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May 28, 2010


Spent some really good hours with a friend and her 9 month old son today. The boy is absolutely adorable -- will be really handsome -- and it was so, so nice to see mother and son doing their thing. I loved the way he would just throw himself at her, completely trusting that she wouldn't let him fall. Of how she lifted him over her head and he simply stretched his arms out and shrieked with delight. Or how each time she left the room, he would crane his neck to see her or to hear her footsteps. Mostly I really cherished watching the exchange of touches between them.

When I was little -- as in not five feet 'little' but a kid! -- and I'd hurt myself or fall down or bump into things (which was usual and has not changed), Papa would rub wherever it was that I'd hurt myself and say, "There, it would now be all right." It didn't 'do' anything to the injury as such, but I would feel much better instantly. Or how when my period cramps would get really bad, Ma would fuss around me, stroke my hair and get me a hot water bottle. The bottle helped heaps, but it was the gentle touching that helped much more.

I clearly remember when I was 13 and Thamma (paternal grandma) was staying with us... I had developed these black corn-like things on my ankles from wearing tight shoes. Now my (late) Thamma was obese and didn't move around much. However, every nigh, unfailingly, she would painstakingly rub cream on my ankles and massage it in. "Snow cream will soften the skin and make the marks disappear," she would say. The marks did go away. She was so, so good at providing physical comfort to other people. Pressing your forehead if you had a headache, pinching the eyebrows (er, can't explain it in English but it's the most divine thing EVER!) if fatigued, gently massaging cream to relax the skin, the most bloody awesome head oil massages... It's amazing the things I have picked up from Thamma. Things I hadn't realised I had learned.

Like 'dotting' my face with cream before rubbing it in because "it spreads better and you don't miss out any area." Or knowing that when another is tired, nothing works a miracle quicker than running your fingers through their hair. So far I have not known anyone who does not like it. She 'finger combed' my hair every night when she stayed with us.

I am really fatigued today. I was fine in the morning but once my friend left, I have progressively become more and more tired. Now I feel it's in my bones and I miss Thamma so much. I miss my Ma a lot too. I had always assumed that I would have my mother around whenever it was that I had my first child. Now I don't know when I'll see her; though it's definitely sometime Bub's born.

I wonder how it would have been had either Ma or Thamma been around. I know it's normal to not be able to sleep in the third trimester but perhaps Thamma would have gently patted my back or stroked my hair each night I lay awake. And perhaps every time I would have said my back hurts, Ma would have rushed to get me a hot water bottle. Then arranged cushions around me, pulled a stool or something for me to rest my feet on, offer a back rub, touch my cheek and say, "Aaram kore di?" Papa on the other hand would have gone and brought some tandoori chicken, knowing it's comfort food for me.

Home-cooked Indian food, made by someone else -- that's what I have missed most during my pregnancy. I can make most dishes myself -- and I have -- but I have sorely missed the sense of being pampered with food. Restaurant food is just not the same. I have had -- and have -- many, many cuddles and hugs (Partner is really good with those), but I think I have really missed my Ma's concern. And I cannot tell her how much I want her near or how sorely I miss her because then she would really miss me and get upset.

Now as the date draws nearer (still couple of months though), I am getting sort-of edgy. Wondering about what's to come and wondering what I've missed out on because I am so far away. If I was in India, would I have had a naming ceremony for my child? And a traditional Indian baby shower? With bangles and henna? Would my baby have had many pishis and kakus and maamas? And many uncles and aunties instead of now calling everyone by their first names? On names: I know Bengali nicknames are joked about and well, I have at least seven that I can recall instantly... but would my child have had as many names...instead of Mum struggling with getting any names on the shortlist?

Indian or Australian? Complicated Indian? But how the hell will the Aussies pronounce it when even 'Jhoomur' has become "Zhumoore"? (Though to be honest even most Indians have had trouble pronouncing my name, rolls eyes) Simple Indian name? But then would Ratan become Rat and Pooja turn to Poo?! Based on grandparents? But Partner didn't know mine and vice-versa and 'Abha' would become Ava... it's not the same. A name that has a meaning? But desi or Aussie meaning!?

May 17, 2010

Abe, normal

Still don't have the internet home, which is probably a good thing in hindsight. If I had had (easy) access to wikipedia last week, I probably would have gone into pre-term labour due to mouse-induced stress. So I went for my routine 28-week checkup, it coincided with my birthday (May 6). Along with all the great news the doc gave me -- vitamin and iron levels sweeping bottom etc -- she also told me she was sending me to a cancer specialist for another colposcopy.

I had my PAP smear (abnormal) followed by the first colposcopy (abnormal) in Jan/Feb 2010. Back then the doc told me that some cells in my cervix looked suspicious but that she would wait a couple of months before further action. Those couple of months passed pretty quickly and now she was sending me to a C-specialist. The appointment was in four days in which I was convinced I had only two more years to live (full blown cervical cancer) and that my doc was not telling me everything. Very routine check up that and a great 31st birthday. I refused to do anything and spent the evening wondering if my baby would be motherless and if eventually s/he would have a white or a dark-skinned step mom. Partner was very loving, which made it even worse.

