Monday, September 28, 2015

Change, thy name is parenthood!

Hey people! It has been over a year now that I became a mom; and boy, what a year it has been!
During all this time, I felt as if each day just wouldn't end fast enough; and now when I look back, it all seemed to have happened so fast. Weird, huh! Naah, I guess that's just human nature.

Anyway, Ananya is a toddler now. I had planned on updating her progress (and mine) on this blog regularly, but evidently that hasn't happened. What with a crazy hyperactive baby around the house - I have been busier slogging than blogging. :D And THAT is about the biggest change that has happened to me, especially as the 3 years before having a baby were spent unemployed and pretty much free. Now I hardly have a moment to myself. When I seldom do, I spend it cleaning my home, or organizing it to make it more inaccessible. Yes, you heard it right - inaccessible. We wouldn't want an inquisitive toddler to easily find a paper towel roll, right? Well only if we love lapping up an entirely unraveled roll and throwing it away! Lol!

But even apart from that, my life has turned topsy-turvy. One of the most noticeable changes is that I have become more emotional: partly responsible for that are the hormones of course; but mostly, it is like the dam that finally burst open. Reading books and watching movies with emotional content instantly makes me tear up now. I find it very amusing, because I used to laugh at people who cried at scenes of Judaai and heartbreak. I thankfully still don't cry out, but have to avert my (well-meaning) husband's gaze or crack some stupid jokes to save the moment. Those who know me know that I am really shy of expressing emotions. Except anger - that comes out pretty unabashedly! :D

Decision-making has also had a major impact now that I have to factor the baby in. From simple matters like what to make for lunch, to complex ones like what to do during vacation, Ananya commandeers the rulings. It is almost as if my brain has rewired itself to configure her meals, entertainment, and safety into all our plans. Oh, and her moods, too!

Oh, and traveling light seems like totally a thing of the past. I wasn't a very light traveler to begin with, too. I always believed in being prepared for contingencies (and not spending money on buying duplicate stuff because you forgot to take it with you - really, what are you going to do with 16 pens bought in 16 different locations across USA?). But now that I am a parent, I have gone totally crazy and pack 6 bags for our cute little family of 3. 6!

I have mentioned about the anger and the yelling several times before, no! But while dealing with my baby, I have actually (most of the times) learnt to remain calm. Because, she is just a baby and cannot differentiate between yelling at her and calmly asking her to spit out the mulch that she stealthily managed to put in her mouth.

Ahh, changes, changes! I had heard that being a mom changes you, but this drastically - I never knew. The good thing is, I am actually enjoying the change. It is nice to be punctual and calm and organized. The busyness takes a toll, yes; and I also wish someone had told me before that I'd have to change so much. But all in all, this change is good.

By the way, did I mention that this change is also constant, meaning that I also have to keep changing my strategies to coerce Ananya into doing certain things on an almost daily basis? Hehehe...well, change, they name is indeed, parenthood!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A whole new world of expression!

So I knew babies couldn't talk - out loud. What I did not know was that they could express in so many other ways: their eyes, their coos, their hands and legs, their cries, their facial expressions, and so on!
Until Ananya was born, of course.
Before even seeing her for the first time, I heard her cry. And I knew she was okay.

When she lay at the heated examination table, her eyes wide with wonder (I think.), I knew she was ready to see the world. Especially as she was late in coming out and had to be induced. :D

When she purses her lips just before she is about to start wailing, she tells me to pick her up before the siren goes off. ;)
She goes "woohoo" when she sees toddlers.
She screams her lungs out when we try to rock her to sleep against her wishes. When she wakes up from her nap, fully refreshed, she coos in this typical way to let us know just that.

Squinting eyes, screaming eyes (yes, believe me.), the oh-so-small face when she is sad, the serene, moon-like surface when she sleeps, the twinkle in her eyes when she sees her favorite toy, or well, her dad :D, the totally screwed-up face when we got her ears pierced, and when we had to take out the earring because of an infection, the seemingly shy smile she breaks into when we blow raspberries - what a range of expression she has! Oh, I could go on and on... but wait, while I am at it, I would miss some more expressions. So let me get back to admiring them! :)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Looking back, after my baby's 6 weeks (and 9.5 months)

My dear little daughter turned 6 weeks today! How do I feel at this moment, looking back? (Okay, I had planned to write this post on her 1-month birthday, but couldn't make the time, so 6 weeks it is! Hehehe - wait, this just adds to my description of the last 6 weeks - busy busy busy! :D )

Well, after very long nine months, she had finally arrived. After the feelings of elation and joy, slowly other feelings took over - fatigue from the almost 24 hours of labor and delivery, uncomfortable hospital stay, lack of sleep (she just wouldn't sleep in her crib, had to be held all the time), body aches, and so on. Not to mention the various panic attacks we had when she wouldn't sleep, or wouldn't eat, or would sneeze. Hehe, yep, new parents' syndrome it was.

