Sunday, May 14, 2017

Motherhood and its Life-Altering Properties

                        I just realized that I had zero posts in 2016. Zero! I had such an eventful year and Nothing I wrote. Oh well. I blame it on mommy-hood. And the lack of a laptop. My laptop died an uneventful death the day we brought my newborn home from the hospital and she peed on top of it. And I discovered it almost a month later. Hey there you go, that's motherhood in a nutshell.
I think I have been reluctant to write here because my brain refuses to form sentences about anything else other than my baby and her billion antics and expressions and types of poo. And I know if I start writing about my child, it will turn into a never-ending odyssey. So which is why I've decided to talk about myself in this new post. About being a mom. And motherhood. And how my baby changed my life... Oh okay fine this is technically a post about her only.
They say being a mom completely transforms your life. Yes, it turns you into this lovely maternal being full of softness and sweetness. It also brings out this a stark raving mad weirdo monster. One that you never knew existed within you.


1. Aww babies!
If you're someone who don't have a child yet and love kids, chances are having a kid will change how you feel about them. You probably won't stare at every little baby that crosses your path and go awwwwww. You will end up giving it a dead stare while looking up to meet eyes with its mother. Like one jail inmate looks at another. Silently communicating support. "Hang in there, girl! Only 'n' number of hours till bedtime."
Now when I do gaze upon a lil un', I go "Awww...she's so...Oh My God, her shoes! I need those shoes for my baby. Where did she get those shoes. Shooooooes!" Yes, I have a baby-shoe addiction.


2. Scared? Me?
You have to be the brave one. You're not allowed to be scared anymore. There will be times when a tiny infant will stare right at you without blinking in the dark. And all you can see is their eyes shining.  And it will scare the crap out of you. When my nieces or nephew were little and used to do that, I'd just hand them straight back to my sisters and be like "Okay that's it, I'm done, tata bye-bye" and get the heck out of there. But when the same happened with my own child, I just twisted my head as far as I could away from her face while holding and rocking her in my arms and singing the lullaby I made up called "Please don't kill me, please don't kill me, creepy baby."
And there are times when it isn't even the baby that is scaring you. I remember this one time I was at home and I had watched a scary movie. Okay, it was trailer of a scary movie. I don't voluntarily watch scary movies anymore. So this 2 minute trailer had freaked me out pretty bad. So after tossing and turning in bed for a while, I decided, "Okay, that's its, I'm going to go sleep next to my mom and dad in the other room."  I almost got off the bed before I remembered that there was this tiny baby lying next to me. Who I was supposed to look after and protect and be there for in case she gets afraid. I think that was one moment that had me going "Ohhh so this is what being an adult is like." I got back into bed, grabbed hold of her feet (she was too tiny to hug), squeezed my eyes shut and prayed to every God I know till I drifted off to sleep.


3. Let's talk about my baby!

So like I mentioned before, she is all I talk about. And its not like I don't try to not to. When we speak about other things, my mind is like "Ask about my baby. Stop talking so I can tell you more about my baby. Haha that's funny but not as funny as the time my baby did the most hilarious thing. " Even while chatting with other moms, I'm just waiting for them to send me a picture of their child so I can send the 10 pictures of my baby that I have already shortlisted. And you should see my Facebook timeline. Its like I'm her Social media manager, posting witty anecdotes about her life every other day.


4. Click Click Click
I admit I used to be a bit of a narcissist. I used to take a shit load of selfies. But then who doesn't? A new dress or  a special occasion warranted atleast 10 selfies. When it comes to the baby, an occasion results in 16 billion pictures. A regular day ended with 16 billion pictures.
"Oh the baby smiled." click click click click. The baby burped click click click. The infamous poop face click click click click.  My phone literally rejects any image that does not have her in it now. Right this minute, my phone's camera roll has 1,897 pictures in it. Of which I'm pretty sure atleast 1800 are pictures of her. The rest 97 are probably pictures by her. Of the wall and the ceiling and the bedsheet and the top of her head.


