Thursday, 12 February 2015

Back to Work

I have always been someone who has enjoyed her work tremendously. Not only did I continue working throughout my pregnancy, I also was in office till the last day. So when I went on maternity leave I wondered how I would adjust to not having a routine to follow. What would mornings be like without getting ready for work?  Of course all these musings were before the baby came so I really had no idea what was in store. Still I spent the first month swinging between enjoying getting to know my baby and being frustrated at not having an office to go to. I was sure that when my leave ended I would be only too happy to be back at work.

As days turned into weeks my little one changed from being just a crying, pooping, sleeping bundle into a person. She started exhibiting definite personality traits; engaging us in guessing who she inherited them from. She started sleeping more and crying less. She started figuring out that her hands and feet were attached to her body and she could move them at will. She realised that if she put all her might into it she could turn from lying on her back onto her side. And when one day I walked into the room and she turned her head to give me a big beaming smile, I knew I was hooked. So much so that I started appreciating the time I had with her. My days fell into a routine revolving around her. From her massage to her bath, to feeding and play times; I grew to enjoy every minute. I could now guess when she cried whether it was because she was hungry or tired or wanted to be picked up. In short I became an expert on reading her moods and her gestures and probably for the first time since she was born, at 7 weeks, I truly felt like a mother.

Now am facing rejoining work in 3 days and I have blocked my mind to it. I keep telling myself that I enjoy my work so I’ll love being back at it. And then I see my baby’s smile and my heart quails. I guess this is a dilemma that all working mothers face. I was told about it but never thought I would go through it. I somehow, foolishly believed I was above being torn between work and home. Just goes to show how stupid I was. I am lucky in the sense that my office is close enough from home for me to make a quick run back during lunch hour. 4 hours away, then 30 minutes with my baby and 4 hours away again.  For now, that will just have to be enough. #feelingambivalent#

Monday, 2 February 2015

“But Doc She’s Crying!”

When we were discharged from the hospital, we brought our two day baby home full of new found confidence. We were parents (yay) and were determined to do everything in our power to keep our baby happy and healthy.

When Ayana was 6 days old she suddenly started crying one night. It wasn't the kind of crying we had heard so far-this was a deep distress call; continuous and very worrying to hear.  We changed her diaper, tried feeding her, walked with her, sang to her, hummed and cooed, made funny faces; basically tried everything we could think of. But the crying continued unabated.  So finally we called my mom over who was equally puzzled.

Meanwhile my husband suddenly felt her forehead and declared she was running a fever. So mom and I anxiously touched her and agreed that she felt warm.  Ayana was diagnosed at birth with a touch of Jaundice so the doctor had told us to keep her in the sunlight daily for some time. My husband who was not too much in favour of the idea was convinced she was unwell coz of too much exposure outdoors.  I tried halfheartedly to defend myself but with Ayana crying away I wasn't too sure if he wasn't correct.

After another half an hour of trying, at 10.30 pm we unanimously decided that there was something seriously wrong so we rushed to the hospital emergency department. The doctor assigned to us asked what exactly her symptoms were to which we replied “She’s crying.” There was an expectant silence as the doctor waited for us to continue. We looked at each other and shrugged. That was it. Her main symptom was that she was crying. To make us feel better he examined Ayana thoroughly.  No fever was found. My husband told him about the sun exposure but that theory was shot down. Her jaundice count wasn't high enough to warrant worry.

The doctor then gave us a look which essentially said “New Parents!!!” and told us in the kindest way possible that babies cry. Sometimes for no apparent reason. Oops! We could almost feel the entire emergency ward trying to hide smiles. To make matters worse Ayana chose that moment to stop crying and fall into deep sleep.

We gathered our dignity best we could and sheepishly trooped out of the hospital. Lesson learnt- babies cry. Sometimes, all the times, a lot of times. But that first hospital visit; in equal parts terrifying and embarrassing; will never be forgotten.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Ooh Aah OUCH!!

