Friday, December 26, 2008

Questions at 3 weeks

Baby turned 3 weeks old yesterday and each day is proving to be a new kind of challenge. Feeding schedules are turning out to be different each day - the sleeping schedule even more awry. Only thing that's been consistent is the 3 hour odd deep slumber after the massage lady does her thing at 12 noon and that is the one thing my pediatrician wants me to stop right away and take in my hands. He doesn't know what he is asking for as it means changing the only constant factor in my life these days - a two hour uninterrupted post-lunch nap for me in the afternoon.

First I thought demand feeding would be good as my baby's demand was coming in once every 2-3 hours. Then when he would sleep for 3 hours in the afternoon, there would be a gap of almost over 4 hours between two feeds, which would make me wonder if I should wake him up in the middle for a quick feed. Last night was such that he was waking me up every 90 minutes for a 30 minute plus feed, which meant I was up for over an hour feeding, burping and nappy changing every one and a half hours - and this continued upto 10 in the morning when he has finally gone to sleep. I did read about growth spurts that happen at certain weeks in babies when their demand goes up suddenly for a few days. I hope it is just that and it is a matter of a few days only - as I don't know if I can really handle the nightly sleep stretches being cut short by half from 3-4 hours to barely over an hour.

In the beginning when we brought baby home, I thought it was only feeding that was the big deal, so promptly kept a feed diary to make sure I was clocking in the said 8-12 feed sessions in 24 hours, which I was and baby would go off to sleep soon after every feed, without me having to fuss over him. Since the last 3 days I have added the sleep column to the diary to make sure he is not turning into a sleep deprived infant. In fact I worry so much about his sleep getting disturbed that I am scared to change his wet nappy in the middle of a snooze, waiting for him to wake up before I do it. The doc again has advised that i change him as soon as I notice and do it unobtrusively if he is sleeping! Yeah right.

As regards the massage and bath, after much dilly dallying I finally said yes to the massage lady who is charging me quite a sum for just massaging and bathing baby once a day, which takes her exactly 20 minutes. As it put baby to a peaceful sleep, I found her totally worth it, especially after I took the necessary precautions of asking her to wash her hands and feet with soap before starting on her mission and placing a clean washed sheet on her legs before she puts baby on it - especially as my baby is a lick-happy one. She comes in at 12 noon and so far I managed to finish feeding baby by 11.30 am, so that he can sleep undisturbed post the massage for as long as her wants to. The last 3 nights or so have been so hairy that both S and me are wondering if it will do good for us to give a warm water bath around 6 pm to put baby in restful mode. Given that we are in Bombay and even December is not really cold, should a repeat bath at 6 pm be alright? Even if we wanted to shift the massage and bath to around 9 am, the massage lady has too tight a schedule to adjust. I would really like to know the experience of the other moms on this. Is my baby having very short sleep stretches at night because of the 3 plus hour nap in afternoon, as I have read on some sites that baby shouldn't be sleeping more than 1 - 2 hours. So does that mean I might as well wake him up in the middle of his long nap for feed and nappy change, let him be awake for a while so that he manages to clock in more sleep at night than in the daytime.

Any answers from moms reading my blog will be highly appreciated :)

Apart from these issues, I am able to recognise 4-5 of baby's stock expressions, which always bring a smile to my face. More about this in my next post.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The birth story

Our baby boy of 3.045 kg was born on 4th December, 8.07 am by an elective C section. While I was always pro normal labour, I gladly went with my doctor's decision of scheduling a C section as the baby's head in the 38th week was pretty HIGH up, in complete contrast to what he thought in the 30th week (that it was somewhat low down). In addition to this my BP had hiked up a bit and the ultrasound showed reduced liquor. Definitely not the kind to take foolish chances, we happily selected 'good dates' for the C section which happened to be 3rd Dec, 4th Dec and 6th Dec, out of which 4th, the Thursday was found good for the operation theatre booking at Breach Candy Hospital where we were registered for labour. Being Avittam nakshatram and the morning hours being the most auspicious, it couldn't get any better.

I got admitted in the hospital on the evening of 3rd (Wednesday), accompanied by my mom, in laws and S. We were all in an upbeat mood and in good cheer - it is kind of odd when you know the date your baby is going to be born, well in advance, and one cant help but feel elated at the prospect of holding baby on that date. Though this was to be my first ever major surgery, I was feeling quite relaxed and happy and enjoyed a full dinner later that evening, with hubby fondly looking over what I called my 'last supper' as a pregnant woman. Later the nurse came over to check if all my ornaments and any nail paint was removed (this is essential when one goes in for any surgery under anaesthesia to check for cyanosis ie. nails going blue due to lack of oxygen in blood). S was sweet enough to remove the paint off my fingers and toes treating me like a real princess. He was to sleep in my room in the couch that was provided. We decided to turn in early by 9.30 as I had to bathe and be ready by 6.30 am as my doc was coming in by 7.45 am. Also I was supposed to be NBM (nil by mouth) from 12 am onwards -which means nothing to be eaten - not even water after my last and final dose of BP medication.

