Our Journey Through the Trimesters
Blog Submitted by Hima Elsa Shaji
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Our journey to parenthood started unexpectedly on a fine Sunday morning. I was into the final stage of my PhD, and my husband was planning to defend his thesis. We always wanted to have a planned baby but never knew when to have him/ her. This month under question, we went for a 5-hour trek, and I did find myself breathless most of the time. But little did I know what was going on inside me. Well, the previous question was answered by God himself, and we were left in shock. I was shocked to realise that I'll be a mother soon! I am quite sure that my husband, let's call him Big D was in the same state of mind. We did a urine test to confirm what was already well confirmed! And yes, we were pregnant. The write up below is about our journey through the trimesters, what we faced, and what we went through. We are now parents to our precious Lil D and are happier than ever!
We did identify that we were pregnant towards the end of 4th week. In came blood checkups and syringes. I have been afraid of syringes since the start of time! Started watching the series Grey's Anatomy on Amazon Prime to help me go through labour. We were blessed to have a good support system around us. We had a really good doctor who was not judgmental and gave us all the freedom we wanted. I was blessed to have friends with whom I discussed everything, and this made my journey way easier.
With the 6th week, in came the morning sickness. From then on, I had a good friendship with my toilet for the next four months. Vomited straight through all those months. It was a whole day sickness for me rather than morning sickness. Dropped nearly 6 kgs in those months. Any smell, be it the smell of curries or oranges or Big D's, everything was a big no-no then. My all-time favourite, chicken, became the thing with the yucky smell. There were days when I ran on zero calories and vomited everything that went in.
They say you need your husband during this time. True that. This period brought us closer. He tried everything possible for me. Woke me up at 4 am and fed me biscuits, came running every time I vomited, took advice from friends and fed me with God knows what, loaded my curries with nuts (I found cashews even in bhindi fry), gave me regular massages and did everything possible! I love him for the patience he had and everything he did for us! I even vomited on him!
Vomiting and nausea are the only things I remember in my first trimester. With my research on one side, it was very difficult to concentrate. Deadlines to be kept, but I was too tired to do anything. The first trimester is normally a time of caution they say. Down are some of the things I followed.
1. Never let your stomach be empty. That's when you vomit. Take a bite of something you feel good in the early morning. It helps. Trust me.
2. There are many apps- Baby Centre is one of them. Awesome it is, helped me with daily updates.
3. They say not to eat food which produces blood like pomegranate, dates, gingelly etc. and also fruits like papaya, pineapple etc. Don't know the scientific basis for all these. Didn't want to risk, hence avoided.
4. We used to ride the bullet; it's okay to ride a bike!
5. I was advised not to ride my bicycle by the doctor. Hence I didn't.
6. They say no to lifting weights. But I know people who train regularly during their pregnancy. Don't start lifting weights if you haven't. In case you were, do so under the advice of trained personnel.
6. Drink lots of water. Stay hydrated.
7. When it comes to your baby, trust your instincts. You know better. Take the advice which you think are reasonable. Politely hear the rest! In case of doubt, ask your doctor.
The start of the second trimester too was not very good for me. However, as vomiting subsided, I started enjoying the journey. Days became less tiresome and more lively. It's said women start having food cravings towards this time. My only cravings were mangoes and bananas and the orange coloured mothi laddoo you get at Sri Krishna Sweets. Other than this, I completely avoided sugar, processed foods, fast foods etc. Coffee was a big no-no during this time as I couldn't just bear the smell of it! I who used to drink at least 4 to 6 cups of coffee a day, just hated it!
With the second trimester, in came the scans and tests. We did anomaly scans and NT tests for checking Down syndrome probabilities. We passed both. However, the baby's ventricles in the head were found to be a bit larger in the anomaly scans, and we were advised monthly scans. They were nearly 8mm (10mm being the cap in the normal cases). Yes, we panicked a bit. I started researching on the topic, reading experiences from other mommies etc. to soothe myself. To avoid big D from panicking, I did it during night times and when he wasn't around. In came the terms ventriculomegaly and hydrocephalus. And I was upset, just upset. Our doctor reassured us that the baby would be fine as long as the measurements are below 10mm. And I tried to focus on other things to shift my thoughts and remain at peace (By the by, Lil D turned out to be fine !!). If you face a similar problem, the best way is to focus on something else and be at peace. Remember all thoughts of yours affect the baby inside you. Stay calm and be at peace. Down are some of the things we did in the second trimester:
1. Started eating towards the end of the second trimester. We made sure to avoid sugar, processed foods and junks. (But don't feel bad to have a cheat meal once in a while. You deserve it!)
