Sunday, 18 June 2017

Happy Fathers' Day!

I haven't taken time out to blog in the recent past, and the one time I did, there was some technical glitch so there's some unfinished business, I need to get back to some day. But today, being Fathers' Day - I owe Prantik this one.

Ayaan, your Baba, was born before you were. The day I told him, there was a chance we were 'pregnant', he jumped in exhilaration and hugged us tight. The first time, we saw the littlest form of you on the Ultrasound screen, our joy knew no bounds. The day, we saw your heart racing on the Doppler scan, your father's heart skipped a beat, in sheer excitement. Eager though we were, we decided to keep your gender a surprise - so, when he used to talk to you, within my tummy, he referred to you as 'Lymu' instead - and mirroring Baba's excitement, you would, either 'high five' or kick, in response. When we were in Australia, for our baby moon, with the extended family, we held a Koala bear, close to us; our minds were abuzz with the thought that soon, it would be you, in our arms.

As the time for your birth was drawing close, and your heartbeat fluttered; your father, paced up and down the hospital corridor. While in the Delivery Suite, he played upbeat songs like "Sultan" etc, to keep my pushing tempo up! And when the glorious moment came, and you finally, entered our lives, your dad's eyes were completely fixed on you. For the first time, I felt forgotten (haha) and for obvious reasons, you became the centre of our attention, in a jiffy.

When your Baba held you for the first time, a rush of emotions ran through his head. But most of all, it was overwhelming love, while you continued to sleep in sweet oblivion, in his arms. For most of the initial weeks, at home, days went by while attending to your feed-diaper change-sleep needs. And in between all of those, Baba held you close. Babies don't develop neck control until they are about 3 months old, so initially, you were literally this flimsy little thing - but Baba, impressively turned out to be a natural when it came to handling you, changing diapers etc.

Soon enough, the sleepless nights commenced. So did trying out all sorts of things to get you to sleep. Right from bathing, again in the evening; to loads of play time, shadow games etc. Baba finally discovered that Lata Mangeshkar's "Ruk Ja Raat"/"Aapki Nazron Ne Samjha" did the trick. One can always find Lataji's playlist, in the recently played list on his phone. And when all failed, he would hum the impromptu Konkani jingles that I would usually sing, to send you to dreamland - he would adorably mispronounce some of the words, but brownie points for the earnest attempts.

A couple of weeks later, you greeted us with smiles and pouts and what not. With time, we learnt, you were quite the happy, smiley baby. Baba even named you "Pokhlya Pintya" referring to your heart-melting toothless grin. You would reciprocate Baba's expressions and smile back, stick your tongue out etc. Baba was also the first to teach you to mouth-ride your motorbike, by spluttering all around! Soon, it was a drool fest for all of us.

Weeks changed to months, and as you grew up, discovering new things around you every day - Baba facilitated the learning process by surprising you with new toys/books etc. He would carry you around on our strolls to the park or visit to the aquarium. He would keep you afloat as you splashed about in the jacuzzi, in your jolly mood. And when, on one of our many flights, you threw a tantrum 30, 000 ft above sea level, and I was at my wits end, your Baba, very calmly, clasped you warmly in his arms and stood up, rocking you steadily, in the aisle (the seat belt sign was on! but we were desperate) and soon, you flashed a bright smile at the fellow passengers, while your mum i.e. me, sighed in relief.

Our mornings begin with you going "Aye" in full-tapori style, and you kicking your Baba up ;) Later in the evenings, when Baba gets home, your eyes twinkle up, and you slide across the living room to be raised up in the air by him. Your face lights up with the widest smile and happiest giggles when your Baba throws you up in the air.

Your play times with him sometimes even make me envious. I think I bore you with all the book reading, while the two of you connect so well, playing with balls and drums. When I'm running late from work, and you are in the proximity of 'cranky zone', Baba knows very well, to take you to the study room with the bouncing monkey toy, to instantly distract you, from the thought of missing your mom. Days that I work late evening shifts, Baba takes charge of bed-time, so often, upon entering the bedroom, I see you asleep, on Baba's lap, intermittently dream-sucking the "I <3 Papa" pacifier, so blissful.

As the months turn into years, I think, Baba might just be the cooler parent. He'll be the one to play catch with you and teach you cricket; he'll be the one to let you go on that overseas school trip; he'll get you the latest gadget in town and what not. But more importantly, he'll be your rock. Trust him to be able to patiently listen and extract your deepest fears from within, have faith in him to always support you and give you wings to fly. For that is what our fathers did with us, and expect no less from him.

