How I Prepared to Leave My Breastfed Baby for a Work Trip


In my previous emotional post I wrote about my anxiety and fears as a new mom, who was leaving behind her 5 month baby for a work trip for the very first time. It was an emotionally challenging experience and physical one too, as I am exclusively breastfeeding Vir. I couldn’t have left my house without a plan for my family and support of my husband.  As new parents we want to make sure we are doing everything right and at the same time hoping that things go smoothly.

Every mom has to leave the nest sooner or later and to get through this difficult time, I am sharing the list of things I did before getting on the plane:

  1. Introduce care giver ahead of time: I am working from home and of course to be most productive I need to be able to focus without distractions. After my family left, we got a nanny to manage Vir during my work hours. This worked well for us, as by the time I left for work to another city, Vir and my nanny had gotten used to each other. It is hard to trust someone else with your baby other than family, but having a good caregiver can be very comforting.
  2. Enlist a Trusted Relative or Friend: Thankfully my husband could take an off on one of the days in my absence at home and manage Vir. However, I am thankful to have a close set of friends whom I can trust Vir with. It is ideal to have someone living close to your home, just in case.
  3. Maintain sufficient supply of milk in the freezer: Vir is being exclusively breast fed and my biggest worry was running out of the frozen milk. I was short of 7-8 bags as per my calculation and so I made a plan to start pumping after every feeding to increase supply in 1 breast. I pumped only one side, so that I don’t run out of milk on the other. This worked perfectly and I was able to store milk and also give Vir his full feed. Also, I was eating more food that helped in lactation and drinking lots of water.
  4. Leaving behind Mom’s scent: I wore my husband’s T-shirt to bed for 3 days before I left, so that my scent could be transferred to it. In my absence Deep wore the same T shirt to soothe Vir and put him to sleep every night.This strategy also worked for us very well while we were crib training Vir and making him sleep in his nursery. I would leave my t-shirt on the side of his crib, so that he felt that I was around. Note: this might work for younger babies only.
  5. Setting up security cameras or a nanny cam: We bought a security camera for the house through which I could see Vir when I wanted. I could monitor the daily activities live on my cell phone from anywhere. Not only did it give me a sense of relief but I also felt involved. These days baby monitors and security cameras have great features. Ours has a mic function through which I could talk to Deep if he needed something and also see the entire day’s recording. (We have the new Logitech Circle camera)
  6. Make a List of Things related to the baby: A list with all information that is essential for the baby like feeding and nap routines, allergies , medication, place for baby gear and supplies, important phone numbers ,etc etc. This can be very handy for the care giver or your husband. I had emailed it and also printed it and left it on the refrigerator.
  7. Packing your Pumping bag: Even though you might have a temporary break from the baby but that doesn’t mean you get a break from breastfeeding. Our body continues to prepare the milk and that means you can’t forget to carry the breast pump, nursing pads, bottles and the freezing pack. I was pumping daily in the morning and at night, at the restaurants and at the airports. I can do an entire blog post on it, and honestly I hadn’t realized it would be such a complicated affair until this trip. I was able to bring back only 2 bottles of milk from the trip as I had to dump the rest. (TIP: If you don’t have an ice pack, take zip lock bags and put the bottles in it with ice to keep the milk chilled. Also if you have a milk bank close enough to where you are and if time allows you can donate it there. Sadly I couldn’t. Try to carry a manual breast pump too if you want to pump anywhere and not be stuck to a plug.)

I hope these tips come in handy if and when you plan to travel without your baby. There are a lot of things about Motherhood I am still discovering and I hope to share my experiences with all my readers.

Planning ahead of time is key to our sanity!

You can also check my post Tips on Travelling with the baby. (Our short trip to New York)

 

 

 

 

When I had to leave my 5 month baby for a Business trip. 

