When we went to Paaparapatti (also called Dakshina Manthralaya) in January this year as part of a routine weekend outing, the priest blessed us thus: “Santhaana praapthi rasthu” roughly translating to “May you have an offspring”. Soon after, my wife had to attend a naming ceremony in Haveri. In such ceremonies, elders bless newly married women with a glass of milk to bear children. My wife was the newest married women in the group and hence was asked to drink the glass of milk. A belief perhaps but it definitely made my wife special!
Feb 17th was a special day not just because it was 2 years since me and my wife met but also because we came to know that we were going to become parents. She woke up that day at 5 am puking and we knew the reason even before the pregnancy test showed the ultimatum.
What followed the next couple of weeks was a nightmare. Her nausea worsened to such an extent that even few drops of water would not stay for more than few minutes. Many people scared us saying that it will continue for all the remaining eight months for some women. Needless to say, she became dehydrated and was hospitalized. I had done enough google research to know that she was admitted for “Hyperemesis Gravidarum.” Miraculously, three bottles of IV drops and other medication she received for one full day completely cured her nausea. She then had her first scan and the baby’s heart beat was exciting and exhilarating, going lub-dub lub-dub…
Then came the “Information Gathering” part. We got hooked on to babycenter. This is one of the most useful websites I have ever come across in my life. It also has an Indian version. It has A to Z of information on pregnancy and childbirth. It also has some awesome 3 min videos of how the egg is penetrated, how an embryo is formed, how male and female foetus develop, how the foetus develops through the nine months, how it comes through the birth canal, how the cesarean operation is conducted, etc. It has week by week update and it became a ritual for us to sit in front of the website every Sunday to understand completely what was going on in the womb and how we could make baby’s life easy. Babycenter bridges the common man to the complicated gynecological medical world in a beautiful, seamless manner and makes it enjoyable and entertaining. It definitely was a ‘look-forward-to’ throughout the nine months. It was like driving on a highway looking forward to the milestones that come up every mile! It also made me realize that a woman’s body is biologically mind-blowing!!
The mid trimester (May to Jun) was uneventful and comfortable except that we drove once on a 100 km stretch on a two-wheeler much to many a chagrin! Every last Saturday of the month was booked for Doctor visit and it became a nice pattern, especially checking the weight part. Our gynaecologist Dr. Latha Venkataram was simply amazing. Just her presence was soothing. She was oozing with energy and efficiency. Her words were like a balm. We had couple of ante-natal classes to listen about the dos and donts, and to discuss everything under the sun with our team of reassuring five doctors.
When I mentioned about “Many gave good news”, my wife was one of them! In July, we celebrated our second wedding anniversary (plus “Babymoon”) in Chikmagalur. What was supposed to be a relaxing getaway became adventurous trip because of unprecedented hill-climbing and steep roads. Nevertheless it was worth it. [PS: I didn't post the Chikmagalur trip details until the baby was safely born lest be scolded for undertaking such a dangerous trip at such a time of life!]
Looking at my wives’ “baby bump”, some said “its gonna be a boy” and some said “its gonna be a girl” and each had their own proving evidences but its not a thing to be believed. In the ninth month, a week before delivery, a relative asked if we were in the sixth month! That indicates how much the “bump” was! Keeping track of the bump progress was also interesting! Pregnancy which was ‘normal’ all through suddenly became slightly complicated in the 38th week with amniotic fluid becoming less. With kid being in the ‘breech’ (head up) position, a cesarean was inevitable. Alas, all those exercises and yoga meant for natural delivery went for a toss!
C-section had its pros. We could be prepared, we could give a date and time of our convenience and practically no labour pain. Only flip part was that I was not allowed inside the OT. So, couple of days before the operation, we went to a number of famous eating joints so that the would-be mother could enjoy the best of the best cuisines prior to the months of post-childbirth eating-restrictions. As it occurred, C-section was a blessing in disguise because the doctors found a minor fibroid after removing the baby. So, if the baby had come through the natural birth canal, my wife had to undergo a surgery anyways - after months of excruciating pain - to get the fibroid extracted. So, our daughter, by turning upside down wrongly on the 38th week, assisted us indirectly in identifying and removal of the fibroid!
Finally the baby landed on my arms on Oct 11, 2010 – exactly 2 years and 3 months after we got married. She was born at 1059 hrs and weighed 2.7 kgs. Many people asked me if I felt happy about having become a dad but my only emotion was a huge relief that things had gone well.
But I was happy for another reason: Even before my wife went inside the OT, I had informed her that that day being a special day (because of the birth of our daughter!), Sachin will hit a century (when he was still in 44) and after her delivery, sure enough, I was told that he had hit his 49th Test century! For me, this was almost expected, after the phenomenal 200* he hit a week after the news of conception! Surely our daughter has brought good luck to Sachin! :-)
Next couple of weeks was grueling. The once-in-two-hours feed was very tiring for the mother. Added to that, there is child bath, medicine, diaper-changing. It was a 24 * 7 activity that became slightly better only after a couple of months when the baby could withstand without milk for about 4-5 hrs at night. Right about then, it started smiling and it’s smile, as I already said, melted the annoyance of sleepless nights.
Choosing a name for our daughter was not very difficult. My wife and I didn’t have to pore over books or internet. It was a name that we both liked - since almost a year. Whenever we discussed about having kids, I kind of had a feeling that we were going to have a daughter, and this name was the most preferred. But it got officialized only two months later at the naming ceremony.
The name has a tangential reference in Vishnu Sahasra Naama [which both of us are devoted to] (verse 32). The name is one of the 72 Melakartha Raagas [41st]. The name is part of the pallavi of Paalinthu Kaamaskhi song which we both like. The name means Purifying, or The Great Purifier.
The name is Paavani.
With this, I welcome my daughter to this best of best worlds and sincerely wish all the very best in her life to achieve great heights. I just hope my wife and I can give her the right momentum and platform for her to soar.