When I see him with you, my heart swells up with pride and happiness, like I've never felt before. You cry "Amma" when in distress, but "Ab-bbaa" seems to be rolling out at all times - a perfect Fathers' Day gift, I'd say. From Chotu, to Baba, from AyuBabu to PranBabu.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

#AyuBabu's first week home

All the following posts are going to be in retrospect, for well, our lives have just been "so happening". And, it seems like with the blink of an eye, you've turned 6 months old.
With time, my anxieties of getting back to work have surfaced, coupled with the fact that you've completely rejected taking the bottle - but these posts are reserved to celebrate you and our small victories together, so all such transient stuff shall be sidelined for good :) For you, Ayu, have grown into such a cute, joyful and social baby - and let's focus on that. And well, let's start from the very beginning :)

Day 1: The Pediatrician gave the "thumbs up" sign and we were all excited to go home ! We hadn't really bought any clothes for you prior to your birth, as in our culture, we don't buy baby stuff, unless the stork delivers you safely in our arms. But, as luck would have it, a kind and thoughtful secretary from my workplace, gifted me a newborn-baby set, prior to me starting my maternity leave. So, that had been washed and packed in our hospital bag.
So between the nurse coming to cut your 'safety bracelet', thus snapping all your bonds with the hospital you were born in; and your father going downstairs to pay the hospital bills and register your name, Ayaan Kamath Mazumdar, as is to appear on your birth certificate (while shortlisting names for you, we loved this one; it means 'God's gift' and that is exactly what you are to us - and heh, don't worry about being amongst the first few, during Practicals/Viva exams - the examiners are usually in a good mood in the beginning ;) also, we chose to let you know you belong equally to both of us, so we decided to let you keep both our surnames - once you adult up, you can choose to shorten it, the way you like, I guess); you were changed from the hospital swaddle cloth, into your first pair of clothes. Our precious little one, in an oversized t-shirt and blue-and-white striped shorts, complete with it's matching cap, mittens and booties, swaddled with a blanket, all set to step into the big world outside.
We then, took our first Uber ride home! You lay quiet in your Mamama's gentle embrace, squinting away, as the bright sunlight peeping in through the windows, warmed us all. The ride was just a short 15 minute one. When we got home, your Thamma and Dadubhai, were all ready, to welcome you in. And on your very first day, you won everyone's hearts with that beaming, dreamy smile of yours!

By the time we got home, I had been up pretty much for about 50 hours+, so desperate for some shut eye, I handed your father a "feeding cues" image, which I whatsapped him from the adjacent room, and I finally, finally, stretched my legs, to catch some rest. And it hadn't been 5 minutes since then, that I got a notification, which read "moderate feeding cue!" Hahaha! You missed me already, you naughty little one :) Here, I must add, you were such a darling - you gave me no trouble of sore/cracked nipples, inflammation of breasts etc - 'cause you were literally a pro at breastfeeding. I honestly have no idea how nature bestows such a complex skill in a newborn but there, you were, making it seem so simple. The initial days were admittedly tough on me, as I was still recovering myself from a normal delivery. But whenever, I looked down at your face, which is all I had eyes for, nothing else mattered. With a baby, a mother is born; and all I really wanted to do all day, was hold you close...

You fed, peed, pooped (initially black coloured - "meconium" it's termed, and after a couple of days, curdy watery yellow orange coloured) and slept - and the cycle repeated! It seemed like you were tired from the ordeal of labour and being born, so you rested well, all day. Your Baba picked up diaper changing quite soon, and I made a trippy song out of it too "Diaper Change Time, Diaper - Diaper Change Time"! Your eyes funnily seemed to light up to such mum-composed jingles all the time, or maybe it was just my voice :D

We had to find some awake time, to bathe you! And when we did, your Mamama held you steady in the bathtub, while I checked for the tenth time that the temperature of the water was just right; and your father was all over us, to click pictures of a naked you, having your first bath with us :) We were amazed at how you loved it - you didn't cry at all and on the contrary, you seemed to be amused by it all. I made a gibberish song for "Busha (bath) time" as well. You looked absolutely adorable in your bath towel :D That was then followed by the dressing up routine, which included wiping dry your shrivelled up umbilical cord stump, and the rest of your body, before applying lotion powder, diapering you up and dressing you, in soft white cotton clothes, which left you with a fresh glow, and bam! You would quickly feed and fall into sweet slumber. 

