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My due date had been set for May 31 2008 initially, by the doc I consulted in Mumbai. I had a dream pregnancy. Working till the last day, no morning sickness, great (may be over great) weight gain, no swelling on feet, no tiredness except towards the end – everything was picture perfect. So much so, that the gynac I consulted in Baroda after I went there in my ninth month, told my mom that I was a perfect example of being taken good care of. My mom confessed that it was all thanks to my hubby and my office folks since both in laws and parents weren t around in Mumbai through out my pregnancy.
My parents made me take my maternity leave from May 26th onwards despite my fervent pleadings to them – mainly because they didn t want me sit in front of the laptop in weird positions. The next four days were sheer agony for me, with me irritating my parents to the fullest, and they just being patient with me. I was bugged with my weight gain, my tummy protruding and basically just wanted the baby out. My nani had come down and she insisted that I sweep the entire garden daily morning as a part of my exercise routine, which trust me, I did religiously.
On may 30th, the doc did a sonography and told me that there was still time for the baby to come down; I was totally bugged by now and cried to my MIL big time on the phone that night.
Through the night I had some stomach ache and in the morning, after my usual routine of sweeping the garden, complained to my mom about loose motions. When my nani told my parents to take me to the hospital, it was about 9.30 in the morning. I told them that I am not getting any labor pains; Dad was wondering – how did I figure out that what I had was NOT labor pains! After all, I didn’t have any prior experience!
Ma and pa took me to the hospital and on the road I started having shooting pains intermittently. We reached at about 10.30 and the doc was not there; the nurses took a while to admit me and when when they did, they put me in a room on the 2nd floor! While I was joking with mom about my ‘tummy ache’, the doc came and examined me. She told my mom that I was into labor but not dilated enough (about 3 to 4 cms only) and it would be at least 4 or 5 o clock in the evening before anything would happen.
Mom was a bit surprised because she had delivered my bro in about an hour’s time and me in about half an hour’s time, but obviously the doc knows better! She told mom to make me walk all the time. I thought the doc had gone mad – imagine from 11 to 4 keep walking. They shaved me completely. I was having loosies again after the edema and then suddenly there was action…I honestly don’t know what happened.
I started bleeding profusely, which is when they realized that one of the lights in the labour room was not working. There was no doc on duty even then, when they shifted me – the bleeding me under severe pain – into the operation theatre.
I was put on a wheelchair, taken right to the ground floor again where I was put into the labour room. Someone tried calling the doc who had gone to her other hospital. They didn’t tell my parents anything, and there was major confusion, and they just told me to push. I started bleeding profusely, which is when they realized that one of the lights in the labour room was not working. There was no doc on duty even then, when they shifted me – the bleeding me under severe pain – into the operation theatre. It was about 12ish then. While they told my parents that I had gone into labour suddenly, (how is that possible!) they just told me to keep pushing.
I really thank the guy who was holding my hand – I am sure I broke his bones into a million pieces. At about 12.15, my friend who is a gynac came along but they didn’t tell her anything either and she was so sure of the other doc’s capabilities (who was not the main doc but pretty experienced) that she just held my hand and told me to keep pushing. I had given up hope and told her, let’s just do a C sec, but I guess my decision was a bit too late because they could see the baby’s head!
After that, they all screamed at me, push push push..and that I did, with all my might and then R came out at 12.24 in the afternoon. They wouldn’t tell me if it was a girl or boy and I kept screaming ‘is she a girl, is she a girl”, and my friend smiled and told me, yes she is. When they told me to push again, “arey I have only one baby in my tummy,” I screamed in pain, but they wanted the placenta out. I pleaded with them to at least let me see the baby. The pediatrician was a great guy and quickly brought up R to me and told me kiss her fast and then start pushing. I pushed again and fainted – after that I remember getting up in a hospital room at about 4.30.
