Thursday, June 28, 2007

Best feeling right now!

If you asked me now what is the greatest feeling on earth - sorry to say - at a conscious level - I can't say it is when my son comes and pats me on the cheek gently and says "Konchi Konchi" (a fond gesture) or when I see my baby girl smile - it feels absolutely wonderful when at 4.00 am after the second cycle of night time nursing I know both my kids (and of course B) are fast asleep, I come into the room that has cooled down to the right temperature and I rest my head comfortably on the pillow, stretch my legs and just drift off into sleep completely fatigued! That moment feels just amazing! :)
More later! Have a precious half an hour to catch a quick nap now before I have to get up to nurse baby girl and then feed kutti boy his lunch! He refused out of the blue to have his breakfast - fed on bits and pieces of snacks - I cried of course from desperately getting him to eat something - now I am exhausted mentally and am finding respite in a few quite moments when I can do something other than baby care!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The magic moments – birth of baby girl!

First of all, thanks to all of you for your wishes both before and after my delivery. Thanks Poppin’s mom – sweet of you to have given the “Breaking news” to everyone.
As I sit back and think about the tense drive to the hospital and the intense moments leading up to the birth of our baby girl, the feeling is that of an out of body experience. My due date was June 20.07. I was hoping that I would deliver a few days earlier rather than later like it happened for my son for whom I had to be induced since he went past the due date. Also, my sister was due to arrive on June 17 and had planned to stay for a week. I was hoping to maximize the time we would have with my sister after the second baby arrived. This time it was all about practicality. I was most worried about how my son would manage my being away at the hospital for two days never having stayed away from me for more than 2-3 hrs. On Friday night I had indications that labor might start over the weekend (mucus plug). So I called my sister in the morning and told her to come on Saturday night instead of Sunday night as she had planned.
June 17 morning:
I went for a long walk after feeding kutti boy (my 22m old son) his breakfast. It was a long walk considering I was due any time although I just walked down the road along with my sister. I was really hoping to kick start natural labor. I had been feeling some mild contractions during the night. But they were sporadic, some close, some far apart. I had my lunch around 12.30 pm and went upstairs around 1.00pm to make my son go for his afternoon nap. But before that I called the hospital and the doctor on call called me back. I told her that my contractions were about 10 to 12 minutes apart and lasted about 30 to 45 seconds. She asked me if my water broke or was leaking for which I replied no. She asked me about my first delivery – I told her I delivered three hours after I had been induced. That got her concerned and she paused for a bit and told me “I would hate for you to come here all the way and go back. So I would say let’s wait for an hour and see if your contractions start getting more frequent. If they get any closer than 10min, call me and we will have you come over to the hospital”. I told her to make sure that the anesthesiologist was ready to give me the epidural. I always swore that I would never deliver without the epidural since I could not imagine withstanding so much pain. I decided to make my son start his afternoon nap so that I could leave for the hospital while he was napping knowing my contractions would probably start getting more frequent by then. He was wired awake that day and even at 1.30 pm he was playing with me and goofing around. I finally told him sternly that he had to close his eyes and start sleeping. Finally around 1.45pm, he fell asleep. I came downstairs and saw that the hospital bag was ready to be loaded and my husband was ready to leave any time. I could see the tension in my mother’s face. I had told my sister to stay on with my mother and help her when my son woke up from his nap. All of a sudden the pain became intense. Contractions became more and more frequent. Three minutes apart now. I suddenly found myself in tears from the pain. I controlled myself and told my husband to call the labor and delivery unit and tell them that we were coming right away. The answering service asked to talk to me (the patient!) and I could barely answer their questions. I gave the phone to my husband and told him to inform them that we were just coming and we had no time to wait for the doctor to call me back. I could feel the intensity of the labor pains and I felt the pressure of an imminent water break.
