‘I am feeling nothing at all doctor,’ I said nervously as a group of doctors worked on my abdomen while I lay on the OT table.
‘That is because we have given you an injection. Don’t worry. Your baby will be fine,’ the senior doctor and my gynaecologist assured me.
But how could I relax? I was more than 36 weeks pregnant and did not get any pains. Thus doctors induced pains on me and I had spent two entire nights, inside the labour room, waiting for the baby to arrive. While I saw everyone else come with labour pains and go with babies in hand; yes, one of them delivered twins in the next room; and still I lay there only to be sent back to the ward in the morning with the baby still inside me.
‘You have made a very comfortable home for the baby inside the womb,’ said my mother.
‘Maybe the baby is waiting for daddy to come soon,’ said my Mother in law as her son and my husband is in the defence forces and was not sure of when he would be arriving.
But on the third day in the morning I lay terrified at the OT table because I was taken for an emergency C-section.The doctor helped to break my water bag or the amniotic sack. Usually this happens when labour pains start but with me it did not. The water was not clear as it should have been. The baby had pooped inside the womb. Usually it is normal but there are chances of the baby inhaling the dirty water which can then block the baby’s air passage.
Then I hear the first cries. It was the most satisfying sounds that I could have ever heard. The doctor held the baby on top of my face and said, ‘tell me what it is?’
‘Oh my God! It’s a girl,’ I practically yelled and prayed to God.
The doctor assured me that my baby girl was completely healthy and there was nothing to be worried about. I was satisfied and extremely tired. By the time I woke up I was taken back to the room. She was brought to me by the nurse. My baby was the cutest, most angelic face that I had ever seen in my life. I did not have tears in my eyes but I was just so happy that I wanted to just cuddle her, look at her tiny pink hands and feet and kiss all over her pink face.
The first shock that I got was when two nurses came to me. One held the baby and the other just opened my gown and took my breasts and stuffed it inside the baby’s mouth. This was how I was supposed to breastfeed my baby. The nurse kept massaging and pressing the breasts for the milk to come. It did pain but not that much. More than pain, I would say, it is a weird, inexplicable feeling when the baby sucks the milk. For the first time you might feel pressure and little pain but if it pains more and continues then you should consult a lactation specialist.
The first few days and the weeks and months to come, you will feel like a cow who has to deliver milk as and when the baby requires. It can be every hour, after every 3 hours or even after every half an hour. You really cannot predict when your baby will need a feed. Sometimes they do it out of the need of comfort as well rather than being hungry. It your baby is completely on breastfeed, you will need to frequently wake up at nights. I forced myself to always sit down on the bed with comfortable pillows supporting my back. I then placed a soft pillow on my lap. Then I gently put the baby on the pillow and supported her head while she fed. I tried not to feed her while lying down, until after she was 6 months plus and more prone to movement.
The first day I was completely immobile and was only on intravenous drip, without even a drop of water to drink, as C section is a major operation. I could not feel much down below my abdomen but the tingling sensations and feelings were coming back in both my legs little by little. By next morning I was totally aware of the pain near the stitches and my legs had regained consciousness too. I know that labour pains are tough and giving birth naturally is extremely difficult because of the high degree of pains the mother has to bear. But C- section delivery is also a tough job. After a normal delivery, you can move around and stand with support, but after a C-section, you need to take that extra care and that extra precaution as to not hurt the stitches now. The first attempt of me standing up was a complete disaster as I could barely stand on my legs. The second and third was no less but I did make some progress. By evening I could stand and walk towards the washroom, but always with support. My doctors advised me to take it slow and listen to my body and not push myself.
Another thing that you need to take care of is to not put pressure on yourself for urinating or for passing stool. Some women might have constipation but since your body has gone through this tremendous change, causing pressure to your abdomen might complicate things.
Eating healthy is the key to stay fit, get back to your original self and regain that lost strength. I was back to eating my favourite food, papaya. I was given a lot of vegetables, pulses, rice and chapatti to eat, along with a dollop of ghee. I avoided fatty food and junk food; especially for the first 6 months as I was also breastfeeding my baby. I also avoided really cold stuff like ice cream or ice cold water. I was given lukewarm water to drink and also ‘ajwain’ water which helps in healing the uterus from within, they say. The first few weeks after delivery is the time when you need to take utmost care of your diet. Your body has created this remarkable creature and now you want it to go back to its original self. It will take time to heal and everybody will take its own course. The immunity of a mother also goes down after delivery. Thus new moms are more prone to have a cold or suffer from the flu if you do not take precautions during those initial days after you give birth.
It is an out of the world feeling when you have your little bundle of joy in your hands. The everyday changes that you see in the baby and how your heart melts when the baby gives you a dreamy, toothless smile! Sometimes the mood swings can take a toll. You might have moments of extreme emotions. Sometimes I used to burst out crying and howling at nights while at times I was overjoyed with everything. Sometimes, it seemed that everything in my life is just perfect and at other times I would feel that everything is falling apart. My husband and my family was extremely supportive. They were near me when I needed them so I vented out my emotions and frustrations at them and they took it sportingly. These emotions and feelings are completely natural because you have a number of hormones inside your body that are playing havoc now. These hormones take time to settle down and the emotions are nothing but just a show that your hormones are playing with you. At such times, let it out. Confront in a confidante and talk to people you love. Having a new baby, having changes in your body can be really overwhelming at times. As a new mother you might feel you are stuck, your life is just to look after the baby, you cannot go out or meet your friends for coffee etc. But if you are upto it, go out on a date with your friends or husband and get yourself pampered to feel good. Trust your family and friends who can help you take care of the baby. Go with the flow.
You have just delivered a fully grown baby which is not a joke. It took 9 months for your uterus to grow the baby inside you. You will still look pregnant for the first few months. Your uterus will continue to contract; sometimes painfully. The first few weeks I was completely shocked with the pain that I felt in my lower abdomen, even while walking. No they are not as fierce as labour pains, but yes sometimes extremely painful. There is no need to rush to the hospital, it is just your uterus contracting and coming back to its original shape. The best way that I handled the uterine contractions was while breastfeeding my baby. It somehow helped me with the pains.
The first bleeding just after birth will be extremely heavy. It will be the longest period of your life! Mine went up to a month! I have known women who have had it for even 6 weeks. The first few days the bleeding is heavy,but then it becomes like regular period and then it vanishes slowly until you get your next period cycle. The first 3 to 4 days will be gory when you visit the washroom but not to worry- for 9 months the blood was accumulated there, so it has to come out! Initially the blood will be red and then afterwards it will turn to pink and then brown. You should use large pads. I used the hospital pads given to me but after I came home I used the extra large ones to support the blood flow.
Yes, giving birth is not easy and the aftermath is more of a warfare but it is the most satisfying and amazing feeling that only women have the blessing to enjoy.
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