The story of his birth

By | September 2, 2009

I had had a dismal experience with my gynaec (and all other options in our area I tried to explore). Thus, I had little clue as to what exactly was the point at which to hit the maternity home for delivering this little one. I’d been told rather vaguely to come if contractions came around every 5 minutes, or if my water broke, which would be something I’d notice.

Well. since the night of the 30th of August, I’d been having tiny amounts of fluid coming out of my vagina. Definitely not a flood, and to little to know if it was urine, secretions or “water”. More like increased moisture. I was vaguely anxious about it, but since it didn’t seem something alarming, I let it be since I had an appointment next morning anyway.

The next morning (1st Sept) I mentioned it to the doctor, who assured me that increased vaginal secretions were quite normal, and not to worry, and repeated (on my insistence) the same information on when to come in for labour. Fine.

That night, I thought that the secretions had increased. It felt like the occasional flow from my period every couple of hours. Not heavy, but for comfort, I added a pad. It was still alomst weeks to delivery, so I didn’t really think I was due or anything, particularly since I didn’t have any pain. That night, I couldn’t sleep. That was normal too, since I hadn’t slept much since I hit my seventh month. What was new was that I was HUNGRY. Big time. I raided the kitchen in the middle of the night to eat and ended up having the equivalent of a full meal.

Then I slept soundly for the remainder of the night right until later morning.

The secretions continued, and I changed my pad. Then, in hindsight, just as the morning clinic would  close, I thought I’d ask the doctor again, if such secretions were okay. I was thinking that it was probably the mucous plug (honestly, I still think it was).

Telling my husband to take me for a quick trip to the doc (on the motorcycle, which remained comfortable for me all through pregnancy, or maybe Raka just drives so carefully…), I freshened up and told the mother-in-law that I’d be back in half an hour or so and we headed off.

To my surprise, on examination, I was told that my waters were leaking, and that I’d be admitted till delivery to avoid infection. Then, the doctor recommended an induction, which went against everything I’d planned, not to mention that it was early for the baby too. However, when a doctor tells you that your baby is at risk, you tend to be willing to do whatever it takes and to hell with your plans.

So, I was induced.

The whole thing felt invasive and artificial. The enema, inserting tablets to start contractions…

The blessing was that the maternity home is in a good location, surrounded by trees, and when I insisted that I would be walking around in early labour, no one stopped me.

Thrice, I was hauled back to my room for non-stress tests, which involved me lying on my back without moving for over half an hour each time (I discovered later that no one I knew had experienced this for normal labour). It was horribly uncomfortable the first time, and downright utterly painful the final time.

Raka was a rock, and pretty much did all he could, which was a blessing and what made this birth special in spite of the nightmare experience in medical services. Though toward the end, he chickened out while I was in agony, and mentioned that he hadn’t eaten anything since morning and could he go out for a bite? Read “I can’t take this anymore” as I suffered, and the nursing staff was utterly oblivious to my suffering as long as the medical side didn’t show any problems. I raged at him for being insensitive, and that was that. He got his guts together and continued on.

Finally, it was time for the delivery room, and I was more than ready to end this show.

To our surprise, Raka was stopped outside. We had clearly stated and it had been agreed that he would be in for labour. They said that they would call him in when it was time, and naively, we believed. After that, every time I asked for him, they said there was still time, and everytime he asked to come in, he was ignored. Turns out (from the impression we got) that it was already late in the night (I went in at 10pm) and people wanted to wind up this delivery and head to their respective homes.

I didn’t get the “competent doctor” who is the reputation of the place and instead got some insensitive man who handled me roughly in places best not mentioned.

The star doctor arrived as my son crowned, and I was unceremoniously cut and the son delivered when she had scrubbed.

Finally, with all my soul feeling for my husband who was missing this moment, I delivered a tiny son who broke into a ear shattering wail before I even realized that he was out of me. My heart lit up in joy. This horrible place was redeemed instantly.

I watched, bereft, as he was taken to a nearby table to be cleaned and wrapped before they showed him to me. Gone were those dreams of cuddling my baby as soon as he was born. It was obvious that there was to be no immediate breastfeeding, as the doctor impatiently kept spewing out orders for me to position myself for being stitched back together. Still, my naivete knew no bounds. Heart breaking for the husband who missed this moment, I asked the nurse to give the baby to him.

Much later, when I came out, I discovered that the baby was kept away in a small box awake and staring at the walls and my husband got just a glimpse and was not even able to touch his newborn son, and the nurses were already putting on the pressure for him to leave for the night. An intense moment for the three of us spent with each of us being alone.

He was almost in tears as he embraced me, and promised to come in the morning. My heart broke for this man who so much needed to be with me and our son in that moment. Turns out he spent some time clicking pictures of the road outside the maternity home before going home.

I am a cheerful person mostly, but hurt me and mine, and I’m a tigress. This is one thing my heart will never be able to forgive the hospital for. Removing all the joy from the birth of our child.

My mother in law stayed with me that night (they didn’t allow men for some reason). We were to get the baby after two hours in that awful box, and she went and got it half an hour early without waiting for anyone. After that, he was with me all through, though there was no way I’d let anyone take him away.

For those who want to deliver at the Mamta Maternity Home in Borivali, here is what I would say. The doctor has a good reputation. From my experience there, I certainly didn’t experience or notice any medical complications. If you are the traditional type where the husband being present at birth doesn’t matter, and the baby being wrapped when you first touch it is normal, you will probably love the place. There are plenty who swear by this place.

However, if you are the emotional type and want your husband there, remember that it is your priority and they don’t care. It is your once-in-a-lifetime moment, and their attention and stress is on how routine it is and following speed and efficiency at the cost of your emotional needs. They also don’t care about the baby being put on your chest immediately, or early breastfeeding, etc. Just forget about all the beautiful plans based on all the reading about the best for your baby. You will get solid tradition here. New research hasn’t touched this place, and will likely not considering how busy the doctor is, and how closed to listening and sensitivity the culture is. Nothing wrong with tradition – look at the population of the world – if that is what you want. If you want any customization, prepare for heartbreak in your most life changing moment.

In fact, my son was given cow milk as his first feed because I didn’t have “enough milk”. I objected, but when
I was told that he was underweight, I shut up fearfully, not wanting my ignorance to harm my child. Turns out, it wasn’t necessary at all, as newborns don’t need much in that first feed, regardless of their birth weight.

We had planned one baby, but the moment he was delivered, I was wishing another – not because I wanted two, but because I knew how much my husband had needed to see his child take his first breath. On some level, I wanted to create that experience for him. Logically, I know that it is a moment gone. Even if we did have another child, it wouldn’t be our first miracle and would have its own place in the scheme of things. Strangely, while I never spoke of this, my husband has teased about trying again a couple of times too, though he insisted he wasn’t serious when I picked up on it. We can’t afford two kids, but there is this hole in our heart we are expressing in our own ways, even as we move on celebrating this guy.

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