5. Oh Sweet Night!
I've always been a night owl who stays up late at night so staying up with the baby wouldn't pose too much of a problem. Or so I thought. First of all, I used to stay up to watch movies or read or paint or play games. Not to have a tiny human take turns between gnawing at me and screaming bloody murder all night long. Also the decision as to when I should go to sleep used to base solely on when I was starting to feel sleepy. But now the reins of control are with the tiny minion who sometimes likes fooling me by pretending to almost fall asleep to suddenly jolt up and give me a "Haha just kidding, I'm gonna poop again" look. But you know, it gets better. As they grow their sleep pattern gets better and soon they're sleeping through the night. Which means I should be getting a good night of sleep. But me being me, the moment she falls asleep, loud strains of "Haaaallelujah! Haaaaallelujah!" blasts in my head. Its literally a one woman party after that. I can do all the things that I used to do. I can read, paint, shower, watch things on TV that are not two-dimensional, paint my nails, talk to my friends who are awake on the other side of the world, stare at the wall in silence, write this blog like I am right now. I can be young and interesting again.  Only problem is that the baby does not care that mommy has been up all night binge watching nonsense on Youtube and stuffing herself with all the hidden candies.(Ok, I do the other stuff I mentioned too.. sometimes.) She wakes up at a time which is probably a reasonable time for normal folk to wake up. But to me, anything before 11 am are the unholy hours. And the minute she's up, I have to crack open my eyes which then burns like its on fire before I douse my insides with the sweet relief called coffee. Sometimes, I beg, I plead, I even bribe her to stay in bed a little longer. But nothing works for too long. My day begins the minute her day begins. 
I do realize that I will be the worst mom ever once she starts school. Chances are I'll be the one saying 5 more minutes when she tries to wake me up to get ready for school.


6. Nom Nom Nom
I've always enjoyed food and if its something I especially like, then I like to take my time and cherish each bite. But with a toddler around, getting even mouthful in without being interrupted is a rarity. My girl almost always gets the call from nature, the minute I sit down with the plate. Gone are the days that I get to truly enjoy a meal especially at restaurants. Now I eat with both my eyes on her in case she wanders off and eats something off a stranger's plate. Some nights, I put her to bed early and make myself some comfort food- a bowl of noodles and icy lemon juice, and settle down in front of the screen to watch a movie or series. But I always find that I would have finished the noodles and the drink even before the opening credits are done rolling. Its become a force of habit now.

7. New inhabitant of the heart
Your heart will officially have a new owner. The minute the baby is born, you'll have to clear up all the debris that was lying around in your heart and either throw them out or smush them into a tiny little corner so that the baby can take up the biggest part of it. Its a feeling that just cannot be explained. Its love that cannot be put into words. For example, if another significant person sticks a knife in you, you will, of course, get mad. And might even stab them back. Or at the very least punch them, Or be very very mad at them for atleast a year. If your child sticks a knife in you, you will firstly get mad, yell at her, then lecture her, then feel horrible when you see her lower lip quivering, then try to make her laugh again and then give her a hug and then say sorry. Even though you are the one with the bloody knife stuck in you. This is such a common occurrence in my house. Okay, obviously she doesn't stab me with a knife, its mostly just a fork.

There are, of course, other more important changes. Like how you can never watch or read the news again without feeling mentally disturbed. Or scroll past a picture of a missing child without sharing. Or how you will eventually learn to pray. For your child and others too. Or how you will experience anger, sadness and happiness in measures you've never imagined before. Or how baby songs and nursery rhymes will make you want to throw up at some point. Or how you will learn the names and list of nutrients in vegetables you hadn't even heard of before. Or how trying to dry a toddler's hair is (according to her) equivalent to trying to chop off her head. Or how picking up food that your toddler spit out and tossing it into your own mouth so you don't waste it, will not seem gross at all after some point. Or how your room will always Always smell like urine for a very long time.
So many many many many more new experiences and changes. And it never ends. Every day, I learn something new about her or about me. And everyday is an adventure.

Happy Mother's Day to all such adventurers! May the journey be filled with whacky lovely and special memories. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Birth Story

               During my 6th or 7th month of pregnancy, I had read a blog where a woman gave a detailed account about her delivery. I felt quite shaken and scared as I went through it. But once I finished reading the entire article, I felt oddly confident. Like - Hey! Maybe.. just maybe I will also be able to go through with this without completely freaking out. The writer did not mince her words, but didn't make it sound grotesque either. She had written it all very matter-of-factly which i quite liked. I made my husband read it too and it made him sweat and shiver. Pfft,  men.

I don't remember the name of her blog anymore but if I do find it, I'll link it over here. Meanwhile, here is my account of my big day. I didn't want to write it since its now been more than 2 years since I delivered. And my theory is that only if the memory of the first birth vanishes completely from my mind will I be able to say to my husband,  "Hey, don't you think its time for another child?"

I remember watching this one episode from the TV show Friends where Rachel is in labour for 2 whole days. And I used to think - Nah! No way! That's just exaggerated. Noone stays in labor for thaaat long. She would've gotten a c-section long back. Well.. I'm no Rachel but let me begin by telling you that I was in labour for 21 hours. I get mighty proud saying it. And try throwing it out there every chance I get. When my husband says "I was on my feet for 5 hours today at office.", I usually respond with "Yeah well, I was in labour for 21 hours," . My poor husband. I don't think I will ever let him forget it. My child will also probably have a poster in her room that says "Your mother who you rolled your eyes at just now was in labour with you for 21 hours. 21 hours of pain. Just for you." 


