Our Wait Is Over. And Now, It Is The Real Thing.

My daughter is 10 days old today. It’s been a tremendous journey from being an expectant, naive woman to an inexperienced, naive mother. True to my character, I do not remember much of what I went through during the last nine months. It’s all got washed away in the swirling waters of time. The day of the birth, however, remains fresh for now. Unlike the fairytale stories one gets to hear, I daresay mine was the kind I’d like to forget. People say that a new mother forgets all pain and discomfort when she hears her child cry after birth and holds her in her arms. I didn’t quite experience that because local anaesthesia didn’t work on me for the C-Section, the doctors ultimately had to resort to general anaesthesia. I didn’t hear my girl cry, I didn’t see her when she was born. I didn’t see her the entire day, because I was under observation for having mild hypertension.

While it is just another medical complication, to me it seems like a small defeat. Having laid there and felt every part of my body rising up from slumber, minute after minute, while thinking about the one whom I had carried all this while and had hoped to hold in my arms by then, was traumatic.

What is even more interesting is that the most joyous moment of my day wasn’t when she was brought to my room in the evening. It was when I was rolled out of the labour room on a stretcher in the afternoon, and after one harsh hospital ceiling light after the other, I saw Bhartan’s face looking at me. That felt like a long, slow breath of relief after rafting through tumultuous rapids. A very personal victory.

The painful days in the hospital weren’t so bad since I had this little girl of mine to see and touch. But not quite. What with the discomfort, I had to depend on a hospital nursing attendant to cradle the baby, assist me when I fed her, scrub me clean, do my hair, stay up when the baby needed attention. This was hardly the way I’d imagined the first few days after the birth.

Why am I telling you all this? Perhaps because I do not wish to pretend that the birth automatically brought about unbounded joy. The joy is coming, minute by minute.

She has different names, my daughter. Pari, Chunu, Putki. Loving people name her as they please. Bhartan and I call her Baby for now. So, Baby is like a bud opening, unveiling tiny little wonders with each new revelation. I see each part of her one after the other in a very special light only I have access to. A tiny finger, a tiny smile, those soft, soft hairs on her brows when she wrinkles them, that slight curl of her lips. Everyday I become more mother. Each passing minute, she claims a little more of my heart, of my soul. No, it wasn’t automatic, I am afraid. What happened automatically was a sense of responsibility. A duty to take care of a being I chose to bring into existence. What is happening now must be what they say is motherhood. But I am yet to reach there. Or perhaps I’ve climbed my own unique summit on which I camp and from which I view the happiness, duties and trappings of being a mother.

For now, I am living in terror. Is she well-fed? Why is her skin so red here? What are these spots? Is the room too cold/hot/humid? Is it diarrhoea? Oh, she’s not able to feed well. What am I doing wrong? The list is endless, as are the hours in a day. And yet, they both get whirled around and thrown out of the centrifuge like inconsequential bits the moment I hear her, see or touch her. Like now. She’s getting up. Time to feed her!

🙂
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39 thoughts on “Our Wait Is Over. And Now, It Is The Real Thing.”

  1. I am beyond happy for you! She is precious! You’ve perfectly described those first blurry weeks of new motherhood, Priya. I also had c-sections and it is hard to not feel you have the strength or clear head to fully snuggle with your baby. And it is true, every day that goes by, your love for her will grow stronger and that connection will take root and grow and grow. Also, the worry, unfortunately! Congrats to both of you and your gorgeous daughter!

    1. I’ve been doing some reading since, Darla, and have found out the many women who undergo a C-Section go through a phase of disappointment and/or self-beating for not having had the child the normal way. It somehow does comfort me to know that I am not the only one with these thoughts.

      My love for her is stronger, our connection more tangible. It’s lovely. I enjoy every part, every second of my interaction with her.

      Thank you for your lovely wishes.

  2. Whatever motherhood is — what it requires — will continue to change as Baby changes. But there’s no doubt, Priya, that you will be an amazing mother to this little girl. You already are. And those initial days in the hospital will soon be replaced by countless happy, frustrating, confusing, wonderful moments. Congratulations to you and Bhartan. She’s beautiful, and very fortunate.

