Friday, July 10, 2015

Happy 2 Months Edie & Stella

The girls turned two months old on Wednesday (July 8). They have grown so much in the past few weeks! Their next check-up is tomorrow so it will be really interesting to see how much they weigh. My guess is they are either 10 lb or 11 lb. We'll find out tomorrow... actually later today since it's already half past midnight. Just wanted to post a happy two months to our baby girls!



Edie & Stella: two months old

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What You Need to Know

If you go to Villahermosa:
First of all, stay at the Marriott! It's in a much better location. The supermarket and mall are right next door. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza. Though the food was actually really really good and the price for the food was great, there's not much around there. Just a Chili's, Domino's and a Starbucks. That's it. So go stay at the Marriott.

Here are some tips and tricks I think might help if you end up going to Clínica Médica de Jesús a.k.a. “Jesus Clinic” (as someone calls it) in Villahermosa and staying for two days at the hospital:
What to Bring for Baby(ies):
bottles you can bring one to two sets of bottles. They will provide the formula for you if you like. They gave us Similac. The nurses take your bottles and give it to you with formula ready to feed the babies every three hours - 1 oz. every three hours. We just had one bottle for each baby and they just washed it in between feedings
onesies enough for two to three a day per day so maybe 6 or so per baby just to make sure you're covered if there are any accidents
hats 3 per baby. you’re going to want to change it after the first day and they (nurses) like new ones after each bath
gloves maybe 3 per baby - they like new ones after each bath
socks maybe 3 per baby - they like new ones after each bath
pants 3-6 per baby. we didn’t bring any but they were really really adamant about having pants. Plus, you might need new ones if there's a poopy accident
swaddling blankets I’d bring 2 or 3 per baby in case they spit up on it and you can’t wash it
*diapers!!! enough for four to five days. we only brought a few thinking they would provide it, but they don’t!
wipes bring a lot, you’ll needthen
towels for the baby you can bring one for each baby and then hang them up to dry for the next day
diaper cream
baby soap
baby lotion
baby friendly laundry detergent we didn't have extra clothing and what not. We could have used it because of a late night incident where we needed to wash a few things but we ended up just using the bar soap they provided for us. If you bring extra clothes then this is not a must.

*The babies peed and pooped a lot a lot - way more than we thought and more than we read about. I guess they had a lot of waste to expel. Fun fact, their first few poops are a black tar-like substance. It’s weird! I forget the term they call it. We basically had to change their diapers after each feeding, which was 1 oz every three hours. 

U.S. Embassy
Make copies of your documents of things like the contracts, passport, birth certificates, etc. things of that nature. They'll also want to the originals. I would bring at least two copies of each. The CRBA folks will want them and the DNA folks will want them as well. 

Bring evidence of proof of residence. It's subjective so you never know what they'll ask for. One of those yearly Social Security statements might be helpful. That's what my CRBA official asked me for. That's all. We overheard others while we were waiting nearby and officers asked for college transcripts, utility bills, W-2s and what not. What we brought with us: yearly Social Securty statements, cell phone bills, tax returns, W-2s, paycheck stubs, random utility bills, college transcripts and I was able to print out a yearly calendar of attendance from work with my work email signature on it. 

Passport picture for baby(ies) 
You can get them beforehand. If you can't or don't, don't worry. There is a little kiosk right there in the Passport office where a lady will take passport photos for $60 pesos each. 

-Get there early. If you have a appointment in the morning, there will be a long line. Go to the line at the front right of the building. There you will have to go through the first set of security where they ask you what you're there for. Then he confiscates any electronics you have as well as chargers. You can't take any of that with you. You then go through a metal detector and x-ray for your items. You then go through another set of triage where a guard either directs you to a waiting area or directly straight to the window where you check-in and get a visitors badge. Once they allow you up to the first floor, you have to go through another line to wait. 

What to pack for babies:
We thought we would be clever and brings diapers and formula in boxes and get rid of those boxes as we went through things. Well, turns out we were no so clever. It was very cumbersome to lug all those boxes through the airport and to hotels. Though looking back, I think the only thing we would have brought was formula. We are using the formula from Costco so that might be the only thing we wouldn't be able to easily get there. There is a Wal-Mart in Villahermosa and in Mexico City where you can get diapers, wipes and anything else you think you might need that you forgot/didn't pack. 

I would recommend bringing their clothes, bottles (unless you want to buy those) and whatever items you think they might need like pacifiers and receiving blankets, what have you. 

We would recommend you bring your own car seats! Catherine and Joey thought it would be practical for them to supply the car seats but logistically that turned out not to work so well. It will be cumbersome on your way to Villahermosa but in the end, it works out for the better for everyone. 

