Mention the words “India” or “Indian” around my five year old and most assuredly she will inform you, “I was born in India.”
Yes she was.
Over the years there have been some requests for the birth story in its entirety. My fear is that I will not be able to fully describe in words what took place that March night five years ago. Yet, with much trepidation (and a lot of backspacing) I will try.
In 2008 I found myself sitting on an examination table at my OB/GYN’s hospital. (Yes, hospital. She owned it. I was living in Gujarat, India and this is the way it’s done.) The woman who mopped the floors was apparently also in charge of waving pregnancy test pee strips around to dry them. I’ll never forget the expression on her face when she looked up at me and shook her head. Not a shake in the affirmative, but a shake from side to side. It was a gesture that clearly said, “That’s a shame.” I.e. You’re pregnant. Again.
With three children already under my belt, I wasn’t too dismayed by the news. P. was unexpected but we’d always wanted four. She just came without planning, forethought or intention, sort of like Christmas in the Grinch. We were happy she was here.
The only stressful part of this unexpected news was the thought of packing up and heading back to the US for the delivery. My three older girls had all been born in the US even though we were living in India at the time. I’d take a hiatus from our life there and come stay with mom and dad in NJ for three or four months. Have a baby. Get a passport and visa. Return to India. It was laborious, and I’m not just talking about the squeezing out the baby part.
One night I had an inspiration. Have the baby in India. It was like a “Duh” moment. In the end, that’s what we did.