Just like a thriller movie there was a twist when I was about to leave. My nephew said that he would drive me and my husband (B) to the hospital instead of having B drive me to the hospital. We were about to get into his car when he said “Oh man, I don’t want to take chance but I am low on fuel”. I was in agony by then not as much in pain but from the anxiety that we were running out of time. Immediately B transferred the bags into his car and I was groaning with pain by then. In a concerned tone I asked my sister who is a pediatrician, “Do you think I will deliver in the car?!!”. She comforted me feebly saying, “No, don’t worry, keep breathing, you will get there”. But she was lying. She was concerned too. Suddenly she exclaimed “You know what, let’s just call the ambulance”. I was too nervous by then to even wait for one second while making phone calls etc. I just screamed to every one “Let’s just GO!!”. My mother insisted that I take my sister along and that she would manage my son by herself. I asked her if she was sure and she just told me to leave and not worry about my son. My sister wanted to get her hand bag just incase she had to drive back but I yelled “Let’s JUST GO!”. She jumped into the car and we left.
June.17.07 – around 2.20pm.
We were driving to the hospital – a twenty min ride from our place. Traffic was smooth since it was a Sunday afternoon. I sat at the back with my sister holding my hand. B was driving as calmly as he could under the circumstances. Those twenty minutes were one of the most intense moments in my life I think. They were in part a thriller and in part a comedy in retrospect. Only in retrospect one can laugh about it. When I was experiencing it I was pale with pain and anxiety written all over my face. I could feel the pressure of the baby pushing its way down and I was worried sick that I would not make it to the hospital in time. I have this habit of reciting “Ram Ram Ram” when I am in pain or when I am afraid. It is more of a meditative prayer than a religious one. So naturally I started reciting loudly “Ram Ram Ram” in a sing song tone and my sister would hold my hand and ask me to breathe slowly in and out. Between contractions I would have a thirty second break from pain and those few seconds I was in some strangely euphoric state. I felt as if I was entering deep sleep in the midst of that pain. As we neared the highway exit for the hospital the road was bumpy and in the same sing song tone I was yelling to my husband “bumpy, bumpy, bumpy” and he just calmly replied “ I can’t do anything about it – the road is that way here”. I was mildly relieved to know that we were near the hospital. The left turn signal to enter the hospital emergency entrance turned to red just when we got to that point. After what seemed like eternity, we then turned into the emergency entrance of the hospital. My sister darted inside and found a lone receptionist sitting at the desk. She told him “We need a wheel chair, my sister is in labor and needs to be taken to her room”. He casually asked her “Oh, when is she due?”.
My sister said “NOW, she is term and is ready to go NOW”. He then got some sense of the urgency but only pointed to the wheel chairs in the corner. She ran to fetch one and shouted to him to get the nurses ready in the labor room. By then he had paged a nurse who came running outside and I managed to climb on to the wheel chair. I huffed and puffed my way through the hallways and finally made it to the labor room.
June.17.07 – 2.44pm.
As soon as we got into the room, I asked the nurses to give me an epidural. It so happened that the labor nurse who was there at my first son’s delivery was on duty when I went in this time too. She recognized me and told me “ Well, you have to get into bed first, we need to check you before giving an epidural”. The height of the bed now seemed like the Himalayas to me. I felt the shooting pain of the contractions and the pressure of a baby ready to push its way down. I somehow managed to climb on to the bed and push back as much as they wanted me to. The nurse checked me and casually said “No, can’t give you the epidural, too late, you are fully dilated”. I felt my heart sink. I was terrified of the pains I might have to endure while pushing the baby out. I was someone who would pop an Aleeve tablet before periods cramps started. How can I endure labor pains and push the baby out! Just as I was mired in these fearful thoughts, I felt the pop of the water breaking. There were three nurses in the room and one of them paged the doctor on call, the other inserted the IV needle, my husband held my hand and kept telling me to breathe. My sister looked on to see how I was progressing. One of the nurses yelled to me “The baby’s head is coming out. Start pushing”. It was a scene from the movies. I barely got myself perched on the hospital bed and suddenly I felt myself giving one big push and there it was, exactly seven minutes after I got on the delivery bed, the much awaited sound of the baby’s first wail! The nurses, my sister and B were just delighted and my sister was in tears. She came to hug and I don’t remember where my husband was at that moment – I think he immediately ran to see his little girl. They lifted the baby up for me to see – I could see her pink face and curly thick mop of hair. They took her away to have her cleaned and weighed and wrapped up. We waited for a few minutes when I was left to myself pretty much since all attention was now on the baby. My sister was cooing to the baby and my husband was busy with the camera capturing the moment. All I felt was relief, relief and more relief. Thank you god for big mercies. One wrong move on our part, any small delay here or there, things would have turned out very differently. I could have delivered in the car – a scene I cannot even imagine. I felt like some divine grace had held me tight and kept me breathing right and hold on until we reached the hospital. The nurses remarked to me “What a perfect way to deliver! You didn’t waste any time. You just got here and you delivered!”. The senior nurse looked at me with a grin and showed me the labor chart and said “This is the shortest chart in my nursing career. Just a strip of paper! For the third one, you better get here as soon as labor starts!”. I turned to her and said “Are you kidding me, no third, this is it!”. She looked at me as if to say “We’ll see!”. The doctor on call arrived a few minutes later and congratulated me and shook her head in disbelief. She told me “Thank god! You made it here on time. You really have a high tolerance for pain. It all happened so quickly from the time you called me!”.
