Neetik came into our lives 2 weeks early on the afternoon of 27 Dec 2009. A friend had mentioned that labour pains felt like constipation pain so on the early hours of 27 Dec when I had  stomach ache, lose motions and vomiting I was sure I was not experiencing labour pains especially because I had satisfied my craving for Tibetan food at a not so hygienic place  the previous day. Krishna, my husband insisted on calling the emergency number of the maternity ward and the duty doctor asked me to come over to the hospital. My gynaecologist was on Christmas vacation and the substitute doctor was informed about my condition.

I reached the hospital in 15 minutes since it was 5 am and as soon I was admitted the nurse tied a machine to my belly to check the heart rate of the foetus and asked me not to move for the next half hour which felt like the longest half hour in my life as the pain was increasing every minute. Within the next 7 hours till Neetik came out I only remember the excruciating  pain  and that my husband was offering me juice in tetra packs of flavours I normally did not like and I kept screaming for my mother "Ma" even though she was 2000 Km away and disturbing the others in the maternity ward. 

 

The nurses/ doctors asked me to take deep breaths and with every contraction I was trying to take deep breaths but nothing seemed to make me feel better. I could feel my baby pushing me ,wanting to come out and the doctor asked me not to push else the head of my baby would become too big to come out. This was really difficult to do. I prayed for this ordeal to end. I remember telling Krishna that I should have opted for elective C-section as the pain was becoming unbearable  and I could see tears in his eyes seeing me in that condition. The doctors told him that I was doing very well and had dilated pretty fast  but not yet ready to be taken to the labour room. 

 

Finally around 11.15 am approx they took me to the labour room where there were 2 doctors( not the gynaecologist who had taken over my case as she was on rounds) and 4 nurses urging me to push and though I tried very hard the baby just did not seem to come out. His face was not in the normal position hence I had to try harder. They would say he is almost there and push, push push... and then with one really deep breath I pushed so hard that he came out. Krishna was called in few minutes before and he was there at the time giving me support. One of the nurses took my little bundle of joy away to take the measurements like apgar score, weight etc and I asked Krishna whether it was a boy or a girl and then I was told "healthy boy weighing 3.45Kg" .The nurses wrapped up the baby and put him by my side and It was finally sinking that I have become a mummy. 

The next 3 days were spent in being educated about the art of breastfeeding and handling a new born. Neetik did not latch on properly to my breasts and would fall asleep after a few sucks to which the paediatrician said it is like our "chai pani". Newborns like to snack every few minutes. We were discharged on the 4 th day and asked to come back on 6 th day which for his blood test to check the level of jaundice. At the time of release his bilirubin was 13.1 and his weight had dropped considerably to 3.14kg which I was told is normal. 

The 6th day which was Jan 1 will be one of the most memorable of Jan 1s' in my life and also the longest one. The blood test revealed that his bilirubin level had escalated to 21 and his weight had dropped to 2.9Kg, the reason being dehydration because of inadequate feeding. He had to be admitted immediately to the NICU and we spent the evening completing the administrative formalities. At 11 pm I went to the NICU to give expressed breast milk for the nurses to feed him later. It was painful to see IV drips sticking out of his small body, he looked so strong and I felt so weak and held myself responsible for his situation .The paediatrician advised me to get an appointment with the in-house lactation consultant which would apparently resolve the feeding problem. Just when my baby and I were getting a hang of it he had to be admitted in the NICU. The lactation consultant had a long chat with me and a lot of myths were broken especially because every family member showers you with advice to a first time mother. The test for correct breast feeding is at least 6 wet nappies and a weight gain of 200 g per week. So when we went for doctor's appointment a week later my heart was beating fast as we weighed him. It felt like waiting for exam results and as the scales stopped at 3.60 I was relieved since he had gained more than the average weight gain I felt like I have come out with flying colours in an exam.

Lessons Learnt:

Every expectant mum should have a session with a lactation consultant in the  final stage of pregnancy if she is not attending antenatal classes.

Baby may not feed properly in the first few days but one should be patient and not give up.