Wednesday, June 01, 2016

A Mother Lives and Dies With her Child

I was doing pretty good for myself before becoming a member of the SHAM club. And choosing to become a mother exclusively is the top marks decision I ever made. I married a Geek and Movie buff. When people asked, early on, if we had a love or arranged marriage, I came up with “ Arranged, just that we arranged it ourselves.” I have been married for nine years to this fantastic man. I have two sisters and he has one ( fab one at that). Yes, I love the husband bashing with my girl gang, but snuggling upto him is more fulfilling. 

After we got married, for the early two years, we did not want children. For reasons like not financially prepared or having to enjoy married life and all those reasons that we new age, independent and forward thinking couples find to delay children. But like everyone, we wanted a child, just not immediately. We even discussed adoption, if not biological. So, when staying at TTC status for more than three years, nothing happened, we took the treatment way. All the tests turned out normal. We were told there is no reason why we should not conceive naturally. We made some more love, and went back to the doctor, hoping against hope to make a baby. 

The pain and trauma we woman chose to go through to make a new life! God was surely out of His rockers when He created woman!  The super figure, head turner me, turned XXL and the migraine went through the roof. The sensible logical me was no where to be found. The happy couple, many envied, started to fight. Or truthfully saying, I picked up a fight for no reason at all. I was angry, I felt humiliated. I was torn between my desire and my self-respect. I must have done something right, I was sent my man Friday! He picks me up when I fall apart. He holds us together when life tries to tear us far! The husband realised, in the alter of family the sacrifice was the couple. And, we were not ready to pay this price. One night, after six months or so, he came to the rescue, asked me stop all external intervention. To start with those,I was given a choice, to end the agony, I was not given a choice. He became my overlord, this once in nine bloody long years. We vowed to hold and have each other, baby or not. That was one of the moments I wanted to marry him again! 

In 2011, we moved to Shillong, I quit my job, to be focused to make a baby and be with my parents. And of course it was a fab career move for the man of the house. I was anyway getting bored with corporate and wanted to cook! Yes I am an excellent cook, or so says the people. And since we did not have a child, I was like what the heck! Why do I need the money, I want to go stay with my sister, visit the sister in law, cook for my parents, build the farm!! Basically live life. We also started to talk about alternative solutions ranging from IVF to Adoption, the entire spectrum in-between.

I wanted to conceive and carry a life within me. I wanted the kicks and the gas. I wanted it all. The sensible and logical husband however could see the rabbit hole I was digging for myself. Looking at my occasional breakdowns, he proposed if we do not make a baby, mid 2014, we file for adoption. I was like whatever!! i want to make a baby not adopt. How can that be? What will people say? I will be called name, and will I be able to love the adopted one? What if it’s gene’s take over? The train of stupid thoughts won’t stop. 

The year 2013 had been a roller coster. First my sis in law fell pregnant, my mother died, I had a miscarriage and I hit the bottom of mental health. Plus side, got back to shape and size. Not all of it, but mostly. Used my creativity in the kitchen. Baked, cooked and walked ! Started to live life as I promised myself when we moved to Shillong. But most walks ended in me being back in bed and uncontrollably sobbing all alone. All I saw on the road was big bellied happy woman, tiny toddlers running around. I could not cry in-front of the man I love so much. Though he knew, he said nothing. The days, I did not want to pull myself out of the hole, he pulled us out to dinner in a fine place.He ignored the useless shopping I did, most of which I gave away. He told me I looked great even when I did not. I cropped my waist length hair, it broke his heart; all he said, it will grow back. 

In October 2013, an offer came from an uncle of mine, he is an Ob-Gyn and knew my case. He had a baby boy abandoned in his nursing home and wanted us to come pick that boy up. He was happy to issue all necessary papers. Don’t blame the doctor here. I was born in his hands, and ever since he knew me. Even he could not figure out why we were not conceiving. He knew my condition and he is family! So he offered what he offered at a great risk. Exactly that’s when, I knew and the husband knew, we were not going illegal. If we have to adopt its going to be through due process. Not like this!!! After all, I wanted to become a mother in the most biological way. Who wanted to adopt anyway?

My mother decided to pass away in Nov 2013. She had never had good health, but what a mind and soul! We had a running joke in the family, that dad would do much better if mom could guarantee for all those years she lived. Where as mom declared every year she was dying the next year. I grew up knowing this uncertainty. This made me a person, who manages any emergency extremely well and knows how to keep emotions in check. But when she passed away, on my watch, something in me changed. Till now I have not cried my heart out for her. I am still angry at my mother. After we lit her pyre, I bled, like a river. Tests told me, a baby was flushed! So I killed one more on my watch. This was a death I had to manage myself. Keep to myself and stay awake all by myself. The husband finally broke down and pleaded with me to come back to him. I did not hear him. I did not hear any one for that matter. I was either bitter or angry or crying through out the day. Our family was falling apart. 

