Friday, July 12, 2013

The Perfect Pregnancy - Part I

Yes, I can truly and honestly say I had a perfect pregnancy.

I was flying the day I found out....not figuratively, literally. I flew a small aircraft (was a birthday present from my husband) and then we came home only to realise, there was another birthday surprise waiting for me.

I cannot describe the dhaam dhoom on the day I told our families....fire crackers and sweets everywhere ....again, literally, because it was Diwali !

Ashok and I finally decided to grow up and moved out of our city centre apartment (where people kept partying at all time and restaurants/cafes were just a few steps away) to a residential neighborhood and replaced our bikes with a car (well, we still have the bikes).

People kept warning me about morning sickness, food cravings, feeling tired etc. I waited but none of these came, I went about my life as usual - having fun with Ashok, work and travel.

People cautioned me against air travel. But I was in Chicago for work, in India for my baby shower and except for the slightly big tummy, I felt no difference.

I dutifully joined pregnancy yoga and even started with something new called ''dancing for birth''. Truthfully, I had more fun dancing than doing yoga. Ashok and I also started attending maternity classes and the more they told us about what would happen before and after, I was getting intrigued but not scared.

Every appointment with the midwife (in NL, a doctor is called for only when there are complications with a pregnancy) was the same - everything was normal with me and the baby was growing well.

At 21 weeks, we started shopping for the baby and planning the nursery. I was so overjoyed that Ashok had so many ideas for decorating the nursery (Like our wedding, I thought he would just leave all the creative ideas to me! But I was so glad he proved me wrong)

At 34 weeks, the ultrasound showed that the baby height and weight was above the Dutch average (and this is saying something if you know how well-built the Dutch are!) and that he/she was very active. We also created a birth plan with the midwife and I confidently said I would need no pain medication or any other medication for that matter and would prefer a completely natural child birth.

At 35 weeks, the baby's head was down (this is needed for a normal delivery).

At 36 weeks, the baby was ''engaged''. I also started my maternity leave (obligatory in NL from the 36th week). I had a great send-off at work. My boss was extremely happy that I had transitioned my projects very smoothly to my back-up.

At 37 weeks, we took my parents to Germany, to Cologne. It was my father's childhood dream to walk along the Rhein river one day and it made me feel extremely proud and happy that I was able to make that happen (Life sure take its own interesting turns - whoever knew that I would actually live only an hour from Cologne some day or was it my father's dream manifesting itself in my mind as a desire to study in Germany ?!)
At 38 weeks, we took my parents to Amsterdam. During the Amsterdam canal cruise, my amma marveled at the beauty of the Dutch architecture and their design of the city with canals and told me ''Lifela idhellam parpenu nenachu parthadhe illa....''**....I was elated....it was one of these little pleasures of life to realise that something so simple from me could give her so much joy !

At 39 weeks, we went to Ardenne, Belgium (Ardenne is a hilly forested region like the black forest in Germany) to a small and picturesque village (La Roche en Ardenne). Appa tasted his first Belgian beer there and enjoyed it immensely.

At 40 weeks, even though, appa, amma and Ashok kept looking at me for signs of labor, I displayed none. So we went to IKEA for some left-over shopping. A note (for those unaware of the pregnancy science): A normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, even though a baby can be born anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks.

At 41 weeks (since I was one week late) my midwife referred me to a gynaecologist to make sure that everything was normal with me and the baby. It was, in fact it was so normal that my gynaecologist was convinced that my due date estimate was wrong (it is impossible to predict when the egg was exactly fertilized, due date is approximately estimated based on the menstruation cycle and size of the baby). She also asked me if I wanted labor to be induced (In NL, a choice is given to the mother until the 42nd week about inducing labor, when there are no medical complications) and I confidently said no. I was determined to have a natural child birth.

A day later, I had my first contraction. While I was excited that I was going to see my little one soon, I was also a teensy bit upset that my perfect pregnancy was coming to an end.

Want to know if my delivery was as perfect ? I will get to that in Part II.

**Translation: I never thought I would see these things in my life.
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