So anyway,  I didn't have the whole "Oh my God, my water just broke" scene like in the movies. Which was a pity because I had practiced saying it so many times. Although my due date was right around the corner, my body wasn't doing whatever it should have been doing when it nears labour. I'm going to try and put it in metaphoric terms so as to not terrify or gross you people out completely. So let us suppose that there are these inflatable sliding doors inside my body that has to open for the baby to come out.  These doors must first deflate and then open up little by little. And that is when the water breaks. Well, my doors were fully inflated and tightly shut. My doctor said that if nothing happens within the next few days then, they would have to induce labour. I was so disappointed because I really wanted it to happen on its own. I tried everything. I walked, hopped, trotted, climbed up and down stairs. I did squats, cleaned the floors, ate spicy food, drank herbal tea (again that Friends episode was so informative.) but nothing was working. My husband flew down the night before I had my next doctor's appointment. Which made me feel a little less stressed. 
We went to the doctor's in the morning hoping to convince her to give me some more time. But before I even knew what was happening, I was lying on a hospital bed in the labour ward. But what about my sliding doors?! My doctor explained that the plan was that inorder to try and get those sliding doors to deflate, they would literally give it a little push.  She would jimmy a deflated balloon through the doors and fill it up with water forcing the doors to crack open a tiny bit. And thus jump starting the process. And all the while in my head I was going "You're going to WHAT???! Uh-uh. No way. Lets just cut me open right now." But she was convinced that this would be the safest and best option. And since I wanted to birth naturally as well, I gave in. 

The pains began almost as soon as the procedure was completed. Pulsating pain. Almost like contractions. Well, that was quick, I thought. I was already moaning and groaning. Back in my room I found that my 6 year old nephew had been waiting to see me.  He was a sensitive little soul and could never bear to see me in any sort of pain. I smiled through my pain and squeezed his hand kept telling him "I'm okay. I'm okay" without flinching while trying to stay upright. But still I could tell the little fellow was a bit shaken.

 As soon as he left I lay in bed trying to find a position that helped ease the pain. My husband was constantly by my side, holding my hand telling me to squeeze his hand everytime I felt the pain take over. One minute it would be so intense that I can hardly breath and the next minute its gone and I'm chatting with H about something on TV and taking selfies. It was so weird. I was afraid people would think I was faking it for attention.


I was asked to eat dinner early since I wouldn't be allowed to eat anything once I was taken into the labour room. My mom was feeding me chapati and some curry when I was suddenly overcome by a huge wave of pain that I hurled. And along with the vomit, I felt something pop down south and looked down to see that my clothes were soaking wet. I finally got to say "My water broke!"
Except no. It wasn't my water. It was that damned balloon. It had burst. Ugh!
I was taken into the labour ward shortly after that. The labour ward consisted of two lines of beds separated by huge curtains. I was able to hear various levels of crying from behind each curtain. Which was extremely relaxing. Not.
Only my mom was allowed to remain with me in the ward. This was the first time my mom got the opportunity to witness any of her daughters' in labour. And I don't think she's going to want to again.  I get it now being a mom myself. Seeing your kid writhe in pain while knowing that there isn't much you can do to make her feel better is just pure torture. I feel sorry for making her go through that.  But I don't think I could have done it without her.  
Since I had vomited everything, I felt hungry again and begged the nurse to let me eat.  She finally agreed to let my mom bring me some food. And my mom brought me two slices of bread with jam. I looked at her like "Are you seriously kidding me?" I was hungry enough to eat thirty packets of bread. I told her I wanted more.  And that is how I got to eat the first ever meal that my husband made for me.  Those absolutely delicious bread and pineapple jam sandwiches that he made and handed over to my mother. 
After confirming that nothing would be happening that day, the nurses decided to give me a sedative so that I could sleep through the pain and go at it again in the morning. And I tell you, sedatives are freaking awesome. It felt so wonderful and nice. I could tell that the pain was still very much there but I was just too sleepy to care. 
But that blissful slumber did not last as long as I wanted. At the crack of dawn, I was up again and was being poked and probed. The nurses came every 15 minutes to check the baby's heartbeat and to check if I had dilated enough. And i just wanted to tell them to leave me the hell alone. This went on till mid-day. The pain was starting to get severe. At one point I grabbed hold of my mom and said " Okay enough, I don't want to do this anymore. Let's just go home." I was so thirsty but wasn't allowed to drink water so my mom kept wetting my lips with coconut water, like the nurses suggested. My shrieks went from sad and desperate "Amma.. Ma.. Amma..enough, Ma" to furious cries of "AMMA! AMMA! AMMA!", like I was mad at her as though she was responsible for this pain. The doctor asked me if I wanted an epidural, but me having so much stupid faith in my own level of tolerance thought I could endure just a little bit more. So I said no. 15 minutes later, I was like "Hey doc, about that epidural you were talking about. I changed my mind. I'll take two please." But she told me that I was almost at the final lap and that I had a dilated a good amount. The words I'd been waiting to hear for so long.  

