In every couple's life, this is the most memorable and cherished time, that is, news of being parents and birth of their child. When we(my husband, Shourya and myself) got to know that we are going to be parents in 9 months' time, our excitement had no ends. It took us a while to sink in the happy news.
Since, we had been trying for sometime, so we had already subscribed to babycenter.in and were pretty familiar with the terms like trimester, morning/evening sickness, labor, contractions, etc etc.
I remember how much comforting it used to be to read narration of other couples. Thus, I thought of sharing our experience through this journey of pregnancy, and delivery with the readers. I hope it does comfort most readers rather than scare or cause anxiety.
CAVEAT TO ALL EXPECTANT PARENTS - Beat your fears
Get ready for advice from all nooks and corners and the whole time. At first, due to anxiety, you may like to hear them all and follow the advise blindly. As time passes, you will gain confidence and irritation may set in. Remember, activate your ear filters now so that useful information does not get rejected.
No offence to elders, but the advise they give is generally based on their experience when they were expecting some 25-30 years ago. Thus, always check the validity of the advice and the scientific basis of it. Research over the years have proved many of the beliefs as myths and many scientifically correct.
Any new advice given to us, we would first read about it on various websites, medical sites and then take an informed decision. My mom would add a line right after giving any suggestion, "Go and confirm with your faceless guide!!" Most of what she used to tell me was helpful, only that I wanted to understand why we are doing it, that is all. Thus, do not get scared of anything. If you understand the science behind baby-formation in the womb, then you can be more confident and take rational decisions.
Our Journey starts.......
Once our home pregnancy test was positive, our minds started racing as to which hospital and which doctor to consult. My husband had already done some spade work about the good hospitals, and doctors. So we had two options, Rainbow hospital(RH) in Banjara Hills and Fernandez hospital(FH) in Abids. We decided to visit both and then make a call to stick to one. Apollo never figured on our list of choices as we had bad experience there, so that was out.
RH has good team of doctors but we found that there was a parking problem and the tests there cost more than FH. Besides, billing counter had problems with the credit card reader many times. During the first blood test, the OPD nurse could not take out blood from either hand and after poking me so many times I put my foot down. Shourya went and fought with the receptionist then they arranged for the blood retrieval upstairs with some anesthetist. I mean, except for the interaction with the doctor in RH, rest all was fussy over there and did not really beckon us with warmth.
In FH, we did not have to worry about parking. One may find it trivial but on our second visit to RH, we had to literally fight for parking and ultimately parked in some residential lane and wasted 20 mins there. During that time, I found that my BP went high and during pregnancy already one experiences heightened emotional swings! That was the last time we went there. Finally, we stuck to FH for which we will always be thankful to God for guiding us there.
Our consulting doctor was Dr. S. Tarakeswari. The first day we met her, it was such a warm meeting. She made us so comfortable and explained us everything that is going through my body, by way of diagrams. And patiently answered each of our queries. We had gone with a notepad, pen and list of queries. The first thing Shourya asked was about the window we will have from the time labor kicking in till delivery as our travel time to the hospital would vary between 45 mins to 1.5 hours. She told us that once the labor kicks in, you have some 5-8 hours for 3 cm dilation. So had lot of time. Only thing she said was that I will have to bear the pain for that long for which she offered solutions of using cushions and back support.
I guess we spent some 30 minutes inside and she never hastened at any stage just because there were many more patients waiting. We both instantly felt connected to her and decided to stick to FH and Dr. Tara.
The FH staff showed us the labor rooms, the UV glass case where the baby is kept in case of jaundice. We finally decided to go for 3rd Floor room and registered for it during our 3rd trimester, i.e. took a slip from them. The staff is so helpful and warm. They had shown us the rooms atleast 3-4 times on different visits with the same diligence. No sign of vexation. Really friendly staff. Another good reason to stick to FH.
