Rajput and Sikh Wedding Ceremonies

My husband and I have a photography/videography business, so when we found out that we were going to India, we knew we had to try to photograph a traditional Indian wedding.  I contacted about 15 wedding planners in India, and only one even responded.  She had a wedding in Jaipur on one of our “free” days to travel outside of Anand, so we got very lucky.  The families that were getting married were very wealthy by Indian standards, so the weddings were grand.  The groom was Sikh, and the bride was Rajput, so we actually saw two different wedding ceremonies.  The Sikh wedding was in the morning followed by a wedding reception, and the bride and groom wore pink for these events.  The Rajput ceremony and reception was in the evening at the Raj Palace, and the bride and groom wore red for these events. 

Here are a few pics from the Sikh Ceremony:

India

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Here I am with the beautiful bride (Divya):

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Here are some pictures of the Rajput Ceremony:

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The man on the far right is the grandson of Zail Singh, the first and only Sikh Presdident of India. The boy on the far left is the great grandson. I thought that was very cool.

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Our experience was priceless.  I was intimidated at first, because I thought we stood out as westerners, and I worried that we may not be welcomed.  Those worries were completely unwarranted.  We were welcomed with open arms, and the family and guests went out of their way at times to make us comfortable.  The groom’s uncle asked me to dance at the Sikh reception, and after he insisted, I agreed.  I’m so glad I did too, because it was a lot of fun, and everyone got a kick out of watching me try to dance to their music.  Some were laughing, and others just smiled:)  We were offered food and drinks, and were asked lots of questions.  Just as we were curious about them, some of them were very curious about us.

How Much Can a Girl Take?

I am starting to think the whole world is in on a big joke, and I’m the victim!  I had a late lunch today and turned on Dr. Phil while I ate my cornbread and bowl of vegetable soup.  The title of the show was something like “Big Family Surprise.”  Dr. Phil, his wife, two sons, and daughter in law were all up on the stage, and the announcement was that his beautiful daughter in law and son were expecting their first child.  Dr. Phil asked how they found out, and the daughter in law bragged about how it takes most couples six or seven months to get pregnant, but they got pregnant after only one month of trying.  I wanted to punch her.  Try 4 years with no success I thought!  And why was I torturing myself by watching this gross happy fest anyway?  Well, I decided I hadn’t suffered enough and continued to watch.  The daughter in law is one of a set of triplets, and Dr. Phil made another announcement later in the show that went something like this…  “And another exciting fact that you might be interested to know is that all three of the triplets are pregnant at this very moment!”  That’s when I turned the television off.

So Tired of Hurting

I’ve had a particularly bad week, and I just finished up my daily cry fest.  I feel like I have no control over anything that matters in my life.  I can’t help but feel I’m alone.  My husband is loving, he is a good man, he wants a child, and I love him dearly… but he just simply doesn’t hurt like I do.  If he does, he hides it very well.  It’s not that I want him to hurt.  It’s just that his casual attitude hurts me sometimes.  “We’ve got plenty of time” is a saying that I accepted from him for years, but it could get him hurt very soon.  Financially speaking, he wants to take time in between cycles, and he thinks I’m rushing.  We went in August, and I want to go back in December.  I feel like I’m making all of the financial sacrifices and emotional sacrifices because I am the one who is the most frantic.  Okay, so maybe I do want him to feel a little pain along with me.  The truth is, we only have a 40% chance of success each time we go, and I’m about to turn 30.  I only have one ovary, so I firmly believe that I have five years left to have a baby. 

Yesterday was a Sunday, so he was home all day.  I went into a depressed state of being, and finally fuddled into the bedroom to flop down on the bed and cry silently.  I’ve gotten good at that.  He was sweet to come check on me, but then he said the dumbest thing.  “What’s wrong?”  Really???????????????  I just replied that it is the same thing that’s always wrong, and it will be the same thing every time you feel the need to ask…so don’t.  For him, I think the problem is only there when I talk about it.  For me, it’s there every second of every day.  We have a good marriage with deep love, and it’s a good thing because infertility can really take a toll on a couple…especially when it leads you to travel to the other side of the world in a third world country to have your embryo implanted into a complete stranger and hope that she can carry and deliver it so that you can travel around the world again to pick the baby or babies up and go to a consulate to get a passport so that you can legally get your newborn back into your own country.

