Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Miracle - Fury Unfurls

Everything seemed normal, until at 9 weeks, the pregnancy hormones hit me with vengeance! To begin with, I had real bad gastric reflux, it was like my entire chest and throat were on fire, worse when I lay down and went to bed. But, I still managed to fall asleep, eventually. For pregnancy does leave you feeling fatigued, even if you didn't really do anything to get exhausted! 

But soon, I was puking, non-stop. It wasn't just morning sickness, for me it was worse in the evenings; and well, few days down, it was pretty much all day! I couldn't even hydrate myself enough some days :(

Like one morning, while at work, by a patient's bedside, I nearly blacked out onto his bed! :O And then, I was the patient, resting on a trolley, in my doctor-scrubs! My husband received his first "emergency" call and rushed from a meeting to the ED, to be by my side. Such episodes recurred and I was on sick leave, pretty much all week!

My blood pressure would be lower than normal, making it difficult to stand for too long; soon, I was too sick to get off the couch. I would mumble instructions from the living room, so my husband could stir up simple dinner for us, in the adjacent kitchen. My mum, worried sick herself, flew down to help me recuperate. She made my favourite food items, but I wouldn't be able to keep the ingested food down at all. Few minutes and I'd be hovering over the toilet bowl, emptying my guts out. It wasn't a pleasant sight at all. The husband even brought me my favourite waffles from R.O.D. but those too were thrown up in a few minutes :( The only thing I could tolerate was buttermilk, for some reason, not even juices! So, Pran would hoard cartons of those, in our refrigerator :)

Thankfully, the head of my department was considerate enough to let me take time off work; and I ended up using all my annual leave, to rest up that month. A foolish thing in hindsight - should have gotten to my doctor, she'd have given me a medical certificate/leave, and I would have saved my annual leave, but oh well, no point crying over spilt milk. 

In view of being in my first trimester (when traveling isn't highly recommended, for fear of miscarriage) and the sudden change in my health condition, we had to call off our travel plans. One was to Bali with my folks, to celebrate the younger brother's birthday - even though the booking on Agoda, was listed as non-refundable: upon being informed about the pregnancy, the guy on the customer service end, not only warmly congratulated my husband, but also made arrangements for a full refund. I must admit, that did win them a loyal customer, till the end of time! Thankfully, all the hotel bookings for the Greece trip were fully refundable as well. On the contrary, we lost $$$ on our Turkish airline tickets! Their customer service was shoddy - Sigh!

So that month, a part of me was in self-pity and disbelief, even! I didn't expect myself to be so down and out, that I'd become so dependent...sickness for weeks together can do that to one! Plus, the trips that I had to cancel, had been planned with much gusto, so having to let go wasn't easy either. So, a part of me was dejected infact.

But then, each day, I reminded myself of the miracle that had been conceived with love and the fact that I wasn't alone through these tough times! Pran, my dear husband, was always by my side; he would even spoon feed me - he was at my beck and call every minute, while balancing his work at the same time. My dear mother, who flew down to nurse me back to health; infused me with positivity and good cheer too. There were kind friends who offered to send home food for me; and colleagues who were so mindful of my fragile state and would urge me to take breaks often, and grab a bite or drink, during my shift.

For all the kindness bestowed upon me, I was and will be forever grateful.
Before these tough weeks, we had visited the temple to give thanks to the Almighty. And I knew that 'twas He, who looked after me during these rough times - he dropped angels in my life, time and again, to care for me and caress my mind and soul back to it's happy state. 

And yaay, about 6-7weeks later, my second trimester started, and I was back on my feet again, chirpy and all! :) 

Monday, 21 November 2016

The Miracle - with the racing heart ❤️

So from the day of the first scan, we were more conscious of days and weeks. Physically, nothing much had changed except for no periods (yaay!) and well, slightly heavier and tender breasts perhaps, thanks to the pregnancy hormones. So, life continued, pretty much as normal for the first 4 weeks atleast, since 5.2.16. 

I was working at the time, in one of the busiest Emergency Medicine departments in the country. Being central in location, it catered to a vast population and thus, the place was crowded, all the time! The trolleys were strewn around, and it wasn't easy to move between patients. But, I felt pretty much normal and continued to work as normal, with just as much zest, through my shifts.

And when not working, we caught up with friends and with the latest movies. Over brunch one weekend, we broke the news to our gang of friends. 
(i) We had made the downpayment on our new home-to-be.
(ii) I had made it to the residency programme.
(iii) Dipti is pregnant! (Whoa! What?!)

The elated husband even surprised me post night shift, to a staycation at Park Royal. We swam in the evening, in the infinity pool and had some yummy chicken rice at night, while watching TV from our king size bed. 

We focussed on making time for ourselves and  the tiny ball of cells, which was growing constantly and exponentially - from being the size of a sesame seed at 5weeks, to the size of a lentil, blueberry, kidney bean and a grape, at weeks 6,7,8 and 9 respectively. We went for morning/evening strolls, enjoying the pleasant breeze (also a Chinese New Year tradition for us) and we even ensured we meditated often, even if 'twas just before falling asleep, in our dark bedroom, lit only by the yellow moon above.

