Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mom. Daughter. Mom.

My family means the world to me. My parents always made sure that physical distances amongst us never come in the way of our emotional distance. I love my parents beyond words. But it took me getting pregnant to value my mom like I always should have. I tend to hurt the people I love the most. My mom definitely falls in that bucket. I remember the days (and sometimes even now) when I used to get mad at my mom for making a dish I didn’t like, or saying something I didn’t like, or not doing something I wanted her to do – I am sure some people can relate to it. Those days, I would genuinely get upset and angry with my mom, so much so that I sometimes ended up hurting her.

When I was pregnant last year, I started reflecting on all those times. Having a baby in my own tummy made me feel so differently about my mom. Little Samaira growing inside me felt like something I had never felt before. Even before she was born, all my heart and life wanted the best for her, even if it were to be at my cost. Having a child has made me a different kind of vulnerable and I would do anything for her. I just want unlimited happiness for Samaira. It is rather safe to assume that any mother would want that for her baby. I know this is what my mom ever wanted for me. She still does.

I finally understand my mom a one hundred percent, almost. More than ever for sure. It is kind of sad that it took me so long. Being a mom is like completing a full circle in some ways. Sometimes, it takes a daughter to become a mom to complete this circle.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

3, 21

Today is the World Down Syndrome Day. That is because DS is 3 copies of the 21st chromosome. March 21.

There were a couple of events in our area to celebrate this day. But we could not attend those. We did however celebrate today in our everyday manner of living our lives. It was a bright and sunny day in the Northwest. And we seized it. My mom, my daughter (gosh – it feels nice to say that :) ) and I took a walk in our community. We played with Samaira. We tried different things to see what makes her laugh. And towards the end of the day, I felt a lot of calm and peace in my heart.

I am still in the process of fully accepting 3 copies of the 21st chromosome. There are days like today – so positive, so good, so sunny. And then there are those other days.

Sometimes I wonder why this deviation in chromosomal pattern did not result in super powers. Why does it result in all these not so positive things such as a heart defect, thyroid issue, low muscle tone, low IQ or delayed speech? Why could it not result in something like extreme IQ, or ability to fly? Just a fleeting thought.

I am not sure if having DS in our lives has made us a better people. But I do know that it has pealed some of the layers off of us. It has surfaced some of our emotions and vulnerabilities that we did not even know we had. It has given us some sort of a quick path to all the experiences we may not have otherwise had in our entire life time.

Tonight, I wished Siddharth “Happy world down syndrome day.”

He paused for a second and said “If it wasn’t for Sam, we wouldn’t have even known that it was the world down syndrome day today.”

He is right. It would have just been the 21st day of the 3rd month of yet another year. It will now be a special day for the rest of our lives.

Samaira is all kinds of wonderful. And sometimes, wonderful can take work. So far, none of it feels like work. She is teaching us everything we need to know about parenting. We are lucky to have Samaira, and each other in our lives.

Bliss is the thought of the day! Happy 3, 21.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy 3rd month birthday, babe!

Child births have been taking place since eternity. Almost all kids go through similar phases of development in life. In spite of the commonness of this occurring, it is one of the most unique and fulfilling experiences.

Samaira started smiling quite some time back, but she recently started laughing, out loud, with sound. It is ridiculously unbelievable how exciting it is to hear her laugh. Siddharth and I sometimes compete to see who she laughs more with. But we both lose to my mom hands down. Samaira stares at my mom, non-stop, without even blinking. She smiles and laughs when she is with my mom.

17th March 2012: We celebrated her birthday in good company, with amazing food, a hand knit dress (my first knitting project) and a mango-walnut cake!

Happy 3rd month birthday, Samaira…I love you to the moon and back!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Just 'coz

Happy place.


When Siddhu and I were going to the hospital 5 weeks 2 days before my due date I was praying “God, don’t make me stay at the hospital for more than a week because I would like to be at home with my daughter as soon as possible.”

On the second day after she was born, nurses said that Samaira is doing fine except she is taking shorter breaths and is not getting enough oxygen. They put oxygen tube next to her nose just so she gets more oxygen in her body. At that time I was praying “God, I hope she gets enough strength in her body soon enough so she doesn’t have to be with the oxygen tube for too long.”

On the third day after Samaira was born and we found out that she has been diagnosed with down syndrome, I wasn’t really praying for anything. But when I found out all the things that could go wrong as a result of this diagnosis (possible heart defect, possible duodenum obstruction, poor feeding pattern, etc.), I was thinking “No matter how long I have to stay in the NICU, I hope she doesn’t have all these other issues.”

Severity of down syndrome cannot be determined at birth. We have no way of knowing the impact this will have on her physical and intellectual ability. Today I hope for the best that can possibly be.

Sometime last week we went back to the hospital to attend our Labor and Birth class reunion. It was for the first time after Samaira’s birth that I saw so many kids of her age group in one room. Everyone was sharing their birth stories and one of the moms started crying while telling her birth story. She was crying because she had a C-section delivery and not a natural/normal delivery. She had a family history of normal deliveries and her C-section broke that pattern. While she had a perfectly normal and healthy baby, not having a normal delivery made her cry. Her point of view is informed by her experiences. Listening to her, I was thinking how blessed she is to have a perfectly healthy baby with no additional diagnosis, no feeding issues, etc. This was also the first time we were in a room with so many other parents talking about Samaira’s birth. I realized how vulnerable I still feel talking about her diagnosis. It is not easy and I am not sure if it will ever be.

Sometime last month we attended down syndrome community sweetheart dance. That was for the first time I saw so many kids, of all age groups, with down syndrome. Siddhu felt really good being there because it was a testimony to how wonderful their lives were, and how wonderful Samaira’s life could be. I, on the other hand, found myself fighting my tears. I don’t know why. It was such a happy place full of a lot of happy faces and I definitely did not want to dampen it with my tears. So I held them back. But I cried afterwards.

I have realized that happiness means different things to different people. I have also realized that happiness could mean different things to the same person depending on the circumstances. It, to some extent, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We find ways to be happy depending on what surrounds us. It is all about perspective.

Happiness to me means being with Samaira, holding her, playing with her, crying with her, see her smile. Loving her.