    1. I want to be an amazing mother, Charles. I do not know what it is, but I’d like to know, somehow, that I am. The initial days in the hospital are indeed a faded memory that doesn’t bother me anymore. You were right. But then, you mostly are.

      Thank you for your wishes.

  3. i thought of you today and wondered if baby had arrived..and lo and behold:))welcome baby to this wonderful world and you are ever so lucky to have the mother you do…congrats mama and papa…wishing you all a wonderful life together..

  4. Though I cannot relate at all to motherhood and giving birth, what you’ve written here is the most lovely and real account of your experience. You and Bhartan will be wonderful parents. Your child will be loved. That’s all that matters.

    1. I was never comfortable with children, and B was quicker in making our daughter comfortable — he handled her so well. I have now got accustomed to the totally different world of such fragility. It is a wonderful feeling. And I am proud to say I’ve overtaken B.

      And yes, being loved is all that matter, Jean. I love typing your name and saying it in my head.

  5. The smile on my face, Priya, is due to you and your news. My heartfelt congratulations to you, Bhartan, and Baby. She looks beautiful.
    Though it may seem true at times, you are not alone with your thoughts and feelings. Many Moms can relate to what you’ve expressed through your words. When I gave birth to Joe I was unable to see him until hours later, due to complications with my c-section. It does break your heart, but your heart heals with every special glance at your new baby.
    One moment at a time, Priya. Your life has changed for certain, and the change will continue. Congratulations!

    1. I am struggling with the the frailty that a C-Section is supposed to bring. The spinal anesthesia, even though it wasn’t effective, has given me a terrible backache. And then there’s the jiggly belly… But none of that matters when I have my girl next to me. Yes, my life has changed, and I love it, Lenore.

  6. What a beautiful post about the new life you’ve brought into this world, and your feelings, Priya. Congratulations again to you and to Bhartan. I love little glimpses into the new that others experience. I have no children so my knowledge of childbirth are only from what I have been told by others and from my own mother. I can’t remember if it was for my birth or my sister’s but when she went into labour, she was given morphine for the pain and it kept stopping her labour, so she also – like you though a little differently – wasn’t entirely present for the birth. It must affect the emotions, how could it not.

    I’m sure the joy in your coming years will be brilliant. Let’s hope she reaches her teens rather slowly – I gather that’s when the pain really starts! 😉

    1. We are conditioned to believe that a normal birth is the only way a mother can relate well to a child, and vice versa. A friend of mine kept telling me throughout the pregnancy that there’s compromised attachment between a child born via C-Section and its mother. It was playing on my mind. But I am beginning to believe that this little hurdle can be overcome. With time. And love.
      Not being a mother is a different world, and being a mother is an altogether different one. I daresay none is more superior than the other. Each has its own virtue. I am sure you and your surroundings — your birds — will vouch for that.

  7. Wow, well first I discovered your posts were NOT showing up in my reader. Celia kindly suggested I “unsubscribe and resubscribe” and it worked! Not until your comment to one of mine did I realize.

    So happy Baby’s here! And if having kids taught me one thing – and of course it taught me many – it’s to have no expectations. Kids are the most random thing imaginable – and so each day is fresh and new and filled with unexpected changes. All preparing us for life as it truly Is.

    I can so relate to all the minor concerns, the big worries. Yes, responsibility! Big. Then as the child grows, one marvels at the resiliency of human beings in general – how do we make it, vulnerable as we are?

    I know you will both be good parents – you will teach her, and she will teach you more. What a miracle! And don’t worry about not feeling abject joy the moment you awoke from general anaesthesia! Good heavens, the drugs alone put one in another world. Expectations!

    Love to you.

    1. Thank God for Celia!

      She is teaching me, Bela. And how. Many things that I’ve been struggling to learn seem more learnable and doable now that she’s here. Patience, tidiness, ever-chirpiness, no-moodiness…

      Love to you!