The Airports
In a previous post I mentioned the airports. We went through Mexico City to get to Villahermosa. Catherine recommends you try to make a connection in the U.S. to get to Villahermosa. I think I agree. In Mexico City, you have to haul all of your stuff all over the airport without a cart! What airport doesn't allow carts?! It's crazy! Once you pick up your baggage in baggage claim, you are only allowed to use the carts up to a certain point if you, like we did, have to take a different airline. That means we had to get our baggage and check-in elsewhere because we took two different carriers. It was a pain! There are however, porter guys with dollies to haul that stuff for you. Weird they have those guys, but no carts. Anyway, try to pack as compact as possible in as few bags as possible. Once you get to VSA, it's the same thing. No carts. The airport is so small, it's pointless. There are only five gates.

Before you come home!
Deal with the immigration card issue BEFORE you leave Mexico. It's the immigration card you get when you arrive in Mexico that everyone fills out and gets stamped at the airport. It's what you MUST present to the airline the day of exit. The babies won't have one and that's what the issue is. You can get "replacement" cards around town in Mexico City from a travel agency or kiosk somewhere. You'll have to look around. You can also try the immigration office at the airport, which we had to do. That took forever! A few hours. You'll have to refer back to a previous blog. It is very difficult trying to explain how we came in with two of us and coming out with four. If you go the airport route, go very very very early - like 4-5 hours early. You will need to make copies of your docs and babies docs (birth certificates and passports). Our recommendation is to obtain the immigration cards before you leave. The U.S. Embassy said it wouldn't be an issue but it was wrong info. It's the Mexican government that needs it, not the U.S. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Happy 1 Month Edie & Stella

I can't believe it. One month old! They are growing so fast!

They had their first doctor visit in the states at 7am this morning. Really? 7am? yup. Our pediatrician apparently starts at 5:30am. At least, that's what time the nurse said she got there. She said it's helpful for parents who work so they can take their kid to the doctor prior to going to work. Makes sense.

Anyway, the girls both gained about two pounds each in their first month.

Height: 19.88" (she was about 19" at birth)
Weight: 7 lb 8.8 oz (she was 5.71 lb at birth)

Height: 19.88" (she was about 19" at birth)
Weight: 7 lb 9.3 oz (she was 5.67 lb at birth)

Happy 1 Month babies!
Edie & Stella

Sunday, June 7, 2015

We're Home!


Sorry it's taken awhile to get back. Adjusting to being back home was crazy! We had our things! We have space! We have family and friends around! We actually had to adjust to being back home with all of that. We had it down while at the hotel. Cause that's all we had. One room. We just had to get used to the new normal at home.

We've been home since the 27th of May... a little over a week now.

We almost almost didn't make it home that day. It was crazy. It was really crazy.

We planned to leave the hotel at 10am. Everything was packed and ready to go. Scott goes down a little before 10a to the lobby to get a cab. We preferred a SUV or van with all of our baggage and of course, two car seats. Turns out, it takes awhile to get one of those. 45 minutes. Great. Cab gets there at 1045a and we make it to the airport by 1115am. Perfect. Plenty of time... or so we thought.

packed and ready to go waiting for the cab:

We get to the counter and everything was good up until - 30 mins later - they needed the darn immigration forms. We had to go down to the immigration office directly below where we were. So we rush down there. They need all these copies of the passports, my passport, etc etc. To top it off, to get a copy, you had to go all the way down to Door 7 to some gift shop. That's greater than 3/4 of the way down to the other end of the terminal. Seriously?! They couldn't do it like at the U.S. Embassy where they charge you $1.00 per page for a copy? I would have gladly paid however much to make those copies there and not have to run all the way down with all of our stuff and run back. So we come back and of course, the guy we talked to who needed the copies had disappeared and now, someone else is taking our "case." The more and more Scott talked to her and the more I overheard what was happening, we kinda figured out she was pretty new. She kept asking questions to all the folks there behind the counter. Annoying. We had to explain everything all over again and with the language barrier, it got complicated. So they asked if we adopted the babies. Yes. We sure did. It was easier than trying to explain the whole surrogacy thing, you know? Remember, we got to the airport at around 1115am. At this point, it was around 1:30pm. Our flight is at 2:45pm. The flight boarding or whatever at the counter closes 50 minutes prior to departure. We finally finish at the immigration office after a whole bunch of nonsense paper work and paying and shit and rush upstairs. It's now almost exactly 2pm. Our flight is 245pm. We haven't gone through security yet. We get to the counter looking all haggard and rushed after spending the past two hours at immigration doing not a whole lot but basically waiting. The lady at the counter says boarding is closed. REALLY?!? But Scott is a employee! Couldn't they make an exception? They radio up to the gate and ask. She says, ok. So she gives us our boarding passes and we rush to security.