And thus soon, it was the first night at home, with you co-sleeping so peacefully, between your Ma and Baba; we had our dim yellow lights on, all night; and I was up, frequently, to feed you, at every stir. You didn't cry much those first few nights - but little did we know that, that was perhaps the calm before the storm (more about that, in another blog post)

That first week, in the mornings, I had a lady, come home to massage me and tightly wrap around my post-delivery tummy, a long piece of herb-laden cloth, traditionally believed to not just help in firming up the abdomen, bridging gaps in the muscle groups of either side, and in getting the uterus/womb back to its original state; it also gives a new mother, some much needed relaxation as well, while helping in blood-making. There were days, when your Mamama, who would babysit (while I was in the adjacent room) would walk in with a hungry you, and I'd have to ask the lady to pause, so I could quickly nurse you; and the lady was accommodating indeed.

On day 3, we had to visit the neonatologist for a repeat 'Bilirubin test' - which is to check for jaundice. It was our first 'outing' so to say, with a newborn you. You slept through most of it. You got up when it was time to undress you and weigh you - and you had not only gained weight since discharge, you had crossed your birth weight. The doctor was appreciative and I couldn't be prouder of the team we made. Yo! Infact, I managed to feed you and change your diapers on my own, in the baby care room - which obviously was a good boost to my confidence as a first-time mom. Thank you partner, for being so kind in your own endearing way. Anyways, the bilirubin level was normal; and we were back home soon enough, while you continued to sleep and dream, in your "Thinker" pose.

Your Baba was on paternity leave as well, so he could help with not only shopping for baby care stuff; but also other paper work. The most important being the application for your passport. And that required a photo of you, with your eyes open! And both your ears visible, 'chin up' and what not?! That was a task indeed - to get an awake picture of you, and one with your head not tilted! But after about twenty shots, we managed to get a decent one - and then the next task? To get your thumbprint - Are you kiddin' me? We got a smudged print somehow, and thankfully, the lady at the counter was understanding enough to not object. Now, you have a passport, with a photo of you, when you weren't even a week old - and when you're old enough to recognise yourself, you're going to object with that infant photo of yours, that barely looks like you, now - :) But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

There were many people who visited you as well, family friends and colleagues; and you got some nice new clothes; one grand-aunt gifted you doctor-scrubs like tee and shorts - how cute! Your Baba's work colleagues (#HappyTribe), amongst other gifts, got you a "diaper-cake" haha - which was very helpful, considering you were wetting diapers real fast :D Oh and a cricket friend of your father's came home with a kid-cricket bat - which was obviously bigger in size than you - but his desire, just like your father's to get you started with the sport was clearly evident!

You were mostly asleep, when all those people visited us. They gaped at your head full of hair, which I took the liberty to style with spikes and all; and at your tiny little toes and long fingers (which were very much like your Rohit uncle's infact). As usual, pretty much everyone had a comment or two, on which one of your parent you resembled. And though, your father was leading initially on the vote count, with passing time, it tilted quite heavily in my favour. There were some, who'd want to console your Baba, and say, perhaps your ears resembled the father's (facepalm!).

Before, we knew it, amidst all the feeding, diaper changes and co-sleeping, a week had passed. And soon, it was time for your 6th day ceremony- Sashthi/Chhathi ceremony. In the next post, I shall cover that and other celebrations that followed in your first month. If you've reached this far, you've probably realized that, with your birth, you became the centre of our universe and rightfully, so. You filled our home and hearts with overwhelming love and happiness; and as your parents, we couldn't be any luckier.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

The Miracle - Bumps on the Way Out

In my last pregnancy-related blog post, I shared about how I had 3 baby showers.
Those were indeed happy times, and if anyone were to ask me, the second trimester was definitely the best. I could do as I pleased, eat whatever I liked and dance even, if I wished so.
The third trimester was not as pleasant, however.

Luckily in my third trimester, I was working at an acute care clinic, which definitely wasn't as busy as the previous emergency departments I worked at, so work related stress was minimal, if not zero! However, there were other things on my plate, that added to the general displeasure.

To begin with, physically, I was obviously getting BIG. So much so, I stopped fitting into a lot of my clothes, including some of my favourite dresses and tops. I had to resort to wearing loose clothes, so I wouldn't feel suffocated. It isn't a bad idea to invest in some maternity/nursing dresses, if you like. My bump was big enough, I could only strain enough to see the tips of my toes; and bending to trim toenails, was a task, that left me catching my breath. The growing uterus not only left me breathless, at times, on physical exertion; with it pressing on my bladder, I also had stress urinary incontinence, occasionally. Additionally, my gastric reflux was back again.

