Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

A mommy kind of smell

12 Oct

Bandar is nestled by me in my bed . The husband has been sick and contagious and with him in the guest room, in a moment of desperate weakness , I allowed Bandar into our bed. Considering it took us 4.5 years to get her to her own bed practically within the same room , I think I just shot myself in the foot bringing her back for a week. She may or may not go back next Saturday and that is another story. Anyway having her next to me allows for us have our deepest and at the same time most trivial  conversations just prior to bedtime. I enjoy these moments with my big girl. My ritual before I finally sleep is – first ensure baby Beetle is fed for the night , I then go downstairs again to wrap up the kitchen , come back up to pump one last time and then wash all the pump stuff before I get to bed . But now with Bandar in my bed , our conversations take place after Beetle is asleep and I have such a hard time pulling myself from her to go and complete my chores. Bandar doesn’t really like being hugged or cuddled much and these moments with her are so rare nowadays.  Anyway , as Bandar lay in the crook of my arm and the conversation died down for a second  she took a long sniff of me and gave a happy little sigh . “What do you smell , baby girl? ” I ask .” I smell you” , she said .” Yes, but what smell is it? ”  I prod. ” We know Beetle smells like apple pie ( an inside joke Bandar and I share ) and you smell distinctly of school despite a good bath . What do I smell of? ” She sniffs again and says – “You smell a little bit like milk ( of course , the round the clock feeding and pumping ) and you mostly just smell like my mom “, she says. And with that she snuggles a little closer with a satisfied look on her face.

I am transported back to being 6 years old. We have a new Filipino care giver for me as our previous one ran off with her American boyfriend  leaving me stranded at the bus stop  when I got off the school bus( true story I swear! ) Our new one has taken care of two highly disciplined Chinese boys before – boys who slept in the own room since birth , who were really good at math, who had a bath on their own , who gobbled up any food offered to them. It’s been a week since we had this new caregiver start with us and I already sick and tired of hearing about the good boys doing good things . I like hearing about the fun stuff they did though –  the sibling games they play , the parks they visit , the way they celebrate Chinese New Year with their fancy lanterns.   My mom is doing an evening course at the University after her day job . So twice a week she comes home at 3 pm, spends a few hours with me and heads out to the university for the class that involves her taking two trains one way. Dad in an act of chivalry,  has decided he will go pick her up those two nights of the week despite her many protests that she can take care of herself. The caregiver gives me my dinner, lays it out for me to eat rather. I pick at it unlike the good Chinese boys . ” Brush your teeth and go to bed”, she says once I am done.  I look at her super confused. Doesn’t she know she needs to lay with me? Doesn’t she know I am scared of the dark ? I don’t say a word though and proceed to brush my teeth. I dread what is to follow next – getting into our giant co- sleeping friendly bed by myself with the lights off. I look around desperately for something to calm me. I have Bobo my loyal little stuffed bear that is bruised and battered and has definitely seen better days. I need something else too I think. I see my mom’s top in the laundry bin and I grab it. I get into bed. The caregiver comes to switch off the light . I hastily hide the rubber sheet under the covers . She will find out about  my bedwetting in due course – just not that first week. “You are a big girl now and really should sleep in your own room”, she comments. ” Good night “.  And the lights are off. I lie back and sniff at my mom’s shirt. It has her distinct smell. Hugging it, I cry a few tears in fear and then more come . And the shirt is now a tad wet. I am not sure why I didn’t cry our loud , I definitely had a loud wail that  I could use when I wanted to.The caregiver was really not scary , just a staunch disciplinarian. I spend the next three hours till about 11 pm half crying half sleeping until I hear the key turn in the lock and my parents arrive! I sit up wide awake in bed and then rush out to hug them as they sit down to a super late dinner. Much to my caregiver’s surprise that I was awake the whole time ! I show my mom the shirt and tell her it comforted me a little . Dad and Mom sit down and tell me the semester is going to last another 4 months and that I need to be brave about it. I promise I will be and before the next class the next week I have already picked a shirt of mom’s and one of my dad’s too for good measure and set them by the bed . The caregiver is softer this time, she strokes my head a bit , reads me a story , talks about bedwetting a good bit ( guess she was tired of seeing the sheets in the wash by then )and then switches of the light. I am good this time – the smell on the shirts comfort me and I am asleep.

I haven’t yet offered Bandar a shirt of mine to coax her to sleep while I finish my chores but I probably will be trying that soon.Life does indeed come full circle.


