Chapter 11 (i): CHILDBIRTH (I) “So WHO termed this a NORMAL delivery??!!”


NORMAL.

An adjective defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “Usual or ordinary; not strange.”

Normally, I refrain from using cuss-words.

WTFFFFFF!!! Who the hell came up with this bright idea of calling a vaginal birth a “Normal delivery”? Will the stonehearted brute/birdbrained idiot please stand up?

I could have understood ‘Natural’ delivery. This horrendous, ghastly, third degree torture is indeed the path chosen by Mother Nature to bring babies into this world. Even ‘Natural’ has a gentle feel to it, like something tender—which does not come remotely close to the terrible, terrible process that childbirth is.

But Normal? NORMAL, for Christ’s sake???

Makes it sound so ordinary, so commonplace.  Nothing worth fretting about. Just like the definition says: usual.

Talk about adding insult to injury. Literally.

Sep 1, 2012

3:00 am

I’m woken up in the wee hours of the morning by a terrible backache. Oh no, It’s that pregnancy yoga, I think. Maybe I stretched a little too far this time.

I don’t know how to define labour pain. Some people say it’s like a bolt that moves from top to bottom in your abdomen. Wasn’t that way for me. All that I kept feeling was a terrible, terrible pain in my lower back and thighs. It would throb and throb and return like spasms from time to time.

Wasn’t so bad as to make me scream. But it was bad enough to make me hyperventilate. And a weird kind of shivering took control of my legs every time the spasms came. I thought I’d start running round and round in circles like a dog that has gone mad.

However, my mum had defined labour pains as “Someone sticking a knife in your stomach repeatedly.” (Again, WTF?!) Well, I didn’t feel quite that way yet so I thought that it wasn’t time for me to scream. Mum-in-law’s practical experience came in handy or I would’ve had to give birth at home.

Before we go any further, I’d like to clarify: I’ve always wanted a natural birth. No painkillers, no epidural and certainly not a C-section—which has become the norm in India now. (Sonia, my gynae said women are actually asking for C-section.) I did everything advised by my doctor (and my mom-in-law)—exercises, walks, balanced nutrition, extra prayers and anything else anybody cared to advise, just so I could have a natural birth.

I wasn’t scared of the labour pains, I had chosen this option. However, choosing it doesn’t mean you’re prepared for it.

8:00 am

We’re inside the labour room at Sitaram Bhartia. The pains are getting terrible. Walking around helps.  But then you have to be strapped down so that the kid’s heartbeat can be monitored and that increases the pains manifold. It’s like a violent earthquake that begins in my belly and goes right down to the thighs, splitting my body in half….. ughhhhhh!!! My thighs shiver violently each time. Doctor says its ‘coz I’m so thin—I gained only 5 kgs during my entire 9 months.

(Still not screaming, though. Feel proud).

1:30 pm

It’s been more than 10 hours since the pains started. I’m strapped down and in the middle of the my most horrendous nightmare from which I can’t even wake up. I cannot make sense of anything anymore. Sonia sternly orders me to let go of her collar. I look at her blankly coz I don’t know what the hell she’s talking about.

“Let go of my clothes,” she points out. I realize dazedly that I have her clothing in my fist and I’m violently pulling her. At which point I let her go and promptly catch hold of the nurse—in exactly the same manner.

“Hold this railing,” Sonia orders me again. It’s good that she’s being stern. Nothing short of that would get my attention right now.

I will not go into the particulars of childbirth, since I am not, nor ever wanted to be, a medical practitioner or biology teacher. There are only two things that I will never forget about my birthing experience.

One:    The man I love was by my side during this most ghastly, petrifying, absolutely worst time of my life, holding my hand. This won’t be such a novelty to my blogger friends, but considering that I come from a small town in India where people are astounded to know that in Delhi, one family member—any family member—forget husband (at which mention their eyes might pop out of their heads) is allowed inside the labour room during delivery. So you can imagine how unforgettable and unique this was for me (and all my small-town relatives).

