Thursday, October 28, 2010

The moment I knew

You hear all these stories about women having their babies and feeling that mother's instinct right away, having that bond only a mother and child could ever have. I know what that feels like, but it didn't happen right away, it didn't happen the moment I looked into her eyes. I loved her, definitely, I wanted to protect her, always. But that bond, that undeniable, sacred bond, I didn't feel for about 2 days after she was born.

The labour was pretty textbook as far as births go. My water broke around midnight September the 16th (2 and a half weeks before my original due date) after returning from the movie "The Time Travellers Wife," with my aunt and my cousin (ironically enough, the two people who coached me through the labour and birth). Despite what you might see in the movies, only 10% of women's water break by itself, so in that sense it wasn't textbook. I was admitted in the hospital and it wasn't until the next morning, after I was given Oxcitocin did true labour set in. My plan was not to have any drugs, no epidural, no Demerol, nothing. I know a lot of women go into labour with this plan, and depending on how the labour goes, decide to continue or abandon with this plan. Labour is pretty intense, and if it lasts long, I can totally see why needing an epidural is essential, you need to rest, because it is the most physically intense thing a woman will ever have to do in her life.

The first 2 hours, the labour increased from about a 2 on a scale of 1-10, to about a 7. When I found out that after 2 hours I was 7cm dilated, I knew I could continue without any drugs. The last 3 cm's and about 2 hours were a 10 on a scale of 10 in pain (maybe even a 12), and I was relieved when I could actually start pushing through the contractions.
After about 45 minutes of pushing and an episiotomy later, Yasmine Rose was born.

My first thoughts were that I was just so happy that the pain was over, my second thought was that "I had done it," I felt like superwoman! Then Yasmine was placed on my chest and she was covered in white goo, and her face was so swollen, and she had a head full of black hair. I was so shocked that she was mine, and I loved her instantly. But I did not feel that bond, quite yet. I am not sure if it was because of the physical exhaustion, or the mental exhaustion I had been through the previous 3 weeks of finding out my mother had cancer, flying half way across the world at 34 weeks pregnant, dealing with her being in the hospital and watching her die, and then planning her funeral. I had no time to recover from any of that trauma, before being admitted to the hospital myself, to give birth. I was numb, literally and metaphorically from everything I had been through.

The next day and half passed by like a dream, nurse her every 2 hours, try to sleep, etc... Then Yasmine had her hearing test on the Friday September the 18th.I didn't think anything of it, and I knew it was an important test, but also a formality. She failed the hearing test, but I was told it happens a lot, because of the mucous that still may be in her ears from the birth canal. The ear specialist told me she would come back on Saturday morning.

Saturday morning arrived and I was lying in bed, waiting for the ear specialist to give us the green light to go home. We had to stay until Saturday morning because this test needed to be completed before we left.

The specialist did the ear test, and Yasmine failed again. My heart almost stopped. How could this be happening? Was God trying to play some cruel joke on me. Taking my mother 13 days earlier then blessing me with a child who might be hearing impaired? Perhaps, most people wouldn't have thought this way, but after everything I had been through, that was the first thought that went through my mind.
The ear specialist told me that there was one more test, that was more accurate, but a little more invasive that she could do. She had to strap on electrodes to yasmine's head and behind her ears and it was attached to a program on her laptop. In all honesty I was not paying much attention. Her words sounded like slow motion and all I did was nod and agree for her to do the other test. She said it was more accurate, but she didn't do this test unless she had to.
My aunt Anita was in the room with me, and I could see her looking at me funnily, and afterwards she told me it was because I turned white as a ghost and I looked petrified.

As the specialist strapped the electrodes all over Yasmine's head, I have to admit it felt like an eternity, I could hear the clock loudly ticking on the wall as each second passed, and I reached for my aunt's hand and I held it firmly. What seemed like hours passed, when the hearing specialist slowly turned the laptop to face me and the words PASS were printed boldly on the screen.
In that moment, like a lightbulb had been turned on, those feelings, that motherly instinct just clicked on. I started to shake violently, and tears poured down my face. I remember saying over and over again "I've been through enough, I just wanted Yasmine to be ok!" I remember apologizing profusely to the specialist, because I think I may have freaked her out. My aunt calmly explained to her what I had been through, and how my mother had just died and my husband was in another country. The specialist, started to cry, and she held my hand and she said, "Your daughter is just perfect. Your mom would have been so proud"
I looked at my aunt and I asked her, "Can you please pass me my daughter." For the first time, the word "daughter" registered to me, and along with that word, came a whole new set of feelings. The need to protect her, love her unconditionally, always be there for her. It was the first time I truly felt this.

My aunt handed me Yasmine, and I held her to my chest and I hugged her and kissed her and I cried, and I cried. Now I knew. Not only did I know what that bond felt like, I knew how much my mother loved me, and how much she sacrificed for me.

That day was the beginning of my healing process..........

Monday, October 25, 2010

A part time job with major benefits

Today I spent about 3 hours in the car (about an hour and half each way) to meet with a company that would like me to be a consultant for them. I would get to work from home for a few hours a week and help them build their business.

Although the drive was long and tedious and the sun was hot (thank God for air conditioning), it was a nice drive, and the company was in or nearby the military zone, which was nice and quiet with a small but pretty lake (unfortunately most lakes in India are polluted). The guy I met with said he went kayaking in the lake once and wouldn't go back because it was "dirty"." Nonetheless, it was a much better view than a whole bunch of traffic and much more serene than incessant honking.

This little part time job, although it doesn't pay a whole lot of money, is perfect for me, for right now. It allows me to make my own hours, stay at home and continue to be with Yasmine during the day, but still make a little pocket change for odds and ends.

