A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for August, 2017

This is YUGE! It changes everything – Part 7

Posted by Pepper on August 25, 2017

It was at that moment that I realised I was pinning for a daughter. I will never forget that. I was finally at my gender reveal ultrasound, waiting with bated breath for the news to unravel. By the way, the private ultrasound facility was more like a spa. I had a big double bed in a cosy bedroom, with huge screens on all walls. The air had a sweet apple cinnamon scent. So unlike a hospital.

The lady doing the ultrasound looked at us finally and asked, ‘Okay, I know the gender of this baby. Are you ready to hear it?’ Mint appeared as zen and unfazed as he usually does. I took a deep breath and said yes. ‘So this baby here, this baby is a boy.’. Oh. Okay! So we were having one boy at least, I thought. Are you excited, she asked. We smiled.

And then it hit me. I was definitely not going to be having two girls the way I thought I would. This was going to be either a boy and a girl or two boys. All along I had convinced myself how adorable two boys would be but now that it was a real possibility, my heart would not stop racing. In that one instant I prayed with all my might for a daughter.

To our luck, our girl would not cooperate. Constant movement, hands on the goods, legs closed, she would just not let us peak. So this was taking longer. Mint looked at my face and knew exactly what I was feeling and thinking. He let out a little laugh and asked me to hold myself. Two boys would be adorable, remember? And before I could reply, we were finally told, ‘Okay, I can tell, are you ready?’. Hell yes! ‘This baby is a girl. So you are having one of each’, she said. And in that instant, I let out a huge sigh of relief and joy. So I was going to have a daughter after all. Yay!

We later went on to ask her if she was sure about the genders. She told us she was ‘200%’ sure and even zoomed in on the parts and pointed them out. Err, it was fairly easy when we were looking at the boy but we couldn’t tell much when seeing the girl. Anyway, she told us she was sure and had been doing this for 2 decades. We’ve also gotten this confirmed during every other ultrasound. We may still be in for a surprise, but for now we’re sticking to what we’ve been told.

Since I am a sadist, I messaged my parents and sister saying we knew the genders and that I will share the news tomorrow. It was 1 am in India. The sister saw the message and obviously called me up the same moment. That in turn woke my mom up and she was as desperate to hear the news. Before telling them, I played around for a bit and forced them to guess. They guessed two girls, for the records. Anyway, we finally told them and made them promise they wouldn’t tell dad. I wanted to call him myself. By the next morning, dad knew as well. His reaction, ‘Oh thank God you don’t have two boys, otherwise they would be fighting all the time’. What crappy gender stereotypes! I told him I didn’t agree with that, but anyway.

My in-laws refused to guess the genders, citing reasons like they didn’t want to disclose or want any subconscious preferences to surface. Since they refused to guess, Mint refused to tell them. They initially said they were okay with not knowing and chose to not discuss it for 2 weeks, until my MIL requested me to tell her. And I did. I am guessing they were happy but they chose to not show any reaction, saying in the end genders don’t matter. Very much like Mint.

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This is YUGE! It changes everything – Part 6

Posted by Pepper on August 12, 2017

I’m sorry for being MIA after the last post. We’re moving to another apartment and it’s been C-R-A-Z-Y.  Anyway, witthout further ado, here is the one line response to the last post. We’re having a boy and a girl. We think. The information we have is based on ultrasounds only so they can only tell us with a 90% certainty. They’re almost always right but we’re still open to the possibility of ending up with two boys or two girls. Let’s see?

Also, since the timeline of my posts, in particular the ‘This is YUGE’ series seems to have confused a lot of you, here is where we are at present. I have entered the 8th month of pregnancy. Average gestation for twins isn’t 40 weeks like it is a for a single baby. At best, we have another 7 weeks to go before we meet the babies! More likely they will be here sooner than that. So scary and exciting.

I’m sorry for the confusion. I didn’t start documenting my pregnancy from the time I found out. Mostly because I was so overwhelmed and sick in the first few months. And then once I did start writing, I wanted to capture everything that happened from the beginning.

I’ll get back to writing more in detail, soon. Hopefully. Right now, I have been so preoccupied with the move. I look like a pregnant whale and moving around is so painful and uncomfortable. Coping with a move is absolutely insane. Argh. I want to be done with this. Somebody wave a wand and magically set up our new home, please!

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This is YUGE! It changes everything – Part 5

Posted by Pepper on August 6, 2017

One of the things I was most excited about was finding out the genders of the twins. Well, excited is probably the wrong word. It was more like an unbearable need to know. That’s just the kind of person I am. When I have the option of knowing, I can’t imagine choosing to not know. It would kill me to wait.