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The Snuggle is Real 

My head was hurting, my heart was racing. I felt I couldn’t breathe and all of this was happening exactly at the same time while I was waving goodbye to Vir from the window of my cab. Leaving the baby for the first time is not easy and even though I spent a ridiculous amount of time snuggling him and kissing him beforehand, the moment of panic at the door was not going away. I still can’t tell whether at that moment I was feeling guilty of leaving him for 2 days or if I was terrified of the thought of how will he survive without me. It was one of the weirdest moments of my life and is very hard to describe in words. It felt like I was carrying an extra bag that day – A bag of Guilt.

Inside this extra baggage was the guilt of leaving Vir at home while I traveled, guilt of not rocking him to sleep those 2 nights, guilt of leaving my husband on his own to manage an infant and taking leave from work. From the moment I sat in the cab till I reached the airport, I was stuck to my phone the entire 40 minute drive, watching Vir play with his Nanny while I kept taking heavy breaths with moist eyes.

Honestly I am so blessed to be a full time work from home mom. I can see my child whenever I want, have the flexibility to manage my work and calls, apart from adding income to the household and doing what I love most. Having a house with an office space I am able to get so much done effectively on a daily basis. And with the help of my nanny I don’t have to worry about Vir either. It’s the best scenario I could have asked for. However being a Sr. Account Manager and handling a huge pool of clients across the country, travel in my job role is inevitable. Honestly, I have always looked forward to my work trips as I not only get to reconnect with my colleagues but also get a break from my routine.

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Likely, most of you are not gasping in horror at the thought of leaving a 5 month baby with his daddy, while mom goes on a business trip. Business travel is fact of life for few moms far sooner than 5 months and many 5 month old babies are not exclusively breast fed. But this is a very big deal for me, as I never left Vir for more than few hours a handful of times until this unexpected work related travel. The very thought of getting on an airplane without Vir had been giving me heart palpitations. I was having anxiety of what might happen when I would be away. Will he be all right , will Deep be able to manage the baby, what if Vir doesn’t take the bottle , what if I miss my return flight, what if things falls apart…..I was losing my sleep. The angst of leaving a kid behind is natural and biological; it is out of concern for our children or even out of the fear of leaving our comfort zone as a new mom. The fact that we control our household makes leaving the responsibility on someone else more difficult.

But having a supportive and understanding husband and a loving and hands on dad can make a mom’s life more manageable. I am so blessed to have a husband like Deep. He is a great dad and I knew in case of any urgency I can count on him to manage Vir. This trip was a huge learning experience for me and Deep on dealing with our fears and anxiety as first time parents. While Deep is now more confident in handling Vir, I am more comfortable in leaving the responsibility on daddy at unplanned situations.

But then there are other situations out of our control, like my nanny was not able to make it the next day while I was out and the ordeal on the date I was flying back….

After a very productive meeting, I was looking forward to getting home from LA and snuggle with my baby. To avoid the crazy LA traffic I reached the airport early only to learn that my flight was delayed by an hour. I immediately rushed to the airlines counter to see if I could reschedule my flight to an earlier time, and I was lucky to get one. But, that luck was short-lived; I was put in another frustrating situation where my rescheduled flight was delayed by 4 hours due to maintenance!! Wow !! That is exactly what I needed on my first trip away from Vir. (Screaming in my brain) It almost felt like my nightmare was coming true. But honestly, there was no point getting mad at that time…  Rather, I actually felt blessed, as the flight I was supposed to initially take got cancelled!

After speaking to Deep and knowing that all was good at home, I finally found the time to get something to eat and make most of the delay with a pumping session.  (If you follow me on instagram , you must have been pretty amused with the instastories I made that day.)I pumped at the ladies room standing for an hour splitting the pumping session on each side while watching Vir and Deep play on the camera, as the nursing room at the airport was occupied. While pumping I was able to speak with Deep through the house camera mic function, it gave me so much relief and I almost felt I was with them. Apart from that, I was glad to take the express milk home, unlike the last few pumping sessions where I had to pump and dump. (I hate throwing away breast milk, it makes me feel terrible)

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After an exhausting 10 hour wait time from LA to Houston between flight delays, traffic and flying time, I was finally home at 11 pm holding Vir tightly in my arms, with a heart full of joy and a needy dog liking my face and asking for equal attention.

