Of Brothers and Sisters #RakshaBandhan #HappyRahkri #SundayBlogShare

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Today is a pretty special day for us Indian sisters, blessed with brothers, and vice versa.
Today is a day brothers and sisters celebrate their special bond.
Initially, a Hindu festival called Raksha Bandhan, it then became more widely celebrated around India, and in the North, the Punjab, where my family hail from, it’s known as Rakhri or Rakhriya.

Rakhri is a word which means to look after, and on this day, sisters tie a special thread on their brother’s wrist, and brothers pledge to always be there and look after their sisters. Something sweet is then the exchanged, and usually, the brother gives his sister a small token to show his love.

Way back when, before all this women’s lib and equal rights, it was a woman’s job to be at home, and basically all her life was dependant on the males, be it her father, or husband, and she didn’t have many rights, so it stood to reason, that she needed someone, her brother, to be there for her, through thick and thin.

Nowadays there are all sorts of different enjoyments, and jokes attached. You see, it’s not only your brother that you tie one on, but your cousin brothers too. And male friends who you consider to be like brothers. So, if you don’t want a certain guy to bother you, then you tie a Rakhi on him and declare him your brother! Also, the brothers of today get bankrupt! Gifts are elaborate, for the real sisters, and add on all those cousins, handing out £10 notes (or more sometimes!), a brothers pocket is soon empty! Kerching!!! For the sisters anyway!
The threads themselves can range from small, plain, tasteful, to great big tinselled lovelies!

I spent a couple of hours last week writing letters to my brother and cousins, and for my Lil Princess, to her cousins, sending rakhis (tasteful ones, obviously!) to the four corners of the world, and for some special people who I consider brother like, there will be messages sent tomorrow. It’s not about the gifts or money for me. It’s keeping the connection alive. Like those who say days like Valentine’s Day are contrived, and that you should love your partner every day, I guess this could be the sibling equivalent. But for me, it’s just a special day to make it known again, that I love my brother, and cousins, and as much as I love and appreciate their protection, I have their backs too, I will be there for them, come rain or shine.
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This year, we may not be together, but our connection is just as strong. I know he will wear his rakhi with pride, and I also know that he is there for me always… Love you, my dear, dear brother!
And Lil Princess is so excited as her Rakhi has already winged its way over to her  Finjabi cousin brothers, one who is celebrating his first rakhi too!

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I will be tying a Rakhi on my brother-in-law, and Lil Princess will be able to enact the whole ceremony properly with Lil Man. Love days like today, they have to be nice to each other !!!! I know it’s only a few more years then they will really appreciate the sibling bond, but until then, one day of peace will be lovely!!!!!

So, to all those who celebrate, Happy Rakhri! Happy Raksha Bandhan!

And especially to my brother, my cousin brothers, and my special brotherly friends!!!

Have a wonderful day!!!

But I Smile Anyway...

The One Where Doogie Howzer (Indian Edition) Almost Delivered My Baby! #BirthStories

Recently, I have read a few really lovely birth stories on various blogs, and it prompted me to reminisce on my blog about my own!

Some of you may know, and the newer followers may not, but my pregnancies didn’t come easy.

After a year of unsuccessful trying, I was diagnosed with PCOS, and it took another year, give or take, to fall pregnant finally,

You can read about it here, in my post When Will Someone Call Me Mummy?

After the struggle to get there, my first pregnancy was absolutely perfect. No morning sickness, no real tiredness, just a healthy bump that grew strong.

I was one week away from my maternity leave. The plan was that I would leave two weeks prior to my due date so I could relax, and well, you know, first babies never came on time, so I would probably get longer to enjoy the sleep-filled nights before baby came along.

How wrong was I?

I remember sitting at my desk the Monday before I was to finish work. Going about my business, as you do, when I felt a slight wetness. I waddled to the loo.

Strange, I didn’t remember sneezing, but then it was summer, and hayfever was around, so maybe…

The day passed with no further incident and I came home.

I hauled my bump upstairs to put my bags away and then went to the loo where I discovered more fluid.

Now I knew I hadn’t sneezed! Hubby had just gone to the gym too.

My phone beeped with a text from my friend: Hey! How you doing? I had a dream you had your baby and it was a boy!

I messaged her back: You might be psychic. I think my waters broke!

She called straight back: “Oh My God! What are you doing? Have you left for the hospital?”

I reassured her that I was fine (this baby wasn’t coming for at least three weeks, remember!) and that I would call the relevant people and rang off.

