Thursday, March 28, 2019

A Request !

To contact me, please write to me to this e-mail ID - The other option is to leave your comment in this blog. You can do so anonymously too. The contact form I have given on the top right of the blog is not functioning properly. Sometimes I get updates after several days. Recently I missed so many important messages and queries. Although I might not have answers for all the queries, I can do my best to help you. This gives me enormous happiness. It helps me to learn new things. I like interacting with people. It gives me the satisfaction that I am doing something useful. If you write to me and do not get a reply, please forward your e-mail again. Thank you !

This post will always be on the top and all other updates will appear below this.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

God, infertility and IVF

I was introduced to God by my parents at a very young age; perhaps during the time when I started to imitate my elders. They took me to temples , asked me to keep my palms together and said, “Ask God that He should take care of you and protect you”. I repeated what they said without even understanding the meaning of what I am repeating “God please protect me !”. My parents were very happy and so were my near and dear ones . They enjoyed the childishness in the words I uttered. They were pleased that I would grow into a “God-fearing” child. But I had no idea who God is. I felt happy to be in a temple because I could see so many different people there; I was excited to repeat what I was told to - because everyone’s attention was on me and I got lots of appreciation for what I did. This is how God came into my life. I never knew at that point of time that this invisible person, whom I will never meet, will shape my life; will have a strong control over me and will provide me with emotional protection. I also never knew that He can make me feel guilty and fill me with irrational fears !

When I grew a bit older, my parents used God as a tool to control my pranks. They used to say “Manju, if you tell lies God will pierce your eyes; so do not lie.” I used to get terrible dreams of losing my eye sight every time I lied. However, the lie saved me from my elder’s anger more effectively than God would. But the fear that God will punish me remained etched in my mind.

I was educated in schools run by Christian organizations. I learned a lot about God there. We had a church within the school; there were regular prayer meetings and bible studies. In such an environment, I got to hear the message - “God loves you” , and this was a very new message for me. I was taught until then that God will protect me from harm and He will punish me when I do something wrong; but no one told me that God loves me and I had no insightful thinking to assume that the “super power”loves me. Those were the times I started to feel closer to God ; I started to treat Him as my friend. I shared with Him my fears and wants; when I was worried, and when I could not talk to anyone about what bothered me, I knew where to go. I went to church, kneeled in front of Him, told Him my worries and asked for help. When I reached out to Him, my fears appeared less bothersome and I strongly believed that I would get help. I asked Him help for everything –for getting good marks, so that my dad wouldn’t get upset; for protecting me from my teachers’ wrath whenever I failed to do my homework; for giving me the things I desired; for protecting my mom, dad and sister; for curing my dear ones - and for many more things ! God became my confidant – He knew everything about me – each of my secrets. I struggled hard to keep my thinking good – I was scared that bad thinking would bring forth God’s anger and He would punish me ! I also learned to seek His forgiveness whenever I did something wrong; whenever I went against my conscience. I got a lot of relief when I could repent and get His forgiveness. The bonding I had with Him increased day by day , and I am sure He loved me unconditionally!

I was taught this prayer during school days – and I can recite it even now :

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Then came my teen age years – I was physically and mentally metamorphosing into a new person. Raging hormones; physical changes; and lots of new, exciting thoughts and feelings set in. With that came in a lot more guilt ! I became uncomfortable about the fact that God knew “all”my thoughts. I struggled between keeping myself pure so that God remains pleased with me , but my “Mills and Boon”desires seem to pull me away from God many a time ! That was the most beautiful and highly confused period of my life. I tried hard to keep my thoughts “blemish free” and concentrated on my studies.

As I grew, I learned to bargain with God too. I would tell Him “God I will not eat non-vegetarian food on particular days; I will control my desire to eat it– can you please make my wish about coming first in this test come true ? “I used to panic a lot when my mom fell ill; and I always ended up feeling guilty because I believed that God was punishing me by making my mom suffer because of my evil thoughts and deeds ! In short, when my thought processes were not fully mature , I viewed God as a powerful person , who knew everything, including my innermost thoughts and desires . I believed that if I was good , I would be spared of His anger and He would bless me by granting me all my desires. This fear of God acted as a protective shield from many unwanted distractions I encountered in life. But it also curtailed my rational analyzing power many a time , and left me with irrational feelings of guilt !