What had transpired in the meantime was this – since the main gynac had misjudged my delivery time, I was torn apart by the baby’s head. Usually, in cases where it is needed, the docs make a small incision in the vagina to let the baby’s head out smoothly which would be healed by a stitch or two. In my case, I had lacerations all over my vagina and my anus…I had to be given 22 external stitches and they wouldn’t tell me how many internal ones. The wall between my anus and vagina had collapsed and they had to re-stitch it…
The worst part is that they didn t tell my parents anything…nothing at all! They gave the baby to my mom, while my dad stood outside the operation theatre for about 2 hours, just wondering if his daughter was dying inside. My friend was busy trying to repair the damage done to my body and while there were people moving inside and outside the OT, they wouldn’t give my dad any news.
After about two hours, they came out and told my dad what had happened. My mom was in a room with R, having no idea whether I was ok or not… I don’t know what my dad’s reaction was. He doesnt talk about it much. Whenever I try to ask him, he just says “well, you are alright now and that s more important.” Mom says that she can never forget the looks on dad’s face when I was in the OT. She doesnt talk about it much as well – for them it’s too traumatic to even think about.
The next 5 days in the hospital were hell for me – they wouldn’t give me any solid food, I was not very comfortable feeding R, R got a bad cold, I couldn’t even get up from bed. Every day the gynac would come and just dress me up – trust me, now I know what ‘pain in the ass’ means literally.
On the third day I broke down. I cried like crazy. The doc told me it was post partum depression (Read Kiran’s write up on post partum depression), but wouldn’t tell me what to do about it. My mom and dad tried their best to cheer me up, but then they were caught in an avalanche of relatives coming over, trying to coordinate the work and the hospital stuff. On the 4th day, I felt like passing stool and before they could remove the catheter, I passed stool on the bed. It was horribly humiliating, though my mom was around and she cleaned me up..
It was so painful that I told my mom, that I will commit suicide after R becomes about 6 months old so that I could stop her feeds and she and hubby can take care of R.
They discharged me and then after that, I was under depression for a long, long time. For about 3 months I think, my mom would dress my wounds every day. It was so weird that I had lost all shame in front of ma – she would do it religiously every morning and night. Eventually because of the stitches as well as holding back my stools, I developed a fissure. Even passing gas was painful and I couldn’t stop eating because I was feeding. It was so painful that I told my mom, that I will commit suicide after R becomes about 6 months old so that I could stop her feeds and she and hubby can take care of R.
Mom didn’t know what to do. Dad, mom, bhai, bhabhi, they all kept my spirits up. Hubby would come down every weekend, EVERY weekend from Mumbai to Baroda and see me. Now when I look back, it seems so silly, but the pain I endured was horrible. It was a traumatic three months I spent – I had to take a second opinion for the fissure, get a colonoscopy done since the doc suspected some other problem and finally my mom broke down..and trust me my mom is someone who NEVER cries. I have seen her cry only once in my entire life when my uncle and aunt expired; otherwise whatever happens, she is the strongest person ever – but she broke down because she was helpless..
Slowly, my office colleagues started calling, R’s antics started making me feel better, my bro and bhabhi entertained me with their office gossip and life started returning to normal. I started with homeopathy medicines for the fissure though even today I suffer from it occasionally. For someone whose favourite food list comprises only of spicy things, today I avoid too much of spice in my food so that I don’t suffer the pain in the ass.
I wish, I just wish, the doc had at least warned me about the post-partum depression and had been honest to me about what had gone wrong with my delivery. Trust me, after the entire episode, the very thought of having another baby scares me!
People, before you deliver, please ensure that you know everything about the delivery process. That’s another mistake I made – I should have read about epidural and C-secs. My doc never discussed this with me. She didn’t give me any options and I didn’t ask. My mistake was that I didn’t ask – there is nothing wrong is asking and demanding information; finally, it’s your body right?
And, remember that everyone goes through post partum depression – in some cases it’s not too bad, in some cases, it can give you acute depression. In my case, I was fortunate to have an extremely supportive family who brought me out of it…not everyone may be so fortunate.
Pic credit: Meagan (Used under a CC license)