Oh man! The line is not too long, but it was longer than when Scott had to rush up there maybe 10-15 minutes prior to. So we get in line, and go through. It's now about oh, 215pm or so. Maybe 220pm. We seemed to wait in line forever. Scott and I switch and he now has both girls and I have the roller bag and backpack and diaper bag. I end up going through first. I said I would run over to the gate to see if they can hold off or do whatever. I get through and they, of course, are having issues with Scott and the babies. Ok, I grab our bags and run over to the gate. We were at gate 36, I think, which seemed like it was all the way at the end of the terminal. I had to run through what seemed like the longest corridor ever to get to the actual gates. It was three medium length walking escalator things. Whatever those are called. I get to where the gates are and our gate thankfully is right there! Yes! They were just starting to board the first A group. SCORE!

I run back to the longest corridor ever to find Scott. I see him kinda rushing as much as he could with the two babies in their car seats. We make eye contact and I give him the thumbs up. Phew! Relief! I meet up with him and we make our way to the gate. It's now probably 230pm or so? We finally board the plane and make our way home!

We couldn't believe it took so long! We thought we got there early enough to deal with the immigration stuff. It was non-stop from the moment we got to the airport at 1115am through to boarding the plane at around 220pm or so!

adios Mexico City... until next time!

Edie & Stella's second plane ride:

We land at SNA and got to take some pics in the cockpit! How cool is that!?!! 

Scott & Stella
Aaron & Edie

Aunties Alissa (Issy) and Stacy were right there at the exit of the customs waiting for us! Ahhh!!!

Oh and during decent when they made the announcement on the plane and said, "Welcome to the United States!" it felt so great! We were beyond ecstatic especially since we almost almost didn't make it home that day.

At SNA, it got even better when we get to the counter to re-check our bags. It's a good thing we didn't dilly-dally and checked in right away because the 5:20pm flight to OAK was delayed an hour so everyone on that flight who got to the airport early enough took the previous flight at 3:30pm, which was also delayed an hour. Therefore, the 5:20pm flight was now open! We originally planned on the 8pm flight back home which would have given us about four hours on the ground. Plenty of time to go through customs, get our bags and re-check in and maybe get a bite to eat. We hadn't eaten anything that day cause we thought we would have time at SNA. We were happy to take the earlier flight back. No problem!

Going through security was yet again, another adventure! Four adults, two infants. Thankfully, there were not a lot of people going through security. Stacy and I go through with Edie first. Scott and Alissa are right behind us with Stella. Of course, at this point, people think we're a couple and Edie is our new baby. Whatever, just go with it. Anyway, so we go through and then Alissa is right behind us. Scott is at the end holding Stella. Right after Alissa goes through, the conveyer belt at the one security section jams. So Scott is still stuck behind the metal detector holding now, a crying Stella cause it's time to eat. They were supposed to eat right when we landed. It's around 5:15pm now. So Scott goes through with Stella and they have to scan his hands and stuff (I guess in case he has some sort of substance on his hands?) and it set off some alarm or something. Stella still crying. It was a mess! Bags and car seats everywhere, people around, Scott being detained. He had to go through a strip search. It was crazy. It was just exactly par for the course for the day. Of course.

Babies third plane ride!

Stacy & Edie

We made it though! We made it safely to OAK and safely home at around 830pm. We got to ride in our own car and the babies got to use their very own car seats!

My family came over and we requested on the way back home they bring Chinese food. We haven't had that in a month!

Amongst all the excitement and what not of finally being home with the girls and the family coming by, I forgot to take pics. Oh well, there will be many more pictures to come!

That's about it so far. Just have folks coming by to visit here and there and us trying to get used to being home and getting a routine down, which I think we have now. The girls are still waking up to feed in the middle of the night, but that's ok.

Thanks to all who read this!

Here are Edie & Stella at 26 Days:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

¡Adios Mexico!

We are almost outta here!

We are currently waiting on a cab to take all four of us and all of our belongs to the airport. 

We thank CEFAM and our surrogate and her family for our two beautiful baby girls! 

Thanks to our coordinators Catherine and Joe for guiding us through every step and for being our advocate. We could not have done it without you both!!  

Thanks to Dr. Escorza for being the best OB around! We were able to "attend" each ultrasound appointment via Skype because of her! She's also super super nice!

That's all for now! Next time I update this, we'll be back home! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Got Em!


We have been waiting and waiting and waiting. We waited for what seemed like forever today for the DNA results to come back. We go out to lunch at around 2pm and come back about an hour later. We come back to zero emails. 

We contact Joey (coordinator), who was in contact with the lab and they said they just sent the results to the embassy ten minutes ago. At the same time, I'm emailing Stella at the embassy. No reply. So we thought, we should just go. Just go and check it out. We can go back in the morning if we needed to. 

I quickly change to a more appropriate attire - pants and a button up shirt - for the embassy and quickly walk the four blocks or so. I made it there in fewer than ten minutes I think. I was just trying to get there as fast as possible. 

I get there and tell the guard I needed to
see Stella about the passports. They let me in and I go through the whole confiscating the cell phone thing and security and getting the visitor pass and make my way up. 