Then came my college days and a much more mature me. I went to temples whenever I could and felt very peaceful when I stood in front of Him with my hands folded. I no longer kept my eyes closed when I prayed to Him. I found happiness looking at Him; talking to Him just like I talk to a friend - and I started to love Him too. I felt immense strength when I had Him near me. I prayed to Him frequently to give me a good future – a good job, a good life-partner and I constantly pestered Him to make my wishes come true !

Soon I entered into a period of life where I was well-settled; I found a wonderful life-partner and was ready to have lots of babies. Life was happy - but I found to my dismay that I could not get pregnant. I saw that something which was very natural and easy for others was denied to me. During this time I got a lot of advises on - which God to pray; what to offer Him; what kind of fasting and prayers I could do in order to please Him so that I could get my child! I prayed to God faithfully; swallowed the “prasadams” which was offered to Him - and fasted as instructed. I got pregnant – but went through a traumatic miscarriage!

This was when I was exposed to “life”. My pain made me receptive to other’s pain. I started to look around and realized that there are many others who suffer more than me. Suffering leads to “enlightenment”;suffering and pain opens up our mind; it makes us to search for “truth”. We only learn from adversity in our life – and what we choose to learn is upto us ! I am sure the “Bodhi tree” stands as an euphemism for “suffering” - and everyone becomes a little Buddha during some point in their life when they are faced with grief and agony !

The pain of infertility was so intense that I did my best to escape from it. The only reasonable way out, which is within my reach, is to acquire knowledge. When I say knowledge , it doesn’t mean scientific knowledge alone , but an attempt to get some rational answers to philosophical questions. Why did this happen to me ? Why did God forsake me ? Why is He making me suffer ? What did I do wrong ? Why do I have to endure this pain ? Is infertility a punishment ? Why can’t God help me out ? Why does God bless someone with a baby when they don’t want one - and when I need one so badly, why is He denying me that happiness ? Why are unwanted babies created and thrown in dustbins when there are so many people struggling to have one ? Why are so many children born to people who cannot even feed them properly ? When many drug addicts and pedophiles can have a baby without trouble, why can’t I? Why do bad things happen to good people ? I needed answers; answers which could ease my pain. Whom should I turn to? Where will I get the answers so that I will find peace of mind ?

When I carefully analyzed all the questions which arose in my mind, I understood that God is the anchor and all the questions are connected to Him in one way or another. I realized that, I will get the needed answers only if I could understand who God is ! Do I really know the person whom I am depending on all my life ? Where is He, what does He look like ? Does He really have anything to do with suffering ? Does He punish us when we do wrong ? Will He wipe my tears ? Does He posses the magical wand to make our reasonable desires (my baby wish !) come true ? WHO IS HE ?!

Below is my humble attempt to understand who God is ! I am no expert in religious literature, although I do try to grasp the crux of what is said in them. This article is like a baby’s first step , and I hope it doesn’t hurt anyone’s ideology. I hope I will not get a mail saying I am a blasphemer! The following definition I developed in my mind about God helped to me to be at peace with myself - and I hope it helps some of you too.

God is a form of energy. There is a powerful energy which is operating in this world. We can understand it when we think about this world’s architecture. In fact, why consider such complex things –just think about our body and how reproduction happens. Two minute cells unite to give birth to the most complex living organism. Being a biologist, I am always bewildered by all the minute yet complex processes that work in unison to keep us alive- and to create a new life form ! For such a complex process to work perfectly, there should be a designer. Doesn’t the accuracy by which this world functions and by which our body functions demand the existence of an omnipotent designer ? I believe there is a “super brain” at work behind the complexities and perfectness of life. There is an unimaginable and unfathomable force that operates in this world and we call that energy God. Imagine neglecting your home for a few months – the orderliness of your home will be gone ! Your home needs “you” to keep it in order ! Likewise , this world needs a “super power” to maintain its orderliness!

However, that energy (God) has nothing to do with making us cry or wiping your tears; it has nothing to do with the sufferings that happen in this world; it has nothing to do with giving me a baby or not giving me a baby; it is not responsible for our happiness or sadness. In short, it is an energy which doesn’t operate keeping an individual’s goodness in mind. It doesn’t even have a mind (thoughts like humans !), it is just an energy which is dissipated evenly throughout this world!