Then I wondered what to do. I called my mum.

Me: Mum, what happened when your waters broke?

Mum: I don’t know, you were a caesarean birth and they broke mine with your brother…

Me: Oh, you’re no good!

Mum: Why?

Me: Because I think mine might just have!

Mum: Oh my! What are you doing? Does Hubby know? Have you told your mother in law?

Er… nope.

Another call finished and I rang Hubby Dearest’s phone where it went to answerphone: Er, hi babe, don’t worry, but I think my waters just broke. Don’t hurry back, it’s okay, but we may need to visit a hospital sooner or later…

Then I waddled downstairs to my mum in law and got her all in a fluster too!

It was just me that seemed calm. After all, there were no pains and just a little fluid.

I did call the hospital though, to get advice, and was told that if, by 2pm the following day (that would be 24 hours after the first feeling of wetness) nothing had happened, or pains hadn’t started, to come in.

Then I called my manager. He was sat at an event.

Me: Hi, I’m so sorry, but I don’t think I can come in tomorrow…

Manager: Oh no! Are you okay?

Me: [nonchalantly] Oh yeah, I’m fine, I just might be about to have the baby…

Manager: [shouting to the others around the table he was sat at] Ritu’s baby is coming! [Bacl to me] Don’t you worry about a thing! Go, have that baby and we’ll see you soon for a cuddle!

Hubby Dearest arrived back in a panic from the gym, and I needed to calm him down, explaining that the baby was en route, but not due to arrive imminently, so he needed to chillax! (Along with everyone else in the family who was now calling constantly, even though we hadn’t even gone to the hospital yet!)

By bedtime, there was still nothing. I slept, rather like the Princess and the Pea, but on top of around fifteen towels, in case there were any more leakages!

And 6.30am came. Hubby Dearest’s alarm went off.

HD: So, nothing?

Me: Nope.

HD: So… maybe I’d be okay to pop into work for a little bit? We don’t need to be at the hospital until 2pm you said…

Me: Yeah, that’s if something doesn’t happen sooner!

HD: But, I could go to this meeting and be back by 11…

Me: I don’t think so!

HD: Why?

Me: [lifts duvet to reveal a tiny swimming pool that had just appeared] I think things are about to happen!

It was rather comical, the scene that followed. Me, with towels draped around me, dripping, and between my legs, trying to crab walk with some dignity, and my bump, to the bathroom. (Remember, we still lived with my in-laws at this stage) Stepping into the bath, I’d rinse myself, only for the baby to move, releasing more fluid. I gave up and just stood there laughing, like a mad woman.

But still, no pains.

It ended up that we went in at 2pm, as requested, and after all the main checks, I was laid down, so the doctor could come and check me. (Here’s where Doogie Howser comes in!)

The doctor arrived and he was a short, young Indian guy. And when I say young, I mean his baby face was totally reminiscent of the original boy doctor, Doogie Howser!

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I only just found out he was Neil Patrick Harris lol!

Seriously.

The guy also seemed to have a bit of a complex with treating Indian women. Maybe he was used to all female mothers-to-be who were brown-skinned to be fresh off the boat, from India, unable to speaka da lingo? (There are a lot of guys here who marry girls from back home) They were too shy to speak to other males and would wait for their other halves to communicate with the Doctor -Saab. But no, I was born and bred here, I knew how to speak to him, yet he insisted on telling Hubby Dearest everything, rather than looking at me, and reassuring me.

Apparently, the fluid was out, but contractions hadn’t started naturally, so they would need to induce me if a sweep didn’t kickstart anything.

Then the midwife arrived to insert a cannula into the back of my hand, ready for the various drips they would need to induce me if the sweep didn’t work. She tried several times, but couldn’t get the needle into my vein, missing but allowing spurts of my blood to shoot across the labour room… It hurt!

AND (yes, capitals, because the doctor was annoying me already, the midwife had drained half of my blood, inadvertently, and this just took the biscuit) Wimbledon was on.

I had been admitted into my own room, and it was rather cosy, with an armchair for him, a room with a view, and a TV.

So, whilst Doogiejit Howser-ji was fiddling about with my nether regions, checking everything, he was also having a great tennis-inspired chat with Hubby Dearest!

All the while, I’m laying there prone, unable to move because I was attached to foetal heartbeat monitors, wanting the doctor to speak to ME!

Time moved slowly, as did my dilation. This baby was quite comfortable, fluid or not.

