Deciding to have kids is by far the biggest decision I have made in my life. It took me a lot of courage and time to get to the point where I thought I could have one of my own. One thing I knew for sure was that I will love my child more than anyone/anything in this world and that will make me more vulnerable. Obviously, with that will come infinite happiness and a roller coaster ride of parenthood. Beginning of 2011 changed a lot of things including our minds about feeling ready to be parents. Siddhu and I decided we will make the year 2011 our baby year. I have never been super-duper kuchi-ku with kids in general, so I have always wondered what kind of a mom I would be. But Siddhu is absolutely amazing with kids, and the fact that I will be on this journey with him made me feel ready to dive in! Starting January, I started doing all the normal stuff people do to get ready – went to the doctor, started my pre-natal vitamins so I would be taking those at least for a few months before getting pregnant, etc.
Siddhu and I were jumping with joy when we found out were pregnant in May. My feelings ranged from excited, happy, on-cloud-nine, anxious and nervous - all at the same time. Siddhu was just pure happy. We had a few ups and downs in the beginning but by the time July came, I had settled into my pregnancy and started to feel comfortable with my growing belly. Time was going really slowly for me. I would count every day to go from one week to the next. I have literally counted every day of my pregnancy, maybe because I couldn’t wait to see my little one in January.
In July we got a Down Syndrome screening test done, which came out negative. The test itself was an ultrasound and a blood test. But one of the main reasons I remember it so vividly is because I was supposed to be on a full bladder (24 ounces of water) 1 hour prior to the ultrasound, and not use the restroom all this while, so they could see my cervix clearly. I think I drank close to 30 ounces of water, to be on the safer side. I had finished drinking that much water about 1.5 hours prior to the ultrasound. Holding that much water inside my bladder was the most physically painful experience I had endured up until that point. I was in so much pain that I could not sit, stand, lie down, walk, talk, listen, anything. It was plain indescribable pain. Later on my OB had told me labor pain would be like that, just 10 times worst.
I always wanted a baby girl. Somehow I have this notion in my head that I will love a girl child more than a boy child. Probably because I have two nieces I absolutely adore, and I know I can love a girl child for sure. Plus they are much more affectionate, loving and fun to shop for. Towards the end of September we found out we were having a girl. My excitement knew no bounds. So many thoughts and dreams started weaving in my head from the minute I found out about it. The day after we found out we are having a girl, I had to leave on a work trip to Japan. I bought the first toy for my little one there – a Hello Kitty doll. We started thinking about girl names. I started thinking about buying more jewelry because that’s what moms do – collect jewelry for their daughters for when they grow up. I started thinking about all the stores I will shop in for my daughter. We often wondered who she would look like. I was hoping she would get the best of both of us - features and traits. We started thinking about all the love and pure joy that was going to fill our lives, very soon.
We had finally started thinking about baby related preparation and shopping sometime in October. Until then we were taking one day at a time and totally focused on non-baby related stuff, just focused on our lives as is. But starting October-November, we started thinking about crib, bath tub, baby registry, baby monitor, diaper bag, stroller, car seat, bedding, mattress, clothes, pre-natal yoga, day care, car, pediatrician, labor bag, birthing classes, cord blood banking, filling her scrap book, you name it. I remember being totally overwhelmed by the number of options in every single category. I wished there was exactly one kind of tub, and one kind of baby monitor, and one kind of stroller, and one kind of everything else. I did develop a slight disliking for the extreme commercialization and marketing in the baby-products industry. We spent a lot of time talking to the more experienced parents around us and getting all the help we could possible get. It was still a slow process of figuring out what we thought we needed, what was on our wish-list and what we actually wanted to shop for.
I also enjoyed being pampered and loved during this time. I had a traditional Indian baby shower organized by my in-laws, another one hosted by my co-workers, and another surprise-baby-shower thrown by my close friends. Most importantly, I realized how lucky I was to be surrounded by such a loving family & supportive and caring friends and co-workers. There were lots of games, gifts and advices at these showers. And they together made me more and more impatient for our new arrival. I was beginning to have more and more Braxton hicks starting my 7th month and my OB said that’s totally normal and a way for your body to prepare for the actual labor. So somehow those Braxton hicks actually made me feel happy.
As I was about to finish my 8th month in the middle of December, we had this realization that we haven’t really taken good pictures of just the two of us with my super-pregnant belly. So we finally scheduled a pregnancy photo shoot on December 16th and got that done. Another thing that we wanted to get done before the end of my 8th month was buying a car. We were choosing between a first hand and a second hand cars and Siddhu found a great second hand car that would fit our needs. We test drove it and decided to finalize the car in the next 3-4 days. We were getting things off the checklist, one at a time.
The most pronounced emotion during my entire pregnancy was my love for Siddhu. I felt like I had started to love him much more than I ever did and became much closer to him than I ever was. I often asked him if he loved me more now that we were pregnant. And he said "I already love you most I could ever love anyone – I can’t love you any more than that". He is right – he is an infinite and unconditional store of love for me and I know it can’t get any better than this because it is the best. I love him.
We were definitely getting closer and closer and were feeling more and more (yet not) ready to embark on this new journey – together.