Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Tale of Two Babies!

The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.


- Jessica Lange

I wanted to do a post on motherhood and my fraternal twin girls but as you can see, it has taken me a while to do that! My munchkins were born on November 10th 2014 and since then, life has been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride! Each day has been a constant cycle of feeding, burping, changing diapers, playtime and naps. Looking after two babies at the same time is a round-the-clock job and I never imagined that I would get any time to myself in the near future. But turns out that my girls (who are nearly 5 months old) are not terribly difficult to manage and as long as we stick to their well-established routine, they fill up their tummies, look forward to playtime, interact with us, enjoy their baths, sleep well and are seldom cranky. So far so good....I fervently hope things stay the same!

On pregnancy

Me and my husband both love children in general but we always dreamed of having a little girl. I often envisioned dressing my daughter up in cute girly outfits, braiding her hair, reading to her, going on shopping trips, bonding over arts and crafts projects, getting our nails done and sharing my passion of cooking with her among other things. In the process of getting settled in Singapore, obtaining our Permanent Residence, completing my Masters degree, getting a job and buying a condo, plans of starting a family were deliberately put on the back burner. But the thought of becoming parents never strayed too far away from our minds. After we were married, my husband once remarked that the ideal baby scenario for us would be to have triplet girls! At the time, I thought he was quite mad! I guess god heard his prayer but he must also have thought three girls to be a bit much and settled for the next best thing which is two 

8th month - Almost at the finish line!



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I didn't announce my pregnancy on my blog or any other form of social media because I believe it is a personal issue and I'm superstitious about that kind of thing anyway. To be honest, from the outset, I had a complicated pregnancy. An unexpected twin pregnancy that came with its own set of risks compounded with a pregnancy-induced blood clotting condition that required daily blood thinning injections of heparin and gestational diabetes that required daily shots of insulin, not to mention the bi-weekly jabs of progesterone that was needed to sustain the pregnancy from start to finish - it was no party believe me! I needed a team of highly qualified doctors and nurses who collaborated with each other to ensure everything was going smoothly. I also had almost every pregnancy symptom in the book particularly nausea, vomiting, food aversions, heartburn, backache, frequent trips to the loo, insomnia, fatigue and excruciating leg cramps. But I chose to savour every moment of my pregnancy rather than delve in self-pity. I pointedly ignored repeated chants of "bedrest" from well wishers choosing to listen exclusively to my doctor who was absolutely phenomenal. He forbid me from swimming and traveling, referred me to a dietician and encouraged me to continue working and lead an active lifestyle which in hindsight, was the best piece of advice he ever gave me. I paid meticulous attention to my diet, took all my medications, injections and supplements on time, maintained my (numerous!) hospital appointments, didn't stress myself at work, kept a positive and happy frame of mind, continued blogging, went on regular outings with hubby, friends and colleagues and overall, had a safe and surprisingly enjoyable pregnancy. If I had to do it all over again (which I won't have to), I honestly would!

My girls were born at 36 weeks and despite arriving 2 weeks earlier than expected, didn't require a single day of stay in the NICU or suffer from jaundice. They were tiny pink squealing floppy-necked things but they were healthy and the three of us made it unscathed through the adventure of the past 8-months  Despite a twin pregnancy, I gained a total of only 5 kilos so losing the weight was a piece of cake. I never had to buy any maternity clothes and was able to fit into most of my regular clothes (and even jeans!) up until the day I delivered. And to think that at the start of my twin pregnancy, I dreaded the thought of turning into a blue whale! Funnily enough, at the moment I'm frantically trying to put on weight. Now for a person who has been trying to lose weight for most of her adult life, who saw that coming?!

My first selfie ever!
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There were five highlights during my pregnancy all of which were moments I will cherish for the rest of my life.
  • The first of course, were the two beautiful pink lines appeared on the home pregnancy test. Disbelief soon turned to sheer delight when the words 'pregnant' popped up on the digital test.
  • The second was discovering that we were going to have twins. It was quite an astonishing development since naturally conceived twins, though not unheard of, are not very common in our family tree. Initial tests at the hospital revealed that my blood hCG levels (hCG = Human Chorionic Gonadotropin aka the pregnancy hormone) were skyrocketing and so I was rushed in for an early ultrasound scan. I remember gawking at the ultrasound monitor on seeing two distinct gestational sacs and babbling something unintelligent when my equally stunned doctor told me what that meant. It is almost impossible to articulate what I felt at that moment. Gobsmacked would be the most apt word to describe it!