I slept fitfully in 2-3 stretches and woke up by 5.30 am with all excitement of ushering in 4th December. After chatting with S for a while, I went in for my shower as the nurse brought in the gown that I was supposed to be wearing - a long white robe with full sleeves and full back open - to be tied by 3-4 strings (so much for modesty). I was at peace knowing that I wont have to walk upto the Operation Theatre giving a full view of my weighty backside to everyone around (most embarrassingly the family). As I was sitting with the Vishnu Sahasranamam running on my ipod, my mom and inlaws came into the room by 7 am. Before I could completely recite the sloka, the anesthetist came in and asked me to lie down for basic questioning regarding history and allergies and IV line insertion. She seemed like a pleasant lady and I felt in safe hands regarding my anaesthesia - we had agreed upon Spinal anaesthesia at my doc's recommendation. My dear friend P came in at this point as promised. So there were 5 people in all to see me off to the operation theatre.

7.30 am or so, I loaded myself on the stretcher (literally climbed up on the bed and onto the stretcher, back open gown, IV line and all) - the nurses covered me well to save me from embarrassment and I waved a cheery goodbye to my people. The exhilaration of meeting baby was so high that I had no fear what so ever of being cut open. It could also be because I had over 100% faith in my doctor.

My doc was in on time and the wardboys loaded me on the operation table. S was to come in changed once I was under anaesthesia. I was asked to sit up and bend for my spinal. As my anaesthetist gave me a local anaesthetic injection at the site on the spine, I hardly felt any pain of the spinal injection. So this part went off smoothly. I was asked to lie down at this point, and I could feel the numbness creeping up from my toes. I was asked if i could move my toes, and it was a weird feeling that the body was not obeying the commands from my brain. Once confirmed that I was anaesthetised - my doc started his work on me, with S sitting down by my side, holding my hand. I was reciting the Gayatri mantra and looking into S's eyes - it gave me all the strength I needed. We were probably just over 5 minutes into the surgery that I heard baby wail. My body was covered with goosebumps - in my excitement I even forgot to think if it was a boy or a girl. My anaesthetist then told me - Congrats- it's a boy! Our little one wailed and wailed and wailed. The paed was there to check on his Apgar scores and all that - and hubby managed to click a couple of pics as soon as baby was out and at the doc's insistence one with the baby placed on my chest - if there is anything called a Kodak moment, this was it. My doc collected the cord blood for preservation and my baby was taken away to the nursery for weighing, bath and clean up. S was shooed out at this point, so that he could pass on the good news to waiting family.
I was given a sedative so that the stitching up part could begin. It was all over in 30 minutes or so and I was out of the OT, lying on the stretcher - I held my doc's hand for a while, thanking him for everything - and asked him to convey the news to all the familiar friendly people in his clinic.
I was brought back to my suite in another 10 minutes with a severe attack of shivering which required a heater to placed near by head and heavy bath towels covering my ears.
S was busy fielding calls from family and friends - my mom had my mobile which she managed to keep busy for over an hour :) Everyone was ecstatic at baby's safe delivery.
It took a couple of hours to come out of anaesthesia and I was able to feel the pains of the uterus contracting - as the IV drip had pitocin meant to shrink back the uterus. It was not unbearable - and given that I had escaped bearing labour pains, I told myself, I should be able to take this at least without grumbling.
The nurses soon brought baby for nursing and thankfully he was sucking enthusiastically trying to extract the few drops of colostrum that he could manage. Late evening I was allowed my first few sips of water after almost 20 hours of having nothing by mouth. And tomato soup for dinner, which my mom spooned into my mouth. I managed to finish only half the bowl.

The catheter came off the following morning after which I was encouraged to walk to the bathroom. Getting up from the bed, and sitting down on the pot felt like sheer hell. The 4+ pints of IV fluids running into my veins wasn't helping the cause, making me want to get up every few hours. But the ordeal was worth it - early mobilisation after surgery really helps and each time the getting up and out of bed became easier and I became more confident about healing quickly.