  8. Priya — you are a MOTHER! 🙂 As I just said in my comment on your other post — CONGRATULATIONS!!! 🙂 I am so very happy for you, Bhartan and your beautiful Baby. She is every bit perfect and precious. And I know she will bring you so much joy and happiness, along with all that fear you are feeling right now. That, my dear friend, is the one thing you just can’t prepare for. The worrying. But it is part of your soul now. 🙂 I have every confidence that you are giving Baby exactly what she needs from you.

    And I am here for you! With anything you’d ever like to talk about, or ask a fellow mom, or just if you need to unload some of your sleep-deprived worries. No rules. Anytime!

    Neither of my kids’ births went the way I thought. And the anesthesia didn’t work for me either. No two births are ever the same, so I would never pretend to understand what you went through. But I do know that you are a strong and determined and emotional and loving woman, and in the end, YOU DID IT. 🙂 You brought this amazing new life into the world, and I am certain that the world is now a better place.

    Take care, my dear friend, take care to rest, to recover, to revel in the miracle there in your arms.

    1. Ah, you do not know what you’ve offered. If I were to unload my sleep-deprived worries – anytime – you’d go crazier than you already must be with your own! It is amazing to know the propensity to worry a parent can have. I am learning to live with that. But all of the other things parenthood can, and does, give are beyond amazing. They’re priceless. I am so happy for myself, Melissa.

  9. My Dear Priya, Oh well done, well done! I’m sure you will be a great mother – just learn it, and do it – all will be fine!
    My best wishes to you three.

    1. “Just learn it, and do it”. I didn’t remember this advice while I was practicing it. And now that I’ve learnt it and done it to some extent and come back and read it, I must say you know just how things work, Dave. Thank you for the brilliant advice.

  10. I had been thinking of you since June began. And look at my timing.. the first time I log in, is just a day after you announce your baby’s arrival. Now that I know, I can stop the anxious thinking.

    Heartfelt Congratulations, Priya! Your daughter is beautiful beyond words.. and to me, looks a lot like you. Just remember to take care of yourself too. My best wishes to the three of you.

    1. I’ve been seeing the notifications of your posts and feeling an eagerness to read the posts. I hope to make it soon. Even when I am free, well-slept and alert, I find it difficult to concentrate to read. But I must.

      And thank you for the beautiful wishes. Hope you’re well, and all of that.

      1. I see you are keeping busy in the blogosphere. That must feel good ! In fact, you are doing a better job than me, and I don’t even have a little Bela for an excuse 😛

        Good to know that you are getting notifications of my posts. But how come I am not getting any for your posts?

      2. Get rid of your excuse-less routine, then, and get writing, AIT. The world’s waiting.

        I hope you’ll get the notifications of my posts now that you’ve resubscribed! Happy reading! Thank you.

      3. I am tempted to repeat what I wrote in my email, Priya. But then, I have already said it, haven’t I? : )

        And, it’s my state-of-mind I have to get rid of, which unfortunately is not proving to be an easy task at all.

        1. I read your latest post. And will write to you about it there.
          About your state of mind, shrug it off. I am trying that with my own. It works sometimes.

  11. My dear Priya you have written a heartfelt and one of the most beautiful accounts of childbirth I’ve ever read. I wept when I read it. My sincere congratulations to you and Bhartan and a big welcome to your beautiful little girl.

    I love how you expressed this:

    “What is even more interesting is that the most joyous moment of my day wasn’t when she was brought to my room in the evening. It was when I was rolled out of the labour room on a stretcher in the afternoon, and after one harsh hospital ceiling light after the other, I saw Bhartan’s face looking at me. That felt like a long, slow breath of relief after rafting through tumultuous rapids. A very personal victory.”

    There is no way to describe all those long hard hours of childbirth – labour is a good word – it’s certainly the hardest work I’ve ever done, and though I ended up with a C-section one time, and too shed tears of disappointment, they mixed with the tears of thankfulness that my baby was OK. That’s all a blur anyway, what I will never forget and can still almost “taste” is the enormous pleasure I had when I unwrapped my little parcels back in my hospital room and made friends with their little fingers and toes, little mouth and nose, heard their purring sounds for the first time, smelled their baby smell…(((sigh)))

    She is a gorgeous little doll! I’m so sad that I live half way round the world and I can’t come meet her. I look forward to watching her grow up. Can I be her Rosie-Auntie?