I grew up very close with my cousins because I was an only child.  There were three cousins who I was particularly close with.  They were like my brothers growing up really.  Damon, Stevie, and Chad are their names, and besides being my cousins they all have something else in common.  They are all expecting babies at this very moment!  Chad’s is due in November.  Oh boy:)  A newborn for the holidays.  Damon’s is due in January I believe, and Stevie’s is due in June.  These aren’t distant cousins that I will see once every couple of years.  I will be seeing all of them plenty, and while I don’t have some secret desire for the rest of the world to suffer like me, I do have a serious problem not crying around babies.  Although I’m happy for them, being around their babies will make me very sad.  It’s funny how everyone seems to be pregnant.  I’m actually surprised that one of my grandmas hasn’t made the big announcement that they are expecting.  It wouldn’t surprise me. 

And I think what is the most irritating is that whenever someone tells me that they are pregnant or that someone they know is pregnant, they always feel the need to tell me that it’s our turn!  “You and Daniel need to have a baby now.”  Of course they say it with kindness and mean no harm.  I have said that to people before too, but I can assure you that I never will again.  I can’t describe how I feel on the inside when someone says that.  For some reason the world seems to think that a couple’s reproduction intentions are public domain.  Newsflash…It’s personal, and it’s private!  Don’t ask.  If someone wants you to know that they are trying for a child they will tell you.  If they aren’t saying anything it could be for many different reasons, like because they are having marriage problems and don’t want to discuss it, or because they made an agreement to keep their private life private, or in our case… because they are having problems conceiving even though that is what they desire with every being of their soul, and your asking just makes them hurt even more. 

So seriously, don’t ask people when they are going to have kids.  Again, I used to ask that too, and I was clueless.  Most people get pregnant within one year of trying, so they have no concept of what we’re going through.  But since most people don’t realize that a couple’s reproductive plans are personal… I’m just putting it out there.  You’ve been notified:)  I’ve always chose to lie to people and say that we’re waiting for the right time financially.  I shouldn’t have been put in the position to lie.  I’ll be danged if I spill my most personal problems when I’m not ready to yet just because of someone’s curiosity.  Of course I’m spilling them now… but hopefully no one that I really know will come across this until I’m ready for them to.  I am getting closer, but I keep wanting to wait for some “positive” news.

Venting works.  I feel much better for the time being.

La Casa Inn

We traveled to Anand for our first attempt with IVF and surrogacy in August of 2009.  We chose to stay at La Casa Inn, and overall I’m sure we made the right decision.  I will start with the negatives and leave on a happy note.

First of all, because I am American I compare everything to American standards.  That is afterall what I am used to.  La Casa Inn by American standards isn’t that great, but by Indian standards it is very nice.  I believe we paid for a platinum room.  We were on the 2nd floor.  The room was just not as clean as I would have liked.  The bathrrom looked dirty, and after walking barefoot in the room I had a thick layer of dirt on my feet.  I decided to take a tuktuk to D Mart and buy some cleaning supplies.  I cleaned the sinks, shower, floors, night stands, telephone, and even the doors!  The rags continued to turn brown, so I cleaned until they didn’t!  The hotel staff thought I was insane from the beginning.  I kept asking for more rags, and they saw me cleaning.  I didn’t want to offend them, and they didn’t act offended thankfully.  Honestly, my husband didn’t think the room was dirty and would have never went through the trouble to clean it like I did.  I think I may have been a little dramatic, but then again, I felt much better after cleaning it.  I had more peace of mind just knowing that I sanitized the room to my standards.

Here is the entry way:

Entry Way

Our television didn’t have but one English speaking channel, but after speaking to another American couple next door we found out that the hotel had HBO along with a couple of other really good channels.  The manager had to come up and reprogram our television, and then we were good to go. 

