In June 2021, we introduced you to The Travelling Gays, Doug and his husband Sanjay, who shared their surrogacy journey with us, and the exciting news that they were expecting through an American surrogate.
After welcoming their daughter Arya in October 2021, they update us on the final stages of the pregnancy, the birth, and life as new dads!
Catch up on their first Q&A with us here.
We last caught up with you when you were about halfway through your pregnancy journey - how was the remainder of this time for you?
It was so incredible watching Amber’s bump grow on our weekly Skype calls but sadly due to covid restrictions we didn’t get to travel over as much as we had liked.
I managed to work a flight (I’m a flight attendant) to Atlanta where I got to see Amber at 6 months and feel Arya kick for the first time which was simply amazing.
When Amber had her 36-week scan they told her she was 5cm dilated and 80% effaced so Arya could be born at any time.
We had managed to get an exemption visa for travel so Sanjay jumped straight on a flight but I was in Boston for work on my last flight before maternity so I had to travel back to the U.K. first before I could join them in America. A very nerve-racking few days, praying we didn’t miss the birth.
Luckily, Arya wanted us to be there so stayed put for our arrival and allowed us to spend 2 weeks with Amber and getting to experience all the kicks and twists which was just incredible.
How was the birthing experience for your as dads using a surrogate?
INCREDIBLE. We had a birthing plan with Amber and due to covid, we had a last-minute change of hospital to allow Amber’s husband in the birthing room along with me and Sanj.
Amber was induced at 39 weeks due to Arya’s size, so we all arrived at the hospital at 6am.
Once the doctor broke Amber's water Arya came very quickly.
Amber was a true superstar and through the floods of tears, I was so lucky to get to cut the umbilical cord then Arya when straight to Sanj for skin on skin.
It was a day that will be with us forever and it really blew our minds what an incredible woman Amber is for what she and her family have done for us.
How did you adjust to the first few days as new dads?
What a whirlwind. In the USA you must stay in hospital for 48 hours, so we actually found that very reassuring as you had nurses and doctors coming in and out every few hours.
We had a room next door to Amber for the first 24 hours until she was discharged but that was lovely to be able to take Arya to meet her.
Whilst we waited for Arya's birth certificate, we rented an apartment for 4 weeks and had two weeks of bliss, just us and Arya. Then the Grannies arrived with their very different parenting advice, but that’s another story!
Have you been able to head back out into the wider world and travel as a family of 3 post-pandemic?
I think because we had to fly home with Arya at 4 weeks old it slightly took away the fear of flying with a new-born.
Due to my work and some good deals, we have braved a few holidays.
We have had the support of Arya’s grannies on them which is a great help.
I really hope we can continue our love and travel and show Arya the world. She loves swimming so it’s so cute seeing her face whilst she splashes around in the pool.
What advice would you give other couples starting their surrogacy journey now that you have welcomed your daughter?
It takes time.
I think we set an unrealistic time frame for ourselves which made us impatient but there were a lot of incredible people involved in bringing Arya into our lives and it doesn’t happen overnight.
I’m just so happy that it’s a possibility for LGBTQ+ people but there are still some unnecessary barriers in place so I hope that as Arya grows up it will be easier for more LGBTQ people to have families that will come in all different forms.
What is the best piece of parenting of advice you have been given?
We have honestly just listened to everyone and learned along the way but like they say, “you know your baby” and it’s so true.
We recognise cues and signs from her that maybe others wouldn’t.
Also don’t compare yourself or your baby to others. We have met some amazing friends in our antenatal group and all the babies are developing and growing at different rates and that’s perfect!