This is Bubboo’s birth story, for all those of you who have asked me for it. I narrate it my way, the way I know I can do it best.
I was in the seventh month of my pregnancy when my gynaecologist told me the baby in my stomach looked quite small, and that it was not growing as well as it should. I was told to eat very well, every two hours or so, protein-rich food that included boiled eggs. I religiously followed her advice, even though I had never had boiled eggs before and I hated them from the start, even though it was so very difficult to eat every two hours.
A month later, when I was about 32 weeks pregnant, I underwent a scan. The gynaecologist told me the baby appeared to be developing normally, but was not gaining weight as anticipated. She told me to continue with my diet and a normal lifestyle. I would have to meet her weekly henceforth, she told me. ‘Be prepared for the fact that your delivery might be earlier than we anticipated initially. Some babies do not grow well in the mother’s stomach – they are better delivered sooner, when they are active and the mother’s fluid levels are normal. The baby can then grow out of the mother’s womb, and we have seen a high success rate with that. The maximum I would advise you to carry this baby is 36 weeks, after which your baby will be full-term. At 36 weeks, if you do not have labour pains automatically, please get admitted, and we will have to start delivery proceedings,” she told me.
I kept visiting my doctor every week, and she monitored the baby’s movements closely. I religiously kept at my diet and tried to remain as calm and collected as I could. I couldn’t wait for the baby to be out, by this time. I was tired. The 36th week came and went, and I didn’t have any labour pains. All throughout, my fluid levels and the baby’s movements were normal. It was a perfectly eventless pregnancy otherwise.
I visited the gynaecologist again after the 36th week, and she told me to choose any day in the next week, to inform her, and to get admitted. The OH applied for leave, and all of us started counting down, palms sweaty and biting our nails.
Just one day after the last gynaecologist appointment, I developed a bad cold and cough and the beginnings of fever. I couldn’t sleep all night, thanks to the cold, and was shivering. Apparently, someone at the hospital had had a bad bug while I was visiting, and I was vulnerable enough to catch it. All of us were super scared, but were gratified to feel the baby still actively kicking inside me. At this stage, I was dead tired and wanted the baby out, any which way. I couldn’t even imagine how I was going to go through the delivery. That night, I just managed to catch a few winks, and when I woke up the next day, I felt different. I knew that something had changed. I hadn’t read up much on the Internet, but I knew what the ‘breaking of water’ meant, and I had a feeling my water had broken. The OH took me to the emergency room in the morning, where I was checked by a junior doctor. I was kept under observation till evening, but there wasn’t enough water for them to be concerned. My gynaecologist co-ordinated with the junior doctors over the phone. In the late evening, I was sent home, with instructions to take it easy, and to come back if I had pain or bleeding. False alarm, we said, and headed back home. The mother and the OH watched over me like hawks.
A couple of hours after we were home, I started getting very uneasy. I was not able to eat or sleep or read or eat or drink or focus on anything. I started getting a faint pain in the lower abdomen and back, but was not sure if it was the beginning of labour pain. I was still coughing and sneezing and shivering, but there was no fever, thanks to the mild medicines my gynaecologist had prescribed. I told my mother and husband to take me to the labour room immediately – I knew that I was not alright. The OH called my gynaecologist immediately, and we headed to the labour room, carrying the bag we had packed and kept ready a couple of days before. It was about 10 PM when I got admitted.
In the labour room, I was checked by a team of doctors who told me my water had broken in the morning, but that the sac had broken from the top instead of at the bottom, as it usually does. That was why there hadn’t been the gushing of water, as it usually is. By sheer chance, all the fluid in the sac hadn’t drained out, and the baby was safe. My vitals were constantly monitored, and they appeared to be normal. By then, I was getting regular contractions, along with the coughing and sneezing and shivering. I had already had a discussion with the OH about a C-section, and both of us were fine with it. I requested my doctor for a C-section, and she told me it was my right to choose the mode of delivery, as the mother. I was slated for a C-section the next morning at 6 AM, as soon as the operation theatre would start functioning. All night long, we waited, with bated breath.
I was rushed to the operation theatre at 4 AM, instead of waiting till 6 AM, as the baby’s heartbeat had started dipping. I opted to be conscious through the delivery, so that I could hear the baby’s first cry. I was cut open, but I didn’t feel a thing, honestly. I wasn’t even scared by that point. Bubboo came into the world soon after.
I happened to have a rather sweet anesthesiologist during the surgery, who told me I could take my glasses into the operation theatre if I wanted to see the baby post the surgery. 😀 I did just that. It was he who asked me if I could hear the baby cry. It was only then that I knew the baby was out. 😛 ‘Is it a girl?,’ I asked him, and he nodded in the affirmative. The very next question I asked him was ‘What is the birth weight?’. Yes, I had grown so knackered by the lack-of-weight-gain thing by then that I could think of nothing else. He told me she weighed 2.94 kg, and told me my baby girl was perfectly okay. I could feel nothing but relief. He laid the baby next to me, and asked if I would like to kiss her. Feeling like a dumb fool, I kissed the gorgeous bundle, swaddled in white, that lay next to me. She is tiny, but not as tiny as I had thought, was my first thought.
The baby was then checked by a team of paediatricians, and declared perfectly healthy. She was sent to the labour room, to be watched over by my mother and the OH, while I was asked to stay back in the operation theatre till I got back the sensation in my body. I hadn’t slept for two nights, and kept dozing off, much to the worry of the operation theatre attendants. They kept waking me up to ask if I was okay, to make sure I had not passed out, and I told them I was extremely tired and only wanted to sleep. 😛 It was only by noon that I could move my legs, and was wheeled to the labour ward to be with our baby.
In retrospect, the C-section had been a good decision, as the gynaecologist told us later. The umbilical cord had wound three times around the baby’s neck, and a normal delivery would have been very painful and traumatic. It is good we didn’t waste time on trying for a vaginal delivery and went straight for a C-section, she said. I heaved one more sigh of relief on hearing that.
Bubboo’s being safe in spite of my sac having been open for almost an entire day, her heartbeat dipping just before the delivery, with my severe cold and cough, and the umbilical cord winding itself thrice around her neck, is what made me feel that she was destined to come into the world, come what may. Bubboo was pretty determined to make it, too, as I said here.
I think it was only when I reached my bed in the labour ward, with my baby placed in my arms, that my head cleared. It was only then that I realised I was a mother, that my baby was out of my body, and in my hands. I then fell in love with Bubboo bit by bit. By the time we left the hospital, three days later, I was utterly besotted with her.