The first trimester

In the recent years, Turkey has emerged as one of the most sought after travel destinations. When the vacation hungry beast in me googled Turkey, I realized that April and May or September and October may be the best times to tour the country. The visuals of picturesque backgrounds and both the husband and I posing with trench coats in the foreground caught on to me. I even started checking my academic calendar to look for a good time to make a tour to Turkey.  After a good long discussion and some rough budgeting, we decided to make the trip in June. The dream didn’t last for long. Before anything fructified, news came that we were due for December 2018 and travelling during the first trimester was a big no.

The enticing image sent by a friend Apurv Tyagi

Until this news, our life revolved around weekdays and weekends. Weekdays were for slogging day and night in our respective workplaces while the weekends were timed to breathe and look around; and run those ghastly errands. Obviously with a pinch of little dressing up and partying. My husband and I both work in conventional professions (he is a lawyer litigating the Courts in Delhi trying to get Judges to grant his pleas; while I make my living teaching budding engineers the concepts of coding) and we get our long vacations in June and around Diwali. We looked forward to this time every year for some respite. Unfortunately for Turkey, 2018 was not going to be the year.

The feeling of voluntary travel exile had barely sunk in but the new lifestyle was already taking control of me. When I noticed, I found myself tip toeing while walking. The first trimester is supposedly the most crucial time for pregnancy. A woman carrying the baby has to avoid even the tiniest of jerks for safety of the unborn. Of course as the pregnancy progresses everything else also gets tougher, but for a newbie like me paying special attention to my gait was Commandment No. 2 (remember the 1st one was to keep the news secret for about 3 months). It means now I couldn’t whimsically break into a random little dance – Ugh the sacrifice! I realized I was the kind of person who rushed to getting things done. For instance, if my class was scheduled for 10.30, I would make a dash from my cabin around 10.27 and rejoice internally for making it just in time. I felt like I was made to enter a meditation camp forcefully.

The queries which I could not make while visiting the gynaec were now being answered by google and it became my first point of assistance. Should I drink this much water? Should I sleep in that position? Should I eat this fruit? Should I breathe that air? Even though an efficient search engine, with answers to most of the relevant questions, it was successfully in satiating me only with the assistance of my mom. She was the necessary sequitur to the abundant gyaan on the internet.

 You will realize for your own self how the relation between you and your mother hits an all-time high during the pregnancy. Personally for me, after marriage my relation with my mother had strengthened considerably. The rebellious teenage acrimony I had with her once, had become a  funny memory.  She was also curious and concerned about my wellbeing and made sure I was well prepared for the task ahead. It is only after becoming a mother I realized the unconditional support a mother is to her girl; and how without an emotional connect, those days would not have been easy. Just like every mother, my mom has always been there for me, almost like the clichéd air we breathe but hardly notice (except in our masks these days). It is a blessing.

A year ago, a pregnant colleague in my workplace was literally rushing to the restroom every hour troubled by nausea. When visiting her cabin for an informal banter, I noticed a stash of tamarind tablets, a home remedy for this nausea. This and of course the cinematic visuals from growing up years made way for my first impression of pregnancy. I was certain I’d be vomiting away for the next nine months. Fortunately for me and my husband, I hardly ever felt this discomfort. I was happily craving and hogging on everything edible under the pretext of – “Oh now I have to eat for two”. It was not a surprise when I realized I had put on total 15 kg during the entire period.

My birthday fell during this period and it was special beyond words, because of the extra efforts made by my husband to decorate the house. Right from the cake to the wall décor, I could read MOM everywhere. The house exuded a scent of new beginnings. We both looked into each other’s eyes and imagined a new being with us on the next birthday. Everything was perfect that day, except for my aversion for sweet, which I discovered when I had a helping of the cake, officially marking the acceptance of the first trimester by my body.

My birthday celebrations while I waited for my baby

A heart beat with its rhythmic up and down movement makes a sound of reality and signifies life. If you think of it, how often do we really hear our heart beating? There are moments in life that take our breath away and it is only then that we focus on our heartbeat; moments such as a tight hug of a loved one, seconds during the anticipation of the first kiss, moments when we fear separation from somebody we yearn for day and night, or maybe when we are nervous and taking a crucial decision. This brings me to a special memory I have of that time, my first ultra sound. It was pleasant November morning when my husband and I headed for the session. The doctor made us hear a soft dug dug sound which was to the heartbeat of the child.  We were told that the child was healthy.

I am not certain of the exact emotions I went through at that moment, but I can clearly remember heaving a sigh of relief and feeling a sense of responsibility building up inside me from then on. That feeling has not left me till date and I guess this is what parenthood is. You feel attached to a being before it makes its way into the world as you understand it.

