Saturday, April 21, 2007

Going it alone

[Posted by Cee Kay. Note: I have the same post up on my other blog - My Two Cents.]

Ever since we declared that we are expecting a baby, the one question that we get the most is "Who are you calling to come over and help you?" And then they are stunned to learn the answer - No one. Almost all desi families here do that. As soon as there is a baby on the way, one set of parents is recruited to come help them when the baby arrives. And I think that is a very good arrangement - if it works for you. That's a BIG if.

9 years ago, when I got pregnant with my daughter, I made the decision to stay with my husband and not go to my parents' place for the delivery, even though that was the tradition in our family. There were a lot of reasons .

  1. I didn't want to stay away from my husband. I was still very much in love with him (still am :P) and cried every time I left him to go visit my parents for 2-3 weeks ONCE a year. How could I stay away from him for 2 or more months?? Also, he had just landed a job with a company that was going to train him and then send him to the USA. We had already decided that he will go alone at first, find a project, an apartment and buy a car and then call me and baby over. This would be the best approach because neither of us believed it was good to bring the baby to an uncertain environment until you had at least a job and a place to live. With this, it meant that I would be staying away from him for at least 4 more months. So, the idea of going to my parents' place was scrapped even before it occurred to my in-laws :D
  2. My brother-in-law is a doctor and I thought I would be better off in Indore, in case some emergency arose since he would be around and all the doctors in his friend circle would be available too.
  3. My dad has hyper-tension and is the kind of person who gets stressed out very easily. I knew it would be difficult for him to stay stress-free during my pregnancy, specially since I was determined not to pay any heed to the superstitious advices one usually gets during this time (eat a lot, don't exert yourself physically, don't eat this or eat that, don't go out etc.) In fact I specially confirmed with my OB/GYN if it was safe for me to drive a scooter and she said yes. I asked her how much weight I could safely pick up/carry and she said upto 10 kgs. So, to spare both of us the tension, I decided to have the delivery in Indore - at my in-laws' home.
  4. I was running my own coaching institute at that time and there was no way I was going to close it down just for a pregnancy. I was due on November 9th and I decided to work until October 15th - which I did.
All this history to make a point. I made the decision to stay with my in-laws for the delivery. BIG MISTAKE! I regret that decision to this day. My pregnancy went smoothly but the delivery and post-partum care was another story. That harrowing experience (another post-worthy topic) left me severely depressed for more than 5 years, created a lot of stress in my marriage initially and has left me wary of asking for any help this time around too.

I could ask my parents to come help me. But I feel their help will be more useful when I go back to work. So my parents will come in the last week of August when I get ready to go back to work. They will stay for 3 months (or six - which ever works out for my mom as she is still working and it depends on how much leave she can get). That will help us keep the baby home, away from all potential infections one can catch at a daycare, for atleast 6 months.

So that leaves.... US! J, myself and S. And I am sure with a LOT of planning and some help from good-friends (which we have a lot of) we might just pull it off. It helps that the second time around one has a little bit of experience to help make things better. And we have one eager little helper in form of S too! Even getting through this pregnancy has required a lot of planning in itself what with my full-time job, S and her extra-curricular activities, the various problems I have faced through the months - High Blood Pressure, PUPP and now the constant Blood Sugar monitoring (I know I probably never mentioned the last two - a pregnancy update on these soon). And on top of that this was the year I decided to be more active with my daughter's school PTO (Parent Teacher Organization), the Technology Council at her school and Norwalk's PTO Council. Not to mention having NO house-hold help to clean or cook or do any other big and small chores around the house means MORE juggling and planning.

Our plan is that I will take off from work about 2 weeks before my scheduled C-section (June 12th), get some rest and get the whole place (the house, the nursery...) in order. Then, provided The Peanut doesn't decide to come early like his/her big sister, I will go in for my C-section on June 12th, stay in the hospital for 3 days and come back. J will take 2 weeks off from work to help me. After the first two weeks I should have recovered enough to take care of the baby during the day by myself. I'll sleep when the baby sleeps and all that good stuff. From experience I know it is difficult to do because when the baby sleeps, you have to take care of other stuff like cooking and cleaning. For that we are going to buy a freezer (soon!) and I am going to start cooking extra food and freezing it for those tough days. I am good at that - freezing food items! Manish, a friend of ours doesn't call me the "Freezer Queen" for nothing :D So the frozen meals will take care of J and S. And I will teach J how to cook Dal-Daliya and Khichdi for me. A friend has offered to send in some food to freeze for later too. I am accepting all help that comes my way. I am also planning to call in a cleaning service to come clean my house from top to bottom so when the baby arrives all we will need to do is maintain it (easier said than done though :P)

This time I plan on nursing. The last time I didn't lactate due to all the stress and S didn't latch on due to other factors so she was a formula fed baby even though I did try for TWO months. This time, I am going to put in ALL my energy into nursing the baby. For that I am planning to take help from another "source". We am going to rent a breast pump from the hospital and once we are sure that I am lactating properly, we will buy a pump (good ones are expensive - about 250 - 300 dollars a pop). Expressing and having some extra milk ready will ensure that even S or J can help me feed the baby when I am too tired or have some errands to run. That will also help me continue to nurse when I go back to work.

