Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What makes us a parent?

The other day I was watching Anand trying to wake up Megha because it was past her feed time. He was kissing her tiny little face and was saying, "how do you wake up a girl as beautiful as Megha?" and answers his question himself saying, "by lots of kisses and hugs". It moved me to tears, though I didnt show it outside. This is exactly how i have imagined they both would bond and I was delighted to find that I had not been mistaken.

He also took/takes care of both of us so well that my sister said she is almost jealous :) who wouldnt be proud to hear that compliment. He feeds her (formula supplement in nights) during the middle of night and gently coaxes me into getting some sleep myself even though he himself is tired. I guess this is what makes us a parent; being responsible for what you have created/accepted.

This reminds me of another wonderful incident which has happened a while ago when I was still working in UK. There was this wonderful couple who had been trying for kids for 15 years. When all else was tried, their last hope was adoption. They were matched with a teenage girl (through an agency) who was just 12 weeks pregnant when they had known her. Till the time she was close to her due date they were very involved in her progress, made a nursery and weaved all the dreams a parent would.
2 weeks before she was due to deliver, the couple received a notification from the girls lawyer saying that the girl changed her mind and that she was no longer willing to put the child for adoption and that they should terminate all the communication with her with immediate effect.
When the couple had known this, they were so broken heart that I didnt see the lady at work for 3 full weeks. We were all so sorry for her.

3 months later they received another call from the agency telling them that another match has been found. This time they were matched with a 2 week old baby!! They didnt have to wait months now! The lady received this call when she was at work and before rushing to take custody of their new daughter, she announced it at work, "I have just become a momma". Most of us cried with joy!! This  happiness was long due. 7 years later, the girl is a beautiful little English lady :)She couldnt have got better parents if she searched herself!

I thought I understood their happiness until I had Megha myself. Nothing can be as fulfilling as seeing your child content, sleeping in your arms and completely in love with you and you with her.

So, what I am trying to say is that, it doesnt matter how a child comes into your life. It could be biological/surrogate/adopted, what matters is that you are there for her when she needs you. You are there when she wakes up hungry in the middle of the night or needs a change or needs a comforting touch when she is having difficulty passing gas or even falling asleep. This is what makes us a parent. Agree?


Its been exactly 2 weeks since Megha was born. In a way it feels like I have known her forever! Maybe because I have known her since April. We had her second doctors appointment today and as of now she has put on almost 500 grams since her birth! Her doctor was extremely happy and told us to continue doing the great work we have been doing with her; which of course made Anand and I happy.

Recovering from a C-section is certainly not easy. I had a lot of difficulty sitting up (still have in certain positions), have to take a lot of pain medication and dont even get me started on side effects of all that! I literally have to think of Niagara falls every time I pee for the first 10 days! Its really not funny........maybe a little bit funny :)

Snatching a few hours of sleep is as precious as a pot of gold. Anand and mom help me a lot; I dont know what I would do without them! He even took a day off today. I secretly feel that he was missing Megha a lot after going to work for 2 days and hence this sudden day off :)
I wouldn't blame him. Who would want to leave such an adorable child behind and go to work!? I certainly wouldn't.

Though internet/doctors/friends/family say that hiccups, gas and occasional throw-ups are pretty common among newborns, every time she does any of those I feel so sorry for her. She seems to be fine but poor thing, she is so tiny and her face turns all pink when she hiccups. I hope its not hurting her.

Anyway, its 1:00 AM now and I just fed her and rocked her to sleep. As she lies down in her crib, I saw her beautiful face and I start to recollect what I have done in my present life to deserve her and I am having a hard time coming up with an answer. It sure must be Anand's good deeds :)
Life completely changed...for good.

P.S: Her first function, her punyajanam/naamakaran story to follow.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Birth story of Megha

As we have all heard many a time before, good things come when they are ready to come. It was something like that with our daughter too. It’s going to be a loooong post J. I just could not bring myself to cut down any detail as I want to remember this day exactly as it had happened even years later.

When my due date (13th Dec) has come and gone without any signs of labor, I started to panic thinking I am going to be induced. I have heard before many times that it could lead to a C-Section. I started wondering if all the months of going to prenatal yoga, religiously walking at least 45 mins a day, every day could not help me prepare my body to go into labor naturally, what else will. By then it was already close to 3 weeks since my mom arrived and all my friends and relatives have started asking, “Where is the baby?” We three (Anand, Mom and I) have taken this as a sign of ‘calm before the storm’ and did everything we love; reading, watching movies and just relaxing in general.

