I am sure every woman who has had a baby, has a story to narrate, on her delivery. Me too! My first pregnancy was the most exciting as is always the case, with every family member eagerly awaiting the new arrival, me totally unaware of what to expect in the labor room and the delivery turning into a twelve hour nightmare that I wouldn’t ever want to relive. With the first grandchild on the way and all the pampering that Indian parents are so famous for, I had managed to hoard on loads of weight, enough to feed three sets of triplets!
After the first delivery, I felt like the veteran, the expert- on deliveries. I was all too willing to give advice to anybody who was eager to take it. I wondered, more than once, why nobody had told me all the things that I now knew. Well, maybe they thought knew me better and felt I was better off not knowing the details but given my love for SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and my obsession for planning, I am certain I would have been happier and less shocked, had I known all that goes into it before the little one actually makes it’s way from the womb to the world outside. It’s not like I hadn’t read the books but discussions on the subject would have definitely helped.
However, conservative families generally do not discuss things such as these. You are left to be learnt it along the way and it’s no big deal because more often than not, children from such families manage to find their way after the initial shock. You could call it, “On the job training or crossing the bridge when you came to it”.
After the first experience, I was much better prepared for the second. Thankfully, the nightmare did not deter me from having the second one. Nine months, actually eight months the second time around, of ensuring I ate right, got moderate exercise and staying active made it quite a cake-walk other than the normal discomfort of walking around with extra weight and feeling like I needed a fork-lift truck or a crane to haul me, every-time I sat and needed to get up or while I slept and need to turn from one side to the other.
This post is about what transpired during my second delivery from the time I left for the hospital until the little one’s entry on our planet. The baby was due in the first week of June and it was only the middle of May; so I wasn’t even thinking of it. Also, because I was hoping it would be a Gemini child (this was long before I found out Donald Trump was a Gemini). A Taurus would be an alien in the family! But being a Millennial child, the little imp was in a hurry to get out. On the evening of 16th May, I had a few minor contractions (probably hastened by the flight of stairs I had taken the previous day), which I did not think much of. This kid had been kicking me since the 6th month and I could see the outline of her tiny feet and fingers on my tummy which was a little weird at first (especially when you’re sitting in office and you feel a kick here and fingers scratching, there), but I had gotten used to over the next 3 months.
After having barely slept through the night, while the rest of the world slept, the next morning when the pains continued, I made an announcement that I needed to go to the hospital. My parents were living with us at the time and continued about their daily morning chores, as though they hadn’t heard. There was no reaction. Dad continued reading the papers and mom went about feeding baby#1. When I repeated, “I am going to deliver today”, they looked at me like I was back in school and was over-reacting about something that was really trivial . That look that said “You’re making a big mistake but given your condition, it’s best not to argue”. As exasperated as I felt, this was not a good time to argue. Occasions like these can get a little frustrating when you have parents who still think you’re a kid, even when you’re on your way to deliver your second one. When you have a family where members have an opinion on everything and do not hesitate to share their advise, whether you’ve asked for it or not, all in the name of love, you end up having quite a lot of drama. Though I have to say, these make up for comical anecdotes and great memories when one of thinks of it, in retrospect.
On my way out and for the second time I announced that I was heading to the hospital. Instead of coming along with me or even wishing me luck, dad murmured something about some papers that needed to be signed by me at the consulate and me delivering on the day, meant that he’d have to wait for another 40 days to have the papers to be signed. (Unbelievable you would think but welcome to my family :)). Why? Because as per the Hindu customs, a lady who has just delivered is most vulnerable during the first forty days of delivery and must not get out of the house. I believe the scientific explanation for that is the body is really weak after delivery and a lady needs at-least 40 days to get back to normal so that she does not catch any illness that may be transmitted to the little child. Ignoring dad’s concerns which were visible from the frown on his face and his fingers which seemed to be counting when I could get out of the house, if I did deliver on that very day, I waved a goodbye to mom, who waved back to me saying, ” Bye darling,I’ll see you in the evening after I return from school. Have a Parent- Teachers’ meeting today”. She had a smile on her lips which clearly showed that she had no doubt that I wasn’t going to deliver. Stifling my irritation, I followed my husband to the car who had been silent all the while (avoiding all kind of conversation), to be driven to the hospital.
Half an hour later, as I waited in the queue to see the doctor, hubby looked at me and very matter-of-factly asked me if I was going to attend the meeting that I had that day, with the I.T. team. That was it! Before I could retort, he quipped, “How long do you think you’ll be in at the doctor? I have a meeting at 11.00 a.m.” It was 10.05 a.m. then. I managed a glare before I followed the nurse, into the doctor’s room.
The next forty minutes were hectic. Within 5 minutes of seeing the doctor, I was wheeled off in a wheel chair, made to change and moved to the labor room and in another twenty minutes, the “millennial child”, was out, so that daddy could get to his meeting at 11 a.m. Only, after seeing the little princess, daddy wasn’t in a mood for a meeting anymore. I was moved out of the labor room into the hospital room and I was still furious.
Everything had happened so quickly that there hadn’t been time to vent my anger and I still did want to give everybody a ear-full; except when I entered the room, mom and dad and hubby were standing around the crib, all smiles, looking at the latest addition to the family. My older one was jumping over the bed super-excited at turning into the older sister and came instantaneously running, to hug me and tell me her about her baby sister. Forgotten was the important meeting that hubby had to attend, dad’s documents that needed a signature and mom’s parent-teachers’ meeting AND my pent-up anger. Three heads looked up at me, smiling the warmest smiles ever, while dad said, “she looks like you did, a little tadpole”.
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P.S. Do share your experiences or the stories that you’ve heard your parents tell you, on the drama surrounding your entry into this world:)