I finally get to talk to Stella and says their computers have been down for the past couple hours. They got online just as I got there. So she printed out the DNA results and hands them to Will (the CRBA Officer who interviewed me) and he begins to process the passports. It took maybe 20-30 minutes for them to print out. I was the only one in the waiting room. It was weird compared to Wednesday morning where it was packed full of people. While I was waiting, I noticed a sign that said "Maximum Capcity 49." There were definitely greater than 49 people Wednesday morning. 

After a little bit, Stella come walking out with two passports!!!!!!! FINALLY!!!! I don't think I've ever been more excited to see two little blue booklets! It was exciting! 

Now, time to check the flights! We waited until we had passports in hand cause we've already gone down that road before where things are promised and never happen. We actually packed this morning on the off chance we got the passports early enough to catch the 245pm flight. 

ciao for now...

28 Hours

As of this hour, that's how much more time we're trapped here in Mexico City. 

Not gonna lie, it's getting to us. We're not really trapped, it just kinda feels that way. 

We're a basically a slave to the process. The entire process. It sucks. It sucks so bad because we have zero control over it. It's also the timing of everything. 

The twins (it's still weird to say and write that) were born on a Friday. That's fine, we were discharged Sunday afternoon and got the hospital birth certificates during discharge. Great, we submit those to the lawyer on Monday. In theory we would have been able to get official birth certificates by Wedneasay or Thursday. Instead, we waited seven business days, that's nine days total. For nothing. It seriously all could have been done in maybe a total of two to three days. Max. It's really hard to fathom what the fuck took so fucking long to get the birth certificates!?! It's cause our lawyer was fooling around? I dunno. No contracts were signed, nothing was notarized, nothing was submitted early. That's even with our coordinators pushing pushing pushing him to get shit done. We had everything on our end ready to go. We had all of what they needed from us I think at least a couple months beforehand. So, what the F, dude. 

We finally get the birth certificates a week and half later. We get the appointment at the embassy the very next morning. Great! They say if we get the DNA test results back by Friday they can issue passports that day and we would be able to leave over the weekend. Fantasic! Oh but wait, there's more. Didn't get results on Friday. Therefore, no passports. Also, there's a freaking American holiday on Monday! Therefore, the U.S. Embassy is closed on Monday!!! Grrrreaaat... Three extra days here... Super awesome... We absolutely love it. 

Got a email from Stella at the Embassy this morning saying she would contact the lab. She heard back and emailed me saying the lab would get the results to them "this morning." Well, it's basically past "this morning" now. We are here for one day more. One day fewer at home with our babies and the closer to the time we have to go back to work. 

It's 11:30am. Still no word from the U.S. Embassy. The only flight we can take is at 2:45pm. 

I'll keep you updated.

By the way, thank you for reading and flowing along throughout this entire process!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Finally in Mexico City

Yes! We finally made it to Mexico City!

We spent too much time waiting for the birth certificates in Villahermosa. 

Our room at the Crowne Plaza

Nonetheless, we finally got them on Tuesday afternoon and we were on the last flight out to Mexico City AAAAND Babies first plane ride!

Stella's first plane ride VSA>MEX
Edie and Scott were in another row and I couldn't get to them. I also accidentally sat in a Economy Plus row hahaha

We would have gotten out at 6pm but that was a extra $400 for the both of us. So we opted for the 850pm flight. We got into Mexico City and to our hotel a couple hours later. 

The girls at Mexico City Airport waiting for our baggage

We took a cab from the airport to the hotel. When you're at the airport and you need to take a cab, follow the signs out to where it says Taxis and there are various stands where you can pre-pay for a taxi. Tell them where you are going and they will charge you accordingly. 

