Saturday, June 24, 2017

Labor Room Saga - Episode 2 - "Onset of the Contraction"

Continued from Episode 1

I entered the hospital and asked for the emergency wing. After all the classes, I was sure that I had to go to first floor but still that was the moment when I seeked reassurance from any one in the vicinity about everything I already know. I was eagerly waiting for my pains to start. I think labor is the only time when pains are welcomed the most and then you wish for the pain to just wash over you so that the ordeal ends!

I was taken to a  common ward, where different types of patients were resting. While entering in, the staff stopped the people who accompanied me (dad, bro, mom and husband)  and said that only one person can accompany me in the ward. Natural choice, I thought  was Imran as I felt that I was being prepared for delivery, but my mom came with me after a brief discussion on who should go. The labor wards were attached to this ward from where I could hear screams and  screeches. Two three voices went like this - "Push push push . You can do it. You are almost there. Yes Yes Yes!"

If it was not hospital, one would think, some cricket or kabaddi tournament is going on and the crowd is cheering for the team! That was the second when I actually got the thought about that most awkward and embarrassing moment of pushing! In the common ward there was one young girl who underwent  some complicated surgery for fibroids or something. The overheard details did not register in my brain. From her cries and screams, I could figure out that she was in lot of pain :-( . Ultrasound gel was applied,  wires , tubes, machines were connected, beep sounds followed and nurses started monitoring every thing. My blood pressure, temperature, heart beat and every reading which can be monitored. Baby's heartbeat was  continuously being monitored  on a screen and I was eagerly looking at that mini monitor as if those changing readings of 148 ..158..170 would magically get transformed to baby and he or she would jump out of the monitor in to my arms! If only the origin of new life was that easy ;)

I just slept on the bed, immobile like a log, taking in the surroundings. In the attached room behind me I could still hear the muffled cries of pain of the same girl. It did not do me any good. I first thought she was in labor, later I realized she underwent a different kind of surgery, when a team of anesthetists and many other specialists came to talk to her. In the bed adjacent to me one more lady seemed to be in a different kind of pain from a different kind of surgery. I will not go in to intricate details but both these scenes ignited fear in my mind which was till then happily sleeping in corner. A lady who underwent C-section was brought in to the ward. First thing I saw was , her pretty face with arched eyebrows. She gave a weak smile holding her baby and then dozed off after placing the baby next to her. "She must be facing the after effects of drugs", I thought! Then came her husband, when I understood she is a Muslim too as the husband gave an azaan, before he named the boy and told the name in his ears, a ritual which some follow! I was watching all these events around me when my doctor arrived by 5 A.M. I think, to check how much I was dilated. Doctors invading private parts became a casual event through out my pregnancy but at that moment everything seemed strenuous and painful!

As I was just 2cm dilated, she said there is still a looooooooooooooong way to go. I obviously was disappointed. I was given some antibiotics and then some pills to kick start the contractions. I was like, excuse me ? Medication to start the pains.  Have you all gone bonkers! Seeing  everyone around me,  I started panicking. I called my mom and told , "Mom, can we please request for Cesaren!  Pretty please?"

My mom told, let us  first wait and see. I  was stubborn that I needed surgery. Different doctors were checking on me for different things and readings and I was already exhausted and started checking whatsapp and facebook and even informed a couple of close friends that I was in labor. One of the doctors, who is my mom's friend's daughter came to increase my moral boost and monitor everything like everyone else. When we asked about C-section, she said, "When everything is perfect , why do you want to go through surgery!? Let us see , we will decide when it comes. OK Afshi?", she said. I felt little OK. May be it was because she called me Afshi, which gave me courage that I know some one from the team or may be  it was the fact that I still have time to decide, but I felt lot better than before.

I was given different foods,  Idli at 9 A.M. Chapathi and curd at 11 A.M. Tea at 12 P.M. and the servings continued. I was not given anything heavy and I was not in a mood to eat anything light too as I felt that may delay the C-section procedure but my doctor felt that I need all the energy to push :) I was continuously being given increased doses of some tablet (the name of which I don't recollect) to induce pains!

