Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Pregnancy


After a miscarriage about a year ago and delay in conceiving again, it was with great excitement and a lot of apprehension that my husband, Nitin & I received the news that we were pregnant again. The first appointment with the doctor proved our fears because the embryonic heart rate was found to be slow. The doctor did not believe that bedrest would help and asked me to come back in 2 weeks' time. On hindsight, I realize that I should either have gotten a second opinion or insisted that he prescribe bedrest for me for at least the 2 weeks. We are schooled to believe that a Doctor's prognosis is final and it did not even occur to me to question him or think otherwise, at that time. However, I did decide to work only for 4 hours in the morning and take complete rest in the afternoon. I had full support from my workplace (my boss & my team mates have been amazing throughout). Two weeks and many prayers later, the embryonic heart rate was steady and normal! It was such a relief! I made sure that I did not exert myself in any way for the next few weeks. My team mates helped a lot - they would get me water to drink, printouts from the printer, food from the cafeteria etc just so that I don't walk too much and exert myself in any way.

Then in the second trimester, I was diagnosed with Placenta Previa, a condition where the placenta covers the opening of the cervix, making a normal delivery impossible. In most cases, the placenta moves in time but in my case, it was a complete previa, where the chances of the placenta moving was less. I also was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 26 weeks and was put on a strict diet. Now through it all, my regular Ob/Gyn group (a group of 5 doctors) did not inspire a lot of confidence in me and I found their attitude a little callous. This was probably an everyday occurance for them and nothing out of the ordinary but for me, I needed information and reassurance & I found that they were not very forthcoming. I requested that I get a second opinion from a perinatologist (the perinatoloist required a referral from the doctor) and they grudgingly obliged. What a difference in the way my case was handled by the Perinatologists' group! They were constantly in touch with me and followed up on every test and ultrasound result. The only thing was that they said they could not take over my case completely and would "co-manage" with my Ob/Gyn. They were of the opinion that a c-section should be performed at 36 weeks so that I don't end up bleeding and cause problem to the baby. My Ob/Gyn wanted to perform the surgery at 39 weeks! From what I've read, chances that I would last that long without heading for an emergency c-section was almost nil. After some confusion regarding who would be handling my surgery (that's for another blog), I finally delivered my baby at 36 weeks and 2 days. Baby Malavika weighed 5 Lbs and 6 Oz. She is a delight and I could not be happier.

On looking back though, there were a lot of things that I would have done differently - taking more rest, insisting on answers that I was looking for, changing doctors earlier on etc.. The one advice I would give any pregnant woman is that if you have doubts regarding your Ob/Gyn, don't hesitate to move to another doctor. It is, after all, your life and your baby's life. It is very important to have complete confidence in your doctor and feel that you can ask questions and know that they will all be answered.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Akki Rotti - My First Post!

I didn't realize how difficult it was going to be to get started with my first post! What do I write about? Sure, there are enough topics - between my interest in food and reading, my recent interest in cooking, plus my very eventful pregnancy (I'm due any time now), there should be no dearth of topics. But to choose something to start with was proving to be rather difficult. Then I came across a nice post from Aparna's Bhakshanam about Akki Rotti and I figured I could make our version of Akki Rotti, one of my favorite breakfasts, as the first post (thanks for the inspiration, Aparna!). So here goes!

Akki Rotti

Ingredients:

2 Cups Rice Flour
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
2 Green Chillies, finely chopped (more if you want it hotter)
2 Tbsp chopped Cilantro
1/2 cup finely shredded Carrots (optional)
1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds (optional)
1/4 cup grated coconut
1/4 cup Sour Curds/Yogurt
1/2 cup Water
Salt to taste
Oil for cooking

Method:

Mix the above ingredients together to make a soft dough.( The dough should be almost like the consistency of chakkali dough, only softer). Let it rest for at least 15-20 minutes.
Grease an iron bandli (a round shaped, thick bottomed kadai) or a tawa. Take a small ball of dough and pat it slightly thin on the bandlee/tawa, making a small hole in the center.
Pour 1/2 tsp of oil around the edges and in the center, cook on medium-high heat, keeping the bandlee/tawa covered with a lid.
After about 3-4 minutes, check with a spatula to see if the bottom of the rotti has become crisp. It can be made as crisp or as soft as one desires. There is no need to turn it over and cook on the other side. Akki Rotti is ready!
For the next rotti, turn the tawa/bandli upside down and hold under running tap water. It makes a rather scary sizzling noise then, but you'll have a cooled down tawa to pat the next rotti onto.
Alternately, you could use banana leaves or wax papaer and pat the rottis on them, placing the dough-patted sheets/leaves on a heated tawa.

This akki rotti goes well with any chutney and with chutney powder mixed with some oil. Or have it plain with just ghee or butter, just the way I like.

This is a versatile dish and can take pretty much anything in it. It can be made with grated cucumber, grated radish, methi leaves, dill leaves, drumstick leaves, soaked moong dal or boiled black-eyed peas. These ingredients can be used solely or mixed together in combination with others. Sour curds can be substituted with about 1 tsp of lime/lemon juice or skipped altogether, although I like it better with a little sourness in the background. Just increase the water in the dough accordingly.


So! It's done! My very first post! Whew!!!