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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How Anisha entered this world ? (Labor story - Part II)

As I was staring at the monitor with fear, a doctor and a midwife hurried inside the room. They came as quick as a lightning. "Manju, turn to your left", they ordered. I struggled to change position and the midwife helped me. Within few seconds, Anisha's heartbeat became normal again. I was still trying to make sense of what was happening. The doctor talked, "We are monitoring your CTG from labor room; we saw your baby's heartbeat drop, that's why we came". That's quick I thought, that was really, really quick. I was thankful for the medical care I was receiving. The doctor immediately inserted an IV canula in my arm. She said, "Let it be there, just in case if we need it". They looked at the CTG measurements for few more minutes. Everything was normal. The doctor told me, "Go and sleep; if you have unbearable pain come back again". I was wondering how to sleep ! "What will happen if Anisha's heartbeat drops again, how will I know that in sleep ?" I looked at the doctor and asked my concern. She saw the worry in my face. She asked me to wait and disappeared into the labor department. After few minutes she came back. She said, "We have decided to monitor you closely, please come with me !" I felt an enormous relief on hearing it.

When I was about to enter the labor department, Rajender came. I explained him what happened. I was also happy that he was not nearby. Poor thing, he might have become so frightened. I didn't tell him that Anisha's heartbeat dropped to 40s. I just told him that it dropped below 120. A midwife took us into a labor room. It was looking beautiful, just like a 5 star hotel suit. They asked me to lie down there and connected me to another CTG instrument. The plan was to monitor me continuously for an hour. I looked at the ceiling. There were many tiny bulbs embedded in the wall which emitted blue light, they appeared like stars. There was also one big bulb inbetween those tiny ones emitting milky white light,  it appeared like moon. I was captivated by the beauty of it. I told Rajender, " When Anisha will be coming out, when I will be in enormous pain, I will look at the ceiling and relax".

That one hour passed eventless. There were no contractions, Anisha's heart beat was stable. The doctor came inside again. She said, "I understand your worry. You have to trust me. I believe all is well now. If you are monitored continuously, the machine might pick up some more abnormalities of no significance. There are no contractions too. Just go and sleep peacefully". She continued, "We must plan a C-section for you, we will discuss about it tomorrow".  What she said appeared sensible to me. I consoled myself by saying, "C-section is OK too. I just can't bear this uncertainty anymore. Whatever the mode of birth is, Anisha must be safe in my hands".

On the other hand, my pain was increasing too. I told doctor that I was having lower back pain. She sent me saying, "I will ask the nurse to give you an anti-spasmodic and paracetamol". I went to my room again. I asked Rajender to stay with me. He has brought some bedsheets with him. Although there was another lady in our room, I insisted that he lie down near my bed. I was not comfortable staying alone and he knows that without a valid concern I wouldn't ask him to stay. He prepared his bedding on the floor near the room heater. At the same time a nurse entered the room and handed over a buscopan vaginal pessary. She also had paracetamol which will be given intravenously.She looked at Rajender and said, "You are not allowed to stay here. There is another patient in this room". I looked at her helplessly. The other woman in the room on hearing what nurse said, talked. She said that she has no problem if Rajender stays there. I was very, very thankful for her understanding and compassion.

The nurse then tried to insert the needle in the IV canula. She did it so carelessly, the blood oozed out and stained the bedsheets and some poured on the ground too. I asked her to remove the sheets and replace it with clean ones. She looked at me nonchalantly. She gave a reaction as if I was troubling her and said, "I have no one to help me. I can't change the sheets now". I was so tired and angry too. My pain was getting too bothersome, I just want to lie down. Rajender tried to interfere but I calmed him down. I told him, "This is the difference between Germans and non-Germans. I have no energy now, leave it !" That nurse was a non-German ! I have found Germans to be very dedicated and perfect in their work. There is lots to learn from them !

We switched off the light and laid down. The paracetamol seemed to calm my pain a bit. But within 10 more minutes my pain became so intense I couldn't bear it. So, I inserted buscopan pessary too ignoring Rajender's concern of the medicine hurting Anisha. I tried to close my eyes. All I felt was pain and fear. I was constantly thinking about Anisha's heartbeat. Ten more minutes passed. I couldn't lay down anymore. I woke Rajender. I told him, " I couldn't bear this pain, it is increasing rapidly."  By that time, contractions were coming 5 minutes apart and was extremely painful. So, we went out of the room towards the place where CTG monitoring was done. I saw a midwife and told her that my pain was unbearable. I pleaded, " Please do something. I have too much pain. Normally, I bear pain very well. This is not something which can be ignored". She said, "Wait for sometime, I will come back". She left us in the corridor and vanished. I was screaming in pain. I forgot that there were people around. I just screamed. Rajender was looking at me with concern and was trying to pacify me. The midwife came. She said, "I want to check your cervix please lie down in that room!" I was like, "What! You want to insert your finger now !".

