the other option is Hawaii, which my son has been to twice (Maui). Probably go to Kauai this time around. Sure, he likes the beach and sand but nothing compares to Disneyland for a 5-year-old who loves the rides and attractions. I'm thinking October if Disneyland (like last year) and November if Hawaii. There's also Thomasland in the UK or Japan. For the Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons, there are many places nearby that we could drive or take a short flight to. The shopping and shores of Washington and Oregon are awesome especially in the summer :)

We tend not to escape during the summers because Vancouver summers are usually quite nice - although in recent past, the summers are getting a bit warm for me. I am not a fan of the heat. Although we get our fair share of rain, it seems like we get less and less of it every year, or at least we are experiencing warmer temperatures. The great thing about Vancouver is that we don't get much snow unlike the rest of Canada but some people like the snow. I don't mind watching it, playing it in with my son, skiing on it, etc. but being on the roads with drivers who cannot drive on snow is not fun.

I enjoy living in Vancouver - I've been here since my teen years. Our family has lived in BC for most of my life. It's not a small city but it's not big relative to Toronto or Montreal either. There's nature, ocean, lakes, mountains, professional sporting teams, plethora of cultures (reflected in the restaurants too), mild (no extreme) temperatures, etc. However, there's not much of a regular nightlife relative to big cities (although we get our fair share of concerts, plays, etc.) and it's the most expensive city to live in Canada.

In December 2012, the average house price was $684,000 - and that doesn't really get you much of a house. I'm around 20 minutes from Downtown and there are no houses that cost that little in my neighbourhood. Among the new homes and newly-renovated homes (like mine) in my area, you might find the odd really old, non-renovated home for $750,000. Most of these homes in my area are a minimum $1 million to the sky's the limit. Of course, you could live further away from the city centre, which usually means a long commute and crossing a minimum of one bridge but some families are willing to sacrifice the commute time for a larger property and home. The housing prices obviously make it difficult for young people and poor immigrants to get into the market. Of course, there are more expensive cities in the world but I've been to many more cities where I could have a mansion for the cost of my home and property! After saying all of that, I doubt I would ever move. It's nice living in North America's top city for Quality of Living, and raising kids here especially in my part of the city. In the end, no matter where you live, you make it your home :)

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!

Potpourri of Thoughts Part 1

So I'm pretty sure I will try having baby #3 in late 2014. I'm still hoping that my frozen embryos will be available to me. Specifically, I hope to bring over a surrogate but not sure if that is possible. I have received a response from the clinic, which I appreciate given everything they are going through right now. Basically, it's a waiting game as their lawyer looks into the possibility of me bringing over a surrogate. Perhaps that might help my cause versus using an Indian surrogate - probably not but dreams are free! I am also crossing my fingers for all the other single and LGBT clients out there with frozen embryos! I have been blessed with two children and my heart wants the same for everyone. For now, we wait... both patiently and impatiently.

So after experiencing life with two kiddies in the last couple of months, I've gotten back to thinking about my next child. Specifically, how challenging it would be if I ended up with twins. After saying that, I would rather have twins than no baby. Even so, if I am able to bring over a surrogate, I would most likely implant the maximum four embryos to increase my chances of having a baby. As a single parent (albeit an uber-organized, emotionally-balanced one) life is pretty manageable with two kiddies and would be probably so with three but four kids? :) Initially, I was going to hire a nanny but that would defeat the purpose of having kids in my personal opinion but I appreciate others may have a different perspective. I actually quite enjoy being a single parent (appreciating I haven't experienced anything different), making the decisions and doing things my own efficient way, similar to Kate Gosselin but with way fewer children! LOL! But if I were blessed with twins this time around, I would hire some help for sure - probably a part-time housekeeper moreso than a nanny. Of course, I have all my family and friends in-town but I am the parent - they are a great resource but I never rely on them 24/7.

I cannot believe that 2 months has already come and gone. I have around 8 months of parental leave remaining. In Canada, I (as the father) can only receive a maximum of 35 weeks of parental benefits and of course, no maternity benefits, which is 17 weeks max in total. The benefit is only around a maximum of $800 every 2 weeks - nowhere near what I earn but something is better than nothing so not complaining. I'm taking extra weeks off without benefits but not concerned as I financially planned it that way. I'm grateful that my boss granted me the extended leave as I do have a higher profile position in the company plus companies are only legislatively required to provide 35 weeks of parental leave.

Speaking of my daughter, her 100-day celebration of life is also fast approaching in late April. In the Chinese culture, it's known as a Red Egg & Ginger Party. To keep the numbers down (only 110 guests), I rented out a small Chinese restaurant (which includes a set menu for each table). This is pretty small relative to what some of my friends have done for their kids. Kids are important in all cultures but especially in the Chinese culture. I love planning parties but I'm keeping this one simple - just invitations, favours for each guest (including a photocard), a photographer, and a cool "guestbook" (as pictured but will get it made with different coloured frame, background, and hearts). Guests sign a heart and slide it down inside the photo frame.

I also need to find her a dress. There are many online stores that sell very cool baby dresses. One of my favourite online stores is LaBella Flora Children's Boutique. Given the time of the year, I would prefer a dress that had long-sleeves. I also want something classy and age-appropriate - no offense to parents who want to dress up their daughters like "adults" - I usually use a few other terms :) I'm leaning towards something like the "Katie Rose Baby Gown Girls Gown in Ivory Sara" (as pictured). It's not bad at $101 - I can save it for my daughter just in case she has a daughter of her own one day. Plus if I can spend five times that much on an individual aquarium fish, I shouldn't question such a purchase for my daughter! My friends would surely be on my case :)

Part 2 coming in the next post. A friend of mine is a celebrity blogger and always reminds me to keep my posts short and use paragraphs. I use paragraphs but not sure if my posts are actually "short" :) Of course, with two kids, I rarely finish a post in less than three sittings! LOL!

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Cute as a Button

OK, so I am biased :) My daughter looks very much like her brother at this stage minus the hair and eye colour. She'll look more biracial than her brother I suspect. Healthy as per doctor's check-up. Has a little cradle cap and eczema but that will go away.

Nothing new to report really - she's a great baby so I feel blessed. She can sleep through the night already but feedings are important for growth. Doctor agrees and says only "over-sized" babies don't need night feedings. I chuckled when he said that - my daughter is definitely not "over-sized" as she is in the 50th percentile for length, weight, and head. I really like this doctor - he's intelligent, funny, patient, and focused on the individual.

Interesting news about FRRO - I hope it works out for everyone who is impacted. I'm not sure if I am impacted or not as a single individual so I have sent an email to the clinic to inquire. My plan was to bring a surrogate over to India to get implanted with my frozen embryos. I'm hoping I can still do that although my plans for a third child have been postponed.

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!