Flashback a few months before my day of travel – I had received necessary papers from my husband in London, to join him. At that time, I had to go to Bombay (Mumbai now) from Madras (Chennai now) to the British High Commission to get my visa to join my husband. We were staying in my husband’s aunt’s home. My mom came with me since I had the baby with me so she could help me with him while I was interviewing at the visa office. I was told to go for my medical before the process and went to Breach Candy Hospital recommended by British High Commission. Went there, very intimidating building, didn’t know hospitals could look so palatial and “sophisticated”. Never been inside a hospital before; not sure how the system worked. I had my son in a small birthing clinic near my home.
Had albumin in my urine test (was told I was dehydrated) and was asked to take lots of fluids for the day and come back the next day to repeat the test.
My aunt told me to take lots of coconut water to reduce the dehydration the whole evening and night and passed the test next day without any problems. Whew!!!!!! went to the High commission got my approved visa. My aunt took me around showed me what the diapers (called nappies in UK) were, bought some and also showed me different things to take with me for my air travel. I felt that it was all information overload for an air journey and was getting extremely nervous even 2 months prior to actual trip. Learnt how to tie a nappy after coming home but then went back to not using it at all. Nappy was something way in the future; plenty of time to get used to when I moved, I thought. Why bother with it now and torture my baby with the contraption. Kids are trained earlier in south India, but then because of high temperatures year around in Madras, easy to manage without a nappy. My cousin who had traveled on a plane before, told me stewardesses on flights would help me with diapers, or getting milk whenever needed and so I was telling myself that it won’t be that bad traveling on a flight.
Got back home and celebrated my son’s 1st birthday (my husband missed it), a big religious celebration and lots of gifts to use in London for the baby.
My husband’s brother and his family were visiting us and brought with them (being from North of Delhi) clothes appropriate to take with me to London. He is wearing one of those hooded jacket and full pants made of fur-like fabric, in the hot midday sun (probably around 95-100 F) to take a picture. He was extremely uncomfortable and cried until I took the clothes off. We were playing dress-up with all the new London-appropriate clothes and taking pictures. this was taken when he was 9-months old.
There was no new-born screening for Metabolic disorders so he was not diagnosed at birth for his metabolic condition. Being a vegetarian, I was feeding him mostly plant-based diet. Even though he was consuming cow’s milk and yogurt they were not in big quantities since he was still breast fed partially when he was one. His doctor before we left for London wishing us well in the new country, explained to me that milk was available in different varieties such as skim milk, whole milk etc. He was also encouraging me to feed him cheese and eggs which were not part of our diet in India
While in India my son never showed any symptoms of any kind of illness, in fact he had gone thru’ the age appropriate milestones like cruising and crawling and even starting to stand up and walk a few steps holding on to something. He was eating steamed vegetables like potatoes, green beans etc and some cooked rice with couple of spoons of yogurt, but he was on cow’s milk as well. without showing any ill side-effects. He was even starting to babble a lot and say a few words like “dada” “mama” , etc.
Little did I know it was all going to change drastically within a year after reaching London.