To add to all of this, I ended up with some back ache too, thanks to the house-moving that happened, just a month before I delivered. The husband had to make an overseas work trip, the week just before our house moving was slated for; which meant, I had to do a lot of the packing, without him and juggle house possession/key handover/contractor work etc with my work shifts. Thankfully, my mum had flown down for the week, as she didn't want me staying alone at the time, especially considering I had had some dizzy spells intermittently. Yes, my BP fluctuated between low and normal, then too. My parents, brother and in-laws were in town, for the house-warming weekend; so they all helped to unpack; yet, the strain on my pregnant body was enough to make me call in sick, and stay in bed all day, nursing my ailing back.

Couple all of this, with the emotions of anxiety and nervousness. What about, you may ask?
The latest ultrasound, showed that the foetus wasn't growing too well - despite having a normal pregnancy, without any complications, textbook-recommended weight gain, eating healthy, staying active by walking and working, till a week before my due date - I kept wondering why there would be intra-uterine growth restriction? This effectively meant I would be required to terminate my pregnancy and be 'induced' to deliver the baby, earlier than the actual due date - the logic being the baby can be nourished with breastmilk and hence, grow better in the outside environment. When my doctor, gave me this piece of  news, after many hours of waiting in the hospital, I was alone, and probably, low on sugar too; so I think I blacked out for a while, when she mentioned that she was adding me to the admission list for next Saturday - she then repeated the date; and when it sunk in, I had butterflies running wild in my tummy!

Was I prepared to be a mother, a week earlier?! Haha! It sounds funny now, but to say that I was nervous and hyperventilating at the time, would be an understatement.  Just the week ago, I was busy executing my father-in-law's 60th birthday treats - sending them for a romantic lunch for two, couple spa; dinners with the family; attending music and dance concerts etc. and that day, suddenly, I realized that in a matter of a few days, my life would be so different! Even though I had attended ante-natal classes, I wasn't sure if I was all set and prepared for the challenging journey of motherhood.

I really wasn't worried about missing out on my social life and movies, concerts etc as much as the physical and emotional toil that was going to wash over me. Labour to begin with - did I have it in me to push till the end? How was I going to deal with the tremendous pain, that is going to make me feel like my body was tearing apart? Could there be other complications during birth? Would it be a boy or a girl - okay, this I wasn't worried about - but I certainly thought about it quite often. Would I be able to successfully breastfeed my little one? How would I feel when I first held my newborn? Would I be a good mom? What kind of a mom would I be?
And well, practically speaking - What are the things I need to keep ready in my hospital bag - for me and for the baby? You see, in our culture, we do have baby showers, but we refrain from buying anything for the baby, as it is considered a bad omen - which in turn, adds to stress! - imagine bringing a new baby to an unprepared home - so anyways, I kept ready a to-buy list; I even researched and added items to my online shopping cart :) So, it was uber easy when the baby was finally born.

I must admit, the last couple of weeks, I had a slight flu and I chose to keep to myself more. I preferred some me-time and I wasn't really, in the mood to socialize and converse, even at the dinner table at home. My in-laws, who stayed back post the housewarming, obviously thought I was being queer, as I was a stark contrast from my usual cheerful, bubbly, talkative girl. My husband, thankfully, gave me my space; and cuddled me, even when I was difficult.

That quiet gave me time not just to think, but to also realize that these were questions with no real answers. For there was absolutely no way of knowing. When the time is right, I'm sure I'll figure it all out, just like the million other mothers and parents out there. So, the last weekend, before the baby was slated to arrive, Prantik and I decided to focus on the now, and have a ball of a time together. So, we got a friend of ours to click some baby bump photographs for us; we headed to the temple to surrender and give thanks for the beautiful journey, thus far; we stopped for an early lunch at SLN nearby, I had my favourite idlis, and filter coffee as well. We even caught a rom-com matinee show at the theatre. We chilled at our own home, perhaps for the first and last time, just the two of us; while our unborn one continued to excitedly kick within my womb, as though expressing his/her eagerness to be a part of our lives. Our dear friends, even surprise gifted us a staycation at Marina Bay Sands! That night, we had a lovely time, staring far, from the infinity pool and beholding the beauty, of the city skyline, our togetherness and mind-conjured bonny face of our soon-to-be-born baby.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Warm January Weekends

Working in the emergency department makes one lose sense of day and time often, so much so one doesn't really long for weekends and thank God it's Friday! We do leave socialising for our weekly off days, which could land on any day of the week - well often, because everyone else is busy over the week, I'd just laze around at home, obsess in the kitchen while flicking pages of a fictional novel.

