Monday, May 26, 2008

Labor of Love

Home made Pizza's are my fav food. They taste better than PH, Domino's or any other MSG loaded pizzas. 9 months, close to my due date and gorging on pizzas with extra cheese. Little did I know that it would be the last time that I would be eating them, for a long time to come. I was so stuffed that when my contractions started late at night I thought it was a bit too many pizzas. And then my water broke. I used to always wonder what that would feel like. Wet! And I'm contemplating whether I should wake up my parents or hang on till I really start to feel the pain.

My due date had us all worried. My mum's chemotherapy was going on and it clashed with her last chemo date. Each cycle was given at 3 week intervals. And my due date was between the fifth and sixth cycle. We kept praying that it would be on the last week of the fifth, just before the sixth. In anticipation my bags were packed and ready to go, when I was 7 months preg, as my mum knew that neither she nor I would have the time or the energy and strength to pack at the last minute. Yes my mum is the planner in our home. And I was given strict instructions that i should wake my parents in case of any emergency. So finally at 2 pm I wake them up. Mum says to wait while dad calls my gyno, Dr. A. Now thankfully she visits all the hospitals, and so could deliver my baby at my chosen hospital close to home. We finally reach the hospital at 4 AM.

Resident doc checks me and after difficult probing decides that I am not ready yet. Great! She then speaks with my Dr.A who instructs them to watch me. So I'm all changed into the flimsy hospital gown and made to lie down in the room. Now this room is shared by 2 other ladies, one in labor and the other had some tube protruding form her, honestly being in no mood to make polite conversation, I try to sleep. Yea right! Its 6 and no sign of my doc, and I'm getting restless. I'm walking around holding my gown close trying to keep my dignity intact. And getting yelled at by my nurses, they want me back in my room. I refuse to go. So they decide to get me some juice or milk. Yuck! I hate milk and in no mood of having juice. My mum,dad, bro and some aunts and granny are outside the labor ward. No family is allowed inside. Only mum was allowed, the nurses realized my mum was unwell(she had a scarf on her head as she had lost all her hair thanks to the chemo). Convinced my mum to go home and get some rest and come back later. The resident doc puts me on drips. I revolt saying I want to walk as it helps during labor.But they are having none of it. So I'm on drips in the room and this other lady's contractions start increasing. Dr. A after checking me confidently says I will deliver by evening, as I'm still not dilated enough. She gets me off my drips, as they induce labor and instructs the nurses that I should walk. Walk Walk Walk was her matra when I was preg too. So I get to eat breakfast. Now this lady's contractions are fast and she is screaming her guts out. Its scary. And this is her second kid. Aiyo amma, Aiyo Tai screaming away too glory. SCARY!

I refuse to stay in the room. I'm sitting outside by the nurses station, increasing their anxiety as they have to be doubly careful of moving around me. They decide its better to prep me than have me hanging around there. And oh yea my contractions have also started. So with this lady's screams as the background score, I get prepped. And it didn't help that that window right across was open to full view. So what If the labor ward in on the fourth floor and overlooks a lovely garden. And then I'm wheeled back into the ward room. This lady is still screaming, the nurse is scolding her for making such a racket, this being her second kid. She is demanding a c-sec as she cannot handle the pain. Soon we are matching each other. She finishes her contraction and mine begins.. we are getting close. I'm screaming and yelling.. I literally tore apart my pillow. And I start bleeding. I have this pad stuffed in between my legs, yuck.. the pain is killing me. So the nurse attached the monitor to check the baby's heart beat. I forget what it is called. That belt is irritating, the other lady with her screaming is irritating, the male nurses are scared looking at me..which is driving me nuts.. and my doc is not reachable. Its 11 am and I am officially in Labor.

They finally get hold of my doc, who is on her way. It should take her approx. 15 min to get here. but its 30 min and still no sign of her. Of all the days to get stuck in a traffic jam. I am taken to the labor room. the other lady delivered thru a c-sec. The resident doc and nurses are worried as I have eaten, no epidural and no instructions from my doc on what should be administered. They did not want to interfere as I was a visiting doc's case. I finally tell them to go ahead with the delivery and I'm ready, I'm pushing during my contractions. Thank fully my doc arrives. I beg I plead with her to give me a pain killer, anything just to decrease this horrendous pain. But no luck. "how can you have a child without feeling the pain. only when you have pain will you push and only then your baby will be born. we are not doing an unnecessary c-sec. Im strapped in stirrups. My legs hurt. And with the aid of 2 nurses by my side, helping me hold my legs, I start pushing. My cousin describes it as the worst type of constipation. And with all the pushing my motion comes out,
thanks to the food I ate.

