Yess…we are finally a family of 4. We rang this year with the birth of our daughter Nyra.
I was wrong to believe that it would be easier the second time around. So far It has not been easy. With Mike busy with his work, his MBA classes, a lockdown in Switzerland, a hyperactive toddler, cold cold winter, this phase in our lives hasn’t always been a jolly ride.
Bringing Nyra into this world was probably the easiest part for me. What started like light contractions early morning around 2 am, got really painful and unbearable around 5 am. By the time we reached the hospital, I was already 3 cm dilated. I was literally begging the nurse to give me epidural (thank you science!). By 11.30 am, after all the pushing and screaming, our doll was finally out. I got to hold my baby girl only for few minutes before the nurses took her away from me. They had to do a small procedure (which took almost 2 hr) on me to remove the additional placenta present in my uterus.
I had to stay at the hospital for 2 days as I had lost more blood than normal and had to get iron infusion. The doctor wanted to check if I would bleed more because of the procedure. With great difficulty I stayed there. I was missing my husband and son like crazy. Because of the restrictions due to the pandemic, no guest was allowed inside other than the spouse and that too only for a couple of hours. My mother could not travel and be with us too. I just wanted to take my baby home to my boys.
Neel’s reaction when we finally got home was priceless. He was so happy and excited to see his baby sister that he was showering her with kisses and hugs all.the.time. I had to keep him from smothering her!
As expected, the first few nights were really difficult. Nyra did not sleep so well. She was waking up every few minutes both during day and night. I had to feed her constantly and still she was not satisfied. I was worried that I did not have enough milk to feed her. Power pumping and drinking lots of homemade herbal tea (made of star anise, fennel seeds, cumin and ajwain) actually helped improve my milk quantity. However I also ended up having fever with high temperature for a few days. I was always on bed with a baby latched onto me and a toddler by my side (Neel wanted to be with us the whole time). Thankfully Mike had his paternity leave and was able to take care of us.
I was more or less prepared (from the first time) for the pains, sleepless nights, sore breasts, fatigue which were expected postpartum. But what I had forgotten and which took my breath away was the psychological stress that came with it.
The anxiety over the baby, whether she was doing fine or not, my toddler needing my attention and me unable to spend enough time with him took a toll on me. I was constantly filled with depressing thoughts. I felt I had no control over my emotions. I was all over the place- the moodiness, the anger, loss of appetite, the guilt because of pain and being unable to contribute to household chores.
I wanted to be happy and excited for this new phase in my life but all I could do was sit and cry.
I did not know when I would be able to see my family and when they would get to hold the baby. I wondered what would happen to my career or when I could travel next. I despaired that it would be another 3 to 4 years before I could enjoy a nice cup of coffee alone without anyone jumping on me or crying for me.
I realized Nothing and Nobody can prepare you for this emotional roller coaster ride…
Now I tell myself to take it one moment at a time, to first acknowledge these emotions that I have, to be kind to myself, to take small steps to convert the negative feelings into something positive. The most important and the hardest task was to make an effort to discuss my feelings with my family.
Now I know there will be a time for my career, for vacation, for everything else, but at the moment I need to give attention to myself. I need to heal so that I can be there for my family.
Thanks to Mike, my sister and my mom, who have been my constant support, who had to bear my wrath, I am able to get stronger and better with every passing day.
3 months after birth, I am not completely there yet. I still have my burnouts. Some days it can be too much with two kids, but I know I will be fine, things will be fine…
Like they say “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” I believe I am already halfway there.