2 weeks after the first scan, we had our appointment at the government hospital. And the doppler scan did pick up the heartbeat this time - which meant 'twas a viable pregnancy. Medical jargon aside, if all went well, we'd be parents in another 30 odd weeks! But the wonder of the world, was the sound of the little one's racing heartbeat ❤️ And even when we look back, the thought that the two of us made another, from scratch, is still incredible. The wonders of nature are indeed unbelievably beautiful, to say the least. 

Monday, 14 November 2016

The Miracle - Confirmed

When the sun rose that morning, the rays seemed brighter yet gentler. That kind of happens when you're happy yet unsure of what to do! And well, when it all seems like you're still dreaming. Mornings  usually started with us sharing our schedules, over coffee, determining when we could head out, catch the next movie running at one of the GV theatres etc but that day, we were on our devices, calling for an appointment with a gynaecologist! Never thought, we'd be doing this, so early in our marriage, to be honest! As most young couples, we too intended to spend atleast two years, just the two of us (given our age gap and our respective careers, we desired to be parents before the husband turned 35 and for medical reasons, before I turned 30, the former being earlier). But as the adage goes, 'when we are busy "planning", God is having a good laugh up there!'

So the first thing to be done after a positive pregnancy test, is to confirm the pregnancy by means of an ultrasound; which is why we were calling to secure an appointment. When we called the government hospital, the earliest appointment was over 2 weeks later! Who on earth can contain their nerves until then?! So we called up a private hospital and got an appointment, a couple of days later. 

But boy! Her reviews online were bad! Yes, as a patient I fell prey to the exact same thing, that I vehemently oppose, as a doctor - doctor ratings! Pran, my husband, still holds it against me but oh well, she also had a cold, unflattering face (maybe she required a better photographer or photoshop perhaps) and I wouldn't want my infant to be greeted by that, the first time he/she arrives! Anyways, what this meant was we were back at square one. 

Luckily, when I revealed about my potential pregnancy to my new friend at work, she was elated of course, and suggested that I could visit her mother, who's a gynaecologist! Talk about coincidences! And thus, 2 days later, we were at her mother's clinic. Greeted by a warm smile, she asked a few questions and soon, I had cold gel on my lower abdominal/pelvic area and there it was - the gestational sac! But umm, no heart beat. According to the ultrasound, I was 5 weeks pregnant, which is too early to pick the heartbeat - which meant I needed another scan anyway, 1-2weeks later, to assess for viability. But for the moment, it was confirmed. "We were  pregnant!" or as my husband would break the news later on, "Dipti is pregnant!"

Just as we stepped out of the clinic, waiting outside for our Uber ride, I was on the verge of FaceTime-ing my mum, when I received a call, telling me that I had made it into the Emergency Medicine residency program! 

5.2.16 - It's a double 7 (5+2=1+6=7) and I always liked '7' and I like to think, it's even lucky for me, if such things exist! Irrespective, Lady Luck was indeed, smiling at me! I was obviously exuberant, Pran and I couldn't wipe that grin off our silly faces and when I called mum to tell her the two big updates, I could hear her jumping in joy, tears streaming down in sheer gratitude.

I honestly wasn't sure which made me happier! Both were so unreal and surreal. 
Later that evening, we sat under the moonlight, in silent meditative surrender, sending thankful vibes to the Universe. And even with closed eyes, we could see just one thing - within that black and white image, that tiny little ball of cells, which was just about the size of a sesame seed, quietly growing within my womb...our creation, our miracle. 

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The end of "confinement"

It's unbelievable the rate at which time speeds by. There ought to be a speed limit! But then who will fine who?

Anyways, point being 6 weeks+ have passed since I gave birth to my baby boy, after an arduous labour process that lasted nearly 48hrs! The days immediately following that life-changing event are rather blurred in my memory. The sheer exhaustion that wiped over me was clearly something I wasn't expecting. After the adrenaline of the first few days dies down, and the post-partum hormones hit you with a rage like none other, there is no controlling one's emotions - a true roller coaster ride this. (More about this in another post)

When we hit the 6weeks mark, signalling the end of the "confinement" period, I felt physically and emotionally so much better; but what made this day worth blogging about, wasn't something I did, but instead was about how the little one set me 'free'...
To begin with, I was very fortunate that #AyuBabu (oh yes, that's his social identity 😜) latched onto my breast very well, right from our first skin-to-skin bonding time; and thanks to the experienced care from my mothers, I was producing milk right from the start. Exclusive breastmilk feeding for the first 6 months of life is recommended for all newborns (except in certain medical conditions). But for mothers expected to go back to work, we need to initiate bottled breastmilk feeds after a month (not earlier, in order to avoid nipple confusion). So by 5 weeks, I started pumping out breastmilk and my mother (who's helping us look after the newborn) was handed over the task of initiating bottle-feeds! There were 2-3 failed attempts over the last week, leaving the little one completely annoyed, wailing at the top of his voice, and me, a tad bit upset and nervous at the same time...
But uber thanks to my mum's sheer perseverance, that afternoon, after the initial resistance, there was silence - when I went to peep in - the little one was sucking at the bottle and having his first successful bottle-feed!! The little one is indeed growing up too fast... Tears welled up and even though I was elated at this development, a small piece of my heart was rather heavy - to see your baby step up and get ever so slightly away from you is an oxymoronic moment of melancholy and prideful happiness...

