Mamacita Vidula Vaidya-Amdekar shares with Pregnancy to Parenthood, her child birth story which is full of peaks and valleys. From acute morning sickness, Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH), premature child birth, a month in NICU to postpartum depression, this mom has gone through it all.
A perfect college romance brewing into seamless matrimony! With everything in perfect order, next comes the obvious question of when it is the right time to have a baby. There was absolutely no reason why we should delay! We were both pretty young actually, but we thought it would be best to start early and become young parents. In a matter of 4-5 months came the beautiful news of having conceived. I was just 24. Puzzled, but happy going with the flow of whatever changes life was bringing in. Emotionally, physically, mentally I was in a happy state with healthy surroundings to welcome the baby.
My pregnancy journey started with a little bumpy ride of extreme morning sickness for the first 5 months when throwing up and nausea had become a normal thing. I used to follow a combination of old methods suggested by Mom and Mom-in-law along with all the medicines and diet suggestions that were given by my gynaecologist. I did not gain a lot of pregnancy weight but the baby parameters seemed to be perfect in all the screenings. Everything was hunky-dory and I was showered with all the love and attention. I used to read good books, listen to shlokas, ragas, practice simple exercises and eat good food.
I wasn’t travelling much neither working in this period and was truly enjoying being with my baby and planning for the future. (My husband and I are not very particular future planners). Soon came the month of baby showers. I was pampered by my entire family from both sides. Parties were thrown and I was enjoying every bit of the care.
It was one morning in the month August that took a complete U-turn in this peaceful, envious life of mine. I had just begun my 8th month of pregnancy and suddenly witnessed some swelling in my legs. Normally this happens due to weight gain or water retention so we weren’t worried as such. However, at our visit to the gynaecologist, she almost scolded me for being ignorant. (It was the first day of such an observation). She pressed my belly, legs, hands and asked me to go for sonography immediately and visit a senior doctor the same day. Post sonography, we went to the senior doctor, he checked me thoroughly and called my husband and mom. It was 10 o clock at night.
Child Birth Story
The doctor said in my presence, “In such cases, we have to decide between the baby and the mother.” (We had no clue what was happening) We were shattered. He asked us to immediately move to a multi-facility hospital outside our town the same night. The reason he gave was high blood pressure that resulted in water retention. He refused to admit me there, as I could be in need of some extra facilities. My mother called up her gynaecologist friend, narrated everything and had her speak to the senior doctor. She spoke to me and boosted my confidence saying that she will not let anything happen to me nor the baby. Meanwhile, the stress was not helping my blood pressure levels.
The next morning, I left to get admitted to her hospital. She checked me thoroughly and I was diagnosed with severe PIH (Pregnancy Induced hypertension). The umbilical cord was pressed and the baby was not getting enough nutrition. My BP did not stabilize either. Medically I did not understand much what was happening to me, but I decided to have faith in this doctor. Her strategy was to keep me under observation and pull on as many days as possible until the baby could gain more weight and I enter my 9th month.
No wonder, I was popping a lot of pills daily. I was admitted there for nine days, which were full of events with my fluctuating blood pressure and blurring of vision etc. The Omkara and some sleep music helped me a lot through this. I had decided to go in a blank zone with full faith in goodness.
Then came another twist when my doctor had to suddenly visit her native place. So, she put me under the charge of another doctor and I was shifted to a new hospital. I tried to keep my calm, but these constant changes over 10 days were just too overwhelming. The new hospital was chosen with a facility for NICU as the baby would be underweight. I was again kept under constant observation. In no time was I induced without being properly informed about it. There were too many check-ups happening during this period that I had almost given up on asking questions every time. Of course, my husband was kept well informed.
The next morning, I woke up with sudden cramps and I had no idea what was happening. I did not even know those were ‘THE’ contractions. So, the entire drill started and, in some time, I got the hang of the situation. I was ready for childbirth. It was one day before Ganesh Chaturthi and I was surrounded by my family. It was all going normal, when suddenly my blood pressure shot up and the baby’s heartbeats started to slow down. Nobody knew if I was going to have a natural birth or c-section. The doctor was ready for both. In no time was I taken to the OT and by God’s grace, I could gather enough courage to push the baby hard and a relatively smooth delivery happened. It was a baby boy!
Days in NICU
I have always heard that ‘this’ is the happiest moment of our life. But God, I felt more relieved. Relieved that I wasn’t troubling that little soul inside my body anymore. Relieved that, post this I will have everyone else on this journey with me. Honestly, happiness was not the kind of emotion I experienced. My baby was fairly underweight.