The second day and the following two days essentially comprised of me and hubby familiarizing ourselves with our newborn, me learning to breastfeed at regular intervals. Ours was a hungry baby and no way was baby satisfied with the measly colostrum. The nurses said it was regular to give babies a top feed in the first three days before milk flow was established. With a heavy heart I agreed - after consulting my doc. Other than that, whenever baby cried due to a wet nappy - all we had to do was to press a button to call the nurses, who would promptly take away baby to nursery and get him fresh and changed. Baby was all of 4 days old on Monday morning, when I was allowed to go home with him. Baby was put into a diaper for the first time, given a good top feed so that we could commute the 80 odd minute drive back home without any hitches. He slept all through the way and we were home by 12.45 pm.

A new journey started then...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Are you engaged?

Constipation has never been one of my life's problems and luckily enough it hasn't dogged me in pregnancy either, even after I started iron supplements. Since the last 2 weeks my doc has added an extra dose of iron supplement as my hemoglobin has fallen from 12 to 10. This has managed to create some problems in bowel movement, so much so that since yesterday I have been feeling pressure and some pain in the lower pelvis. It goes away on lying down and increases on walking around or getting up from sitting position.

Since we are just two days away from entering the 9th month, I just read the 9th month chapter in What to Expect (the pregnancy Bible) . It says that 'engagement' can happen anytime 4 weeks before labour - and reading about the symptoms makes me wonder if it must have happened in my case - leading to the pressure symptoms, extra sensitive bladder (night time loo calls gone up from just once to two times now) etc.

Another site
gives some detailed info on the pressure symptoms which seems to sum up my case very well -

Pelvic floor pressure:

Once the baby has dropped into position or engagement has occurred, you may feel pressure on the pelvic floor. The head of the baby is pressing very snugly against the cervix now and will continue to do so until birth. You may feel as if you need to move your bowels, the pressing down of the head causes a feeling of fullness and pressure very similar to that. Some women who have had several children might experience some pain. Many women might have trouble walking or feel as if their hips are not working properly. A hard feeling to describe even to doctors, if you are experiencing this odd and painful experience you might feel at the end of your rope trying to find an answer. This pain is stemming from a large tendon that weakens in each pregnancy. The tendon forms a sort of 'saddle' and the stress of engagement may cause pain after sitting or lying down, then standing. To help avoid this pain, try to walk and get exercise to strengthen this area early in your pregnancy.

This is exactly what I told my doc on phone today - that I just cant explain what exactly is happening, because it is all too vague. Anyway, after a dose of Duphalac laxative tonight, we are planning to see him tomorrow - 3 days before our scheduled visit.

Has anyone else experienced similar symptoms when your baby's head got engaged? Please share!

I have managed to make the final list of things to take to the hospital and the bag packing will start today...will post the list tomorrow for benefit of those who might be looking for such information!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Reporting from the 35th week

Diwali was a quiet affair with the two of us hanging around at home for most of the five days except for Diwali night Laxmi Pooja at Preeti's followed by a yummy traditional Marwari dinner and a lunch on the following day at the Govinda restaurant of the Hare Rama Hare Krishna temple which lead to much stomach ache due to going overboard with the buffet! I swore not to get tempted with good food again, as there is so little space for the stomach to expand. Bumble must have raised hell inside due to the space jostle :) We remembered the word stoma-cha-chee from an episode in Everybody Loves Raymond, which is nothing but Debra's way of teasing Ray for the word stomach-ache.

On Diwali night we enjoyed the fireworks from our 9th floor balcony - watching the skies over the Andheri-Juhu coastline come alive with brilliant displays of coloured lights. S ofcourse with a shot of Hennessey and me, just like that!

Just so that Bumble knows, 2nd November when we had a small function to bless baby (Valaikappu) was the first time in 3 years that our house had most of our family in together under our roof. Most of our relatives who could make it, did so, that too in the early hours of Sunday morning. This is a less elaborate version of Seemantham, which involves many more rites and rituals. Valaikappu essentially involves older ladies of the household making the pregnant woman wear bangles which are seen as a kind of protection to the baby. I did not know that there were a pair of gold and silver bangles that have been passed on from two generations over me - and every pregnant woman on my maternal side has worn the same bangles during her similar function. We missed S's parents as they are scheduled to come here after 3 weeks anyway.

Apart from these highlights of the past few weeks, the trigger finger is gone...and the numbness of fingers in the early mornings is much less than before. The pelvic pressure / pubic pain on turning around in bed or getting up from lying down remains.