15Dec, 2:00 AM: I had severe stomach pain kinda thing. I felt like I need to poop (sorry, I didn’t mean to gross you out, but just prepared, labor isn’t a walk in a park). I made 4 trips to the washroom in the subsequent hour without success. By then I was 100% sure I was in labor because, 1. The pain was intense, 2. Pain had a set pattern (lasting for a few seconds between 20 mins each).

3:00 AM: Woke up my hubby and told him that I was in labor. He was still half asleep when I told him that. His response was, “you poor dear, come lets sleep together”. Just when I was about to repeat that I was in labor, another contraction hit me and looking at my face he understood that its finally time for a baby!! He started timing my contractions (an app which we downloaded in both our phones) and they were lasting about 30 secs long every 15 mins. I took a shower and changed into something comfortable. Oh by the way, shower didn’t help me much like most women who assured me that it would.

4:00 AM: Woke up my mom, called the hospital and we started to hospital. By then I was having contractions every 6 mins, lasting for about 45-50 secs. They were much more intense. To be honest, I didn’t have ‘dull’ pain per se. The pain was intense since 2:00 AM; or so I thought. What did I know!

5:00 AM: The ride to the hospital was a nightmare. The hospital was under 15 mins away from home and I would have got, perhaps, 3 contractions in the car. But sitting in the car was so difficult. I was struggling not to scream in pain.
The nurses checked me and told me that I am still 1 CM dilated. How is that even possible I didn’t know? I was in so much pain that I thought I should be at least 3 CM. The 1 CM news dampened my spirits because I still had 9 more CM to go and the pain was already getting unbearable. Nurses gave me a dose of morphine and gravol and sent me home.

7:00 AM: Contractions really intensified and with each wave I was pretty much screaming. Hubby was really supportive and was reminding me to relax and breathe deeply with each contraction. His presence was sure a calming effect.
All the while we were timing the contractions and by 7:30 they were really strong, lasting for about a minute, every 3-4 mins. We headed to the hospital again. If they send us back, that’s fine. We were prepared to wait in the parking lot, should that happen.
8:00 AM: The nurses checked me again and told me that I progressed very fast. I was hoping she would say, “yippie, 10 CM”, but I know it was too ambitious to even think of it J. She told me that I am 4 CM and that if I want, I could have the epidural now to control the pain. I immediately agreed. By then I was already in the hospital gown and in the labor and delivery room.

9:00 AM: Still no epidural. I asked Anand to check what is taking so long and reported back that the anesthesiologist was super busy that day assisting the emergency C-Sections. The nurse gave me a gas mask (Nitrous Oxide) to control the pain. I was breathing so hard through each contraction that the mask was vibrating with each breathe. If it were any other time, I would have found it hilarious to watch myself do that but through the pain, it was totally a different experience. I was 5.5 CM by then.

11:00 AM: Between 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM nothing much has changed other than the intensity of pain. Somewhere in between I remember yelling at my hubby because he was constantly checking the contraction monitor and would say, ‘its almost over…3 more sec’s for this contraction’. Initially I didn’t realize how he knew it was going to be over but when I realized he is checking the monitor, it some how made me mad. Why? I can’t explain that myself! By then I stopped asking him to check for the anesthesiologist because I didn’t see any point anymore. Each time I got the same answer from the nurse. He is really busy with an emergency but he will be with you shortly.
Somewhere in between my water bag was ruptured. With each contraction Anand was applying counter pressure on my lower back which really helped a lot. This was something which we had learned through the child birth lessons we took a few weeks before.
My mom was a big support too. She was reminding me all the time to try and relax when a contraction hits me and she held my hands in an attempt to calm me down.
I also had an intense urge to push. When I told this to my nurse, she told me that under no circumstance I should now because I wasn’t ready yet for that.

12:00, Noon: The anesthesiologist came and wanted the nurse to check my progress. I was 8.5 CM dilated. Doctor suggested me that I take the epidural because I could still be hours away for 10 CM and because I was already in so much pain that I could kill.
Getting the epidural was another nightmare. The anesthesiologist explained the risks associated with it (which really aren’t many when you compare the benefit (pain relief) vs risk (any risk at that point!). I was told, no yelled, by the nurse to hold still while the epidural is being administered. Anand held me tight and I hugged him while sitting up in a cat-like position. Trust me; holding still is not easy when you are at the peak of a contraction. Once it’s administered, I found relief even before the next contraction. God bless the epidural!
All the while Anand has been encouraging me that I was doing so well and that we would be having our baby in our arms in a few hours or even less.

