Even the most difficult times of our life will be strewn with happiness. That was the case with my 3WW. I am thankful that I had the heart to enjoy those happiness amidst that horrible uncertainty. During 2WW, I was praying to God, "Please let it be a positive so that I can stay with my mom for some more time". I was away from her for 10 years. Every year, or sometimes once in two years, I got to spend only a couple of weeks with her. I feel guilty that she is alone with my very old grandfather. She herself is getting old. If the pregnancy test had been negative I wouldn't have been able to extend my stay in Madurai. I have to go with Rajender. I was away from him for more than a month and already every of his relatives were asking him when I would be back. My mother-in-law was too worried too that we were staying apart. So, when I got a positive, my joy knew no bounds. I had a valid reason to stay back.
The other reason for my happiness was our cats. We always had pets in our home. We had a peacock (actually a peahen), parrots, squirrels, rabbits, dog and even a wounded crow as pets. Actually, I was gifted to grow up with pets. Pets can teach young children many important life's lessons. They did teach me how to be caring towards the weak, to be compassionate, empathetic; they did teach me unconditional love and thus polished my nurturing skills. They not only taught me about life but about death too. Death of our pets did bring in lots of sadness and pain, but, those experiences were invaluable lessons which taught me how to grieve for the loss and get over it. It introduced me to the concept of death at a very young age and made me realize that death is an inevitable part of life. I think because of such valuable lesson I learned so early in life, I managed to get over many other losses in my life in a better way.
I must say I grew up with cats. There will be several cats running here and there in our home at any time of the year. When I left for Mumbai, for treatment, two of our pregnant cats have given birth. Oh, what a joy it was to see those tiny creatures! There were altogether 7 kittens. The most beautiful part about kittens was to observe them play when they grow a bit. When you watch those tiny bundles of joy you would forget all the adversities. Because of the 3WW I got the chance to be with them longer, to see them grow and to enjoy their playfulness and naughtiness to my heart’s content after a long, long time.
Rajender on the other hand was not used to pets as I was. He is afraid of them, or, the more apt expression would be, he is not comfortable with them. He thinks that they carry harmful germs. When he married me and came to our home, he was shocked to see cats roaming everywhere. And, he was more shocked by the way I play with them. He made sure that they don't come near him. If at all our cats wanted to be friendly with him and came near him, instead of shooing them away he would move away from that place quietly. This obviously increased our cats love and respect for him. The more he tried to be away from them, the more the cats grew fonder of him and wanted to get closer to him. They showed their love in so many ways. They used to cajole him by friendly brushing their body against his legs, (which made him keep his legs lifted away from the ground when he was sitting on the sofa :) or sometimes, when everyone of us were watching TV, the cats wanted to climb only to his lap and to no one else's :) When we were newlywed, one fine morning, I got up early and went to the kitchen to help my mom. I left the bedroom door open. I and my mom were chatting and suddenly we heard my dear husband's distress call, " Manju, Manju, where are you!" My mom was too worried. She said. "Go and see Manju, he sounds very disturbed". I ran to the room. On the cot, at one end, my dear husband was sitting with lots of sleep still in his eyes and I could see some fear too. On the other end of the cot one of our sweet little cats was sitting and watching Rajender interestingly and naughtily. I would never forget that scene. On seeing that, I broke into laughter. Rajender said, “I was sleeping and it came and laid between my legs" He said, "It is not going away, I had to get up, please take this away". Our cat wanted some warmth during that December month's early morning. It usually finds some comfy place in between my mom's legs when she was sleeping. With the same expectation it went to Rajender. I removed the cat and came out. From then on until now, Rajender reminds me when I come out of the room in the morning, " Manju, please close the door" :)
One other thing I learned from our cats is the joy of motherhood. I have been seeing our cats get pregnant and giving birth from a very tender age. I have seen and felt a pregnant cat’s tummy so many times. It is a joy to feel the little ones from outside. When I keep my hand on a very pregnant cat’s tummy, I could feel the head of the little ones rolling inside. When they move, you get a tickling sensation in the palm, I used to enjoy it and would count how many heads are there inside. After giving birth the mother cat turns into a bundle of love. It purrs gently (the purring actually sounds like a little motor running inside its body) and feeds its young ones dutifully. I have even helped our cat birth its little one - worked as a midwife for it! It was such an experience to see it give birth. I have not only shared their happy motherhood times but also have seen them grieve the loss of their little ones. The greatest enemy for new born cats is a male cat, even its own father. If the male cat finds the place where the little ones are, it just bites and kills them. It is of course horrible! The reason why it behaves so is, if the little ones are no more, the female cat reaches its estrous cycle soon due to the lack of feeding period and gets ready for the next copulation! The plight of the female cat that lost its children is not any less than that of human. It cries and cries for days. It will keep on roaming around the place where the little ones were kept. Whenever it hears a mewing kitten somewhere it gets paranoid and runs around to see whether it is her children. Like every living being, it gets over its grief gradually, comes to an acceptance, and moves on!
