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Quick Update

12 May

new dads on the block update 051213


11 May

twins born announcement new dads on the block

Our son, Henry Charles, and daughter, Julianne Joy, were born at 12:08 a.m. (Mumbai time) on May 12, 2013. Henry is 5.2 lbs. and Julianne is just over 4 lbs. Everyone, including our surrogate, is healthy and doing well. WE ARE SO THRILLED! We will fly out Monday and hold them and meet them first thing Wednesday morning. 🙂

Time To Go To India!

11 May

In the late hours of Thursday night, we got an e-mail from our clinic.

“Your surrogate is doing well, and so are the twins. We spoke with her treating doctor today. Please try to reach Mumbai by May 15/16. The delivery will likely happen by end of next week.”

When you read that kind of e-mail, you just try not to drop your phone. 😉

It’s hard to explain the rush of relief and joy in finally knowing the date to be there, and also knowing that things are going well.

The twins’ pediatrician in the U.S. told us to hope and pray for 36 weeks of gestation and 5 lbs. each. As of today, the pregnancy is 35 weeks along, and the babies are approximately 4.7 and 4.9 lbs. (extrapolated from knowing their weight as of May 2, and the fact that twins gain, on average, almost an ounce a day at the end of a pregnancy), so it seems things are all on the right track.

On Friday I went into the office for the very last time. I cleared out my desk, left my access pass, and said goodbye to my colleagues. (They all knew it’d be hasta la vista once we got that e-mail from our clinic.) I’ll still be answering work e-mails until May 17, but after that, I’m officially a full-time dad.

mumbai india map new dads on the blockOn Monday, my mother-in-law, Ellen, will fly to Newark from Wilmington, NC. Matt and I will meet her there, and then we’ll all hop on a flight to Mumbai together. On Tuesday, May 14, we’ll finally be back in India.

In the meantime, we’ll be distracting ourselves with cleaning the house (so it’s not a wreck when we get back) and packing and repacking.

So, guys, this is it. On Monday we’re heading back to India, and soon we’ll meet and hold our twins. (!)


FaceTime with Our Pup

11 May


Our dog, Butter, is staying with family in Wilmington, NC, until we get back from India with the twins. (We haven’t left yet–we expect to do that next week.) We’ve been away from him for two weeks now, and we’re really starting to miss him!

So, what do you do when you miss your dog? FaceTime, of course!

Above Matt fires up the ol’ FaceTime with his mom, Ellen, and Butter.

Miss you, little guy!


Update: Week 34, Day 4

8 May

Our surrogate had another ultrasound a week ago (at 33 weeks, 3 days).

Our doctor tells us that everything looks normal and good with the continuing pregnancy. (Whew!)

There’s other good news, too: as of 33 weeks and 3 days (about a week ago), the babies weighed 4 lbs. 8 oz. and 4 lbs. 3 oz.

baby on a scale new dads on the blockWhen we met with our pediatrician for the first time (this weekend, right before our pre-baby bachelor party began), Dr. C told us that we should be hoping for 36 weeks of gestation, and 5 lbs each. If we can hit that, she said, we’re basically golden.

This Saturday we’ll hit 35 weeks and, considering that another week and a half will have gone by, hopefully the twins will be getting nearer that 5 lb. mark.

Fingers firmly crossed.


P.S. If you’re wondering what 35 weeks pregnant with twins looks like, the photos on Google Images are pretty amazing!

For photos from our lives, check out Instagram @joshcentral, and for up-to-the-minute updates on the babies, we’re on Twitter @thenewdads.

Baby Bachelor Party

7 May


My friends Nina and Kirsten decided to take me out for a sort of pre-kids bachelor party.

“Who knows when we’ll ever get to do this again?” Kirsten said.

We started with dinner at Nizza in Hell’s Kitchen.

“We’re going to need a bottle of that prosecco,” Nina said to our server.

Soon we were eating plates of pasta, drinking our bubbly drinks, and talking non-stop.

After dinner, Kirsten and I thought we’d all head home, but Nina had other plans.

“Guys, I have a babysitter for three hours,” she said. “We are not going home. We’re getting drinks.”

flaming saddles hells kitchen new dads on the blockThat is, of course, how the three of us ended up at Flaming Saddles, the pseudo-country gay bar where the cute bartenders do line dances on the bar top between pouring drinks.

