Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Some first piccies ...

We have arrived in New Delhi (about three hours ago!) and we went straight to Phoenix Hospital.

Here are some piccies we quickly grabbed, before we headed off to the guest house.

Remember ... watch this space! ;-)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The whirlwind continues ...

Okay ... this one's gunna be short and sweet ...

We arrived home from the UK late last night, after a horror first leg. The girls REFUSED to go to sleep in the basinettes, so I spent a large part of the 12-hour flight walking up and down the aisles with the girls, trying to tire them out. The girls won many a heart with the other passengers, however, with Gaia strutting up and down, waving and blowing kisses to everyone, with Evelyn following along fluttering her huge brown eyes and grinning her cheeky, toothy grin.

Today, heads congested with jet lag, we completed our DNA testing, and we are flying out to Delhi ... TONIGHT! :-/ (Talk about double-whammy of jetlag! Hmmm ... more airplane food! *sigh*)

But it will all be worth it when we finally get to meet and hold our dear son ... Reuben. :-))

So once again ... watch this space ...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Welcome to the World ...

It is with great delight that Trevor and I welcome to the world ...


Born Saturday, September 4, at 11:49am (New Delhi time)

Surrogate and baby doing very well.


Wow ... what a whirlwind couple of days this has been!

We had arrived back from staying Wednesday night with Trevor’s mum Ellen in Cannock, to find an email from Dr Shivani saying that the surrogate had gone into pre-term labour, was having some bleeding (with clots), the baby was in breech position, and so would definitely be a caesarean.

After a few frantic emails back and forth, Dr S assured us that the surrogate and baby were both well, and that the birth could happen at any time … but hopefully in a week’s time. It was all up to “Baby R” and Mother Nature of course!!!

8:30am Saturday morning (UK time), we were awoken by a phone call from Dr S saying “Congratulations! Your baby has been born and it’s a boy!”. We both bolted out of bed, went into the girls’ bedroom to find two smiling faces peering at us from over the edge of the cot, and we all went downstairs for our traditional group “jelly hug” … where Aunty Brenda found us “grinning like Cheshire Cats”.

Reuben Harvey Alexander ...
  • Reuben For my father who passed away when I was 10
  • Harvey For two of Trevor's heros ... Harvey Milk and Harvey Fierstein
  • Alexander Gramps' name.
Even though it is going to be a few days before we get to Delhi to meet him in person, we know that Dr Shivani and her wonderful team will be taking very good care of him, as we have the utmost faith in the staff at Phoenix Hospital. We are so much more relaxed this time than last …

We will be arriving back in Melbourne on Monday night, and then it’s going to be another whirlwind of making sure the girls are settled with Aunty Barb who will be moving into our house while we are going, repacking, and then off to the airport once again! I can see the massive amount of jetlag looming on the horizon now! LOL

As many of you may know, my sister Barbara took four week’s leave to come with us when we collected Evelyn and Gaia from India. She is taking more time off to look after them while we will be in India collecting Reuben, and it is with great pleasure that he was born on her birthday. What a birthday present for Aunty Barb! We love you and thank you for all the help and support you have given over the past year and a half. Mwah!

And congrats to the 55 people (79%) who guess correctly in the poll! :)

Watch this space …

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Some Chez Truro moments ...

After spending a week with Aunty Brenda and Uncle Eric in Chelmsford, we have travelled down to our good friends Dalene and Alex's house in London ... known to those who have visited, as 'Chez Truro' ...

We are always made so welcome, with lots of good conversations over a few glasses of wine. Chez Truro held it's annual "Summer BBQ" last Sunday, and the girls got to meet lots of friends past and present.

Dalene, the spectacular photographer she is, could not resist getting the camera out to capture The Munchkins ... (As you may see, Gaia has decided that she can feed herself! kinda ...)

Gaia and Evelyn with their Aunty Dalene

No Daddy ... I CAN do it myself!


I know ... in the mouth ...

After deciding that a day in Romford (Trevor's old stomping ground) with our dear friend Melanie hitting the shopping centres (LOVE Baby Next and Baby Gap!) was not enough, we are leaving our little treasures in the hands of Aunty Dalene, so that I can finally get to see the famous Harrods store in Knightsbridge. Look out Mr Visa!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The girls meet their Gramps ...

Well ... we have safely arrived in the UK after an 8ish hour flight from Melbourne to KL, and then a 12ish hour flight from KL to London. The girls travelled really well, and slept for a good solid 8-hours when we took off from KL.

After arriving at Heathrow and meeting Uncle Eric, we drove to Chelmsford for a few days of well deserved rest (the girls recovered from their jetlag long before we did!), before we drove into Romford, London, where GAD and GUS (that's Great Aunty Doreen and Great Uncle Stephen!) had organised a family get-together so all of our UK in-laws could meet the girls, and we could meet all the other recent additions to the mob - Alec and Sian's son Theo, Emma and Vinnie's son Lucas, and Maxine and Matt's daughter Alice.