Then as the sweep hadn’t worked I was given the seratonin drip to start the contractions.

No one told me that contractions that come as a result of drugs really HURT! Even more severe than your natural ones (I know, I’ve experienced both!) It’s all because you are forcing your body to do something it thinks it’s not ready to do.

But I was hoping to go au naturel… no drugs who am I kidding? Gas and Air, Pethadene? Anything!

The gas was fantastic. It left me all giggly and nearly killed the pain. I remember it being evening, around 8pm and Eastenders had been on. I’d giggled through the episode, sucking away at the gas, only to make myself feel nauseous!

The midwife came in to check on me. She advised me to leave the gas for a while, and she called the anaesthetist.

I was writhing in pain every time a contraction rode over me, but as I was so tense with the pain, I wasn’t dilating quickly either. I needed something STRONG!

A lovely Indian lady anaesthetist arrived (not Doogie Howser-like at all! Thankfully, at 7pm the shifts changed and another doctor was now on duty as well as this woman) and she came over to me, stroking my brow, like a mother. “There, there now Rati”, (she gave me her own little nickname) She crooned in Hindi. ” They don’t want me to give you anything because there are not enough midwives, but I can see you are in a lot of pain. If you want, I can arrange it.” (It pays to speaka da lingo sometimes!)

And before you knew it, all the paperwork had been signed, and I was sat up having this HUGE needle inserted in my spinal cord!

And the relief I felt!

Oh, it rushed over me like a wave. My legs, up in stirrups as another doctor came to give me the once-over, felt like two legs of ham that I was poking, because I couldn’t feel a thing. It was bliss!

I soon fell asleep, exhausted from all the lying around, the pain, the headache that the gas had given me… surrounded by Hubby Dearest, a great midwife, who had to stay with me as I had had the epidural, and a student midwife, just to make up the numbers. Oh, and the doctor who periodically popped in. Quite a party!

When I woke I was nearly ready. It was past 2am now.

The epidural had helped to relax me enough to allow nature to finally take its course. Only, baby’s heartbeat kept disappearing.

The doctor (he was a lovely doctor, he spoke to me, to my face, not the TV screen, or to Hubby Dearest) wanted permission to go in and use a needle to extract fluid from the baby’s head. He was worried baby was in distress.

Of course, we agreed to whatever they felt was the safest.

He disappeared to scrub up and I braced myself for the possibility of a caesarean.

As the doctor arrived and went in for the sample, he stopped.

Doctor: “No. No time. This baby is coming NOW!”

Obviously, I couldn’t feel a thing, but the contractions had been coming hard and fast and baby was crowning.  They need to get him out fast.

Doctor: [watching the foetal monitor] Okay, when I say go, push, as hard as you can! Right… GO! I said push!

Me: I am pushing!

Doctor: No you’re not!

Me: I’m sorry, I can’t feel a thing!

He got over the ‘can’t feel it’ thing with the use of a venteuse. But the suction cap kept slipping. This baby had so much hair they couldn’t get the plunger-like contraption to stick to his head!

Then the forceps came out. I am so glad I couldn’t see any of this.

Moments later, the doctor held the baby up.

Doctor: Congratulations! Baby is okay, the cord was around the neck but we just slipped it over the head.

He passed baby to the midwife who brought our little bundle to us, and wrapped the baby gently.

Hubby Dearest and I just sat there staring at this little being, totally unaware of what was happening the other end [clean up and stitches] mesmerised by the little fingers, the ton of hair…

Midwife: So, don’t you want to know what you’ve had?

Hubby Dearest and I looked at each other. Our dream of having our very own baby had come true, we’d totally forgotten to ask whether it was a son or a daughter. Just a baby was enough for us!

She lifted the wrap and the leg gently.

Midwife: It’s a boy.

There were tears, there was laughter, then there was toast and tea. I was ravenous!

Hubby Dearest went out to call the family and let them know that the new addition had arrived finally then came back to cradle his firstborn.

I lay there, not sore yet [that epidural was great!] but exhausted, watching him sitting, keeping watch over our little miracle, as I drifted off to sleep…

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Presenting Lil Man!

And there you have it, my fun birth experience!

Don’t worry, the second one had it’s fair share of silly moments too! Maybe I’ll treat you to that one soon… it’ll be entitled The One Where Madonna Advised Me About My Labour. (Yes, really!)

 

July 26– Flash Fiction  – Stranded Suitcase

Charli’s prompt this week:

July 26, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about what happens next to a stranded suitcase. Go where the prompt leads you, but consider the different perspectives you can take to tell the tale.

