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Last ultrasound

Pregnancy in India: ninth month

Pregnancy in India: ninth month

Yesterday we went for my last ultrasound. We had to get to the lab between 7 and 9am to get a number and know at what time I had to come back for the ultrasound. I was glad Kishan went for me because I was just too tired to get up, and there was no-way I would have walked there back and forth twice. The lab is not that far, maybe one kilometre away, but like I’ve said before I don’t take wobbly rickshaws at all to protect my tummy. Walking is good for me of course, but our appointment was between 11:00 and 12:00 noon, so we had to walk in the heat. But of course I was okay – walking slowly is fine.

And so we sat in the waiting hall for a while… Back in October I had walked straight through the back door and been seen quickly. So after a while I thought I would do this again, without Kishan. Indians are so disorganised… If you wait diligently without saying anything people easily forget about you. So I walked through and politely protested that my appointment was due. I was asked to wait there and after maybe half an hour I got my ultrasound done. Of course Kishan was not with me, but I didn’t really care, because we both had opted out of the 4D scan where you see the face of your baby in details – because we might see our baby in just ten days now, so what’s the point anyway? So the lady spread out the gel and scanned my tummy, clicking on her keyboard – beep, beep, beep. I couldn’t see the screen and didn’t care anyway; I just wanted to get the results. I’ve had enough of ultrasounds. After it was done I had to wait for my report, and then I was directed to the bigger scanning room where I had my scan done back in October. I was asked to see the technician there and to lie down – “Why?” I asked “My scan’s been done already.” “For the 4D one”, the guy said. “What’s the point?” I asked. “Now all we want to know is if Baby and I are fit for delivery, right? I don’t need to see my baby’s face.” He told me it was to see any anomalies, which I frankly found useless at that point. Now what?! I’m due to deliver the baby in about two weeks! I’m not going to get an abortion now in case my baby turns abnormal, right? So I walked away with my report…

Mild ‘polyhydromnios’ – what’s that all about?

We walked back to Assi and went for some food to eat. I was really tired, and was looking forward to my nap straight after food. I looked at the report; everything seemed fine. Baby weighs about 2.7kg now. But there was one point that puzzled me, and it said “(36 weeks + 4 days) intra-uterine pregnancy with mild polyhydromnios”. The mention “Liquor volume is mildly increased” also grabbed my attention. Now what was that all about? Back at home I searched on the internet for that “polyhydromnios” thing and found out that it was an excess of amniotic liquid. It did say that if it was “mild” it may not be a problem, but I still asked a question to the Facebook group to get an answer before going to see the doctor and show her the report. One woman replied that she’d had severe polyhydromnios at 37 weeks and had to be induced and deliver straight away. Apparently too much liquid is a problem for delivery, perhaps due to diabetes, and it may mean the baby pees too much and needs to be treated and blah blah blah. And it all started to scare me a bit, even though my case was mild and of course, I’m not diabetic, and I feel FINE! Ah, ultrasounds may be useful, but I also think they tell you too much, and they may well not be all accurate anyway! Finally, I spoke to some friends, and then I got another message from the Facebook group telling me: “Vio, different moms carry differing levels of amniotic fluid. Some carry what is considered average, some slightly above, others slightly below. USG measures of AFI are rarely exact. If for example, the mother has gestational diabetes, or the baby has some congenital problems, AFI (amniotic fluid index) can be increased. If none of these are factors, chances are, it is just an observation, nothing more. In our practice, we do not do multiple scans unless something seems remarkably out of the range of normal. Some babies are born with tons of water, some with very little, and most somewhere in between. So bottom line is that if baby and you are otherwise healthy, I would leave good alone!” And that made me feel a lot better!!!

Seeing the doctor again

A day before delivery!

A day before delivery!

Then, in the evening we went to the hospital to see the doctor and show her the report. She told me that the polyhydromnios thing was nothing to worry about because it was mild. She said everything was alright. Then I popped back onto the scale, and I found out I have not put on a single gram since last time, almost two weeks ago! I didn’t find it worrying, because I think my belly has grown, but the doctor told me to eat more, snacking every hour even if I’m not hungry! Well I just found it amusing that for the first time in my life, someone really wants me to put on weight. Anyway, afterwards we went to buy lots of cashew nuts, raisins, jaggery, paneer (cheese) and bananas for me to snack on (yum!) We also went to buy some veggies for dinner, and at the vegetable stall we met a European woman who was full of light and deeply impressed by my big tummy. She was really nice and she made me feel really good, saying things like the baby would be very cute and I would get the support of my female ancestors at birth. She asked Kishan with a big smile how excited he was to become a father, and he did reply with a lot of light and emotion in his eyes, which made me feel happy!

Whenever I speak to European women about my pregnancy they are always really positive about it, making me feel exultant, joyful and full of confidence about my own body. With Indian women, especially in Khajuraho, I’m a freak for feeling fine and it’s all just worries about health and pain. I’m glad the doctor in the Varanasi hospital is positive and comforting!!!