Anyway, we got the birth certificates Tuesday afternoon and I almost had a heart attack or panic attack of some sort because our lawyer had left to make copies of some documents really quick and left us with his mother who had connections with the Civil Registry. She is super nice but doesn't speak English. So the Civil Registy closes at 3:00 pm. Almost to the dot. So 3:00 pm rolls around and they start packing things up. At this point I see no birth certificate in hand and I'm sitting there with the girls and our lawyer's mother turns to me and says, "mañana." I'm like, WTF dude! What do you mean mañana!?!?!?!? So I turn to Joey who is one of our coordinators and he's like, no way. I see it, we're gonna get it. He flags down our lawyer and tells him what's going on. At this point most of the employees at the Civil Registry are almost done shutting the place down. He goes up to the counter and is nonschalant about it. Meanwhile, I'm freaking the fuck out cause all we want to do is get the H out of Villahermosa. Turns out, Mexico has two different types of birth certificates. A long form and a short form. We just need the long form for the U.S. Embassy. His mother was saying mañana about the short form, which we don't need. Phew! She had the long form all along. I guess she didn't realize we just needed the long form. With those long form birth certificates in hand, we make our way back to the hotel. When we get to the hotel, Scott starts searching for flights and I immediately email the U.S. Embassy. I had been in contact with them earlier in the morning because I kept having to reschedule our appointment. We had a appointment scheduled for Friday, May 15. That's exactly one week from, the babies birth. We didn't get the BCs the week of the 11th and hoped to get it by Friday at least so we re-scheduled for the morning of Monday the 18th. So Friday afternoon rolls around and still nothing. We have to wait until Monday. WTF dude! Talk about frustrating! I, yet again, have to reschedule our appointment at the embassy. I swear they hate us now cause we keep having to reschedule. So we reschedule for Wednedsay morning at 8am. By the way, they only do appointments Monday's, Wednesday's and Friday's. So, plan accordingly for those that have to go. Also, it turns out, there are two different appointments you have to make. One for the CRBA (Certified Record for Birth Abroad) and one for the DNA. I would start with emailing and go from there. We did that and someone picked up our case. That person who picked up our case was basically only in charge of the DNA test stuff. The CRBA appointment is scheduled through someone else. Yeah, didn't know that! That part wasn't very clear. So I was in communication with someone for the DNA tests which we scheduled at 2:00 pm the next day. She had told us they would be able to squeeze us in for the CRBA as well. Well, this is where you have to contact the two different people. We got some attitude at the window saying they emailed us to confirm but I never got anything. At least, I should say I never saw anything from the email address. Yes, I looked in the junk folder. 

We get to the hotel late and had to be up in just a few short hours to feed the babies and get ready to go to the embassy. We basically got zero sleep and man oh man it was rough! We leave our hotel at 710am or so with babies in tow and all of our papers. It's a whole lot of papers too. We walked the few blocks to the embassy. We thought about cabbing it but it's better we didn't because it was rush hour! If we took a taxi it would take forever. It was faster walking at that point. 

Some Tips for the U.S. Embassy:
🔹Take as few things with you as possible. They will confiscate (just temporarily) any electronic thing you have. Scott brought his backpack full of stuff and he basically had to empty it. They have what I'll call a Phone Check. You know, like coat check but for phones. They will make you put anything electronic including chargers in a ziplock and give you a number. 
🔹Get there 45-30 minutes early. You have to wait in line at the front gate. Just go straight to the line at the front gate and don't bother asking about the other lines on the side of the building. There's a lot of security all around. There will be a long line if you go in the morning. Shorter line as he day goes on. Once you get through that line, you have to go through security. After that, you kinda go to a triage area. A security guard will either point you to the sitting area out front or to the line to get your visitor pass. There will be another line to go wait in once you get upstairs. 
🔹Bring your passport!
🔹If you bring babies with you, bring a diaper bag with enough stuff for at least two diaper changes and at least one feeding, maybe two. You might be ther awhile. 
🔹Make two copies of everything: Passport, contracts, birth certificates, your birth certificate, etc. They will ask for it and if they do it, it's $1 per page so you don't want them doing it. 
🔹Get passport photos taken while you're waiting in Villahermosa. That will take up a small chunk of time. If not, there is a lady at the Passport office who will take it for $60 pesos each. That's about a little fewer than $4.00 USD. 

We get through all that rigamroll and finally get upstairs only to go through another triage. We get called up by a dude and have to give him all the documents and copies of things. They want originals and copies. I dunno, he wanted some copies and some originals. Just be prepared to present both. He was nice. The lady who I had been communicating with about the DNA tests came out to check in on us. She was super nice. She kept us up to date on what was happening. Oh! If you are taking a DNA test, do not eat or anything, you or baby, up to two hours prior to testing. We wait some more and more. We fed the girls and had to change them and sure enough, when it was my turn for the CRBA interview, I was in the bathroom changing one of the girls. Happens everytime! So I had to wait for the my guy to finish with someone else. I get up there and he was nice and chatty. The CRBA interview was a lot less informal than we thought it would be. It's set up like a bank behind bullet resistant windows. So you're talking the whole time through the window. It's hard to hear them sometimes. So the official, William, was so nice and made me feel at ease and explained everything and what not. That was much easier than I thought it would be. We complete that and we had to pay for thigns at the cashier. The cashier takes American credit/debt cards. So we got the front of the embassy at around 7:30am and left at around 10:45/11:00 am or so. 

We grab some food, feed the girls and hang out at Starbucks for a bit. We had to go back for the DNA appointment at 1:30pm. Scott and I already did our DNA sample part weeks before back home. So it was just the girls. We finally do the cheek swabs and we finally got back to the hotel and we just crashed! Napping never felt so good! 

They overnight the DNA kits and hope to have the results Friday. Well, that didn't happen so we are stuck here until at least Tuesday. It's a holiday on Monday so that is a whole extra day we have to stay. It depends on when we get the passports on Tuesday. That's actually if we get them. If it's in the morning, there might be a chance we can go home that afternoon. If not, we'll most likely get to leave Wednesday. 

