The thing with not being the woman who is delivering, is that the emotions are no longer straightforward. When I was having a baby, my last agonised thought was, “Lord deliver me from this pain…”
But when Tambi called to say that the SIL was in labour, I burst into tears. I laughed, I cried, I chewed my nails and eventually ran out of emotions. He did suggest that we go to sleep as it was almost midnight in India, but I couldn’t sleep. I called up my mother and cried. When she hung up on me I called up Cousins K and J (who also cried on the phone – we did a bit of a duet) who promptly insisted that I call them back the moment Baby Button pops out. Then I sat on the floor and cried some more while the OA rubbed my back and gently suggested that I go next month to see Baby Button.
‘I won’t go without you…” I blubbered unattractively through tears and snot.
“I’m flattered that you’d even pretend that I am more important than your brother and his baby,” teased the OA, “but go…”
We’ll see. You see now it doesn’t matter. I wanted to hold him in my arms the moment his parents and grandparents had their fill. I wanted to look at him and touch him and know for real that it was him.
I sat up all night and Facebooked while the OA watched a match, none of us willing to sleep. I mailed her every hour until I was sure she’d log on post labour and block my email id. Finally I shut off the PC and prayed to God for an easy delivery for the SIL. She called me up and chatted cheerfully from the labour room, once the epidural was put in. In keeping with my reputation I sobbed on the phone and then realising I was being of no use to her said goodbye.
A friend asked me on chat what the big deal was, you know, I was only becoming an aunt. Only becoming an aunt? At 32 I am already an aunt to many kids. This is not my first shot at aunthood. But this is more than the excitement of becoming an aunt. No matter how many nephews and nieces I have, nothing can take away from the preciousness of my brother’s child. This is as close as it will ever get to having a third child.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, my brother means the world to me and I am very fond of my SIL. We’re very different people who have learnt to find commonalities and as she went into labour, I felt my stomach clench. I realised I was panicking for her and really, really worried. How you feel about a person only hits you when you know they are in some sort of need. I was up half the night just praying (yes, you always turn to God in your times of need and tend to forget Him when you get what you want) that the labour would go easy for her, that she recovered easily, that the baby was healthy. As luck would have it, I fell asleep just before she delivered!
Anyhow, Baby Button is here (yayyyy!!!) and I realised something new. My SIL and I were related by marriage, but now we’re related by blood too. That little baby carries her blood and mine. It’s a strange and new bond and in the last few hours I’ve dealt with the overwhelming realisation that these are two new very precious relationships I’ve suddenly got.
In all this excitement of the baby getting here, I almost forgot to tell you that I was walking out of my apartment in the morning and the janitors were washing our lobby with soap and water (you can see where this is going, can’t you?). The lift was stuck three floors below so I decided to limp down. Of course I slid down an entire flight and since my knee is too weak, I just let go and went down the stairs, bumping down the edge on my butt, my tailbone finding each stair on its descent.
By the time I reached the landing I was confused. There was this pain from my tailbone right up my spine to my head. Perhaps I’d hit my head? But no. Apparently I’d bounced along so hard that the jarring had hit me right to the base of my head. Eventually the nausea and giddiness cleared and I got up and dragged myself home. It was the fire exit so there was no one around to help me. The driver was on leave. The OA was 3 hours away in a meeting. So I went to sleep. Apologies to all who called and didn’t get me. I was out of it. I didn’t want to take painkillers, called a doctor friend who was on call and said I might have fractured my tailbone so I should come in. I couldn’t of course. I am unable to walk or anything this morning but its not a fracture. I am just very sore and bruised black and blue all down my arms, legs, back and what not. I told the SIL she couldn’t have found a more loving SIL. To keep her company in labour I suffered in pain for as many hours – sympathy you see.
With the US junta sleeping, the rest of us in India called each other all day. Isn’t he beautiful? Doesn’t he have lovely hair? Have you seen his bright eyes? Naturally we can’t bore the rest of the world with how fantastic we think he is, so our phones have been ringing all day, just talking to each other. The kids have been thrilled that their baby brother has arrived in America. It’s amazing how accepting kids are, of any theory you give them.
Oh, and before I forget the stats, he was 6 pounds and 7 ounces, born at about 7 pm, 25th January ( 5 am, IST, 26th Jan!). And measures 21 inches in height. And oh.. he has my brother’s eyes, nose and artistic fingers. But most of all, he looks just like the Brat – that can’t be a good thing! Thats it for tonight folks. We’ve just had a baby and a fall and need our sleep.