So this is the crude plan - I am still working the nitty-gritty details out but I think we CAN do it. If things get too out of hand, I plan on hiring a baby-sitter to come in for about 5-6 hours a day, 2-3 days a week, to help me with the baby so I can get some sleep and get some work done too. That should tide us over. I am pretty confident.

Now, all we need is to set up the Nursery AND FIND TWO BABY NAMES!! One for a boy and one for a girl. THAT is the biggest challenge for us right now.


swapna said...

Hi Cee kay..
First of all congrats.

Getting delivered at in-laws house is very difficult..i know..
When i am pregnant my hubby is in U.S and i have stayed at my in-laws house till my 8th month and then gone to my mom's place.Till i am at my in-laws house no care ,no timely food and nothing.I haven't treated as a pregnant women..:-((..I think every in-laws will be like that..In telugu one saying is there "ee atta kooda amma kaledu" which means "no mother in-law can become a mother"(for daughter in-law.).this is right i can say..

All the best for ur future plans and hope u will get successfull in it!!

Asha said...

Hi Cee Kay,congratulations!! Expecting double trouble!;D

Sorry about all that you went thru' the first time.Hopefully,you will enjoy all aspects of this pregnancy and delivery.Good luck to you.

We were in England and US when I had my two kids.Arvind being a VERY BUSY resident Doctor,I went thru' all of that and more almost alone as well.

But I think it was better that way for me than being around in-laws and even my own parents.I am very independent minded and can't take when others mess with my schedules!!:D

I wish you all the best and use your buddies this time for anything and everything! Do not hesitate,I bet they will help you more than any relatives could.Hugs:))

Of course,we will be here to listen if you need to vent!;D

mcewen said...

As for names - a pal of mine that on the day that you realised you're pregnant, you should pick three names [for each child] and practice them daily - by the time the 'birth day' drew close you'd be so sick of one or more that you'd have narrowed the field considerably.
Might still just work for you!
Best wishes

trupti said...

Hi CeeKay....
Congrats...and Nice to meet you here...I read your post, and it seems like you have some good strategies already to cope with the situations coming up for you....

I believe pregnancy,the second time around is much better..I had two C-sections, but with my second pregnancy, I was determined to be independent by the 2nd or 3rd day...and I was...just start moving around as soon as you are able to...this will help in the healing process at a faster rate. ( I'm also a Nurse, so am talking from my own and other's experiences).

Sorry to read about your experiences with your in-laws, especially Post Partum.....that is when a good support system is most necessary...and I'm sorry you had to go through that.
I am way too much of a control freak and thick headed for any of the in-laws politics to deter me....try as they may, :)
Stay focused on your family, that is the main thing...having your own parents,for a few months is probably the best idea, this will give you the moral support you will need and a fresher perspective...and like you said, you won't have to worry about daycare infections and such while they are there.
Your plans to freeze meals are about the city that you live in-do you have someone who can make the chapatis for you at a reasonable price? Many have found this works well for them.
As for cleaning,I think a cleaner house will put you in a better frame of mind to tackle the long days and nights ahead....this is from experience.. :)
Now for names.....hmmm..I have two boys, but when I was picking out names for girls...I picked:
Saanjh, Anjali,Meher and Ritu.

Boys, I had picked:
Arya,Gautam,Rahul,and Yash...but we ended up naming them Sahil and Siddharth. ;)

good luck...and take care!

Asha said...

A word of advice Cee Kay, about names.

STAY AWAY from names like Akshit,Dakshit, Dikshit and Aryan!!!
First three names,try to say them as Americans would ,specially kids in school.! Horror!!!
Aryan race (not Arya as in brother in Sanskrit) is you know who,right?!!!

My son Tushar is often called as Tushy by his friends which he doesn't mind fortunately!!;D

trupti said...

Ashaji: good advice indeed!!!!

Also,Stay away from names like:
Aswin-Ashwin, Nishit, Hardik, Gopi, Viral, Shital-Sheetal..
NOT something you want to name them....



Sandeepa said...