Fingers crossed!!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015: Part II - The Afterbirth

I don't think I ever told you the specs of the babies... 

Edie Grace was born at 1140 am and weighed 5.71 lb

Stella Kay was born at 1141 am and weighed 5.67 lb

The nurses came and gave the babies their first feedings.
After that, we realized a couple hours later they just leave you alone and basically have you fend for yourself. It's crazy. We thought, wow, really?

They are just leaving us here with these two brand new human being babies?! Us? I mean, Scott and I are both totally ok with babies. I've been around both my nieces alone as infants since they were born as well as other cousins and what not. Scott has a huge family so he's been around babies and what not. We were both ok but we thought it was just weird they did that. It's not really like American hospitals where they come in all the time for check-ups and what not. At least, from what I hear. I've never experienced it myself, so I don't know. Our OBGYN Dr. Escorza came by to visit us along with the other OB who both did the delivery. Dr. Escorza is just amazing! We can not say more good things about her. She's the best! Dr. E came by and then other nurses and pediatricians on duty came by to check Edie and Stella. They are under a heat lamp cause they need to stay warm.
By the way, it's hot as a mofo here. Not only is it hot, it's humid. Naturally, everyone here is used to it, but we're from the San Francisco Bay Area so we're not used to it. We come from the land of microclimates and fog. We kinda kept having a kind "dispute" with the doctors and nurses cause they kept thinking it was too cold for the babies. We had to find a happy medium. So we would turn the A/C fan thing on for a few minutes at a time and then turn it off so it wouldn't be too cold. We just needed some relief. We were up on and off for 48 hours anyway so we were able to kinda regulate the temperature the whole time. Here's a little tip for anyone going to this Clínica Médica de Jesús especially if you're staying there: turn the A/C on as soon as the nurse or doctor leaves the room. That will give you a long time to cool the room down before they come back.

After the change of shift in the afternoon, they move us to a different, more permanent room down the hall. Turns out we were in a temporary holding room, as we were in a room right next to the O.R. The nurse moves us to room 103. We set up and make ourselves "at home" once again. The folks there at Clínica Médica de Jesús were super super nice. We were so thankful and lucky they gave us our own room for two whole nights with our babies!
Basically, what happens while you're there with your new baby(ies) is kinda all up to you. You feed them, you change them, put them to sleep and whatever else you need to do. The thing they did which was convenient was keep track of the babies feedings and brought in the formula in the bottle ready to go. We fed our babies 1 oz. every three hours. We set the alarms on our phones so we would be on track each time. I found it was best to set the next feeding as soon as the alarm went off for that current feeding. We would push the call button sometimes, mainly during the overnight hours, and the nurse or aide would come in with bottles in hand already. So they knew what was going on. The other thing the nurses did was give the babies baths everyday. I will write down on the next post tips and tricks for your stay at Clínica Médica de Jesús. I only put that down because we didn't go to any other hospital.

We spent the next couple days with our babies - Sleeping when they slept. By the way, doctors and nurses make rounds starting at around 7am. We slept when they slept as much as we could. There is a extremely small eating area with snacks and drinks you can purchase. At lunchtime, there is sometimes warm food. There are usually sandwiches. Thankfully, our coordinators Catherine and Joe came back Friday (the day the babies were born) and brought food - KFC and various snacks to hold us over. YES! It was great! Warm food! We were starving because we didn’t get to eat lunch, but for good reason. They came back Saturday afternoon and brought more food from McDonalds this time. They had great timing because we barely had a lunch at that point. The cafeteria had quesodillas and some warm meat/bread thing so we had that earlier in the day.

I forgot to mention the day after the birth, Saturday, we took the babies upstairs to our surrogate’s room. Before the delivery, she and her husband asked if we could come back with the babies so they can all get pictures with them and their own three kids. So after we had a quick bite of our brunch, we took the babies up to see Tati and her family. Her husband and three kids were there and her husband Alejandro quickly left to get Tati’s sister. During that time her and her three young kids checked out the babies. It was a nice visit. Alejandro was super excited to hold them too. I thought it was a nice touching moment for them to hold the babies they helped bring in to the world for us. Tati’s sister came in and held them too. Another lady came in a little bit later, which we think was Tati’s mom. She seemed a little unsure about the whole thing, however everyone else was happy. I guess it’s not for everyone. Whatever the case, it was a nice touching moment and Alejandro took so many pictures with them and their kids with our kids. They kept blessing our babies with the sign of the cross on their foreheads.