This was also the reason I was most excited to be back in California. They never disclose the gender in India. I was glad I was in a place where I could find out. Soon we would know, I kept telling myself. Mint didn’t necessarily think the same way. Why not wait till they are born and experience the surprise that comes with it, he asked. Are you kidding me? I would go bat shit crazy by then. I *need* to know. Honestly, the waiting would be torturous for me rather than exciting.

I told him if he wanted it to be a surprise, I would find out and keep it to myself. I promised I wouldn’t blurt it out to him. He laughed at that and told me I was talking about things that were not possible. He was sure I wouldn’t be able to stomach the news and would blurt it out or slip up at some point.

I refused to wait though. He thought about it for a while and then agreed to find out the genders because he realised not finding out would mean more work. Since we were having twins, we would have to come up with 4 names to consider all possibilities instead of coming up with just 2 if we did find out. Yay for his laziness!

We asked my doctor at the next appointment when she could tell us the genders and she said as per their policy they only reveal the genders during the 20 week anatomy ultrasound. That seemed like a lifetime away! I had not even touched 13 weeks at that point.

I spent a while Googling and discovered a lot of places where they do private ultrasounds and confirm the genders by week 14. But it was a lot of money. I knew spending the $$$ was crazy just because I couldn’t bear to wait for 7 more weeks. But of course, I couldn’t. So once again, I started bugging Mint to agree to the idea of a private ultrasound.

We continued arguing until he caved in. I think he was really fed up of me. I scheduled my ultrasound for a week later when I was going to be 14 weeks 1 day. And then I started bugging Mint to tell me his gender preferences.  I know, I am a serial bugger. Each time he would say he didn’t have a preference and each time I would continue harassing him with, ‘No, but you have to tell me’. We would go around in circles.

Me? I was secretly dreaming of two girls. I have grown up with a sister and two girls is familiar territory for me. I adored the idea of having two little girls. I was also alright with a boy and a girl. Raising a boy would be a new experience. But to be very honest, I wasn’t sure I loved the idea of having two boys. It all felt too unknown to me. I wanted to have one girl at least.

Mint seemed rather disgusted with me each time I expressed myself. He wanted to know why I had any preference at all. I’ve never known anybody more gender neutral than him. He would keep telling me if I really believed in gender equality, then irrespective of genders, we would raise our girls or boys in the exact same way. Then why should it matter to me?

I realised there was a lot of truth in what he said. I just wanted healthy kids, gender not withstanding. Subconsciously, I started picturing two cute boys. Was it defense mechanism on my part? I’m not sure. I convinced myself that two little boys would be just as adorable as two little girls. I went over the idea in my head over and over again. I told myself I was ready for two boys.

I dragged through the week, waiting for each day to take me forward to the day we would find out. The night before we were scheduled for our ultrasound, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t even believe we would finally know the next day.

To be continued..

PS – Sorry for being down right mean and ending the post here. It’s true that I get some joy in torturing people like that, but it’s also true that that wasn’t my intent this time. I genuinely got to go. Hopefully the next part will be up soon. Meanwhile, if anybody has any guesses on the genders, I’d love to hear them!

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This is YUGE! It changes everything – Part 4

Posted by Pepper on August 4, 2017

The few weeks I had in Mumbai were divine. My parents were spoiling me rotten. I’d get every meal in hand. I still remember looking forward to waking up to a hearty breakfast. Parathas bursting with cheese and paprika,  garlic bread stuffed with grated paneer and spices, idlis with diverse chutneys.

Through out the day, I’d be handed refreshing cups of buttermilk and coconut water that I drank straight out of the shells. I’d get a fresh salad with every meal. My evening snack would be a delicious medley of chopped apples, oranges, walnuts and raisins. I’d also get free shoulder, back and foot massages through out the day. Sigh. Living with my parents was just so easy.

And then it was time for me to return to California. My parents were full of apprehensions, so much so that they wanted to accompany me. I brushed aside all their concerns and assured them I’d be just fine. With some amount of trepidation, I flew back to the Bay Area when I was around 12 weeks.

Pregnancies are hard and I am inclined to believe that twin pregnancies are doubly hard. I joined several online groups of expectant twin moms and was horrified to note how dire the complications were for some of them. I must acknowledge here that I have been very fortunate so far and not experienced any of the scary complications that I read about with twins.

