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Friday, June 26, 2009

Chapter One

In which Little Rajiv, also known as Appu, acquires a new brother.

Little Rohan Ernesto was born on a Tuesday night, at 9:41 PM, on June 23rd 2009. This is the story of his birth.

There had been early signs of labour for days, but on Monday night things seemed to finally be moving. As we went on our usual walk to put Appu to sleep and I started having some mild contractions, so we decided to walk to the video store and get a few dvd of mindless tv series just in case we ended up being up all night. However, after checking out the videos the contractions stopped, so we went back home, put Appu to bed and decided to sleep early to save our energies for when they would be needed.

During the night I had a few mild contractions and a little bit of bleeding, so I felt sure that it was finally happening. In the morning we took Appu to Sally's house, the home daycare center where he had been going for months, and then decided to go on a walk to see if the contractions would start again.

It was the first really hot day of the summer, so walking in the sun was quite exhausting. We went to the university library to pick up a book and stopped there to rest and have a snack. Then we walked back and stopped at the office to have lunch. By then the contractions had started again, but still mild, irregular and far apart. After the walk we were very tired, so we went home for a nap.

I woke up at around 2:30 with regular contractions, so we cheered and proceeded with our early labour plan. I took a shower, we watched some of the tv episodes we had taken at the video store the night before and we asked our neighbours Andrew and Anna Marie to pick up Appu at daycare and keep him with them for dinner. Their daughter Kalena goes to the same daycare and is a regular playmate, so it was very easy to arrange and not too traumatic for Appu, we hoped.

We packed a bag with diapers, a pair of pyjamas, Pingu and a Kipper dvd for Appu and then we also packed a bag for the hospital, just in case.

S called our midwife Mina and told her that I was definitely in labour. We weren't sure how far along I might be, though, and we didn't dare keeping too high hopes, so we just told her she didn't need to come yet. She asked us to call her back in an hour, so we watched more tv and went for a little walk. This was some time between 5 and 6 PM. We called the neighbours to check how Appu was doing and he was reported "as happy as a pig in shit" (Canadians!), which was a big relief. I was quite a bit in pain by now, but I remembered being in a lot of pain last time too and being told I hadn't even started dilating yet, so we were quite cautious with our hopes. S was a great support though, so all this part was really a nice experience and the pain was easily managed.

When we called back Mina she said she would come to take a look at me and in about half an hour she showed up with her student Joanne. She said they would stay only if I was at least 4 cm dilated already, but surprisingly when Joanne checked me I was around 7 cm already! That was an encouraging moment. The midwives started setting up their equipment - an impressive display of stuff that (fortunately) mostly we didn't need.

In a short time the pain increased a lot and I was mostly leaning on the futon, with S encouraging me to take walks to the kitchen and back every now and then. We listened to some music, our favorite Simon and Garfunkel cd, and Mina entertained us with stories of pirate pop music videos from her youth in Iran.

I was worried about Appu, because it was bedtime for him and Kalena and I was afraid the neighbours would be having trouble. Appu is not well known as an easy to put to bed kid... On the other hand I was not willing to let S go to put Appu to bed at this point, so we called Anna Marie and suggested that Appu could watch his dvd for a while if they needed a break. As it turned out, Appu watched his cartoons and then said "bed" (!!). Once taken to the bed, he promptly fell asleep (!!!!).

Around 9 PM I was checked again. The dilation was almost complete, so Mina said it was time to break the water and have the baby! The other midwife who was supposed to attend the birth, Ann, was paged and she made it in time for the birth, which happened after a short - I think - time of pushing. Now this is the part I wouldn't like to do again any time soon - not that I think I will have to ever again, by the way. Two is enough... :)

Unfortunately Rohan decided to pop out superman style, with a hand in front of his face, so I got two tears, one of which was apparently quite nasty. Being stitched up was the closest thing to crucifixion that I ever experienced, but surprisingly the recovery was easy and I already don't feel any pain after only a few days.

After the stitches I got to try and breastfeed Rohan, who by now was getting impatient in his father's arms. He took to it right away and sucked softly but persistently for quite a while. I can really see that breastfeeding right away after the birth makes a big difference. I wish I had gotten that chance with Appu, it would probably have saved us both a lot of trouble.

The midwives cleaned up the room, prepared the laundry basket, helped me to take a shower and then left us before midnight. That's the nicest part about giving birth at home, the part in which you are comfortable in your house after it is all over and the baby is right there on your bed.

We got more sleep than I expected. Rohan was very sleepy and he didn't mind me feeding him while lying down, so it was all very restful (as far as these things go...).

In the morning Appu dropped by before being taken to daycare. I had missed him so much! This was our longest separation so far and when he came back from Sally's house later that day he was ready for a lot of mom and dad. And we were ready for a lot of Appu, of course! His main reaction to the new brother so far is a renewed desire to nurse all the time. This picture is from day one of Rohan's life: the beginning of a beautiful milk friendship :)


  1. In bocca al lupo per la nuova avventura... e il nuovo blog!

  2. What a wonderful birth story! Most blissful. Lovely snap too.