People were taking turns to be with me. My mom was there for most of the time. When she went out. Imran came in, all fresh in a neat kurta pyjama. I didn't even know when he went home and came back. I realised it was  12:30 P.M. already and wondered, where the time went. I was super agitated as I felt I was  dirty and every one  else was clean. I badly wanted to take a bath. I secretly combed my hair, as I was in a sensitized zone, and tied it in a bun. I  was careful to not throw litter around. I was being given appy , frooty or the coconut water.  I  was not relishing any of it!

Then my dad came and huge concern was written all over his face. He told me or rather assured me that the long journey is finally going to end and I will have my child in my arms by EOD.  I hoped for the same. It is funny how the job of parenting is always on. More than the child to which I was going  to give birth, my mom, dad were only worried about me, my comfort, my pain , my bed sheet, if I am warm or cold , if I  need anything etc etc.. Even during all that fuss, I was quite moved when I saw my mom who suffers from severe arthritis hopping around doing errands for me. The question of whether or not I can be a good mom danced in front of me for the nth time!

I think it was 1 P.M. and it came. At first it was very low, a blink and you miss occurrence. Contraction arrived, but it was hard to tell, whether it was the normal pain or the actual contraction but  oh yaaaaaaaa it came again ending my dilemma. It was like, some one pinched me hard from inside and slowly released the grip.  I really am not able to recollect the pain, but ya it did feel like a low level menstrual cramp.  I told my dad that it may be a contraction!


source : here

The finale episode shall soon be written :) ....

Friday, June 16, 2017

BaahuBali - A Milestone for the Indian Cinema

Source : here
I rarely write reviews for tollywood movies as going to theater and watching a Telugu movie became once in a blue moon activity. After so long I felt like writing a review for this magnanimous flick - Baahubali which got the attention of many countries and was ofcourse a treat to watch, After years of dedication and hardwork of the entire cast and crew I felt it would be good to write something about the movie!

Story line, Characters and review

After watching Baahubali the beginning, I was intrigued like many other viewers, not because I was curious about "Why Kattappa killed Baahubali?"  I mean it was very easy to guess why he might have taken that  step. Anyone can guess the story line . Good Vs Bad, Valor Vs Cowardice, honesty Vs lies and so on so forth and in the end the positive things always taste the victory but what intrigued me the most is the question - how will Rajamouli and all other creators make it a memorable watch? I was not disappointed as the movie lived up to the hype. The story doesn't dwell much in past, gives us a brief recap, before plunging directly in to the actual prequel which felt good. The opening song "Oka Pranam" is apt while titles scroll in the background. The opening scene where Amarendra Bahubali enters has stolen all women and mens' hearts in equal numbers! I fell in love with the character, the persona  and the screen presence through out. Even if the way Baahubali pulls a cart, stops the elephant and climbs on it is unrealistic, the grandeur with which it is presented, was received by audience with whistles and hoots.


Shivagami sticks to the same intimidating  glance and demenour she had in part 1 but this time she is kind of crushed between her biological son (BhallalaDeva) and the raised son's (Bahubali's) conflicts which was very much expected. Devasena looked extremely gorgeous as  the warrior princess, who is ever-ready to defend her kingdom and husband and the love story of  Amarendra and  Devasena  seemed OK too as it was not too sketchy and unreal, the way it is shown in many other historical biopics. Also I liked their story more than the dreamy story of Sivudu and Avantika. The sets were humongous as always. If Mahishmati looked Royal, Kuntala Kingdom seemed dreamy. Few scenes seemed to be straight away lifted from some epic hollywood movies and historical biopics but they did have an impact on audience. My personal favorite scene is the fight between the warriors of Kuntala kingdom and the attackers in which Amarendra uses his skills and intellect. The flames on the horns of the oxen which run around the palace is well shot. There are many other favorite tid-bits but my most favorite is when the infant Sivudu (Mahendra  Bahubali) drops his tiny palm on his mother's palm as a promise to come back, before Sivagami leaves the palace with him. May be it is my new found baby love but the scene touched me!

