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We all know pregnancy is a blessing from God and the result of it, is even more beautiful than the process. The experience cannot be put into words, it’s indescribable. There are so many things that happen that no one ever told you or prepared you for. It doesn’t matter how one starts their journey- unexpected or not, it’s the time that only lasts once for each baby and every pregnancy is unique in its own.
When you find out you’re expecting you start to feel a wave of emotions that you never thought you could even feel… the same happened with me, on learning about my pregnancy I was on cloud nine yet fretting over the tiniest, simplest of things. They say the first trimester is the most difficult and one needs to take extra care of themselves in those three months. So did I, but it wasn’t enough.
It was my first doctor’s appointment with my ob/GYN in which I learned I was already 7 weeks pregnant and could get an ultrasound done to check my baby’s heartbeat. My husband and I were full of joy and happiness, nothing could make us unhappy… who knew this happiness would be short-lived? Our world turned upside down that very night when I had to be rushed to the ER for having bled heavily. I knew this wasn’t good and this wasn’t supposed to happen, but I gathered courage and waited for the doctors to tell me what exactly had happened as I lay on the ER bed, as tears rolled down my face. My husband was by my side trying to keep it together but I knew, he too, was feeling weak and scared in that moment. After two-three hours of waiting and tests we were told what I had experienced was a threatened miscarriage.
A threatened miscarriage is when bleeding occurs within the first 20 weeks of a pregnancy and it happens to one in four pregnant women. About 50% of the time a threatened miscarriage doesn’t mean the mother will lose her baby but in my case, the chances were high. The only moment of relief that night was when my husband and I heard the ultrasound technician say ‘Good thing is your baby is there’ and then we heard the most beautiful sound in the world… our baby’s heartbeat.
We learned that the baby was alive but was surrounded by a huge clot of blood that could suck the baby resulting in a miscarriage IF proper care was not taken. I spent the following 2 days at the hospital and 4 months on my bed at home. I was not allowed to walk and was put on a strict bed rest regime. Days and nights were spent praying to God to protect my little one and to make everything easy for me.
After 4.5 months of strict bed rest and care, I was up and allowed to walk. The clot that surrounded my baby reduced slowly in those 4 months. My husband and I were finally relaxed and couldn’t thank Allah enough for letting us make it through the toughest time of our lives.
Two months were spent making plans and buying baby stuff. We were full of happiness and couldn’t wait to welcome our little one into this world… but Allah had planned something very different for us. At the beginning of my second trimester I learned, my baby’s growth was slow. Doctor said it was nothing to worry about at first but the next ultrasound showed the growth had been restricted.
My husband and I didn’t know how to react to this. We were asked to get some tests done and after a month we found out the baby was low on oxygen and blood too couldn’t reach the baby properly, there was no progress on the growth and an emergency caesarean section must be performed to deliver the baby before it expired inside the womb.
Again our world came crashing down around us and we were left in despair. The doctor assured us that our baby would be fine and we will not go through any more trouble once it arrives. We believed the doctor… what could we do, we had no idea what was happening to our little one inside.
The day of my C-Sec I was calm and prepared to welcome my baby. I knew I had to be strong from this point onwards. I was up during the whole procedure and I saw her as the doctor held my baby girl up to show me. I couldn’t hold back my tears and I cried uncontrollably. My daughter was then taken to the pediatricians and I was stitched up and taken to post op. There, a nurse came holding my baby girl up and said that she wanted me to take a look at her before they took her away and I asked where my baby was being taken and I was told she had a minor breathing difficulty, so the NICU is where she will be for the day.
She was put in an incubator and taken to the NICU. I didn’t worry too much then as it was only for a day. That day passed and my husband spent most of his time in the NICU with the baby. Only parents are allowed to meet the baby in the NICU. On the Second day, we were told she was doing fine, but the breathing difficulty was still present and she needed to be monitored for a few days. I wanted to hold my baby and meet her so I asked to be wheelchaired to the NICU and from that moment on I don’t remember what pain was.
Bright lights, incessant beeping of machines, wailing alarms and the rhythmic rasp of a ventilator- this was the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It was my first time in one. I forgot I had gone through a major surgery as I stood up from that wheelchair and walked to the incubator in which my daughter was sleeping. She was the prettiest little baby I had ever seen.
Sleeping in that box wrapped in a sheet, tubes and wires covering her from all four sides. I had two cannulas on my hand and she had three, one on each hand and one on her foot. A tube went inside her mouth for feeding. I remember how terrible it felt seeing her like that. She slept there peacefully but I knew she was in pain. Her nurse asked me if I wanted to touch her and that they only allowed mothers to touch the baby and opened her incubator.
