Monthly Archives: April 2011

Varun’s Birth Story

Just Born

37 weeks ago, we had our baby boy! My baby! Today he has spent more time ‘outside’ than he was ‘inside’.

His birth was an adventure – not a scary one or a dramatic one but an adventure nevertheless. I was in pain but I was coping, I was excited to meet my boy and I was nervous about not having enough energy to make it through -never have I felt so many emotions at one time.
My pregnancy itself was uneventful once we made passed the nausea and morning sickness. Till a few hours before his birth I didn’t even feel any Braxton Hicks contractions.

I was determined to have a non-medicated birth and had prepped about stages of labor and different coping techniques at different stages.
The day before Varun was born; I went to work as usual .I went to Home Depot with my Dad since he wanted to buy mulch for the yard. And then we all went to Spice Route for dinner. I remember asking them to get me medu vada and uttapam as soon as we sat down. And then we stepped into Fred Meyer to pick up peppermint – I told Vipul I wanted that so that when I go into labor I can suck on those and feel a bit refreshed.  Little did I know that we will need them in a few hours?

While in Fred Meyer, I had to rush to the restroom as I had really bad cramps and ahem, loose bowel movement. TMI I know – but what I didn’t know is that it is a sign of labor. I attributed it to spicy food that didn’t agree well 😉

We came home and chatted with my mom- dad and went to bed.

At 1:00 am, I woke up as usual to go to the bathroom. And I saw blood. One tiny speck. I immediately woke up Vipul and we called the midwife.  She asked me if I felt contractions. No contractions. She told me to go back to bed.

At 2:30, I started feeling contractions. They were these tremors that moved across my stomach. And I had to use the bathroom real bad. I called Vipul while I was still in the restroom and asked him to time the contractions. They were not regular or painful but rather uncomfortable.
Once again we called the midwife. She asked me to lie down on the bed and wait till the contractions were 4 mins apart, lasting for a min or longer for an hour.  I tried lying down in bed, but that was uncomfortable. We tried several different techniques from the class – walking, swaying etc. but the only one that worked was sitting on the toilet.

Within minutes I was having regular contractions and I was beginning to feel the pain. Vipul woke my parents up and asked them to get dressed to go to the hospital. As this was still 3 weeks before my due date, we didn’t have a hospital bag ready. The car seat was still in the box. Luckily, we had a list of things to take to hospital. Vipul was scrambling to get everything in place. I couldn’t get up from ‘the throne’ at all and was telling Vipul where things were for him to pack in between contractions.

By this time, the contractions were regular and painful. I had to have Vipul help me through the contractions. At 3:30 we called the midwife again and she asked us to come in to the hospital.
Walking down the stairs to the car and then the drive to hospital was rough. Every single contraction was stronger, longer and more intense than the previous one. My worst fear at that time was that after that rough ride, the triage nurse is going to send me back stating that I wasn’t dilated enough.
When I got down at the hospital entrance, I thought that Varun was going to drop down. I somehow wobbled to the maternity ward where I made a beeline to the restroom – no other position was comfortable.  It sounds funny now, but that night I just couldn’t sit anywhere. I even told V to ask them to let me deliver while I was sitting on the commode.

Am not sure how Vipul reasoned with me to come out to the triage room. But with his help, I made it to the triage room where in the nurse proclaimed that I was 7 cm dilated.
7 cm dilated! Without drugs!  I was ecstatic. I could now use the bath tub – the ultimate coping technique!!

The next 10 mins or so it took to move me to actual room, I was 10 cms dilated and ready to push. I recall telling the midwife, I feel like pushing and she was like – wait, let me check first!
For most people getting to 10 cms takes forever and is very exhausting.  The actual act of pushing the baby out is relatively easier and short. So I thought another hour and I will get to hold my baby. Boy, I was in for a ride. I was pushing for 3 hours. By the end, my thighs were trembling, I was moaning and I was tired.

After 2 + hours, the midwives saw meconium in the fluid and started monitoring Varun closely.  His stats didn’t look too good and they declared Varun was in distress and if I didn’t deliver in next 30 mins or so they will have to do an episiotomy. Even though no one said anything I took it to mean that an emergency C-section could be needed.

They continued monitoring his stats. They also called NICU folks in – just in case he didn’t cry on delivery they would whisk him away. On our birth plan, we wanted to wait till the cord stopped pulsing to cut it, however due to him being in distress; they informed us that they won’t be able to do that.  All I remember at that time is that I had to focus on pushing with all my might and somehow getting my dear baby out.
Luckily for me, due to change of shifts, I had a new midwife. She assessed how I was pushing, gave me tips to do it better and guided me to push more effectively.  30 mins later Varun was out. Varun gave a cry an instant later but the midwife had swiftly cut the cord and they wrapped him up and put him on my belly.

I don’t think I will ever forget that moment. I was sore and tired but all I remember is this warm fuzz bunny on me. He just lay there snuggled up on me before they took him away for his tests and to clean him up.