Some days …

30 Sep

Dearest Bandar,

Today was supposed to have been fun and wonderful for you . And I am so very sorry it was not. I snapped at you far too many times and was a sorry excuse for a mom today. You are snuggled by me in bed right now and snoring away and I have kissed your forehead about twenty times already to make myself feel less guilty for my impatience today but it hasn’t helped.

Your school was off today and I was really looking forward to a fun day with both my girls. I was going to take you to the library and the bakery to choose a pastry for being extra good and wonderful off late and a recent academic achievement but unfortunately we went to neither. You have a big important week  ahead of you and I wanted  to make this weekend  all about you to ease your  nerves . This is also the last weekend  we will just be a family of four for a  while before your grandparents arrive and I excitedly made plans to ensure it went perfectly.

  Instead what mommy had on her hands today  was an extra clingy little baby , clearly  in the midst of a wonder week in development , who wanted to be held and fed more than usual today . Or she could just be recovering from her own first nasty cold and  cough from earlier in the week. Her coughing had mommy worried  sick. And then to top this we had a  sick daddy who is suffering from the worst sinus infection he has ever had and is in debilitating pain . Mommy has known daddy for 14 years now and he has never been like this and that alone scares her. Oh and then there is the classic other problem that mom suffers from that took a toll on her today – overcommitting . She had in a moment of excitement agreed to co-host and organize a baby shower for a friend tomorrow  and found herself in organizational chaos today with so much to be done and so little time. Then there is this whole thing  with mommy trying to lose the last ten lbs of pregnancy weight and  denying herself of sugar and fried stuff and all things nice to make this happen . And so even though  mommy isn’t exactly hungry , she is deprived of fun food and is more than  a little pissed  about it. Then  there was her own disappointment  today – she needed  a break from her state of almost single parenting  for two weeks now ( with Dad working around the clock) and this weekend was supposed  to be a fun one. Instead with half the household sick , fun wasn’t in the horizon and with maternity leave almost ending  soon, mommy felt a wave of disappointment ride over her all through the day 

Anyway all this should not have mattered. None of this should have affected me so much that I snapped when you innocently asked a question or two or asked for help opening the car door or sang loudly around your sleeping sister or indulged in boistorous pretend play close to her. I should have patiently answered your questions, or told you to wait to be helped or calmly quietened you down or distracted you . Instead I lost it on all these instances and saw the sadness on your face each time. You held back the tears bravely and only once said I had hurt your feelings . Sorry sorry dear lovely Bandar. Sorry you had to bear the brunt of my bad mood today for no fault of your own. You were being yourself – your wonderful natural unrestrained lively self. I watched you trudge through Target with me today, playing an imaginary game by yourself as I shopped , exclaiming loudly to yourself , twirling in the aisles as I pondered hand soap brands and I marvelled at how not self conscious you were. I hope and pray you stay this way, Bandar and don’t turn into an affected terribly artificial version of yourself. I worry if my constant shushing at home and outside will change you . I worry if my short responses to innocent questions will make you stop asking me or anyone else questions. I worry if I am forcing responsibility on you too early in life when I ask for your constant help with caring for your sister – be it to fetch and carry baby things or to watch her for a few minutes at a time. I want you to know that you are always going to be my first born – my guinea pig baby with whole I am going to learn and grow with . I want you to know that I do go to bed each day striving to be a better mom going forth. Some days like today I fall terribly short but have to rise up again tomorrow and try to do the whole thing better. I cannot hope you will completely forget  my shortness with you today – I know I have not forgotten the exact moments  my own mom has been the same with  me . But I do hope you give me a pass for today and write it off as one bad day when I wasn’t totally on my mom game. 

Love you always and always , Mommy

What’s happening in our world

15 Aug

I fell off the blogging wagon for a while there as I have been using all my energy to really stay afloat with two kiddos. My mom left to get back to her life in India when Beetle was about four weeks old. So we were on our own for about a week until my dad came to see the girls and offer his support with the husbadoo having to travel  a little bit these last  two weeks. And in a few days time , my dad will be leaving as well and we will truly be on our own for 1.5 months for the reminder of my maternity leave. 

So how is it exactly with two? In short , let’s just say it keeps us on our toes . So much so that between chores to maintain some semblance of a household and two  kids I  barely have any time to sit down and get a breather . I welcome my nursing sessions with Beetle to just marvel at her little face in peace and calm for a while as I am so much on the go the rest  of the time.

