Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Pain and Pleasure :)

Before I start off on what I consider the biggest rant of my life, let me thank all the people who have left best wishes for Snuggles and me. Thanks a lot and sorry for not replying. Exhaustion is only one of the things that I can quote as a reason ;-).

Secondly, yes, the name Snigdha was my choice. One, I like the name very much. Two, I wanted the baby's name to have both Sri's and my first letters in it :). Later Sri came to like it too. We were told it'd be a girl, but since I have always wanted a girl, I thought it'd be better not to trust it and later be kinda disappointed (only kinda :-D) if the baby turned out otherwise. So we had a name ready for a boy as well :).

Thirdly, my duty, the disclaimer :).

"If thou thinketh that any lengthy explicit description of the labour and delivery pains is gross, then thou have been warned. O ye of the faint heart, thou shall avoid this post and if thou shall want, view only the pictures in this post."

Now all the single men should have stopped reading the post :-D. But if you are a guy and you are single and still sticking to the post, then kudos to you. You are probably a guy like Sri :).

It all started 9 months ago. Wait, don't run, I'm only kidding :-D. But before we set out on the arduous journey, some definitions for the clueless (in which category I too belonged not too long ago)..

1) u·ter·us

A hollow muscular organ located in the pelvic cavity of female mammals in which the fertilized egg implants and develops. Also called womb.

2) con·trac·tion

The change in a muscle by which it becomes thickened and shortened.

3) cer·vix

The constricted lower end of the uterus.

4) di·la·tion

The action of stretching or enlarging an organ or part of the body.

5) in·duc·tion

The inducing of labor, whereby labor is initiated artificially with drugs such as oxytocin.

6) ep·i·du·ral

Anesthesia produced by the injection of an anesthetic into the lumbar area of the spine in the space between the spinal cord and the dura, which eliminates sensation from the point of insertion downward, used esp. in childbirth.


The breaking of the membranes containing the foetus and amniotic fluid, usually followed by the first stage of birth: labour.

8) pi·to·cin

A synthetically created form of the naturally occurring hormone oxytocin, which causes uterine contractions.

9) la·bour

The physical effort and periodic uterine contractions of childbirth.

10) de·liv·er·y

The event of giving birth.

11) e·pi·si·ot·o·my

An incision into the perineum and vagina to allow sufficient clearance for birth.

12) pla·cen·ta

The organ in most mammals, formed in the lining of the uterus by the union of the uterine mucous membrane with the membranes of the fetus, that provides for the nourishment of the fetus and the elimination of its waste products.

13) umbilical cord

A cord or funicle connecting the embryo or fetus with the placenta of the mother and transporting nourishment from the mother and wastes from the fetus.

14) ap·gar

A test to evaluate health of newborns, scoring 2 points each for appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respiration.

I know I know! That was almost a medical dictionary. That done with, lets start off with last friday the 14th Dec 2007, when I thought all was well with the world and that contractions were simply painless tightenings of the uterus. I had an appointment with my doc. Everything was good, except that my cervix had already dilated to 3 cm (10cm means birth), but since my water hadn't broken yet, I could either wait for one more week or immediately get labour induced. Since I had just completed 39 weeks, I chose to wait for another week, well, which sorta became my downfall ;-).

That night my troubles started. I started having painful contractions of about 30 sec each, only they weren't regular (they ranged anything from 7 to 20 min). Unlike India, where you can get admitted as soon as the pains start, here in US, there are a certain number of conditions for you to even go to the hospital. The contractions have to be regular (within 5-6 min), or the water should break or there should be bright red blood (which might mean some placenta trouble) or if there is no noticeable kicking (which might indicate fetal distress). So literally I was stuck between the devil and deep blue sea. I couldn't go to the hospital, and the pain would go down only to come back in a matter of hours (changing the position is supposed to reduce false labour).

This went on until Tuesday the 18th Dec 2007 evening 4 PM when the contractions suddenly started becoming regular falling about 10 min apart. Sri called up the doc (this was when we discovered my doc wouldn't be on call that day, instead there'd be another I'd met only once earlier) only to be told to come to hospital once I hit the 5-6 min gap. Another 2 hours and I had reached the 5-6 min contraction range. We (Sri, mom, dad and I) headed out to the hospital at 6:30 PM. Thanks to the details in the childbirth classes, we were able to get registered pretty quickly and I was taken into a delivery room very soon.

