From the moment I realized I was pregnant, I waited for the day when I could hold by little one in my arms. I still remember the day when my doctor said we will need to do an emergency c section. At that moment my only concern was the well-being of the baby. The operation was important for the baby to be fine but the mere thought of other complications arising post birth and the baby being in the NICU (Neo Intensive Care Unit) was also too scary. By God’s grace she arrived and there were no major complications, but as she was a pre-mature baby born at 34 weeks, she had to be kept in the NICU under observation.
Read our post: The Day I Delivered
All I saw her was for a minute and she was taken away. The whole night I kept thinking about her. I had the weirdest thoughts coming to me. What if someone exchanged my baby? What if they don’t hear her crying? I have not fed her, I hope they are taking care of that. As soon as it was 6am I asked my husband to go see her and when he came with her pics, I was slightly relieved, but now I wanted to go see her and a new battle started.
You might like to read our post: My mind When I Went Through the C Section
A baby in the NICU is a very tough phase for the parents. We were lucky to come home with her, but I saw parents who would come to visit the baby as the baby had to stay in the NICU for a long time. The body of the mother needs to recover post the surgery, but as the mother is not mentally at peace with the baby not being with her, it is a very tough time. For mothers who (I hope not) are in the situation, here are some tips to deal with the situation:
Most hospitals do not have any restrictions on the times the parents visiting the baby. Sit with you baby and visit as much as you can. When in the hospital it is still easier, but this can get difficult once the mother is discharged. Make a routine and sit with the baby as much as possible. If allowed, hold the baby and talk to them. They will not respond but the voice and touch of the parents can do wonders for the baby. Meeting the baby also helps in lactation as per doctors.
You will have a million questions about the health of the baby and baby care. There are trained professionals in the NICU who will help you in all possible ways. It is always advisable to ask the doctors your questions and get answers. As I was not able to feed, I had questions about her feeding. I did not even know how to make formula and how to feed this tiny creature as the bottle was a big no. I remember the nurse used to stand with us and teach us how to feed her. She also taught us how to change diapers. With confident doctors and nurses, we also got the confidence to handle a pre-term baby.
The mere thought of your baby not being with you and then handling your recovery and the complications of the baby, can be extremely overwhelming. Mothers tend to keep it to themselves and this is one they start getting into post-partum depression. Talk to your spouse, your parents and your friends. Share your concerns and do not stress. I remember sitting in the hospital room and crying as I could not feed her. I felt I had failed to take care of the baby that she was born at 34 weeks and on top I was not able to breastfeed her. For me, I had failed as a mother and my daughter would always hate me. My mother and doctor explained to me it is a phase and there is nothing to feel depressed about. Luckily, little Miss A was handed over to me in 2 days and I forgot all my issues. For mothers who have to leave the baby for a longer time, this can be a stressful time.
Always remember, you will be able to take care of the baby only when you are up to it. If you are in the hospital, there will be people taking care of you. Once you are back home, with or without the baby, do not neglect yourself. Recovering from the c section takes a toll on the body and with the baby, the body needs a lot of attention. Ask for help, take rest, eat well and get your massages. They all help in healing the body and give the mother the strength to care for their little bundle of joy.
You might want to read our post: Tips to Recover after a C Sec
Little Miss A is two years old now but I clearly remember each and every moment of those 5 days in the hospital. I hope no mother goes through this ordeal, but sometimes the situation is such that you cannot avoid it for the wellbeing of the baby. Just remember, this is a phase and it too shall pass. Miss A is super naughty and a brat now. Who will say she was this delicate pre-term baby whom mummy was scared to hold. (Read out post, Things you hear as a mother of a Preemie). Motherhood is the best journey you will ever be on, sit back, relax and enjoy.