The other  thing about having two kids is that activities for your first born do not come to a standstill just because you have a newborn . Most of Bandar’s extracurricular activities have no option of a make up class if you miss one and after watching money go down the drain for a few weeks , this last weekend I had to buckle Beetle  into her car seat and take Bandar all over  for her classes and birthday parties and of course regular stuff like school and  groceries . My dad came  along too  and I welcomed that extra pair  of hands.  I will have to figure out how to do a lot of these on my own in a few days.

At 7 weeks, Bettle hates her carseat – why am I not surprised? Bandar hated it too at that age. Beetle also hates her carrier which we have to somehow make her like as it will be convenient  to do chores and errands with her strapped to me.  We introduced a bottle  of  pumped milk this weekend and she is not a fan of the bottle  at all, but when left with no choice she takes it.Hopefully she will be a pro at shifting between bottle and breast before I return to work.I am at my least favorite part of the maternity leave process when I need to start preparing for being away the whole day soon and that means pumping milk and freezing apart from feeding at regular intervals. These two activities coupled with bottle parts washing and cleaning pretty much take up all my waking hours.

In other news , Bandar graduated from preschool and there was the most precious ceremony that had me blinking back tears several times. The most beautiful parts were the teacher talking about each child in turn for a minute and pointing out all his/ her unique characteristics. There was also a lovely letter to each child’s new teacher in public school with more details about the child. So wonderfully done. There have been isntances in recent times when I have wondered if the preschool really was all that but this ceremony was done well and it’s clear that Bandar has had a wonderful 1.5 years here.

My recovery hasn’t been as stellar as I would like and I have follow up appointments through recovery. Giving birth is simultaneously the most miraculous and horrendous thing to happen to a women ‘s body and unfortunately I think this time around I will probably take years to getting to perfectly healthy. I am purely talking about healing here rather than weight loss and all the other jazz that I need to deal with in the coming months. Just a glimpse at my lovely work wardrobe makes me want to cry at this point as I have months and months to go before I can dream of fitting into any of my prepregnancy clothes.Of course , you would hardly guess any of this at a glimpse of me ,except the extra pounds. I am up and about way , way more than I ever was when I was in the postpartum  period after Bandar and dealing with two kids leaves very little time for self pity, which I guess is a good thing. 

My little sister is finally living in the same continent as me after 11 years ! Though she is on the opposite coast and we are yet to meet , I am incredibly excited that she is starting grad school here. The husbadoo was settling her in this weekend and I feel blessed to have landed this guy who takes time of work and goes out of his way to ensure my family is taken care of . 

Summer is more than half way done and sadly I feel Bandar has had an average one with  hardly any beach trips , ice creams and family excursions , mainly because we have had Beetle shaking up our normal. But that said , it’s one we will look back at fondly and the absence of conventional summer treats will hopefully not figure in those memories.

Week 3 with Beetle

15 Jul

I sometimes can’t believe it’s been only three weeks since we actually met the little Beetle.She truly completes our little family and is exactly made to fit like the last puzzle piece we were looking for.  She seems to know us now as she stares at us out of her big beady black eyes , that gave her her nickname. 

My happiest moments this week have been when she lies on my chest ,completely calm and happy after a feed. I love holding her there and just taking in the moment. With Bandar , unfortunately I was so caught up in the day to day stress , that I  really don’t think I savored these fleeting moments so much.Maybe this time around these seem sweeter as I know they are so fleeting  and this is in all likelihood my last little baby. 

We learnt this week that Beetle is a slow weight gainer and this is a little worrisome . So we have had doctor and lactation consultant visits and though I am all for supplementing her feeds with some formula soon to see the weight gain start, my vullage of medical professionals want to wait.and i gave to trust them and our little girl to gain with time. So that’s what we are doing and also upping our feeds to every 2- 2.5 hours as we wait and monitor. This week I strongly considered buying an infant weighing scale but good sense prevailed and I decided to not drive myself mad with weigh ins post every feed. Instead we will make do with the weekly visits.

On a few nights this last week, I managed Beetle’s mid night awakenings completely on my own to allow the very sleep deprived working husband to get his sleep and actually be functional the next day. This involved diaper changes, feeding ,burping, lifting Beetle from bassinet to lap and vice versa and reswaddling. I feel this is an achievement of sorts for me as the husbadoo was doing  most  of this, except the feeding itself,  till last week. I really hope nights get easier before I return to work in October.i cannot imagine a full working day with this kind of disturbed sleep.