Even though we might be connected with rapid transit and wireless technology, the emotional distance while traveling is challenging. I wish I could handle everything at once, but motherhood has taught me the unfortunate rule of being a human: I can’t. We have to make hard choices and cope up with the real world. And as a working mom I have to act like one and deal with my lifestyle changes while coming up with strategies that work for my family.

Yes ! The Struggle is Real !!

…In  my next post I will be sharing with you how I prepared to leave my baby overnight for work  and what I discovered about being a mom when I was off the clock.

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Missing Home This Diwali !

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Hi Everyone!! Hope you are welcoming Autumn with high spirits as this is the season of festivals and celebrations. Festivals are a huge part of anyone’s culture and ‘Diwali’ – The Festival of Lights,  is one of the most significant festivals celebrated by me and my family.

This year we are celebrating Diwali on October 30th and although it is almost 2 weeks away, I just don’t feel the same excitement and fanfare around me as it was back home in India…..

The bright decorations at the mall, the shiny packaging on the sweets,

 the aroma in the meals, the sparkle on the clothes,

the buzz at home, the lamps on the floor, the gifts galore,

the shiny lights on the street, the new Bollywood beat,

the hymn of the prayer, the agarbatti smell in the air,

the colorful rangoli, the diya  and roli on the pooja thali ,

the ladoos and  the burfi , the win in teen pati,

I miss it all …..I feel the absence of my family.

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Image: Pinterest

Of course it is hard to find the same cultural experience here in United States and I know it is silly of me to even expect it. But hey! At least I can long for it. The other day I was in Michael’s to get some supplies for Vir’s Halloween costume which I intend to DIY, and as I stepped into the store, the buzz and hullabaloo reminded me of the scene at the firecracker store in my hometown in Rajasthan, where we would go when we were kids. How we loved going through all the different colored sparkles, amused ourselves looking at the creative names on the new rocket and chakri boxes and searched for that new cracker which our neighbor wouldn’t have, while making sure all of them were within our budget.

As a kid, Diwali for me was about new clothes, firecrackers, chocolate covered dry fruits, decorating the balcony with lights, meeting my cousins and enjoying the break from school. Chores like cleaning the house, shopping for gifts, selecting that dress, seeking for more pocket money were the little things we looked forward to every year as Diwali got closer. As I got back from Michael’s the first thing I did was to create a Diwali wreath with the help of my cousin sister and my dear husband. I just wanted to get a whiff of that the Diwali spirit which has been lost in modern times.

Today, I am so thankful for all the cultural traditions that I grew up with. With every passing year, I have learnt to appreciate the meaning of each of these traditions even more. They constantly remind me of who I am and where I come from. These festivities also make me reflect on the literal importance of the holiness of each occasion. Staying away from home has made me preserve these traditions even more…..my culture, religion and language are the essence of my Indian Heritage and as a new mom I feel it is my responsibility to introduce my child to them and maintain their essence in our lives.

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Image: Rang Decor

Even though I have been visiting India every year since I moved to Houston 6 years back, I sometimes get nostalgic. Especially during the festival season! On our trips to India, we would travel between 3 states to visit our homes and squeeze in as much as we could within the 2 to 3 week vacation. Lately, these trips have been planned around marriages in the family. A perfect opportunity to meet all our cousins and family members at the same place and the same time, dancing off to latest Honey Singh’s songs, while wearing  elegant desi outfits and enjoying the incredible food.

However, right now, at this moment , I wish I was home preparing besan ke ladoos with my mom , making  rangoli with my brother, choosing the color for this year’s salwar suit, packing the gifts for my friends and practicing my skills for teen pati. And even though there is time to book my tickets and head off to India, there are work and life commitments that I cannot get out of. Celebrating Diwali at home will have to wait again.