Having said that, let me say this pregnancy has been very hard on my already unfit body. Here is a summary of what I have been going through.

Nausea: I don’t know what hit me as soon as I landed in the Bay Area, but the throwing up was beyond terrible. I was surprised because nausea is supposed to abate once you cross 12-14 weeks and that is right when it picked up for me. It was incredibly intense. I would throw up around 6 to 8 times a day.

Each puke session would have me chug out litres of fluid, leaving me utterly drained out. This would happen every 1 to 2 hours. I waited and waited for it subside but it looked like it would NEVER go. I was so miserable.

To make matters worse, we live in an apartment on the 3rd floor with no elevator. I guess the movement from climbing the stairs would trigger more nausea and despite all my attempts to hold it in till I reached home, I would throw up the moment I started to climb the 3rd and last flight of stairs. This happened every.single.time.

Plastic bags became my new best friends. I couldn’t imagine leaving the house without carrying atleast 10 of them in my handbag. I can’t put in words the amount of insecurity I’d feel if I noticed my stash of bags depleting. It’s like my life depended on those god damn plastic bags. Even going for a small walk in the evening would have me stuff atleast 5 plastic bags in my pocket.

Obviously, we had to find innovative ways to ensure our supply was able to cope with the demands. We couldn’t figure out where to source the plastic bags from. Eventually we started relying on grocery stores. Mint would go and grab the bags used to weigh the veggies and fruits. We were so desperate, it was ridiculous.

The doctors were concerned I was getting too dehydrated. I was also losing weight. We had to consider going to the hospital twice every week to get some fluids through IV. My blood work showed I had low levels of chloride. They said I could possibly be suffering from Hyperemisis Gravidarum. Even writing about all of that gives me the jitters. Weeks turned into months and my days didn’t improve. I was really beginning to think my life was over. I’d never again know what it was like to not throw up.

Complete loss of energy: They say the 2nd trimester is the golden period in a pregnancy. For me, it was probably the worst. It could have been all the puking I did but my energy levels were abysmal. I would be home alone all day and would just lie limp in a corner, forcing myself to make the trip to the loo every time I had to throw up. I’d pant and gasp every time I had to walk 5 steps to get myself a glass of water. Things are still the same on this front. I do move around now but it takes a toll on me. I cannot wait for my body to be infused with normal levels of energy and stamina.

Heart burn: Yet another very common pregnancy symptom, but probably more intense for me. I’d feel a fire burning inside my chest and it was really painful, but I was able to take this pain. What I couldn’t handle was the puking combined with the acidity. I’d actually feel pools of lava sliding up and down my lungs and being hurled out with all the puke. The burning bile would hurt my lungs, my throat and even my nasal passage.

Depression: I had been really unprepared for a lot of things. Just a few months ago I was delighted on finally receiving my work permit. I was looking forward to coming back to the Bay Area and start working. Life obviously had other plans. Instead I found myself hormonal, home alone and pregnant.

The lack of energy made it really hard for me to do a thing. Mint has a long commute and he was already trying his best to manage the house. I’d still drag myself to do simple things like load the dishwasher and then collapse in exhaustion. Many times I would find myself cleaning the bathroom floors cos I hadn’t been able to contain the puke. I remember crying often as I knelt on the floors, wondering where my life was headed? Why was I alone? Why was my family so far away? Why did I have no energy to do simple every day tasks? Will this puking ever stop?

Living on the 3rd floor also meant living under house arrest because with such frightfully low reserves of energy, I couldn’t imagine going up and down the stairs. Being stuck at home made me feel more depressed.

The aches and pains: It started with severe rib pain on the right side. We later found out that Baby B was having a merry time kicking my ribs and being jammed in there. I don’t blame the poor babies, they have such little room. My body isn’t exactly spacious enough for two, though I have widened a lot. The rib pain wouldn’t even let me lean forward for a few seconds to fetch something that was right in front of me.

The back. I have had varying pain, right from lower back to mid back to upper back. I don’t know which part is going to hurt the next moment. Like you can guess, it is intense on most days. But if I had to pick the worst of the lot, I’d pick my knees. I think my knees have just given up. I’m not sure why, because unlike the rest, this doesn’t seem like a common pregnancy symptom. Getting myself up from the couch, climbing up stairs all seem like insurmountable tasks. Please God, let this knee pain be pregnancy related and not a sign of arthritis!