But things are different now, ever since my maternity leave commenced in late September 2016. I can't even figure how time flew past and we're already in the next year. A part of me wishes time would slow down and let things sink in completely! For beginners, I still haven't got the chance to scratch out the 2016 on wrongful entry in a notebook, and correct it to read 2017; haha! Those were the days!

January has since passed and I crossed the mid-way mark of my maternity leave.  Save for the first week, when we were still holidaying with the family, in Bali, we were on our own with our 3-month old baby, Ayu. I was a stay-at-home mom, by choice; as I was adamant that I would like to spend the first 6 months with the newborn and hopefully be able to exclusively breastfeed, as is paediatrician-recommended. Prantik (Pran, as I call him) my husband was back to the grind, once we were back from our family holiday in Bali, to celebrate mum's 50th birthday (Ayu completed 100 days since birth, while we celebrated 25 months since #socialshaadi - our wedding). Essentially, it meant, weekends were to look forward to! Not to say, we didn't get quality time otherwise, but oh well, as human beings, we always long for more...

Weekend 1
Jan 1 landed on a Sunday, which meant the New Year began with a long weekend. We arrived in Bali on the afternoon of NYE. Later that evening, we had lovely family dinner at a quaint Greek restaurant which served amazingly fresh food that made one's palate yearn for more. Beach bums that we all are, we chose to spend the morning hours of the first day of new year at the Seminyak beach. To be by the deep and wide ocean, is always a humbling experience for it reminds one that - what you throw into the ocean of life, finds a way to come right back at you - talk about karma!; beneath the surface, there are so many oysters hidden; even the mightiest ships can be wrecked by the force of nature - so always remember, that after a point, there isn't much under our control - we can only propose, the Higher Force disposes! The vast ocean always makes me feel grateful for the present moment, and completely surrender. That evening, we witnessed the first sunset of the year, from Tanah Lot - and it was to behold! 

Weekend 2
Back in Jakarta, when Ayu was still taking the bottle 🍼 (yes, he's gotten fussy now and is completely refusing it - but I should rant about that in a different post!), gave us good time to bond with the 'bruhhh'. We got foot reflexology sessions together; had a fun stint at ice-skating after hogging the all-time Pizza Hut favourite: Soup-Salad; shopped till we dropped; played card games like Bluff and Rummy, while downing 'Green Sands' soda; and had fun contests and conversations in the swimming pool when we felt chilling in the jacuzzi was too mainstream. We were a good trio that worked as a team aboard the flight back to Singapore, when Ayu threw a fit and had to be pacified earnestly. The first Sunday back in SG, the one with the bro in town, meant we had to celebrate with yummy succulent Michelin-starred 'Din Tai Fung' dumplings! (I will skip elaborating on the fuss that Ayu made but that was after we were done with our meal and grocery shopping, so, phew!)

Weekend 3
This weekend saw us at the 'Happy Marketer' jacuzzi-sunset party at the (Sr.) Dayal residence. It was good fun to meet the #HappyTribe and also to introduce Ayu to them and their families; and a feathery visitor too that evening. There was much fun and banter over kebabs, 'chaat' and drinks. A rather-sleepy Ayu even featured in their first 'HappyHourLive' video, for the year, and so did the parrot, believed to bring in good luck. Sunday, we just chilled, with the cousin (with the fractured foot) and binged on Netflix. The pick for the weekend, after much deliberation, was 'Stories by Rabindranath Tagore'. Under the able direction of Anurag Basu, backed by some splendid cinematography, the short stories by the Nobel laureate, came alive before us. Such a pleasure to watch. 

Weekend 4 
Despite the drizzle, we were on board the Le Tara yacht, with our gang of friends, to celebrate the Shuklas' 10th wedding anniversary. We had a potluck feast on board with pizza, pasta, fried rice, chicken tikkas and pepper chicken; & loads of drinks too (I had a bottle of freshly squeezed sugarcane juice for myself ;) ). Ayu was perfect that evening, sleeping just at the right times, allowing Pran and myself to grab a bite and sip at will; pose and click many snaps; and make merry with the folks at the deck, grooving to desi numbers and enjoying the wind and tide, with fire crackers lighting up the evening sky in the distance. The after party at the Khannas' residence saw us all lol-ing way past midnight. After such an action-packed Saturday, Sunday was meant for cooling down. We lazed and brazed with the incessant Singapore rain, with warm cutlets, enjoying our cuppa, watching 'Koffee with Karan, and cheering for Team India against England, in the Cricket ODI match, later in the evening.