After we brought her home, things started getting better, surely but very slowly. These 6 weeks were at the same time very long, and so very short. The sleeplessness and the physical pain were too much to handle; but seeing her develop different skills and habits so quickly, and learning to tune in to her different cues made the time pass so quickly!

Having my parents around during the past few weeks was a huge, huge relief! If they weren't here, there was no way I could have gathered the required physical and moral support. A big thanks to them, especially my mom! Also, I must mention Mayuresh's role. Right from cooking for me during pregnancy, to being right by my side during the delivery, he has been a terrific support. I am lucky, 'cause from what I hear, not many husbands are like that.

That reminds me about the previous 9.5 months of pregnancy. They seemed like an era, didn't they! I have written a lot about them in my previous posts, so won't start that again. What I would surely like to mention is my gratefulness towards three of my closest friends Namrata, Pradnya, and Ruchi - for lending a constant ear to my endless cribbing; and providing much encouragement. Thanks dearies!

Do I miss anything about pregnancy? Not really, except for the baby's movements and dances, and the exhilaration, amusement, and yes, the tickles that I felt during those! :D.

No, the pregnancy and child birth experience was  certainly not enjoyable. But after seeing a precious little human being born out of me, it most definitely feels worth its while! :) 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Labor, Delivery, and Happiness!

Just a few hours before I was to be admitted to the hospital for an induction, I started bleeding. Running came Mayuresh (okay, driving!) and took me to the hospital. We were all happy that the delivery will be 'natural' and not induced. Although why there is this emphasis on naturalness, I do not know. But more about that, in a separate post.

Anyway, as it turned out, the bleeding was not related to the onset of labor. The hospital gave me an hour-long NST (No Stress Test) to confirm that the baby was not experiencing any distress in the uterus. It was quite funny - I was strapped to a machine and was asked to push the button of a probe every time I felt the baby move. :D Finally, as there were just 3 hours left, they decided to admit me and induce me, before the originally scheduled time.

I was transported from the triage room to 'labor and delivery room'. They connected an IV and all of a sudden, the in-house gynecologist stormed in, inserted a Cervidil, and left. I was asked to lie down for 2 hours without moving. After two hours, I was allowed to eat. My contractions had also started in the meanwhile.

Poor Mayuresh was suffering from allergies and the medication made him sleepy, so while he slept, I endured my contractions using breathing techniques. That's right - breathing techniques. I had never thought they could be so effective, but heavily breathing in and out during the entire contraction certainly reduced my pain, or my reaction to the pain, a lot. By the way, I was only experiencing pain in the back and not in my stomach, and the nurse told me that's because I was in back labor, meaning the baby was facing my stomach, rather than my back. And as luck would have it, my kind of labor was the more difficult one. Sigh!

By 2 AM, the pain was almost too much to handle. I was super-tired, and very distressed. I was even beginning to hope that the Cervidil doesn't work and that I have to be delivered by C-section! Sigh, 7 hours of labor pains does that to you! I asked for an epidural, and while it was uncomfortable to get administered, (it stings! and the anesthesiologist was quite curt. Then again, it was 2 AM... :P ) but once it was administered, I felt almost instant relief. I had not been that comfortable in several months!

I went to sleep on my back...on my back, I think after 5-6 months! As a side-effect of the epidural, my upper body was itching a little; and the nurse came and woke me up every now and then to change my position to monitor the effectiveness of the epidural; but apart from that, I felt extremely relaxed and slept peacefully. I was so glad I opted for the epidural. Many people had advised me against it, with reasoning like epidural has many side-effects during and after delivery, and that having labor pains is a natural process and should not be over-ridden. Natural? Really? Just because pain is natural, should girls continue bearing it despite having an option to reduce it? By that logic, any sort of medication to cure any form of illness is also un-natural, isn't it? Then why do we accept it, in children as well as adults? Sounds a little MCPish to me to make an exception for labor pains!

