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Thursday, December 8, 2016

5 years ago...

A sudden lightness in the lower part of my abdomen woke me in the wee hours of a bright Monday morning a good 5 years ago. I tried to turn to my side, but that was not to be. With some superhuman effort, I heaved my rather heavy frame from the bed and managed to sit upright. There was water everywhere. I rushed to the loo only to discover that my nighty was completely wet. How did that happen? I was unaware of the copious amount of water leaving me. Was it incontinence? In no time, the entire household was awake; my mom reassuring me that it’s all fine, my sister, running helter-skelter, getting me water and some food, putting some stuff into a hospital bag, and R driving at supersonic speed with athai (MIL) to reach home to me. All of us tumbled into our car, and that’s when it began. The first time it happened, I brushed it as some random twitching of some muscle. The second time it happened, the words that came to mind were, “gnawing pain.” In no time, I was fine.

R brought the car to a halt at the hospital from where the hospital staff took over. After some preliminary investigations, the doctor declared that I would hold my baby in my hands today, definitely. But I may have to wait since it was only the early stage of labor and the baby may finally decide to come out only after at least 10-12 hours of labor. What do I do until that time? Can I get a book or something? I swear I was quite serious when I said that. The nurses fixed me an incredulous stare that broke into a reluctant smile and went on with their early morning hospital duties. I decided to twiddle thumbs, literally. 

Then, it happened; rather, it started to happen. The twiddling stopped for one shocking second. It was all normal the next second. I balanced myself on one arm and tried to look around if someone had actually smacked me or something. I fell back on the bed and put my arms behind my neck and tried to think of some nice-smelling biriyani, accompanied by some yum raitha. The next time it happened, I had screamed without even realizing it. I was in trouble. Labor was no joke. The pain that had come and gone like a little cramp on a particularly crabby chum time was now a full blown, gnawing, poking, wave of pain that began nowhere in particular and ended everywhere in general.

And, he came
There were moments when I thought I was having a heart attack or something. Then came the kicks, reminding me of where I was and for what. I could only manage a weak smile in reponse. In no time, I was screaming and raging at the nurses telling them I was in active labor and imploring them to give me an epidural to ease the pain. They couldn’t be bothered. For it was not even two hours since I was admitted, and I was no doctor to advise them. The junior doctor inserted her fingers in and declared it was only a cm of dilation, and that was too little for an epidural and went her way. I had no option but to twiddle my thumbs, only that the twiddling now became more purposeful and was punctuated with balling of the fists.

The contractions were getting intense and came more often. I decided to grit my teeth and calculate the frequency. It was happening once every 5 minutes. All the pregnancy literature I had gorged on until then had clearly said that 5-minute contractions meant the delivery is quite close. I was now screaming my guts out, much to the doctor’s irritation. She got ready to tell me to stop my unnecessary screaming and go back to my twiddling. Instead, she checked me and declared that I was in active labor and had gone well past the epidural stage. WHAT THE HELL!

Me holding him for this first time
She said it in a matter-of-factly way and moved on. Then came many more waves of contractions and pain, and finally one gut-wrenching scream followed by the cry of a new born. The doctors deftly pulled him out as my tummy deflated in one swift movement, as they threw him on my solar plexus. The moment I saw him, all my screaming screeched to a halt at the throat. My eyes took over; they followed the little fellow everywhere. Someone checked his vitals, they weighed him to be 3.082 kg, and finally they brought his face close to mine. His little eyes finally met mine; he had by then stopped crying and had begun to scan the surroundings, and I’d like to think his eyes lingered on mine a little longer. “So, you are Kavin? Welcome darling,” I mouthed and smiled. Somebody freeze-frame this moment for me I thought to myself and let sleep and other recovery mechanisms of the body take over. The rest of the events are recorded in mind in a faint dreamy hue. Ma coming and giving a beautiful hug, and declaring that the infant resembled R to the tee; R wheeling me to the bed; MIL and sis happily chatting away; and me finally falling off into a deep, dreamless slumber. My life had changed forever; I had taken the one-way bridge to motherland.
The infant who could fit snugly in the crook of my arm just 5 years ago, now demands much more than my arm. He insists on his own bed, his pillow, his books, and even his own room. And, yes, it's no wonder he planned his own birthday party a few days ago, invited his friends, and brought the roof down. 

Each December, I make this travel in my mind and re-live this little story of how Kavin entered our lives. And, I must say it rejuvenates me and gets me started for a beautiful new year. 


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