Sahiti’s fifth month

Dear little Sahiti,

Armed with infant formula, we got braver with you. We would plan long day trips, hike moderately difficult and long trails and plan activities that kept us out of the house for long hours. The onset of Spring and your transition to infant formula made it seem like parenting was a walk in the park🙂

Ever since you learnt to completely support your neck, you preferred to be in the infant carrier in the forward facing position. You enjoyed the views and asked to be taken out for a walk. Your daily routine around this time included a walk to the nearby park and playing in the swing.

After learning to roll over from your back on to your stomach, this month it was time to learn to roll back on to your stomach again. I honestly don’t know when or how you learnt to do this. I went to the bathroom on day while you were on your tummy and by the time I came back, you were on your back again. From then on, you practiced this rolling over business literally every waking moment🙂 One thing that bothered me a little was that you only rolled over on your left and did not seem even remotely interested in trying from your right hand side.

You met your paternal grandparents for the first time this month. For the first few days, you did not appreciate the sudden increase in decibel levels at home. You often wondered who all these people were but nevertheless you enjoyed all of the extra attention you constantly seemed to get.

 Major milestones achieved this month: You learned to roll over on to your stomach and back.

Firsts this month: Meeting paternal grandparents and celebrating Holi in style!

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Sahiti’s fourth month

Dear little Sahiti,

Right after you turned three months old, your efforts bore fruit. One Sunday morning you rolled over as if you have been doing it forever and is no big deal. Thankfully, you gave us enough warning to grab our video cameras to record it. Here is a video of you rolling over for the first time and like always please ignore my annoying squeaks.

After that first time, you refused to stay on your back. Even in your sleep you insisted on rolling over and sleeping on your tummy giving me mini heart attacks each time. But when you were awake, it was such a delight to watch you.

You learnt to support your neck well and during your favorite pose was to lay on your stomach, prop yourself up on your elbows and watch the goings-on like a little lion cub. Your eyes never missed watching me as I walked back and forth doing things around the house. When something I did looked funny to you, you even let out a shriek of excitement.

Sadly, during your fourth month, we had to wean you off breast milk and introduce you to infant formula. I knew I would feel guilty about it forever and I still do. But somehow, parenting became super easy, once you switched to formula. From the beginning, breastfeeding was the biggest parenting challenge for me. You did not latch on well and it did not help that I had cracking and bleeding nipples. The pain of sitting up to feed you right after a C-section, still makes me anxious.

To ease the pain and frustration, I pumped and gave you breast milk in a bottle. But being alone with you all day, made it difficult to keep up with the pumping every couple of hours. Finally, I gave up in your fourth month. I feel bad for not continuing but it also gave me extra time with you. You did not seem like a responsibility anymore. You were a fun little baby I loved playing and cuddling up with.

Milestones reached this month: You learned to roll-over after trying hard for about a month.

Firsts this month: Our friends decided to do a photoshoot featuring you for us and how well did you co-operate! Here are a couple of pictures from the shoot.

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Sahiti’s third month

Dear Little Sahiti,

The one memory I have of your third month is you trying really hard to roll over and get mobile. You tried every possible trick you could think of (really, just turning to your left and pushing yourself as far as you can). You also started holding your neck high and added a cute little smirk to your face showing off how pleased you were with yourself. Your little coo-ing had progressed into a louder, cuter voice yelling in delight every time you found something interesting. By this time, you learnt the art of smiling on demand. Silly faces and funny noises were rewarded with a beautiful tooth-less grin.

This was a crucial month for me because, only in your third month I got complete responsibility of taking care of you. Ammamma and Tatayya left to India and Nanna returned to work after a long-ish break. It was just you and me for the most part of the day. You were a wonderful baby to take care of. You developed a more or less disciplined schedule. You slept longer at nights and during the day, fed every 3-4 hours. Apart from milk and sleep, you did not ask for much. You rarely yelled for a diaper change.  Putting you to sleep was my favorite part. All I had to do was wrap you in your swaddle and give you your pacifier. That’s it. Worked like a charm every single time.