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  • The third was hearing my babies clippity clop heartbeat for the very first time. It sounded like a dozen horses galloping in unison and it was the most glorious sound in the world. And to hear it twice was just overwhelming. The first tangible reassurance of life growing inside 
  • The fourth was during the gender reveal scan. I was apprehensive that we would end up having twin boys and I kept comforting myself that if that indeed happened, we would take it in our stride and be happy with the outcome. My husband on the other hand held the unshakeable belief that it was going to be twin girls and was in complete denial regarding the possibility of any other combination! His certainty had started to get on my nerves! When the sonographer told us that we were going to have two princesses, I felt the whole burden of the world lift off my shoulders and then the waterworks began!
  • The fifth was feeling my girls move. I distinctly remember when it happened too. I was in the train on my way home from work chatting with someone on WhatsApp and discussing when I would be able to feel my babies and as if on cue, I felt a series of unmistakable fluttering movements. I was so startled that I almost dropped my phone! A few days later, the flutters turned into gentle taps and soon enough I began to feel sharp kicks. And considering I was waiting impatiently to feel my babies move, I got more than what I bargained for as once they started, they never stopped! It was 24x7 and I started to freak out that their non-stop gymnastics was in some way causing them harm (which of course was not the case). Haha!

Naturally every moment of pregnancy is special and there were several more memorable instances like the first time I threw up (which got me secretly excited!), the my intense cravings for cheese (which looks like is here to stay!), the first time someone gave up their seat for me on public transport (thrilled that the bump got noticed!), people's varied reactions when I told them I was having twins (it ranged from "how lucky" to "oh you poor thing"!), being amongst close family and friends during my baby shower (getting 'showered' with gifts!), picking baby names (ricocheting like a pinball from one name to another!) and the first time we shopped for baby things (major pink overload!) among others.


On motherhood

Being a first time mom is tough. Like I mean really TOUGH. Not that I was under the impression that it would be easy but sometimes the only way you really understand something is when you go through it yourself. It's not so much the physical pain that a woman has to endure during pregnancy, childbirth and the challenges of breastfeeding but more so the mental stress that comes from sleep deprivation, exhaustion and anxiety of being responsible for a new life (two in my case!). All this amidst heaps of unsolicited advice, and conflicting information that a rookie mom has to inevitably deal with *sigh*. The transformation from womanhood to motherhood is the most profound metamorphosis that one can undergo. Once a carefree, independent working woman, I now was the primary caregiver of two tiny human beings who didn't look much like me, barely acknowledged my existence and covered me in drool, pee and poop. Talk about a drastic lifestyle makeover!

The first six weeks after my girls were born were hands-down the most trying phase of my life. Despite googling any information that I could find about life with a newborn, I wasn't anywhere prepared for the kaleidoscope of emotions that came along with it. Being a mother tests your patience, endurance and confidence like you never thought it could be tested before. There were several instances then where I felt clueless, insecure, stressed and frustrated. Well, I guess now that I'm a mom, those emotions are going to keep surfacing every now and then! Self-doubt and guilt returns with a vengeance every time something inevitably goes wrong or doesn't go as planned so that is just something I'm learning to deal with.





It is a fact of life that once you enter into the world of motherhood, your life completely changes. 'Me time', when you can do whatever you darn well please becomes practically non-existent. Everything revolves around the new life that you have created and every waking minute of the day is spent thinking about their needs. I remember the early days where even when my girls were asleep, I couldn't bring myself to sleep because I would constantly keep checking on them to see if they were still breathing! Even now, the slightest sound from them at night has me up in a flash and gone are the days where I could sleep like a log. From one first-time mother to another....paranoia is a very real thing! Nowadays, unkempt hair, unplucked eyebrows, bleary eyes, grubby and mismatched clothes, maternal amnesia, a messy house, being late for any appointment/event and strapping on a bag the size of an elephant filled with baby essentials has become the norm.

Motherhood can mean different things to different people and our own definition is largely defined by our individual experiences. I remember when the twins were around 10 weeks old, I was in the drawing room cradling one of them in my arms and I almost dropped her as I clumsily tripped over the coffee table. In that fraction of a second, I clung on to her as if my life depended on it and I knew for sure that no matter what happened, I wouldn't let any harm come to her. As frightened as I was by the close call, it triggered an epiphany which made me realise how powerful a mother's protective instinct can be. To me, motherhood is an exciting, satisfying, challenging, overwhelming and a humbling experience. It is willingly and gladly giving more of yourself than you knew you ever had. It is also accepting responsibility. The combination of unconditional love, fierce devotion and selflessness makes it the hardest but most rewarding job on this earth.







