Back to the pregnancy

Today’s post is about nostalgia. It’s been exactly a year since we found out that we were pregnant. We were shocked to find out but not in a “oh-crap-how-did-this-happen!” kind of way. Z was a very planned baby; we were just amazed that she picked us in our first attempt.

So much so, that my wife just couldn’t believe the obvious symptoms for almost a month. I honestly thought she was falling sick due to the changing weather but clearly that was not the case.

A year ago, she was visiting the quaint settlement of Wellington, Tamil Nadu. She was taking a break in this hill station, and staying with a friend from the armed forces whose husband was pursing a course there.

No sooner had she settled into the car, making their way up to the mountains, than her friend broke some good news: she was six weeks pregnant! My wife was ecstatic for her buddy and she called me to share the news. We were so happy to hear this because some day this year we’d be in a similar position.

Coincidently, it is because of this friend of my wife’s that we both even met, dated, and got married. So we were clearly going to find an even deeper cosmic connection with her.

The two women discussed all things pregnancy the following day. My wife complained of constant dry retching in the morning. She wondered why she was waking up so hungry. She was also feeling bloaty the past couple of days and was constantly tired.

I was told that these are also a few symptoms of an upcoming period so my wife chose to ignore them. As a long-term patient of PCOS, a few days here and there on her cycle were not unusual too.

But the third day, something peculiar happened. All of these symptoms came in full force and with still no on-set of a period. They were in Ooty and she chanced upon a medical store. So the two of them decided to pick a pregnancy test and just give it a go when they got back to Wellington.

My wife tells me that there was no electricity when they returned and it was the start of the evening. She lit a candle and was quick to get to the loo and pee on the stick. Her friend was waiting outside the door with bated breath.

That’s when she saw it. The two pink-lined test (that she still hordes somewhere). She threw the door open, and announced it to her friend!

But the girls were still uncertain because it could be false positive. So off they went to the local market and bought two or three more tests to try the next morning. And as you would have it, all of them turned positive.

My wife called me as soon as she could and broke the news. For a second I thought she was going delirious in all that premium quality oxygenated mountain air. There was no way we could have been pregnant that quickly. I had this massive smile on my face and the emotions were bursting at the seams. The last time I felt like this was when I had asked her out and she said yes 😀

It was so exciting that we were already making plans about what changes to make in the room, where to place the crib, the name of the child…obviously! Just imagine, you just found out a couple of days ago that your friend was pregnant and then it’s you.

And fate has a funny way of working, my wife’s friend delivered a girl too, four days after our baby was born.

Image Credit – Baby photograph designed by Photoduet – Freepik.com

Sleep Regression – A monster in the making

Raising a baby is tough work, everybody knows that, but the rewards are priceless – that unadulterated, bedazzling smile that she beams every morning; the cherubic mirth on her face every time you open her diaper and there is a surprise waiting for you; the sheer joy she experiences when you splash warm water on her while bathing. These beautiful moments become permanent memories, your go-to memories, something that you’ll never forget.

But my baby doesn’t take much time for her transformation to complete from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde and these are moments you are more than willing to forget. It’s experiences like these that test your mettle as a parent. But what are these moments?

We are dealing with two concepts here, the first one is a growth spurt. Growth spurts happen starting from as soon as one week and go on till the first year.

As the name suggests, during a growth spurt the baby grows in weight, height and head circumference. This directly translates to an increase in her food intake. This is far more pronounced in breastfed babies as breast milk digests faster as opposed to formula. In this period the child tends to get fussy, irritable and downright cranky.

The second one is sleep regression – During this period it would seem that your child has magically forgotten how to fall asleep. She will hate naps, sleep for shorter hours and wake up regularly, especially at nights. Basically the baby starts behaving like an adult as far as sleep is concerned. We would fight sleep in our heydays to read a book, or be on the phone or watch TV right? Well that’s what’s happening to the baby.