Just like me and Nanna, we realized that you too like entertaining people and attending parties. We were getting antsy from being home for two months. So, we took you out to a Christmas Party at a friend’s place and you did wonderful. In a roomful of extremely loud adults, you kept calm despite staying up past your bed time. We got a little greedy and invited a bunch of friends over. Again, you behaved like a dream. You said your hellos to everyone, hung around for a little bit and went to bed as usual to let us get some much needed adult time.

Milestones reached this month: Learning to make noises to get our attention and following a rhythmic day/night pattern.

Firsts this month: First Christmas, first party, first New year and first Sankranti.

Sahiti on Sankranti

Please ignore my annoying voice in this video.

Lots of love to you,

Amma

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Sahiti’s second month

Dear little Sahiti,

Before I knew it, you were a month-old and began moving your arms and feet around trying hard to get going. Your favorite thing to do at that time was to move your right arm as if you were delivering a spin ball, much to your Nanna’s delight and make coo-ing noises amusing everyone.

The routine around that time was that you would wake up around 6am and be fed. You were then handed over to Ammamma to be taken care of while Nanna and I caught up on some sleep. Rest of the day used to be spent  bathing you, feeding you, changing you and taking you out for a walk on a bright day with very little time for anything else. One morning, when you were about 7-8 weeks old, I woke-up, fed you and handed over to Ammamma and went back to bed. I heard noises and came out to check and found you giggling away to glory in Ammamma’s lap. This is the most fond memory I have of your newborn days.

Unfortunately, your second month also was one of your worst in terms of crying. You seemed to have some mild colic and cried incessantly everyday for a couple of hours. Every evening, you would start around 6 and go on until you got tired and slept at 9. Something would trigger it off and nothing could soothe you. Not feeding, not a diaper change, not a warm bath, not a massage, not a pacifier, not gripe water ,nothing. Just when I thought I was turning a corner and recovering from a major surgery and began to love taking care of you, this cast serious doubts on my confidence. Plans were canceled, invitations to dinners were rejected. We even stopped cooking in the evenings because we didn’t want the strong odors to irritate your tiny little nose.

By 6 every evening, Nanna and I would adjust the temperature in the house to be comfortable for you. Put on some calming music, turn the lights down and gently rock you. We would do this for a couple of hours before you slowly slept. Over the course of your second month, we overcame this problem for the most part, when it was time for your first set of vaccinations.

I can never forget the look on your face and how much you cried when you got your first shot of injections. They gave you a total of 3 injections and each time you crying got worse. I spent the rest of day holding you in my arms with the fear of a negative reaction to the immunizations or your fever getting worse. However, you were a brave little girl and got better and were back to your normal self in 2 days.

Milestones reached this month: Learning to smile voluntarily and cooing when ou were feeling particularly excited.

Firsts this month: You watched your first movie in a theater. We dragged you to watch Tangled in 3D. You also went on your first hike this month.

Getting ready for a hike in her Reindeer suit.

Looking forward to many more hikes, movies and fun with you!

Love,

Amma

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Sahiti’s first month

Dear little Sahiti

I wanted to write a letter to you every month at least during the first year of your life. Since I did not do it for the past seven months, I will try and write everything I can remember to catch-up and then hopefully keep up with you.

Before you were born, I always imagined that I would fall in love with you the moment I saw you. In fact, even before you were born, I used to hold my tummy and imagine gently rocking you, all the while wondering what your nose would look like or if you would get your Nanna’s pretty feet. But my first reaction after seeing you was,” Eh?”. As much as I am ashamed to admit it, I was absolutely not prepared to take care of a newborn and came very close to giving it up and throwing the towel in.

I wondered why you looked so gray and whether your lips were going to be pursed like that forever. It was almost an hour after your birth that I got to hold you in my arms. The immense shivering from the epidural, sleeplessness and exhaustion took over and I did not feel a thing at that moment. The next few days went by pretty quickly with a parade of doctors, nurses, lactation consultants, dietitians, pathologist and any other person you can think of. The real challenge began when it was time to go home.

