I remember the day I delivered Tanvi. The water had broken around 10 a.m in the morning and by 12 I had been admitted. By 2 the contractions started and by 4 my baby was in my hands.
No wait, she wasn’t.
Because after the delivery, I had fallen asleep. Or I fell unconscious. Or the doc had put me to sleep with painkillers. I don’t know exactly. All I can recollect now is that they had moved me, from the delivery area to an adjacent area, to be shifted to a ward as soon as it was available. All wards were full that day.
There really are a lot of Gemini kids in the world. I read somewhere that Gemini is the most common zodiac and Aquarius is the rarest. There are far too many Geminis in this world and far few Aquarians. September must be a great month for conception and May the worst month. Something to do with the cooler/warmer weather in those months?
Anyways, I remember seeing, in my drowsy state and droopy eyes, the nurse showing the baby to Sathya. And then, my eyes closed.
When I woke up, I was in a ward with tiny Tanvi next to me - all of 2.92 kg.
It was a common ward, the only one available, so there were 2-3 other mothers as well. A nurse asked me if I had fed the baby. I had not. I didn’t know I had to. I didn’t know what to say to her. I was afraid she would shout at me. I hadn’t even lifted my baby in my arms yet. I was completely drained of energy. I had apparently passed out for a good 3-4 hours and the baby hadn’t had anything yet. So I slowly raised myself on the bed, took the baby and... sat there. I didn't know what to do next.
Who gets a lesson in feeding? It is like sex. You don’t know it until you do it. It is instinct, by and large. Or if your mother or mother-in-law is next to you, she guides you. My great mother-in-law was too busy handling matters of World Peace to be beside me. She had not turned up at all, even that late in the day, to see her grandchild. So, well, I too followed my instinct. And boy, was Tanvi hungry!!!
That first moment when you feed your baby is a moment a woman will never forget in her life. That is when the two of you "connect" and "bond" and watching those tiny lips on your bosom, you finally feel that yes, it was all worth it. The struggles of the nine months, the pain of labor, the delivery trauma - all worth it. I know people say, the moment immediately after delivery, is the greatest - the moment when you see your baby first time. But for me, that moment was fleeting. The doc was busy stitching me up, giving instructions to 'hold up' and finishing up the rest of the post-delivery tasks. The baby was not given to be held because it had to be washed and not laid next to me because I had passed out. So what they show you in the movies - doesn't always work that way.
After I had fed her on one side, I thought it’s not fair to feed only one side. I must be impartial (typical teacher talk) and feed both. Someone later told me that yeah that is the right way to do it; otherwise the breast swells and hurts like hell because the milk coagulates. Always feed both sides.
New mothers truly learn a lot on the job, don't they! There is no induction training or trial sessions or demos. At least back then, I didn’t attend any classes or watch any YouTube videos. Now, thanks to smart phones and internet, everything, every information is available on your fingertips. And I have watched many a video and read countless pregnancy related articles.
As for breast-feeding being equivalent to running 8 kms (check the first pic) , it must be true. I breast-fed Tanvi till she was THREE years old. I fed her everywhere - theater, cinema hall, bus-station and on everything - on a bus, car, bike, auto !! I now believe it was one of the reasons I lost all the pregnancy weight (13 kilos) really quickly and that too without any exercise or any fitness regime.