As hard as it was in the beginning, as time went by, things got heaps better. I had a whole lot of help from my parents, in-laws and my husband so as the days ticked by, I started seeing glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel. My pipsqueaks started getting acquainted and adjusting to the exciting big bright world around them and I got used to being their mother. By the time they were 3 months old, they had learnt to smile, chuckle, gurgle, coo and roll over. No matter how tired I was, just one dimpled smile from them would be enough to make my day (and I thought it was so damn cute that both flaunted a dimple on exactly the same side!). They would react exuberantly to facial expressions and make the most adorable sounds. I started to look forward to interacting with them and would actually miss them after the painstaking task of swaddling, cradling, bouncing and rocking to get them to nap. Go figure! The best part came when they learned to put themselves to sleep (most of the time at least) ☺ There were no longer unexplained extended sessions of fussiness or banshee-like screeching. They also started sleeping for 5-6 hours at a stretch at night which helped me regain my sanity. I was finally able to enjoy my babies. Now I sit and cuddle them, watch them sleep, smell them, kiss them, let them gaze at my face, coo, babble, sing to them and take a ridiculous number of their pictures and videos. Words can do no justice to the immense love that I feel for them. Sometimes I think I could just gobble them up!☺ They now know that I am their mommy (and not just the 'milk lady') and they seem to enjoy their one-on-one bonding time with me. So, having said all that, does it mean I've figured all this baby stuff out? No....absofreakinlutely NOT! I still have episodes of epic freak outs but I've learned to cut myself some slack and understand that it is okay and even normal to have them.

I made the momentous decision to quit my job and take time off to spend quality time with my girls and watch them blossom. I would be lying if I said I didn't miss the social interaction, working environment, goals, achievements and financial independence but I figured, jobs will come and go but I'll never get back the precious first years of their life. I do intend to get back to work eventually (because I love having a career and I refuse to feel guilty about that) but I've decided to give it more thought only when I feel like the time is right. As a couple, we believe it is unfair to treat our parents like ready-made babysitters on whom we can offload the responsibility of taking care of our children and I wouldn't trust a maid or even a nanny with two infants unsupervised. As a stay-at-home-mom for the time being, I still do have a full-time job but now the payment is in pure love, toothless grins, cuddles and kisses. I don't want to torture myself by comparing or competing with other mothers and just want to be the best mom my children deserve so the 'sacrifice' (for lack of a better word) is worth it so I have no regrets It is undoubtedly going to be hard but I'm going to do the best I can so wish me luck!




As I am writing this post, my little ones are sitting in front of me in their bouncy chairs eyeing me with great interest, probably wondering what in the world I'm up to! I count my blessings everyday that my family is complete, my children are healthy, that I have incredible family support, the option to choose not to work and the ability to raise my children in a solid and loving partnership. Life is good and although I know that I am far from perfect, when I look into the eyes of my two beautiful girls, I know I got something perfectly right!



"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body".


-Elizabeth Stone



P.S. - The first three individual baby pics are of my older twin Anvitha and the subsequent three are of my younger one Navitha. All the photography in this post (except the last one) is the work of yours truly 


Cheers,


8 comments:

  1. A beautiful post ! I can totally relate :) Your girls are beautiful and love how you have captured their expressions ! :)

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  2. Beautiful! Warm hugs n kisses to all of u :)

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  3. Beautiful heartfelt blog post Meghs :) Was connected throughout the reading and will surely be smiling for a long time remembering this post :D Feels amazing reading about all the emotions, thoughts and subsequent changes to life's outlook/mindset. Nice choice of pics and quotes too. Cheers.

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  4. Your photos are so beautiful and this is such a great story. I fully respect your choice to not mention your pregnancy publicly. You have a lovely blog.

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  5. Congratulations Megha! The little ones are adorable. We welcomed a baby girl this Feb and had fun reading this post. You post gives me hope that it going to get better ;)

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  6. Thank you everyone for the lovely messages :)

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  7. Hearty congratulations, Megha! I know i'm late by over a year and a half! I came back to blogger after a long time and was delighted to see this update! Your little girls are too cute! Stay blessed! Love to the kiddos :)

    P:S: There is so much more to catch up on your blog! Will do it soon :)

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    1. Hey thanks so much! when r u getting back to blogging? I miss ur posts! Howz ur little man doing?

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