Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Home Delivery!

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The Delivery
I am not a new mummy. My daughter is almost five and I am way past the burps, farts and the sleepless nights. So then…why start this blog now?

You are right! I, like most of my fellow blogger-mommies should have started the day I found out I was going to be a mom. The day I saw the two blue lines appear on my home-pregnancy stick…or when I first felt her roll around in my ever-growing belly. I should have atleast started the day I came home clumsily holding my three day old baby, clueless about how my life was about to change forever.  I should  have…
But between the burps, farts, dirty diapers and sleepless nights, sitting down in front of my laptop to pen down how wonderful my life had become was the last thing on my mind. It’s not that my daughter was a difficult baby. She was in fact the opposite. So calm and so peaceful, we couldn't help but think of her as something close to ‘divine’. She wasn't the problem.
The problem was that I wasn't among the lucky few who got to experience the whole magical feeling of giving birth in an elite hospital suite, holding my husband’s hand and listening to the kind words of my doctor assuring me that everything was going to be fine.
It’s not that I gave birth in a neglected hospital in some remote village of a third world country. In fact, I was in one of the best hospitals in the city and I was among the so-called VIP patients. 
The problem was that I was in a little state called Kerala. And here, things happened a little differently.

Men not allowed!
No matter how big a VIP you are or how well known your family is, child birth is something you have to deal with all by yourself, alone, in a grim ward that looks more like a set of some horror flick with several other strange howling woman. And it's so ironic, considering that finally when you do have the baby, people never seem to want leave you alone even for a brief second.
Unlike other countries, where your husband gets to stand next to you to help you through the process; here in this little state, the farther away your husband is from the delivery room, the better. And the only sounds you are ever going to hear are the moans from the other equally desperate, abandoned mothers in the cot next to yours or the nasal tone of angry nurses reminding you every single time you complained of a contraction pain that you are simply paying the price for the shameful act you indulged in nine months ago.
Forget delivery, your husband is not even allowed to sleep in the same room as you and your child for 42 days lest he may impregnate you all over again. (I still remember the horror on one of the nurses’ face when my husband planted a harmless kiss on my forehead after I came out of my delivery room.)

The Feeding
Paladai, a traditional
feeding device
Like most new mommies, it didn't take me long to figure out that there was nothing blissful about the whole breast-feeding experience. It was messy and I hated it. And the constant questions regarding my breast feeding skills by the numerous aunties who came to visit did not help either.
Especially because I suffered from breast engorgement and was unable to nurse. If it was for any other place, the problem would have been fixed by two simple solutions: formula milk or a breast pump. But not in Kerala, where you will be damned for even considering such an option.
I still remember the visit to the doctor’s. It was three days after my delivery and my baby had stopped feeding completely. My doctor, instead of giving me a breast pump had introduced me to what looked more like a medieval torture equipment than a feeding device. Meet, the ‘paladai’ (a bowl shaped vessel with a pointy sharp spout.) I was to sit and squeeze out my milk into this tiny spouted bowl and then pour it into the mouth of my bawling baby.  

Giving birth itself is tough but if you are in Kerala…then it’s a whole different ball game altogether. And if you do happen to be among the few unfortunate souls who end up in this beautiful green cove for your delivery, here are a few facts about this God's own country that you need to know...
1.   It might have produced one of the best doctors the world has seen, but till today, having a c-sec in Kerala is considered to be close to a death sentence. So never ask for it.
2.  Delivery is a very hush-hush process, so asking too many questions to your gynecologist is just not appreciated.
3.  Be ready to brave end number of advises regarding child birth. In Kerala, everyone has something to say. From aunties who will refer to the contractions as nothing but a mere constipation pain to others who will scare you with horror stories of how a forceps delivery left dent marks on the babies forehead.
4.    Don’t even think of feeding your baby in front of your husband. Though it’s completely fine to do the same in front of 50- aunties you barely know.
5.     Don’t ask for water. No matter how highly dehydrated you are or are suffering from a major UTI, drinking water is not an option as it is believed to make your belly pop.
6.  Be prepared to share intimate details about your breast feeding, bowel situation or any other personal matters to complete strangers.
7.  Get used to the fact that your newborn child will be kissed held and smothered by each and everyone who comes to visit (which is sure to be a lot).
8.   Be ready to answer the next big question; ‘When are you having the second baby?’

And here's the girl, who made it all so worth it...