Soon the doctor asked me if I wanted to try and start pushing. It was all that I wanted. I pushed with all my might. Everyone in the waiting room heard my shrieks. But now it was more of war cries rather than helpless yelps. I was on a mission. So I continued to push. I pushed while I was being wheeled into the delivery room. I pushed as I hobbled onto the bed. I was so busy pushing that I didn't notice that the room was suddenly filled with an army of male and females nurses. Normally I would've freaked out about having being so exposed in front of so many strangers. But at that point I didn't care if the whole entire population of Kerala was there as long as they got this child out of me. My doctor came in calm as ever. She was even humming a song.  I immediately felt at ease. She told me I was doing very good and to continue pushing. And there is nothing I love more than people complimenting me on my effort. Besides there were so many people around cheering and shouting encouragements at me that I felt so damn motivated. "Come on! You can do it! Very good! Almost there! We can see the head! One more push, come on!" 
I pushed and pushed and....

*plunck*

I froze. My eyes widened and my mouth was open but no sound was coming out. It was a sensation I could never put into words. It was so quick and sudden, I think I was in shock.  In my head, the whole room had fallen to a silence when it was actually probably quite noisy. 
The next thing I heard was my doctor saying-"Pennkutty aane tto - Its a girl!" My face broke into a humongous smile. One of the nurses laughed and said ooh look at that smile! 
I was so surprised because I had somehow made up in my mind that it was going to be a boy because I terribly yearned for a girl. My whole family as well had predicted that I would have a boy for some reason or the other. I wish I could've seen their gob-smacked expressions when they found out.

I looked around to catch a glimpse of my newborn daughter. I didn't have my glasses on so from a distance I saw a blurry, very tiny dark head. The nurses around me continued to poke me and stitch me up or whatever but my whole attention was at that corner of the room. I think I was a bit light-headed from the medications. I said to the guy who was checking my bp "Edo, ende kochine kaanikke. ende kochine endha thaan kaanikaathe." (show me my baby,  why you no show me my baby.) And he said they would in a minute. She was being cleaned up immediately since she had ingested some fluid. 

Now my cousin had advised me that during labour it is best not to cry since it would take up energy unnecessarily. I had screamed, moaned, yelled and groaned but I had managed to get through it without shedding a tear. Until that moment.
I saw the nurse come over to the bed. She held my baby's face close to mine so that I could see her clearly. A tiny round pink face. With two tiny dark eyes and a funny nose and the tiniest little rosebud mouth. With a shock of black hair. The nurse gently pressed my baby's cheek against mine which was wet from my tears. She felt so warm. And so so smooth. I wanted her to stay there like that. 
But they took her away to show to my family. I wanted to stop them. I wanted to look at her some more. I craned my neck to see her until they walked out the door. 
The exhaustion hit me like a wave. I completely conked off and fell into a deep sleep. Like my sister says the best nap ever! 
Once I was moved back into the ward again, I met my baby again. And fell in love all over again. Thats when I really got to take her in. Touch her. Count all her fingers and toes. Smell her. Kiss her. Tear up looking at her again. She bit right into me during the very first feeding and left me bleeding. But i didn't mind very much.  I was too much in awe that she could've sucker punched me all she wants,  I would've just sat there and gawked at her in amazement.
The next best moment was when I was finally released from the labour ward. I was wheeled out and welcomed a crop of smiling faces. My dad who patted my head and looked proud. My poor sleep deprived but happy mom,  my two sisters who were beaming with happiness, my two excited and ecstatic nieces and my very concerned but sullen nephew (He was pissed that it turned out to be Another girl. He forgave me eventually though.)

This moment felt like my glory moment. Like I had gone and done something so great and emerged a hero. Like I had won a long race. And at the finish line were all these smiling faces. In my head they were applauding as well. My husband, who had gone to get some medicines, met me near my room. He came up to me and squeezed my hand. I could see the joy and pride in his eyes. We were parents! We have our own little girl! It felt like a dream. One we never wanted to be awoken from. We looked at each other while smiling like crazy.
And that was it. 
From there began the rest of my life. Life as I know it now. Life as a mother. A fairly okay mother. I think.  Haha, More on my mom-ventures later!