I had no other option than to obey. She prodded my vaginal area and looked very confused. She said, "May be 2 cms". Then she said, " I am not sure, I will call someone else to check too". She came with another midwife. She checked my cervix and smiled. She said, "It is 7 cms" ! "I knew, I knew, the pain was horrible !"

Then they called the doctor. Doctor came and looked at me with a smile. She said," your baby is going to come today". I was happy but was also in too much pain. I pleaded, "Please give me epidural, I couldn't bear this". They immediately agreed to my request. They said, "We will take you to labor room and we will call the anesthesiologist as quick as possible". They were also looking at each other with a sheepish grin. I was  wondering about it. The doctor said, "We have too many patients who are waiting for delivery today and the labor room is full. This happens very rarely".

I was taken to labor room and was connected to CTG machine again. As the anesthesiologist was preparing for peridural anesthesia, they gave some other drug via IV. I had no strength to ask what it was and that was very unusual of me ! Before anesthesiologist gave me anesthesia I could feel my pain subsiding. I was wondering about it. By the time anesthesiologist gave me the epidural and left, I had no pain. I and Rajender were left alone. We were staring at the monitor. There were no contractions at all, I had no pain too.  I was feeling warm and my heart beat racing. I thought it was the effect of anesthesia. But when a midwife came and when I asked her what was it they were giving via IV, I came to knew I was being given tocolytic to prevent uterus contraction. I understood why my heartbeat was too high. In the beginning, I thought, they gave me tocolytic so that it will be easier for the anesthesiologist to give epidural. Now, I doubt, whether they gave me tocolytic to postpone the delivery as the labor department was full and they didn't have enough staffs!

After some time a new midwife came and she wanted to do cervical check one more time. Since the epidural was there I didn't feel any pain or discomfort. My abdominal region didn't have any sensation but I could move my  legs. That was amazing. I would strongly reccomend taking a peridural anesthesia if you are offered one. The midwife felt my cervix and looked at me with confusion. She said, " It is only 1 or 2 cm open". I felt very, very irritated. Are they playing with me was the question in my mind. Then another midwife came. She felt my cervix again. She said, " It is wide open, I could feel baby's head. There is lots of hair! (Not again!) But there is something which is blocking the cervical mouth". She said, "let doctor come and check once". I was hearing everything and wondering how things will proceed. Then the doctor came in. She checked my cervix again. She said," It is open. Since you had a cerclage I think there are some scar tissues". She also proceeded to break my amniotic bag. As she inserted a stick like instrument and broke the bag, a gush of warm fluid came out and I could feel it. I asked the doctor whether the amniotic fluid is clear. I wanted to make sure that there was no meconium in it. Doctor showed Rajender the dripping fluid. He also confirmed that it was clear. That was a relief, "Anisha must  be fine", I  thought. The presence of meconium in amniotic fluid is one of the signs of fetal distress !

After that, from 2AM to 6 AM, I was left like that. There were no strong contractions, no pain. I wanted to sleep but Rajender has no place to lie down. I didn't want him to feel alone. So, we both were wide awake looking at Anisha's heartbeat in the monitor. Rajender was not happy with the breaking of amniotic bag. I have to explain him that it won't be a problem and Anisha will be fine. Even then he was not so convinced. 

After 6 AM, new set of doctors and midwives started to come. They started the process of delivering Anisha. There were two junior doctors, a head nurse or midwife and another nurse in the room. They removed the tocolytic. After removing the tocolytic I started to have contractions. To speed up the process they gave oxytocin (pitocin) too. After starting oxytocin drip, contractions started to come more frequently and stronger. The pressure that was building inside was so huge, it felt very, very uncomfortable. I didn't have pain because of anesthesia but I could clearly feel the pressure build up. Within few minutes of starting pitocin, Anisha's heartbeat started to fall rapidly. Rajender was so upset on seeing it. I could see his face loosing colour. He was in fear and there was enormous tension building up. Midwife asked me to change position and breathe deeply. They said that I must breath well to help Anisha get enough oxygen. They stopped pitocin quickly and gave a huge dose (bolus) of tocolytic intravenously which they have prepared already. As soon as the pitocin effect faded away by tocolytic's action, Anisha's heartbeat normalized. This happened few times before my body got used to pitocin.

