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My husband and I had been married for 3 years when we realised that we were expecting our first baby. Although we were aware that we had crossed over to the wrong side of 30 (thanks to the constant reminders from our families!), we felt we weren't ready to be parents yet. We had married against our parents' will and weren't sure whether we would get the kind of support that we needed during the nine months and beyond that. However, fate had another plan. In less than a month of my joining a new job, we realised that our world was about to change.
Our first bit of support came from my parents. They, in these 3 years, had come to terms with our marriage and had taken a liking to my husband. Now, they were ecstatic! A baby was to come into the family after two decades (the last one being my younger brother, who was now 21). They couldn't contain their happiness. They extended their whole-hearted love and support to the unborn child. Boy or girl? They couldn't care any less. They just wanted the baby and me to be safe and healthy.
The first and foremost task was to find a good hospital and a competent gynaecologist. We chose Dr Manju Wali (Max Hospital, Patparganj, Delhi) who seemed to be extremely popular among my friends. On our first meeting with her, she had us at "Don't look so scared. Pregnancy is not a disease!" She was the most patient, cool as a cucumber, and witty doctor I had ever seen. We knew this was going to be a smooth journey with her by our side.
My major concern was breaking the news to my new boss. I didn't even know him too well yet, and the fact that I had a male boss did not help matters either. I was absolutely clueless about how to approach him. Although I was tempted to let my colleagues and boss find out on their own ("Hey, you are gaining weight! Too much pizza?" "No, guess again!"), I felt it would be against professional ethics to keep them in the dark. So, as soon as the first trimester was over, I approached my boss and broke the news to him. To my utter surprise, he was not only totally cool about the whole thing, but also extremely considerate and supportive. That is when I knew that I had made the correct career choice in joining this organization. From there on, my boss and my entire team took extra care of me and ensured that I was comfortable at all times.
From my experience, these are the things that ensure you have a super smooth journey towards meeting your little one:
1. Ensure that you are financially and emotionally stable before you plan a baby. You owe that much to the child.
2. A stable marriage and a caring husband are a must. All you fathers-to-be, your wife is going to give you a gift like no other. Love her, support her!
3. Do a little bit of research before you finalize a doctor and a hospital. There are a lot of medical issues that may crop up during the course of pregnancy and childbirth. Both the doctor and hospital must be competent enough to handle these.
4. Keep talking to your friends who are already mothers. Go ahead, put social media to good use - make a private chat group with all mothers and mothers-to-be. Bombard them with questions. You will be surprised to find that out of the million little things you worry about, 99.999% are normal. This will save you from pressing the panic button too often. However, don't forget to discuss all your problems with your doctor, too.
5. There are so many websites that help you know the development of your baby, week-by-week. I registered on babycenter.com. It helped! A well-informed mother is the best mother. Also, there are so many books out there in the market that help you sail through pregnancy without losing grip on sanity. But remember, do not become the doctor! Keep your doctor in the loop whenever you feel something is not quite right.
6. If you are a working professional, inform your boss and your team well in advance. You would be spending several hours a day with them. They need to be aware in case of any emergency. If you are a home maker, make sure that you have someone around you to help out, whenever needed.
7. Do not heed unsolicited advice. Everyone becomes an expert around a pregnant woman and a new mother. Ask your doctor and do only what he/she says.
8. Eat well, stay active. Satisfy all your cravings to moderation. (No second helpings of the ice cream. Third helpings? Of course, NOT!)
In my case, the first 8 months went by fairly smoothly. The last month was slightly difficult because I found it tough to move about much, and sitting in office for 8.5 hours became uncomfortable. So, exactly one month before the due date, I had to stop going to office and stay at home waiting for the baby to make an appearance. My mother shifted in with us so that I wasn't left alone in the house.
Every morning brought a new hope, and every night would be a new disappointment - still pregnant! A month of waiting and thousands of false alarms later, the baby decided it was time to come out - one day before the due date. As we left home for the hospital, we were too excited and nervous to realise that life as we knew it was about to change. Three hours later, when the doctor announced "You have been blessed with a lovely daughter" to a half-dead, terribly exhausted me, I couldn't help but smile with pride.
She was here! Hi, baby!