The first ultrasound was done in the 7th week and advised to be careful till the completion of 12th week. Its the time when the baby's brain, heart, spinal cord is getting developed. It is not that as soon as the fertilization of the egg takes place, we come to know that we are pregnant. Generally 4 weeks past, the chemical marker hCG(human chorionic gonadotropin) is released which can be detected in the home pregnancy tests. This is because hCG is released only after implantation of the egg to the uterus.
But believe me, when the morning sickness takes over, you can hardly remember what is happening inside your uterus!! :) It was the month of may and I could hardly eat anything. My most favorite dish, "hyderabadi biryani and tandoori chicken", I hated the most!!! awww.....All my body could tolerate was milk+cornflakes and water-melon. Practically, till I entered the second trimester, I was on this diet. Obviously lost weight due to such a healthy diet!! ;) Shourya was really worried and thought that the baby will not be well-nourished, besides my weakness.
Then the doc told us that it is very normal to lose weight during the first trimester due to very high hormonal changes causing sickness. As for the baby's nourishment, it will not matter that much now.
We often wonder what a fantastic engineering marvel is our body with accurate timing cycles!! Of course the pre-requisite is that the body is healthy with no illnesses.
Morning/ evening sickness is not all, I had terrible mood swings and terrible hunger-pangs!! No I did not cry hysterically or something. But, would suddenly feel low, no spirits and go into silence and at other times, will be energetic that I would want to go for driving at middle of the night.
Here, I must mention the side of the husbands. It is pretty difficult for them to adjust as well, to these changes. I remember, in my hunger, I lashed out on Shourya once. He looked at me in disbelief and then after cooling me down, he sat with me and we discussed at length all the changes I was experiencing. He went to the extent of getting documentaries of NGC, "In the womb" and get acquainted with the whole process. Understood the science behind every small thing happening and realised that at this time I need more care, attention, patience!! :)
In return, he asked me to give him heads up of any new changes so that he is prepared for it. After that, we had a smooth sailing and worked in synchrony.
I realised that it is not that husbands do not care, but it is just that they do not understand what is going on and how do they help. Thus, they need to be apprised of the complete situation and explain their role clearly. Do not keep silent expectations!! :) If you want a hug, tell them directly. If you want an ice-cream, tell them directly. If you want to take time off from cooking, tell them directly. This way a lot of problems get solved amicably and both you and your husband can enjoy the period. :)
By the time I entered my 13th week, my any-time sickness started wearing off and was able to eat better food now. I am one of the lucky ones who experienced no puking sessions after the 13th week. It felt great. I regained my appetite for most food items and would literally shriek at seeing mangoes!! :D
Tummy started to show now little by little. By 5th month, tummy was pretty visible. A slight line started developing right at the center of the tummy which grew darker as the pregnancy progressed. Pressure on bladder increased so frequent trips to the restroom. By 6th month, the movements of the baby inside grew more strong. It was great and found that at most times my right side of the tummy was more bulging than the left side. Baby was most active at nights, guess that explains why he chose night time to come out in this world!! :)
Anyway, our 2nd ultrasound was scheduled in my 14th week. It was great to see the baby for the first time in its form, moving. Believe me, till then it never hit us that we are going to be parents for real!! Felt all mushy-mushy about it!! :)
Generally, it is said that 2 kgs weight gain every month is a good sign. During the 2nd tri I had started hogging on food as my appetite and taste-buds helped me. Foods like pizza, McD burgers, finger-fries, biryani, pooris, sweets etc had become my favorite foods.
Effect was that I gained 4 kgs from 4th to 5th month and the doc immediately put a stop to everything. She did not even ask what was my diet, just listed all the above ones as the banned items and I was sent to a dietician in the hospital. Then onwards I was very careful about my diet as did not want GD(Gestational Diabetes) After that, weight gain was at its normal rate.
Hobbies to soothe
Whenever felt a little low, I would take the car and go for a drive with music on. It used to soothe me down. Since reading is my hobby, my online orders for books increased!! My dear hubby got me a walkman, which was the best companion during my walks and during labor. Watched lots of movies, all kinds.