I did not notice the calendar change or dates change. It did not matter to me any more. Why do I care? I became a zombie. MIL had to make a nasty comment, “ don’t blame anyone if your husband goes stray.” I mean seriously woman, you either have nothing inside that skull of yours or you are pure evil! Well, the husband held on. Later, he told me, he knew his wild cat was somewhere there. He was sure he will find me like all those years back. And I think I need to Thank someone for this guy. 

Then came 2014 June, and one fine morning the stick gave me two lines. Two crystal clear lines! Never knew lines could make any one this elated. I did not know how to react. I was afraid that just moving will give me periods. I screamed for the husband at 6 in the morning. He had the jolt of his life. He thought I slipped in the bath! The husband was elated, and was in a I-told-you-so mode proud. That day after a long time, I cooked my favourite breakfast. Yes we were happy, we made a baby after all. 

Came August and my darling sister also gave her happy news. My father went crazy happy. We were going to be mothers, together! We laughed at our happiness and cried at the stupid inter continental distance between us. We could not run to hug each other or do what two pregnant woman could do to be with each other. We shopped for each other, we planed for each other. The days were moving at it’s own pace and whim. 

It was December 2014, I was 6 months plus. On the christmas day I woke up with a super sharp pain. Sharp enough to cry. As it would be, I landed in the ER. They tried and did what not. I was told not to hope, I still hoped! The husband was asked to be prepared, he was not.  On 26th December 2014, they took the call to induce and try to save both of us, rather my baby. I did not need to push much, she was tiny after all. And I was dejected. It looked like a scene straight out of a medical drama series. Just that it had the husband and me featuring in it. Of course there was no “ we can only save one” moment or scene or situation. I was fine; but my baby, not so much. She was born pre-mature at 1.1kg and barely breathing. I don’t remember anything! And do not know if the husband does. That’s when it stung me hard. So hard that breathing became difficult. Life seemed worthless. What was I thinking lying on that stupid hospital bed! People should not be allowed to think in such moments. Specially not woman! I thought, I am never going to be a mother! My world was falling apart once more. This I time, I was not sure if I would be able to find my way back. 

Another new year came and went. We stayed in the Hospital. The little form of human was wrapped in tubes and god knows what not. All she did was breath and god she breathe strong! Or the monitor was tweaked to show me such. Days became weeks and then months! First, she was not ready to come out of the stupid box! Then the doctors were not sure! Why do the doctors have to be so diplomatic? Finally I gave up and started to prepare for the worst! I was ready to runaway or dig myself a hole or do whatever people in utter grief do. 

Those were the days when the non believer in me got pushed around a lot. The mother in me lived with every good sign of health and died with every bad ones that the hospital people said. I waged a war with the universe and promised to never pray. It was already about a month and a half, and like the whimsical me, I decided to go be with my sister. The mini me I created did not show any sign of coming home any time soon. I could go peek at her box for like a second every day. So I thought what the hell. At least let me go away from all these. It was also effecting my mental health and I wanted to run away. So I took up filing for visa, booked my tickets and shopped some more. I was ready to travel in the first week of April and it was February! My sister did not like the idea much but she did let me waste my money on visa and tickets anyway. As she says, sometimes I needed to be kicked hard to come to senses. 

The month of celebrating Love wanted to throw me into another twisted tale. Baby B started to gain weight and get better. I started to go to the Hospital daily again. Don’t judge me here! There was nothing I could do for her, except increase the risk of infection. So the husband did the painful task of checking in on Baby B every day, without miss. I would go on my good days and skip on the bad ones. By end of February, she came out of the fake tummy (read incubator). And I started to build hopes again. This time very cautiously. And here I was, with travel plans and baby plans. They do not go hand in hand. My sister knows when to twist the knife. And she got herself a very wise man! She said something like “ If you come now, I will know you never wanted to have the baby at the first place.” I think at times I need a sucker punch to chose right and chose quick. What the hell was I thinking!!! But I still did not cancel my tickets! You never know, said the devil in my brain! Come to think of it, I let the husband go through hell and was ready to run away. Like the ever loving caring and understanding man he is, he thought I needed this! Really? and what did he need? The wife? Or may be some one to cry together? But there I was, rendering myself useless. I am sure I smoked weed. What human in her senses behaves this way! I am not that. I am a caring sensible logical person. I sure did do some drugs. 