  12. My dear Priya, congratulations on the new status, really very happy for you.

    Have been thinking on and off about you, and if it was your D-day, as I didn’t see the next post. Ta-da… here is the big news! 🙂 Thats a very lovely baby, and what with the baby having one of the best moms possible?! 😉 Got reminded of a poem that I wrote for my mum when I read this, I am sure the baby will have a LOT to write in future 🙂 Just a couple of lines for you, as I know it befits the occassion –

    “I might not remember the first time you held me close and kissed me,
    but I am sure that was when the lover in me was born.
    I might not remember the gazillion times when I stole sleep from you,
    and kept you awake to watch over me,
    but I am sure that was when I learnt, rather soon enough,
    that I cannot live a minute away without you by my side, or you in my thought! …” and bla bla it goes on… Well, its gonu be an exciting ride Priya. Have fun!

    (XO)

    1. You’re a darling. And a generous one at that. To’ve posted a poem you wrote for your mother is nothing short of generosity, SB. Much love.

  13. Oh Wow. You are beautiful. So is Baby. Your beauty lies in your stark honesty, a thing so rare in these days of drama, CGI, politics, and politically correct thinking. That motherhood is not automatic makes it that much more valuable. It is something that grows and unfolds, day by day, moment by moment, and worry by worry. I suspect this is true for far more people than ever admit it.

    I’m sorry the process was so dreadful. I am glad you wrote about it now, about the disappointments and surprises. Because I suspect that as “motherhood” gains a foothold in your soul, you will, as everyone says, forget the pain…or at least remember it quite differently.

    I hope you have lots of help at home and that you are getting enough rest. I applaud that you are already able to focus on writing so soon after this storm raced through your life.
    Big hugs!

    1. I do not know what CGI means.

      Motherhood is not automatic, yes. It grows like a magnificent, never-withering tree. I am in love with it now.

      I want to write more, but feel distracted because Bela’s about to get up! In some months, maybe, I’ll communicate as much as I want to.

      Love.

  14. Congratulations, Congratulations, Congratulations! (three, because I am so behind the world’s announcements, and because you and Mr.B deserve it). enjoy these precious days.. When they are young, things are still under your control… as they grow older, you have to give them the reins and let them go. I feel that way with my tween son. If only I could go back and hold him once again when he was a baby…
    Does she have a name now, your Pari?

    1. Pari is now called Bela.

      Thank you for your wishes, Aparna. I am in that phase of being able to hold my girl. And it’s a wonderful feeling!

  15. Dear Priya,

    I am a little late joining in the congratulatory comments, but can one ever really be late with congratulations when every day is a reason to celebrate after the birth of a baby? Bela is so beautiful. I know she will be beautiful inside and out just like her mommy. And I know you are such a wonderful mother. I imagine, since months have gone by since this post, that you are absolutely beyond elation each and every day, and with each and every sleeping (I hope she is sleeping well for you) and waking hour. I had a c-section with my first son and can relate with what you experienced. I was busy snoring on the OR table while everyone else greeted my baby boy. I finally held him the next day when I shook all of the medication. I hope you are encouraged when I share that my second son was a VBAC, all 10 lbs, 2 oz. Yikes!

    Sending a big hug to you, Bhartan, and beautiful, beautiful Bela.

    AA

    1. No, it is never late, AA. And welcoming you is always a pleasure.

      Bela is growing well. She’s just begun keeping us on our toes. We are seriously thinking of dividing baby-care-time! Otherwise, we’ll both be torn between the world and our world!

      Oh, AA. I needed to know about VBAC. That it is possible, that it isn’t too complicated. The clock is ticking, though…

      10 lbs, 2 oz. Phew. Why do I feel myself leaning towards Caesarian a little?!

      Much warmth to you!

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