As Nina worked on her martini, and Kirsten and I drank our Jameson-and-gingers, we talked about Nina’s kids, and Kirsten’s latest writing project, and watched the bartenders do a few dances on the bar top.

“I’m really going to miss this,” I said as the night wrapped up and we collected our things. Soon we were on the corner, hailing Nina a cab.

“We’ll come and visit you when the twins are born,” Nina said.

“Promise?” I asked.

“Promise,” Kirsten said.

As a new dad staying home with twins, I’ll probably be so excited to see them when they come over that I’ll be the one doing dances on tabletops.

But quietly, of course, so I don’t wake the sleeping children.


On Saturday, our friend Josh S. (yes, another Josh) gave us tickets to the Off-Broadway comedy Old Jews Telling Jokes.

Before the show, Matt and I headed to Ajisen Ramen in Flushing, Queens, for some authentic ramen. Afterward, we saw our 2 p.m. matinee, and had a great time. (We’re still repeating some of jokes to each other, days later.)

“You know,” Matt said when we got out of the matinee, “I really want to see The Last Five Years before it closes. This might be our last shot. Who knows when we’ll be on a plane to India.”

So we hit the TKTS booth in Times Square, and suddenly we had half-price tickets for the 8 p.m. show.

But, of course, what to do with the four hours before the performance?

Why, an early dinner at Junior’s, of course, followed by the 5 p.m. 3D screening of Iron Man 3.

last five years old jews telling jokes iron man 3 new dads on the blockTwo shows in a day, with a movie sandwiched in between, plus two meals out? So decadent. So fun.

After Iron Man 3, which we both enjoyed (so impressed with the series’ ability to balance action with comedy), we headed to our final show of the day.

I can’t say enough about The Last Five Years. It’s now among my top-five favorites musicals. We laughed. (A lot.) We cried. (A little.) It was the perfect ending to our cultural excursion.

We finished our marathon day with drinks at Therapy, where we met a couple of friends and chatted over cocktails.

new york city nyc diner food new dads on the blockBy 1 a.m. we were back in Astoria, at our favorite all-night diner, putting away some breakfast food and reminiscing about our last-chance do-it-all-now-before-kids day of adventures.

Couldn’t have asked for a more fun day, or a better baby bachelor party.


The Infant CPR Class

7 May

When Matt and I took our twin infant parenting class, one of the recommendations Natalie Diaz had for us was to take an infant CPR class.

“You never want to have to use those skills,” she said, “but if you do ever have to use them, that knowledge will be priceless.”


infant cpr new dads on the block blogWe heard about Little Hearts CPR here in NYC, signed up for the class online, and in no time at all we were sitting in a classroom in the West 30s with a dozen parents and parents-to-be, and a dozen infant CPR dolls.

Matt and I breathed a little sigh of relief after the 2.5-hour class. Hopefully if our kids have an emergency (or a kid at the playground, or a friend’s kid, etc.) we’ll be able to help.

The peace of mind was worth every penny.


An Interview with The New Dads

5 May

We shot this interview in late March, but we can finally share it here since word is out at work that I’m leaving to become a full-time dad to our twins. 🙂

The interview ended up on iVillage, Huffington Post, AOL Video, and popped up on blogs and on Twitter. We had a lot of fun doing it, and hope it helps spread the news to all manner of people looking to start families that there are more great ways to do so than ever before.


Deciding to Become a Stay-At-Home Dad

4 May

Last May, when Matt and I got serious about pursuing gestational surrogacy, we started having a conversation about what we’d do about childcare when our child was born. Would we hire a nanny? Would one of us work part-time, perhaps from home? Would one of us stay home full-time?

We did some quick math, looking at the cost of childcare compared with our incomes. Basic arithmetic quickly revealed that, after taxes, if I stayed at work I would essentially hand all, or the vast majority, of my income right over to our nanny. I’d still be working full-time, but it’d be like I was working for (nearly) free.

My job, working on the sales end of things at an academic publisher, also required about 50% travel. Would I really be willing to be away from our new baby half the time? And bring in little income after childcare expenses?