March started to build more hopes and pack more life to mini me! But she looked more and more mini husband.. Grrrrr!! Probably the price for letting him be the guardian angel and toiling away my life in my own sorrow. Finally they told me we could take her home!! And for that we needed a name. We did not do all those. We thought we had time. So I went back to my mommy list from another life time and picked up 30 probable names. I let the husband chose. It took another week to actually get her home. We shopped more. I send the box of stuff I bought for my sister by courier, but did not cancel my tickets till I had my girl sleeping in my house for a day. On 29th March we brought her home smiling, breathing and kicking! All the cloths I bought were pretty big! I bought for a normal 3 months old! But as they say, all big ones come in small packages. My nuke came in under weight and tiny. Who still fit on top of my tummy or Dady’s! By the way, it seems she completed her gestation before actually venturing into the world. Albeit some part artificial.

The sister again asked a vital question, when are you going to celebrate her birthday? 26th December or 29th March? Both dates had their own significance and own set of arguments. We chose 26th and on the later date, we celebrate within just the two of us. She being married to a french man, had her problems, like less gifts or clubbed gifs, because birthday and Christmas is going to be together. I mean seriously? But hey, who knows. She might just be right. 

Of all the things that my girl taught me, its the courage never to give up. Like my mother used to say, don’t give up, ever. The faith, that what has to happen will happen seems to hold. I am non religious but not a non believer. Our priories changed. Our choices are more baby centric. Dinners are planned around her sleep timings. I can tell people no, because it is difficult or stressful for the baby. The looking-for-approval-from-all and kill-myself-for-others-me, no more bothered what other people thought. I did not bother how I looked, as long as she looked up and smiled. The husband kissed anyway, he got his wife-partner back after all. The trust and resilience this man has ! I am sure going to keep the fast that woman do to have the same husband over and over again. 

The terrible MIL did not come visiting my daughter. But from people around the world sent us wishes and boxes for the baby. Guess the equation is an winner. Who wants one MIL against all these people? I surely do’t. I had the full on plan to never let my MIL see my girl and if possible her son too. But being a mother taught me how hard and hurt she would be. So I took the high road. On one condition, do whatever, but keep me out. And enjoy the little bundle of joy, but do not interfere. Where the hell did I get this strength to speak like this, I wonder. Now I am a tigress with a cub. My cub! To hell with anyone trying to cross! I will burn the world down if you try to scratch my girl.   

The weekend was flooded with people who wanted to see my daughter! My daughter!! And my daughter, only wanted to stick to the husband, not even me! That night, I thanked for the stand and the fight he gave.That night I knew I was going to fight for these two, come what may. I kissed him hard and he kissed me back. That night we slept like a family, and I smiled a lot. 

It’s amazing to see how father daughter teams up now a days. How he rocks her to sleep, because Baby B wants to be put to bed by Papa on some nights. He wants only the best for her. His calls from office are now about if she has eaten, slept, played; and not about me or him. And he gets angry when strangers try to talk, smile or touch in a super market or a park. The little Miss Munchkin being the crowd puller that she is! Lot of people pass a judgement commit, “who does she look like?”. I proudly say, her Papa!! I know the men in the family is going to have tough time in very near future, she being the only girl and they wanting to form her queen’s guard. 

I crib, cry, fake that I am sleep deprived, but the devil in me laughs saying, you enjoy every bit. She kicks hard and I am hurt. She runs back to kiss, because mama is hurt. At that moment, who cares that I don’t know a thing about being mother. The selfish me smiles, when no one can sooth her or feed her, but me. I want to tell all those people, who laughed, or passed a comment or showed pity, cause I was without a child, make way you insensitive people, my girl is here. I wish I kept a list, the sinister me thinks. I could send a postcard to all of them . 
I grow an inch fatter, when she picks up her jeans and a tee, because mama is wearing the same, or does a happy dance because I am wearing a bindi. 
We go dancing because she learnt a new step, like stomp your feet or say hurray. When she comes to me saying “mama up”….oh how I love to hold her. 

And the other day, I was sick on bed for better part of the day. She told the maid and the husband to “shush…mama (shows the sleep gesture)”. Oh my heart cried of guilt and happiness! I got myself a daughter!

Our Miss Munchkin is 17 months old today !!! I will trade every life, if it’s there, to be her mother and won’t have it any less. She sets very very high standards for a toddler, any other child of ours will find it very difficult to match upto her!! The non religious me sends up a Thank You. 

For my daughter, Live Life  As the song says: 
I will ride, I will Fly
Chase the wind and Touch the Sky!!