Alone with newborn twins? It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought. I think the adrenaline rush from their birth kept us going and going. Plus, it’s the only thing we needed to do. So we switched off taking care of them - meaning, I took one and Scott took one. We were only taking care of one at the same time. So it wasn’t all that bad. Just remember to sleep at every moment you can while you’re there and I guess, while you’re in your hotel room when you get back. We were free to come and go as we please and go back to the hotel but I think neither of us wanted to leave. There is a shower in the bathroom and they provide you with soap, towel and toilet paper. You needed to bring your own stuff, even more toilet paper, if you needed more. We stayed the whole two nights.

We were discharged on Sunday afternoon. Note to any IPs staying at Clínica Médica de Jesús: you need to pay for your surrogates cafeteria bill or any other bill she might incur. It was totally fine with us to do so. Another note: cash only. So we get packed up and actually, we packed up way way earlier in the morning. We were SO ready to get out of there. The babies got one more bath and check-up from the pediatrician before we left and another feeding. We left at around 1345 and our ride back to the hotel was, get this….. a regular Taxi!
We wanted to just get back to the hotel so we piled in. Also, there were no seatbelt in the back and I held on to the carseats for dear life. It was a short maybe 5-8 minute drive back to the hotel. The taxi driver was careful to avoid the pot holes and bumps and what not.

So here we are, nine days later (sorry to write part two so late, it’s kinda hard to find a good chunk of time to write) and we’ve been at the hotel. We are here this long because we are waiting for our official birth certificates. Remember, things don’t run the same here as back home in the U.S. so you will need need need to pack your patients like no other! Start practicing your patience now! It’s actually not too bad being here trapped in the hotel. It’s great great great bonding time with the babies because you have no other responsibilities other than to the babies.

Personally, I think waiting of the official birth certificates thing is kind of…… dumb. A co-worker texted the other day and said you can’t leave the hospital at home without a birth certificate! Again, you have to remind yourself we’re not in the United States and things don’t run here the way we are used to. Things that should have been done by the lawyer long before the births, were only taken care of after the birth and not only after, four days after birth! I know, I know. Like I said earlier, pack your patience!! We got word Friday afternoon whatever the Civil Registry office needed from us they got and approved the birth certificates. Why they couldn’t just print those two pieces of paper out on Friday before end of business, I can not even try to explain. We had a appointment at the U.S. Embassy scheduled for Friday morning which we had to reschedule to next week. Our coordinator Joe keeps pushing and pushing for our lawyer to try to get the birth certificates ASAP. It sucks because it just prolongs our stay here away from home. We can’t really afford too much more! I already have to go back to work sooner rather than later. Anyway, Scott is kinda feeling trapped being here in the hotel room and I’m slowly getting there. Coincidentally we are binge-watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Great show! It helps pass the time and it’s great to binge-watch a show like that.

Here is what I put together for the Facebook announcement. How 2015 of us. My iPhone says Edie was born at 1140am and Stella was born a minute later at 1141am but the hospital wrote differently. So that's what I put down. 

More to come later! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

We will never forget that day! That's the day our identical twin girls were born!

I have about 45 minutes until the next feeding. So, here we go!

They're here! It's kind of hard to believe. We are over the moon, excited, happy and every other adjective you can think of. It's so great!

I had a hard time sleeping Thursday night/early Friday morning. I was anxious and everything else you can imagine if you have a scheduled c-section later that day for your twins to be born. Am I the only one who might feel that way? We got up pretty early because we needed to be up and picked up by Ignacio at 9am. We hardly ever eat breakfast but the night before we decided we probably should eat breakfast because we didn't know how things would go the next day. So we got up, went down for breakfast. It was a buffet breakfast, but I was so excited and nervous I could barely eat. I really forced myself to eat. Hard to believe right?! LOL Anyway, we eat, run upstairs and then head down. Right before we walked out, much like we did right before we left our house, we said, this is the last time we'll be in this room alone. At the time, it was hard to wrap our head around that. We head to the hospital, Clinica Medica De Jesus which we call "Jesus Clinic," not knowing what was going on or really, what to do. We basically sat in the car in silence. We get to the hospital and by the way, our deliver c-section was set for 11:00am. We knew our surrogate Tatiana would be there already. We end up going to hang out in her room for a little bit, where we met her husband. It was nice to finally meet her and her husband, Alejandro. Both are super nice and were so happy for us and them too. Though they don't speak any English and my Spanish sucks (Scott at least can speak/understand a lot lot more than I could) we still managed to communicate with each other just fine. Right before we left we got Tatiana's husband and kids some San Francisco Giants t-shirts. It's not much, but we thought it would be nice for them to get a little something too. After all, they were a HUGE HUGE part of this pregnancy. 