Adults and children everywhere ... lots of food ... lots of laughter ... and some very tired girls by the end of the day. (Nap? What nap?)

But the highlight of the day - definitely - was Evelyn and Gaia meeting their 96yo Great Grandfather Alexander ... or Gramps as he prefers! LOL

Gaia with Gramps

Evelyn with Gramps

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's official! We are BOTH parents ...

With great nervousness and excitement, we had our day in the Family Court recently, where we petitioned for parental orders so that the non-bio-dad (NBD) of Evelyn and Gaia can have the same rights afforded to him as a "normal" couple.

After being shown into a courtroom, the Registrar started by saying that she usually never reads the case notes before a hearing, but for some reason she read ours, and point-blank said that she and the Senior Registrar did not have the powers to grant our request.

She then went on to say that, however, she had managed to find a free court and a judge, who was waiting upstairs "now", and would hear our case!

Trevor and I, lawyer Peter Berry (Berry Family Law) and our Barrister, Susan Buchanan, waited upstairs until the courtroom was ready. We then went in and sat in front of His Hon. Justice Cronan.

His Honor said that he was not sure he could grant our request, but with some assistance from Ms Buchanan, you could see the little light go off in his head, that he could actually grant the orders!

As we went through "the process", you could almost see him ticking off boxes on his list, and after some evidence provided by us on the stand (now THAT was a nerve-wracking experience!) he said something along the lines of ... blah blah blah "Mr Elwell and Mr West - who I will now refer to as 'the parents' ... !!!!!

At that stage I can't exactly remember what went on. I'm sure Trevor has a bruise on his knee from where I was squeezing so hard, and the tears were definitely starting to roll down our faces ...


Why did we have to do this?

Because we, as a same-sex couple, cannot marry in Australia, we do not automatically get the same rights over children as a heterosexual couple do when they marry. We also cannot adopt, second-parent adopt, or cross-adopt ... so basically, the NBD had NO official rights over the girls. What happened if the bio-dad (BD) was in an accident? The NBD can be refused entry as he is technically not "family", he also cannot sign any paperwork in regard to the welfare and well-being of the girls.

But now ... woo-hoo!!!

Our latest scans ...

We have also just received our 28-weeks scans of "Baby R" ... growing nicely, and still expecting to be delivered the last week of September.

A quick update on the girls ...
Evelyn - three top teeth, three bottom
Gaia - two bottom teeth, and two top teeth (after a few interrupted nights of sleep!)

Gaia can now also sign "more" and "cat" ... clever bunny she is! (no, there are no hearing problems, but we have been using Australian Baby Hands since the girls were newborns as a means of communication).

It's only a couple of weeks until we all fly to the UK so the girls can meet Trevor's relatives - especially his 97yo grandfather (who Skypes and was busy rebuilding his computer last time we spoke to him!).

We are back for a week or so, and then off to India again! Tickets are booked, visas are being organised ... watch this space!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Let the countdown ... BEGIN!

It is now the 10-week countdown until "Baby R" arrives! (nervous / excited / exhilerated much?!?!)

We are in the process of getting our Indian visas sorted, and the flights are booked, so it really is happening. I do have to admit, I am looking forward to a couple of days in Bali before we land in New Delhi ... am in need of a rest.

A quick update on the girls ...
Evelyn - two bottom teeth, two top, and one top coming through any day
Gaia - two bottom teeth, and one top coming through any day

Both girls are now walking everywhere, and you REALLY do have to have eyes in the back of your head! One second they're right next to you, the other ... different directions and different ends of the house!

It is a constant battle with the girls over the remote controls and the iPhone, you find them in the most peculiar of places (or you can never find one when you need it!). We now have to be very vigilant with their washing basket, as we have already put one of the Buzz PS3 controllers through the washing machine! LOL (it survived)

Our neighbour Natalie and her hubby Barry bought the girls some GORGEOUS clothes from a local market, under the brand KaT Clothing (I think!). Will provide some more details soon ... but here are some piccies of Gaia in her funky pink and orange pants, and Evelyn in her striped skirt. Enjoy ...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Babies ... babies ... MORE babies!

The Elwell-West clan would like to welcome to the world Tobias (Toby) Jai Banach ... beautiful baby boy for Amani and Bob, born at 10.08am (New Delhi time) on Tuesday, June 29.

Amani and Bob have been trying for many years to have a baby, and both Trevor and I shed a tear when we heard the news that Toby had arrived safely ... and from what we have heard ... with a fully-functioning set of lungs! Read their blog here ...

We hope that the whole family has a safe and speedy return to domestic life in Australia.
An update from us ...

Just before we heard the wonderful news of Toby's arrival, we got an email from Dr Shivani with the latest 25-week scans of "Baby R" ... enjoy ...

It's not long now before our family welcomes its new addition! The nerves have started ...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My my ... how COULD we resist her?

We the absolutely delightful pleasure of meeting the GORGEOUS Mia Freedman recently. We had been a topic on her blog Mamamia - - after our bit appeared on 60 Minutes. (You can also see the three-part story here ...)