Good News

Well before I begin to pull the curtains and give you a glimpse into one of the most personal experiences of my life, I will give a disclaimer ( just in case, you stumbled upon this blog for a deep insight!). This blog is not aimed at providing the dos and don’ts of being a good parent or even how to become a parent (to start with). (The former is going to be a long arduous personal journey while the latter – well let’s just assume you know the answer to that). I decided to write this blog solely to share my experiences of being a first time mom (it is a big deal, trust me!). For those who are already sailing in the same boat would know, it is one area where no prior knowledge is handy. The only thing that helps you sail through successfully are your motherly instincts (bold and underlined). I am hoping that my experience will resonate with all the mothers.

Lone couple’s day out

My first hand experience of the journey began on 14th April 2018 ( Yes I am gifted with the memory of an elephant), the date I took my pregnancy test. My husband and I were thrilled to see those two lines flashing on the stick. We were elated beyond words, not to mention more than relieved.Relieved because our parents would finally stop nagging us for starting a family, or so we thought.

First Information Report (forgive the title – my father and husband are both lawyers)
You make the first phone call to the parents and from then on pour the congratulatory messages. We all can relate to the messages sounding like the pat on our backs for we are carrying forward the legacy and finally getting that validation, for our role in the evolution of life has become significant (Yay! See Darwin we survived and were fit enough to (re)produce another one too!). The over cautious mothers  directed us strictly to not let the news out until the third month. I sometimes wonder why we do that but back then I didn’t question ( too high to get into the technicalities!). Taking cue from the previous occasions when our mothers and their superstitions have been spot on we decided to oblige them by adhering to rule number one and sushhhhed!!

The next daunting task ahead of us was finding “the gynaeclogist” ( I will suggest to make sure this is well researched!). We had been living in Noida for less than a year and never did we explore the maternity care options around us . We were new to the society and we could not tell anyone (remember rule one). This is when we decided to let go of the old school way of word of mouth doctor and submitted to technology Gods to save us. Thank you Google!

My husband and I had two criteria for selecting a doctor, one was a hospital which was in close proximity to our house. This is mostly because I always had visuals of movies where the heavily pregnant mother searing in pain is rushed to the hospital amidst heavy rain. As dramatic as the movies made it look, I did not want that! I wanted my ride to not be more than 10 minutes. The second criteria was a doctor who generally sits in the evening because we both were working 9 to 5 (this is how the baby begins to fit in your life). Practo assisted us and we zeroed in on a doctor after much deliberation.

The first visit to the gynae was an experience in its own kind. While you both are seated to be called in, our minds were racing with questions we would be asked ( I was recalling my college days and the wait to be called in for the viva). We wondered what if this was a wrong prediction and my engineering mind gave way to all the possibilities of false positive or true negative and more. Anxiety and a feeling of unknown gripped us when we finally went inside. This was probably the second time my husband and I agreed on something peacefully, the first was when we went to shop and had a difference of opinion on everything I laid my hands except a spoon stand which both of us felt was needed in the house (new Couple goals I’d say).

Once we were done with usual questionnaire from the doctor and after getting answers to our over inquisitiveness we headed out with a sense of preparedness.Ladies remember, the doctor will mainly be interested to know about your next date of monthly cycle (to calculate the date , baby will arrive, your due date), if you are taking medications ( to keep note of your allergies) and your past pregnancy record if any. After that first meeting,I realized that feeling of joy was most unique and surreal and might not be felt in the same scale by both of us again in our lives. We were prescribed some tests and the customary drill for the next nine months (the long road road ahead) finally took off.

Gratitude to the Lord for making us see this day and how we were going to change as a couple (no bets on this point) . When you are a newly married couple, the world around you is dreamy and shimmering with positivity.  The possibility of knowing that somebody has your back makes both of you secure. The world around you ceases to exist (matter less) and you rejoice in exploring the ‘us’ in your relationship. There are high hopes and the strength of love binds you . You make every effort possible to present the best version of yourself to each other (sometimes over estimating yourself). As the years pass and the routine grind takes a toll on you both, a level of comfort seaps in and for the better or worse the sense of family grows on you.  A good news in any marriage brings a freshness analogous to a bud popping in a plant you both potted together. A new mission to look forward to with rolled sleeves. This new venture adds to the love quotient between you two and the bonding increases manifold. Of course beyond the idyllic picture that I just painted, there are the inevitable differences but more on that later in the next blog.
Stay tuned !

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