I started some pumping this week between feeds and there is not more exhausting and frustrating than spending the time  and energy to get  a measly amount . And there is the fun of washing and sterilizing all the parts after pumping .  I tend to get lazy with pumping in addition to the actual feeding itself . I would love to do nothing  but simply hold my baby close after feeds or mindlessly browse the web when I have some downtime . But I really need to pull up my socks and get in a few pumps a day . I know this freezer stash will help me immensely once I go back to work and have busy days.

This week was also a reminder to really come to terms with what we can and can’t do anymore with an infant and a preschooler.  Even simple things like hosting good friends for a short evening visit involved cleaning the house, having basic groceries and having adults and children presentable and it seemed impossible this weekend. So we simple took the liberty of cancelling with the friends and I felt myself completely destress and just enjoyed my quiet evening with Bettle  ,while the husband took Bandar on a grocery run . I also have considered making our cleaner and cook come more frequently over the next year and am strongly considering Amazon Fresh or another delivery service for groceries . Life with two kids and fulltime jobs is going to be harder than I ever thought it would be this next year.

Bandar is definitely getting better with the changes around her. We reinstated a goodness chart and decided that sleep was the biggest fix we had to incorporate to have a good tempered big sister . There is a lot of work to still be done on her bedtime and wake time, but I think with small changes each week, we will get there by the time public school starts in mid August.

My mom leaves in a few days and I am truly going to miss her. She has selflessly left behind my dad , her career and life in India, and has done so much for me and my family these last two months. She doesn’t expect any gratitude or appreciation and I really am at a loss on how I would ever repay her kindness if I even tried. I guess you simply don’t keep score with family.

I definitely do not do well with confinement of any sort. I went downstairs a few times this week for a cup of tea and a meal or two and that itself did wonders for my mood.  I also drove Bandar to school today which made both her and I very happy. I am not at a 100 percent or even at an 80 yet but will get there over the next few weeks. I hope to be more mobile in this time and even baby wear soon. Most carriers and slings advise waiting till the baby is 8 lbs and our little peanut is not yet there. To keep my sanity I have been watching a few light sit come and shows , the kind that I absolutely do not need to think about – the Bachelorette, last few episodes of the Mindy project , Fresh of the boat , Blackish.  I think I need a few more weeks before I actually catch up on Scandal,OITNB and other heavier stuff. 

Week 2 with Beetle

8 Jul

Week 2 was such a mixed bag.On the one hand ,  I have had to tell myself a hundred times this week that this is a phase and that it will pass .In my head,   I have been fast forwarding  all of us to even 6 months down the road and thinking  of a time when my life will actually be something beyond  that of a cow. Then on the other hand , there have been wonderful peaceful evenings like the evening of  July 4th when everyone was out watching the fireworks, except Beetle and I. Just staring at Beetle’s calm, wonderful face between feeds and holding her in my arms gives me an enormous sense of fulfillment and happiness.  I find myself clinging to all the “newbornness” that is her during these moments.

We had a few decent nights with Beetle getting up or rather us waking up Beetle every 3 hours for a feed. But then as each feed takes close to 40 mins and throw in a diaper change and some soothing and rocking in there,we end up with about 2 hours in between to actually sleep. With this, the sleep deprivation in week 2 was actually worse for me than in week 1. The adrenaline and initial high from delivering a baby that gave me a boost  of energy in  week 1 have disappeared at this point and I am just pretty much exhausted all the time. I think the husband is sleep deprived and exhausted too. Though I obviously do the breastfeeding, he has been changing the night diapers and also transferring Beetle from me to to the bassinet each night. I really need to be doing this now as we are two weeks in and it’s about time . I am going to make an honest effort to not wake him up this week to help with this. As he actually went back to work this last week I have no idea how he is even coping with this exhaustion. 3AM feedings bring out the worse in both of us and we are snapping at each other quite a bit at that point. This is understandable as we are usually awake but sleepy for the midnight feed and just about get into a deep slumber by 3 am. After the 3 am feed,  we both get another precious 2 hours and then the early morning feed is really time to get up and start the day with Bandar, school and work for the husband. I don’t see 3 am feeds disappearing for a good time  yet , so I really need a good gameplan to tackle them daily. I think napping during the day is the answer but I usually barely get one hour during the day to nap and its hardly enough.

Bandar was home a good bit over the long weekend and the husband was her sole caregiver.  Again we have good and bad big sister days, the majority being good.On the whole she is great with Beetle. Any anger or behavioral issues are directed at us.My patience is definitely at an all time low when she has a mini tantrum( I blame it on the lack of sleep and general stress  )  and I long for my kind,loving child  from a month ago. I know she is  in there somewhere and that this is only surfacing because of all the changes around her. As such, Bandar is still very manageable and I still strongly feel that quality time with either parent is the cure for even the small meltdowns she is having and we are trying our best to give her that.