Instead of looking at the negatives, I am trying to see all the positives that this opportunity can bring me, such as being with Yasmine, making some good employment connections here in Hyderabad, all while keeping myself busy while Yasmine naps or goes to bed for the night.

I am very thankful to be able to spend this time with Yasmine, as I know how important it is to the both of us. Being at home and raising her has proven to be the most important and rewarding job I have ever had. There are no breaks, and no days off, but I can never get this time back with her. I hope it truly makes a difference in her life, because it definitely is making a difference in mine.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"The secret"

I know that everyone pretty much already knows the "secret" in the book "the secret," and really it wasn't really that much of a secret, although I think even though we all know what the secret is, we mostly don't tend to follow it.

The secret to life, supposedly is, that positive out, equals positive in. Meaning that the more positive you are about life, the more optimistic you are, the more you believe in yourself and look at the bright side, means that these things will happen to you, or that you'll create a positive outcome.

I mean this does make sense. But if it makes sense why don't more people do this? I am a classic example of this. I have done so much complaining this last year that no wonder there haven't been very many good things that have happened for me. I mean if you're too busy being negative, then how can you create positive change in your life, or bring positive people into it?

Which is why I am going to give myself a challenge. I am going to write something positive and be positive everyday for 2 weeks and see what happens.

Now you have to be realistic about your goals, you can't say I AM GOING to win the lottery everyday and expect to win it. But you can say, in 2 years i will make a lot of money (this is relative to everyone and very subjective) by writing a book. And then everyday doing something positive and continuing to be positive about this goal. This is just a broad example.

Here are some things I can be positive about that are realistic and hopefully change the lives of the people I love and me.
  • Being positive and finding the positives about living in India
  • Being positive about my husbands career and helping him to achieve his goals through positive reinforcement
  • Being positive in my own career aspirations and making them a reality
I think this is a great start...and let's see at the end of 2 weeks if I feel differently or if it has brought about positive changes in my life.
It takes way more energy to be negative and I know a few people that I have actually seen positive behaviour work in their favour.
My best friend A, went through a tough time with her hubby when he got sick with cancer. And she was ALWAYS positive, she always knew he would beat the odds, she didn't let negativity take over her thoughts. I truly believe this is what gave her the strength to be there for her husband. And now he is cancer free! Did her positive behaviour cure his cancer?
No. I'm not an idiot. But through positive thinking she allowed herself to be there for him, and it allowed him the strength to fight. I do believe our mind controls way more than we could ever know. Thanks for being someone to look up to A! Your positive attitude is infectious, which is why people, including me love being around you.

I also have another friend who was the epitome of negative. She was so negative, being around her was difficult and depressing. She constantly complained about her dating life, how men weren't interested in her, she never let you talk to her about your own dating experiences because hse hated that good things might be happening to other people. She complained about her job, etc.... And she wondered why no man wanted to be with her, why no employer wanted to hire her. She was portraying this attitude that was so evident in her body language, and it showed through in her confidence.

Then something changed, she decided to change, she opened her mind up to new things, stopped bitching about how things weren't working for her, and decided, who needs a man, who needs a different job, and she just focused on herself.
Then it all happened for her. New boyfriend (she has been with for a while), new job, house, etc.

So let's see how this can work for our benefit. I challenge all of you to be as positive as you can everyday, follow along with me, and find something to focus on and find the best in for the next 2 weeks with me and let's see if we can re-wire our minds!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An apology...

My mother always said, if you don't have anything nice to say don't say it all. So that is what I have done. The past year has been such a roller coaster for me, grieving the loss of my mom, being a new mom, and living in India while dealing with all these emotions. Now I feel like I can finally share my feelings, thoughts and life with everyone.

I think I honestly felt like I hated India, that perhaps I didn't want to be married if I had to do it in India (not that I didn't love my husband), that life just basically stunk because of India. But now I KNOW that was grief and depression. I always thought I was so strong, and I am, but I know now that I am also human, and that your mind can only take so much. I thought this past year that I have dealt with my mom's death really well, and that it didn't affect me as much as it should have. But I was wrong, I was so so wrong. It affected me more than I ever imagined, but also the added pressure of having a new baby and the happiness and joy that came with it as well, masked the feelings I was carrying around with me.

I heard a saying once, that applies to me in this situation, and that, you never know you are depressed until you are happy.

I'm happy. I'm finally happy after a year of anger fits, and crying battles, and hate towards India and everything associated with India, including my husband and his family. Not that India is an easy place to live. But being with the ones you love should be all that matters, location shouldn't make you THAT unhappy.
I harbored severe resentment against my in-laws, mostly because I felt it was unfair for them to be able to have a relationship with Yasmine and my mom would never have that, and my dad was in another country and couldn't have that either. And I know now that it was not right, and Yasmine deserves all the love she can get, and that means her other grandparents as well.

Let's just put it this way, I blamed, and I complained, and I made life miserable for everyone around me, because I wanted them to feel the same pain I felt. And the pain I felt was almost unbearable. And I know this now, it's so funny what you can see in the past when the present is finally so clear.

So this blog post is an apology, not only to the people I hurt, like my husband, my in-laws, my daughter, my dad, my sister but also to myself. I deserved the right to be sad and hurt and angry, and I never let myself feel those things, because I felt like I had to be strong for everyone else around me.

Realizing this has not only made life happy for me again, but it has allowed me to be a better mother, wife, daughter, daughter-in-law and sister.

I finally see life with possibilities, rather than a door that has been shut. I will always miss my mom, and the hurt will never go away, I just know how to better deal with it. And I know my mom would want this for me. She would want me to be happy, and to be good to myself, so that I can in turn be good to all the loved ones in my life.