Both Trevor and I sat back and watched the page after page after page of debate on whether we should have had children, what type of parents would we be, etc etc. Those 'people' I like to call the 'Fringe Christians' trotted out their tired old arguments ... "They need a mother AND a father" ... "Homosexuality is a SIN" ... blah blah yadda yadda ... only to have their views shot down by the many readers of Mamamia who obviously thought that we deserved to have a family as well!

As has happened several times, the RR have dealt that well thought out, Bible-based, "no-one will argue this" argument ... "But they're FAT! How can they look after children if they cannot look after themselves?". This always has us in hysterics ... obviously these people have never visited their local shopping centre, or they need to visit the one in the neighbouring suburb ... THERE ARE FAT PEOPLE WHO HAVE CHILDREN!!!!

We were very touched when Mia herself interjected into the debate, shutting the topic down completely and posting a very sincere and heart-felt apology to the girls, Trevor and myself ... she had never shut down any of her topics before, but she had also never been so disgusted with the personal attacks and vitriol that came our way. Snaps to Mia!!!

Anyway ...

We recently sent her a link about Rebecca Griffin's new book Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me? (info coming soon), she replied saying that she was going to be in Melbourne in the next couple of days, and was very keen to visit us, as she often wondered how we were going with the girls. She also wanted to do a little 'informal video interview' to be posted on her blog. I have reproduced the three-parts here.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Yes ... we are a "Modern Family" ...

We first caught wind of this show just before it premiered in the US. We got our hands on a copy of the first episode ... and we LOVED IT!!!

It is one of those shows that you can watch over and over ... and laugh at something different each time. We were so excited to see it advertised on Channel 10 ... so that Aussie audiences can get a laught at the show we have been telling everyone about!

The success of the Australian premiere has prompted The Herald-Sun (in Melbourne) to run an article about modern families ... and our name was put forward by another journalist. We had the photographer over last night to take some pix (although two cranky girls did make it quite difficult!) ;-)
When we were interviewed for The Age (July 31 - see Media page) the journalist - Farah Farouque - she commented that we were a "modern family with very traditional values" ... which we are!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Warm and fuzzy ...

It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, when people that you've helped in the past, are on the way to becoming parents themselves.

Sam and Phil were one of the couples who came to our house with millions of questions, and we were lucky enough to be in a position to be able to help them through their questions.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

16 weeks and counting ...

We got some good news this morning from Dr Shivani. Our 16-week scans had arrived, and everything is going along very smoothly ...

Monday, May 10, 2010

A quick sneak peek ...

It was the girls' first birthday party yesterday (May 9, 2010) ... and their first birthday tomorrow. I thought I would share with you some quick piccies taken yesterday ...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Where HAS the time gone?


I cannot believe that this week we are organising the girls' first birthday party! Where HAS the time gone?

To think that this time last year, we were in Kuala Lumpur, on our way to India to collect our gorgeous little treasures ... I get teary just thinking about it ...

The girls are growing every day (well ... duh! right? LOL). Both Evelyn and Gaia are free-standing and 'cruising' around the furniture ... and Gaia has even started taking those first shaky steps by herself.

Evelyn still only has two teeth, and we are anxiously waiting for Gaia to produce some munchers (insert song ... All I want for my birthday is my two bottom teeth).

Baby R is now at the 16-week stage ... and by all accounts from Dr Shivani, the surrogate is absolutely glowing, and that the pregnancy is progressing very very smoothly indeed.

Here is one of the 12-week scans we received a couple of weeks ago ...

We are getting very excited about the prospect of another set of little feet pattering around the house ... and we really don't care whether it's a boy or a girl ... as long as it's healthy, and has all of it's bit where they are supposed to be!

It's going to be an emotional weekend for me especially. Even though it has been 17 months since Mum passed away, I think about her every day, and the fact that she will not be here (in person anyway!) for the girls' first birthday, will lay heavily on my mind and my heart. I have the special candle that Trevor bought me for Christmas ready and waiting ... and we will have a little private ceremony to light it for both my Mum and Dad, and Trevor's grandmother Dorothy.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Finally ... some time to chat ...

After we returned home from John Waters last night, we had some time to have a glass of bubbles, and a chat on the bed.

That's when it finally hit me ... we were over 8-weeks pregnant with "Baby R" ... almost at the end of our first trimester! Our second scan arrived last week, and it showed a very healthy pregnancy.

We had decided to use a small hospital for this pregnancy, instead of a clinic. It's nice to know that all the medical procedures are done under one roof, and supervised by the same doctor. Dr Shivani and Phoenix Hospital have been wonderful.

Our first surrogate had not "taken" (so no happy news for Christmas), but transferring less embryos carries this risk; but we were lucky enough to be able to have a second attempt, and we received the news early Feb that our second surrogate had returned a beta test in the high 180's ... a very positive sign!

Our collective fingers are crossed that everything proceeds along nicely ... and Evelyn and Gaia will have a little brother or sister later in the year!