I am not the touchy-feely girly kind that can make any kid smile. Or at least, I wasn’t. My friend (who’s due to pop any day now) is that. She and I were a popular twosome around college and she would play with random children on the train, in the hospital lobby, or while in an elevator. Children gravitated to her warmth and crooning while they stayed away from me. I would wear a stern, stop-wailing-NOW expression. People kept telling me it would be different with my own child, and thank God it is!
It is amazing how much I used to think of myself all the time. I was pretty self-centered in my head, if not in my behaviour. Even after I found out one blessed day that my husband and I were expecting our first child in September, all I thought of was myself and him.
Of course I subscribed to many weekly articles dealing with fetal development, dietary recommendations for the mommy-to-be, and listened to all the details my doctor gave intently, but it was not real enough. My husband and I lay for hours with our palms on my bump, trying to feel kicks and whooshes as early as 14 weeks into my pregnancy. I could tell some, while he could only feel them well into my 24th week. In fact, people would scarcely believe me, but on quiet mornings in bed, I think I could tell when my baby’s heart-rate quickened.
All the morning sickness made me feel rather low and powerless at first, and I showed some symptoms of antenatal depression. But it is heartening how Nature takes care of everything, and feeling the miracle happening within me – when I was careful enough to pray, think and hope for it, and when I was unconscious of it all – buoyed up my spirits all through my second trimester.
They say the third trimester may get tiresome, and it did too, but I occupied my time by reading up on labor and childbirth, and I must stay it was a good thing that I prepared myself for what was to come.
Ten days before my due date, and a week after my husband’s birthday, I started to feel sicker than usual. I couldn’t push my lunch (what’s up with until-now-ravenous appetite, I wondered) down, and I couldn’t sit still. My mind and heart were as frenzied as my body. I started to time my recurring pains on a contraction timer website, tried listening to some soothing music, and walking about. I talked to my mother, father, lay down, took a shower, but nothing seemed to ease the feeling of something imperative happening within me. My body continued to be in the grip of a painful frenzy and I knew it was labor, but I wouldn’t admit it to anybody yet. I tried to busy myself by chatting to friends about Rahul Gandhi's latest faux pas. It was some 4 hours into feeling this way when my mom insisted that I talk to my obstetrician. And oh! I almost forgot to mention that I had a tiny bit of what they call the bloody show.
We packed up my hospital bag, into which I had until then only put in a few random things, and my father drove me to the hospital. One look at me, and the nurses concluded that I was in active labor. My obstetrician joined me presently to confirm that I was five centimeters dilated! Woohoo!
I was wheeled into the traditional labor room, where the discomfort and foreboding was even greater. After some five hours in which my labor had not progressed, they shifted me into the Operating Room and performed a C-section. Anika was born and all the beauty of life seemed to open before me with redoubled intensity.
Those minutes in surgery were like a vacuum in time when I was conscious but didn’t know what I was waiting for. Sure, the birth of my baby was in the offing, but I had no idea what it was going to be like. I heard a potent scream which grew more and more insistent, and suddenly I realized that that was my baby. Then my doctor murmured, “It’s a girl” as she went on with her suturing.
Some more time later, a nurse brought the newborn near my head and I could glance up through a veil of tears. “Gosh, she has my husband’s forehead!” I remember thinking. I couldn’t hold my baby immediately as I had IV fluids and BP cables running up both my arms, so I let the emotion wash over me. They had taken the little one into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, as I learned that they do with all C-section babies. Within less than an hour of wheeling me back into my suite, they had brought Anika back to me, and I could not fall asleep from sheer excitement and relief. I told my parents and husband in all importance that I now have a daughter. It was the end of one beautiful time and the beginning of another.
Pregnancy was a precious time, and I can’t wait to carry my next child. But I want to be sure of giving him/her a good start, so I know I’ve got to wait 3-4 years. In conclusion, I can say it’s not at all easy, but it’s all worth the waiting and the pain and panic. Under God, I have been chosen to experience His work through me, and to take part in it each day. I have a lifetime to prove to myself that I deserve this responsibility and can work with it. Cheers to humankind! And hello!
The girlfriend I talked about at the beginning of my story has had a little girl too! Three cheers more. God bless. J
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