Weekend 5
The last weekend of January was also a long weekend, thanks to the Chinese New Year. And it was one of those rare weekends, where 'twas just us. We dropped previous holidaying plans thanks to exorbitant hotel and flight rates and decided to stay put at home and make the most of the last weekend prior to our India trip. So we celebrated Ayu's 4th month with 'Gurer Paayesh' (my first attempt); picked up small gifts for extended family back home from a mall nearby; spent CNY day 1, all of us dressed in matching hues of red, strolling by the lakeside, at the Chinese Garden; kept up with our CNY tradition and visited our old neighbourhood at Dover, Rochester Park; had a lovely lunch date at Dempsey, smiling through our sparkling water glasses, over flavourful Italian food (not pizza/pasta), across the red-rose laden table for two. We got back to enjoy a sporty evening: Roger vs Rafa AO final & the Ind-End T20 match; from the comforts of our couch, while taking turns at the OSIM massage chair and sharing our favourite moments from the weekend on InstaStory, our latest addiction.

I type this while the sun rises, heralding my first weekend in Bangalore. I feel warmed by all the love I'm surrounded with - family, my 4am-go-to-people, my parents and my never-failing-to-surprise younger brother; work colleagues and friends like family; my favourite munchkin and punchbag, my bff and bae, my love forever, @pranmaz; and the latest addition to my heart's treasure chest, my genetic legacy, my newest muse, my one true love, #AyuBabu. I bow down to the Universe, for sending such wonderful vibes my way; and to thee for reading and sharing these happy moments with me. 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

The Miracle - gets showered with 'showers'

So, I haven't really got around to understand why they are called 'baby showers' - for there is no 'baby' persay save for the baby bump but oh well, it is 'showering' well wishes so perhaps that.

Anyways, I was born into a Konkani family and married into a Bengali one. I've always maintained that having a inter-cultural marriage lets us have the best of both worlds and what can I say? The unborn baby had just that! Not one or two, but three baby showers! (Woot!)

The "Saadh" as the Bengali baby shower is called, is usually celebrated in the 5th, 7th and 9th months of pregnancy. Here, the pregnant woman's favourite dishes are prepared and a feast is laid down for her to enjoy. It's usually an all-ladies' affair :D My in-laws visited us during my 5th and 9th months so the timing was just perfect! They even brought me new saris to wear for the occasion - had a nice cotton silk sari in blue with golden zari border, topped with beaded gold jewellery for my first "Saadh", while for the last one, when I was heavily pregnant, I draped a pink Dhakai/Jamdani sari, with some golden, pearl and stone studded jewellery. The blue and pink was purely a coincidence, I think! 

The first "Saadh" was low-key, just us and a close Bengali friend of mine. It began with invoking God's blessings followed by blessing me, and feeding me 'Paayesh'. After that, our banana leaf lined plates were filled with some amazing variety of food, painstakingly made by the dear mother-in-law. 

Baby Shower #1

The next baby shower or the "Kapada Aarti" was when I was 7 months pregnant, and by then I definitely was 'showing'. My parents were transiting via Singapore, and there couldn't be a better time for the ceremony. This time, 'twas just my parents, hubby and me. It began with my husband and me being seated, with platters of fruits and sweets in front of us; my mother then blessed us with the light from a silver diya (which by tradition, is to be used later, while celebrating the birthdays of the (unborn) baby) and sprinkling of rice grains ('akshata') and fed us a sweet, each. She then gifted me a new orange-green Mysore silk sari to change into; following which she gave me in the 'sari pallu' a coconut & 'haldi-kumkum'. But the best part of all these ceremonies is obviously the 'maa ke haath ka khaana' (food cooked by mum). Despite having traveled all night, my darling mum made some of my all-time favourite stuff, including a 'Totapuri Mango Ghashi' (coconut-based mango dessert). We enjoyed the lavish treat right off a banana leaf, and I couldn't stop at just one jalebi! Duh! 

Baby Shower #2

Last but not the least (as the cliche goes), was the one when I was BIG! Just about 2-3 weeks away from my expected date of delivery, my lady friends and aunts were invited to partake in the "Godh Bharai". My dear mother-in-law hosted it all, and this was in fact the first gathering at our new home, so that was exciting too. Blessings were seeked from the elders and I was bestowed with heart-felt wishes, hugs and some gifts too - Ooh La La! My favourite was from a couple of my friends, who got me a navy blue maternity/nursing dress, which I've worn so many times already! Thanks much y'all. The feast that followed, included amongst other yummy curries, 9 fried items, as is the custom (there were 5 at my 5th month 'Saadh') and 'Gurer Payesh' - rice pudding with jaggery, which was amazing. It was indeed a heart-warming afternoon and I'm grateful to all for making it memorable. 