After that everything happened pretty quickly. I was having the urge to push every few minutes. I had to learn how to push and the midwife who took charge of the situation was amazing. She was tall and strong. She told me how to push. Shifted people around me to different positions. Rajender was near my head. Everytime I wanted to push, he lifted my head and my back a little. One doctor and another midwife stood near each of my legs. When I pushed they held my leg bending it towards my chest so that it is easier for me to push efficiently. One other doctor had a cloth around my pelvic region. After everytime I pushed, she tightened the cloth so that Anisha doesn't move back inside. I think it took 8-9 pushes to bring Anisha out. After every push I was so tired. It was like running a marathon. During the entire pregnancy, I was lying down most of the time because of the fear of my cervix giving away. I didn't even walk a few meters continuosly. But, at that moment, I needed to use all my muscles and that too with enormous force. I was losing hope inside. I was thinking, "Will I be able to do this ? Won't they get me some help ? Can't they use something to suck Anisha out ?" When I was wondering like this, people around me were appreciating me. They said, " She is strong and so is her baby. She didn't even shed a drop of tear ". I thought, " I have never cried in my life for any physical pain or discomfort. Only emotional pain makes me to cry at the blink of an eye"

I should mention something else too eventhough it is a bit embarassing. When I was pushing hard, I pooped a little. It was so embarrassing ! The midwife  cleaned it immediately. I looked at her and said, "I am sorry". She looked straight into my eye and said, "Manju, never mind. This shows that you are pushing in the right way. Great going, I am very happy the way you are doing it". That took away my embarrassment. Those words gave me confidence and courage. I admired and appreciated her for being so professional, for helping me to feel good. 

Anisha's head was visible in my vaginal tract at one point and they asked me whether I want to feel her before she comes out. I was so afraid, I said I didn't want to. After few minutes, there was one more contraction coming, the pressure was building up. I gathered all my strength and pushed. That push brought Anisha to this world. She came out screaming. Oh, what a sweet voice it was, my daughter's ! Rajender broke out into tears, happy tears ! He gave  a kiss on my forehead. He has kissed me several times before - out of love, out of happiness, out of lust, just as a routine, but the kiss I received at that particular moment is very special. His kiss told me so many different things which words will not be able to express. It said, "Thank you" ! It said, "I love you". It said, "you mean a lot to me". It said, "I appreciate and respect you" ! The memory of that kiss will last through out my lifetime. 

And me - I was smiling ! I have thought about that moment so many times before and everytime I had cried. But in reality I was smiling. That horrible pelvic pressure was gone. So, I felt extremely relieved. I had a sense of achievement. I felt happy and relieved knowing Anisha is fine. After Anisha came out, before I could see her, I was asking doctor like a mad person whether Anisha is fine. The doctor asked me, "What was your worry all about ?" I told her, "I was worried about some genetic defect" She assured me that all is well. 

They wiped Anisha, weighed and measured her, brought her and kept her on my chest. That was my first meeting with my daughter, in person. I have seen her as a five day old embryo, I have seen her via ultrasounds but on January 13 th, 2015, exactly 250 days after she entered my uterus, I had  her in my arms as a fully formed tiny human; everything tiny, tiny - tiny fingers, tiny nose, teeny-tiny eyes, my tiny miracle ! I have longed for that moment for 7 long years. I have gone through excruciatingly painful times in search of my little bundle of joy. It felt so good to touch her, to kiss her. I was ecstatic. I was calling her with different endearment terms. She felt amazing. Anisha didn't appear as a strange person, she is not new for me. I wanted her, I knew her, I longed for her and I loved her, for years ! Finally, she is here.

After I spent some time with Anisha, the nurse took her away. I was lying down thinking when I can feed Anisha. The doctor said that she has to stitch my nether region as I had few tears. I believe I had 4 or 5 tears, a couple of which were second degree tears. As the doctor was working on my nether region to mend it,  I was busy sending Anisha's picture to my loved ones. Guess, to whom I sent Anisha's picture first ? Ofcourse to my Dr !