Here I was told that my cervix had already dilated to 5 cm and everything was great. Still the contractions were pure torture. Each time one hit, I'd search for Sri's hand and grasp it tightly (sometimes I'd hold mom's or dad's hand too), while he'd look me in the eye and encourage me to take long breaths. I had heard about the pain, but its nothing like you'd imagine. Its like for about 30 to 45 seconds the world stops and the only thing you are aware of is the pain and nothing else. Naturally you tend to hold your breath, but you have to force yourself to breathe. You want to cry out but there's simply neither the breath nor the strength to manage that! Well, I should have managed to scare away the single women and the married-women-with-no-children-yet away by now. So remaining mommies, lets continue :).

As I said in my earlier post, I wanted an epidural. I didn't want to sacrifice myself to pain just for a natural birth (that is a fad here :-p). It poses some risks to the mom but it doesn't have any effects on the baby. But asking for an epidural doesn't mean getting one immediately. Epidural is said to lower the blood pressure of the mom. So what they do is give some fluids for the mom and then the epidural. So I was stuck with an IV and my blood was taken for some lab reports (to make sure I can adjust to the epidural). Meanwhile, my contractions and the baby's heartbeat were being constantly watched on monitors through belts tied to my stomach. And so the painful contractions went on for another 2 hours like this. I was 7 cm dilated when finally the lab reports came back and they decided that it was time for the epidural. An anaesthetist came in and after cleaning a part of my back, stuck the needle into my spinal cord and attached the epidural supply. This part was ok and it feels like a tingle in the spine :). That over with, my legs soon turned numb. There was a tingling sensation all over my lower body, I could feel everything, just not the pain. Precisely the way I wanted it :).

By this time, my water should have broken. But the labour seemed to be going nowhere. So the doc decided that he wanted to break my water (not painful, its just to get labour going). And that was that. But after a few minutes, the nurse (who was really wonderful and a great help all throughout) returned to tell me that my contractions had slowed down and they couldn't really allow that to happen as the labour might stop. And so they wanted to add Pitocin to my IV for the contractions to speeden up. And so they did. God, I think they covered everything in my baby's delivery :). By this time, it was around 11 PM in the night and I was hoping the delivery would cross 12 AM, just so that it'd be Dec 19th in India as well as US :-D.

Soon it did and I started feeling a lot of pressure in my pelvic region. The nurse said that the baby's head was in the pelvic region and it was time to push. Now pushing was not really painful thanks to the epidural, but it did take lots of effort. The nurse and Sri were the ones continuously encouraging me to push. All the while, Sri held my hand and was really a wonderful support. The baby was a bit big, so the head wouldn't come out despite several of these "pushes". Thats when the doc decided to perform episiotomy and so Snuggles came out into this world, at 12:56 AM on Dec 19th 2007.

It sounds cliched, but suddenly I was crying (obviously not due to the pain but due to seeing the baby), the baby was squalling and Sri was smiling at me with this broad grin on his face. Snuggles was placed on my belly and Sri was asked to cut the umbilical cord. Immediately after, Snuggles was taken to a warmer kept in the room to be checked for apgar while the doc did the placenta delivery and stitched me up. She scored 9/10!!

Till the epidural was doing its job (which was only for an hour after the delivery), everything was fine. After that, there were constant aches and pains all over my lower body but well, thats another story :).

Well, I forgot the camera in our hurry to the hospital. Sri got it in the morning and so thats when we started taking the first few photos of our baby. Here's one I call "The ecstatic, the tired and the superbaby" :-D.

It was really wonderful to see Sri hold the baby like a pro :).

And lastly here's Snuggles all bundled up with her maternal grandparents :).

Lessons learnt so far:

1) My respect for motherhood and mothers have increased by a million times! I mean, I love and respect my mom, but I never knew until now what she went through to get me and Darsh into this world! And she didn't even have epidural then. I was even a large baby, which made her misery all the more worse. Even when friends had babies, my reaction was "Awww thats sweet, how are you?", but I never thought beyond that. Only a woman who has delivered a child knows how it is. So mommies, you rock!

2) An epidural is a heaven-sent thing.

“I'm not interested in being Wonder Woman in the delivery room. Give me drugs.” - Madonna.

There is no point in suffering through all that pain when you dont have to and thats the bottomline!

3) An episiotomy is no joke. Yeah I knew there'd be a tear and stitches involved, but when it comes to pain in an area you use to eliminate wastes from your body regularly, its reality is something else.

4) Whoever said breast-feeding is romantic ought to have his head checked. Or maybe I should hunt and shoot him down. I say "him" because I'm certain any woman who has suffered through it would never term it as romantic. Its plain self-inflicted torture atleast in its initial phase. The only satisfaction is that your baby is getting a stomach full of food and thats about it.