Yet!! I believe, it’s more the reason for me to celebrate my ‘Gharwali Diwali’ with similar emotion and joy at my home in Houston, because this Diwali is SPECIAL !! We were blessed with our son ‘Vir’, our bundle of joy this May !!  And even though it will be difficult to recreate the same sentiment, I aspire towards sparkling my home with happiness, decorating it with shades of love , preparing the food with more joy and stand in the light with my husband and son beside !! My hope is not to lose my texture as an Indian in a foreign land with time, but to celebrate its elements and authenticity as much as I can.

A Happy Diwali to you and your loved ones!! May the divine light of Diwali spread peace , prosperity , pleasure and good health into your lives.

Do share with us on how  you are planning to celebrate Diwali and what is missing this time.

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Happy Diwali !! Acrylic Rangoli perfect for wooden flooring.

 

Tips for Traveling with a baby. (Our short trip to New York)

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Vir enjoying the breeze and views on the boat tour to Statue of Liberty! Highly recommend it

We just returned from our trip to New York City and I couldn’t wait to share some pictures with you! Mostly though, I wanted to share our experience of traveling for the first time with the baby. Travel is definitely not the same anymore, yet we discovered that even New York City is a friendlier place when you have a baby with you.

It had been almost 8 months since I visited my colleagues and friends on the East Coast, as I was busy preparing for the arrival of baby Vir. This gave me an opportunity to plan a work trip cum mini-vacation to New York City.  The last time I was in a flight, I was 5 months pregnant, flying to India for my brother’s wedding all excited and thrilled. Even though I was excited to meet my friends and colleagues, I was nervous as I was going to be travelling with a 3 month baby. Images from my past flight experiences with crying and howling babies in the plane flashed in front of me, reminding me how much I dreaded sitting next to a crying baby. I know first hand that the city can be intimidating to come with a baby as everything is spread out, you have to walk a lot and you aren’t sure what is baby friendly. It was nerve-racking thinking about issues like, baby fussiness on the plane, judging stares from strangers, changing diapers at a germy roadside bathroom or moving around in NYC with a stroller. Now there is no denying that a vacation with a baby is tougher than a vacation with just grownups, but in our case, the mini vacay turned out to be quite a pleasant experience.

I did a lot of research online, consulted many mom friends for travel advice and got a ‘go ahead’ from the pediatrician before I made the travel plans. The main bases one needs to cover are Eating , Sleeping and Getting Around. A well fed, rested and comfortable baby is usually less fussy or a happy one. “Babies can be surprisingly good travelers,” says Shelly Rivoli, author of Travels with Baby: The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers and Preschool-Age Children. “The major advantage is that they’re not very mobile yet.”

My first advice is  Don’t over pack : I allowed myself plenty of time to pack the diaper bag. I thought through every possible scenario and packed all that stuff that I needed. In fact I shared my diaper bag pic on my instagram to get more input from all my mom followers. (You can also catch my daily updates there ) With an infant I think you need more stuff, yet I tried to leave as much behind as I could. I made sure I had minimum 3 days supply of clothing so that there was enough time to do laundry if needed. We didn’t over-pack diapers and wipes as it is easily available everywhere. But I made sure to carry at least 6 diapers in my diaper bag, allotting one per hour for travel time. I carried 4 pieces of Vir’s favorite Pacifier as they always tend to disappear and I was sure I would lose them, which I course I did! (I was too late in buying pacifier clips, highly recommend buying them) A solid supply of wipes and cleaning cloths are a must, as you never know of diaper blow out and spit ups, plus I used wipes to clean every surface close to the baby in NYC. TipI also made a small travel pouch with Vir’s bath and medicine supplies that I will need on all my trips, it is good to have it ready.  In big baby gear items we carried the boppy pillow, car seat, a caddy stroller and the baby carrier. You can also rent these items (babysaway.com, rentittoday.com) but since it was my first time, I didn’t want to take any chances.