Baby Shower #3

Thanks to all the love and blessings, I had a relatively smooth delivery with no major complications. I shall be eternally grateful to my mother, who flew in immediately upon hearing that I was in the hospital, too weak from all the puking in my first trimester; my husband who satisfied all my cravings throughout, and my mother-in-law who stayed with us during the last leg of my third trimester and fattened me up :D  I was loved and well taken care of,  pampered even, throughout my pregnancy, with all the yummilicious food! And the end-product: a super fat me πŸ™ˆ and a very cute baby πŸ‘ΆπŸ». I'm blessed - Life's good! 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

#AyuBabu - πŸ’― days of happiness & counting (Part 2)

Ayu turns 4 months today! 
And just yesterday he got the second dose of his shots. Walking around the paediatrician's clinic, seeing so many day-old infants, I looked at my little one and couldn't believe that once, he was that tiny too! I had to scroll up on my camera roll to remind myself of how he looked when he was a newborn baby!

Most of his snaps from then have his eyes shut in sweet slumber, now his big eyes twinkle with the spark of inquisitiveness and innocent joy. He was lean, and his head stood out; now his thighs have become muscular from his regular air-kicking and his cheeks chubbier. There was no inkling of a smile back then, and often there would even be a furrowed eyebrow-look and now, we could smile-talk all day! His movements were limited to his neck, flopping from one side to the other; now he uses his hands to grip onto the bamboo cloth he's lying on, when I pick him up, he carries it like his "Batman" cape, he uses the strength of his legs to push backward, and now while doing his push-ups, even rolls over. The eyes that couldn't focus back then, now light up when he sees familiar toys/people and he can even maintain an animated conversation with them. While I'm typing this out, he is in fact, making his shit-face intermittently and probably sharing tales from his night dreams to the blue and red patterns on the quilt. 

He's definitely grown and the speed at which that's happening - I'm finding hard to keep pace! And as time is flying, I realise we barely do anything to document his growth and development, save for clicking so many snaps every day, which until some weeks ago were being auto-saved onto the cloud but now even that is filled up! So, I'm still hunting for creative solutions for managing the thousands of photos that we've clicked so far. 

(Ok, I'm back after changing his poop-filled diaper - and he's engaged in his morning yoga now - he does the Snake Pose 'Bhujangasana' better than me!)

(Forgive me for losing my train of thought...)

In the meantime, life is happening...there are days, I still envisage it all right from the beginning. How at one point in time, he was just a product of fertilisation, when a half of my genes united with another half from my dear husband, and formed the helix, within which lay the power to design and produce a complete human being! It's miraculous if one would think about it - that the data which is to code for the colour of our hair, our skin, our iris, the length of our fingers, the shape of our nose, ears and well, everything else from head to toe, including genetic predisposition to diseases- is all stacked within that very microscopic structure - the DNA helix. 

And then I behold at the bonny baby in front of my eyes - unbelievable! To know that we created him from scratch- sometimes, my head spins at the thought! At other times, I'm just overwhelmed with a warm feeling, running through my veins, and filling my heart up. Research says a mother's brain changes post birth of her child, and it gets wired to nurture and take care of her infant - that's how nature bestows upon an unassuming woman(who 10 lunar months ago was waxing poetry at the sunset skyscape at Krabi, while having coffee-tequila shots!) the much-assumed-about 'maternal instinct'.

This instinct wakes me up in the middle of the night, at the stir of my baby. This instinct makes me stay up till early morning, rocking my baby to sleep. This instinct makes every mother believe that their baby is precious and is the cutest of them all. This instinct makes us give the baby our all, even when we can't sit on our freshly stitched bottoms, even when our backs and arms are sore, even when our heads are splitting and our eyes are red from the lack of sleep. We might be fighting many battles within and on the outside too, but when we pick our baby in our arms, we know only to cuddle and adore. This instinct shows us in the mirror a person we've never known existed within us. 

I get to type the last para while my husband takes over baby duty, while I get some me-time. I wonder how things will change once I head back to work, how I'll leave a piece of heart, back at home, everyday and get into the 'working mom' shoes. But those are questions for another day. Until I'm a 'stay at home mom', I'll enjoy and cherish every moment with him. I'll let the 'maternal instinct' take on first gear, and continue to do what I can do best - love him. 