That evening's twilight skyscape (as witnessed from our balcony) was one to behold indeed. 

To mark the end of "confinement"
A sliver of the blue and gold sky
The railings can contain me no longer
A carefree soul, my free spirit shall fly

Another new phase of my life kickstarted that evening, by just the reassuring act of my baby bottle-feeding. It sure did make me realise that babies are really fast learners, but more importantly, reinforced the fact that with patience and love, nothing is impossible. 

Sunday, 6 November 2016

The Miracle - As it hit us

I do have irregular periods sometimes, thanks to stress/hormones/whatever, so that is the reason why I hadn't peed on the stick earlier. In fact, the queasiness I felt, was conveniently blamed on some leftover take-away biryani I had had and the general tiredness, was well obviously because, I was working longer, more hectic shifts, and I was just recovering from a bad flu. But even doctors can be wrong sometimes, y'know! So, out of the blue, that evening, between seeing patients, on a loo break, I decided to do the urine pregnancy test.

Holy smokes! Like lightning out of the blue - thunderstruck! It was positive. I couldn't believe my eyes, so I did it a second time. Positive, yet again! Ok, I was getting light headed and I headed up for dinner, which the hospital thoughtfully provides. I have no idea how I sat through it. I so badly wanted to call my husband up, but I knew this crazy news had to be shared in person! So, I calmed my nerves and took deep breaths, while trying to quieten the butterflies in the stomach, and went through the rest of my shift, as though nothing had changed.

But of course, it had. My feet were unsteady as I traced my steps back home around midnight. I woke the slumberous husband up and showed him the stick (which I had preserved, in a "BioHazard" bag!) For starters, he had no idea, if it was positive or negative :P So, I just told him, and he went all "Huh?!" He snapped out of the disbelief soon enough and hugged me and carried me and what not! He clearly was thrilled! But because I had had some more time to process it, I was crazy nervous already!

Nonetheless, we decided to break the unconfirmed news to our parents. They were surprised of course, to receive a call at that hour and the first thing my mum told me jokingly was "OMG! I am so not ready to be a grandma!" And my in-laws were excited as well, considering it was just a few months since Prantik's maternal grandmother, Didun had endowed us with a beautiful Baal Krishna idol (which in Hindu culture comes with the blessing of "fertility and children").

And thus we went to bed that night...reeling in incredulity and yet in silent gratitude, for the miracle that had just begun to unfold in our lives.

Of course the pregnancy had to be confirmed and all; and in our final year of medicine, we've all answered questions on positive pregnancy tests and the causes etc. It could be any of the other complicated things, which require medical attention; but here, I was fairly well, so maybe, just maybe, God willing, it was none of those and we were in for a crazy adventure, tomorrow onwards! But for now, let's call it a good night! Damn! Can't even cheers to that 🍷

Love at first sight

So, the last I blogged was at the beginning of the year. And then, out of the blue, God (yes, if I am a believer in miracles, I ought to have stronger faith in the Higher Force meting 'em out to me) decided to drop in a seed within my womb!

And bam, fast forward 9 calendar months - and I have a miracle baby boy handed to me in the wee hours of 26th September, 2016. That Monday, was only magical and surreal to say the least, sans any blues.

There's so much to share, to chronicle about the journey that lead to the birth of our little wonder, and the 6 weeks of "confinement" that followed. 

As I type this out, the little one, who we've named Ayaan, is sleeping in blissful oblivion, in his classic 'Gerua' style (Shah Rukh's outstretched arms pose) while I've just put down Jhumpa Lahiri's "In Other Words" - if I can't go outdoors much, nothing should stop me from traveling and transporting myself to another world, as painted by a bestselling author right? 

Ah! The sheer joy hidden in words and lines; faces and smiles :)

Reading; and a recent first meeting with a 'lover of the written word', as she likes to introduce herself as (she had kind words to say about my previous blogposts) rekindled the spark and the itch to write - and of course, the constant nudging by my husband to ressurect this blogging space - landed me here. 

So, here I am. Hoping that I can make the most of the remaining five months or so left of my maternity leave, before I head back to work. While I hope to exclusively feed the newborn, "liquid gold" (as breast milk is fondly called) until then, I also wish to read loads and blog about all the wonderful memories that we weave together. For what is life if not a string of moments - the bad ones leave us with experience, and the good ones, reach the hippocampus, without a doubt. 

Thank you for all the support :)