With that in mind, we decided that Matt would be the genetic donor for the embryos that eventually became our twins. The biggest reason came down to boring legal and paperwork reasons: if I were the genetic donor, and I left my job immediately after the birth, I’d no longer have insurance that would immediately cover our children. Since our marriage isn’t recognized federally, there were also big questions if insurance would cover our child(ren) even if I were on Matt’s insurance.

Twin babies looking over fathers shoulderWhen we’d originally looked into starting a family, we thought we’d adopt. The question of a genetic link wasn’t at all a primary concern for us in becoming a family. As Oprah Winfrey famously said, genetics is the least of what makes someone a parent. So when we figured out the legal/health care implications of genetic parentage, especially keeping in mind that I would probably stay home with the kids, figuring out who’d be the donor in a surrogacy situation was actually pretty easy. We didn’t want to mess around with any potential insurance issues when we had squalling newborns newly at home.

For a while I did some wrestling with how I felt about leaving my job. I liked my position, I’d worked hard to move up in my company, and I’d recently had a banner sales year. I also liked the people I worked with, and didn’t mind the travel, especially with all the airline miles and hotel points I’d been able to save up for use with Matt. But things became even more clear when we found out we not only had a pregnancy on our hands, but a twin pregnancy. I didn’t want to work for nothing, and I certainly wasn’t interested in work travel that’d take me away from our twin newborns 20 or more weeks a year.

As the birth of the twins approached, something interesting happened at work. Nobody even seemed to consider the fact that I might not come back after the birth of the twins. There seems to be a fundamental gender assumption that if you’re a dad, you’ll be back at work a few weeks after a child is born, and that’s that. With a pregnant woman in the workplace, some may wonder, even openly, if she’ll return after the birth.

But me? Not even a vague feeling or question from anyone about if I’d be back after the birth. It was just assumed that I’d be back.

Well, surprise! 😉

I couldn’t be happier with the decision to become a stay-at-home dad. Every family has to decide for themselves what works best for them, and Matt and I feel like this is the right decision for us. I’m looking forward to entering the (somewhat rarified) world of the stay-at-home dad. I’m sure there’ll be a learning curve, and I’d bet anything that raising twin newborns will be way more work than any job I’ve ever had.

But, conversely, I also think it’ll be more rewarding job than I’ve ever had.

In the end, I’m pretty sure that’s what matters most.


Dog Care While We’re In India

3 May

We could be heading out to India any day now for the birth of the twins, so Matt and I knew we needed to make arrangements for our dog, Butter, while we’re away.

We could be gone as few as fifteen days, or we could be away more than a month. For a while we thought we might see if a couple friends might be able to host Butter, but logistics started to get complicated.

Luckily, Matt’s family in Wilmington, NC, stepped in and graciously offered to watch Butter while we’re away, no matter how long we’re gone. The great thing is that Butter knows our family well, along with their homes and other pets. It’s probably the easiest possible transition, which is great.

We also have family in Richmond, VA, which is pretty much the half-way point between New York City and Wilmington. We headed down to Richmond over the weekend, and Matt’s mom, Ellen, headed up from Wilmington to make the doggy trade-off.

butter dog car new dasd on the blockAs you can see in the photo, taken moments after we got in the car, Butter was still trying to figure out what was up with the double car seats in the backseat. He’s used to having the entire backseat to himself.

“It’s like going from First Class to coach,” Matt joked.

Once we got to Richmond, we had a fun time with Matt’s cousins, hanging out and spending some final pre-kids time together. At the end of the weekend, we handed Butter off to my mother-in-law, Ellen.

When we get the news that the babies are coming, Ellen will take a one-way flight up to New York, and then the three of us will fly out to Mumbai together. (Matt’s dad, brothers, and grandma will take care of Butter while we’re all abroad.)

butter dog grass richmond va new dads on the blockIt’s very weird being at the apartment now without Butter. Other than when he gets groomed, or when one of us takes him out for a walk, we’re never without our little guy. When we finish a meal we keep thinking Butter is around to eat the scraps, and both of us are still trying to shake our usual Butter walking schedule. It’s definitely an adjustment.

I’m betting Butter’s reaction when he sees us again, though–and when he meets the twins for the first time–will be pretty priceless.

June will come soon enough. 🙂