We flew from JFK to New Delhi on February 1st on Qatar Airways (via Doha). This was my third visit to India having been to South India twice previously for the weddings of my partner's siblings. But I had never been to the North before.
We Arrived in Delhi Sunday morning, Feb 3rd. I was quite impressed with Delhi's new airport. Very modern with latest technology. Since our first SCI appointment was not until Feb 6th, we decided to take a 2-day trip to Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India. And then back to Delhi on Feb 5th. We stayed at FFOUR hotel, across the street from SCI. It was decent but nothing memorable as some of the staff did not speak English and communication was an issue at times.
|Varanasi ghats by Ganges river|
|Boat ride on holy Ganges river|
|Evening holy Hindu ceremony - Varanasi|
Our first SCI appointment was on Wednesday, Feb 6th at ISIS hospital. That's where we had to deposit samples to be frozen for future use. Then we met Dr Shivani briefly at ISIS clinic. It was so nice to finally meet the doctor who has brought so much happiness to so many people and hopefully one day will make our dream come true. We also received the profile of our surrogate. I had heard from others that SCI will provide a few surrogate profiles to choose from, but I think in February there must have been a shortage of surrogates as we only had one option. That wasn't too important for us as we trusted the doctor and her expertise.
Thursday was our day off, so we took a tour of the city which included the beautiful Lotus Temple, Humayun's Tomb, Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Raj Ghat (Gandhi's memorial), Rajpath, the India Gate, the President's residence and the Parliament Buildings. Being in India was truly amazing. So much history and tradition and so many people with different religions and traditions.
|Baha'i Lotus Temple|
Friday Feb 8th we had another appointment with the embryologist to deposit samples for freezing. Afterwards we did some sightseeing on our own. Unfortunately we came down with some stomach bug and had fever. Fortunately it wasn't too serious and we recovered in couple of days.
Saturday we had our meeting with Dr Shivani at ISIS clinic, and she gave us a tour of the facilities, and we met all her staff. Here is a similar tour of SCI that we took. It was so nice to put faces with names of all those wonderful people who have been exchanging emails with us in past few months. Then we had our legal meeting with the SCI lawyer and signed all the paperwork. After that we were introduced to our surrogate. We were not prepared as she walked into the room. We were emotional and speechless. We exchanged a few words with the help of SCI staff who translated the exchange. She was a young sweet woman whom we will be forever thankful whether she carries our child or not. She's married and has 2 young children of her own who will stay with her during pregnancy at the SCI surrogate accommodation. Later in the afternoon we visited an old friend who took us to the magnificent Akshardham, the biggest Hindu temple in the world. It was one of the most magnificent temples I have ever seen.
We had Sunday off so Rahul arranged a car service for us and we took a 3-hour trip to Agra to see the majestic Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. It was such an amazing experience and a relaxing day trip away from the hustle and bustle of the capital.
Our flight back to New York was Tuesday early morning at 4am and we made it back to JFK Tuesday afternoon, tired and jet-lagged.
We had done our part. The rest were in the hands of SCI, Dr Shivani, God and our destiny.