Anyway, epidural serenity in effect, I slept until I felt my water break, at about 4 AM. After I informed the nurse and she confirmed it, I went back to sleep, only to be awakened by my OB/GYN who had come to check my progress. I was expected to be fully dilated by 4 PM that day, as it usually takes about 24 hours after induction to reach that stage. However, surprise, surprise! I was ready to deliver, at 8 AM itself! In fact, Mayuresh was getting ready to go home for a quick shower when the doctor announced this unexpected news! LOL imagine what would have happened if the doctor were to arrive a few minutes later... :P

The actual delivery went surprisingly well. After the first few minutes of faltering, I could push correctly. I was well-rested and felt energetic. Also, I could feel the contractions, in spite of the epidural; so I knew when exactly to push. (The good thing was, I could feel the pressure of the contractions, but not the pain! :) :) ) To motivate me to push, they also placed a mirror in a way that I could see my dear little baby crowning. I was SO eager to see her, not so that the delivery could end soon, but so that I could meet her and hug her and welcome her into this world! :) Bless the epidural, really!

So amid eating ice chips between every pushing phase (for some reason, water is not allowed but ice chips are); discussing my doctor's Vegas trip with her, the nurse, and my husband; and pushing very, very hard, the biggest miracle in my life happened! :) It took just 1.5 hours; and except for the last 5 minutes, I didn't even have to wince.
About 9 months and 12 days of pregnancy and about 20 hours of induction, labor and delivery happened, and then suddenly I heard a cry. I looked up and there she was... so little, so precious, so delicate.
What happened afterwards was kind of a blur to me - The placenta delivery, the many stitches, the cleanup... I am totally woozy on the details. I, along with a very teary-eyed Mayuresh, was busy seeing our baby. ('Our baby' has such a nice ring to it, doesn't it? )

Weighing all of 5 pounds and 15 ounces, baby Ananya was here to rule our world! :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The due date finally arrives, and simply goes by!

We were scared that my doctor, who decided to go off with her husband to a conference in Las Vegas just a week before my due date, will not be able to deliver my baby, and that I will have to rely on some fill-in doctor.
However, the doctor returned, my due date arrived and went by. Apart from increased discomfort, there were no signs that my labor was near. Waking around did nothing to brng on labor. It did increase my backache though. Hehehe!

So finally, it was decided that I will be induced on the 21st of May, 2 days after my due date, and that the delivery will most likely happen on the 22nd of May.

Monday, June 16, 2014

9th month is here!

And somehow, both slowly but suddenly, the 9th month was here.

This was a month of mixed feelings. I wanted the baby to come out soon, but I also was extremely terrified of the labor and delivery process.
Also, the pelvic exams hurt like hell. (Well, I don't know how hell hurts, technically, but still! :P)
I also finally took the prenatal birthing class. It was quite okay... got a little boring towards the end, with it being day-long and all.

The good thing is, we finally shopped for everything, now that we were officially in the 9th month. Long Live Ikea! (Did I mention the big, long discussions we had with so many people about how "we don't buy anything in India until the baby arrives"? :D)

And of course, my parents were here now! Big yayyy! :D

A pastime for this month was finalizing baby names. While we began thinking of names way back n the 3rd month or so, we were not sure about which one name to choose from the shortlisted ones. Ananya, Almitra (my original choice - it's the name of the seeress from Khalil Gibran's book the Prophet, one of my favorites), Mukta (meaning liberated - I loved the meaning of this name), Maitreyi, Rimjhim (This one was vetoed by Mayuresh. While I loved the named, he seemed to hate it.), Zoya, Avni (I vetoed this one. It reminded me of a haunted Vidya Balan from Bhulbhulaiyya. LOL), and so on were jumbled in our minds. We then decided that only when the labor pains start, will we be able to zero in on it. But there were no signs of labor pains whatsoever so far. hehehe

As the 9th month was coming to an end, the wait began to get really too much. Too much anxiety... when will I deliver??

So, 8th month means body aches!

Yeah it does, it does!
Back, hips, abs, feet, legs, you name it, and it hurt!

Turning over in bed was a chore; it felt as though my body was a helium balloon; standing hurt, sitting made me feel cramped...arghhh!