Silver lining in the situation? No internet access to confirm my suspicions and confirmation that despite my MIL's very helpful "You have not grown much since I last saw you" statement (I immediately began thinking premature, underweight baby), my doctor told me the baby's size is/was slightly above average for 28 weeks. By the end of the week thought things were back bright and beautiful (except for the bit about an unsigned contract, looming deadline and absolute inability to write anything, even shopping lists).

The visit to the C-specialist was bad. Instead of focussing on what she said about the suspicious cells now being possible early cancer, I was more pissed off about her attitude and comments about me, ie about exercise and smoking.
"Do you do any exercise?"
Disapproving frown. "Do you at least walk?"
"Yes. I walk to the supermarket. ?"
Humour not appreciated, frown deepens. "So basically you don't do any form of structured exercise are a smoker."
"I haven't since I've been pregnant."
Not impressed, rolls eyes and says in very authoritarian, disapproval-laden, you-are-a-moron tone, "What are we going to DO about you?"
I smile to avoid telling her exactly what was on my mind. Despite usually harping about my lack of exercise, Partner wisely did not join teams with the C-specialist.

Towards the end of the session that included questions about vegetarianism and the efficacy of yoga, C-specialist performs a biopsy. It alarmed me somewhat because so far according to what I had read (er,) biopsies are not performed in pregnancies. At least that's also what my doc had told me after the first colposcopy. After the C-specialist pokes around in me and tells me not to worry about the biopsy ("But doctor..." was ignored), she announces that depending on the test results we could be looking at a possible operation at 34 weeks. And that "usually" that would mean the baby would be born as well.

"Can it harm the baby?"
"Not really, unless you bleed too much."
"But then it would be a pre-term baby...?" I sound somewhat harsh because I didn't want to sound hysterical.
"Yes, but the baby has good chances of survival?" she says.

WTF does "good" chances of survival mean? I've had morning sickness, severe tummy and abdominal aches (I thought my pancreatic fluid or something was leaking), horrendous constipation (enough to make me fantasize about having good poos), inconvenient kicks in the gut, less than desirable physical manifestation of mental horniness (decipher that!) and many unwanted horror baby-birth stories... in short, I've been through some things and I'm WAITING for my baby. I want to say "My waters have broken" or "Honey, we need to go to the hospital NOW" or "The baby's on its way" or "Where's my Prodigy CD?" or whatever else... I want to feel the pain, have someone tell me to push, crush Partner's fingers and after it all, HOLD my baby.

And now this bloody, possibly vegetarian, definitely yoga-loving, disapproving, insensitive-to-pregnant-mother C-specialist tells me my baby has "good chances of survival"? It was not enough and I was shit scared. Of everything. Both Partner and I were shaken up. That was on Monday (May 10). Thankfully by Friday evening, my doc had called and informed me that I did not have gestational diabetes and that my biopsy showed that it was only CIN , ie not cancer and only on the surface. She still has to tell me about operation dates. Let's see.

The C-scare apart, I've been exercising like a maniac, in a manner of speaking. We moved house recently and it's a two level place, so I've been doing tonnes of cleaning up, setting up and general stuff that has me moving a lot. Even going up and down stairs, which anyone will tell you is legitimate exercise. The fact that I just cannot sleep -- baby obediently and religiously kicks at 12 am, 2 am and 4 am -- also helps in clocking extra hours for exercise.

I am also expanding exponentially. And helpful statements from well-meaning friends/people like, "You haven't put on much weight, you're all baby" are not helping at all. Since I've recently rearranged my clothes, I know just HOW big I am. All my jeans are getting stuck at the knees, I've discovered underwear that can now only fit my ears and bras that... Well, Partner pointed out that my breast(s) are bigger than my head. Get the picture?

I am also changing fundamentally and I can't seem to control, shape or prevent it -- and it's the lack of control that's bothering me the most. Like retail therapy now means shopping for various types of cleaning products and optimum space management solutions. While the criteria for personal clothing is still the same -- feels good against my skin and comes off easily -- the intent and purpose are dramatically different. Earlier it was seduction, now its turning into sedation. AND I have 10 more weeks to go of waiting. Sigh.

May 13, 2010

Quick update

Don't have access to the internet yet, shifted home four days back. Sorry about not putting up the Mother's Day post, should be up once I am connected.

Had routine prenatal check recently, baby doing fine, touch wood. Other than that... kind of zapped. Low on Vit D, iron levels dismal. Maybe gestational diabetes. And, cervical cancer scare. Pre-cancerous cells, awaiting results and operation dates. Shocked. Still.

It's not cancer yet. But somehow, just the word is very scary. More details later.