The husband went back to work at the start of   week 2. Bandar of course is at school all day. Being home with a baby day after day is really not as cracked up as it’s supposed to be . At some point in the week , I even lost track of which day we were on.  My mom really wants me to follow a confinement period that  is hard for anyone with my personality. I was pretty much go, go,go until I delivered my baby  and staying  in one room all day long is freaking hard. But  then even a little exertion like standing in line at the doctor’s office ,  still tires me out ridiculously and I then begin to think that maybe this rest period is very  much needed. We also had a few ceremonies this week for both sides of the family ( I absolutely hate rituals for a baby this small but thats another story ) and we has some guests and though I got through everything in an exhausted haze, I found myself barely able to hold myself together physically when I as much as went downstairs and tried to make conversation . I stayed for the parts that Beetle and I were required for and hastily beat a  retreat to my bedroom. I find myself unable to focus on one topic or conversation for too long and my head gets really heavy , undoubtedly the lack of sleep again. Hoping I can get myself together in less than two weeks time before my mom leaves.

And then there was a Beetle

29 Jun

So here I was at exactly 40 weeks pregnant and no baby ! We knew baby had been low for a while  and there was a period during week 36-37 with daily contractions and pelvic pressure when I felt I would be in labor any day and was pleasantly surprised each day  to wake up  still pregnant. After week 38, once I had faith that baby was growing fine and that mom was now here to help with Bandar, I  had  increased my activity levels significantly with daily 4 mile walks , still doing 4 floors at work several times a day and clocking  roughly 10k steps both days of the weekend.  My coworkers took bets on when I would be in labor , but Beetle clearly was staying put. My contractions were not at a frequency that would warrant going to the hospital and I stopped timing them with the app. 

Anyway , I started my maternity leave on my due date and spent the day cleaning out two closets at home with mom, getting a little more organized for baby and playing with Bandar once she was home from school. I also took her and mom to the park and really enjoyed my last few days as a mom of one. The next day , I had a doctor’s appointment and it revealed that I was 3 cm dilated , a cm more than the week before. Though that seemed exciting , I knew dilation wasn’t a true indicator of when labor would start. We had set my induction date to later in the week and though induction in itself didn’t perturb me as I had been induced with Bandar, I was not excited about the actual induction date itself as it was not a number I considered lucky for me. I know, this sounds silly and superstitious but this planned induction date was causing me a lot of angst.  Anyway after my doctor’s appointment that week, I made terms with the induction date as it seemed highly unlikely that a baby was going to magically show up with less than 48 hours left for the induction. I spent the rest of the day at home , even giving up on my daily walk as I figured I might as well save some energy for induction day. Bandar was home from school that day and I had fun playing board games with her and reading to her. In the evening, the husbadoo suggested we go to Olive Garden for dinner and we all readily complied. After a hearty dinner, we stopped by the shops for some errands and got home. In all it was a perfect day and little did I know it would be our last one as a family of three!

The next day , I lay in bed for a little while reminding myself of all the things that had to get done in the next 24 hours prior to induction. I then hopped out of bed at around 7:30 am and started to help Mom with Bandar’s lunch and breakfast. Bandar was all set to go to school at 8:15 and as I raced up and down stairs , I noticed my pyjamas were slightly wet. I wondered if I had peed myself but it seemed highly unlikely. I also knew I hadn’t felt my water break – no popping and no gush. Anyway on the husbadoo’s insistence I decided to call the doctor . Meanwhile he went to drop Bandar off at school , Bandar had been looking at the three adults in bewilderment at the water versus pee conversation and it seemed appropriate to get her out of the scene soon. As I waited for the nurse to call me back, I walked around the house aimlessly and didn’t even have the minor contractions I had had the whole week! I spoke to my aunt over the phone at some point and mentioned casually that I was waiting for the nurse to call me back. My aunt who is a doctor immediately told me that it was highly likely to be amniotic at this stage and that one can sprout a leak without having a full gush and that I really should get myself checked out.