However, I did get to watch my stomach do gymnastics, and finally feel the baby kick and twist and turn, and what not. She was a very, very active baby, and kept dancing all around my belly, all day and night! Ohh the silver linings of dark clouds! :-)

Shifting homes and the beginning of the third trimester

The 10th of February it is, and the 2nd trimester finally comes to an end.
Now the challenging 3rd trimester began. (so people say...for me, the first 2 trimesters were very challenging, too :P )
The third trimester also arrived with the shifting apartments frenzy. Lots of decisions, planning, packing, phone calls, arrangements, shopping to be done.
Add to it the shopping for baby stuff, lest the delivery happen prematurely (hope not).
The day we actually moved to the new city was surprisingly snow-free! Unlike what we feared, the journey was quite good.
For some reason, the 7th month, and the beginning of the 8th one were emotional for me. My mood was mostly low, I kept feeling paranoid and scared and restless. None of the pregnancy books or websites list this as a common condition, while they did so in the previous months. Probably my timeline of emotions is off. :P
Or it is also possible that moving into a new place took its toll on me.
This month also saw the onset of the famous back ache. Standing in the kitchen for long seemed impossible. I had to sit once every half an hour, whether I was just standing or simply strolling in a mall. Bloating and gassiness were like seasoned guests now.
Having to wake up twice a night to pee was not just tiring, but also led to insomnia. Somehow, I just couldn't put myself back to sleep after those multiple nocturnal relief routines! :P
Getting to know the new doctor in the new city and settling in the new processes and routines went relatively well, though.

The happy 5th and 6th months :-)

The 5th and the 6th month were quite different from the rest of the months. Happy, energetic, positive.
The nausea had subsided and the intense discomfort had not yet begun. Long walks were easier to enjoy, and most of all, I had begun to feel tiny flutters in my stomach - my first real interaction with the baby! :)
Yup, thanks to me having an anterior placenta, ( The placenta is between the stomach and the baby, as opposed to the more common location of between the back and the baby.) I could only begin feeling movement late in the 6th month. But when I did, it was quite pleasurable! 

Furthermore, we began window shopping for baby stuff, 'cause I could walk now! :D
A whole new world that we did not know existed opened in front of us - that of baby stuff. There were so many products, so many varieties, so many price ranges, it was like Alice in Wonderland for Mayuresh and I. :)
Different types of car seats, swings, strollers, play yards, rocking chairs, toys, clothes, and so on... what to buy, and what to avoid... Shop-crazy times those were! :D

The Diabetes Saga

Now this, is a tragic-comic story! Also, it is an ode to Lord Murphy! :P

So I had to schedule this oral glucose test to check for possible gestational diabetes. I went to the lab, drank a yucky orange glucose solution, and sat there for an hour. They then drew my blood to test my blood glucose level.
The maximum value for a negative result is 140. Guess what my result was : 139! And then the doctor suddenly realized that their facility uses 135 as the maximum value and not 140. Thus, I was sent off to do a 3-hour Glucose Tolerance Test.
I had to fast for 10-12 hours (at a time when i had morning sickness), and then get my blood drawn to test for fasting sugar. Then I had to drink an even more concentrated glucose solution (this time clear), and get my blood drawn every hour, 3 times! Now if 2 out of these 4 blood tests came above normal, I would be diagnosed as a gestational diabetic.
Yeah, I did not get 2 values above normal. I also did not get all values normal. That's right, ambiguity rules! I got 1 value slightly above normal. Ugghhh..what is it with borderline results and me????

Anyway, so technically, I wasn't diabetic. Still, my 'over-careful' doctor  asked me to attend diabetic counselling. The class was totally useless, and didn't tell me anything I did not know before. And we had to shell out 300 bucks for it! The worst part was that it paved way for the prick-athon sessions. I was given a blood glucose monitor, made to buy the testing supplies (needles and testing strips), and then, made to prick my finger and check my blood glucose twice everyday. Every single day! Boohoohoo :'(

To add to the confusion, there was some major health insurance hullabaloo. Why? Because the insurance wouldn't pay for my diabetic supplies and counselling sessions unless I was officially diabetic, which I was not.

The processes did not end there. I was asked to do a complete anatomical ultrasound at the hospital, because of questionable gestational diabetes (?) and the fact that we refused to do the genetic screening. Thankfully, the results if the ultrasound came back normal. And oh, we found out that we were having a girl! Yayyy! :-)

Several more weeks of blood glucose checking continued, with most of the results being well within normal limits, of course. But continue, they did!

Thankfully, by the end of the 4th month, my nausea had almost gone away, and by the end of the 5th month, I was feeling quite energetic, too. Thus we had started doing some exciting stuff, like thinking of baby names, and shopping for the baby! :-)

Also, as it eventually turned out, the diabetes scare did some good - it helped me keep my weight under control. By the time I delivered, I had gained just 14 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. Yayy to that! :)