Two :  The SNAP! that I heard as I jolted back my head in one piercing, agonized wail as the doctor performed an episiotomy –basically cut me open—so that my baby was born.

Normal…? !!!

You gotta be kidding me.

(To be continued…)

Chapter 10: Happiness is…


Happiness is ever-changing and ever-elusive. You cannot know it until you feel it. Happiness is a walk in the breeze… happiness is a drive in the rain… happiness is a midnight date… happiness is a moment shared.

May 14, 2012

We are in Aligarh. Sajjad is sitting before me on the bed. We’d been away from each other for about 15 days because I came here to meet my mom. He hasn’t felt his baby’s movements yet; when I was with him they were too light to be felt on the outside. He has his hand on my belly as his eyes search my face with anticipation.

BUMP!

That was a huge one!

I’m delighted to see the astonished, wondrous, childlike grin on my husband’s face. He laughs out loud. He is amazed… It’s a moment we’ll cherish forever.

June 15, 2012

This baby is gonna be a really naughty one. Lord knows how she/he manages to do it, but every so often I feel 4 simultaneous kicks (or whatever they are) at 4 different places in my tummy!  There’s hardly a moment when this little one lies still….!

My sister says she can actually see him/her “swimming around” in my tummy! I know what she means, the bulge often seems to “glide” from one end to another… the doctor says these movements are so visible on the outside since I’m so thin and there’s been no fat increase whatsoever on other parts of my body.

June 25, 2012

It’s post-dinner and me and my husband are talking our daily walk around the park. I love these walks with him. Love the wind in the trees, flapping our clothes and sweeping our hair…love the moon beaming gently down on us…love holding his hand and talking softly…  In a way, it’s been a good thing I’ve taken time off from work—with our busy schedules we’d never have got time for these leisurely everyday strolls. It’s moments like these that make life beautiful.

July 14, 2012

It’s raining hard in South Delhi. Monsoon has arrived in all its glory. Sajjad has come back from work sometime ago. He takes my hand.

“Wanna go for a drive in the rain?” he smiles at me.

Yes. Of course. Would I say no?

He’s backing up the car to bring it right to the door so I don’t have to get wet. Our neighbor comes out of his house. “Coming from somewhere?” he asks.

“No, going for a drive!” I giggle.

“In the rain!?”

“Yes…”

But obviously, lost in our fancies we had forgotten that we’re in Delhi, not the Garden of Eden and rains here mean just one thing: Traffic jams. But I have Michael Schumacher for a husband and I could trust him to find the best routes away from the traffic.

Never loved rain so much….

July 21,2012

12:00 a.m.

We’re having dinner at Comesum, the all-night restaurant near Nizamuddin Railway Station. Hadn’t even heard about this eat-out until today. Sajjad’s trying hard to make this right for me, to assure me that nothing’s gonna change between us.

Perhaps it won’t. Perhaps it will. But what won’t change is what happiness is….

Happiness is US. Whether it’s BOTH of US, or THREE of US. Happiness is “Us”.

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{Read from the beginning }

(For more good things about pregnancy, read http://thegoodandthegood.wordpress.com/)

Chapter 9: And now for the Awards…


Life is made of people. Some people matter always and every second. Some people matter during a certain period of time. Some people matter all your life, but during a certain period they seem to matter even more.

FARHAN

Your name appears at the top of the list because you were a special sort of angel-cum-devil sent to me during the most turbulent period of my life. I discovered I was expecting precisely four days after you descended upon us.  And one month after my son was born, I relocated to a different town itself. You see? You were especially sent by God during my pregnancy.

My husband’s cousin is the guy who I’ll always remember for making me breakfast when I was too sick to even crawl out from bed. He’s this too-loud, always-arguing, always-cracking-jokes type wise guy who watches movies all night. Early in the morning, when he’s just gone off to sleep, I call him. Call him on the phone, because I can’t even raise my voice enough to shout. I request him to please get me an egg and a glass of milk.