It seemed surreal – one day we were admiring my huge belly and feeling him move and the next day – he was in our arms.
Such is the tale of the most intense night of our life. 5 hours that we will never forget …and an adventure that we will never tire of!

Barbados Blues

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A few years ago, we went down to Barbados to watch the Cricket World Cup.
We had tickets to what would have been India Pakistan match had both team not failed miserably in the  group stage.

As I am not a big cricket fan, this meant more time on the beach for me ; albeit my husband was a bit sad.

Every April since then, I long to go back to the island. The Calypso beats, friendly Bajan people, the blue Carib water, the gentle waves, the warm sun and delicious fried fish literally make me log in to Expedia and plan a trip. I make do with looking up our trip pictures and re-reading our trip report.

Heres some virtual ‘wish you were there’ goodness from diaries of past.


After an overnight flight from Seattle, and a connection in Miami, we reached Barbados around 1:30 pm. Our friends were all  travelling on different
flights and the plan was to meet at the Baggage Claim and then share a cab.

Due to world cup all resorts and hotels were full and what was available was out of our price reach. We stayed at Arjan apartments on Accomodation road. We reached our apartments, showered and got some groceries from nearby Popular Store.

Since this was Saturday night, we planned to go Oistins Fish Fry – a local hang out to taste the delicious fried fish. But we were too tired after all the travelling to venture out and just ordered pizza and called it a day.

April 15th:

We had rented a car before arriving. The plan was to drive north to Mullins beach. After a hearty homemade breakfast, we drove through what looked like upscale area and arrived at Mullins beach. The beach was picture perfect. Very calm water, jet skiing and rentals (banana boats, sun umbrellas and beach chairs), nice bar on the beach for drinks and snacks. We spent some time just floating in the water and then headed further north to Animal Flower Cave.

This is an interesting cave where we took a guided tour to watch a few flower shaped sea anemones. The tour was OK. But there is a great spot where the cave opening reflects in the water inside the caves. Makes for a great photo opportunity.

We had lunch at the small restaurant there.Limited choices but very tasty.Unfortunately they had only 4 bread rolls remaining, so could get only 4
sandwiches between 8 of us.

After this our group split into 2. One group went to the animal reserve to watch the green monkeys and we took the Cherry hill road to Bathsheba.The vistas from Cherry hill are amazing. We drove through sugarcane plantations and came to Bathsheba. We planned to stop for drinks and food at Round House cafe,but they closed at 3:00 pm.

Hungry,we drove further to Dina’s bar and cafe. They had the best Pina Coladas we had while in Barbados.We waited till sunset at the beach and then
drove back home to change before dinner.

St. Lawrence Gap is the place to be at night’s – the place was brimmingwith people.Very lively and fun place to be.We were going to meet few other friends at Cafe Sol for dinner in St. Lawrence Gap,but since we hadn’t made reservations, we went to Pun de  Grill.

April 16th:

We had booked a Catamaran cruise with Cool Runnings. This was the highlight of our trip. We had bought an under water camera at home, but forgot
to bring it with us, so had to buy one from the Cool Runnings office. Its thrice as expensive to buy it in on island as compared to rates in US; so be

The crew with Cool Runnings is very accommodative. Most of us are not strong swimmers,but the crew helped us in water. They helped us swim with the turtles and snorkel on ship wrecks.The turtle swim was in Paynes Bay and the ship wrecks was in Folkestone Marine Park.Feeding the fish was fun.

We were pampered as we lazed on the deck with the crew bringing us drinks ever so often.They have vegetarian food options so the lunch was enjoyable for everyone in our group.We were anchored north of Folkestone for lunch. After lunch we all jumped in the water with life jackets on to just float some more in the warm blue water.

After the cruise we headed home to laze some more.

Headed back to St Lawrence Gap for dinner. But tonight, we had made reservations at Cafe Sol and were promptly seated at 7:30. Awesome burritos and margaritas. After a 2 hour dinner,we sat at the bench across from Jambies and just enjoyed the live music while catching up with friends.

April 17th:

Since India was out of the series, this was the only day we had kept aside to watch a Cricket match. South Africa v/s England. It was a good game.I am not a cricket fan but still enjoyed watching the game.My friends who have been to matches in India claimed that the organization and facilities were top-notch. Way to go West Indies !

We had Roti for lunch at the stadium – man, it was the best Roti of our stay there.Very nicely done with a hint of crispness with a good medley of
vegetables inside. I am salivating just thinking about it.

After the match,lot of locals stopped and asked us if we enjoyed the match, they stopped a bus for us to take home so we didn’t have to walk back in the sun and a lot of them shared our disappointment over India not making it to the group stage.Everyone we met was very friendly.

In the evening some of us headed to Boatyard to watch the sunset and then to Cave Shepherd for some shopping. Before dinner we stopped at Limelight cafe for drinks. Pablo the bar tender was cool. We did a mini rum tasting event of all his favorite rums.He showed us which rum to buy on the island and we all had a round of ‘unkown fire’- extra proof rum + Peach Schnapps on fire.