But thankfully with no other serious complications. I did not get to even see him until the next day. My room and the NICU were four floors apart. I was in a terrible mess post-delivery with fatigue, bad headache, and higher BP. I could barely feel or express any feelings at this point. The doctor had assured us that the baby looked fine, but we would have to take extra care due to his low weight. My doctor contracted sore eyes and could not visit for the next 2-3 days leaving me again in the hands of new faces.
My room and the NICU were four floors apart. I was in a terrible mess post-delivery with fatigue, bad headache, and higher BP. I could barely feel or express any feelings at this point. The doctor had assured us that the baby looked fine, but we would have to take extra care due to his low weight. My doctor contracted sore eyes and could not visit for the next 2-3 days leaving me again in the hands of new faces.
The next 12 days in the hospital were pretty hard on both of us. I was the only one allowed to handle and feed the baby. No one else could even have a glimpse. I was given very precise instructions and training by the NICU sisters and doctors as to how to develop my bond with the baby, how to try feeding him, sometimes even extract milk and feed him by syringes and spoons. I was asked to massage oil on his tiny fragile body before every feed to wake him up from sleep. This was the most difficult period where my mind was absolutely numb. I wasn’t able to enjoy the motherly feeling.
I felt lost and disheartened about the sudden change in events. I was more dutiful, unable to process the happiness. Here is when the family played the most important role. Apart from my family, friends and relatives were all so very thrilled and genuinely happy about the birth of my baby and the fact that both of us were safe, that I started doubting and questioning my own emotions. They all made it look so nice and fine that I wanted to go home at the earliest.
The NICU days gave me a glimpse of the world where mothers can do anything for the survival of their babies. I saw mothers who would sit on the benches from the 3rd day of their deliveries, feeding their preterm babies. I saw mothers extracting excess milk and giving it to the NICU sisters so that other babies could be fed. Mothers all over the world are connected with this one emotion – Motherhood!
The pediatrician just told me in one line, ‘You are the mother, and only you can have confidence in raising your child. The day you show that to me, I will discharge you both.’ The very next day I got up and told my mom to pack the bags and get the home ready for our arrival. I had changed from within. I carried my child with confidence and took him home. For the next 15 days and nights, I took things like a project. I had to feed him every two hours. There were alarms set after every one hour.
I used to extract milk, feed him 20ml at a time (which took almost an hour to feed and burp), do the usual baby things and put him back to sleep. I remember these 15 days as a group of hours and nothing individual. I remember weighing him every three days and it seemed like an exam result. Every ounce counted and it made me stronger. I became such a pro at handling a tiny baby that I could almost do things the way a hospital nurse would do. My relatives even teased me to be gentle on myself. But I knew it was all for the good of my baby.
We were moving at a steady pace and the doctor was happy with the results. But destiny wanted me to become even stronger. I was at my parent’s house and one night suddenly my father got restless and had to be taken to the hospital in the morning. He never came back! My Dad passed away on the day my son turned a month old. It was too much to process for me. My in-laws brought me home the same night.
I had all the emotional, moral, physical, financial support but was slowly losing faith in things. I had witnessed birth and death of a loved one in a span of one month and everything was too eventful. Each and Everyone around me took charge of the situation. But what a mother has to do, she has to do. I tried hard every day to give justice to my baby. I could not feed him properly. My milk started drying up and I developed eczema over my body. It was either stress, fatigue, or trauma. I had to switch over to outside milk. Other members of the family used to feed him taking turns and I felt as if I am losing the bond with my child. I used to get worried over the fact that my baby wouldn’t even feel for me once he grows up. I felt terrible that I could not feed him my milk. It used to kill me from within. I felt too vulnerable and used to cry for no reason. I had not read about postpartum depression then or else would have sought out help.
Other members of the family used to feed him taking turns and I felt as if I am losing the bond with my child. I used to get worried over the fact that my baby wouldn’t even feel for me once he grows up. I felt terrible that I could not feed him my milk. It used to kill me from within. I felt too vulnerable and used to cry for no reason. I had not read about postpartum depression then or else would have sought out help.
However, I was fortunately surrounded by good people all the time. One of my friends who had come to visit just whispered while leaving, ‘Don’t forget that he is your best bud in sorrow. Talk to him and he will always be there for you’. This changed my perspective. I started talking to my baby again, which I had almost stopped after his birth (I was too duty oriented). I gathered myself and started on a new parenting journey where I became more accepting of the ups and downs that were laid.