Sunday, 15 January 2017

#AyuBabu - πŸ’― days of happiness & counting (Part 1)

On the 4th of January, 2017, our little one completed 100days on Planet Earth.

As humbling and steep as the learning curve has been, it has been just as much fun! It's perhaps ironic that for a medico, I have a rather greying memory. So, I am quite particular about not just making memories, but also saving them in a form, I can revisit, whenever I'd like to. One would find me as an incessant photo-sharer on Facebook, some otherwise trivial moments may find themselves framed within the squares of Instagram. Closer to heart, and I would give them words, in the form of a couplet, or better still, a blogpost, like this one!

100 days have passed, and I'm certain with the overwhelming euphoria of Ayu discovering the world around him, and us uncovering the slightest changes in him, as he grows so fast - a lot of things will soon be forgotten! Hence, this. (I will be doing this in parts, for there are just so many things to share!)

Throughout this series, Ayaan Kamath Mazumdar, may you realise that you are and shall always be adored and loved. We are extremely fortunate, to have you in our lives. 

Day 0, zero hours
In the wee hours of the 26th of September, 2016, at 4.55am to be precise, you opened your tiny eyes, to see the world you were born into. They showed you to me, "A baby boy!" they exclaimed; you wailed as the cord was cut and my heart that was brimming with joy, sunk, as they took you away from me to clean you up, weigh you etc. For the first time that night, your father left my side; he couldn't get his eyes off you! You weighed 2920grams, in contrast to the 2500ish predicted so well done, atta boy! Despite being ridden over by exhaustion from a near 48hour labour, I couldn't wait until you were cuddled up in my arms.

Day 0, 2 hours 
The neonatalogist had cleared you and once, your breathing pattern was almost regular, you were allowed to curl up in my arms. I was amazed at how you latched on text-book perfectly, and had your first feed. A hungry baby, you fed for over half an hour - your first feed. I was internally very happy, that I was able to provide for you...and prayed that I could continue to do so. As we were wheeled to our room subsequently, your grandparents, rubbed their sleep-deprived eyes to catch a good sight of their precious grandchild. For us, you were God's invaluable gift, our little bundle of joy.

Day 0, 3 hours
Outside family, your Rachit uncle was the first to come visit you. He couldn't catch a glimpse, as you were carried away to the nursery just then, but he was kind enough to get us 'ChumChum', your mother's (my) favourite Bengali sweet at the time! 

Day 0, 7 hours
After a short stay at the nursery, you were brought into our room. Your father held you for the first time. And we took our first family photo together. The photo was subsequently shared with our friends and family. Most noticed your head full of hair, some wondered if it was a cap! Haha. I think your dad (who has male pattern baldness, running in the family) was relieved ;)

Day 0, 12 hours 
Our close friends and family came to visit you, and you were blissfully sleeping in oblivion. Some even came with gifts for you... Little did I know, that the shower of gifts and blessings was just beginning :)

Day 0, 16 hours
You had passed greenish black stools ('meconium' in medical jargon) twice by 9pm that night and passed urine many times already. Thanks to 'chromatography', diapers today come with wetness indicators, which is rather helpful to figure whether it's time to get your diaper changed. Especially for a sleep-deprived, first time mother like me, and your Mamama (maternal grandma) who was handling diapers for the first time in her life, we were indeed grateful to the nurses around, who demonstrated with such agile grace, on how to change you efficiently! Today, it's a left-hand job - but back then, we were still learning and so were you. 

Day 0, 21 hours
You were taken for your first bath, and until you were back safely where I could see your heaving self, I couldn't rest. Yes, we had paired safety bracelets on, which were to ring if you were ever taken out of the cordoned off zone - and it never did during our stay there; but becoming a mother fills one's veins with blood that boils far more easily I suppose, the heart beats at a faster rate, and for a usually anxious person like me, borderline obsessive even, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I was protective of you even when you were probably galaxies away from harm's way! Heehee

Day 0-1, 24 hours
I barely got any shut eye that first night - with the regular vitals check, more for me than you and well, thanks to the adrenaline rush too, I was wide awake to see you turn 1 day old. There you lay, swaddled so snugly, after yet another feed, so peaceful; I think I even imagined you sneer a smile my way. Our lives had changed, overnight. And you were living testimony that miracles do happen. After a while, my tired self must have dozed off as well, for I got up with a start, my eyes racing in the direction of your crib. You were right there, I stretched and touched you too, oh so lightly, and you opened your big yet tiny eyes, and looked right up. That's right, we are both not dreaming! Mwah! Welcome to this beautiful world, dear one!