I spent my 3WW with my mom and our cats. I ate very well, enjoyed all the native delicasies and my mom's cooking. I vomited very rarely. When compared to my pregnancy with twins it was a cake walk. I didn't have smell sensitivity, no constipation, there was no constant nausea, foods and its smell didn't turn me off. The more I felt better, more I was getting depressed. The only consistent symptom I had was gagging when brushing teeth. When I get very paranoid I would take my brush and attempt to brush my teeth any time of the day :) My mom would look at me very surprisingly and with worry!
I literally tortured Rajender. I would call him and ask where he is. Whatever he says was enough to trigger my self-pity and anger. If he says he was with his friends or with his niece watching a movie, I got so irritated. I would cry, tell him all nasty things. I would say, "Here I am struggling every moment with uncertainty and fear, you left me to deal with all this alone and you are enjoying there", this was my constant accusation. He would say, "I asked you several times whether I must stay back and you said I can leave. I will come back now". My mom on watching this got very angry one day. She said, “This is very unfair. You only asked him to go, I heard it myself, why are you now torturing him?” She would murmur, “It is not your fault, it is his fault. He has pampered you so much". I got so furious and told her, “When I have the heart to think about his happiness, his comfort, won't he think about me? It is his child too and how can he even come and ask me whether he could go? If he wanted to go, should I plead him to stay back? I will never do that. That's why I asked him to leave". My mom had nothing more to say. She understood I was very disturbed and let me be the way I was. Not only with Rajender, to many of my loved ones I showed my anger and frustration. They understood me, forgave me. This is the reason why it is important to be with your mom during IVF times and not with your in-laws. If I have behaved the same with my in-laws our relationship would have definitely got strained. I also realized something after this incident between us, in any relationship compromise and sacrifice will not do any good. Make sure that you remain happy first. Only a happy person can keep others happy too!
At last, the day of ultrasound came. As the time got nearer I became surprisingly calmer. I prepared myself for the worst. I told Rajender that he must be strong. He said, "We have done our best, nothing more is in our hands, whatever is the outcome, please don’t worry". I told Dr that I will not mail him if there is no heart beat. He replied, “I will be praying and awaiting your mail". Before I entered the ultrasound room I looked at my mom. I was breaking down inside. I thought, “Whatelse and all she has to endure because of me!" I told her, "Amma, you must be brave. Even if there is no heart beat you must not worry too much, I will not worry too". I entered the room when my turn came. I felt I was carrying so many people's expectations, my heart was heavy. That was the first time in our 7 years of infertility history I was going to have a scan without Rajender. He was always with me for hundreds of scan I had before.
In the scanning room there stood the same lady doctor who measured my antral follicles. I gave her the necessary information. They first did an abdominal scan. Then they asked me to move to the other part of the room where they will do the vaginal scan. I looked at her and asked eagerly, "Is there a heart beat?" She said, “I have to look vaginally". There was a big screen in front of me and I could see the live scan picture on it lying down. I closed my eyes. My heart was beating so fast. The picture got clearer on the screen as the doctor focused on my little one and......
"THERE ARE TWO HEARTS BEATING INSIDE ME" :)