5) Expect the unexpected and you'll be alright. We were discharged from hospital in just 2 days. The next day we had a pediatrician check-up in which we were told that the baby's jaundice levels had increased (the bilirubin levels were 18 and it shouldn't cross 20) and that the baby had to be admitted to the hospital again for phototherapy. I sorta broke down. I thought everything was going well, and suddenly there was this obstacle. But we had to consider the baby's health first, so we got admitted and we were discharged again after a day (the bilirubin levels dropped to 12). Though the incident did teach me to be prepared for unexpected circumstances, this is something I have to constantly keep working on..

6) Despite everything I have said in this post and more, it really does feel wonderful to have the baby in my arms. I don't have a sense of motherhood or immense responsibility but my feelings are more like a little girl's who has been given a wonderful new toy to play with ;-). And I was wayy wrong in my poem on baby blues, a baby is the beginning rather than end to more woes, but now standing at one week after I have delivered, I know that its all worth it. I know I'd do it all over again if given a choice and I somehow know that I can manage everything that comes my way :). Well so far all I have managed is the less sleep + constant feeding + changing diapers, but feels like an achievement nevertheless :).

And as for the guy who wanted to know women and asked this question:

How often do you think about sex?

Are you mad?? ##@$$#&!!!



Thanu retorted...

Adorable pictures. Congrats to both u and Sri.

Timepass retorted...

Congrats once again Deepthi. Take care of your health. Baby is very cute. Hope to see more pics in the coming days.

Omakucchi retorted...

Congrats to you and Sri. Your post is so well-written that I could visualise everything. I felt the same way you have respect for mothers has gone up exponentially after giving birth with all the agony and the ecstacy (..this comes later).

Sumana retorted...

Your expressively written blog my memories of childbirth back. I went thru this the 2nd time 8 months back. Few days of pain and you will forget all that when you see thelovely little one playing an dsmiling at you.
Take care
Have a great time with your baby

Kiran retorted...

my goodness!!!

great going... and merry merry welcome snuggles!

hv lots of fun.. take care

Smi retorted...

Whoa! That's almost a childbirth ready reckoner for every woman out there , mommy or not!
I ain't yet qualified to say profound things about motherhood, but yes, I know this - "Mommies Rule!" :)
BTW, I took a shot at the 22 tag thingy too..

The_Girl_From_Ipanema retorted...

literally felt faint after 2 paras. but decided to be brave and finish your post. hearty congrats, kudos to you and sri and thanks for sharing.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema retorted...

oh yes. snigdha is a darling! very cute pictures. :)

accidental diva retorted...

beautiful post deepti n' snigdha is a gorgeous little gal.take care.

Harish Suryanarayana retorted...

Congratulations ! Cute kid :) . Welcome Snigdha ! Thanks for the introduction to childbirth 101. Informative post from someone who has just been through the process. Way to go !

barb michelen retorted...

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Sumana retorted...

Deepthi, you are tagged.

mycucoon retorted...

I ended at your blog searching for recipes for yeriyappa. woaw , great writing skills and could picturise your birth struggle. This is very informative and your snuggles is soooo cute. beautifull baby.
Congrats Deeps and keep this blog going. btw, I did not get the recipe for yeriyappa anywhere in the net.But could not stop reading your blogs and forogt aboout that recipe!

wise donkey retorted...

Congrats! And what a comprehensive post:)
Love the name and also the nickname:)

take care and if possible take some rest:)

Happy New Year:)

Ano retorted...

Congratulations Deepthi! Am so happy for you.

Your post was simply fantastic, and Snuggles (that name is the cutest ever) is really cute! Take care and hope to read your "mom-posts" now.


Chickoo retorted...

Snigdha is very beautiful!! just like her name. Your post brought back a lot of memories when I had my little one 3 years ago :-).

Welcome to the parenting club!

Vanditha retorted...

Cool post and cute pics!!I just dont understand one thing!! how do you manage to write such long posts even now!!

~nm retorted...

I had tears in my eyes reading your birth story! I always do reading birth stories!

Isn't it such an amazing feeling to hold a little baby and to know that this was inside your tummy all the while? :D

Lots of hugs to all of you and belssings to the little one!

Ms Taggart retorted...

Man, I almost ran away, but just out of curiosity, persisted and finished it!
I heard this set of events from other friends and cousins, and everytime I hear this, I go like :O
Moms rock!

Paige retorted...


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WordPower retorted...

Very good one! Thanks!

I am happy and sad both at the same time! I am confused for sure!!

I was thinking of roller-coaster rides a few days back. Now I have a good reason not to do so!!!

WordPower retorted...

Read it again!! Wonderful post!! Your experience sums up what I have seen in a 5 hour childbirth DVD!! :)