Author: Madhura K
My Pregnancy diary…
Could I be pregnant? I thought! We’d been trying for a month now! After the wasted strips after strips of the pregnancy determination kit, I finally thought I saw another red line on the indicator and picked up the discarded strip from the garbage can…I was Pregnant after all. Minute later, news was out! We were having a baby!
My intake got richer with iron, folic acid, calcium tablets… protein milk, dry fruits and coconut water became the integral part of my diet.
Routine check-ups ensued!
Everything was going great. Our little jelly-bean was growing by leaps and bounds. He was taking shape. Every time we got to see the little heart flutter through the ultrasound images, we were getting more and more connected with the little baby inside me. How would our little kiddo look like? Will s/he have Bhushan’s nose or mine? Would s/he have curly hair like Bhushan’s? Would it be a He or She? (not that it mattered to us!) Our nights ended with endless discussions of anticipation, of dreams and plans for the little one!
I was in my 30th week. After the detailed blood work and the final ultrasound, we decided that I shift to my parents’ house in Pune and deliver there!
We celebrated the baby shower at the 31st week and then came my birthday on October 21st! Since everything was going great, we decided to go on a trip to Khadakwasla chowpaty to celebrate my birthday! I was feeling great. My sister, her kid, me and Bhushan, we enjoyed our trip. if only we knew what the consequences would be…
It was Diwali- 24th October 2011. The roads were lit with beautiful lanterns. After enjoying a refreshing evening walk, I laid back on the sofa watching Kaun Banega Crorepati! And suddenly, my water broke! I was only in my 33rd Week. Bhushan had just returned back to Aurangabad where we lived then. This couldn’t be! I dreaded for the worst to happen. I started shivering! It was only 7th month. Since my mother was incapacitated herself, I was counting on my sister who’s 4 years elder to me and experience with just one kid to help me out.
Nothing could be done to reverse the damage. The good or bad was to happen anytime! Doctor advised me to get admitted. I was in labour! Pains had started getting worsened, but I had to wait till the next day. I was injected with a medicine to prepare the lungs of my little one for his/her first breath! I was to be operated upon the next day at 11:35am.
I waited and waited and waited….
It was past 11:35 in the morning! I still was enduring labour pains. I was told that all the operation theaters were busy. I would get the theatre only in the evening. By the time, all the water had been drained out! At 12:30pm when least expected, suddenly things started moving. My gynaecologist had taken control at the hospital. It was an emergency for me. Hence she managed to book the emergency operation theatre. Bhushan had been to the hospital late at night, but I hadn’t met him since in the hospital. Incidentally, men were not allowed in the labour room! I met him at the operation preparation room. I couldn’t control my tears upon seeing him!
A lady next me was to be operated on her knees. She asked me what I was here for and I told her I was in labour…She exclaimed, but your belly looks so flat! How insensitive could one get to scare somebody who’s already so scared!
Anyway, it was 1:20 pm and my baby was out…I heard his first cry! Those moments I can relive forever in my mind! It was a he! I still couldn’t believe that I was a mother when I still had two months to go! The baby was handed over to the paediatrician who later announced that it is a baby boy that I delivered weighing 1800gms. The baby was brought near my face where I think I kissed him! The baby was then rushed to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).
Bhushan was in-charge from there…
I was shifted to the operation recovery room and in an hour to the private room!
Bhushan informed me that the baby had to be kept on the ventilator since he couldn’t breathe properly. I didn’t know what to react except think “why me? Why my baby?”
Our little prince was so small. He barely had any flesh on his body. The same night, I asked Bhushan to take me to the NICU, 1 story below my ward. Amidst the condition my baby was in, my stiches and pains meant nothing!
NICU didn’t permit anybody else to see the baby except parents. Fathers could see the babies only between 5 pm to 7 pm and Mothers could visit whenever they wished.
We barely could see the face hidden under endless tubes and IV’s attached to him. Bhushan was too scared to touch him. But I did. I touched his smooth hair, hoping that he would know that we were there for him.
Where every other room in my ward sounded happy with the baby cries, fathers stroking and comforting their little bundles of joy through the alleys to stop them from crying, we returned back empty handed! I still remember the sweeper Maushi’s in the ward asking me every day when my baby was coming. One insensitive lady told me how a preemie of her relative had lost the battle! It broke my heart and I felt the urge to slap that lady…
Bhushan had been such a caring father. Through night, every 2 hours, he would go to the NICU and ask the doctors how our baby was doing. He did this for complete 22 days of our stay at the hospital. He even had fights with the nurses who wouldn’t allow him to meet the resident doctor in the middle of the night. Our paediatrician Dr. Rajan Joshi had literally become a god figure to us! He was extremely strict when it came to maintaining hygiene. Cool and compassionate as he was, he comforted us by being factual about the situation to relieve our worries about our baby and made sure he answered all of our dumbest of questions. Bhushan is habitual to ask same thing in different manners to ensure that the answer remains constant. Yet, the doctor remained patient with us.
Both of us were barely sleeping!
7 days later our baby was extubated. He was breathing on his own, but was still fed through tube. It was horrendous to watch milk being injected into his belly! He just didn’t have the energy to gulp. His hands had turned blue-back with the IV injects and blood tests to monitor the bilirubin count. His weight had drained down to 1600 gms.