Feet swelling: Yet another common pregnancy symptom, but this one typically occurs in the last few weeks. One of the joys of being pregnant with twins was that I was experiencing everything a lot sooner. My feet constantly resemble, umm, elephant feet. I have a very hard time stuffing them into shoes. Being on my feet for more than 5 minutes hurts like a b*tch. If I have the courage to display my fat, ugly feet, I will put up a picture some day.

Thankfully, the nausea disappeared after months of torture. My faith was reinstated. It was possible to go an entire day without throwing up. I am still living with achy back and knees and swollen feet and intense heart burn. But when I think of how ‘easy’ my pregnancy has been compared to some other twin moms, I can’t help but feel thankful.

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This is YUGE! It changes everything – Part 3

Posted by Pepper on August 1, 2017

Like you can guess, ‘This is YUGE’ is going to be a series in which I document my pregnancy and all the excitement that came with it. The shocks ended with the last post. If you are looking for more explosive news, then you can skip the following parts. We’ve had enough of that!

This post is about sharing the news with family and the BFF. I think sharing the news with the family was very anti climatic. The internet is flooded with such innovative ideas to break the news, but all I wanted was to tell my parents and sis immediately and hopefully seek some comfort. I knew they were going to be very reassuring. So over dinner one day, I blurted it out in the most matter of fact way. “It’s twins. I’m pregnant with twins’.

There was no build up to it. No starting with ‘I have some news’, or ‘there is something I want to share with you’. More like, ‘Can you pass me some of that pickle?’ and then saying, by the way, it’s twins. I’m pregnant with twins. They stared at me for a while, letting it sink in before the burst of excitement spilled out.

What they couldn’t comprehend was the look of worry and fear on my face. Like I suspected, they were mad at me. This has always been categorized as ‘good news’. In my case, it was a case of good news times two. How could I possibly look so stressed out. We spoke it over after that and at some point they began to acknowledge my fears. The worry about our capacity to cope, the worry about our finances, all of it. Like I expected, they were very reassuring and I felt a lot calmer after talking to them. The sister was over the moon. She loves babies to bits and now she would have two to hold and play with. This only made me feel more sad as I realised we’d be far away in California, how would our babies get all this love?

Anyway, just a week before I found out I was pregnant, the BFF who lives in LA had called me and blurted out, ‘Listeennnnnn, I’m pregnant!’, making me go, oh my God, what?? I was elated! Obviously my wicked mind paused to track her conception date, because like I mentioned, she was staying with Mint and I in the Bay Area till I flew back to India. She left for LA on the same day as I left for India.

I didn’t spare the opportunity to rub it in. So you went back to LA and got to the act immediately, haan? I continued laughing and telling her her pregnancy news came so quickly because she and R couldn’t handle the little period of separation and had to compensate for it.

Little did I know that all my teasing would come and bite me back. A few days later I had just discovered I was pregnant. With twins. We were still grappling with it when she called me next and like any ‘good’ friend, she started bugging me to think of having a baby soon. That’s when I said it, ‘I’m pregnant too’. It was her turn to scream ‘whaaaat?!’

You see, here is the thing. The BFF had been staying in our house in the Bay Area right until I left for India. So much so that she had been staying with us in our bedroom. Yes, these are the joys of living in a one bedroom apartment. Anyway, she had been staying with Mint and me in our bedroom all along and knew there had obviously been no action that took place in her presence. And then she had decided to visit her sister-in-law for that one weekend before I left for India.

She knew exactly which weekend and on which dates the twins were made. I kept staring at the earth, begging it to swallow me. She would not let go of her opportunity to rub it in of course. “I leave you alone for a single weekend and this is the news I get? You guys were just so desperate for me to get out of your house, huh? You will always have to tell your kids that I have a hand in their creation too. It all happened only because I left that weekend..”

I told her several times that that was the weekend Mint and I prayed to the Gods the hardest. That was all we did. Pray. I refused to talk about it after she commented and said something unmentionable about our hard and powerful prayers.  Oh well. I believe the two of us giggled for around an hour, until it hit us that we’re both pregnant, and due at the same time!

She is the closest friend I’ve had till date. The two of us would sit together on the last bench of our classroom in school and dream about life as adults. Yes, the prospects seemed lucrative back then. We’d talk about how we would get married at the same time, move to the US because you know, we’re meant to live there. We’re too cool for India *Rolls eyes at self*.  We’d live close to each other, choose to have babies at the same time and then take turns to raise our kids collectively. We had some strange ideas, I know.

The fact that we were both actually pregnant and due to have our babies at the same time was amusing. Neither of us had planned it that way and yet here we were..

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