So long, Sleep!

It’s been 8 days since I last slept. Actually, no, that’s not true. It’s been 8 MONTHS since I last slept, and 8 months before that! Basically, I haven’t slept since that day we decided we wanted to be parents. Things that have kept me up:

Is this what I want?
So, we’ve spoken about it, at length. We’ve decided we want a baby. We’ve decided it’s the right time. Rather, I’ve decided all that, and he seems to agree—yeah, hell, of course he agrees, to be sleeping as peacefully as he is; those snores are definitely someone who knows what he’s on about! Oh lord, I hope this is what I really want!

Am I, am I not?
Ten days on, I was quite sure there was something up with me. I was getting cramps, while on my run, I was pulling myself around the tennis court (Yes, Serena Williams, you really are GOAT!), and I was having trouble getting out of bed. I also, once, nearly broke the door down, so I could run to the loo, to throw up. The doctor had an answer to everything—not drinking enough water, the weather (apparently, sleep is a symptom of the ‘salubrious Nilgiri climes’), and something I may have eaten. He then conceded, there may be a hormonal issue, but it was definitely nothing to really worry about. And no, I was definitely not pregnant, because these were all 6-week-pregnant symptoms, not 6-day-pregnant. So I stayed up, convincing myself, alternatingly, that it was too early to say, and that I definitely wasn’t.

Someone strap my legs, hold ’em down, make it stop!
Restless leg syndrome. That evil, evil thing! According to statistics, almost one in every five pregnant women, suffers from RLS. But, to be fair, I wasn’t the only one this monster kept up. Everytime, I’d wince, or one of my legs would jerk, an arm or a leg would appear from somewhere and pin it down. And because sympathy often begets tears, there would follow a meltdown, and then a pep talk… So much for sleep!

OMG, I’m doing this alone!
From ‘I’m only going to get bigger—how am I going to do xyz’, to ‘who’ll change the diapers when he’s gone’… The anxiety for having to wing it alone is greater than actually flying solo. And yes, anxiety keeps you up. It also makes you panic, which, too, keeps you up!

You bladdy bladder!
Picture this: You’re 8-months-pregnant, and you have all these noises running through your head, and you finally exert your will for all its worth, and shut them up, and then, there is a squeak; and you realize this noise is not in your head, it’s your bladder, being pushed to within an inch of its life by your bulging uterus! Not a very pretty picture. But who said anything about pretty? There’s absolutely nothing pretty about being pregnant, or having a baby, except, perhaps, the baby. Even the baby, is usually pretty only to her own parents!

Will I be a good parent?
Will I? Am I? If I am, will I continue to be a good parent? Like it sometimes happens with jobs, does burnout happen with parenting, too? Will she come and tell me all that I’d like her to tell me? Will I meet her standard of what she expects from her mother? Will I meet my own standard of what I expect a mother should be?

Popping the baby!
Will it be a natural delivery? Will it be an easy delivery? Will it hurt? I hope she gives me an epidural! Will I have to go the surgery way? I hope they don’t have to induce labour—that’s rarely ever a happy scene! Is that a contraction? What’s a contraction like? How will I know, it’s time? I hope I know it’s time, in time. I hope ‘time’ is not in the middle of rush hour traffic. I hope it’s not a water-breaking, messy affair. I hope my water breaks, because then I’ll definitely know it’s time. I hope the baby waits for her daddy to be around when she arrives. Will it be a girl or a boy? Oh, I so want a baby girl! Baby boys are sweet, too—I can dress him up in bowties and suspenders! Oh wait, we still don’t have a name for a baby boy!

Everything hurts!
The month before the baby came, and the month after, literally everything hurt. Legs, arms, neck, back, sides, stomach, everything! I’d like to see you sleep through that kind of pain. And then there are pains that carry on, a few months down the line. GROAN!

The hospital
Everybody I spoke to, said, sleep all you can, while you’re still in hospital, because once you come home… And I thought, yep, that’s the way to do it. But this is how it went:

Night 1 (pre-baby)
10 pm: ‘Sleep now—tomorrow could be a long day.’
4 am: ‘We need to take you for an NST.’
6 am: ‘Induction or c-section?’
7 am: ‘Have you taken a call?’
8 am: ‘Are you sure?’
9 am: Here we go….

Night 2, 3, 4 (post-baby)
10 pm: OMG, my phone’s been going crazy, let me reply…
11 pm: It’s getting late, I better sleep.
Midnight: ‘You need to feed the baby!’
12.30 am: Ah, sleep!
2 am: ‘You need to feed the baby!’
4 am: ‘You need to feed the baby!’
5 am: ‘Madam, should we sponge you?’
5.30 am: ‘We need to change the sheets.’
6 am: ‘You need to feed the baby!’
6.30 am: ‘Would you like some tea?’
7 am: ‘Here’s your tea.’
8 am: ‘Feed the baby!’
8.30 am: ‘Breakfast?’
9 am: Breakfast.
9.30 am: Where’s my family?
10 am: WHERE THE HELL IS MY FAMILY?
10.30 am: *‘Family’ troops in.* Go away, you guys, I need to sleep. ‘Oh, but we didn’t come in earlier because we thought you’d be sleeping!’ AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

It isn’t always me. Sometimes, it’s the baby.
Gas pain. Teething. Growth spurts. The occasional flu. OMG, she’ll roll off the bed, in the middle of the night, if I don’t watch out. Oh dear lord, why does she insist on sleeping on my arm, at that awkward angle? The dead of the night is not for singing! Or for dancing!