High tolerance for pain? Me? I probably do have it but I just cannot believe it. She then sutured the second degree tears I had suffered while pushing the baby out. When they handed me the baby, all I felt was a deep sense of gratitude to whatever power it was that brought her into this world safely in a secure, clean environment. I could not think of anything else. Suddenly sleep took over me. I just felt my eyes close from sheer fatigue from the intensity of the past half an hour. I just lay down feeling blank and tired.
It is already one week since the birth of baby girl. She is sleeping like an angel all wrapped up in her swaddle blanket and wearing her pink baby cap. On our drive back from the hospital, I was sitting between our two children and my husband drove and my sister followed us in another car. It felt complete. Our little family. So much to look forward to. So many countless joys and so many trying moments in the process of raising them. It was only a fleeting thought. I am a bit too sentimental to think too far into the future. Thank heavens for today. We were returning home safe. I suddenly felt a surge of tears remembering how my mother and father were waiting at the door when we drove home after my first child was born. Now my father is no more. I missed him. I imagined his presence at the door when we entered. I do want to believe that the collective prayers and good wishes of so many people and my father’s blessings got me through this safely. Camera, video, flowers, pink balloons, aarthi at the door when we entered…and here we were now a family of four set for a long journey together!

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Thanks to every one for your kind wishes...I will post about the exciting birth story when I am able to sit down and write about it. In the meanwhile I figured I would post a couple of pictures. It has been crazy since we got home on Tuesday afternoon (I delivered the baby on sunday afternoon). Taking care of my son who cooperated so wonderfully well when I was away at the hospital, making him feel like he is still just as important and spending all the free time with him, getting baby girl to nurse, talking to people who have been calling to congratulate, spending time with my sister and nephew who are's been a mad house here. I feel as if I am in a time continuum where day merges into night without any distinction - I am up at all hours. Feel exhuasted at the end of the day but somehow muster the energy to wake up every 3 hours to nurse...all you moms out there know how that is and have been through all of the same things. Things will start settling down in a little while. In the mean time, here are a couple of pictures of kutti girl! And her little brother!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Father's day gift...

I decided to give my husband a "in kind" father's day gift this time. I anyway buy a lot of the things my husband wants/likes so it wouldn't have been too different if I gave it to him as a gift. I gave him a card two days back just in case I went into labor ahead of time and father's day gets sidelined totally because of it. I think he is a great father to our son and gives him unconditional love, never gets annoyed or angry with our son the way I do (well he does not spend as much time either!) and does things that our son thoroughly enjoys. Our son often even calls him by his first name as if he is his friend!
I gave B (husband) a nice card expressing my thoughts about him as a father and I wrote out the gift I was going to give him. As a gift, I gave him my word that I would not get irritated or annoyed with him for anything no matter what for one whole week. And if I broke the rule I set for myself, I would give him a rain check and do that for a month. Well, you can guess what it is going to be - rain check of course.