I approached my first night at the hospital after delivery with trepidation. I had heard so many stories about babies crying all night that I was petrified of what awaited me. Instead I had a virtually full night’s rest with the baby sleeping through almost the entire time. Surprise! Surprise! The same was true of the next and the next night. In fact my little angel lent credence to the phrase “sleeping like a baby” And then started the Week Three.

For those parents who have gone through it, the word Colic strikes terror in our hearts. That five letter word sums up a world of non stop crying, sleepless nights and undiluted helplessness at not being able to do anything. After seeing my baby transform into a shrieking being night after night I finally read up about this ailment. I was not happy to note that it seems to have a particular penchant for the number 3- it starts at 3 weeks, goes on till 3 months, its characterised by the baby crying for more than 3 hours a day, 3 days a week!! I suppose we should be thankful Colic didn't take to a higher number.

There were times when I would just look at my baby, her face all red and scrunched up, bawling with all her might and wonder “Who is this creature? Whatever happened to that sweet sleepy bundle I brought home from the hospital?” Well apparently Colic happened. Or as my mom says it’s just the law of Karma coming back to haunt me (I kept her awake so now it’s my turn)

There is nothing worse than watching your baby in distress without being able to help. Nothing seemed to ease her discomfort- from modern medicinal drops to age old remedies. Like clockwork she would start at 6pm and sometimes go on till 3am. I spent nights shuttling between home and my mom’s trying to give my husband and mom alternate nights of rest. My sleep would be the two hours shut eye in the mornings when she slept after her massage/bath. It came to a stage where I started dreading evenings the way a prisoner dreads the gallows. I saw my life as an endless series of nights filled with crying (sometimes I just joined her in wailing). So much so that the first time she slept at 11pm at 7 weeks of age, I was convinced she was sick! It turned out that one of the medicines finally seemed to have settled her tummy to a large extent.

But yes, I still view evenings with apprehension. Since the 3 month mark has not passed I am tensed and awaiting the Return of the Colic Attack (film title anyone?) Am I better prepared this time? Not really. Except that I now know that my baby is capable of sleeping perfectly. Hopefully I have exhausted the bad karma I accumulated by keeping mom awake.

Note: The two medicines which work wonders are Colicaid and Colimex. The former is milder so if your baby doesn't stop crying with it you might need to try the latter which most definitely settles the baby. Once you feel that colic is waning, shift the baby back to Colicaid before stopping the medication completely.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The 1st Step

It’s a journey which began with the news that I was pregnant.  While I was hoping for it, there was a frisson of apprehension which ran down my spine.  What next? What would I need to do now to ensure that the baby developed well? What to eat? What to avoid? How much to sleep? To exercise or not and how much? And thus began the saga of questions which is so much a part of becoming a parent.

Nothing really prepares you for the months to follow. The nervous anticipation of the first visit to the doctor. The poignancy of the first ultrasound. The dread of the endless blood test reports. And of course all the horror stories of childbirth and delivery. Somewhere down the line I realised that the more I read and talked to people the more apprehensive I got. Everyone had something different to say; little snippets of wisdom which became a gigantic mass of nerves within me. Should I opt for a C-sec or a natural birth? Would I be able to withstand the pain? Should I take an epidural? These are questions which plague every expectant mother and there’s no “correct” answer. My advice? Take it as it comes. No amount of mental or physical preparation will make your experience any different from what it’s meant to be so just go with the flow.

If someone asks me what’s the most important lesson I have learnt ever since I realised I was pregnant, I would say it’s not to judge anyone. We are all too quick to pass judgement on other people’s lives. Being an active person by nature, I was exercising, driving and working till the day I went into labour. Do I feel everyone should follow suit? No. This is one experience which is extremely individualistic in nature and thus different for everyone. Listen to your body and mind and take the call which suits you; not which you think is the right thing to do vis-a-vis people around you.

My baby’s two months old today and it’s been an exciting, though, tiring roller-coaster so far. It’s only now that I feel I can catch my breath and start putting down my thoughts and experiences. Like everything else in life, having a baby has its ups and downs. I have learnt to savour the ups and ride out the downs. The best mantra to chant whilst trying to calm a screaming baby is “this too shall pass!!”