Practical questions…

Back to the doc, this time I had a list of questions to ask her. What if I have to get admitted in the night, as she only works at set hours? She gave us a file with which we can get admitted at any time and she’ll be called in immediately. I asked her what to wear for the birth, where to get pads for postpartum, etc. etc. And if Kishan could be with me at birth…

Well, clearly, she practically has nothing against it, but Indian women are not comfortable with the idea of having an Indian man in the room. My acquaintance who had her baby there had her French boyfriend with her, but I don’t know if Kishan will come… The doctor also said that if Kishan was going to be in the room, she might need to assist him more than me! It is true that Indian men are brainwashed into believing that birth is just a ladies’ affair. More than brainwashed, perhaps it’s in their cells. And they are too much in the present moment to prepare in advance for birth – I’ve seen it with Kishan… It’s been nearly impossible to get him to read or get informed about it, more than the hints I gave him from time to time throughout my pregnancy. But I don’t want to force him. I also know that some men can be more a hindrance than helpful… So we will see. It will all be in the moment, for both of us… Right now he’s still very nervous… Bah, I don’t want to think about it for now anyway… Whatever happens is meant to happen.

And then we also asked about how to get the Indian birth certificate, since we have to have it in order to go to Delhi within thirty days of the birth to register our baby at the French embassy. They assured us that it wouldn’t take more than two weeks in total, and that it would be in English so we won’t have to get it translated beforehand, horrah. Most of all these answers made me feel more comfortable, I have to say. I still had a few questions on my list, but I think I’ll keep them for next time…

Oh by the way, the doctor still thinks Baby will come between 15 and 20th March… My friend Marie very much hopes that s/he’ll come before 19th March, because that’s when she has to leave Varanasi before her visa expires!!! I too hope so, because it would be great to have her by my side for delivery! But let’s see what the Universe has in plan for us… Very soon, very soon…

Still feeling great, forever grateful to yoga (& the computer!)

In other news, well, I’m still pretty comfortable, and I still sleep well! Lucky me, I know! Sometimes my belly really pulls me forward and my back shrinks, especially when I go for a walk outside. But with awareness I manage to extend it a bit, and I don’t need to hold my kidneys to walk, most of the time. And yoga continues to be a miracle that makes me forget all about my tummy. It’s amazing, the number of postures I find comfortable doing, with that big heavy weight in my body! When I would easily be lazy to do any yoga, because I feel heavy and uncomfortable, in the contrary it really isn’t the time to stop, because it makes me feel a lot better, and lighter. Who would have thought triangle postures make me forget about my big belly? And of course supine stretching postures, the groin-opening sitting postures which will help me open my pelvis during delivery, and that supported shoulderstand on a chair, which I still happily perform at 8 1/2 months, is still wonderfully relaxing – and amazing for the blood flow in my legs. All of them, really. By now I’ve got my favourite postures, from Iyengar and from Martine Texier’s energy yoga, and I do them as my body wants and feels. And after yoga, I feel a boost of energy and as though my belly has shrunk, literally.

And there’s another thing that makes me forget all about my belly; it’s the computer. I’ve been doing a lot of work on it since I’ve been in Varanasi, as much as I can do of my work before Baby’s arrival. I’m no longer comfortable on a chair at a desk because my legs come in the way of my belly, but I love sitting on the floor, hips or legs open, with my computer on a small table. I’m so grateful for my flexible hips. I am very comfortable sitting crossed-legged, and when I bed forward a little I find it funny that my tummy rests on my pelvis and legs, hihi. New feeling… And while I do all this, Kishan is the best husband as he goes shopping or deals with practical things or cooks yummy meals for me, when it’s not Marie…(I’ve always been better at cleaning than cooking!)

Wait and forget…

I have to say I love to forget about birth now. I had thought I would still want to read new things from my yoga books, have a look at those new (energy yoga) practices that may be useful for delivery, but I haven’t been able to open that book again since I’ve been in Varanasi. I think I have come to a point where I can’t assimilate anything new anyway. It’s exactly like for an exam really, or at least that’s what it makes me think about! After a lot of revision for an exam, a day or two before the test you don’t want to learn anything more because you know your brain won’t digest it in the last minute. You’ve done enough to prepare yourself and now you just want to relax, looking forward to the exam, impatient to know how it will all be when it’s the present moment. I just feel like that with delivery now. I have read so much, prepared my body so much. I’ve got a bag of postures and relaxation and breathing practices I feel good doing, and I don’t want to learn any new ones. My body just won’t accept to open that book. Now I want to enjoy myself, be comfortable, do the things I like doing – enjoying a good concert, a good meal, some time with a friend – and like I said, only keep preparing my body by doing the practices I already know – because I love doing them. The practices that my body chooses. Now I want to forget and enjoy – and roll on the present moment…

Read more: Welcome to Life, Kalyani!

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