Energy wise I am feeling quite alright compared to the last few weeks and just as What to Expect...says - the movements are more squirms than kicks nowadays and we can almost feel a knee or the heel on my upper abdomen and they feel like good pokes from the inside.

We are tying to get organised on the baby requirements and my hospital bag which in all probability should be packed by end of week, because our 36th week starts on Friday and we want to be well prepared. Having seen a number of 'what to pack' lists on websites and in books, I have a fair idea on what should go into the list.

Suddenly I seem to be getting baby clothes from everywhere....Preeti's SIL putting together a hand-stitched package from Indore, another friend with a huge bag of baby T's clothes that she has outgrown, my other friend putting a basket together and lastly but not the least, my MIL getting their family tailor to stitch all kinds of baby requirements in 2-3 sizes. Bumble, with all this coming in, your mamma will not be shopping for you in a long while :) - at least that's what I feel now!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A before-schedule doc visit and before schedule USG

Last week thanks to a mild stretching kind of pain in the nether regions, I decided to ask doc if it is of any concern. According to my own research it could have been the normal stretching of the round ligaments due to increase in size of the uterus. The round ligaments are supports which originate on the sides of the uterus, run through the inguinal canals, and insert on the side walls of the vagina and even inner thigh. This description quite matched the region of my pain and a piece of advice on further confirmed it.

Round ligaments are the ligaments that support the uterus, and they get stretched (like a rubber band) during pregnancy. This stretching is worse when you move or bend, and less when you lie still, particularly on your side with your legs curled up. Try moving slowly, taking a warm bath, or using a heating pad. Knowing that this pain may be severe but is not serious or problematic for you or the baby may help, too.
Anyway, my doc asked me to come by and see him for my mental peace - as we always take any info from the web with a pinch of salt. On examination, BP was still on the higher side of normal, due to which I was started on AlphaDopa immediately. Plus on examination of my belly, he found the head on the lower side due to which he also put me on uterine relaxant Bricanyl (which is also a druf for asthma). Two steroid shots were also prescribed one that day and one on the next for fetal lung maturity, all this just to be on the safer side.

The next day was another story. Bumble who used to kick and box frantically all day long until then suddenly decided to go lazy - making me wait and watch for kicks like a maniac and I didn't find them coming with the same intensity or frequency, despite turning around, poking around and even pleading to Bumble! This is going to be one stubborn baby with a mind of its own! Friday morning, I lost it. S was traveling from work and I couldn't take this. Called doc and told him I want to go for an ultrasound, even though the previous day he told it could be because i had started taking a uterine relaxant, but I just wanted to very sure that Bumble is OK.

After making 5-6 calls, I finally landed an appointment in NM Bandra. It was such a relief to lie on the table and watch Bumble doing his/her thing inside, tumbling around, kicking around and doing vague hand gestures, as if saying "Hi Mama, I just wanted to get you on this table, now go back home and relax". At my doc's recommendation, we also did a colour doppler to check blood flow aroudn baby which turned out A Ok. So I came back home with plenty of thanks in my heart that Bumble is fine, just having one of it's lazy days. Needless to say, now the kicking is back in full swing and aren't we happy to have that mode of communication with Bumble back!

Just entered the 32nd week, officially 6 more weeks to call this journey FULL TERM!! So our countdown is on!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Into the third trimester

We entered the final third of the journey on 19th September (starting of 28th week) or is it the end of 28 weeks? This is a bit confusing but given my EDD of 19th December, this gives us three months more.
Here are some notes from the third trimester.
  1. My fingers (especially of the right hand) getting number when I wake up in the morning - and the funny problem of dealing with the trigger ring finger, which opens with a clickety click. Running hot water in the basin while brushing my teeth over my fingers helps in relieving the numbness quite a bit. The numbess and pins and needles sensation is known to be pretty common later in pregnancy due to water retention and pressure inside the carpal tunnel.
  2. I enjoy keeping my feet over two pillows while I sleep...I'm probably going to get used to this extra comfort that I may continue to crowd the bed with pillows even after Bumble's birth.
  3. At last visit, my doc said I have gained roughly 8 kgs in the previous two months, which is a little over my personal estimate from my home weighing machine. Having eliminated consumption of papads, sauces and pickles from my diet, i guess my weight has remained pretty constant over the last one week - since I was not binging on unhealthy food anyway, my presumption is that most of the rapid weight gain was due to excess water retention. My BP has also therefore come down to the usual 70 diastolic from the slightly overboard 84.
  4. I'm enjoying fresh oranges of the season, at least one a day, this apart from the antenatal vitamin-iron pill. I hope Bumble loves oranges too, as we can enjoy them together when he/she is old enough and indulge in pip spitting contests while we are at it (in the garden of course)
  5. The belly is looking BIG enough now that no one can mistake it for a paunch.
  6. Bumble's kicks have now progressed from being felt only by mom to being visible to dad in the external world and to anyone else I may care to show :) The ripple on the surface of the belly was wonderful to share with S as apart from patiently keeping a hand on the belly to wait for that moody baby inside to kick - there is another sign for him to experience and enjoy.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Manathil Uruthi Vendum

This is a Sunday morning song dedication for you.