Kattappa holding Mahendra- here


image source : here
Some minuses

Of course there are loop holes too and it is easy to find them as the movie is continuously put under scanner after so much hullabaloo. I found the scene where Devasena gets in to boat using the strong arms of Bahubali as a bridge, funny and overrated and the song following this scene had too many special effects and did not suit my taste.  Kattappa being so foolishly devoted to his masters, seemed idiotic to me. Sivagami trusting her tyrant husband and son seemed illogical but may be the  only explanation which holds good here is that love blinds people and  makes them lose the  intellect and sanity and with out this trust the story wouldn't have budged, so may be it was inevitable. Avantika's role is wasted after being shown as a great warrior in the first half. I felt Aslam Khan aka Sudeep would have some role to play even in the 2nd part. It would have been good to see him assisting the war forces but there was no hint of him. I did not like the movie after the death of Amarendra Bahubali. May be as I watched a similar and even a better war in first half, I didnt enjoy Sivudu fighting with all his might to ward off Bhallaladeva and his supporters. Last but not the least like every one I was also curious about BhallalaDeva's wife :-)


Summary and My Verdict


The movie has heated up the state more than the summer of the May .All in all, the movie experience is enjoyable due to elements intricately projected in the movie . By elements I again don't mean the graphics or the stunts or war scenes as I honestly liked the CGI and VFX effects more in first half, which were subtle and beautiful. In Bahubali 2 what I loved are the intricacies of expressions, emotions , seamless storytelling which will not bore you even for a second, the grandeur with which everything was projected on screen, cool personas of all the actors and a fitting conclusion for the audience who eagerly waited for 2 years !


 The ending scene seemed a bit dragged or may be I was just wanting more of Amarendra Bahubali , but all in all Bahubali makes a magnificent watch and the man of the moment- Prabhas- completely deserves all the attention he is getting. Three cheers to him. While getting awed by him let us take a moment and not forget the wonderful effort by BhallalaDeva (Rana Daggubati) who maintained that awesome physique and was looking great in his negative shad. I read in news that he is blind in one eye which made me appreciate his efforts more. Needless to say RamyaKrishna rocked as Shivagami and Devasena and her attitude were as natural as it can get. Anushka effortlessly looks gorgeous whenever she acts in the historic roles . Last but not the least, a round of applause to Rajamouli and a big round of applause to his dad K.V. Vijayendra Prasad who is the story writer . Good amount of research must have been done while writing the story of Bahubali and many historical movies , relics and books would have been studied to make this an appealing watch and the Mahishmati experience almost a realistic one !
Man who attracted many with just one movie. He sure deserves being the heart throb he is. Source : here

Having said everything, yes I have a big new found crush on Prabhas and Bahubali is loved the viewers, by and large  liked Bahubali, though there are some who have done all the autopsies and biopsies and declared that going to theater and watching the movie is a waste of time. I felt the movie can be fully enjoyed only in the theater and can be savored only if judged less. Bahubali did become a milestone for Indian cinema, earning some 1000+ crores worldwide and all the products from the Bahubali franchise are also in demand in the market, including toys, video games, clothing so on so forth !


Hoping to see Rajamouli working on a unique story next and Prabhas to retain the fame, name and work in something different after a long hiatus :)

Friday, May 19, 2017

"Labor Room Saga" - Episode 1

I am taking time out of my busy ( or may be  not so busy but just lazyyy) schedule to pen down the memories of my labor room when they are still  fresh. It has been 3+ months  since  Zaara  entered my life but I remember every detail of that eventful day + night  (Feb10th 2017). After all the Child birth preparation , labor preparation classes, after learning the butterfly squats, lamaze breathing and after seeing all kinds of shapes and sizes of bellies in the class and feeling OK as every one seemed equally scared, I STILL DID NOT FEEL OK ABOUT IT!

Since my childhood I remember feeling scared and grossed about the entire child birth process. From imagining that the child comes out of the mouth of a mother during a big vomit when I was in third standard to talking with my friends at length, about the options of  not marrying or being just a friend to the husband and staying safe and away from the horrific episodes during my teenage ;-) , every thing was reeling in my head on Feb10th 2017 after my water broke. I was using those memories as stress buster. Feb 9th was just like any other day. I was working from home from Feb 3rd and was  just feeling very weak by the second half of the  day of Feb 9th. I had to work on Feb 10th too to wind off few things  but was thinking to inform my manager about  my weakness and that I would like start my leave from Feb 10th. Leave was actually scheduled from Feb 13th (Monday). I did not want the weekend to go waste in the maternity leave period! A miser and a wiser (???) me was saving the last ounce of my leaves for the later period of my maternity!  But I finally gave up on 9th and felt I just can't work any more.