 

Hungry Baby is Grumpy Baby: As I am exclusively breast feeding, I made sure to carry my nursing scarf, an extra supply of pumped frozen milk packs ,my Madela breast pump, storage bottles and a cold pack to carry the frozen milk. I nursed Vir during takeoff and landing to avoid the ear pain due to cabin pressure change in the flight. Babies have narrower Eustachian tubes, and changes in cabin pressure during take-off and landing can cause ear pain for them. Swallowing helps relieve the pressure, and that can come in the form of nursing, a bottle, or a pacifier. While travelling around the city I always made sure Vir was fed before we left the hotel. I also carried some pumped milk and my nursing scarf every time, as you never know when duty calls.

 

Nap Time is essential for your Sanity : We booked the flight around Vir’s naptime and it totally worked, as he was cheerful in the morning flight and slept easily on the return night flight. I highly recommend carrying a pillow, as it makes it so much easier to feed, carry and lay the baby in your lap. Maintaining Vir’s nap times and sleeping routines daily was important to have a happy baby join us for our day trips. We made sure Vir was well rested before we left the hotel. And to avoid any fussiness we took short breaks every 2 hours to sit, feed and put him back to sleep. Of course we knew that there will be several breaks for changing diapers, stretching and wiggling so we planned our trips accordingly. Tip -I had made a list of stores and places convenient for feeding and diaper changing in the city.

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He was great during the flights !

Getting Around : The best bet to travel with a baby is in a car. However I wanted to gain the City mom experience and traveled in trains, cabs and even a boat with Vir. One of my biggest concerns was maneuvering the stroller around the crowded tourist spots, stores and restaurants. Thankfully we carried our small caddy stroller, as it was perfect for squeezing through the tight lanes of the shopping stores and light enough to carry. Baby wearing also worked out perfectly for us. I love wearing Vir in our babybjorn and it was extremely convenient during our day and night trips. We wore him mostly at crowded places like Times Square, Rockefeller center, Madison Avenue etc. Tip -I practiced wearing Vir much prior to our trip, to get him used to the feeling and to see if he would be comfortable in the carrier. At the same time I wanted to train my back with the carrier. So far, Vir loves being worn and it has definitely been fun carrying him around. Honestly, with some practice and a comfortable baby carrier it can feel like a breeze.

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I walked almost 3 hours around the city wearing Vir !

Adjusting our Mind set : I was mentally prepared that most of the things won’t go as planned. There will be delays and it might take twice as long for activities that would have been way faster without a baby. Planning ahead of time and adjusting and readjusting your day trips will be the key to a stress free trip. Also flexibility is key to a fun and relaxed trip. Make sure to follow your baby’s cues on your day out.

This was a memorable trip as it was Vir’s first time travelling in a plane, train, boat and cabs. I never wanted to give the excuse that I couldn’t travel because of the baby. I believed that it was a silly excuse and didn’t ever want my baby to hold us back from life experiences; I want him to experience them with us. Looking forward to our adventures with our little one.

Remember, Happy Baby =Happy Parents.

For more travel advice on travelling in a flight with a baby you can refer to Mommypoints.Boardingare.com they have some great tips and links for reference.

You can also check out mommyppopins.com for Things to do in NYC with an infant.

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So glad to have Mom on this trip with us !

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Date night at a Rooftop Bar overlooking the Empire State Building!

 

 

 

An Expectant Dad Chronicles

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Arushi is 4 weeks pregnant! At our friends wedding in Houston

Let me begin with saying that it was not just my wife who was expecting. The two of us were working on this life project together. I didn’t know how to handle every hormonal situation, but just being there, listening, talking, comforting, caring and loving her; made me feel more involved, we were a Team!

We had been trying for just a couple of weeks. So when Arushi told me that she was pregnant, my response was “you’re kidding me! Already!” rather than an emotional and more appropriate “Oh my God, we’re having a baby!”.

