Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The strangest looks! 'ITHU AITHU STATEEN ANNU' (Which state is she from?')

I have been getting some strange stares in India these past couple of months. No I am not being pretentious or behaving like an outside. I dress normally ... Tie my hair up normally and walk normally. So what is causing the stares? Isaac and Ziva. I know I know they are so darn cute! But that is not the reason. It is the stroller and the Baby Bjorn (carrier).
When I first walk down the road everyone stares and smiles at Isaac on the stroller ... then their eyes drift to the dangling legs near my waist and the stare continues till I walk past them. You really could not see Ziva's head till recently

Couple of interesting conversations that have occurred due to the Baby Bjorn
1. A lady in the elevator:  'Usko garam nahi lagta hai? (Does she not feel hot?)
2. Another well wisher 'How does she breathe?' (Yes I am trying to suffocate my baby!!)
3. A lady crossing the road with me smiles at Isaac on the stroller and then stares at the legs and puts her face over the Baby Bjorn to look in and says ' Arre isme baba hai!' (Oh my there is a baby in this!)
4. And the last one is too comical occurred at a railway station in Bangalore. We were on our way to Kerala to see my Grandad. I had Ziva in the Baby Bjorn and in order to prevent her from crying I was bouncing about a little bit. A bunch of young kids standing with their parents  -- seemed like a large joint family were  -- well staring. They all began giggling as they saw me. Suresh had gone away to bring some luggage to where I stood. One boy took up some courage and in a rather accented (Indian) voice asked ' What is your name?' I smiled and said 'What is your name?'. He squirmed and looked at his sister wondering what I had just said. I went a little closer to them and asked him again speaking a little slower and still bouncing with Ziva 'What is your name?'. He says 'Shalu' and grins. Seeing that I was friendly all the girls (ages 7-17) crowded around to touch the visible part of Ziva's head/ forehead. By this time Suresh and my mom had come and were talking to each other in Malayalam. I continued to exchange words with the kids in English and then tired to pull Isaac into the conversation. An older man, probably in his 50's, who was part of the group realizing that my mom and Suresh were speaking in Malayalam came up to my mom and asked her which part of Kerala she was from (in malayalam). Then turning to Suresh and pointing at me he said 'ITHU AITHU STATEEN ANNU' (Which state is she from?).  Poor man made two big blunders
1. He assumed I was not a Malayalee and some foreigner!
2. He assumed Suresh was a Malayalee!!!
Reason for assumption : Baby  Bjorn
Suresh and my mom stare at each other not knowing why he is asking such a strange question. I smile and in my anglicized Malayalam I saw 'Njan Malayalee aanu'. Stunned silence followed by a burst of laughter! Me - very proud of my Malayalam :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Something electric ... A Birth Story - Ziva Esther Joel

Bringing up Girls: James Dobson Page 3, Paragraph 3, line 2
'..., but I love her like I did when we were first introduced in the delivery room. Something electric occurred between us on that mystical night, and it endures today.'

I cried when I first read this ... It reminded me of holding Ziva for the first time. It reminded me of holding Isaac for the first time. But more Ziva since the book I am reading right now is 'Bringing up Girls' by James Dobson. Thank you Dr. Dobson for that word 'electric'

I am reading this book on the suggestion of good friends Benji and Sonia Arthungal. I have just finished a few pages and already I love it. I know I will read it many times in the years to come. Thanks Sonia and Benji!

When I read the sentence above, I relived the night Ziva was born and I just had to write down her birth story. Birth stories are big in the US. In India no one really talks about labor or the birth much. But I think maybe one day, when Ziva is getting ready to write one herself, she may enjoy reading this one.

It was close to midnight and I was on the computer. I cannot remember exactly what I was doing but I remember something to the effect of exchanging emails with Priya (Kanchan) and Becky (Kurikeshu) about wearing a Saree the following Sunday at church. I was almost positive I would not be wearing a Saree since I was ready to 'pop' and would either be too big to wear a Saree or lying on the bed with a little babe! Check the list of email below ... the last one sent out by me at 11:36 pm August 15 2011. (Ziva was born at 3:59 am August 16th :)). I was sitting on the excercise ball and thinking maybe its time to go to bed and right about midnight I trudged up the steps wondering when my little girl would come.

I had just about gone to sleep when I felt the pain. Not so bad I thought and then a few minutes later yet again and I thought still not so bad. I got up because yet again I needed to use the bathroom and this time a sharper pain. I came back out of the restroom and woke up Suresh. In whispers we spoke to each other not wanting to wake up Isaac who was lying between us. I told him to time me and we held hands. Every time I squeezed his hand he was supposed to note the time and then when I let go tell me how long the pain lasted. After a couple of repetitive pain spasms coming and going and me wondering if Suresh was sleeping, he quietly came close and said ' I think you need to wake Amma - I think this is it! Your pain is 5 mins apart and lasting almost 20 seconds'. (If anyone is wondering if he was accurate well he was since he choose this most opportune moment to download an Android App called 'contraction timer'!!!!!!!)

In the US the rule is Do Not call up your midwife/ doc unless your pain is 5 mins apart and last for 1 minute. So we were definitely on our way. I slipped out of bed and Isaac stirred. I woke Amma and Isaac walked out of the bedroom looking for me. I quietly went down to the living room and started timing myself, while Suresh and Amma desperately tried to put Isaac back to sleep. We called the midwife and I guess because of all the commotion Isaac woke up yet again. Suresh went back up to put him to sleep and Amma waited by me as I tried to ride out spasm after spasm. And then my water broke!

Amma quickly ran up and Suresh came running down to find me on the floor of the bathroom curled up. I told him I had 5 mins before the next one and that we needed to get into the car. As we got into the Mini Cooper and drove. I thanked God for the seat warmer! We were at the light near Howard County Hospital waiting for it to turn green and I remember looking at the watch and seeing the time as 3:20 am. Suresh was getting ready to break the light since it refused to turn green. I on the other hand just wanted to wait there since the stops were much more comfortable then the minor bumps on the roads. We finally drove straight and took a U-turn. We checked into the hospital and as I tried to register and give my insurance card ... I just sat on the wheel chair. Suresh, who had gone to park the car came in and remembers signing in and looking at the time as being 3:29 am.

We were taken up to Labor and Delivery by the ER personnel and I remember telling Suresh 'Please I want the epidural OK' Almost as if to say that if I fainted out of pain they should take in my request of still knocking me out of my pain! You say weird things when you are in pain. As we got our room I kept telling everyone around I wanted an Epidural 'please'. The midwife, Jackie Notes, who was having a busy night came in and examined me and as everyone else kept telling her of my request for an epidural, she simply grinned and said 'Honey - no time for an epidural you are having a baby right now'. I turned to Suresh and said ' I can't do this' and was getting ready to cry when Jackie looked at me and with a stern voice said 'Rohini just listen to me - You can - Listen to me and we will get this done in less than 10 mins. I promise!.' I really didnt believe her at the time but she must be really good at what she does because Ziva was born some 10 mins later! I knew there was a reason I like my midwife group - they were a bunch of stern, strong, no fuss women :). About 8 mins into all the pushing ... Suresh was trying to encourage me with a 'Push push ... blow blow' when Jackie turns to him and says 'Hush! Now Rohini listen to me ... dont listen to anyone take a deep breath and one more push and we are done'
And just like that ... SHE came ... pink and squirmy ... it was an ELECTRIC moment.