12:15 PM: The doctor came in to check me how I am progressing. This was the first time she came to see me; all the while I was being cared for by the nurses. I had an appointment with her that afternoon and she joked, “so you would be missing your appointment this afternoon”. I would have laughed but could manage just a shrug at that point.
I surprised everyone including myself when the doctor announced that I am 10 CM dilated. It was less than 15 mins since I had taken the epidural.

This is exactly when the problems began. Baby’s heart-rate started to fluctuate. One minute it was 142 and the next it was 60. It was going up and down no matter how much my doctor tried to stabilize it by changing the position of me lying down.
Baby was also not exactly in the right descending position.
Finally she decided to give me 2 tries to push the baby out while she assisted me with forceps. I tried my best; I really did try my best to push but it just was not sufficient to bring the baby out.

Both the tries failed and my doctor decided to do an emergency C-Section; the one thing which I wanted to avoid all along.

While they wheeled me out, Anand went to change into the hospital outfit. He also updated my mom about the status as she was sent out during the last stages of my labor.

12:50 PM: I was prepared for the C-Section while Anand joined me. In the beginning I was scared but while the surgery to bring the baby out was being performed, I didn’t get scared at all. On my left side, Anand held my hand while on my right; my anesthesiologist was monitoring all the vitals.

1:02 PM: By the grace of God, by the advancement of medical science, by the wishes and blessings of all our well-wishers and most importantly by the unconditional love and support of my husband Anand, Megha Reddiar was born on 15Dec2011 at 1:02 PM.
She weighed 2.45 KG's and measured 45 CM at birth. She was soooo perfect! I had never seen an infant more beautiful ( a mothers opinion).

While her first cry brought rolling tears in my eyes, hubby’s eyes went misty, a sight i had not witnessed until then since the day i had known him. Its true, I forgot the pain I had gone through when I held her for the first time. Some might argue that its got to do with the drugs I was just administered, but I like to believe, even otherwise the joy would still have been the same. 

Postpartum experience write up soon to follow.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Just forgetful or Dementia?

It is a widely known fact that being forgetful is a part of pregnancy. But of late I seem to be forgetting many things which I would normally not. I am feeling more anxious as the days to my due-date get closer; in fact with just hours to go, I feel overwhelmed with fear. This preoccupied state of mind isn't good for anyone!! I wish I were not like this. All I think about is baby, labor, pain and safe delivery. I wonder if all pregnant women feel like this in the last stages or its just me.

Worst of all, when someone asks, 'why did you forget or how can you forget this', I feel so bad and immediately get defensive. Will this state pass or is it an early onset of dementia? What say? Surely I could do better?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

God's must be mad with me! 2 days before due date!

I am exactly 2 days away from my due date (13th Dec) and so far I don't have much of any symptoms of approaching labor to speak of. This morning I went out to run a few errands and hence I walked. A lot. As in 2 and half hours. Other than have a terrible back pain which wouldnt go away with a Tylenol, still nothing!
I always imagined I would go into labor sooner than my due date. I keep getting calls from well-wishers asking me about this and I am almost guilty that we still dont have a baby :(

Now, dont get me wrong; I want baby to decide when she wants to come herself, but this waiting is almost killing me :( Its practically taking me 1 full minute to turn sides while sleeping. I am not complaining, but it must be hilarious to watch me move at this snail pace...LOL!

Now, why do I think God's are mad with me? I was reading a post in some forum where a guy tells another guy that if he were God, he would be pissed with other guy for not praying on time.
Now, I havent been praying on time. I wonder if its because of that I am still not in labor? Oh well, it cant be it right? When have I become so paranoid?

Anyway, below is our jasmine plant. I bought this 3 years ago and every fall (around early Oct) I take the plant and leave it indoors until summer (May). In these 3 winter's that its been with us, it never bloomed. It only blooms in summer. But this winter is an exception! I have so many buds on the plant today. This is how it looks like right now, right outside our baby's room. I wonder if its to welcome our little one :)