My best friend had the same doc, so I knew what was coming. I'm pushing and I see and feel the doc cut me up, use the forceps to take out my baby. Its a sudden baby is out and instant relief. I sit up to see my baby, all bloody eyes tightly shut on my belly. Its a vision I will never forget my entire life. I don't think she cried immediately. After the doc cut the cord and took her for cleaning did I hear her crying. I did'nt know if I had a boy or girl and no body was telling. Suddenly all the nurses vanished. My doc vanished. 2 other docs came in and went. The resident doc is stitching me up. My friends words are echoing in my head "the pain of labor is so intense that you don't even feel them stitch you up" Well I got to know from another cousin who is a doc that the they administer local anesthesia before cutting and hence you don't feel them stitching you up.

I don't know for how long I'm lying there. The male nurses come in looking very worried. I couldn't care less. I'm literally nude and bleeding all over. Modesty is the last thing on my mind. And then the nurses bring my child, all clean and dressed and wrapped in the clothes that were worn by me when I was born. yes my mum kept them. Another sight that I will never forget. I so badly wanted to hold her, but since I was not clean and didn't have the energy they put her in the incubator next to me. The male nurses come and congratulate me. And suddenly my baby goes missing. Turns out she is being shown off by my doc to my family waiting outside. I did not know who was there. I have a big big family. My dad's side. My husband and his parents and family did not think it was worth coming to. And at that moment I couldn't have cared less. All I wanted to do was to hold her take in her breath her sight feel her.

The nurse start to breastfeed, they are holding her and I'm trying to figure out what the heck is going on. They tell me the sooner you start the better. Anyways they put her back in the incubator and she is crying away. And here I am lying down. My attendant gives me coffee and biscuit's to eat as I have to take my medicines. I decide to get up and go see my baby, try to get up, fail, try again. She really gives me strength. I then decide that I want to be clean before I take her, so I walk into the room and my attendant comes running. She is giving me the hearing of my life,literally. Turns out if the docs or the nurses had seen me alone and up she would have lost her job, as she is supposed to be helping me around.

She gives me a bath and I'm ready to carry my daughter. But still not allowed till I eat and have my medicines. In the middles of this, my best friends mum is hugging me. And instead of thanking her, I'm looking at her strangely and wondering how did they let her come in. She just walked in saying that she is Dr.C's mum(my best friend) :D and turn out that she was giving a running commentary of my deliver to my friend over the phone. Since my daughter was crying so loudly they took her outside which immediately quietened her.

Dr A told my family that I had a normal delivery when in fact it was a forceps. Turns out that Forceps is the new Normal delivery. But it can go horribly wrong too, if the baby's head is held too tightly. I consider my self lucky. I was born a forceps, my bro forceps and my daughter too. Just before my doc received the call about me going into labor, she was about to enter the OT for a c-sec for another patient. And had that been the case, I don't even want to think about it. Yes I was lucky. And my baby in a hurry to get out. Doc predicted she would be born in the evening and here she is born at noon. The nurses to this day claim that it is thanks to this other lady I went into labor soon, as her cries induced my labor.

My daughter was born 5 days before my mum's last chemo date. My mum recovered faster and much sooner because of my kiddo. She got the strength to run around the hospital and home, taking care of my food and diet. My relatives were there, they also did the cooking and preparing the special foods, but my mum wanted to do everything and wouldn't listen to anybody. Her last chemo went like a breeze. She says she hardly felt it.

Today when my mum is not in town, my kiddo misses her so much, talks to her minimum 4 times a day. And of course her sleep is forgotten.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Living Guilt Free

A very dear friend sent me this article. And its just so apt for us women. We just don't appreciate ourselves enough.

This is written by Maria Rodale

Guilt Free Living

When I was a young (very) unwed mother, going to college, I left my daughter with a babysitter and wasn't sure if I should feel guilty about doing so. I was fortunate to have a social psychology professor (a mother herself) who told me, "Studies have shown that if the mother feels guilty about staying home or working, the child suffers from her guilt." The most important thing, she urged, is for the mother t feel good about her choice, whatever it is.