We were driving to some place yesterday and I was grinning when I asked B "So how is my gift coming along?"...he smiled and said "So you are giving me a rain check I guess!". I said "Well, no, I am thinking of changing the start date to tomorrow and I will be good from then on for a week"! He says "I think you should just aim for one day first"! :) Such confidence. So I get into how he* is not cooperating with me in making my gift happen and how had he done this or that in the morning I would never have gotten annoyed with him! :) He just looked at me as if to say I rest my case! No but seriously he should have cooperated in making it happen! :)) Like last morning, B came along with me for my doc appointment and my son was running around all over the waiting room. Which was fine because he was just happy and enjoying himself. But the door to the waiting room opened to the inside and people were coming in and out. I told B that he should be within arm's distance of our son so he won't be by the door when someone opens it. My excuse - I am fully pregnant, you are here, so you might as well be the one running behind our son. B thinks I am over protective and I should just let our son run around and fall and figure out things for himself. I do agree with letting him be and I don't think I am too protective. Just cautious. And at a public place we cannot let our child be a nuisance to others. Anyway our dear son goes close to the door, someone opens it and B just darts towards the door and grabs him in time. Or he would have been knocked down. It is a carpeted floor but for the person entering it would have been upsetting to think she knocked down a little child like that. So I turned around and showed my annoyance to my husband. He calmly said "What, I caught him on time". Which was not the point in my opinion!
Men are from Mars situation again! :))
Gosh, I should have just gone out and bought him a fancy camera lens and made my life easier! But then that would work against me in other ways by taking his time away from me. Hobby related gifts bring that possibility along. So I refrain from those now. As Poppins wrote to me when I told her about my gift - I guess I am giving him a precious gift - another little child - who may in fact decide to arrive on Father's day afterall!
Happy father's day to all the father's out there in our little blog community!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Shorry... how my son says "sorry". He understands when one is supposed to say sorry and is very sweet about saying it. If he is in the play area of a mall and he is running around and some child bangs into him he says "Shorry" casually and walks on but he does say it. But he does not understand that he doesn't have to say sorry if the other person is the one who hurt him or tripped him or whatever.
Last evening I noticed that he had developed a slight diaper rash out of the blue - must be the summer heat...Normally he laughs and plays and asks me to give him some "Kereem" (as in Johnson's baby cream) in his palm - I make a few dots of it and he likes to count the dots randomly saying 2,7 etc. But last eve and night he cried and didn't ask for any cream because of the rash and it was heart breaking for me. What made it even harder was when he cried and kept telling me "Shorry Shorry"....
Just the thing to do to melt a mother's heart. Child in pain saying sorry to the mom for inflicting that pain while cleaning him up. I could not concentrate on anything until he was back to his normal cheerful self. My sister who is a pediatrician happened to call last night to check on my "Labor pains" status and I told her about his diaper rash and how I was feeling so bad about it. We were then talking about other things when she told me about one of her patients, a 12 yr old with cystic fibrosis. This girl is the only child to her parents who dote on her. Her mother has dedicated all her time to taking care of this child. The last time my sister told me about this girl was a couple of months back when she had been admitted to the hospital for breathing difficulties. At that time I believe this girl was very frustrated because she had been studying for some tests to be admitted into some program but could not take the exam since she had to be hospitalized. She apparently said "Whenever I have fun, I end up in the hospital!". Here was a motivated child wanting to learn and live and experience life to the fullest who was being punished with this disease. I put myself in her mother's place and felt such overwhelming sadness. Only child whose condition had worsened so much that she had only a couple of days left. And here I was feeling so bad to even just see my son cry from a diaper rash. Life tests people in different ways at different times - some bearable and some unbearable. Each time my son even experiences a mild cold or when I sulk that he is not a chubby kid like I would have liked him to be I end up hearing about some story like this and it gives me tremendous perspective. It reminds me that part of being a mother is not just basking in the glories of my child but being able to be strong and stand tall when my child is in pain and give him the strength to face the adversities that may come his way in life. I was reminded of my son's pediatrician's comment each time I lament about his weight. Your son, "He is healthy, he is active, why do you worry about his weight. He is the answer to America's obesity problem. You should only worry if he gains weight too easily". I can't deny I still wish for my son to be one stout chubby kid that I can maul and cuddle and pinch but at a serious level I do feel grateful (knock on wood) for big mercies - really, as long as the child is healthy and not in pain - plenty to be grateful for.
