Messages to my dear friend, Monica, as we share our experiences of being a mother, the things we learn from our little girls, everyday and the lessons we learn from life itself.
A Blog-dialogue across continents, countries and oceans of time and space...
(We last met in 2000 A.D, in India.)
Showing posts with label NICU at LnD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NICU at LnD. Show all posts

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lessons in Love from the Children of the World....

Yesterday, I was watching my children as I and my husband Raj went about our tasks like cooking, cleaning, laundry and sorting out the home (it was our day off)  The kids played, then fought and fell-out, I had to intervene when things got out of hand with one of them hitting out at the other, who then said she kicked her back in defence and got the first one to scream uncontrollably (see what I mean!?)...
 Later, after they were in bed and peace prevailed, I was reflecting on them and their nature, my parenting and MY nature...,  That is when it hit me... Shivangi is so much like a mirror; If I am rushed, she feels rushed. If I am calm and joyous, she is the epitome of calm joyousness herself...
As my husband gets her ready with me in to mornings for the last two-three weeks, I can 'see' potential flare-up moments and diffuse them before they spark up and ignite my volatile emotions. Everyday is a learning curve.  Shivangi is a great experience! She and her sister make me aware everyday- of my good fortune. Its like being the most-loved child of God- He chooses us to have these experiences in life and it is up to us to learn from them...
Mon, you know what, I always imagine YOU -doing those special things- the little things, with Raina. Our talks over the blog-world have made me a better person and a better parent than I ever was or could have hoped to be.
One thing I witnessed when I moved to Great Britain is the politeness, the courtesy and kindness we extend to all those we come in contact with. If you make a call, the person on the other side will smile and laugh with you, and make you feel at ease straight away. PLEASE, THANK YOU and you're WELCOME come naturally. Culturally, there are many variations, but amongst my own neighbours, friends and family. I have seen Love, concern and hope at all times.
When our kitchen caught fire in 2008, and none of us was at home, neighbours alerted the fire services and TWO fire Brigades came and rescued our home and pet BLAZE from harm. Tracy, our neighbour homed our goldfish, Mr Hassan brought us cups of tea as we watched, shocked; the remains of our kitchen strewn on the front driveway. Our family was out, and I had been at work when the fateful call came. My Charge Nurse instantly let me go home, and as I cycled down the roads, I was thanking the Lord that my husband and Kids had not been home at the time.
It never crossed my mind to bemoan my fate, and feel sorry for myself. Optimism runs through my veins. It has done so since I was born, to two of the most POSITIVE people in my life- My Father and my Late Mother... Dad and Mummy would always be Fair, Just and Honest- with us and others, and their Fairness rubbed off on us kids big-time. We each had our experiences, our lives converged as children of our parents and diverged from our own roles as parents in our adulthood, but whenever we meet, we can all see and support each other's difficulties and shortcomings and I feel re-invigorated when I talk to my Sister or Brother or my many cousins and relatives. My friends at University, and work in India also keep in touch via the wonder of Facebook!
In INDIA, growing up with my family, and many many loving cousins, aunts, uncles and relatives, friends and neighbours, I recollect that WE smile at babies in India , and can start chatting with a couple of people on the opposite berth of the train, in no time. We would swap stories, anecdotes, share food and soon us kids would be friends. So much so that when it was time for either family to leave the train, it would feel as if we were saying goodbye to lifelong friends. 

A Facebook picture by The Idealist (page link)
Today, on facebook, I came across this picture.... It speaks volumes about OUR WORLD and Our 'I' ness. Selfless LOVE is the only thing that can redeem Mankind. There is not, nor should there EVER be any scope for 'negativity' in our lives. If something is going wrong, I begin to look within myself for the crossing wires which caused the 'short circuit' in the first place. If my wires are untangled, and the lines are open, God will flow through and suffuse me and mine with Love...The children of the Ubuntu signify all that should be celebrated in our humanity- our HUMAN -ness. Being HUMAN first and foremost is the most important thing in the world. 

As John Lennon once said, "When I was 5 years old, my mother told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy' They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life."

How does one begin to pare down years of experience, millions of influences and gigabytes of memories inside of us and re-learn the whole business of being HUMAN!!??

The answer lies in our lives. When we have a newborn child in our midst, all of us, even the cynics and pessimists begin to smile. Their tiny fingers curl around our big ones and in that first touch, we see God in their eyes. When we say a child is beautiful, we are actually seeing the  purest, barest human being there ever is. A child brings love, hope and nurturing to its family. It is the promise of a better world for them that we make, silently, to ourselves as we gaze upon their countenance.... Each child is beautiful. Each person, no matter how they are presenting themselves to you, is beautiful. Look beyond the physical and you will see the same essence, the same purity in all of God's creations.... We just need to open our eyes and look inside us... Somewhat like the Dove Real Beauty Sketches show us...(here)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy Birthday, Daughter!