13 days had passed since all three of us were confined to the hospital!
Our baby was now doing well. He was fed through mouth. 30ml of milk was all he drank then! Doctors decided to discharge him to my hospital room, and if all goes well and we felt confident to tend him independently, he was to be discharged home. Preemies are at higher risks of catching infections hence doctors do not take chances with them. Bhushan and I received the training from the NICU to care for our little baby. They taught us how to feed him and burp him. Morning at 4 am, we were called to NICU to see how to sponge him. The baby didn’t have any fat under his the skin. Fat perform the function of regulating body temperature. We were told to maintain the room temperature to 38 degree Celsius. He was not allowed to be touched without applying sanitizer. He was to be minimally handled.
It was morning 10 am. My sister Meera was with me in the room while Bhushan had gone to the billing department to pay up the bill for the NICU. Our baby was brought in the room by two brothers from the NICU. Meera was the one whom I was counting upon to help me care for the baby. She saw him for the first time and exclaimed, my goodness! I don’t think I can touch him. He’s so small! After seeing my support system taken aback, I was scared too!
Our baby was put under the phototherapy machine in the cold hospital room. When in NICU, this incubator baby was suddenly in the chills of November!
I realised that nurses outside did never bother to sanitize their hands before touching our baby. I had to remind them to do so. Further, the phototherapy machine looked so unclean that I did not like my bare naked baby to be sleeping on that. God knows where it had been kept before being brought to our room!
That night, after the baby’s discharge was the worst night of our lives. Everybody had left and it was me and bhushan alone with the baby in the room. The baby wouldn’t stop crying. We didn’t know what to do. The baby was to be fed with expressed milk every 3 hours. We didn’t had the breast pump then and had to borrow it from the hospital. When the breast pump arrived, we noticed that it wasn’t even cleaned, rest alone being sterilised! What if the baby gets up? Bhushan was told to sterilise it on our own. The room did not have refrigerator, so we had to complete the task just before the baby was to be fed. By then, the baby would be up and crying and us panicking. The stress was beyond imagination. The unhygienic conditions under which we were feeding the baby further added our worries. As if this was not enough, we spotted a lizard in the room in the middle of night at 1:00 am.
I was not to keep the baby anymore in these conditions. We were trained by the NICU to maintain the same hygiene that was maintained in the NICU. And here we were, staff touching my baby, unclean breast pump used to feed the baby, dirty phototherapy machine and to top it up, a lizard where all the medications of our baby were kept. The head nurse dialled the housekeeping department but nobody responded to the lizard alert! Finally at 3:00 am we shifted our room. The room was even more chillier since the windows had been kept open before we arrived. Our baby for whom maintaining 38 degrees was important now lied naked in 12 degrees temperature. I panicked, bhushan panicked and the baby panicked too. He cried incessantly! We didn’t know what to do. Feeding time was the scariest time for us!
The baby just wouldn’t stop crying. We wouldn’t know what to do and panicked as well. Bhushan had given up. He kept locking himself up in the bathroom to avert the situation.
Anyway, we called up the resident doctor from NICU. She diagnosed that the baby had gases. She placed him on his tummy, ordered for an incubator to warm the room up and left the room. It was 5 am by that time and we hadn’t slept for a single minute! The incubator wasn’t all the effective. I feared that it would cause burn injuries to the baby. When the baby couldn’t stop crying, we decided to dress him up in warm clothes and forget about phototherapy and take further decision in the morning. Finally he slept quietly. I realised then why elders are required to aide you in delivery. We had nobody! It was just bhushan and me throughout in the hospital.
Next day our pediatrician told us that he would not take any chance with the baby since he was doing so well… So he shifted him back to NICU to bring the bilirubin count down before discharging him to our home. I asked for a discharge too. I had been in the hospital for 15 days now.
It felt amazing to be breathing the fresh air outside hospital.
We shuttled between hospital and home every 3 hours through day and night to express milk for the baby.
After confirming that we truly were prepared to tend for our baby, finally, 22 days later, Aayush was discharged. We brought our little Aayush to my sister’s house. He still weighed on 1600 gms.
I thought I’d been a pro. With my sister, bhushan, my mother and my nephew around, I was being a confident mom! But as night fell and everybody would go to sleep leaving me and aayush alone in the room heated to 38 degrees, I would be scared to death.
People sometimes help you but scare you more. I had heard a lot about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). I would keep looking at the his chest to check if he was breathing. The fear of SIDS kept haunting me throughout the first few months of my baby’s life.
In the middle of night as I fed my little one, suddenly all the milk gushed back out from his nostrils and mouth. According to doctors this was a normal thing, but my heart stopped pumping at the sight. For next whole month, a little sound from my room, and everybody came rushing to the room. Nobody really slept for one entire month.
Every doctors visit, when I had to undress him for weight checks, people around sighed at how small the baby was! I could cry at a pin drop such was my mental state of being. We consulted development specialist and ensured he grows to become normal and healthy.
Thanks to the efforts of Bhushan, Meera my sister, my nephew who never troubled his little bro, my mother who sang my nephew to sleep when my sister needed rest too, today my child is 6 years old, extremely naughty, healthy, sharp and cute! Times of trials are fast forgotten when you see a happy child in your arms!