The nurse finally called me back. She instructed me to lie down for 20 mins and then walk around for another 20 mins. That way we were giving the fluid a chance to pool up and come out. I was to report back to her in about 45 mins. So that’s exactly what I did. The husband lay next to me and I told him to go to work as he had a few important meetings that day and  I was so convinced that it wasn’t my water. Anyway I am so glad he didn’t take off at that point! When I started walking around , I called my sister to pass the time and after about a 10 min conversation I had to hurry to get off the call as I felt a  small trickle come out if me. Still not significant enough to seem like water breaking . I spoke to the nurse again and she suggested I come in to the clinic to get checked out anyway and bring my hospital bag with me for good measure. So I showered and so did the husband and my mom and we all set off to the clinic. I remember eating a granola bar on the way as I was a tad hungry and knew lunch would probably be delayed till we finished the doctor’s visit. My poor mom and husband didn’t eat a morsel though ! 

Anyway it was almost 11:30 am by the time we were finally at the doctor’s . The husband and I clicked silly selfies as we waited to be seen. My doc came in and I actually apologized for maybe coming in with a silly  false alarm. She told me I had  done the right thing coming in even though it was barely 24 hrs to my induction and that if it was my water we had to get the baby out that day. She also told me that the whole test for fluid with a speculum was going to be quite painful and boy ,was she right ! Anyway, within minutes , she had tested that I did indeed have a leak. So the next stop should be the hospital ! She explained that my lower water bag would probably still have to be broken and that they would probably put me on pitocin to move things along.

I walked out of the clinic with a broad smile on my face, knowing that we were hours from meeting our baby. We decided the best course of action would be for Bandar to stay at school till 6 pm.My mom desperately wanted to be in the room for the birth and I wanted her to be part of   the experience if we could. We got to the hospital and they didn’t check us in till almost 1:45 pm. After the standard nasty IV was started, contractions and heart rate monitoring were set up and the paperwork was done, the doctor on duty stopped by at 2:30 pm . She told me that the first course of action would be to break the rest of the water bag manually to see if that made my contractions any stronger. At that point, the machine was picking up a few weak contractions. We joked around saying  that we wanted the baby out by 6 pm, so that my mom could witness the birth and at that point none of us – doctor,  nurses or family even  thought that it would be reality ! My water was broken and I think I lost 3 lbs with the never ending gush! The doctor mentioned I was about 4 cm dilated too and suggested I get my epidural that I wanted in the next 30 minutes as the anaesthelogist would be between C-sections then and available. I was really conflicted just then – with Bandar I had my epidural at 6 cms dilation and I really didn’t want an epidural when I wasn’t in pain yet and I worried if it would slow down labor. The doctor mentioned again that I would probably get really uncomfortable in 20 minutes and I nodded in disbelief and just asked to have the anaesthelogist check in with me when she was available . 

The doctor went out of the room and as she said in barely 20 minutes my contractions picked up intensity and frequency. There was no need for pitocin at all! My contractions were 5 mins apart and very painful by 3 pm and I was crying and breathing through them as best as I could. I remember thinking I was awfully lucky to be at the hospital at this stage of both my deliveries  instead of laboring at home like they recommend. I really cannot imagine anyone driving over when they are in this much pain at this frequency. Anyway ,the time had come for the epidural and I asked for it , but the anaesthelogist had not finished the C-section she was in yet . So I really had no choice but to breathe through the contractions . I had no doubt in my head by that point that natural labor without an epidural was not for me! I remember asking my mom between tears  at some point how she had delivered two kids all natural . I held the husband ‘s hand and my mom’s in alternation each time I rode the wave of contraction through and cried big loud wimpy  tears. The husband commented that I really had to cut my nails after a particularly nasty claw crushing clutch I bestowed upon him !  At 3:20 pm , the nurse asked if I wanted a dose of pain medication through the IV to take the edge off and my first reaction was to refuse as I expected only two or three more contractions before the epidural would be administered. But the contractions were about 3 minutes or so apart at that point and  the next painful contraction led me to beg for pain meds through the IV. The nurse put it in in about 5 minutes and we continued to wait for the anaesthelogist. The medication barely helped, for me the exhaustion was mainly from them being so close together and not really having any recovery between them.I was also worried as now with them being 3 minutes apart, I also had a very strong urge to push. The pleasant, friendly anaesthelogist finally made it in at 3:40 pm. So in all I really had labored in intense pain for maybe only 1 hour though it seemed like eternity! When the anaesthelogist asked me how I was doing I cheerily  exclaimed  I was more than ready for it ! I worried about sitting still for the epidural in the pain but somehow managed to . The  epidural was administered skillfully and like last time the anticipation of sweet relief was enough to make me not worry about the pain of it’s actual administration. Also it seemed much less painful thsn my memory of it from almost 5 years ago . I asked when it would take effect and they told me it would be about 20 minutes. The anaesthelogist left the room and I worked through a few more contractions in tears waiting for the epidural to kick in. I found my right side get numb in about 15 minutes but my left side of my abdomen and body could feel every contraction. The contractions were much stronger at this point and I worried if for some reason the epidural wasn’t going to work on my left side at all. The sensation to push was still strong as well and the nurse checked my dilation at 4:10 pm to exclaim that I was completely dilated to 10 cm and that she could feel the head. She figured that it was a combination of the time the epidural taking to act and  my fast dilation that still led me to be in so much pain. Now more than pain, I was on full blown panic mode. I told everyone in the room that there was no way that I had the mental or physical strength to push out a baby feeling all this pain. I wanted the relatively pain free experience as I had had with Bandar. I cried that I was already at a 10 and begged for the anaesthelogist to be brought in again. The nurse comforted me saying thet would not let me push until I was comfortable and that most women would kill to be in my position and dilate so quickly. She also said they my pushing itself was going to be quick .