From then on, I rarely felt guilty and I never looked back. That doesn't mean I enjoyed being apart from my child or never felt bad about missing a special moment. But I finished college, made a place for myself in the working word, traveled well, and love (mostly) my life and my choices. And my daughter Maya, now 23, doesn't seem to have suffered. In fact, we just wrote a book together, "It's M Pleasure: A Revolutionary Plan to Free Yourself from Guilt and Create the Life You Want."

I've been shocked by how guilty most women seem to feel. If we stay at home, we worry that we're not doing more to contribute to the household income or the workforce. If we're working, then we're guilty about missing time with the children. To assuage the feeling, we devote all our free moments to trying to make it up to our partners and kids. And when we do take a break for ourselves, to read a book or go shopping or get a massage, we call it a "guilty pleasure."

Why is that? Maya and I wanted to know. We read, we researched, we talked to lots of women, and what we discovered was truly alarming. It appears that we women, unwittingly, are still suffering from thousands of years of conditioning that "keeps us in our place." Feminism freed us from our tangible bonds - we can vote, own property, and pursue any career we choose - but still, we are not fully free of our emotional and mental constraints. It's as if we have collective amnesia about our painful past but are still suffering the trauma.

The best way to heal a trauma is to remember. I've learned in therapy that the more we try to bury pain, he more it controls us. Even if we've forgotten things, they subconsciously drive our choices. Our goal, as emotionally healthy people, is to acknowledge and understand what's happened to us. Then we can move on and free ourselves from guilt we don't deserve.

My professor also said that the most important thing in a child's life is constant caregiving. I was lucky to find a babysitter, who, 23 years later, is still part of our family and now takes care of my seven-year-old daughter. I make sure to take very good care of our babyitter. Sometimes she takes care of me too. And I don't feel guilty - not one bit.


1. Remind yourself that women are a unique force in the world - and that includes you. So don't hang back.

2. Believe in the power of your love. Yes, it sounds corny, but love is a critical tool for saving the world. Raising children in a loving, nonjudgmental home is the best way you can work toward world peace, because most violence arises from the deep hurt and rage that are created by an absence of love.

3. Explore women's history. There are amazing, inspiring stories that we don't hear about in school. Seek and you shall surely find.

4. Free yourself from guilt and create the life you want. It's easier than you think! (30 tips below)

1. Go to your room - pleasure starts in the quiet of your own heart.
2. Use your fear as a guide - pleasure may seem scary at first, but it doesn't bite
3. Be curious - pleasure appears when you search for it
4. Discover what you like and don't like
5. Examine your religion: pleasure is embedded in the roots of all religions, but is threatened in the translation
6. Understand our long and illustrious tradition: pleasure is ancient
7. Enjoy your body: pleasure starts inside of you
8. Find your voice: speak up!
9. Make a list of all the things you've always wanted to do
10. Open yourself up to the universe
11. Eat alone in restaurants (and enjoy being served!)
12. Give yourself permission
13. Disarm your dragons - find your demons and face them head-on, one at a time
14. Stop playing the game - live life by your own rules
15. Learn to say no (yes, you can!)
16. ...but say yes to yourself
17. Don't be afraid to change your mind
18. Delegate and negotiate - stop being a tyrant or a martyr
19. Set goals, visualize success, and reward yourself
20. Expect satisfaction, and ask for it
21. Travel alone
22. Face the dark - eliminate hate and violence from your life
23. Be your own heroine - read an inspiring book or biography
24. Embrace your feminine side - think pink!
25. Create your own story - what if your life were a novel?
26. Love what you do (and do what you love)
27. Laugh a lot
28. Believe in the power of love
29. Live each age to the fullest - stop worrying about getting older
30. Believe in happy endings - and create your own!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Period Revolution!

The Pandora's Box is open.

I'm sure when thought room wrote her tale on periods she never expected this kind of a reaction. I don't like leaving mini posts as comments so did my own. And that was it. Till the mad momma hopped on to the band wagon. Literally! the stats shot up and so did the related posts.

While Clueless and Chandini are with us on the crazy traditions, Lavs has the totally opposite perspective. And Mamma of twins just itching to write had to pen her thoughts down too.

Here's Neha and Tamil Punkster views

Roop-The one person who never heard of such "crazy" customs and traditions.

