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.