The internet was very important to me, and I made sure to ask if there would be a strong, reliable connection before I booked.  They said there would be.  Haha!  There was a strong connection when it actually worked, which was about half of the time:(  I think that I lost my cool over the internet and made them feel bad.  I was just speaking honestly, but I think I probably should have just let it go more than I did.  Don’t get me wrong… I didn’t cuss them out or anything, but I did call them every single time it went out or wouldn’t work, and my tone quickly became less than sweet.  I think it was just hard to take because they always seemed so casual about it.  Don’t they know how we Americans are dependent on technology and the internet?  Don’t they know that we can go longer without water than hotmail?  Take my bread away, but don’t take away my facebook!  I had a blog to upkeep and people at home were counting on me!!!  This was an emergency, and when I called them at 2:00 am because the internet was down, they probably wondered if I was just checking in on it every ten minutes so I could have a reason to pester them.  One night there ended up being three American couples in the lobby complaining together.  Looking back, I think we looked like a mob.  But I think power is in numbers, because after that night the internet technician changed something that made the internet work.  I didn’t have any problems during my last few days of stay.  So, maybe it works better now.

I don’t really think this matters all that much, but for some reason I could only take hot showers during the day.  The few times I tried to take my shower at night, I froze my hiney off!  My usual ten minute shower was over in 2 minutes! 

The hotel room is in no way sound proof!  We stayed at a nice hotel in Delhi that was by a busy street, and we couldn’t hear a thing.  However, it sounded like the window was open at La Casa.  I was very worried about being able to sleep, but we were surprised to find that we didn’t even notice the horns after the first night.  I think I would have been disturbed if the noise suddenly stopped actually.

Here is the view from the window:

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Okay, I’m done with the negatives.  We will be going back for our second attempt with Dr. Patel soon, and we will be staying at La Casa again.  So obviously we think they have something to offer.  I didn’t tour the other hotels in town, but several couples moved from Laksh to La Casa while we were in Anand, and they all said that La Casa had bigger and cleaner rooms.

The room was very spacious, and any more space would have just been wasted.  There was an entry way with a closet, a bathroom, and the main living area with the bed, table and chairs, desk, night stands, and television. 

Table, Chairs, and American Food:

Table and Chairs

The hotel staff was very sweet, and no matter how frustrated I got about the internet, they never lost their smile or patience.  If we asked for something, they always tried to make it happen.  They worked hard for our approval, and they were always so respectful.  Actually, I look forward to going back so that I can be as sweet to them. 

Front Desk:

Front Desk

Lobby Computer for Guests:

Doorman:

Doorman

I never ate at the restaurants, so I cannot comment.  The truth is that we got so sick during our first week of traveling around India that we were only interested in eating the food we packed from home by the time we made it to La Casa.  We did have Dominoes delivered to our room a couple of times, which was great!

The hotel also arranged for a car and driver when we needed one.  The price was fair, but their driver burped constantly:) LOL!  Seriously, I kept rolling the window down so that I wasn’t breathing in burp.

Don’t drink the water even after you boil it!  This goes for anywhere in India!!  Look at was was left in the bottom after we boiled tap water:

The Water

The Surrogate House in Anand

I heard different things about the surrogate houses, but seeing it for myself was just what the doctor ordered:)  We toured the surrogate house in Anand on the day of egg retrieval, and we were very pleased.  The house is big, safe, and clean.  Here is the video we took so that you can see for yourself. 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNawsxmQT_8

And here are some pictures:

The surrogate House

The Surrogate House

Surrounding Buildings

Across the Street

Across the Street

The Living Room

The Living Room

The Living Room

A Hallway

A Hallway

The Kitchen

The Kitchen

One of many bedrooms

Bedroom

Me standing in front of house

In front of House

Hello Everyone

Okay, from this point on this is the new blog for my IVF adventures.  I had blogs for my Indian vacation for my friends and family who are not in “the know” about the surrogacy.  At this time, I’m only intentionally sharing this blog with people who are also involved with surrogacy, but if for some reason someone who knows me personally stumbles across this… I really don’t give a hoot:)  Seriously, the reason I’m not telling people that I know is because I don’t want them to ask me questions out of concern of sympathy.  I hate that kind of attention.  I just want to wait until I have some good news to tell the world what we’ve been going through. 

And to be honest, we’ve been through a lot!  I just prefer to talk about it with people that I barely know:)  I plan to use this blog to share my feelings and experiences.  I have read several blogs from candid writers about their experiences, and it really made me feel like I wasn’t ALONE.  Please feel free to email with any personal questions.  My personal email is heididaisy@live.com.