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The Beginning
by The Man from Matunga (MFM)

Where do I start! 

So much has happened in the last seven months that some things are still a blur.

My wife, WFM (Woman from Matunga) became pregnant in June. It was both expected and unexpected.

We were married eight years ago. Busy with our studies and then our practices we kept postponing the decision to have children. For the first five or six years, we actually entertained the idea of not having children at all, until all our friends with similar ideas, one after another, fell victim to the urge of child-bearing; almost like nine-pins, falling one after another, until we seemed to be the only ones left. Were we doing the right thing! Would we regret not having kids, when we grew older! Once these doubts entered our minds, they would not leave. Slowly but surely, these thoughts took root, growing day by day until our minds were completely engulfed by them. These were also watered in various straight and devious ways by the aspirations of our parents and other relatives. Have you ever faced well-meaning friends and relatives, who tell you, "There is a tree near Daulatabad, the leaves of which are always successful in producing children!", or "There is a lake in Rajasthan, a dip in which at midnight on a full moon fulfils all aspirations.", or the standard "When are the good news." It started getting on our nerves.

We eventually embraced the inevitable.

As often happens in such situations, things did not go the way we thought they would. Nothing happened for a year and a half. 

We got ourselves tested and I was found oligospermic; somewhat like a gun that does fire but only blanks. Used to usually getting our way, we decided to fight nature and went in for assisted reproduction. Like countless others, we too became part of frenetic cycles of ovulation monitoring, hormones, semen analysis, ovum pick-ups, insemination, embryo transfers, bed rest and prayers.

Nothing happened for a year and a half.

WFM was insistent on trying again and again. It was a fight; nature versus us; she had taken up the gauntlet and was unwilling to retire to the resting corner of the boxing ring. I thought differently; if nature did not intend for us to have kids, why fight it! There were countless childless couples out there, having a great time, unfettered by responsibility, enjoying every moment of their lives; just when I would be convinced by these arguments, some well-meaning friend would have another baby and talk glowingly about how even though it was a bit of a pain having a child, the joy of being a parent was worth all the trouble. 

We finished two cycles consisting of two embryo transfers each, in that year and a half. We kept enjoying our inter-cycle periods, doing what we used to do normally and trying not to let the cycles otherwise interfere with our lives. Apparently this is a very important part of infertility counseling, since many couples become nervous wrecks throughout their cycles and even between them, especially with the constantly shifting schedules and disruption of home and work life; along with the waiting, always the waiting.

June was the first part of the third cycle and I was adamant that this would be our last. We had made plans for travel in July, assuming that like all other cycles, this too would not work. And, just when we least expected it, the pregnancy test came positive.

I still remember the day. We had planned to go for the new Star Trek film, "Insurrection" running at Eros, with another couple, who we hadn't met in a long time. They had a small daughter and had made arrangements for someone to take care of her. All of us were looking forward to the film and dinner, when around noon, WFM burst into my office telling me that she was pregnant. I didn't know how to react. My first thought was about the film. "Shit!" I thought, "I hope we don't have to cancel the movie." When we called the gynecologist, she in no uncertain terms told WFM to go right back home to bed. She was to take bed rest for the next 12 weeks, until the end of the first trimester. I argued with WFM, but she would not listen.

My reasoning was this; WFM had been mobile for the last ten days when the conceptus had been growing in her womb and if we had done the pregnancy test on Monday instead of Friday, she would have spent a mobile, normal weekend anyway. But logic often takes a back seat in such circumstances and she went home. Not wanting to cancel the movie, especially because our friends had taken so much trouble over their daughter's arrangements, I went for the movie. After our parents, they were thus the first people to know. The movie was a daze; this was probably the first Star Trek movie that did not have me on the edge of my seat.

There were an amazing amount of adjustments to be made at work. Locums had to be contacted, work schedules had to be changed and all other planned and unplanned social events took a complete backseat. It was only after four days when it finally sunk into me that she was pregnant, that I celebrated by polishing off half a bottle of the new Chantilly white.

Three weeks later, she went in for the first ultrasound. And we were in for the next big shock. 

It was a twin pregnancy.


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