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!