One day in December 2015, we just knew we wanted you to be a part of our 2016. Around the time of your great grandfather’s 100th birthday celebration is when we had a feeling that the universe had conspired with us to make you happen, but we weren’t quite sure. I had to return to Barcelona to finish my last term of the MBA. Appa was to join me in a couple of weeks. I was too scared to go to the doctor myself and so, I waited until Appa came to Barcelona (mid-Feb’16) to go check if you were for real.
We went to Creu Blanca, a chain of clinics in Barcelona with a branch right behind our home (thank god for my insurance!). I just went in and asked for a gynaecologist in my broken Spanish and saw the only one that was available that week. I had rehearsed what I would tell the doctor a few times before I met her and she simply said she would have me examined to see if I were pregnant. When she scanned me, we could see a tiny thing flickering on a black and white screen in front of us and guess what it was – your tiny heart at 8 weeks!! Before we even realised what was happening, the doctor just shrieked, “Aww, el bebe (the baby)!” That was the moment it hit us, you were for real!!!
My life suddenly seemed to change drastically – less coffee, eating healthier, no alcohol, hyper olfactory cells and ever puking belly but looking back, it doesn’t feel so bad. Anyway, Appa and I got to see you very often in the first 5 months and that was the only way for us to know you were doing ok since I didn’t know biological terms in Spanish for us to understand what the doc was saying about your development. We would heave a huge sigh of relief just looking at you wriggle on the ultrasound and that was the best 5 minutes of our lives ever so often because everything else seemed to vanish from our thoughts for those few minutes in that cozy clinic. Haha.
As any pregnant woman, I threw up bonkers through the 1st trimester and most of the 2nd. I was so tired and hungry all the time (because you ate up all my food!). Although my last term at school was a lot less hectic, it was a nightmare climbing up the hill to school on most days and so I only went to school when I really had to, sleeping through the rest of the days. Despite this, I managed to help organise two conferences through the term – Doing Good Doing Well and TEDxBarcelona for which I worked on social media campaigns as that was what I could do best without tiring myself out physically.
In my final week at school, I did a course that demanded 16 hour work days and it was really stressful, but what kept me going was to discover for the very first time that you are for real because, bang in the middle of me working through crazy excel sheets, you kicked from inside to say “Hey there!” I couldn’t contain my excitement but I just quietly subdued a huge smile and went back to my excel sheets. This was followed by a capital cities trip that I and Appa went on just before graduation and so you can’t complain if we don’t take you to these cities again.
We saw you top to bottom thoroughly to make sure you had all your organs and limbs in the anomaly scan just before we returned to Bangalore. This was also when we learnt you that you are a “niña” (girl) and at first, I was quite stressed because being a girl myself, I thought I had to show you how it’s done and somehow my job seemed waaaay tougher than Appa’s. Looking back, I feel so silly because I just realised I can’t control a damn thing and no matter what I do or what my gender is, you will learn what you want to learn from whoever and it really doesn’t matter what we show you.
When we moved back to Bangalore, we went to the same doc as the one recommended by Sam and Sanch as that was the closest to home (Yeah, we’ve always been lazy!). As my luck may have it, I was deficient in every god damn thing and hence was on 5 supplements a day. Despite this, it turned out the amount of amniotic fluid was quite low in my body and I was advised bed rest for a good 1-2 months. During this time, ammamma came over and took care of me so you didn’t come out before term.
I had to keep tracking your moments within to make sure you were okay. One day you didn’t move as much as you should have and so, Appa and I went to the hospital to get it checked. I had to get admitted and get ready to have you delivered since we had no clue why you weren’t moving (turns out you were lazy too!), but I honestly wasn’t ready yet. I wanted to go back to the hospital fully prepared to have you and hence, I kept pleading with you to move so I would be discharged to come back the following week and thankfully you obliged.
So, we came back when I turned 38 weeks and I was induced to have a natural birth. Even after 17.5 hours of being in labour, you showed nooooo signs of coming out. In fact, you weren’t even remotely perturbed by the contractions and that’s when the doc came and asked me if I would be willing to wait another 24 hours to see if you would come out on your own. I would have loved to have you slide through me naturally and come out feeling incredibly exhausted but I decided to save both of us some trouble and at 11:40am on 15th September 2017 asked the doc to go in for a Caesarian section as I couldn’t wait to see you (yeah, curious and lazy me.. all at once!)
Both Appa and I were prepared for the OT. We have pictures from before we went in somewhere. I was given anaesthesia and within seconds I couldn’t feel anything below my belly and before I knew what was happening, the doctors had cut me open and pulled you out by 12:16:47 pm and dangling you in front of my eyes. And just like that, something that just felt like a figment of my imagination for nine whole months unfolded in front of me as a crying love ball of mush. That’s how you were born, Abheri Karthik!