Pregnancy is a loaded word. It spells hemorrhoids and heartburn, hope and anticipation, cravings and weight gain, ultrasounds and heartbeats, baby showers and baby names. One thing is common among all: it’s a long, long journey and it’s an uphill task. Just when you think you have nailed it and are cruising along, in comes a new, wildly unexpected side effect of pregnancy and you are back to the drawing board. The key is: stay busy. Do NOT sit at home thinking and planning and NESTING as they say.
Nothing will make you lose your mind faster. You will experience fatigue and swollen feet and will worry about what the stress is doing to the baby. Ultimately, you will have a choice between exhaustion and insanity and exhaustion you will choose. So keep yourself busy busy busy. I worked till the end of my seventh month and DROVE to Korangi Industrial Area (where my office was) and back alone, racing with truck drivers and dodging donkey carts. Yes, I am going to boast because it was no mean feat. Heck I even made a business trip to Turkey for four days in my third month with 23 doctors (I worked in the pharmaceutical sector) and no one had the faintest idea I was pregnant. I relaunched a product in my sixth month and my boss (single woman, late forties, you know the drill) cut me no slack. Zilch. Zero.
I quit work in my seventh month because I was borderline hypertensive and couldn’t manage anymore. Wished I had the option to continue working from home but no such luck. Started reading Anna Karenina and managing the raging hormones.
I read ‘What to Expect…’ like a mad person. I would read chapters ahead of time and would read about baby development a few weeks in advance. I was damn impatient. My LMP was 18th June and in July when I found out I just could not believe it. I read ahead many months and would always think about what August and oh my God, OCTOBER would feel like. How pregnant would I be? Would I be pregnant?
I should pause here and have you note that this was my second pregnancy. My first one in 2012 lasted till embryo was 8 weeks and the sonogram didn’t detect a heartbeat. Oh boy it was a horrible time. I still remember that day, it was dusk and the ultrasound was at Clifton AKU. I was alone when the ultrasonologist (she was not a tactful woman to say the least). The room was semi-dark and she just broke it to me. When she said it first, my ears started burning. I flushed. Then the tears came. My world was blurry & irrelevant. It was so repugnantly, repulsively, vilely, insanely disgustingly sad. I somehow made it to the AKU courtyard where I saw my husband rushing in from work. And we sat on a bench and I cried while he held me. I still remember his arms around me shielding me from the world and telling me it will all be ok. It was obvious that he was broken too. But we both just sat there while I cried about what could have been. It was like someone had died. And that moment made me realize how real pregnancy is to the person inside whom a person is growing. I wouldn’t say it was a part of me. It didn’t feel like that, but it sure as hell felt like death. Like someone, a person, who I knew and loved had died and left me bereft.
So, the second time around when I was ‘with child’, I was super careful and richer with the horrible past experience and that is why each step felt unbelievable. Like, will I get to Month Five? Would I EVER get to Month Seven? I had a brilliant and wildly wonderful doctor and an even more amazing ultrasonologist. I carried to term and gave birth to a wonderful, sweet amazing baby boy. And the journey till that point was…. But more on that later.