Cee Kay
Congrats and all the best for your decision girl. You sure will be able to do it, your courage peeks through your posts. Your 9 year old seems to be a great sis. Looking forward to the little one.

Asha & Trupti
I just tried saying those names aloud the Am way and was laughing away. never really thought it this way :D

GettingThereNow said...

Swapna: Thanks. I whole heartedly agree with the telugu saying :D My pregnancy went a little better than yours. I was even taken care of sometimes - but as soon as I delivered it became apparent that the "caring" was for the baby and not me. Now that the baby was out, I was treated like a mere discarded egg shell..

Asha: Thanks for the encouraging words. And I sure will hold you to your word when I need to vent :D Thanks for the good advice on names too - I'll keep it in mind.

Mcewen: That is a good suggestion!! Thanks.

OK - now I will reply to rest of the comments after I come back - my daughter is here to drag me upstairs to show me something. Ciao!

indosungod said...

Cee Kay Congratulations and I applaud your courage in trying to go at it alone. Lots of couples here especially Americans do it, so it is not possible. So freezing food part is a great idea. For us food seems to be a big problem because we crave for Indian food after a couple days of non-Indian, so call up on all your friends who have offered to help.

I would not dare, had two deliveries here both C-Sections and I cannot imagine not having had mom around during that time.

I am stating the obvious babies don't stick to schedules and planning so be ready for the unexpected. I had my second after 6 years and it seemed like I had to relearn everything that I had completely forgotten.

indosungod said...

Cee Kay, I meant not impossible

Asha said...

Trupti,Hardik was great one!HeHe!!

Others are hilarious too,hope we will come out with more names like these,so future Indian moms could spare the kids these names:))

GettingThereNow said...

Trupti - Thanks for the encouraging words. And good advice indeed on names NOT to be considered! And from your comment I remembered I do have numbers for 2 ladies who make chapatis - thanks for the reminder.

Sandeepa - Thanks! Only 7 more weeks to go - seems such a short time when you count it in weeks :)

Indosungod - You are right where it comes to Indian food. We too enjoy many cuisines - Italian, Mexican, Mediterranian, Greek, Chinese... But Indian food is the ultimate comfort food. After two days of eating "other" food I and hubby start craving the simple sabzi-roti and daal-chawal.

Everyone: Thanks for your responses! It has been a good decision becoming part of this community - all the support is invaluable.

ramya said...

hai ceekay,
yha i agree with swapna and u,my MIL never even asked me what i am eating or even the month she never bothered.thank god because my parents never left me at in laws place when my hubby was away.though both r working they cared a lot.any how parents r parents.u have planned a nice schedule hope it works.i named my daughter abhigna.when i came here i thought americans can't spell it but amazingly they r great.

Roopa said...

Hi Cee kay Congrats!
Sorry about all you went through during the first time! All have one or the other hard way out. With the second one it is easier to handle and bodywise you will be not as weak as during the first delivery! Your schedule looks really well planned good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hello Cee kay,
congrats!!just a few more days to go...
My son was born in and A-SENIOR managed perfectly well..there were times when we really wished that there was some help around...but other than that , it was absolutely ok...The most important thing is that now we dont remember the tough parts at all!
So hang in there....
We are all here to give you all possible bloggy-support!!!
3 cheers for desi moms!


Tharini said...

WoW CeeKay. You are such a determined woman. You do sound like you have worked out most of the nitty gritties a;ready. :) Wonderful planning.

Of course you CAN DO IT. My only reco is this : if possible find a doula for the postpartum period. I had one for the second one, and for that one week that I had to mamnage without my mom, she was a Godsend. She cantake care of all the things you might feel compelled to take care of. She an spend time with us, do the laundry, load the dishes, watch the baby while u sleep, do some light cleaning and you with the breastfeeding. Most doulas are trained towards this. I know you will have ur hubby those first 2 weeks. But h is going to be pretty exhausted extra pair of hands 'trained' hands is a nice thing.

Vani said...

Hi Cee Kay,
Congratulations!!! I admire your strength. Way to go, Girl!
Trupti is right about getting up and walking on the 2nd or 3rd day. I had C-section and the doc told me to walk next day. I was walking fine by 3rd day. My sister on the other hand delivered in India, thru c-section, was told by the doctor and my mom not to walk for the first few days. My mom being at both deliveries says my recovery time was considerably lower than hers.
Asha, Trupti, good point about names. Also, Nikil...its great name and one of my favorites....but, one friend who named his son told me that this boy's classmates tease him "Nikil...nickel...".
Anything that ends with Ria....colleague considered it and dropped it after she heard 'Ria ria diarrhea'
Of course, these are not as bas as dikshit tho....

Good luck!!!

paige said...

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