Saturday, 12 September 2015

June onwards...

So, as mentioned in my last post, I returned home from the UK on the 2nd June. I had a wonderfully weird few days, adjusting back to life, settling back into our house which didn't feel like mine anymore (cue me rearranging the contents of the fridge, cleaning this and that etc) and of course, getting over the jet lag. There was an air of excitement in those first few days, I had packed a number of gifts and treats for C & K, so there was an almost Christmas-like feeling as new toys and special foods were enjoyed.

On the 6th June, just 4 days after my return, me and K came home after a kids birthday party to find messages from my aunt, uncle and sister letting me know that my Grandma had died that morning.

I'd not lost anyone close to me before and I was surprised by the initial force of emotion that struck me like a blow to the stomach. I've been interested in psychology for some time and was aware of myself processing the news and actually found that I felt gratitude very quickly after the initial sadness and tears. After all, I had spent a wonderful couple of days with her just a few weeks before, laughing, sharing stories and enjoying one another's company. This precious time spent with her wouldn't have happened had I not become pregnant as we had not planned to visit until the end of the year. It was her time, her body was old and tired - how lucky I was to have been one of the last to see her - how can you be sad at that?

The following couple of weeks were spent keeping in contact with my family.  It wasn't possible to go back for a number of reasons so I did my best to offer what support I could from afar. I made a puja each morning (an offering of fresh flowers, incense and a mantra) to show my love and to wish her spirit well as it made it's journey to wherever it is that spirits go.

On the morning of her funeral, 2 weeks after her passing, I visited the Matrimandir to reflect upon her life as well as say farewell. It's a place I don't visit regularly but like to when if feels important to or if I need guidance. I felt quite emotional walking through the gardens and up into the main chamber. As I sat in the cool, white, silence, a beam of sunlight entered the top of the chamber and struck the crystal at the centre of the room and sent rainbows swirling around - something I've never seen before and which felt ethereal in that environment. It was also the first time I've ever been totally alone in there for a few minutes. There has always been a minimum of 2-3 other people inside when I have visited, often more but for 3-4 minutes it was just me and the rainbows. It was wonderful.

I gathered a few flowers from the gardens on my departure and made a special puja once I got home.

frangipani, hibiscus, oleander and bougainvillea

A little while later I received the most precious item from my grandma's house, a bear for her unborn great grandchild. She gave each of us grandchildren a bear when we were born and had continued the tradition with her 5 great grandchildren. I couldn't bare the thought of this child not having a bear from her and was delighted to receive one in the post from my uncle. It's now sitting in our crib awaiting it's new owner.

June blended into July with only a slight reduction in temperature. K returned to kindergarten in the second week of July and all the parents in AV heaved a sigh of relief (9 weeks is a looooong time). My mornings were spent at work and afternoons started with a post lunch nap (too hot for anything else - even the fan blows hot air!) followed by groggily trying to get errands done. A routine blood test showed that my iron levels were quite low which accounted for the tiredness and lack of strength. It's pretty normal for pregnant women to suffer from this. the heart increases in size and the body makes an extra 50% of the body's blood for the baby. This set me on a mission to get my levels up and I started eating as much iron rich foods as well as food high in vitamin C (vit c aids iron absorption) as well as supplements. The next few tests showed no change which only increased my obsession. It has only been in the last month that my levels have gone back up - phew!

I was getting bigger by the end of July, here I am at 7 months pregnant and a lovely picture of C & K which I couldn't resist sharing!

One of the positive things of living in a very community minded place is the support you receive. We have been passed on so much baby stuff, from clothes to a pram for the first few months (not really safe to drive on the motorbike or carry the baby in a sling) to the most amazing crib which has been in circulation in AV for around 35-40 years. My midwife's children were in it and her co-midwife was in it, as was her 18 year old son. It was finally brought to our house (by C and the father of the last baby who slept in it) by motorbike. It was so nice to get it set up in a corner of our bedroom and start the 'nesting' process.

I also started sourcing all the items needed for a homebirth as given to me by my midwife. Buckets, gauze, old sheets and towels plus medicines for disinfecting etc. I was interested to learn that the small bucket with a lid that was on the list was for the placenta which is customarily buried in the garden with a plant or tree on top of it. It felt like a far cry from the medicalisation and sterilisation of the disposal methods used in a hospital. Needless to say we have a hole ready and plan to plant my potted pink hibiscus on top.

C's birthday rolled around at the beginning of August. His mum had K for the night and she paid for us to stay in a local high end hotel which has a swimming pool. It was a treat to have a night away, even if we were only just down the road from home. 

I started pregnancy yoga classes when the lady running the classes returned from her holidays. It's been good to do some yoga in a class. I had been practicing a little at home but I prefer to have someone to correct me if I'm doing a pose wrong. Also good to see/meet the other women who are expecting around the same time as me. It's nice to think that our kids will be likely to grow up together. 

C and I also attended some Watsu classes especially for pregnant couples. It's pretty much just relaxing in a warm pool and getting an idea of how a baby feels in the womb. Interesting though and like the yoga classes, totally free as we're Aurovilians.

Before we knew it, it was the end of August and time for my monthly bump photo - 8 month bump!

So here we are on the 12th Sept. It would have been my grandmother's birthday today and it feels fitting to get this blog of mine up-to-date. Our baby is due in approx 12 days. I stopped going to work on Tuesday but am still working from home, at least for the next week (the blessing/curse of the computer based job) and I am feeling really good although I feel like a time-bomb which could 'go off' at any minute. 

The women in my community organised a little 'baby shower' for me yesterday - nothing like the American baby showers but some food, a couple of gifts and just the chance to connect as neighbours and mothers in a way that I have never experienced before. I feel so very lucky to get to experience community spirit in the immediate sense but also in the wider community sense, the people who stop you for a quick chat when you do your shopping, the endless guesses of the baby's sex based on the shape of my bump or folklore from a multitude of countries. I'm not some anonymous pregnant lady walking down a British high street and it's humbling to feel such warmth from people here.

I'm going to sign off now as it's getting late here and I've been writing for 2 hours.

Will be back soon when our little one has arrived!

With love, Laura.