Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Fertility and the Pakistani Mentality

A few months after my marriage, we decided to try for a baby. For some couples, it happens immediately, for others it can take longer... In our case, it was the latter.

For some reason, everyone automatically assumed I might have a "problem". I was still relatively young (24) and Alhamdulilah healthy, but the pressure was getting to me... Each time we'd visit Lahore or I'd speak to my in-laws on the phone, they'd ask, "any good news yet?!" and frankly, I was
a) embarrassed to talk about this with anyone 
b) couldn't think of an appropriate answer

On one memorable visit to Lahore, I was taken to a well-known gynaecologist for a fertility check-up. I was close to tears at this point, but thankfully, managed to find some humor in the situation and my friend and I had a good laugh on the phone. The doctor was an absolute darling. The first thing he asked for was a sperm-count which had very conveniently been ignored (even though I was made to get all kinds of invasive tests) because ofcourse the girl has a problem and the Man is a perfect specimen of male vitality.   

As it turns out, my reports were Alhamdulilah clear. The stress of the last few months fell away and I could be a "normal" woman again :-P. 

I just wish our culture stopped being so biased toward women and for anyone in this situation, please, do not despair and remain strong.

Parking at Dolmen Mall

The other day, I took my cousin who was visiting from Boston to Dolmen Mall. As we were waiting for our car in the parking lot, a fashionably dressed young man, (we'll call him G) drove up and started loading groceries into his car. He was in the wrong lane and blocking the way out. Cars started backing up, creating a mini-jam. G continued loading groceries. When the valet blew his whistle and asked him to please get out of the way, he burst out in an angry tirade, called him names and made threatening gestures. Meanwhile, an older man (presumably G's father) previously seated in the passenger seat got out of the car and asked his son to stop creating a scene. He apologized to the valet and got back into the car. G got in, slammed the door shut and drove off in a rage.

I foresee a sad future for our country if this is how the presumably "educated" and "civilized" generation behaves in public and I can only feel sorry for the father whose son cannot speak in normal tones to a person who's just doing his job. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tales of Mommyhood

I took 3 months off in addition to my company's three month paid maternity leave so I could spend more time with my baby. I loved it and no, I didn't miss work at all... :D

I had no time to miss anyone or anything! Mr. F suggested I do volunteer work somewhere... he thought I'd be bored at home :-P... 

Which brings me to the next point: Guys don't get it

A baby is two full time jobs and more. In between b-feeding, diaper-changing, cleaning up drool, burped out milk, changing sheets and changing your own clothes, you barely get time to shower and brush your hair. When Baby M was a month old, Mr. F sent me to Lahore so Baby M could meet his extended family... There was no electricity, the temperature was somewhere in the mid-40s (degrees Celcius) and the generator had conked out. This was probably the lowest point in my marriage post-baby. Meanwhile, Mr. F was off traveling to Bali and Lausanne for work and I just became more and more resentful... Mr. F and I barely spoke for 2 weeks and I was really angry and miserable all the time. 

Another major difference between Karachiites and Lahoris. When people in Karachi come to visit, they stay for half an hour... maybe an hour if they're close family or friends and they sit in the lounge or the drawing room. In Lahore (or maybe it's just Mr. F's extended family), guests walk in (right in to the bedroom!) without knocking. Never mind if a mother is b-feeding her baby and isn't really eager to have 4 other people watching her. Then, all the elders would come and press my poor baby's forehead and pinch his nose to make the head round and the nose thin (sar gol karna aur naak patli karna) :-P. I mean, really people, if God wanted my baby to have a perfectly round head and a pencil thin nose, he would have taken care of it... It made me super super-mad but again, I couldn't do/say anything without coming across as a really rude/arrogant wife/mother. 

When Baby M would cry (all babies do!) his well-meaning relatives would feed him everything from home-made remedies to medicines for adults... Again, I could only stand by and watch hoping and praying Baby M would be ok. Yes, I am a new mom, a paranoid new mom but that doesn't give anyone the right to tell me how to raise my child.   

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hubby vs. Baby

I don't know if this is normal/common among new parents but I think Mr. F went through a phase where he felt rather left out and resentful(?) of the new baby. I was totally drained at the end of each day and I had no time for myself let alone hubby. Plus, I wanted to spend every single waking moment just gazing at my first-born and worshipping him :-p (typical bollywood mom, yes :)).

I know hubby came first but when I look at Baby M, all I feel is 100% pure unadulterated love. Comments? 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

7 Months Later

Wow... It's been almost 7 months since my last post. Just to update, baby M arrived on Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 3:03 am. He was my Mother's Day gift :). The nurses gave him a bath and dressed him in a little body suit and brought him to me. They asked if I wanted to hold my baby but I politely declined... I was too exhausted even to smile. So I gave him a kissie on his cheek and sent him outside to meet the family :-p

There's a reason why no one talks about their labor room experience... they don't want to scare the living daylights out of the happy, expectant mom. But, for the uninitiated here's a condensed version of what I went through. After attending my boss's farewell on May 11th, I started experiencing the first signs of labor so I told Mr. F to head to the hospital. But Mr. F for some reason best known to himself refused, saying we should wait until morning... I panicked, called my mom and we headed to the hospital :P. Mr. F grudgingly followed.

What follows is pretty gross, but most expecting mommies probably go through it at some point. First, they give an enema... basically injecting your butt with a salt water solution to empty out the intestines.. ewww... :p

After multiple trips to the restroom, they hook you up to foetal monitors to check on the baby's heart rate and frequency of contractions. In my case, contractions weren't progressing (a contractions basically feels like your tummy's being scrunched) and usually with increasing force and frequency) so they inserted a tablet in the birth canal. That didn't work either, so finally I got induced with a medicine called sentosynol to speed things up. At that point, I was begging for an epidural but Mr. F refused point blank saying I should read a dua which helped his friend's wife (tough love?!!). So I finally dragged myself to the reception and asked them for an epidural. The nurse took pity on me and took me to the labor room.

The labor room was rather different from what I expected..
a. The bed had saddles
b. The bed was in 2 pieces

I still had no clue what was coming. I changed into scrubs and made myself comfortable (or as comfortable as you can be in that situation). A surgeon came and told me to sit still for a couple of minutes (not an easy task) but I managed it and he stuck the needle into my spine (I could feel it between the bone... ouch). Shortly after, I had an hour of rest and relaxation... Comfortably numb, I texted my best friend and had a chat with my cousin...

Around midnight, the contractions got worse and the epidural began to wear off... but, the end was near or so the nurses kept saying. At 10 minutes to 3, they separated the bed and pulled a piece away, legs went into the saddle and the labor room turned into a stadium with the nurses and the doctor cheering me on :-P (again, they never show this in the movies!). A few pushes later, baby M was here.