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 .
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.