Such magnificent energy cannot be seen but it can be felt. You can feel it when you immerse yourself in the beauty and magnificence of nature. You can feel it in the kindness which people show you and in the love you give others. You can feel it when you help others - and when they help you. You can feel it , if you keep your heart open, in the work you do; in the warmth and compassion in this world; in a baby (any baby - not only in a human baby!); in suffering and pain; in happiness and joy; in a beautiful smile; in the perfect functioning of our body everything, everything ! You can also feel that energy when it takes a destructive form - in a storm, in a tsunami, in an earthquake. The same energy which protects this world can destroy it too !

Why is it so; why do bad things happen ? Why there are natural disasters ? Why there are diseases, hatred, war, crime ? Why do humans inflict suffering on fellow humans ? Again , it has nothing to do with that energy’s intent. You can use that energy to help you; to make you a better person; to live in absolute love and peace; to increase your happiness; and to make this world a better place to live in. You can also use that energy to destroy your happiness; to destroy peace and love; to make yourself miserable; and to bring darkness into this world. That energy which pervades everything actually takes the form of the mind which uses it. The negative form of that energy is very powerful and dangerous too. But without its negative form , we will never be able to appreciate its positivity.

This is why it is said that God is everywhere, in all life forms. I don’t believe in a God who is ready to wipe my tears; I don't believe in a God who is waiting to punish when I do something wrong or reward me when I do something good; I don’t believe in a God who gives me what I desire; I don’t believe in a God who will come to help me when I am in pain ! All this cannot be performed by God (by that energy)– but humans can do it , with the help of that omnipotent, omnipresent energy. Every human takes the role of God many a time. I see God in the love I get, in the help I receive, in the warmth and compassion of many fellow beings, I see God in a beautiful smile, in a child’s happiness and I see God in myself too , many a time.

A Chinese student works with me; I help him in his work. Few days before he asked me when I am going to India; and I told him about IVF treatment and so on. I told him when everything goes OK , I will go very soon for having a FET. Few days later he came to me and said, “Manju, I want to tell you something”. I thought he wants to talk about his work. But he said “ Manju my mom and dad got married very late. I was born to my mom at 35 and my little brother was born when my mom was 40; so Manju, please do not worry, everything will happen in good time for you as well “. I saw that positive energy in him; the energy which wanted me to give me some courage and comfort. I had tears in my eye - and even now they roll down my cheeks when I write about his kindness. There is God in the feeling I am having now - absolute gratefulness !

Please do not think that sufferings are a punishment from God. God doesn’t punish or reward anyone. When we are happy and content we never think “Why me ?”. We accept it so naturally. Just like happiness and joy, pain and suffering are an essential part of life; and we need to accept them too. Every adverse moment helps us to grow spiritually; it teaches us to use the omnipotent energy in the proper way. When there is no pain there is no gain ! We should learn to use the positive form of God (love, empathy, compassion, contentment, gratitude , knowledge, wisdom etc) to keep us strong during difficult times. After all, the aim of life is to find its purpose and such an“enlightenment” comes only during arduous times ! Remember, only the people who go through tough times make this world a better place to live in, with their contributions to mankind ! Gandhi was determined to fight for freedom only after he was thrown out of the railway compartment by an arrogant Britisher ! He transmuted his anger into a positive desire to help his suffering countrymen ! God comes wherever there is pain and suffering. You get to know God better when you suffer.

Always keep in mind that our thinking has enormous power. That is why we unknowingly attract people whom we love and repel people whom we hate. We are what we think ! Prayer is nothing but concentrated thinking. Praying to God may not get you what you want , but it will help you to accept what you get . Thinking and praying is also an expression of that omnipotent energy – good thinking bring forth good deeds and hence a better life ! A better life doesn’t just mean physical comforts; a better life doesn’t always mean a baby; a better life doesn’t mean good health – a better life means a heart ready to accept things as they are, and a mind which is prepared to face the struggle and come out of it successfully !

So, instead of searching for God somewhere else; instead of believing that God will help us ; instead of believing that God will make this world a better place; if we try to use the energy which is within us; which is around us; which is everywhere–we can make this world a better and beautiful place to live in. God is the energy that keeps the world going. It is the energy that keeps us going too. Perhaps that’s the energy which gives me the courage and strength to fight infertility! There is no guarantee that I will end up with a baby in hand with the help of God; but I am sure I will be a better person at the end of this journey - and that is what matters the most !