The anaesthelogist was brought in again at 4:30 pm and I was finally given a stronger dose. My left side got numb in about 15 mins but I could feel enough of a sensation to push. This was the perfect  state I  had been to push Bandar out and I was now confident that I could do the same this time around . At 4:45 pm , the husbadoo  rang up a friend to go pick up Bandar and made arrangements with Bandar’s  school for the pick up. I was now relieved  as it meant Bandar  would be picked  up and brought to the hospital and would  be able to hopefully  see  her sibling in the next few hours. It also meant my mom could be by my side for the grand finale . I finally relaxed and through those first and  last few minutes of epidural bliss , I pictured Bandar’s face and excitement and motivated myself to get through the pushing bit.

The doctor came in at around 5:00 pm and she and the nurse walked me through pushing. I had forgotten the technique having not taken any classes this time and I found myself puffing up my cheeks unnecessarily each time. After 2-3 attempts I got much better and efficient with my pushes. The doctor kept stepping in and out while I pushed a little with the nurse. My contractions slowed down every time the doc was in the room and she joked that it was best she stay out . I was convinced that at this rate , the baby would probably take a good while to come out . With each push I looked over at the hubsadoo ‘s face as  he stood on my right hand side and it  somehow gave me the strength to power through. At 5:20pm, after maybe 3-4 pushes , the nurse said she could see the head and my mom peeked and saw it too! They offered me a mirror to view the progress and motivate myself  but I really did not want to see or know what exactly was happening  in my nether regions. The doc stepped in at 5:25 pm and saw me push again , a little more head was visible – about the size of a quarter they told me. The doctor turned around to get her gloves on and then turned to face me again and gave almost a leap to catch the baby  and she calmly said that the shoulders and arms were out! I was shocked. I had not even pushed at that point. The baby was literally shooting out of me by itself! In a microsecond the doctor was holding up a baby for us to see!

As  we had  agreed that the husbadoo would announce the gender, we all had our eyes on him  and in the excitement he really couldn’t make out what it was. So for the next few seconds I heard a doubtful  “boy” from him,a definite  “girl” from mom , a quizziical “girl” from the doc  and then finally a confirmatory  ” it’s a girl! ” from the husbadoo before I knew for sure what we had ! Our precious baby girl was placed on my chest and the husband cut the cord . Beetle gave a few cries that reminded me of a little kitten for some reason. I marvelled at her features and full head of hair. She looked different from Bandar in more ways than one that first day and this surprised me as I somehow had expected both my girls to look very alike. As the doctor started the long process of sewing me up, I enquired about the damage and found out I had a third degree tear – Beetle catapulting out of me at that speed had resulted in this . Though I knew this made for an awful recovery in the days and weeks to come , at that point I barely cared . I had my parenting years  ahead of me  with the love of my life and best friend rolled into one and we had our  two wonderful girlies and life really seemed to be one sweet song at that moment . It was just past 5:30 pm at that point and I longed for Bandar to get to the hospital!Beetle was weighed and measured and we started some skin to skin. Our friend gsve us a call at 6:10 pm  and let us know Bandar had arrived. My mom went down to pick her up and told the delighted girl that she had a baby sister ! Bandar’s face was absolutely glowing at that point. She didn’t say much when she finally  saw the Beetle but she just stood proudly by Beetle’s side and gazed at her with a huge beaming smile  on her face. She got a picture or two holding Better on her lap with supervision and was reluctant to hand her over. We spent some more time in the Labor room before heading to postpartum to spend the next day and a half. And that my friends, is how life with our little Beetle began for us !

