Wednesday, January 24, 2007

the first month

in the months before you were born, i often wondered what you would look like. I knew that you loved to kick, and I knew that you hiccuped a lot - but the rest of you was a mystery.

i was worried when the doctor said that you had to come out by week 36 - i pleaded with her and got an extension to week 37. I was worried if you would be able to breathe if you came out too soon and would need to visit the NICU, i worried that you may not weigh enough.

finally we had a date, it was a wednesday. Armed with cameras I checked into the hospital. They started me on an IV, and hooked me on a monitor to check on your heartbeat.

soon an anesthisiologist came in and explained the procedure. there was nothing new, but i wanted to hear it over and over again - who would be in the operating room - what they would do etc. We still had not picked out your name - we had narrowed our choices down to 2 names - but thought that maybe a look at your face will help us with the pick.

the anesthesiologist joked that if we hadnt picked out the name in 3 days they would pick it out for me.

a needle was stuck down my back and i was numbed from the waist down. Suddenly it was all a flurry and the room was filled with all kinds of people. I asked your dad if they had started working on me and he said that they had a long time ago. I didnt feel a thing but I was waiting behind this big blue screen for you to come out. After some time of this the doctors told me to expect a lot of pushing, you were about to be born.

your dad, who is squeamish about blood and not much of a medico-fan, suddenly decided that he wanted to see you being born. (It happens only once in a lifetime and I am not going to miss it, he says) Thanks to that, I got to see it too. (on video).

suddenly there was a cry in the room, I was so happy to hear the cry that I closed my eyes and the tears rolled down. Your dad was hugging me and squeezing my arm and then I had to tell him to go, leave me and be with you.

I had a terrible itch on my nose and I focussed on that and hearing what was going on in the room. I heard your dad's voice exclaiming as he looked you over. Within a few minutes you were all wrapped up and brought to me. The first thing I remember thinking was that you were so pink. Were babies supposed to be pink - I didnt know? Your cheeks and eyes were puffed up - whatever little I could see of it. You weighed 7 pounds and 8 oz. And there I was lying on the table and the nurse handed you to me and I had to hold you. I was scared that I would drop you (since i was numb from the waist down and my arms were hooked to all kinds of monitors) , but nobody else was worried. You blinked and looked at me - your eyes were open. I touched your cheeks - whatever little of your face that I could see. Then the nurse asked if we would like to give you a kiss - which i did - and then a picture of all of us together - which we did. soon after this they had to take you into the nursery and warm you up while I got stiched up. The rest of the time passed in a blur. I was wheeled out to the recovery room and as soon as I got there the nurse brought you to me. I tried to feed you then but mostly I just looked at you.

Even though I had been imagining you for the last 9 months, it still felt very unreal. My heart was filled with joy. They let me hold you as they wheeled me to the maternity ward and I felt so proud. You were perfect.

As the sensations came back to my feet, I was anxious to hold you. Until then, you were enjoyed by your dad and your grandparents. I heard them on the phone talking to your other grandparents, your greatgrandmother, your aunts and uncles. Finally they took you in for a bath. You didnt cry much that first day.

I got off the bed and started walking around pretty soon. Everytime a nurse came they tried to get you to latch - and thus began the earnest attempts at feeding you. You were hungry and you sucked really hard, but you were so tiny and I was not sure if we were doing things right.

After the first night, you cried a lot. Every time the nurses would come into the room and swaddle you and a few minutes later you would be out of it. They nicknamed you the houdini. soon they took to double swaddling you. But often times even that would not be enough. You wiggled and wiggled and got out of every swaddle.

The first week after you came home was chaos. You didnt know the difference between night and day. Your dad and I were up all night rocking you, putting you to sleep and feeding you. we went to the doctor and she said that you had not yet gained your birth weight. This was worrisome. So we started feeding you with the bottle. (first some pumped milk and then some formula). You would lunge at the bottle and try to suck all the milk. At first it felt like things would never get better but eventually it did. You started gaining more weight and I could stop supplementing you with formula.

You started doing cute things like smiling in your sleep. I knew that you had had a good feed if you smiled right when you were popping off to sleep. You had so many expressions on your face that I could hardly believe it. I wondered what you were dreaming about, why the smiles the frowns and sometimes even the tears. Even the sounds you made were interesting, you hiccuped of course just like you had done in the womb. But occasionally you would let out a loud chuckle right after a feed.

Your dad and you slept together and it was hard to tell who was noisier (him or you). But right from that first day you did open your eyes a lot. You were so tiny and so helpless and we were all hopelessly in love with you.

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