Even though it was a planned pregnancy, that doesn’t mean that I was prepared for fatherhood! I thought I’d have more time… I’d do my research, read books on parenting, and seek the wisdom of the more experienced. Now the clock had started ticking.

Arushi had her list of things she needed to do and I had mine…I sifted through Amazon looking for the best books for pregnancy and gain knowledge, after all my reading material had a new theme. ‘Origins’ by Annie Murphy Paul, ‘Brain Rules for Baby’ by John Medina and ‘Be Prepared- a Practical Handbook for New Dads’ were the 3 books that I read to get prepared for what was coming. The app Ovia was another indispensable tool that kept me informed on the progress of pregnancy and provided me with a window into what was going on with my wife- mentally & physically. (The app’s weekly updates would have this fascinating comparison of the size of the growing baby with a fruit or vegetable). We both shared so much in this phase – Good food choices, healthy habits, baby’s weekly development etc. Honestly, this gave me a sense of being part of the pregnancy.

First few weeks flew by fast, informing family & close friends. Then came the morning sickness. No one warns you about the morning sickness! Don’t fall for the innocuous sounding name. It gives you a false impression of something like a mild nausea in the morning. It lasts all day long, everyday for a month and can be quite extreme. Needless to say, Arushi wasn’t in a good mood during this phase. And I learned very quickly, never argue with a hungry pregnant woman.

The morning sickness eventually subsided. We had barely let out a sigh of relief when Arushi started experiencing Sciatica pain. I received daily critical feedback regarding my back massage skills for that period. Bought new massager, tried yoga, off-the-shelf pain medication. Only thing that ended up being somewhat effective was professional massage. The pain thankfully went away after about 3 weeks. So, advice for husbands- if you are not good at massage, surprise her by taking a massage class. She’ll appreciate it a lot. I also got to practice my photography skills as Arushi wanted to document her bump. Easiest way to earn some brownie points!

It’s a baby boy! We found out in the 8th week itself. It was a surprise for me to know the gender so early in the pregnancy (through non-invasive prenatal test). The news all of a sudden made me realize the huge responsibility that I was about to take on. Now, apart from being a good father, I needed to be a role model for a tiny man. Just like my father had been for me.

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My Favorite from the maternity photo shoot.

Second trimester went much smoothly. It was also an exciting time as we got to see the baby for the first time during the ultrasound. Trust me, it was quiet something to be able to see a fetus grow and move inside the tummy. It was a transcendental moment. We had read how important it is for overall health of the baby that the mom stays active. That inevitably meant that I had to stay active. I would typically work out a couple of days a week. But now, Arushi was dragging me to the gym or the park, everyday. At first I complained a bit, but then I figured, if I wanted to run around with my kids 10 years from now, I could use the exercise.

The third trimester was when the baby weight gain accelerated. And with that, Arushi’s attempts to stay within the healthy weight-gain spectrum also intensified. I tried to comfort her anxiety about weight by pointing out articles mentioning that every woman has a different weight gain curve, and just because she had gained weight rapidly during past few months didn’t mean that she’ll continue to gain weight at the same pace.

Our weekly activities and projects started as the final weeks started getting close. We started buying stuff for the baby. My DIY nursery project of putting together the crib, nursing chair, dresser and decorating the nursery was in full swing. We had our maternity photo shoot. Our friends threw us an amazing baby shower and we ended up with more baby stuff than we could’ve asked for. We also did the hospital tour. Being familiar with the inside of the hospital, definitely made us feel more comfortable when we eventually went there for delivery. We read more stuff on the internet and flipped through a couple of handed down parenting books. We also watched a few videos online, as we agreed on not doing Lamaze classes or any other parenting classes.