Now, well-meaning elders and friends advised me to stick to only spiritual or religious stuff(books or movies), but I never read or watched any. I found them too boring and just could not relate to them. Already I was sleeping more than usual, these would act as catalysts to doze me off!! So kept away from them!
My favorite pics were Dark Knight, Avatar, 3-Idiots, Independence Day, KungFu Panda, IceAge (all parts), Apollo 13, and comedy series F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Dilbert and Everybody Loves Raymond.
But if we examine scientifically, the baby can hear only muffled sound. Basically, any soft sound is good for the baby. The only benefit I see in watching less violent movies is that the mind of the mother is relaxed which will help in healthy baby growth. Mother must always be in a happy mood as that will keep her vitals normal which means that the blood supply to the baby is normal. Guess, individual can make a choice of entertainment that will keep one calm and happy!! :) If reading or watching religious movies is what works for you, then go for it. But do not indulge in them expecting your child to born with a tilak like a swamiji!!
I used to sit for long hours of meditation that helped me a lot all through. It definitely improved my breathing and attuned my mind to bear the pain. Daily, I would give positive input to myself, that I will deliver a healthy baby by natural method. I wanted to avoid C-section as far as possible. Shourya was a great support and helped me to be open to everything or else nick of the moment things may not go that well. And my mom, who had been a constant support to me and gave me rational advise.
Anyway, second trimester went off without much trouble, infact, I enjoyed it all.
Due to heavy tummy, my feet used to ache a lot after my walks. My speed had reduced a lot and walk become a little clumsy. At nights, experienced leg cramps. That time, Shourya would massage my calf-muscles and that would ease off my pain. Used to drink lot of water and juices just to avoid cramps. It had helped too.
I did not have back-ache as such, but obviously could not sleep on my back. Well, nature has its own timing cycle and one must listen to the body signals. It is advised to sleep on the side during pregnancy, preferably left side as heart is on the left side thus baby has adequate blood supply.
My due date was 23rd Jan 2010, and I did not experience any kinds of contractions, as in the Braxton Hicks Contractions, till 2nd week of Jan. Those were also very mild ones and were like one or two every 4-5 days. I have heard many mothers experiencing as early as in the 6th month itself.
Breasts grew in size and became tender. So had to be careful of my choice of clothes.
Sweating increased during walks so used to carry water and take rest.
In FH, birth classes are conducted. We joined the one-month long session. It was so useful. More than me, Shourya wanted to join them so as to be absolutely prepared during delivery. Ms. Mary-Signe Kelly took the classes and took us through each and every aspect with lot of patience and expertise. We were prescribed to breathing and pelvic exercises. Also, trained for breathing during contractions and delivery. Besides, given training for holding a baby, diaper changing, swaddling the baby, etc. It was so helpful.
With informative sessions, we made good friends with the other two couples whose due dates were also pretty close.
Note to all expectant mothers, do Kegel exercises, whether you do others or not.
My parents had come in december itself. And my mom is a known disciplinarian in our house!! Believe me, it helped me a lot. Whenever I would show lethargy for the exercises, she would make me do them of course, with a bribe of her tasty cup of coffee! She prepares wonderful coffee. She would accompany me for evening walks and night walks. Shourya got some breather!!
We had made a checklist of things that will be needed in case I am in labor. We had packed our bags 2 months in advance and used to keep it in our car whenever we used to go out. Those who need help with the checklist, will be happy to pass on ours.
Now, we entered January......the month of the baby!!
Nothing much happened in the first week. Second week, felt the first contraction in the middle of the night. Shourya sat with his watch just to time the next, and the next never came!!! My parents said no need to worry, lets go back to sleep.
2nd week passed. 3rd week same story. By the way, in Jan, the doctor visits were weekly.
Nothing happened. Finally its the due date, 23rd jan, the scan showed everything is normal and the head is fixed. So any time labor can kick in. Dr. Tara asked us to come again on 26th Jan and if things still remain the same, again on 29th Jan and still same story, then induction.
Delivery to be continued in the next post...........:)