I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong.

-          John Lennon

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Anisha is 4 months old !

Our little one has grown up a lot. During the previous medical check up, she is much taller than she should be. She is almost 7 kgs now. I can't be proud and thankful enough. Even German mothers comment, "Oh, she is big !" I think, feeding her whenever she needs and co-sleeping, has made this positive difference.  Breastfeeding continues without any problem.

Anisha, watches TV ! She loves watching animated rhymes and I love it too. When I was young, in the rhymes book, there will be a single picture depicting a scene of the rhyme. That picture combined with my imagination made many characters in the rhymes come alive. I still remember worrying for the broken humpty dumpty ! Now, these animated rhymes make every character come alive so beautifully, even I can't take my eyes off ! Children's world is just amazing. I am happy that I could be part of it again. Before Anisha falls asleep at night, I sing her many rhymes. She will smile and smile, get hungry, drink milk and fall asleep.

Anisha, nowadays love playing with my nipples. She keeps her mouth, takes it off and this game continues until she really gets hungry. When I say, "Anisha, it pains", she looks at me and flashes a very naughty smile. The pain vanishes immediately and I allow her to continue the prank. Another comedy is, during night, when she gets up for feeding, she wants to find my nipples in that dim light. She has also recently developed the habit of throwing her hands around my breast covering part of my breast and hiding her mouth. I will be sleepy too. We try to find each other in the dark - she searches for my nipple and I for her mouth. This continues in vain for sometime and she starts crying in frustration :) This makes me wide awake and I try to solve who the problem as quick as possible. She doesn't want that I talk when feeding. When I talk to Rajender she stops feeding and gives a very discontent look. If I continue talking, she raises her hand showing a finger and makes a crying face. That means, I must stop talking :) Oh, this little one !!!

She wants to sit. We try hard to keep her back well supported. She sometime gets very frustrated because of this and start screaming. She raises her back and tries to sit in her comfort chair.

After the completion of her third month, she attended three parties. Two hosted by our friends and one we held to introduce Anisha to our friends. The very friendly, all smiling Anisha, was crying, crying and crying. She was not happy with the crowd and the noise. Only her dad could pacify her for sometime and she felt comfortable staying with her dad all the time. She was not happy to see a different mom - a mom who was always in nighty and no make-up to a mom wearing a saree or suit and with make-up !

She gets up once a night, rarely twice. Very recently, she has started to try to catch the playthings hanging on her play mat. She also had her first set of vaccinations.

Resemblance - hmm...yeah, I should admit that she looks more like Rajender. I still believe she has eyes which resembles mine, hopefully ! And, I love people when they say that she resembles me.

I can't be happy and thankful enough when I see her. We always remember our dark days and wonder how life has changed. All the past happenings have made me realize that everything will pass, until then, it is wise to be happy everyday for my blessings !

Please keep Anisha in your prayers ! All your blessings are priceless.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Is it mother's day or a day to celebrate procreation ?

Yesterday, my mom sent me mother's day wish. I must have been very happy, right ? Unfortunately not ! I realized my mom never sent me a mother's day wish before. Now that I have given birth, my mother thinks I am eligible to receive mother's day wishes ! Not only my mom, most people think so too. I wonder whether what we are celebrating is, mother's day or procreation day ! Isn't there a difference between the two ? Mother's day is celebrated to honour our mother or someone who has taken that place in our heart - to celebrate a person who has shown us unconditional love and cared for us ! We are not celebrating the ability of a woman to give birth;  we are celebrating the nurturing that we receive and received. There are mothers who just carried (reproduced) and there are women who cared irrespective of their ability to undergo biological process of giving birth.  No one has come into this world without a mother and everyone deserves a mother's day wish ! Isn't it a day we must all celebrate irrespective of our own motherhood status ?

After I got married, I crossed several mother's day expecting someone would wish me too. Once a person wished me for mother's day and later apologized for doing so after learning that I do not have a biological child ! I thought, "Stupid, I don't have a child but I have a mother" !