And here's La Vida Loca's Menstrual Maladies

A great summation by Radical Ancient

note: will add more as and when I come across them.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Sunshine....meri parchhaain

You fill up my senses
Like a night in the forest

Like the mountains in springtime

Like a walk in the rain

Like a storm in the desert

Like a sleepy blue ocean

You fill up my senses

Come fill me again.

Sing Along with John Denver

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The 30Q Tag

Helped myself to this tag from IndianHomeMaker

Last Movie You Saw In A Theater:
Sunday on DVD, don't go to the theater. Ever since I got preg, the loud volume just irritates me to no end.

What Book Are You Reading:
None at the moment. Would love to get my hands on :The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Bannerjee and The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie

Favorite Board Game:
Scrabble. Pictionary. Haven't played it for ages, though have played Literati. Thank god for internet!

Favorite Magazine:
Readers Digest.

Favorite Smells:
the smell of wet earth, my kiddo, pickle when its being prepared. coffee brewing and cake baking in the oven

Favorite Sound:
birds chirping outside my window in the mornings, daughters laughter-her squealing in delight, wind chimes, and at times.. silence

Worst Feeling In The World:
Helplessness. The feeling that you’ve been cheated and you can do nothing about it.

What Is The First Thing You Think Of When You Wake?
what’s the time...where is my mobile?

Favorite Fast Food Place:
Pani puri chat at Kormangala(forget the name of the place)
Koshy's Omelette's and club sandwich
Corner House - Death By Chocolate
Indra Bhavan's - Pulliyogre, Bisse Bele Bath, Idli vada sambar and Masala Dosa.

Future Child’s Name:
Will get there when it comes..

Finish This Statement. “If I Had A Lot Of Money I’d…”
Buy a house, a car, travel around the world and still have some left over!

Do You Drive Fast?
Been there and done that!

Do You Sleep With A Stuffed Animal?
Nope!! Have my daughter by my side :))

Storms-Cool Or Scary?
Absolutely Cool! Love Storms.

What Was Your First Car?
My dad’s Ambi. Learnt to drive in an ambi (driving school. my dad was the ever strict and complaining teacher who believed "If you can drive an ambi you can drive any car")

Favorite Drink:
Fresh Lime Soda, Chilled Rooh Afzah without milk.
Vodka, Wine when I get the chance.

Finish This Statement, “If I Had The Time I Would …..”
Catch up on my Sleep!

Do You Eat The Stems On Broccoli?
Yes, though I don’t like it. Its healthy and children follow their parents, so if I want my kiddo to eat right I have to too!

If You Could Dye Your Hair Any Colour, What Would Be Your Choice?
Probably Burgundy! Don't like the extra maintenance that comes with colored hair, and so my hair is naturally black!

Name All The Different Cities/Towns You Have Lived In.
Mysore and Bangalore

Favorite Sports To Watch:
Figure/Ice Skating

One Nice Thing About The Person Who Sent This To You:
IndianHomeMaker: Love the way she writes. And am amazed and thrilled at discovering the same likes and dislikes through the tags :)

What’s Under Your Bed?
my daughters toys which she loves to play catch. She throws and I'm supposed to get them.

Would You Like To Be Born As Yourself Again?
Yes. with some minor changes.

Morning Person Or Night Owl?
Both I think. Love the stillness of the night, it has a separate identity of its own. like ways early mornings, watching the sun rise, its peaceful and calming.

Over Easy or Sunny Side Up?

Favorite Place To Relax:
My room.

Favorite Pie:
Chocolate Pie! Or anything with chocolate.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:

You pass this tag to –
Whoever feels like doing it. But do come back an let me know :)

Of All The People You Tagged This To, Who’s Most Likely To Respond First?
haven't tagged any, lets see if anybody does it :P

Have a Happy Period!

Does anybody ever have one? what with the pms, the hormones going crazy , the pain and all.. and to top it the crazy stupid Indian traditions and customs that start when you get your period for the first time and continue life long, unless of course you are blessed into a liberated family.

There is this crazy tradition in the south when a girl gets her period for the first time, matures into womanhood. Matures?? getting periods is maturing!!??? I thought maturity is a state of mind regardless of the age. Maybe something I missed here.

