Thomas Paul Bhuyan
Son of Anita Chow and Andrei Bhuyan
Born on the 8th of September 2012, at the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead,
Weighing 6lb 6oz
I met Andrei when we were first year students at the University of Melbourne. We lived together for around twelve years before marrying, and it was another year or so before we decided to have a child. We felt that we were at the right stage of our lives, relationship and careers.
We were both very happy when we found out about the pregnancy, but we were also anxious – because we knew that our lives would change enormously, and even though we wanted this, the prospect was unsettling.
I had an easy pregnancy. Other than a little bit of nausea and tiredness at the beginning, life carried on as normal. I was still active and I could still do the things that I usually did. I did stop running in the third trimester, and I had some mood swings – according to Andrei!
We found out that we were having a boy at the twenty week scan. We would have been happy either way, although from a practical standpoint a girl would have been handy as we have a girls’ school two doors from our flat! Now we have Thomas, though, it seems very strange to be thinking about who else we could have had – Thomas seems like the only right outcome.
One of the reasons that we wanted to know the baby’s sex before the delivery was so that we could prepare adequately – we bought clothes, furniture and decorations for his nursery. We thought we were ready, but when Thomas arrived, we realised that we weren’t. I’m not sure, looking back, how we could have been better prepared, but perhaps, rather than attending ante-natal classes, it would have been better to attend a class on how to deal with the first few months.
My waters started leaking slowly. At first I thought it was urinary incontinence, but then I realised that it must be my waters. After a day of leaking, we went into hospital – I thought that I had to wait for the contractions to start, but Andrei insisted I go. The hospital staff gave me antibiotics via a drip.
I waited another 24 hours at the hospital, and when my contractions still didn’t start, I was induced. I wanted to have as natural a birth as possible, but after five hours of pain, with minimal dilation, I asked for an epidural. After the epidural, things became more serious. Thomas’ heartbeat started fluctuating and the doctors decided to give me a c-section. Looking back, I’m very grateful for it, because it sped up the whole birth process.
The recovery period went much more smoothly than the birth. I spent two nights in hospital, and then went home. I was walking after a couple more days of bed rest. The first few days at home were a blur. Andrei and I were very happy, but our cat, Snowy, was wondering who the new person was! He was not impressed, especially when Thomas was crying, and he was clearly wondering why he was no longer the centre of our attention. He’s better now, and we hope he and Thomas will be best friends.
Each stage has its own challenges – in the first few months, the biggest was probably the sleep deprivation. An ongoing challenge, which we suspect will always be with us as parents, is not knowing whether what we are doing is best for Thomas. We may never know the answer to that, but every now and then we discover new approaches that seem to work and make us all happy, so we go with it.
Another challenge is both of us managing to have a career, while trying to do the right thing by Thomas in terms of our involvement in his life. Our parents live in Australia, and my mother-in-law came over for two months when I went back to work. We tried to convince her to move to London, but no luck yet!
As parents, we are the mainstays of Thomas’ world, and it’s a huge joy to be able to dedicate what time we have, and our energy and love to him. We look forward to helping him to grow, develop and learn new things as he gets bigger.