Thank goodness,  I was not active in FB before ! Today, when I saw the feeds in FB, I was astonished to see the flooded messages ! I would have definitely felt very, very alone if I have seen those messages before. And surprisingly, even after having Anisha, I felt an uneasiness spreading within me when I saw those overhyped mother's day messages especially the one's from women who have produced their biological offsprings. Most of them didn't talk about their mother but about themselves - how proud they are to be a mom !

I sincerely wish that there will be a day called procreation day where every women and men could celebrate their victory of producing offsprings. Until then, please include every women and every men too when celebrating mother's day. Remember, no one here is an alien being ! We are all human beings and without doubt everyone has a mother ! Moreover, an infertile women is the best mother in this world as she is already doing a lot physically, emotionally and financially for her prospective child. If people who look down upon women who are infertile understands the strength and determination an infertile women poses, they will be jealous about her.

Happy Mother's Day folks ! Never feel alone and unappreciated on this day. Everyone of us are the best mother in this world. I have a great mother and I am very happy to be a part of today's celebrations. I hope I stay as a good mother too !

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Anisha's First Birthday !

Yes, scientifically speaking, today must be Anisha's first birthday. Exactly today is the day Anisha came into being. On May 3rd, 2014, Dr. Sai selected one of Rajender's sperm and injected into my egg, the result of which is the formation of a new life, a single-celled zygote. That single-celled life is now our daughter Anisha. Everything that happened appears really miraculous. We are thankful for the presence of Anisha everyday. I can answer scientifically how everything happened but I do not have an answer for why everything happened ! Should I just say everything happened due to chance or whether there is a force which we can't easily decipher and explain, working behind the scenes ? I will never know. I would love to write what made all the difference, hopefully soon.

Once again my sincere thanks to Dr. Sai, who is so happy and kind enough to send his blessings for Anisha as soon as I reminded him that this was the day he created Anisha :) My heartfelt thanks to Dr. Malpanis' and their wonderful team for using their scientific knowledge and talent to make Anisha happen.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How Anisha entered this world ? (Labor story - Part II)

As I was staring at the monitor with fear, a doctor and a midwife hurried inside the room. They came as quick as a lightning. "Manju, turn to your left", they ordered. I struggled to change position and the midwife helped me. Within few seconds, Anisha's heartbeat became normal again. I was still trying to make sense of what was happening. The doctor talked, "We are monitoring your CTG from labor room; we saw your baby's heartbeat drop, that's why we came". That's quick I thought, that was really, really quick. I was thankful for the medical care I was receiving. The doctor immediately inserted an IV canula in my arm. She said, "Let it be there, just in case if we need it". They looked at the CTG measurements for few more minutes. Everything was normal. The doctor told me, "Go and sleep; if you have unbearable pain come back again". I was wondering how to sleep ! "What will happen if Anisha's heartbeat drops again, how will I know that in sleep ?" I looked at the doctor and asked my concern. She saw the worry in my face. She asked me to wait and disappeared into the labor department. After few minutes she came back. She said, "We have decided to monitor you closely, please come with me !" I felt an enormous relief on hearing it.

When I was about to enter the labor department, Rajender came. I explained him what happened. I was also happy that he was not nearby. Poor thing, he might have become so frightened. I didn't tell him that Anisha's heartbeat dropped to 40s. I just told him that it dropped below 120. A midwife took us into a labor room. It was looking beautiful, just like a 5 star hotel suit. They asked me to lie down there and connected me to another CTG instrument. The plan was to monitor me continuously for an hour. I looked at the ceiling. There were many tiny bulbs embedded in the wall which emitted blue light, they appeared like stars. There was also one big bulb inbetween those tiny ones emitting milky white light,  it appeared like moon. I was captivated by the beauty of it. I told Rajender, " When Anisha will be coming out, when I will be in enormous pain, I will look at the ceiling and relax".

That one hour passed eventless. There were no contractions, Anisha's heart beat was stable. The doctor came inside again. She said, "I understand your worry. You have to trust me. I believe all is well now. If you are monitored continuously, the machine might pick up some more abnormalities of no significance. There are no contractions too. Just go and sleep peacefully". She continued, "We must plan a C-section for you, we will discuss about it tomorrow".  What she said appeared sensible to me. I consoled myself by saying, "C-section is OK too. I just can't bear this uncertainty anymore. Whatever the mode of birth is, Anisha must be safe in my hands".