Suitcase of Hope

Opening the bedroom door, the first thing I saw was the abandoned suitcase, open on the bed. Half packed, it had been left, bereft at not being full, zipped up, and off on another adventure.

I walked over, closed the lid, fastened it and placed it to one side. “Don’t worry, he’ll be better soon, then you can both go on your travels, with no worries at all.”

Pops appeared by my side, having taken a few moments longer to climb the stairs than me.

“It’s okay Pops, rest up. I’ll pack your case when the time is right.”

Today’s take is based upon true events. If you have been reading my blog recently, you’ll know that my Pops has been extremely unwell, needing emergency open surgery a few weeks back. On the day he was being operated on,  my sister-in-law gave birth to my new nephew, and Pops’ fourth grandchild.

My mum is already in Finland with my brother and his family, and the plan was that Pops would be joining her there so he could enjoy the delights of his new grandchild too.

Unfortunately, that is not the (suit)case at the moment, he won’t be flying anywhere for a while. I arrived back home with my children today, to ease him back into his own home, after spending the last three weeks after being discharged from hospital convalescing at his niece’s house.

Though a case was not actually strewn across his bed, there are several scattered around the house, Mum’s part-packing jobs done before she left, so she could take more things when she does a return journey, with Pops!

He’s doing so well, considering the ordeal he went through, but still very weak. We went for a slow, short walk this evening and it was so wonderful to see my Pops almost back to normal, a little slower, a little thinner, but definitely my Pops. ❤

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❤ my Pops

And here’s hoping that after his follow up appointment in September, he will be able to go and finally give that new addition a proper cuddle! ❤

https://carrotranch.com/2018/07/27/july-26-flash-fiction-challenge/

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 178

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“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”

Desmond Tutu

Thanks, Spidey.

After the particularly harrowing week we had with Pops, this quote couldn’t ring truer.

It’s always been a struggle being three hours away from my parents, being so emotionally close to them.

And it’s always been one of my biggest fears too, one of them falling ill, and me not being able to do anything, immediately. My brother being in another country doesn’t help either.

But here is where the beauty of having a large, close-knit family comes into play.

My parents have, over the years done SO MUCH for everyone, that when they are in need, there is no shortage of people offering their support.

Even so, not everyone can commit to a long term solution.

When Pops was ill, he stayed with his niece, my cousin.

Whilst I couldn’t come down, I was given regular updates on his health. Even after the major hospital stay, once I had to come home, I received calls and messages to let me know how he was.

When I came to spend days with him, I stayed with them too. No one wanted me to be alone at Pops and Mums place.

And now, since he needs a lot of rest and recuperation, they have taken him in again, until I can come down more long-term in the holidays.

I was with him again yesterday, and he’s tired… lots of well wishers on the phone and visitors, but he’s comfortable.

My cousin and her family are really looking after him.

They really are a gift from God to us.

Pray for his speedy recovery, Peeps.

Have a peaceful Sunday ❤

A Positive Announcement and Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Challenge #Announcement #Tanka Bewitched & Treasure #MicroPoetry #Family

Well, I said, at the end of yesterday’s update that I might have something great to share with you.

After approval from the parties involved, I am so very proud/pleased/chuffed to announce that I have a new nephew!!!

My brother and his wife became parents to their second son on Sunday evening! My nephew is now Finndian #1 and he has a new little brother, Finndian #2!

He is a beautiful bundle, and the news of his arrival really perked Pops up too.

We managed to get a video call in and say hello to the new addition too, yesterday, which was a true boost to Pops.

The Finndian population has increased by one!

And in celebration of this wonderful news, I have penned a tanka whcich fits perfectly with the challenge words from dear Colleen, where she gives 2 words but you must use them in synonym form!

The words this week are Bewitched & Treasure. I used Captivated and Precious.

Another new life
I’m truly captivated
Can’t contain my smile
Precious bundle from above
Bringing joy to all around

Ritu 2018

https://colleenchesebro.com/2018/07/10/colleens-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-92-bewitch-treasure-synonymsonly/

Welcome to Tanka Tuesday

Every cloud has a silver lining, it is true, and this week’s HUGE cloud has produced an even SHINIER lining!

Pops is doing so much better today, he is less two tubes too, which is great… Two more to go!

Thank you EVERYONE for the good wishes, all your hopes and prayers have really helped.

Peace out Peeps, and go wet the baby’s head on my behalf!!!!

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