Just do a basic search of these two words on any search engine and automatically the results will throw up “4-months” attached to the term. So clearly this is something all 4-month olds experience and various parents have described their harrowing experiences.

What’s worse? When growth spurt and sleep regression happen simultaneously.

As a parent this phase will test your patience and tolerance levels. The crying gets really out of hand and all the baby wants to do is cling to you. Feeding will not always help, nor will constant engagement. All the baby the wants is human touch. You’ll do it for a couple of days but after some time your body gives way and frustration sets in.

At one point you’ll probably start crying louder than the baby. There will be moments you wished you never had a child. You’ll start questioning your skills as a parent or why you became a parent in the first place. You will find yourself screaming at the baby or nobody in particular. You think you might have lost your mind. But please let me tell you that you are not alone. All parents go through this. This particular experience doesn’t make you an incompetent parent.

We are going through this phase ourselves. It’s been a week where we (mostly my wife) haven’t slept at night uninterrupted. Our daughter wakes up every two hours for a feed and then refuses to go back to sleep. After a lot of effort we got her used to sleeping all by ourselves we aren’t planning to throw that away.

We carry her for comfort, but we don’t walk with her. We kiss her head, but we don’t engage her. We pat her back, but we don’t play with her. After a while we put her back in the crib, she cries, she howls but eventually she does fall asleep. We make sure that the room is dark and we don’t give her any attention.

Initially this will be painful but it is just a matter of getting used to. From what I have read online, this is a temporary phase and it dies out. As parents we need to be strong and patient.

Image Credit – <a href=’http://www.freepik.com/free-vector/sketchy-baby-faces_791770.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>

 

Featured post

Let’s Talk About Breastfeeding

This week’s post is written by a very special guest…. my wife. No matter how much I try, I will never do justice to this topic. Yes there are loads of articles out there telling you how important it is to breastfeed your child. But we want to talk about something that mothers tend to take for granted and then struggle later.

Over to my wife.

The first conversation I had on breastfeeding was with my aunt, my dad’s youngest sister. She said, “I breastfed all my three babies until they turned one! I hope you do too. Persevere , don’t give up . ” I was 5 months pregnant.

My brothers and I were formula fed babies so I never had the opportunity to discuss this with my mom.

I remember thinking what the fuss was about. It’s the most natural thing in the world.

A few days later, I was in Japan. I sat by a bridge overlooking a river with flying fish, with the Arashiyama bamboo forest in the background. My phone buzzed and it was my dear friend, urging me to attend a workshop on breastfeeding.

Why did she think I needed to attend a workshop on breastfeeding? It’s the most natural thing in the world! I was only interested in prenatal yoga, and the right breathing techniques, and the right stretches that would see me through a totally natural child birth!

Nonetheless, I decided to go. I was fresh from a holiday and ready to pass some time before I got serious with breathing correctly.

It may have been the wisest decision I made since, forever.

Here’s the thing, breastfeeding may be the most natural thing in the world, but it sure as hell does not come naturally.

I met the most kind, patient, and sincere lactation specialist at the session. She guided us through eye-opening facts about breastfeeding. Things to look out for, the rights and wrongs, the ‘normal’, the important “etc” .

I was one among the two pregnant women in a sea of new moms. The other one was the doctor’s childhood friend.

The mothers shared stories after the session. One had broken out into a rash post delivery and decided not to breastfeed her newborn until the marks were gone. A few  days later, her son preferred the bottle to the breast. Another couldn’t get her baby to latch correctly, leading to frustration for all parties involved.  There were stories of bleeding from sore nipples, babies crying through the night from hunger, and a general air of guilt, at not being good enough to do the most natural thing in the world.

Later, my friends shared their stories too. One baby would wake up crying every 15 minutes, another never latched, a third was formula fed once a day because no one told the mother there was no need for it.

I was now looking at every first-time mom with new eyes. How was her breastfeeding journey going? I wondered. Was she suffering in silence because someone asked her to suck it up (no pun intended) and “bear the pain”? Did a lactation specialist visit her or was she going to listen to family advice? Was she feeling adequate or burdened with guilt?