Getting back to the tradition, I'm not sure how many follow this, but in school quite a few of my friends had to undergo this crazy nonsense. there was major ritual, and a procession taken out on the streets, complete with band a wedding barat..and then a scrumptious meal for all the relatives. So basically what is a very private matter suddenly the whole town, your family and strangers included know. " Oh.. this girl can produce babies now!"

As if this humiliation wasn't enough for those 7 days every month, she has to endure worse. Treated like a leper, stealing in and out of the house only adds fuel to fire. The reason this was followed in the olden days was simply because, there was no such thing as sanitary pads, there was only cloth. And coupled with the pain, emotional heavels and not to mention the staining it made sense to be by your self. And plus you got the much needed rest from house work.

Following the same thing in the name of tradition and custom is sheer stupidity. We need to let go of certain customs like this as they do not make sense. This is the reason why women were kept secluded and not because its unpure and dirty.

When I got my period for the first time, it was the holidays and mum was so chilled out. Thank god no crazy customs and traditions. A head bath and I was done. Of course my maid servant would have non of it and was preparing to seclude me and what not. But my mum would have none of it and bit her head off. So I got to eat my lunch in peace and sleep in the afternoon, a luxury which was not allowed. I was thrilled. But not when I got to know about my friends and the humiliation they had to face. Their mothers had no choice either as the elders of the family demanded it and tradition was tradition. My mum had only one condition, do not enter the puja room for the first 3 days, and 4th day after a head bath. Yea I was also not allowed to exercise and told to rest a lot.

Looking at my friends all from the south suffered this humiliation, but my north Indian friends had the same experience as mine. I really don't know if such a custom exists as I never came across it.

You cherish a woman. It is the woman who is responsible of bringing a new life. Menses/Periods is just another cleansing of our bodies. If men also had menses, do you think they would be treated as impure as a leper that a woman is made to undergo? I think not.

We as women must stop this practice. Raise a voice against it. It has to start somewhere. The only reason women are still treated this way is because they take it lying down, accept that since this has been happening for ever it should and will continue to do so. I only wish that the coming generations do not follow and raise their voice against it.

With my daughter, she will have the liberty to walk into the puja room if she wishes to. I am not going to stop her. Having periods is not impurity, its natural cleansing of your body. And God made us this way. Be Proud cause this is what gives us the power to give birth. Calling it impure is calling the whole process of reproduction impure!

We as women should be real proud of ourselves, and not sell ourselves short, or demean ourselves and be demeaned in the name of religion. Only then would we have a happy period.
Its very matter of fact to me. Just a part of life and I think it is so because of my mum and the way she handled the whole thing at the onset. That makes such a huge difference.

Of course I use it to my advantage. Get that leave when you so desperately want it. Works best if your boss happens to be a man. No man worth his salt wants to talk to a woman about periods. They get so damn squeamish. Its hilarious. And a lot of women do use it to their advantage. In one of my brief stint at a BPO, the women used it all the time. And their Team Leaders could do nothing but grumble about it. This one instance really stands out. Attrition is very high, plus its the holiday season so most don't turn up to work. And we fall short of staff. So all of us log in to pitch in. Didn't matter if you are sick, if you are a TL you got too report to work. This one lady wanted a break, a loo break, kept asking for 15 min but the TL on the floor wouldn't give her one, till her turn came. so she did the next best thing. Paused in the middle of her call, stood up and announced that since she has her period, she would like to change her pad. So can she take a break after this call is over. Asked very sweetly,to the embarrassment of the TL, who never said no to another woman again.

edited to add: reading MM's post reminded me of this one incident which happened in school. Every year we would go on a 5-7 day excursion. Usually most girls esp the seniors would take tablets to postpone their periods as they did not want them during the trip. But for this one girl, the tablets failed to work. Now I studied in a co-ed school and boys were very much part of this trip. So there all these students were resting on the marble stone slabs in their white uniforms. When they get up to go these is this huge stain on her skirt and the stones are bloody. Embarrassed she begins to cry. This guy takes charge: sends one of the other guys with a few girls to get her pads and a change of clothes, gets the girls to form a circle around her and gets down to clean the place up. Not every man is squeamish.

Periods, pain when you get them and even bigger cause for worry if you don't get them!

Read what Thought Room has to say on the same here

Edited again to add: Just when I had thought that every woman hated these stupid traditions and will not allow it to continue with her daughter, this lady made me sit up. Here is the proof that an educated modern woman enjoys and find no wrong with the isolation.