2. Be sure to keep your caffeine levels under control. Remember, chocolates, coffee, tea all count!
3. Talk with your doctor in case of any concerns or worries. It is always best to talk rather than keep things to yourself.
4. Pamper yourself. It's the best time during your pregnancy. Do things that make you happy. Enjoy your me time!
Third and fourth trimesters
Thus came my last trimester! My bump started getting bigger and more difficult to carry. Had deadlines to be kept before starting my maternity leave and days were busy with these. And I slept like a log in the nights. Also, I had started nesting for the kid. Started researching baby products and buying them. In my place, it's forbidden to buy things for the baby before birth. But somehow, I managed to convince my Mom into it.
Some of the items I bought were
1. Jablas for the baby- get smooth, soft cloths for the baby, preferably cotton.
2. A portable bed for all our travels
3. A cotton bed for home use
4. Disposable diapers- newborn size
5. Cloth diapers- Start using them after the cord has fallen off.
6. Blankets and dohars
7. Changing mats and bed protectors
8. Cloth nappies
9. Mosquito net
10. Soaps and lotions
12. Wipes- both reusable and disposable
13. A baby accessories kit with nail clippers, dropper, thermometer, medicine feeding spoons etc.
14. Diaper bag- get a backpack type because it's going to be heavy and you don't want to end up with shoulder pain carrying all the weight in a side bag. Trust me!
15. A baby on board sticker – for all the honking people on the roads.
The long wait was finally getting over! Finally, the d-day came with a fluid blast. We rushed to the hospital. After 20 hours of labour and multiple PVs and an undilated cervix, an emergency C-section was performed on me. I went into the operation theatre with huge lights above me, only to remember the scenes from Grey's anatomy. I was put on anaesthesia, and after what felt like a lifetime, the doctor lifted the cloth which covered my face and asked me to look. There he was! My Lil D. Mine! All covered in my blood and fluid, there he was, unwilling to come to earth. Ten seconds later, I heard him cry. All the pain I went through and all the hardships, everything vanished in seconds, and I was the happiest!
I was kept in postoperative ICU for the night. Once I reached my room, and the drugs started wearing off, in came the surgical pain! It was unbearable. I was advised to walk for the stitches to heal. Those were the days when I thought I'd never be the old me. I couldn't even take a step though Big D supported me, peed on him before I could reach the toilet and lay helpless on the bed when the little one cried. Both of us were discharged on the fourth day, and we were home!
I started healing. The next challenge was breastfeeding the baby, which wasn't that easy at the start. Sleepless nights and sore nipples are what resulted. I call myself a zombie now with zero sleep and half my brain, not working! But I was happy being with him, with Lil D who looked magic! Was he the one inside me? Was he the one who kicked me sharp reminding me every time when it was time for food? Yes, all the pain and the wait was worth it!
Following are some points I would like to convey:
1. Keep your hospital bag ready. Baby can kick in any time after the 36th week
2. Labour is not easy. The pain is unbearable. Be prepared for it. Read pregnancy related stuff, talk to your friends who already went through the process. Stay calm (at least try to). N believe me, it's all worth it and becomes nothing at first sight of your baby
3. Have a good support system around you. You will need it during the initial days of motherhood
4. If you get sore nipples, it is because the baby has not latched properly. Talk to your doctor. Get a nipple shield. It helps!
5. If you are planning to take post pregnancy Ayurvedic medicines, do talk to your doctor before that. I was advised not to, hence didn't.
Our Lil D is 6.5 weeks old as of today and is our precious. He already knows the people around him. His Appa who comes in every weekend and covers him with bearded kisses, his Lil aunt 1 who always comes running the moment he starts crying and soothes him no matter what, his lil aunt 2 who is his mischief partner and the naughtiest in the house, his grandma who always complains that she doesn't get enough of him, his grandpa who comes in when he cries too hard! His world! And I know he is enjoying the attention! And as to the question who he looks like? He is just the photostat of Big D, his Appa. Yes, after 9 months of carrying him, 22 hours of labour and the pain and the sleepless nights, he chose to look like his father!
Hima, @stupidbeardess, is mother to a 3 month old boy. Engineer by profession, she is pursuing her research in transportation engineering. She enjoys writing and reading and playing with the little one. New to parenthood, she and her husband @stupid_beard are still finding ways to tame the boss baby!