This is one of Amma's all time favourite songs, and it's not like I'm good with too many Tamil songs or with great Bharatiyaar's poetry, but this is one that has stuck to me, because of the lyrics, the music - the whole package. It starts off directly and it hits where it must without much rambling around. We will discover more of Bharatiyaar and his poetry when you are with us! One of our joint discoveries on culture....for now I just hope you are listening to this song and kicking away in appreciation just as I am enjoying it too over a cup of hot filter kaapi! (it's my rare treat mind you - don't want you on caffiene highs so early in life) and sorry if my coughing disturbed you at night.

Have a lovely Sunday baby!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Getting kicked and loving it!

It's been a wonderfully euphoric feeling since the last 3 weeks or so, and more in recent times, when Bumble has begun to assert its existence in our lives with regular kicks and punches.

It all started with the customary, 'Is it or is is not?' feeling, but with the calcium tablets reaching Bumble's bones the kicks cannot be mistaken for anything else. Funnily, yesterday I napped off in the afternoon with the latest Harlan Coben thriller sitting on my bump and imagine my surprise when I saw the book moving thanks to the pushes from beneath it! It's almost like Bumble is saying, forget your nap and pay me some attention Momma!

Bumble kicks the most when we are in a theater watching a movie - while we make all attempts not to watch the horror / violence types - the Dolby surround sound is enough to get baby all kicked up and starts kicking with all the enthusiasm in the little limbs - it all started with Singh is Kinng, which S and me both hated to be watching, a complete ham of a movie and we were convinced that baby shares our taste in movies, and is kicking in protest. Next was Mumbai Meri Jaan, which did not have any of the noisy songs or sound track and yet I found myself being punched relentlessly in all directions. When we saw Rock On, which had fabulous music that I couldn't help rocking in my seat, Bumble started doing the same, and we had to assume that Bumble shares our taste of good music :) It's upto us to assume the reason for the kicks and its fun to do the guesswork.

I haven't noticed any particular times for the increased activity, although it is said that babies get more active after a carb rich drink or meal since it gets more energy at that point of time. But if I have to choose a time where I most often get the hellos from inside its around 7-8 pm and then some more before I go to sleep. It's just odd that whenever S wants to feel the kicks on my bump and he patients spreads out his palms and waits, it's been unrewarded so far....almost as if Bumble is teasing his/her dad, that hey i know what you're waiting for and I'm going to make you wait some more. S was complaining sweetly to Bumble in one of the nightly 'dad talk sessions to the bump'* that you've not given me a single kick to feel so far!! I am hoping S gets to experience the beauty of feeling baby within soon and Baby Bumble obliges him with a nice kick that he can feel :)

* It is found that babies whose dads talk to them when they are in utero recognise their voices when they are born and can bond more easily.
Read some interesting stuff about 'Belly talk' here.

Milestones so far

Reporting from the 26th week of pregnancy - and trying to recollect the events so far before I forget them

14th March - LMP

14th April - Home pregnancy test - positive
Beta HCG - indicates 4-5 weeks pregnant

21st April - Repeat Beta HCG indicates levels well risen

2nd May - 1st Ultrasound (Dating and viability scan) which indicates pregnancy of 5-6 weeks
Informed both would-be grandparents

14th June - 2nd Ultrasound (first trimester - nuchal scan)
Baby corresponds to 13 weeks since LMP

20th June - Prophylactic cervical cerclage under GA

19th July - 3rd Ultrasound (Anomaly scan)
Baby's measurements correspond to the 18 weeks of gestation
Weight 220 grams
EDD - 20th December 2008

9th August onwards baby Bumble starts kicking in all earnest while we were watching Singh is Kinng

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This is for you

Bumble. That's what we call you now as we don't know if you are a little boy or a girl! Bumble is cute enough for both, has got that ring to it. Now that I've been feeling you kick inside me is the perfect time to start bonding with you and tell you the story of how it all started - the journey of the last 5 months and more.

Until then keep kicking, keep growing stronger and come along in December to complete our lives.
Your Mum :)