On the other hand, my pain was increasing too. I told doctor that I was having lower back pain. She sent me saying, "I will ask the nurse to give you an anti-spasmodic and paracetamol". I went to my room again. I asked Rajender to stay with me. He has brought some bedsheets with him. Although there was another lady in our room, I insisted that he lie down near my bed. I was not comfortable staying alone and he knows that without a valid concern I wouldn't ask him to stay. He prepared his bedding on the floor near the room heater. At the same time a nurse entered the room and handed over a buscopan vaginal pessary. She also had paracetamol which will be given intravenously.She looked at Rajender and said, "You are not allowed to stay here. There is another patient in this room". I looked at her helplessly. The other woman in the room on hearing what nurse said, talked. She said that she has no problem if Rajender stays there. I was very, very thankful for her understanding and compassion.

The nurse then tried to insert the needle in the IV canula. She did it so carelessly, the blood oozed out and stained the bedsheets and some poured on the ground too. I asked her to remove the sheets and replace it with clean ones. She looked at me nonchalantly. She gave a reaction as if I was troubling her and said, "I have no one to help me. I can't change the sheets now". I was so tired and angry too. My pain was getting too bothersome, I just want to lie down. Rajender tried to interfere but I calmed him down. I told him, "This is the difference between Germans and non-Germans. I have no energy now, leave it !" That nurse was a non-German ! I have found Germans to be very dedicated and perfect in their work. There is lots to learn from them !

We switched off the light and laid down. The paracetamol seemed to calm my pain a bit. But within 10 more minutes my pain became so intense I couldn't bear it. So, I inserted buscopan pessary too ignoring Rajender's concern of the medicine hurting Anisha. I tried to close my eyes. All I felt was pain and fear. I was constantly thinking about Anisha's heartbeat. Ten more minutes passed. I couldn't lay down anymore. I woke Rajender. I told him, " I couldn't bear this pain, it is increasing rapidly."  By that time, contractions were coming 5 minutes apart and was extremely painful. So, we went out of the room towards the place where CTG monitoring was done. I saw a midwife and told her that my pain was unbearable. I pleaded, " Please do something. I have too much pain. Normally, I bear pain very well. This is not something which can be ignored". She said, "Wait for sometime, I will come back". She left us in the corridor and vanished. I was screaming in pain. I forgot that there were people around. I just screamed. Rajender was looking at me with concern and was trying to pacify me. The midwife came. She said, "I want to check your cervix please lie down in that room!" I was like, "What! You want to insert your finger now !".

I had no other option than to obey. She prodded my vaginal area and looked very confused. She said, "May be 2 cms". Then she said, " I am not sure, I will call someone else to check too". She came with another midwife. She checked my cervix and smiled. She said, "It is 7 cms" ! "I knew, I knew, the pain was horrible !"

Then they called the doctor. Doctor came and looked at me with a smile. She said," your baby is going to come today". I was happy but was also in too much pain. I pleaded, "Please give me epidural, I couldn't bear this". They immediately agreed to my request. They said, "We will take you to labor room and we will call the anesthesiologist as quick as possible". They were also looking at each other with a sheepish grin. I was  wondering about it. The doctor said, "We have too many patients who are waiting for delivery today and the labor room is full. This happens very rarely".

I was taken to labor room and was connected to CTG machine again. As the anesthesiologist was preparing for peridural anesthesia, they gave some other drug via IV. I had no strength to ask what it was and that was very unusual of me ! Before anesthesiologist gave me anesthesia I could feel my pain subsiding. I was wondering about it. By the time anesthesiologist gave me the epidural and left, I had no pain. I and Rajender were left alone. We were staring at the monitor. There were no contractions at all, I had no pain too.  I was feeling warm and my heart beat racing. I thought it was the effect of anesthesia. But when a midwife came and when I asked her what was it they were giving via IV, I came to knew I was being given tocolytic to prevent uterus contraction. I understood why my heartbeat was too high. In the beginning, I thought, they gave me tocolytic so that it will be easier for the anesthesiologist to give epidural. Now, I doubt, whether they gave me tocolytic to postpone the delivery as the labor department was full and they didn't have enough staffs!

