The Good News – As It Came
When the pregnancy test turned out positive at home, we shared the news with our parents even before we consulted the doctor. Also, though my wife was pretty sure about the pregnancy, we further got it confirmed with the lab test of beta hCG. And when we received the reports that evening, the hormone levels cleared out all the slightest haze we had. Everything happened so spontaneously and as a delightful surprise.
While I was still to digest the news myself, I was starting to worry about the next three trimesters. I was honestly a happy father-to-be, but my age-old relationship with worries never leaves me behind. Nine months of extensive care for an unborn baby had to be planned out, not just being a responsible father-to-be, but as being pregnant myself so I could feel what a mother goes through. Good healthy food, proper precautions and appropriate medications – that was all going through my mind.
The Journey Ahead
We had our first Viability Ultrasound Scandone, and Dr. Chaitanya confirmed that everything was just perfect and there was nothing to worry about. I needed a confirmation if there was anything to worry about the fetal position. And we returned home contented. However we still had to surpass the first-trimester miscarriage risk of 10% safely, but when NT Scan & Double Marker reports turned out to be great, it was a big-big relief for us. And since then the miscarriage risk dropped down to 1%.
Prenatal Care for My Wife
Aware of the healthcare scams that are happening around us today, I had been hunting out for the right place from pre-conception days, which could genuinely take good care of both mother and the child. We first had our first pre-conception consultation at Stree Hospital, which looked quite simple but not at all satisfying for numerous reasons. I then came across Umarji Mother, and Child Care Hospital, which had excellent reviews everywhere and Dr Chinmay was much talked-about personality there. We then met him a few days later, and I was highly impressed with his way of explaining things and the recommendations he offered to us. Though my wife still needed a few more reasons to continue future consultations with Dr. Chinmay, I strongly positioned myself in favour of him. And it happened just as I thought.
About the Hospital
Umarji Mother and Child Care Hospital, apart from having Dr. Chinmay, had many other impressive reasons for us to continue, like –
- It’s in-house all mother & child care facilities.
- It was pretty much close to our home.
- Hospital has outstanding ethics. Towards the later part of our journey here, we feel each penny we paid was worth it.
- Excellent reviews of the hospital Google and Practo, and reading through the experiences people had with the hospital are very much convincing.
- Hospital’s cleanliness conscious and keeps the hygiene level always high, be it the waiting rooms, OPDs, labour room or the post-delivery rooms.
- Hospital has 24/7 availability concerning the doctor’s presence and emergency care.
- Last but not least are the ‘Smiles’, that is so abundantly offered in the hospital.
For many more reasons, Umarji Mother & Child Care Hospital turned out to be a perfect choice, and we started realising it every time we returned after consulting with Dr Chinmay carrying all good vibes with us. He always kept our confidence high and worries at bay. He was very friendly to us and open to answering any questions we had. He would be a top recommendation from us wherever we go.
The First Kick
It usually takes 20-22 weeks when a pregnant woman starts feeling the baby movements. My wife started feeling the baby at 24 weeks, and it was another special feeling for both of us. Things were changing, and we used to wonder at God’s phenomena of creating a baby.
By around 26 weeks, I too started to feel the baby movements with my palm over my wife’s belly, which soon turned out to be an addiction. Every single day from there-on, unless and until I felt my baby move, I didn’t allow my body to sleep. The kicking period had begun, and it was so different feeling for both of us. I remember it was 1st May, midnight when the baby kicked away her dad’s palm for the first time on his birthday. What could be more special than that?
As the weeks passed, the kicks became more and stronger. I continued to place my palm on the baby bump every night before sleep and used to wait for the baby to kick in the utter silence of the night. And the moment baby kicked, it was a thrill-through-nerves when I would suddenly pull away from my palm overwhelmed. The kicks sometimes were so strong that it used to take our breath away.
Days of Worry
There were some days the baby movements slowed down, and the baby wouldn’t move at all for hours. That was when my worries used to elevate. But the very next day, the baby used to start kicking hard, snatching away all my fears so I could finally go for a peaceful sleep through the night.
I always felt my baby speaking to me that she is as strong as her mom, so you don’t need to worry Dad!
The first MGTT results (at 16 weeks) were just marginal, after which the doctor recommended us to start controlling direct sugar intakes. Something that has natural sugar should be fine. We began to follow the same, and all that could spike up the sugar levels were removed from our meal menus at home. The next MGTT results three months later came out to be very reasonable, and it was a massive sense of relief for us, as Gestational Diabetes (GDM) was something I could never have afforded, especially when someone has a foodie wife to nurture.