I think it is the subconscious mind which always wins. I did feel that I may deliver in 2-3 days though doctor said I was still 2 weeks away from due date. What I did not guess or feel that day was that, I would be delivering the next day! I worked till 8- 8:30 P.M. that night, unlike other days when I usually wind off work at 5:30 P.M. as I  had to send an urgent release notes,  I finally called it a day and fell flat on the bed.
Meanwhile some where in Alaska, the plight of a pregnant woman. Image source - here
My major pregnancy symptoms were breathlessness which lasted almost till the last day and a bad muscle pull in the left side of my waist. I was telling my husband about the unusual weakness which felt different from the pain I faced in the earlier weeks. He started scolding me like he did every day on how he wanted me to take leave from Feb 1st week and avoid WFH. I was listening to everything with minimum attention span and was simultaneously feeling  something is  not right. That night I taught my husband Imran - how to use Instagram, the details about hash tags (of which he is still not clear and is trying to get a hang of it ;) ) , about followers , showed him the celebrity profiles e.t.c. We were up chatting till about 1 A.M. At about 3 A.M.  which is my usual time during  the entire pregnancy to hit the loo, I felt wide awake as some thing hot was oozing out of me. It was not a normal flow. I first felt it must be blood and did not understand how to react , then  I realized my water broke and the oceanic flow was not stopping.

I did not have any pains but I was recollecting the terrifying stories of women who told me that their water broke and as all amniotic fluid came out there was oxygen deficiency, birth was complicated and kid had to be moved to ICU and so on so forth. I was trying to shut my mind off and fill it with only hope and optimistic thoughts but it was not happening. I was not sure what to do. By 3:10 A.M. we were all wide awake. Thanks to my mom who kept the maternity bag ready which had my clothes and all essentials. I kept my brush, tooth paste, a book, Ipod and was searching for ear phones that time (Yes you all can grin at this detail). My husband who was rushing said, he will get the unnecessary stuff later and that we should go to hospital right then!

Me, mom and my husband started in our car and still nothing. I couldn't feel a thing other than the splurge of amniotic flow. I tuned in to radio to soothe  myself. Some odd music was playing which I couldn't even recognize. Suddenly I shouted ,  "Hey  Imran.  Did you realise I worked till last day." He said "Yay!"

Then I turned around to tell the same to my mom.  She seemed to be facing all the pressure which I should actually face. Looking  at her worried  face I felt troubled. Otherwise I was in a jolly mood (I was a blissfully unaware soul about the long day ahead of me ;) ). I was hoping through out the ride that I would start feeling the contractions, will go in passive labor, will reach hospital and 2-3 hrs of active labor and voila - my  kid will be out in no time. I heard in classes that the labor, specially for the first birth will be long and arduous but I mentally agreed to disagree as I wanted mine to start and end in a jiffy :D

We suddenly remembered that we need to inform about my labor to the LifeCell guys who need to collect my umbilical cord for the stem cell preservation. After hearing a lot about stem cell culture, we invested in it . They were prompt and informed us that their agent will reach hospital soon. The agent (thanks to her)made me laugh loud after pains started. I will discuss more about this fun character in my next posts. We quickly reached hospital as the roads were clear with no traffic. I was thinking too many odd things as I stepped in to hospital. I was thinking how it has been long since I went on a long road trip and was wondering how cool it would be if I can travel on clear roads like the ones on which we rode just now. I was thinking of a hot morning cuppa tea and crispy choco chip cookies. I was wondering if I should have brought my blanket (??) and the contour pillow (which I use due to my neck pain). As I stepped in, I felt I should have combed my hair, when I caught my image in one of the many glass windows. I thought of office and suddenly took out my mobile to text my team mate.

"I am in LABOR. Please inform manager. I cannot work today!" . This was my SMS  to my teammate which I also whatsapped (coz who checks SMSes these days??). As I type out, it still makes me laugh loud. Everyone knew I was pregnant and would soon go in labor. Still I made it a point to inform that I cannot work. We had good laughs over this detail in coming weeks but that moment every action seemed  laborious (pun intended), odd and hazy!
Leads to a good laugh but explains how every one may lose mind during labor :) - Image source : here

To be continued ...

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