We spent maybe 15-20 minutes in there before they moved Scott and I to our own room. We wait for maybe another 45 minutes. In that time, we fell asleep! I think it was because neither of us really slept the night before, we sat there and napped for maybe 10-15 mins. Our OB Dr. E comes in with a couple other folks and lets us know we are about 20-30 minutes away for delivery. They had to set up the O.R. and get Tati down there and prepare her. They leave and at that point we start to freak out! Holy Shit It's Happening!!!!!!!!!! Our coordinators Catherine and Joe (there you go Joe, you're "Joe" on here!) come in and very soon after that, a nurse comes in and gets us! She also asks for clothes, hat, gloves, socks, diapers and pants for the babies! Whaaaat??? They need all that? Yup! We are not in America! We were kinda not prepared for that right at that moment but thankfully we packed everything to last a few days for both us and the babies since we didn't know what was going to happen. We knew they were going to give us a room for the two nights but we didn't know much else after that. We tear our diaper bag apart quickly grabbing what they asked for. The only thing we didn't have were pants for the babies. Who knew they needed pants in 95 degree and high high humidity weather?! Plus, don't babies usually just have a diaper and a onesie wrapped up in a blanket? Not here in Mexico!

They take us to the prep area and our OB, Dr. E, hands us each a set of scrubs. We change and then we had to put on shoe covers and the head gear. They had us wait outside the O.R. until they were all set.

Our OB and those other folks our OB came to our room with... yeah, one of them looked all of 12 years old was another OB who was going to do the surgery! We thought she was an assistant or something like that. She was tiny! They scrub up and then head inside. Meanwhile, we are still standing outside and we're having our moment alone... for the last time ever. It's great though. 
Then... we hear loud music! Hilarious! It was like a par-tay in side the O.R.! Someone from inside comes out and asks if we're the dads and takes us in. There are two stools in the corner by the door for us. We sit there and they have already started, with the music blaring - appropriately with a DJ-like mix of Jersey Boys' "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." It was a sight to see them all dancing along to the music while they've got a scalpel and cauterization thing, needles going into IVs and scissors and suctions, the whole nine, all going about the room. We sit there for maybe 10 minutes while they open up Tati and then the music changes to One Direction. I have to say, I will never ever dislike that song now. It was "What Makes You Beautiful." A O.R. guy comes over to us and waves us over. It's time!!!! He says that we can't move past a certain point, but with all the stuff happening around us, I so didn't understand what the heck he was saying. I think he figured it out and he physically moved me up to a certain point by the surgical trays. I had a video camera by the way that our coordinators let us borrow to film the whole thing. I know in the U.S. that's hardly ever allowed these days with all the malpractice suits and what not, but they didn't say anything about it! So I kept filming. It was time and it was AMAZING!

We were standing side by side holding each other as they were cutting the last of whatever they needed to cut and you can see baby #1's head right there. They cut it open and pull out baby #1 who is Edie and was screaming right as she was pulled out! It was one of those moments where everything just happens really really fast and slow at the same time. It was crazy! We were so excited to find out if we were having girls or boys. We saw, and both yelled out at the same time, "Girls!!!!"
She gets pulled out and then a pediatrician standing by takes her and cleans her up and checks up on her and what not. She's still screaming like no other. Another moment I found funny, maybe just to me though, was when I was shooting the birth of the first baby, the other pediatrician on the other side of the room gestures to me to go and follow baby #1 with the camera to the warming table thing while she gets checked up and what not. Then about two minutes later, baby #2 comes out, who is Stella.
Baby #2 is taken out with a loud scream and then swept over to the other pediatrician standing by and she calms down and is pretty quiet while the doctor is checking up on her and getting cleaned up.

Scott and I are overwhelmed with excitement and joy and we both didn't know which one to go to stand by and watch. We kept switching off and wanted to be together and see it all together. It was like a game of tag! The babies were on opposite ends of the room. So we were switching off going back and forth to see our baby girls. Scott was with Stella at the time, so he got to cut the remaining chord.
Turns out, the chord is really tough! You really gotta get in there and cut. I was able to cut Edie's a little later on too. They also stamped our forearms with their footprints. Scott got Edie's footprint and I got Stella's.
It was kinda like a stamp you would get going into a nightclub hahaha! They continued to check up on them and clean them and then they started to put the clothes on the babies we gave them before the birth.

The babies were handed off to us it was just beautiful holding our babies. I got Edie first and then handed her off to Scott.
The doc taking care of Stella walked her over to the surrogate to show her and then Scott went and showed her Edie. After that they handed Stella over to me. The nurses and what not offered to take pictures of us with the babies - our first family photos- so we took them in the O.R.!
They took us out of the O.R. while they finished closing up Tati. We made our way to the room they gave us where our coordinators Catherine and Joe were waiting. There, they had bassinets set up with a heating lamp for each of them. Our coordinators gave us a moment alone with the two and we just stared at them and held them for what seemed like a really long time. I think it was just maybe 10 minutes or so. I dunno, it was hard to comprehend the time and what not. You know?
A couple nurses came a little later with their bottles and fed them their first feeding!

Pictures for this entry and part 2 to come later on, hopefully today. I have to run out to meet with our lawyer.