When everything was done, I was transferred to a new room where they brought Anisha to me. As soon as I kept my nipple near her mouth, she latched as if she was a pro on sucking. That was so surprising and amazing to look at! 

After 7 long years of struggle, after 7 IVFs, after 10 embryo transfers, after transferring 24 embryos which failed to become our live baby, Anisha came into our lives, she is our 25 th embryo. My pursuit for perpetuating my genes has changed the way I look at life forever. Infertility has broken me many a time, made me mad, made me fearful of life, it has given me enormous pain. On the other hand, it has made me strong, taught me perseverance, patience, resilience and humility. It has introduced me to people whose memories I will treasure forever. Infertility has also given me Anisha, without infertility Anisha wouldn't have been Anisha ! Anisha's mom wouldn't be the person who she is today.

Yesterday, Rajender was talking to Anisha. He was telling her, "Princy nana (nana is an endearment term, also known as father in Telugu language), why didn't you come to us for seven long years ? I and your amma (mother) were trying for you for a long, long time. You never came. Your sister and brother came but they left us inbetween. We were so sad. We even searched for you in adoption centers. You never came. And one fine day our princy nana came ! We went to Mumbai and brought you, do you know that ? You came because you understood that we were very sad. Your brother and sister left us so that you could come to us". He was telling like this to Anisha in childish terms, just to talk to her. The little one was smiling as if she understood everything. On hearing this my eyes teared up. I kept looking at the father and daughter with contentment. Atlast, I was able to give Rajender his yearning - a child with whom he could play with after coming from work ! Infertility has also given us a story of our lifetime which we will cherish forever !

Oh yeah! Thus Anisha came into this world, into our life. Thus my search for propagating my genes ended successfully and I sincerely wish you all lots of luck too  ! 

So, is this an end or a new beginning ? ;)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Letters to my daughter

Dear Anisha,

As I type this letter, you are 2 months and 20 days old. I have given you a nice bath with an oil massage. You are wearing a white dress and sleeping peacefully. You look so beautiful, cherubic and I am deeply in love with you.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Anisha is 3 months old !

Anisha is doing good and so am I. I am still breastfeeding. I got my menstrual cycle exactly 3 months after delivery eventhough I am breafeeding Anisha on demand. Night feeding has gone down drastically as she is sleeping long stretches and that might have triggered my body to resume ovulation. My tummy is back to its pre-pregnancy shape. Now I have gained a bit more weight because of over indulging in food. I give breastfeeding as an excuse for that :) I have no stretchmarks, that's surprising because my mom and sister have!

Anisha is thriving. Some people say she resembles me and some say she resembles Rajender. I just wish she could have eyes that resemble mine. She is really cute, doesn't mean she has perfect features but she definitely has a killer cuteness which I haven't seen in many children. Her smile just melts me. When I look into her eyes I loose myself and my heart fills with joy, a pure, untainted joy. The hormones which create the mother-child bonding are doing their job perfectly.  Please bear with me if I appear insanely addicted to her ! Yes I am and my hormones are to be blamed. 

She is reaching her developmental milestones much quicker. She recognizes us and could differentiate her caregivers from strangers. She was crying seeing our friends and became calm when we took her back from them. Yesterday she was so startled by the sound of pressure cooker and it took a long time for us to pacify her. She tries to communicate with us using soft coos and babblings. It appears super cute.

All I feel is extreme thankfulness for Almighty and all the forces which gave us Anisha. I just wish everyone's wish for a baby come true. If I could have a baby everyone else could too.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

How to tackle the infertility blues?

  1) Kill your self-pity
Self-pity is a good emotional lubricant when facing any adverse event in life. It helps to cry your eyes out. We all get some comfort after a nice crying spell. But on the long run it ruins your ability to fight-back the crisis. If you dwell on self-pity your development comes to a halt. ‘Why me?’ is the first question you ask yourself when you realize that your baby-making machinery has a defect. Once you come out of the ‘why me?’ stage and start thinking clearly you can find so many solutions which will help you to deal with your infertility effectively. So kill your self-pity in order to get a better view of the infertility crisis and to tackle it in a better way! 