“La rhe hain bhabhi,” he says, groggily. Of course, you’d expect him to go right back to sleep. But I didn’t have to call him twice. Not a single day.

There are so many reasons I could write down here, but this is the one that’ll always stand out. And that’s why, Farhan, you’re being featured in a pregnancy blog .

MUM-IN-LAW

That word always seems to have a forbidding ring about it. Not just for women, but men too. Well, I suppose not all mother-in-laws are satan’s assistants.

My mum-in-law gets a mention here ‘cause she got me up and running from down and moaning.[i]She dragged me out for the walks I needed, cheered me up with her personal pregnancy anecdotes, prayed for me and made me pray more, and generally did her best to pull me out of the manic-depressive state I was fast sinking into.

MUMMY

I was never a Momma’s girl. During my childhood, we were friends, we played a lot together, and she has saved all the poetry I wrote during my beginning years. Whenever I travel I miss her because she loves to travel and we have oodles of fun together. When I am away from her she loses weight worrying because she never believes that I can take care of myself. But, I repeat, I am not Momma’s girl. I did not miss her at all (yes) when I came to Delhi for my internship, started missing her only after about 2 months when I got a full time job there, and I didn’t shed a single tear at my rukhsati or bidaai (wedding) , unlike most girls I know who cannot bear to part with their mothers. I was always more eager to be out on my own, get some independence, see the world and all the rest.

So it was a totally new emotion for me when, during my pregnancy, I started crying about being away from my mother. I missed her like never before. I wanted to hug her, wanted to do the “Bare necessities” Mowgli-Baloo back-scratch that we always did, wanted to have those intellectual, philosophical talks that used to be a trademark of our relationship (it was she who introduced me to the Classics and to the general love of reading). Oh, the relief when I finally got to be with her…

SAJJAD

I saved his name for last because I’ve probably already bored you with all my gushing about him. But he’s kind of the most important person in my life…. The best and happiest time I spent in my life—since my father’s death—was after I married Sajjad. This is the man who tolerated my evilest, foulest Mr Hyde version and loved me all through it. The man who truly was my partner and not the “superior authority” that most small-town husbands believe themselves to be. I’ve met so many people—men and women—who think that a husband who cares for his wife, and particularly one who cares for his baby (which includes burping, bathing and changing nappies, not just playing with the kid) is either a sissy or is doing a great favour.

But You are a REAL MAN  for doing all this and never once trying to make it out as a favour.

 

So who are the people you’d like to nominate for your awards? Let me know!

Chapter 8: A Kick and A Nose


April 20, 2012

I’m sitting in the waiting lounge of Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research for my routine check-up. Just like that, out of the blue, there’s something like a pulse inside my tummy. I’m jolted to attention… what’s happening? There—there it is, again! Realisation dawns. I just felt my baby’s very first movements.

Wow.

And this is not the ecstatic, overjoyed kind of “Wow!”  It’s the silent, awed and over-whelmed, eyes-wide-with-astonished-delight kind of WOW… whispered to yourself at the sheer magnificence and un-believability of it all….

Wow. I just felt my baby move.

I can feel myself slowly smiling and wondering.

This is the exact duplication of my reaction when I got the report of my first trimester ultrasound on Feb 18. That’s when I actually saw the shape of a slowly-forming human being… a rounded head, a tiny forehead and—cutest, amazing , most wonderful of all … the NOSE!

The black images show me a teeny, tiny nose; and here’s what the report says:
Nasal bone, measuring 3.1mm.

A 3.1 mm  nose. Wow.

It’s the same wow again. The same smile….

I can see you, baby. I can see your nose.

And now, I can feel you move.

 

So, what was your experience of feeling your baby move for the first time? Feel  free to share !