That evening we had dinner reservations at Michaels Bar and Grill in Worthing as it was recommended to us by the Cool Runnings crew. Reasonably priced Bajan food and strong drinks. All that rum and few more drinks later, us girls were ready to dance on tables!Oh, the memories!!

After dinner we walked from Worthing to St Lawrence Gap as we had friends staying in a hotel there.We just lazed on the hotels lounges, watching the waves till it started raining. We then scrambled to find a taxi to go home which was a good sobering run.

April 18th:

We had made reservations with Atlantis submarine in the morning. We got a group discount as we were 6 ppl in the group.The sea was very choppy from the previous nights rains, so a lot of people on the boat were sick. They dont have sea sickness tablets on the boat or in the submarine so it was a very rough trip. This ended up being a ‘been there done than’.We didnt enjoy it as much for the price we paid for it.We saw better fish/ turtles/ wrecks on the cruise than down in the submarine.

A couple of friends had opted out of the submarine and went to Pelican Crafts and we all later thought that would have been a better trip than the submarine one.After the submarine tour, we went to Brandons beach for lunch. I don’t remember the name but it seemed to be the only place around there. Lunch was good though the portions were large.

After lunch, we walked for about 5 mins to make it to the 3:30 tour of the Rum Factory. As it was the last tour of the day, the bottling plant had already closed for the day, but we were more interested in the tastings than the factory.

Had some fruit flavored rum and extra aged one. We bought some rum bottles here as some one mentioned they have the best prices on the island.We girls, had some more shopping in mind and headed to Bridgetown with the guys in tow.

In the evening we headed to Bajan Roots and Rhythms. We had dinner there, in spite of reviews on Tripadvisor about bad food. Food is lame and pricey. The show is worth it. A couple of my friends went on stage to try limbo dancing and had a good time.The show is a must see. I just loved all the acts and dances and music and costumes…I can probably see it again

St Lawrence Gap had live music night with one entry fee to enter all places. We spent some time there after the Bajan Roots before heading back home.

April 19th:

In the morning we went to the Boatyard. Jumped on the trampolines, jet skied and lazed under the umbrellas. Lunch was at the cafe there. Very nice club sandwiches. Drinks were lame, but included in the entry fee. I wanted to go back to Mullins Bay instead of Boatyard  as there are far less ppl on
Mullins bay and the water is calmer, but everyone wanted to check it out, so there we were.

We had rented a car for the day to go to Harrison Cave and Crane Resort. I liked Harrison Caves tour  – very nicely laid out in the trams. Then we headed to Crane Resort. Crane Resort’s beach is breathtaking white sands with a coconut trees lining it along the shore. Almost all promotional pictures of Barbados feature this beach. We walked up from the beach to the restaurant. The views from the restaurant are magnificent. We had afternoon tea at the restaurant to just soak in the vista. Being a former english colony, the high tea was ‘propuh’- complete with petit sandwiches, scones and jam.

The water here is more rough compared to Mullins Beach and Boatyard, so we didn’t really go in though we saw some surfers practising their art.

From Crane beach we headed back to St Lawrence Gap one last time. We went to Pisces for dinner. Perfect place for a great meal with friends. Great ambience, good wine and food.They could make some vegetarian dishes for friends so it worked out perfectly.A long dinner and it was time to say good-bye to friends and Barbados as we were all flying out next day at various times.

It was a short but sweet vacation. Caught up with friends, enjoyed the sunshine, Bajan food, rum and the beaches.Very relaxing indeed.The locals are so warm and friendly. We got lost many a time, but were always pointed to the right direction by the locals.

Just reading this makes me want to go back ; especially on rainy Seattle days.We hope to make another trip someday.

Hello Spring!

When I was in middle school, we had a lesson on Japan’s Cherry Blossom Festival. From what I remember, it was  all about how Japanese enjoy the sakura- pink cherry blossoms and the festivities that are enjoyed in spring time when the flowers bloom. My mom, middle school teacher then, taught this to several batches of students. She brought the chapter to life- I could almost feel the spring arrive as the breeze wafted through the light pink petals. Even though spring was something that I had not encountered in Mumbai.

When I first moved to US, I was excited about seeing the cherry blossom in DC.It was one thing that my mom always asked me about- but somehow I never got around actually seeing the blooms on the Tidal Basin banks.

So today, when the weather was perfect for a normally rainy Seattle, we headed out to University district. The Quad was in bloom. The all-pink trees against the UW architecture. The place was buzzing with families and kids.Oh those precious smiles amidst the lovely blooms! A perfect way to welcome Spring!

It was probably at its peak this weekend, but you should still be able to enjoy it next weekend if the rain gods oblige.

And it begins again

This isn’t the first time I have tried my hand at blogging.I ponder over my blog’s theme, research about what to write about, something that will make me look smart and intelligent, maybe even witty! Alas, that’s where the phase ends. At other times, I muster past that phase and I get excited and write-up a few posts …a few weeks later the enthusiasm dwindles and life takes over.

This is yet another attempt – this time no fancy themes, no witty posts, just a journal of my life. My Desi meets Amru life. In a typical suburban teeny tiny 3300 sq ft lot.

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