And then sometimes, it’s HIM!
Dude, seriously? Do you even realize you’re two-and-a-half hours BEHIND me? You’re seriously telling me, you’re tired?! When we’re together, why must you be the first person to hit the hay? Why can’t you, ever, put the baby to bed, so I can be the first person to turn in? Not only do I need it, I DESERVE IT!!!

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While they all sleep…


It really IS me!
Like now, for instance. Why must this post be wrapped up, just now? Why can’t it be done in the morning? Because then it’ll be 9 days, and that just won’t make sense! I’m ambitious like that. I’m also a little selfish like that. I want my time and I guard it jealously. But what it really comes down to is, I’m never sleeping again!

The 7-Month Itch

Every month, I decide I’m going to do this. I go about my days, while the words play on, in my head. And then, every month, this day comes and goes, without a word ‘in sight’—they’re all still in my head. The next day, the tune changes, but the plan remains, waiting to be executed. But this isn’t the same as all other plans that came and went, without ever seeing the light of day. It’s different, because this time, I’m genuinely not procrastinating, as I’m wont to do. It’s because time is actually just passing me by, and the only thing I now have count of, is the number of poop-y diapers on any given day! It’s, like Daddy Bee says, she’s growing like a weed: You look away, and there’s one more achievement, one more tooth, one more sound that’s closer to an actual word.

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The moment it all began!

So, my little Baby Bee is 7 months old, today, and I’ve been meaning to write about ‘Being Mommy’, for exactly that long. But here’s what happened:

Month #1: Everything hurt. Literally, everything. We fed baby, changed diapers, tucked her in, and admired her, all in a haze. Perhaps our only observations that we recall, now: “OMG, we made her!” (me) and “Why do people make such a big deal of changing diapers!” (him). But through all that, we managed to make a song-and-dance of the first-month mark. We did get her a frock and a little gift, and The Mother baked a cake, and her father was around, and there was general good cheer.

 

Month #2: We had our first tryst with separation anxiety, when Daddy Bee left, and I was on my own. Well, my parents were around, but—as you will know, if you have a kid, or will learn when you have one—if they’re not in the same room, or can’t hear the baby cry, you are on your own! Unless, you wake them up in an emergency, and chances are it’s only an emergency because you’re imagining the worst, which, of course you will—you had this little being in your tum, all this while, safe and sound, and now she’s out there, with all kinds of dangers lurking around, and she can’t even tell you what’s wrong! But coming back to the SA, when Baby Bee realised her diaper-changer looked different, as did her bedtime tucker, there was hell to pay! I had a wee little fist grabbing at my clothes ALL THE TIME! Now, I was prepared for separation anxiety at age 1 year, NOT 1 MONTH. Anyhoo, once we settled in, we did OK. The upside: She learnt I was more than just milch cattle. The flipside: She’d wangled her way out of her cot and into my bed.

Month #3: We got adventurous. Like really adventurous. We took Baby Bee on her first air flight. Then we strapped her into a car seat and went on a road journey. All this, ostensibly, to meet her great-grandparents, but it didn’t stop once that pilgrimage was done. She went on another road journey, just for fun, because her grandparents had to travel on official business, and why shouldn’t she tag along, too! Meanwhile, she started teething (not just an irritant for her, but also a source of frustration for me, especially when it came to other people, of which there were two kinds: Those, who looked at me incredulously, if I mentioned it, and went, ‘but she’s too young for it, are you sure it’s not in your head!’; and those who were kind enough to inform me that my child was teething—why, thank you, I would never have known!). But the icing on the cake, she started turning, thankfully, only to one side, so matters were still under control!

Month #4: She went on her first ‘pilgrimage’, to Tirupati, and then we packed our bags, and moved to her other grandparents’. She had her first taste of winter (also pollution—sigh!). One more road trip, and the little one is turning into quite the seasoned little traveller. She’s more than happy, strapped into her car seat, in the back of the car, while we zip around town. Coffee dates and shopping trips with Mama became a thing, too! And she met some of her first friends.

Month #5: We saw the year turn. Attended lots of parties, and we made our first trip to a doctor for reasons other than vaccinations. And for exciting times, along came a little cousin, both grandmothers turned a year older, Baby Bee started sitting and we were reunited with Daddy Bee. She also learnt grown-up food tastes yummm, and went bananas for bananas!

Month #6: Two little teeth emerged, and Baby Bee learnt what it’s like to move around. Rolling around is fun, but creeping is even more fun! So back she went, into her cot, and boy, wasn’t that no fun for anybody! So, we came up with a little compromise: The cot works for the day, and for the first half of the night, but waking up in Mama’s bed is the way to go!

Month #7: Two more teeth, and yet another two on the way, we’re on a roll. Daddy Bee said a bientôt and moved yet again. This time, to another country. And we packed our bags, once more, and came back to Nanoo and Nana. Baby Bee sat up, all on her own, started singing, uttering syllables that imitate words, crawling, standing, dancing, waving and trying to take baby steps. She also made friends with the dog, even though he’s still a tad scared that she may pull his tail (which she does, too!).

To round off this super month, chicken stew for the baby and a run for the mommy! And of course, this post!