Our hospital was 10 miles from our home. I was antsy about what we would do if it baby decides to come during rush hour traffic. And of course, that is exactly what happened. I got the call at work from Arushi at 4:00 pm saying that she thought she was having contractions. It took me 35 minutes to get home and then it took us another 50 minutes to get to the hospital! Arushi was surprisingly calm and asked me to relax and kept saying she was fine throughout the drive.

An experienced friend of mine had given me a simple piece of advice -” trust your doctors & just follow their instructions.” And that is exactly what we did. After around 6 hours in labor Arushi finally got the epidural. The nurse informed us that based on her progress, the baby would come sometime in the morning. “Cool! I can amuse myself by reading my baby’s horoscope.” As I looked up for the date online, it occurred to me. Tomorrow is Friday the 13th! “Oh crap! We are going to have a Friday the 13th baby! Can’t we do something to get him out in the next one hour?” Of course the nurse said no. But, for those of us not suffering from triskaidekaphobia, you’ve got to agree- it’s a pretty cool day to be born on! For the rest of you… stop being silly.

“It’s time to push, Deep!” Arushi said excitedly while waking me up at 4:30 am. The nurse started to get the things ready for the delivery and within 5 minutes, Arushi was pushing, with me on her side holding her hand. I was truly amazed at how brave she was at that moment, shivering and pushing and focusing, all at the same time. She pushed for an hour but as she was running a fever and the baby’s heart rate was climbing, the doctor made the call to do a C-Section. We knew ahead that this could be a possibility. We were now faced with a situation that we had hoped wouldn’t arise. Again, I just followed the simple advice and put my trust in the doctors & nurses. After all, we were at one the best women’s health hospitals in the nation.

Arushi was wheeled away to the surgery room while I was dressed up in scrubs and asked to join later. In what felt like an eternity, a nurse came to get me. This was the first time I’d ever been in a surgery room. It was very busy, with everyone very focused. That’s one thing that the movies definitely get right. Arushi was on the operating table, wide awake and there was an opaque blue curtain across her waist blocking the view below. Boy was I glad for that curtain! I had been quite calm through the entire labor. But I don’t think I could have handled seeing her being operated on or seeing her in any kind of pain there.

About 10 minutes later, at 7:05 am on Friday the 13th, I heard the cries of my baby. I instinctively knew that he was going to be alright, even though the doctors had informed us that he would need to be taken immediately to the NICU for monitoring. No baby bawling with a lung strength like that had could possibly have anything wrong with him (he still likes to give us displays of that lung strength every now and then). He was quickly wrapped up and the nurse handed Arushi the baby. It is a beautiful sight to behold. A mother’s first expression as she holds her baby for the very first time. Soon, the baby & I were immediately escorted to the NICU while Arushi was being stitched back. By the time I could gather my feelings and realize what was going on, this little 7 pound human, our son, baby Vir was placed in my arms.

I was a changed person- for the better. I was now a father.

 

By – Deepanshu

 

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When Vir was getting his measurements I got his footprints !

 

P.S – I am currently reading ‘Baby Sense’ by Megan Faure and Ann Richardson and refer to ‘Baby 411’ for all the wisdom, advice and answers we seek as new parents.

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Hey you!

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Can’t believe my first Father’s Day with 4 week old baby Vir !

 

Welcome to the world Vir ! My Labor and Delivery story.

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Its my 39th week , I am big, round and hungry and all I want is to indulge in my favorite desert.  “Ahh , more aches and pains, I don’t know if these are contractions but I definitely feel uncomfortable” I said to my Mom at the cupcake store, assuming it to be false labor . My mom replied with some concern “Please, let’s go home. There is no need for any cupcake”.  “Mummy but this baby needs a cupcake. I can feel it! And If I am going to have him anytime soon, I better not be craving”. Exactly six hours later I find myself in the hospital bed connected to a machine monitoring my contraction frequency & intensity. Deep , my mom and my mother in law , sat beside me with a big smile on their face  and a sparkle in their eyes.