On a totally different note Poppins had a very nice post for Father's day in her site. And it again reminds us of the value and importance of maintaining our health at least for the sake of our children.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Is it a girl? Is it a boy? Twins? Due in a week?

As the due date comes closer and closer it is quite amusing to see the reactions from people regarding the (second) baby’s arrival. There is a sense of excitement and anticipation even amongst strangers. It’s a fun game to play – guessing the gender of the baby based on how you are carrying the baby, if you look like you are glowing etc etc. I remember how during my first pregnancy about three or four weeks before due date I would get so many questions about my due date. And because I am petite I guess my tummy showed so much that so many people asked me if I was either due right then or if I was having twins. This time around surprisingly no one has asked me if I am having twins but people have begun asking me if I am due to go very soon. We went to the beach last evening and I had a drink at Starbucks. The clerk made an error and charged me a lower amount for the drink. She called the manager who came to fix the error. He told her “Ahn, it’s ok, she has a baby coming soon anyway” and didn’t charge me the full amount for the drink. He was a tall, plump guy with a rather cherubic face who then cheerfully looked at me and said, “You look like you are ready to go soon”. I said “Yeah, kind of”. And he said “I would say in a week?”! That was a pretty close guess and I could see he had fun guessing and then checking with me to see if he was right.
The other day I was at the grocery store waiting at the cash register and the clerk, an older Chinese woman said “Let me guess what you are having, you are carrying it in front, I think it’s a boy”.
Hmm…as I am writing this post I realize I haven’t really even written about this in my blog – if I am due to have a girl or a boy. So let me leave it at that until the baby arrives!
A friend wrote to me after seeing my recent photo “You look like you are going to have a boy because you are glowing and they say if it is a girl she robs you of all your beauty”. Interestingly the same week, two of my relatives used the same phrase in Tamil to guess the gender of the baby. I find such traditional phrases in any context very cute and interesting. Translation doesn’t do it justice though. They said “Nee Azhagu vittundrukke, unakku ponnu dhan porakka pordhu” – translating literally, it means “ You are emanating beauty, so you must be having a girl” quite the opposite logic of what my friend said about the same thing. I too see a pregnancy glow when I look at pictures of some friends/my sister's during their pregnancy. I do believe though, "Pregnancy glow is in the eye of the beholder!". I don't see any glow when I look at myself in the mirror!
It’s fun to see how people – both known and unknown – love to participate in this guessing game. Something about the arrival of a baby is exciting and makes people want to know more details and want to converse about it. As the due date comes closer, I find myself receiving more calls from people wondering if the baby has arrived. Somehow they think if I haven’t called them it could be because the baby has arrived. A very close friend from India who normally doesn’t email and calls very infrequently (nevertheless is one of my closest friends) suddenly mailed me today asking me if I was in the hospital and if the baby had arrived! He is usually completely preoccupied with his work and on a normal day would casually leave an intentionally rude message "only called to quickly check if you are still alive, not much else, bye!". Another friend who lives very close to our place called me a little while back and said “Haven’t talked to you in two days, was wondering if the baby had arrived”! It is as if every one is eagerly waiting for the grand arrival of the little one. And I totally relate to it because a close friend was due to deliver on May 26 but I did not hear from her till May 31. I was so eagerly waiting for her call but I had already called her on the 25th with the “SO?!!” opening as soon as she picked up the phone. I didn't want her to feel pressured especially since this was her first child and she was already nervous about the labor pains etc. Every evening I would tell my husband “Haven’t heard from N yet, wonder if she is in labor now”. Some people find these sort of questions and guesses annoying but I actually really enjoy it. As long as it is obviously meant in a lighthearted manner which is usually the case. It makes you feel connected as human beings and makes you enjoy the true magic of bringing a new life into this world!