I don’t want to write about what comprises breastfeeding; that’s not my area of expertise. But I want to spread the word and say, “hey, there’s help available.” Reach out BEFORE the baby comes along. Child birth is a much shorter event than breastfeeding. If there is so much awareness on giving birth, imagine the talks we should have about feeding the baby.

A new mom should be armed with as many resources and as much knowledge as possible.

No, it should not hurt. Yes, it is the most natural thing in the world.

Image Designed by Freepik – <a href=”http://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/baby”>Baby vector designed by Freepik</a>

Look who’s talking, baby

It’s such a joy to have a little baby in the house, lying on her back, releasing her unlimited supply of drool, without a care in the world. All the family members want to spend as much time with the tiny tot as possible. Babies are perhaps the best agents of destress around but that is not the only reason adults want to hang out with them.

The real reason is that you can chat away without being interrupted, but the day they do start talking and have their own opinions it’s impossible to get them to shut up. Though I have always wondered what is it that they are thinking, their decisive look is too contemplative and intelligent to merely pass off as clueless. Something must be going on in that tiny head of theirs – plotting, scheming… insulting even!

If my 4-month daughter could make use of words, this is how conversations with certain people would flow:

MOM

Mom – Baby, when you grow up, you can be what you want, we will always support you, no matter what.

Baby – OMG! You have got to be kidding! What happened to Doctor, Engineer, Lawyer? You are a relentless Indian parent, behave like one. I can’t believe you are giving ME, a girl child, all this freedom to do whatever I want, god, this is unheard of. Now, Change my diaper!

DAD

Dad – Hi sweetie! You look so fresh early in the morning…

Baby(interrupts) Dad, dad, dad… YOU have got to shave man, sometimes I don’t know if I am talking to your face or the back of your head. All that hair… really, how are people giving you jobs!? Change my diaper… WAAAAAHHHHH

AUNT

Aunt – (lovingly shakes the baby up) – Hi you little pinky baby, why are you looking so grumpy?

Baby – H—aa—EY! St—aaa—op sha—aa—ki—aa—ng ME! (aunt stops shaking). Does it say anywhere on my body ‘shake well before use?’ HUH?!? DOES IT? I am a flipping four-month-old not a juice box (aunt starts shaking again) WAA—aa—AAAAHHH—aa—AAAAAAAHHHHHH

GRANDDAD

Grandad – Hi baby, say something, come on now cutie, say something, talk to me, I know you can talk, come on, talk…

Baby – Let’s see that inheritance, then we ‘ll talk… Now take me to the mom and the dad, I need a change of diaper.

GRANDMA

Grandma – Akkkuuu… goo goo… aaawaaahhkuuu…. Hooooowooooo….hiiiiieeeeeeee…. yeeeeyaaaaa

Baby – FINALLY! Someone who can speak my language. There is a god. I ma gonna call ya bestie! Akkkuuu… goo goo… aaawaaahhkuuu…. Hooooowooooo….waaaahhhwoooooo… pppfffttttt

A few minutes later

Baby – NO NO NO! It’s goo goo… aawaaahhku… ppffftt… waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…. huuuuhhaawhaat…  AND not… Akkkuuu… googaaaforonasj…pppfftttyy…hurrmrmmmrm… GOD at least get your grammar right grandma! Change my diaper!

GUESTS

Guest – Oh my god she is so adorable, looks just like…

Baby – Yeah yeah yeah whatever… Where is my present? No touching till I see LOTS of presents… HEYYYY WHAT DID I JUST SAY! NO TOUCHING! Mom are you just going to stand there and let this guy pull my cheeks!

Mom – Look baby it’s your uncle, my brother!

Baby – Do I look like I care! Rules are rules… No presents, no pulling cheeks

Mom – Oooh aren’t we in a mood today.

Baby – Oh just change my diaper, I ‘ll show you what mood I am in… WAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!