After some time a new midwife came and she wanted to do cervical check one more time. Since the epidural was there I didn't feel any pain or discomfort. My abdominal region didn't have any sensation but I could move my  legs. That was amazing. I would strongly reccomend taking a peridural anesthesia if you are offered one. The midwife felt my cervix and looked at me with confusion. She said, " It is only 1 or 2 cm open". I felt very, very irritated. Are they playing with me was the question in my mind. Then another midwife came. She felt my cervix again. She said, " It is wide open, I could feel baby's head. There is lots of hair! (Not again!) But there is something which is blocking the cervical mouth". She said, "let doctor come and check once". I was hearing everything and wondering how things will proceed. Then the doctor came in. She checked my cervix again. She said," It is open. Since you had a cerclage I think there are some scar tissues". She also proceeded to break my amniotic bag. As she inserted a stick like instrument and broke the bag, a gush of warm fluid came out and I could feel it. I asked the doctor whether the amniotic fluid is clear. I wanted to make sure that there was no meconium in it. Doctor showed Rajender the dripping fluid. He also confirmed that it was clear. That was a relief, "Anisha must  be fine", I  thought. The presence of meconium in amniotic fluid is one of the signs of fetal distress !

After that, from 2AM to 6 AM, I was left like that. There were no strong contractions, no pain. I wanted to sleep but Rajender has no place to lie down. I didn't want him to feel alone. So, we both were wide awake looking at Anisha's heartbeat in the monitor. Rajender was not happy with the breaking of amniotic bag. I have to explain him that it won't be a problem and Anisha will be fine. Even then he was not so convinced. 

After 6 AM, new set of doctors and midwives started to come. They started the process of delivering Anisha. There were two junior doctors, a head nurse or midwife and another nurse in the room. They removed the tocolytic. After removing the tocolytic I started to have contractions. To speed up the process they gave oxytocin (pitocin) too. After starting oxytocin drip, contractions started to come more frequently and stronger. The pressure that was building inside was so huge, it felt very, very uncomfortable. I didn't have pain because of anesthesia but I could clearly feel the pressure build up. Within few minutes of starting pitocin, Anisha's heartbeat started to fall rapidly. Rajender was so upset on seeing it. I could see his face loosing colour. He was in fear and there was enormous tension building up. Midwife asked me to change position and breathe deeply. They said that I must breath well to help Anisha get enough oxygen. They stopped pitocin quickly and gave a huge dose (bolus) of tocolytic intravenously which they have prepared already. As soon as the pitocin effect faded away by tocolytic's action, Anisha's heartbeat normalized. This happened few times before my body got used to pitocin.

After that everything happened pretty quickly. I was having the urge to push every few minutes. I had to learn how to push and the midwife who took charge of the situation was amazing. She was tall and strong. She told me how to push. Shifted people around me to different positions. Rajender was near my head. Everytime I wanted to push, he lifted my head and my back a little. One doctor and another midwife stood near each of my legs. When I pushed they held my leg bending it towards my chest so that it is easier for me to push efficiently. One other doctor had a cloth around my pelvic region. After everytime I pushed, she tightened the cloth so that Anisha doesn't move back inside. I think it took 8-9 pushes to bring Anisha out. After every push I was so tired. It was like running a marathon. During the entire pregnancy, I was lying down most of the time because of the fear of my cervix giving away. I didn't even walk a few meters continuosly. But, at that moment, I needed to use all my muscles and that too with enormous force. I was losing hope inside. I was thinking, "Will I be able to do this ? Won't they get me some help ? Can't they use something to suck Anisha out ?" When I was wondering like this, people around me were appreciating me. They said, " She is strong and so is her baby. She didn't even shed a drop of tear ". I thought, " I have never cried in my life for any physical pain or discomfort. Only emotional pain makes me to cry at the blink of an eye"

I should mention something else too eventhough it is a bit embarassing. When I was pushing hard, I pooped a little. It was so embarrassing ! The midwife  cleaned it immediately. I looked at her and said, "I am sorry". She looked straight into my eye and said, "Manju, never mind. This shows that you are pushing in the right way. Great going, I am very happy the way you are doing it". That took away my embarrassment. Those words gave me confidence and courage. I admired and appreciated her for being so professional, for helping me to feel good. 