You were born on a Wednesday afternoon and we got home on the following Sunday. The moment I walked in to the house and put you down in the bassinet, I realized what it means to have your own child. I was reminded that it was no baby-sitting stint where I could play with the baby and return it to its parents when it was time to change nappies. The thought overwhelmed my tired and hormonal self. If I had to pick a night that was the hardest so far, it had to be the first night we spent at home.

You did not latch on perfectly at the hospital and made me extremely sore every time you so much as touched my breasts. We did not stock up on formula assuming you would be exclusively breast-fed. You cried your tiny lungs out while trying hard to latch-on and kept me awake all night. Everybody took turns to take care of you, but I did not get a break. I had to be up most of the night to feed you.  I could not believe that that night would end and that there was hope for sanity in my future. That night sent me off a downward spiral. The next two weeks were spent talking to a counselor and getting as much support and help as I could to keep my sanity and take the best care of you.  To their credit, I could not have survived the first few days without Ammamma and Nanna providing constant support to me while always being there to take care of you.

Over the next couple of weeks, we slowly began falling into a routine. I started to take note of the difference in your crying. I learnt when you were hungry, how to change your diapers, when to burp you and when to just pick you up and rock you. We overcame the breastfeeding trouble by pumping and bottle-feeding. You adapted excellently and you even started sleeping more at nights. Before I knew it, it was your first monthly birthday, which we celebrated with brownies and you got a little cow for a present from your Mama and Atta.

Smiling graciously for the camera

I was relieved and mighty pleased with myself after the one month mark. I started enjoying being with you and sometime along the way, fell in love with you.

Milestones reached this month: Staying up for about 5-6 hours a day and more or less adjusting to a day/night cycle.

Firsts this month: Your first Halloween and you got a Blue’s Clues outfit. Also your first Diwali and first visit to temple.

Love

Your Amma who now cannot imagine a life without you.

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Story of the big day

Everybody told me I would know it the moment I am in labor. Sounds pretty believable, right? Wrong!

So, this baby-to-be-born was due on the 17th of October 2010. Although my pregnancy was mostly hassle-free and I was fairly active most days, I began to get antsy towards the end of September. My parents were here to help out with the delivery and taking care of the newborn, JG had a new job to start soon and more importantly, we could not buy any of the baby stuff before the baby was born because we didn’t want to jinx anything.

Due date came and due date went with nothing happening. I had an appointment with my OB/GYN on the 18th. She examined me and said she would wait a week and then induce although she strongly suspected I would go into labor earlier. The exam left me completely exhausted and all I did the rest of that day was sleep. The next day, we got a slow start. JG was waiting to start his new job and so was at home with me. We ate a lazy breakfast, watched some TV and around 6 in the evening went out for a walk. I started feeling a few cramps sometime during the walk, but I thought they were from the previous day’s exam at the OB’s office. We went over to my brother’s for dinner and throughout I had a nagging pain in my lower back and stomach. We got home after dinner, ate ice cream, watched a movie and yet the pain did not go away. That is when we decided to call the advice nurse to make sure there was nothing to worry about.

After listening to everything I had to say, the nurse concluded I was in Labor, setting off my panic button. I kept calling the nurse every hour or so giving her an update of my situation. Finally around 4am, the nurse said I sounded a lot like I was ready for delivery and asked us to come in anytime. We immediately called my mom and asked her to join us to the hospital. By the time she got to our place, I took a shower, ate breakfast and got ready to get to the hospital, it was 6am, a good twelve hours since I have started labor.

We get into the car and just before strapping my seat belt, I call the hospital to make sure they know we are on our way. Apparently shifts changed at 6am and I spoke to a new nurse who told me very matter -of -fact-ly that there were no labor rooms available and that I would have to go to a different hospital. To a hospital that we have never seen before, don’t know where to park and what to expect. One of the most important piece of advice given by every pregnancy book or website was to be prepared for any change in plan. Well, we were left with no choice but to program directions to the new hospital in the GPS and start driving. We got to the hospital a little before 7am.