Week 1 with Beetle

29 Jun

Bringing a second child into this world really just makes your heart expand with this additional capacity to love that you never knew you had . And then there’s the added joy of seeing your children interact as siblings and knowing that it’s only the beginning of a beautiful relationship you are going to be able to see grow over the years.

Week 1 with Beetle was hard, painful , joyful and fun,chaotic  all at once ! To start with, I clearly underestimated how hard it would be to add a baby to  our life and go from one kid to two. I always knew Bandar was mature beyond her years and longed for a sibling and assumed the path would smooth once Beetle was home.While Bandar did pretty well with the change , given it’s magnitude , there were a few things we had to work through on Beetle’s first two days home. But we got through it with a game plan and soon had our own sweet Bandar back . 

First, we used Bandar’s reward jar which is essentially a mason jar in which we put in a colored ball for good behavior and remove balls for bad behavior. Once full she gets to choose her treat which is usually some accessory from Target.

 The other is basically me spending one on one time with Bandar everyday, even if just  for 15 mins, on anything of her choosing. This is usually imaginary play that she loves . I try to hand  over Beetle to my mom when I engage Bandar.

I am not naive to think we won’t have any other issues , but I do think we now know how to handle them a bit better than we did on our first day home with Beetle.

Week 1 this time around has been a tad easier with the husbadoo being home the entire week and focusing entirely on the new family unit ,day and night. The last time around with Bandar’s birth , my mom in fact took over all night duties , stationing herself in my bedroom , as it was a busy time in the husbadoo ‘s career and he slept in the guest room and went into work right from the day we got home from the hospital.  I honestly think it led to him and I being disconnected through those first few weeks, mounting tension in the house and flaring tempers. This time around we politely refused my mom’s offer to sleep with Beetle and me and instead urged my mom to sleep for most of the night. As mom is pulling kitchen duty in the daytime, I think this set up let’s her get some rest and also allows the husband and I to be a strong joint force together for most of the night as we deal with the many feedings and other trials.There is a great comfort in just finishing a long exhausting feeding, placing a sleepy baby in the bassinet and fall asleep for a few hours holding hands with your spouse who has weathered the long day with you. 

Having him around has done wonders for  my mood and emotional recovery . I am happy to say that tempers have been in check this week and I actually feel closer to the husband than ever before. Something of course to do with seeing the love of your life transform into a wonderful father for the second time around . At our first pediatrician appointment this week, I looked up between filling forms , and instead of this charming boy who I had fallen in love with at 19 , I saw an attractive man who still gives me the butterflies , especially now that he is sprouting a good mix of grey in his mop of hair ,  holding an infant car seat in one hand and engaging our 4 year old. This scene is one I will keep going back to in my head in the years to come and it undoubtedly reinforces my believe that I choose well and that the last 12 years have been s wonderful journey to get us to this point.

Postpartum recovery is a bitch. There are no two ways about it. I am having a harder time this around and it’s simply because of the nature of the tearing and wounds this time around ( don’t read if this stuff makes you squeamish). I have shed many tears of self pity through this week and have finally decided to just give it time. I  look forward to simple things like sitting up without painkillers and a waffle pillow, going down stairs , a poop without fear and many other things of the same nature. From what I have read , 2 weeks seems to be the magic number and I am being as patient as I can with my recovery. At the end of week 1, I am finally seeing a very slight improvement and have a glimpse at some light at the end of the tunnel. 

Breastfeeding – the gift that keeps giving! I had forgotten how excrutiatingly painful it is to me physically . Undoubtedly we have some latching issues that I will probably have to get some help with soon. And then there is cluster feeding which I am trying to be a champ about this time around but my enthusiasm to provide what I can for my child at 3 am is very different than at 3 pm! 

Beetle herself is a joy to hold and cuddle. I had forgotten the wonderful skin to skin time and how having a newborn on your chest feels like and this time around I am cherishing and holding on to all of it . Ah and the wonderful baby smell , soft skin , newborn reflexes and confused stares . It all seems more precious and fleeting this time around. 

Having my mom here has been a comfort in more ways than one. She is more than ready to help in anything baby related and between her and the husbadoo ,I am yet to even change a single diaper myself ! She is also the one person in the world who cares about me more than the kids and everything she wants me to eat or follow for this postpartum period is purely with my interest in mind. So I am playing along and letting her pamper me in the way that she knows.I will miss her immensely when she leaves in a few weeks .

So that was our week 1 !