2) Knowledge is power!
Educate yourself about your condition. It will help you to come out of self-pity and see your infertility in a rational way. More you know about your condition lesser will be your pains. Remember, no one cares about you as much as you do, not even your doctor. In the field of infertility there are a wide variety of treatment options and each doctor will have his/her own style of approaching a problem. Only when you educate yourself you can actively participate in the decision making processes of your treatment which will give you immense satisfaction and will also spare you from unnecessary infertility tests and therapies. This means you can save more money and time which in turn might help you to reach your target (baby!) quicker.There is so much information about infertility on net. Infertility bulletin boards are full of knowledgeable ladies who can offer you emotional as well as intellectual support. Read blogs which are written by infertility specialists which will  give you authentic information. 

3) Remove 'The God Factor’ from your infertility
Just like flu, just like heart problem, just like cancer, infertility is also a medical condition. God doesn’t make you infertile. God doesn’t want you to be infertile. Infertility is not God's curse. Please realize that praying to God and not taking proper medical treatment will not give you a baby; which you crave for! I have seen people going from temple to temple instead of going to a doctor. In infertility time is also one of the most important factors. Go to temple but also find a good doctor. After all, God can help you only when you help yourself. When you think ‘why God did this to me’ then it is also a source of major unhappiness. Again it will make you go into the self-pity mode. Remember that ‘The God Factor’ is a soothing medicine for your mind which in turn can help you feel better physically. When I say remove "The God Factor", I am not asking you to be nihilistic, I just ask you to be moderate and rational! Spirituality is not a cure for your infertility but it will help you to remain sane even if your attempts of conceiving a baby doesn't work as expected! 

4) Socialize
Do not retract into your shell. Be with the company of good friends who will understand you and offer emotional support. When you socialize you will realize that people come in all different varieties and colours. Some might hurt you, some might offer their sympathy, some will empathize with you, some don’t care and few people can inspire you too! What people think of your infertility is their problem and not yours. As Bertrand Russell said, ‘A dog will bark more loudly and bite more readily when people are afraid of him than when they treat him with contempt, and the human herd has something of this same characteristic. If you show that you are afraid of them, you give promise of good hunting, whereas if you show indifference, they begin to doubt their own power and therefore tend to let you alone’. Do not give undue importance to people’s comments or thinking. Be bold to face the world and try to imbibe inspiration from the people you meet. Ultimately you will realize that everyone has their own journey filled with hope and desperation. You are never alone! 

5) Try not to hide your infertility
You do not have to tell everyone about your infertility history. But be honest when your friends and relatives ask ‘aren’t you ready for kids yet?’ Tell them that you have problem with your ‘fertility apparatus’ and hopefully it will be mended soon :). I have personally experienced that this kind of frank answers make people behave themselves. This also stops them from pestering you with further questions so that you do not have to panic each and every time you meet them. 

6) Forgive unreasonable people
People are often unreasonable. Forgive them anyway. This will not teach them anything but will help you to safe-guard your happiness and peace of mind. Forgiving doesn’t mean that you have to be docile all the time. If their words and actions hurt you never be afraid to tell them to mind their own business. Anger not expressed at the right time can cause damage too! 

7) Stay away from superstition (and also from superstitious people!)
Fear is the major causative factor for superstitious beliefs and such beliefs will in turn keep you in fear’s grip all the time. Never get caught in that cycle. I find people’s attitude is infectious too. Avoid people with low self-esteem and superstitious beliefs. Not only they can reduce your confidence levels but can hurt you too. To tackle infertility you need lots of self-confidence. Never loose it to superstitious beliefs! 

8) Count your fortunes
Some people undergo much more horrible suffering in this world than you can imagine. Infertility hurts but it is not going to kill you anyway. What doesn't kill you; will only make you stronger! Be thankful for your blessings. Try to help people who are not as fortunate as you are. It will keep you happy and to appreciate who you are! 

9) Get out of abusive relationships
It is impossible to fight infertility alone. When your spouse does not support you and is abusive then there is no point in going through this exhaustive journey. Your partner must provide you with an emotional cocoon where you can get all the support from. He has to also safe guard you from spiteful in-laws (if you are not fortunate enough!). If he is abusive himself the only way to escape from mental stress is to quit the relationship. It is good for both your physical and emotional health. 

10) Be selfish and pamper yourself
You are the person who is undergoing lots of stress physically and mentally. Love and pamper yourself. Never carry others problem in your mind. Your mother or mother-in-law’s problem of not being able to have a grandchild is something which they have to deal with. Be selfish to the core! Sometimes it is wise to be selfish.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Why am I addicted to Anisha ? :)
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