Anisha's head was visible in my vaginal tract at one point and they asked me whether I want to feel her before she comes out. I was so afraid, I said I didn't want to. After few minutes, there was one more contraction coming, the pressure was building up. I gathered all my strength and pushed. That push brought Anisha to this world. She came out screaming. Oh, what a sweet voice it was, my daughter's ! Rajender broke out into tears, happy tears ! He gave  a kiss on my forehead. He has kissed me several times before - out of love, out of happiness, out of lust, just as a routine, but the kiss I received at that particular moment is very special. His kiss told me so many different things which words will not be able to express. It said, "Thank you" ! It said, "I love you". It said, "you mean a lot to me". It said, "I appreciate and respect you" ! The memory of that kiss will last through out my lifetime. 

And me - I was smiling ! I have thought about that moment so many times before and everytime I had cried. But in reality I was smiling. That horrible pelvic pressure was gone. So, I felt extremely relieved. I had a sense of achievement. I felt happy and relieved knowing Anisha is fine. After Anisha came out, before I could see her, I was asking doctor like a mad person whether Anisha is fine. The doctor asked me, "What was your worry all about ?" I told her, "I was worried about some genetic defect" She assured me that all is well. 

They wiped Anisha, weighed and measured her, brought her and kept her on my chest. That was my first meeting with my daughter, in person. I have seen her as a five day old embryo, I have seen her via ultrasounds but on January 13 th, 2015, exactly 250 days after she entered my uterus, I had  her in my arms as a fully formed tiny human; everything tiny, tiny - tiny fingers, tiny nose, teeny-tiny eyes, my tiny miracle ! I have longed for that moment for 7 long years. I have gone through excruciatingly painful times in search of my little bundle of joy. It felt so good to touch her, to kiss her. I was ecstatic. I was calling her with different endearment terms. She felt amazing. Anisha didn't appear as a strange person, she is not new for me. I wanted her, I knew her, I longed for her and I loved her, for years ! Finally, she is here.

After I spent some time with Anisha, the nurse took her away. I was lying down thinking when I can feed Anisha. The doctor said that she has to stitch my nether region as I had few tears. I believe I had 4 or 5 tears, a couple of which were second degree tears. As the doctor was working on my nether region to mend it,  I was busy sending Anisha's picture to my loved ones. Guess, to whom I sent Anisha's picture first ? Ofcourse to my Dr !

When everything was done, I was transferred to a new room where they brought Anisha to me. As soon as I kept my nipple near her mouth, she latched as if she was a pro on sucking. That was so surprising and amazing to look at! 

After 7 long years of struggle, after 7 IVFs, after 10 embryo transfers, after transferring 24 embryos which failed to become our live baby, Anisha came into our lives, she is our 25 th embryo. My pursuit for perpetuating my genes has changed the way I look at life forever. Infertility has broken me many a time, made me mad, made me fearful of life, it has given me enormous pain. On the other hand, it has made me strong, taught me perseverance, patience, resilience and humility. It has introduced me to people whose memories I will treasure forever. Infertility has also given me Anisha, without infertility Anisha wouldn't have been Anisha ! Anisha's mom wouldn't be the person who she is today.

Yesterday, Rajender was talking to Anisha. He was telling her, "Princy nana (nana is an endearment term, also known as father in Telugu language), why didn't you come to us for seven long years ? I and your amma (mother) were trying for you for a long, long time. You never came. Your sister and brother came but they left us inbetween. We were so sad. We even searched for you in adoption centers. You never came. And one fine day our princy nana came ! We went to Mumbai and brought you, do you know that ? You came because you understood that we were very sad. Your brother and sister left us so that you could come to us". He was telling like this to Anisha in childish terms, just to talk to her. The little one was smiling as if she understood everything. On hearing this my eyes teared up. I kept looking at the father and daughter with contentment. Atlast, I was able to give Rajender his yearning - a child with whom he could play with after coming from work ! Infertility has also given us a story of our lifetime which we will cherish forever !

Oh yeah! Thus Anisha came into this world, into our life. Thus my search for propagating my genes ended successfully and I sincerely wish you all lots of luck too  ! 

So, is this an end or a new beginning ? ;)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Letters to my daughter

Dear Anisha,

As I type this letter, you are 2 months and 20 days old. I have given you a nice bath with an oil massage. You are wearing a white dress and sleeping peacefully. You look so beautiful, cherubic and I am deeply in love with you.

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