Whenever the birthday of a loved one rolls around, I get ponderous, wistful and, at times, a little bit sad. Just a little bit, though! Last weekend was one such day. What made it extra special and extra poignant is that my first-born turned eight that day. There's something irrevocable and definitive about birthdays. Like time has been stamped and chronicled...so-and-so is now and henceforth eight years and counting....time that has passed on, never to return. All that remains are memories, growing fainter and fainter with the passage of time, save those special details that make memories feel so very much alive...

My first baby...Shivangi. I quite vividly remember the day she was born in all its glorious details...It was a Monday, and a sunny one at that. I had walked home, after being discharged from the hospital that very morning, after a weekend 'under observation'. After reaching home, I cooked and waited for my M-i-L to return from work. As we watched TV that night, I felt an uncomfortable pain around my bump, as if an invisible band was being gradually tightened around my ample middle... Mum asked me if I was all right, and, since I had no clue, I nodded. Later that night, as the discomfort intensified, she told me to take care and get some rest, and to wake her up if I felt any pain. My husband worked afternoon shifts as a restaurant manager, so I called him and we talked about the possibility that tonight was THE NIGHT!! After an excited exchange and numerous text messages to him, I rang the Delivery Suite team and was told to take some Paracetamol and try to relax until the contractions were five minutes apart. When I told my husband Raj, he just jumped up, and said, "Let's go!!" 

I can recollect, with some accuracy, the way the Delivery Suite Midwives settled me in, and the way I held my husband's hand with bone-crushing intensity. (Its a good thing he has always been fit and works out at the gym, come rain or shine; a lesser man would have howled and pulled away as the waves of pain crashed over me with alarming regularity.) It all felt so rushed, and uncomfortable that I felt like saying, "hang on, can we run over this bit again!!??" It left me ill-prepared to use the gas-and-air mask that a nurse told me to breathe with when the pain intensified. Consequently, I managed to deliver my precious first child whilst feeling as if I were being ripped from the inside out. I pushed and pushed and then some more until the searing pain gave way and I felt a warm, wet and soft form escape my body... I craned my neck to catcha glimpse of my child, (all I could see was black hair and a tiny, limp form, face down on the sheets between my knees. Worried and anxious when I did not hear her cries (as I had expected, thanks to the hundred-odd hindi films depicting the birth of a child) my feeling of dread was pushed to the back when the super-efficient midwife wrapped her up in a clean towel and proffered my husband a pair of scissors to cut the cord...With shaking hands, he did just as she instructed, and she lay my baby in my ams for a quick cuddle.... Meanwhile, Senior staff who entered the room (I had no idea who they were and scrambled to preserve the remnants of my dignity) A supportive midwife helped me sit up and I was relieved to see I was decent! The seniors consulted amongst themselves about her low APGAR score, and debated on the next course of action. All this took just a few minutes and soon after her birth, they had a little sterile trolley brought in and were ready to take S down to NIU to be monitored for a few hours.

In the moments following her birth, as the NICU staff whisked her away, my dear husband looked worried sick and torn in two as he brushed away tears with the back of his hand. A nurse plunged a needle into my thigh to give me some vitamin K and another prepared to 'stitch me up'. Late that morning, after an hour of bed rest, and a wash (that made me feel like I was still alive) and being examined and monitored by the wonderful staff, I was wheeled down to see my brand-new baby daughter, who I had only just held in my arms briefly, until that point... (My husband and his mum had gone home after seeing to it that both of us were okay and resting.) She looked so tiny, so fragile and yet so much her own person!! Her spiky, jet-black hair stood out in all directions,  her eyes tighly shut, an unmistakable frown (her Dad's) imprinted her forehead as she lay on her tummy, under the warm light in an incubator. As she slept, I looked and looked at her, unable to fight the urge to hold her close, yet afraid to do so, as she clearly, needed the drip and the warmth. I debated with myself and continued to look at her until a kindly nurse asked me if I'd like to hold her!!?? So, as mother and daughter were finally re-united outside the womb, a new chapter of our lives began! A chapter that said, "Hello!!"

In all our interactions so far in her young life, I try and recollect that first meeting and that first touch... As she snuggles up to me at night and falls asleep to this day, her breathing becoming regular and her little hands clasping me in different places, I thank God for the gift of motherhood...