Kanika Chadda Gupta

Parenting

My First Mother’s Day

Dear Krish and Suhana,

It’s because of you, I’m a mother. Unlike the other facets in my life from my career to how I maintain our household, I thought I could plan exactly when I wanted to take on this role, but the universe had different plans and you took us by surprise. These three months have been the most fulfilling in all our lives. You have given us newfound purpose and the will to keep striving, the intention to be kind human beings, and hope for a brighter future. 

I still remember the day I surprised your Papa with the news that I was pregnant. It was our 3-year wedding anniversary and we were on our way to Cape May, New Jersey. I kept this big secret the entire 3.5-hour car ride. When we got to the lovely bed and breakfast on the beach, I surprised him with a card and a small box. I told him to turn on his phone and record the moment. This wasn’t unusual since we recorded the moment he proposed to me too. When he opened the box, he found a ring of plastic baby keys. You see, Papa keeps many spare keys at home just in case we have house guests and he gives them a pair so they can truly feel at home. In my card I wrote, “Don’t worry. I already made spare keys for our new addition.” He was ecstatic. We hugged and cried and basked in what was to come.

Ten weeks later, we went to our first ultrasound appointment. The technician wanted to make sure there was a steady heartbeat. “Sounds good.” She said. “Um, wait a minute, I hear something else. There are two heartbeats. You’re having twins!” She brought in our doctor to take a second look and lo and behold, she was right. We stared at each other in the dark room in total shock. I can still hear the cadence of the heartbeats in my head. We’re going to be a family of four! A few weeks after that, we found out that we were having a boy and a girl. “We EACH get a clone??!” We were so excited.

I took my pregnancy in stride. I didn’t complain once. I wanted you both so badly and wanted to be strong from the get go. We kept the fact that we were expecting twins our little secret. Part of me wanted to protect you against the evil eye of others and another part was just nervous as hell at how things would pan out. On the day of your delivery, I was alone at home. At 3:00 am, my water broke. Papa was on the west coast in Seattle for work. We thought we had at least a month to go so agreed it wasn’t a big deal if he traveled, especially since he doesn’t travel often to begin with. I called him in a sweat. “Jaan, my water just broke.” He couldn’t believe it, “You’re kidding!” and then quickly got into problem-solving mode. “Ok. Now what?” I said we should call the on-call doctor, then Dada & Dadi to take me to the hospital, and then Nana & Nani so they could drive from Maryland to New Jersey. Everything progressed like clockwork. It was a rainy night in January, which reminded me of Lord Krishna’s birth and how his father Vasudeva waded through the river during a torrential storm to leave him with his dear friends Nanda and Yashoda in Gokul. He and his wife Devaki made the ultimate sacrifice for their son. That is why we named you Krish. Suhana, we came up with your name because it’s similar to your dad’s – Sunil. Anyway, I digress. Dada and Dadi drove me the hospital, I walked right up to the maternity floor and when the doctor did a sonogram, she said I was contracting. I couldn’t feel a thing. She said, “We have to operate on you within an hour. Baby A is head down, Baby B is breached. We’ll be doing a C-section.” Monu masi was by my side by then and said she would scrub in. I was rolled into the OR, had an epidural (which was the most painful thing ever!), and soon after felt calm since I was numb from the waist down. The nurse asked me what I wanted to hear on Spotify and I told her to play Jagjit Singh bhajans. “J-A-G-J-I-T…” I spelled it out for her. Another nurse said we could do a video chat with Papa, so Monu opened up Google Hangouts and called him. She panned the phone so he could see the 2 doctors and 10 nurses hovering over me, the curtain that demarcated the surgery, and my smiling face (in my silly hospital gown and blue cap). I was feeling drained from the series of events and asked the doctor, “Will I be able to sleep?” She responded, “It’s going to go by fairly quickly sweetie.” As the song, “Hey Govinda, Hey Gopala” resonated the room, we immediately heard crying. Krish, you were out at 7:24 am. Two minutes later, we heard Suhana’s cries. That was it. Monu Masi squeezed my hand and we both welled up with tears. All of our lives were forever changed.

Your Papa took the first flight out and got to the hospital around 6:00 pm that day. He was in awe when he saw you both. When I held you skin to skin, you two held hands on my chest and ever so slightly moved your tiny fingers. It was the most beautiful sight. Thankfully your Papa and I have photographic memories; We can recall every instant since your birth. We are so thrilled to be your parents and feel humbled that we get a chance to learn and grow with you day by day.

Happy 1st Mothers Day to you, my sweet children.

Love always,

Mummy 

How to Soothe a Crying Baby

 

Hearing your little one cry can be absolutely heartbreaking and can leave you feeling helpless, confused, and just plain down and out. If you’ve already checked out the obvious reasons for crying (hungry, dirty diaper, cold or hot, sleepy), and there aren’t any other factors at play like a fever or dehydration, then fear not! I’ve come across some easy ways to calm your baby down. The idea is to recreate a semblance of the womb. That was your baby’s happy place. Take him back there and show him that he’s safe and sound. 

  1. The 5 S’s. In the bestseller, The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp uncovers the 5 S’s to soothing a baby: 1) swaddle, 2) side or stomach position, 3) shush, 4) swing, and 5) suck. Each kid prefers a different combination of these tactics, but believe me, they all work. Read the book. It’s a miracle worker.
  2. A warm bath. My babies love bath time. They are mesmerized by the faucet of flowing water and are so blissful when I pour warm water over their bare tummies. Just like us adults, they feel relaxed after a bath and are calmer when you follow up with a feed or putting them down to sleep.
  3. Skin to skin. Babies want to feel close to you and much like their first few days of life, skin to skin time works wonders long after infancy. Remove your baby’s clothing (leave his diaper on along with a cap if it’s cold) and place him gently on your chest with his arms and legs in a froggy position. Not only does skin to skin provide warmth, it helps regulate your baby’s temperature, heart rate, and even boosts breast milk production for mom. Read more about the benefits here. Daddy and other loved ones can do skin to skin too. Babies can never get enough!
  4. Sing. Sing to your little one. I watched a Ted Talk called “What Babies Learn Before They’re Born” where speaker Annie Murphy Paul explains that a baby learns to identify his mother’s voice before he’s born. Singing songs that you sang during your pregnancy will sound familiar and nostalgic and might just be what they need to hear.
  5. White noise. Bookmark this YouTube link, White Noise for 10 hours, stat! It claims to help colicky babies calm down. I play it for my twins and it puts them in a trance. It’s hypnotizing. I believe it’s because this whirring sound is what they heard when they were in the womb, and it causes them to reset. 

Over time, you’ll find that your babies become easier to read. Above all else, always trust your gut. You know your baby’s needs better than anyone else.

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