As the due date was nearing, it was taking a lot of mental preparation to deliver my baby. The nine months of nourishing my baby inside and taking care of myself lapsed like in no time. Those months passed off with me unheeding to what birthing would be like. But with the time drawing closer, some pressure built up, especially when I got admitted to the hospital.
I was expecting a normal vaginal delivery. So I was also bracing up for the ordeal that I would come with it. I was in the ward when a woman who had her contractions start was brought adjacent to me. She was screaming. Every moan and helpless scream of hers would shoot up the fear that was dormant (rather that I tried to suppress) in me. Was I to go through something like that soon? Was mine going to be harder than hers? Were there going to be any obstacles? Or was it going to be smooth sailing one with the baby popping out in no time – like what I had heard elsewhere? But this was my first baby on its way out, so I anticipated some struggle.
The doctors set to induce my pains. But there was no onset till the next morning. With the tension mounting, I saw myself surrendering to my body. The crew that was monitoring me called in for the doctor. They told me that the baby was fully grown, and they would rather not wait, especially after having put me on Pitocin already. The next moment I was rushed in for an emergency C-section.
In a matter of half an hour, my baby made its entry into the world. The nurse brought her close to me so I could kiss her. I did. But within moments, I began to wonder if it should have been so easy. The idea of “No pain, no gain” was still ruling me. To me, it felt like I had not delivered!
For weeks and months after my daughter’s birth, I was not able to shrug off the guilt. I was so drugged at the operation theater that I wasn’t allowed to breastfeed my child at once. Rooming-in never happened. My baby first made its rounds in the hands of its grandparents and her dad before she took the turn to come to me. She was bottle fed before I began feeding. As if it was not enough, I was disappointed at the amounts of milk that I could make for my baby in the initial days. There was no such thing as me being fairly mobile, give my baby a bath, or do everything for her that my immediate family was doing. I felt so deprived of the motherliness I would have had otherwise.
My thoughts would swing back to what would have happened if the doctor did not rush me into a C-section. The tumultuous labor would have made a headway. There would have been streams of tears and overwhelming joy at the same time for popping that baby out vaginally, unlike the passive robotic expression of, “Hey, you’ve arrived! Great!” Everything would have worked out differently – right from holding my baby in my arms at once, to nursing her, and most importantly, enabling my baby to connect with me and know her mother at once. It wasn’t happening this way for quite some time. She kept identifying the touch of her grandmother to be that of her mother for a while. I confessed to my doctor as to how jealous I was of the bond that was building between them two. They of coursed laughed it off that it was a momentary thing and that my baby would know her mother fairly soon.