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My Mom , Mom in Law & Deep

 

I was 2 centimeters dilated and had the official word that I was in labor. At that moment I was experiencing a riot of emotions …excited, anxious, nervous, overwhelmed, scared. Very similar to how I felt a few years back in Colorado, standing at the threshold of the jump plane, ready to plunge from fifteen thousand feet.  “I am so ready to have this baby now” was my first sentence to that nurse and she looked at me smiled and said “Let’s do it Mama”.

Most pregnant women reach out to other mom’s to discuss how pregnancy feels. There are so many questions going through their minds- How much was the weight gain? What were your cravings? When do you feel the baby move? etc etc… However, they are most inquisitive about the “birth experience”, “Was it Natural or a C section?”, “Did it hurt a lot?”, “How exactly does pushing feel?” I too had the same questions and fears, and for the answers I didn’t get, I googled my way through pregnancy and calmed my unsettling nerves.

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The image of delivering a baby for me was shaped by the movies and TV soaps… That my water will break and splatter on the floor !! The contractions , the stabbing pain will make it the absolute worst experience! That someone else might be delivering my baby (I read an Uber driver delivered a baby) or that the doctor might have to vacuum the baby if the head is stuck and yes of course, that there will be so much blood that the room will look like a crime scene. Women acting crazy, clawing at everyone within reach, choking their partners…Phew!! So dramatic, so stereotypical (now when I think of it).

Thankfully none of this happened!!!

Yes, my water didn’t break naturally and the contractions felt more like my insides being twisted!  And of course, Epidural saved me from the labor pains; although I was shaking with fear of the pain I would feel in my spine (it was not that bad.) Now I knew I won’t be screaming and cursing my head off while pushing; I was spared from that horror. Also Deep’s presence in the labor room kept me safe and supported.  (There is something about his calm energy)

However, after being in labor for more than 12 hours and huffing and puffing  for almost an hour, the baby wasn’t interested in coming out.  I was sweating, shivering, having a bad headache and running a fever too, but, hey I was ready to push again. The doctor said it was a “sunny side up baby” , his body wasn’t turning in the right direction and due to my fever, his heart beat was getting faster.

 We had to go for the inevitable C section. A cold fear entered my heart as I was being strapped while I was conscious (made me feel like one of Dexter’s victims from the HBO show). The white light of the operation room was blinding. While the anesthesia was kicking in and helping a lot, I was grateful for that curtain, concealing everything from me. I remember the sensation under my rib cage of someone rolling a heavy pin and I asked my doctor “Is the baby out?”. Deep, and the anesthesiologist kept talking to me as they tried to keep me distracted from the surgery. But I was only waiting, waiting to hear the cries of my baby enter this world.

At 7am and few minutes later,  I finally heard his cries and he was held up for us to see. I screamed “OMG !! That’s my baby?” He was pinkish-red, wet and crying, and I felt my heart was going to burst.

That Feeling …. I can’t explain, I don’t have the words. It is almost like an explosion of emotions. And by the time I could realize that my baby had finally arrived and the feeling could sink in, he was swept away to the NICU. My mind went blank, I had no thoughts… (It was a state of disbelief, a similar feeling I had, after free falling at terminal velocity)

I immediately started sobbing my heart out as it felt like forever until I could see him again. .(Sometimes I envy Deep, as he was the first person to touch our baby and see him up close when they took him to clean and measure)

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Few minutes later the nurse zoomed in with my little bundle of joy with Deep accompanying them.

They placed him in my arms and right from that moment he snuggled straight into my heart!! We are grateful for our blessings ; it was magical to hold my baby in my arms after nine months of waiting.

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The whole experience was amazing and not scary as the hell I had imagined ! My recovery has been great too. I was out of the hospital in three days and was off pain meds within a week. And now almost 8 weeks later it doesn’t even feel like I had a surgery just a couple of months back.

PS : (I have a new found respect for all mothers. And want to applaud those women who go for natural deliveries without any medication-  “Hats off”).

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