Once they checked me in, they began the routine tests and found that the baby was slowing down a bit. They decided to strap an oxygen mask on my face and poke an IV on my arm to help the baby out. I agreed reluctantly. Once things were stabilized, they shifted me to the active labor room from the examination room.

Around 10am, they asked if I wanted an epidural.  I gladly accepted one to relieve the pain and get some much needed shut eye.  I got an epidural inserted around 11am and they let me rest before it was time to push. In about 10 minutes there was a rush of doctors and nurses in to the room responding to alarm set off by the baby’s heart rate monitor. Apparently her heart rate was dropping. They tried injecting some fluid to simulate amniotic fluid and ease the baby. They monitored for a while, but it did not work. So they decided to stop labor temporarily and wait for the baby to change position.

We waited an hour and a half but the baby was in no mood to move. They asked if I wanted to be re-induced and  give natural birth another shot. Mom and JG agreed that it was the best thing to do, given the circumstances. So they induced me around 1.15-1.20 to set off second round of contractions.

Again in 15 minutes, there was a big group of doctors and nurses in the room because the baby’s heart rate dropped to dangerous levels. This time, there was no asking, no deliberation, nothing. They yelled among themselves that they had 30 seconds to stop the contractions and everybody poked an injection on to the part of my body they could lay their hands on, while I was being rushed to the OT for a C-Section. The JG now recalls that the scene looked straight out of a movie with PR systems announcing an emergency in so-and-so room and asking everyone to prepare for a C-Section in the OR.

My mom and JG were left behind in the room not knowing what was going to happen next. I concentrated on JG’s eyes while I was being wheeled out of the room, because for some reason, it felt like it was the last time I would  see him. It was in fact the last time I saw him as just my husband.

Once my contractions were stopped, they prepped me for C-Section and asked JG to suit up to come in and watch. After 10 minutes, they announced that they were beginning the procedure. JG and I held hands in anticipation of the big moment when we heard and shriek followed by a loud cry.

With that loud cry on October 20th 2010 at 1.46pm, weighing 6lb 7oz and measuring 47.6cm, little Sahiti entered this world and changed life as we knew it, forever!

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The pregnancy update

Here is a quick update on how the pregnancy is progressing so far:

  • At 17 weeks and 4 days, I finally feel like I have my energy back. I do have the occasional bouts of laziness but none of that dead tired feeling every morning.
  • My biggest concern has been my weight. For the first time ever, I am worried about not gaining enough weight. Pregnancy guides tell me I should have gained at least 4-5 pounds by now, but I have not registered even a a single additional pound on that scale, yet.
  • It seems like I have developed some kind of photophobia. Every time I step outside into bright sunlight, I have a brain splitting headache.
  • I do not have a noticeable baby bump. I am still at that, “is she pregnant or just fat” stage.
  • My boobs have quit being the bitches they were for the past couple of months. And I must say I am enjoying the extra cleavage🙂
  • Everyday, the first thing I do when I wake up is rub my belly to see if I can feel that firmness in my lower abdomen, which I think is my womb.
  • My mom asks me every other day if I felt the baby move yet. Honestly, I have no idea. I don’t know what to look out for. I probably felt the baby move but did not know it was the baby.
  • I am waiting for the genetic screening test results to come back. I hope the results are nothing bad and that our baby is safe and healthy.
  • We have the option of finding the gender of the baby in two weeks. So far we want to find out to be better prepared. Part of me also wants that huge Surprise.

On a side note, it was such an eventful week for us. JG got a fantastic job offer. He actually had two job offers and he made a decision yesterday after a lot of drama and bollywood style twists. In the end, he thinks he made a very bold and risky choice, something that he believes he would love in the future. I really hope he is right. Also, we just finished booking a trip to Toronto. It was a work trip for JG, to give an invited lecture, which I tagged along and converted into a 5 day vacation. Apparently, a vacation while expecting a baby is called BabyMoon. Who knew! I am super excited about the trip and can’t wait for the last week of May to get here soon enough.

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