HER OWN REFLECTION

Mom takes her to the mirror to see how baby reacts at her own reflection.

Baby – Oh hello there hottie! I don’t see too many cute guys around here, big diaper you got there stud boy…

Mom – So cute, she is talking to herself

Baby – Wait what?!? THAT’S ME! I look like a bleeding boy! Where are my long luscious hair? Why are my ears not pierced? Why am I wearing a gender neutral onsie?! What is going on? God I look like a dude…. WAAAAAAAAAAAHHH WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

Yeah, I am assuming that’s what they want to say. It’s good that they don’t talk early 🙂

Travelling with your pregnant wife

We had been longing to go on a nice vacation. Both of us were terribly busy with both work and life in general. After much research (social media and otherwise), reading multiple travel blogs and swooning over Instagram photos, we zeroed in on Japan. To tell you the truth, we had no idea we were going to get pregnant, but there was something so serene and magical about this country that we just had to go… no matter what.

The best time to visit Japan is during Sakura/cherry blossom (March-April). It gets really cold in Japan and having lived all our lives in Mumbai, 22 degrees is considered cold for us. We decided to go in mid-April, which in retrospect wasn’t the most ideal time to observe Sakura, the season had moved on to the northern part of the country. But we did see a number of pink trees in Osaka, Kyoto and Nara and was perfect for my 5-months pregnant wife who is not too fond of the cold weather.

You need to keep these points in mind while travelling with your pregnant wife:

  1. Consult your doctor – The first three months of a pregnancy are considered to be crucial for the development of the foetus and it is during this time that the woman is most cautious and has to be taken care of. In our case, we had already booked practically everything and fortunately for us, my wife had already passed the three months threshold. The doctor we consulted was more than happy to give a go ahead on our plans, obviously we had to be cautious and not over-exert.
  2. Doctor’s certificate – For the mom to be, the most important thing you will need on your travels is a doctor’s certificate that clearly indicates how far along you are. This sheet of paper will be the most powerful document that you’ll possess. No more standing in long immigration lines at airports, or to check in. As per airport rules, you get to go straight to the front. At the Osaka airport, the official didn’t believe that my wife was 5 months pregnant (I didn’t blame her, my wife is 5ft 9in and didn’t look very pregnant with all the layers of clothing) and also wasn’t aware of the rule. So I had to go and show the letter to prove that my wife was indeed pregnant. These guys felt so contrite that they even offered to get a wheelchair for her, obviously we didn’t accept.
  3. Medicines – Make sure that you carry a good supply of prescribe medicines – iron, folic acid, calcium, vitamins, etc. Unlike India, foreign countries are not allowed to give medicines over the counter without a prescription. So make sure you stock up.
  4. Travel light – No seriously, I mean it. Remember that your wife will not and should not lift heavy luggage, so be very economical in your packing and don’t carry unnecessary items, which will become a hindrance on your travels.
  5. Do not overexert – Both of us love walking when we go for holidays, that is the best way to explore any new land. But with her pregnancy we had to plan things out in a way that didn’t involve too much walking. Though we would clock 7-8 kms every day, she would prefer to rest while I would go further out and explore the place.
  6. Eat on time – Do not be selfish and skip meals just because you want to pack in more into your itinerary. At no point should you forget that your wife is eating for two people. So plan your day in such a way that you’ll can break for meals accordingly. And always carry a drink or a snack in case of unforeseen situations.
  7. Avoid raw food – The irony of this trip couldn’t have been overstated. My wife absolutely loves sushi and we were in the land of sushi. We went through the entire trip without eating even one piece of sushi. Always have cooked food, you do not want any medical emergencies in a foreign land especially with a pregnant woman.
  8. Sleep on time – Your wife is going to get tired sooner than usual. It is absolutely essential that she goes to bed on time and gets enough sleep

So don’t worry about travelling with your pregnant wife, with the right planning, your trip will be very memorable

 

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