I welled up as I touched her for the first time. We were told that it would take her 4-5 days to get stable as oxygen was being given through prongs and they had to check if she could breathe on her own. Then we were asked to leave. I was discharged on the third day without my baby. I left the hospital without her. I came back home and I felt like a part of me was missing. I would stay up all night crying and looking at her pictures. Despite the pain,I was in I went to see her every day and it helped me heal quicker than I had imagined.
Babies, when discharged from the NICU, are sent to the pediatric ward where the mother and child are to spend a few days together under observation to check if the child is able to settle in an outer environment on his/her own. They sleep in the incubators but are slowly taken off their monitors and breathing support. My daughter and I were sent to the ward on her 6th day. Doctors said she was doing great and will be discharged and good to go home in a day.
It was my first night with her and i had no idea how to take care of her. I was scared of hurting her. She still had her monitors and cannulas attached. The nurse asked me to feed her, burp her, change her and hold her. I felt complete for the first time in 6 days. The emptiness i felt was gone. My husband met her the next day. He held her for the first time when she was 7 days old.
It was our third day at the pediatric ward when the doctor at his morning round told us everything looked great and we would be able to get her discharged that night. I was so excited and happy that we would finally be going home. The doctor left, my baby was given a bath and it was time for her morning feed, it was 7-8 in the morning when the nurse helped me give her the feed. We gave it through a cup and spoon. The nurse then handed my daughter to me and asked to burp her as she took all her tubes off and switched the monitor off saying it was not needed now that the doctors have said she is fine.
I held her and started telling her how she was the best thing that ever happened to me. I looked at her and her eyes were closed and she looked dark blueish. I thought it was due to the phototherapy she had been getting to avoid jaundice. It was when the resident doctor entered, an angel in disguise, she looked at my daughter and said why is this baby looking so different she looked fine yesterday and took her from my hands. She yelled, ‘this baby isn’t breathing’ to the fellow doctors. In a minute the room was filled with 5-6 doctors.
As she held her I noticed my daughter wasn’t moving, her eyes were shut and she was pale and cold. She opened my daughter’s shirt and started examining her and I kept crying and asking them what was happening, what is wrong with my baby and why was she not breathing? The doctor said that my daughter had revived herself and is fine now but I needed to step out of the room so that they could continue examining her.
I was alone and scared. It was early morning, I called my husband sitting in the waiting area outside our room. My eyes were on the door and I could see the doctor’s drawing her blood. All I could manage to say on the phone was that I wanted my husband to come as soon as he could and that I didn’t know what was happening and she stopped breathing. My husband equally terrified said he’d be at the hospital in some time, I could sense worry and fear in his voice. The doctors then called me inside and told me my daughter had an episode of Apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which premature infants stop breathing for 15-20 seconds during sleep. Generally, babies who are born at 35 weeks of gestation or before experience this. Apnea is at times followed by bradycardia which is a decreased heart rate when breathing slows, the heart rate drops too. The doctors discussed that it was common in premature babies and I shouldn’t worry. My husband arrived and we were told that our baby was being taken back to the NICU till she recovers and can breathe on her own without the prongs.
We took her back to the NICU and I was again discharged without her. She spent 4 more days in the NICU and after being discharged she was again sent to the pediatric ward. We, me and my daughter, spent another night there. Her monitors were plugged in but there was only one cannula attached, the OG tube for feeding was present, the pulse was in constant check.
The next morning she was taken out from her incubator and put in a cot for the first time in 11 days. That morning we were told she was fine and it was up to us if we wanted to take her home. My husband and I were scared because we didn’t want her to get hurt because was still so fragile but we decided we couldn’t let her spend more days at the hospital. So after spending 10-11 days in the NICU my little baby girl was discharged and we finally took her home.
She was a tiny baby who didn’t fit in any of her newborn clothes, I held her in the carry nest and sat in the car, we were all smiles that day. It was frightening walking away from the security provided by the hospital’s nursery. The anxiety about ‘how do I know’ stuck with me for the first few weeks but there’s nothing like coming home as a family. After what my husband, my baby and I had been through, coming back home together felt like the greatest blessing of Allah.
What I went through taught me so much, I became a stronger woman and I knew my baby was and is a fighter and she needed to be protected by a mother who was as strong as she was. I became a fighter for her. She is and will always be my little miracle and one of the greatest blessings of Allah. My husband and I are lucky to be able to hold our little bundle of joy.