Though GDM was no more risk, we were put to monitor the glucose levels four times a day. It was for more than one month we did this, the reason being that the baby was slightly bigger. To confirm that it was not the sugar levels causing that to happen, we were asked to keep a check on sugar levels and reduce direct sugar intakes. The spikes were not that often, but it did make me worry. Dr. Chinmay asked us to find the reason for these spikes and avoid it to happen next time. He also recommended us to increase ambulation. Spikes, if they continued to occur regularly, could lead to the addition of Metformin, which I didn’t want. Monitoring glucose levels was a good move we feel because we were able to figure out what home foods used to cause the spike, and we accordingly were able to discard them from our meals.
While we were easing our way out, we suddenly came to know that that the water levels around the baby have immensely gone down. Dr. Chinmay then recommended drinking as many fluids (4-5 litres) as possible. I then thought of a plan to fill out four bottles every morning before leaving for office and take note of the total water intake at the end of the day on a daily basis. I must also appreciate the efforts of my wife. She neared about four litres of fluid intake every day since then, which excluded one tender coconut water, half a cup of fresh orange juice and half a cup tea in the evening. In the subsequent visits to the doctor, the water level gradually started increasing and got back to normal in a matter of just a few weeks.
Routine Care For My Wife
Nutrition to the baby through mother is a very critical aspect in the pregnancy phase. Based on my web readings and discussion with the nutritionist, I soon added below to our daily diet and I remember never having failed to do that –
- Soaked almonds, resins, walnuts every morning.
- A glass of desi cow milk every day.
- Kesar added to milk every day.
- Salads including beets.
- One apple every day.
- Orange/Mosambi juice with iron tablet every day.
- Fresh Tender Coconut water every evening.
- A massive cut in tea & direct sugar consumption (from 2 cups daily to just 1/4th cup a day).
- Watermelon/Mango added once weekly.
- 1-2 Cashew once in a while.
- Not more than two eggs a week.
Apart from the healthy additions mentioned above, we did have some junk food once in a while
- McDonald chicken burger – Once per trimester.
- Vada Pao – Twice per week.
- Tatva Veg – Once a week.
- Hyderabad Biryani – Once in three trimesters.
Other activities that became part of our daily routine were
- Movies – Once every week.
- Strolls – Thrice every day (each session of 15-20 mins).
- Cooking and household chores – every day to stay active as much as possible.
My Responsibilities and Support
While everything went on well-managed, my responsibilities continued to be
- A supportive husband psychologically: Though I tried my best, I did fail to do that a few times, as I am too bad dealing with my worries.
- Stock up groceries: I used to maintain a stock of fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, chemical-free bread, and everything else making sure I never took anything for granted, while I always stood on-my-toes in this journey of nine months.
- Stay fit and healthy: It is not that we confined ourselves to achieve this, but I knew that the immunity needs to be built up with a routine healthy diet addon, proper ambulation and barring all street food junks and restaurant spices.
We had planned the baby together, and I did every possible thing to support my wife. What she loved to eat was no more part of the diet. It has been tough for someone who is a super-foodie: no more street foods, no pizzas, no jalebis, no Chinese starters. Good nutrition and proper ambulation, all that was needed, and we did it, together.
When at home, she usually slothed cooking for herself and would anyhow work out her hunger needs in the initial pregnancy days. I started preferring my wife to go to the office, so she could stay active and could eat canteen food (I had to trust the hygiene) whenever she felt hungry. I remember dropping her to the office and asking her to carry the laptop bag carefully. In the evenings I would park my car and walk to her office gate, so I could immediately grab the laptop bag from her and escort her to the vehicle.
Supporting my wife with everything was planned to be part of this journey. With her office works that got overloaded with time, I always used to ask my wife also to spend some time feeling the baby. I tried supporting my wife whenever she extended office hours at home, but I even used to get annoyed sometimes. Annoyance is so deeply embedded within me. It is my stubbornness to get things done correctly (though it doesn’t happen most of the time). I also had shouted at her some days, made her cry too. But in the very next hour, out of self-repentance, I would start regretting and requesting her for forgiveness, and (it was her greatness) she used to forgive me in no time happily.
Even today, I always keep saying to my wife, that I might not be able to get rid of that annoyance and anger in me, but I promise I will beg for forgiveness every single time you get to face it. My only request to her is to forgive me then, as she has always been my pillar of strength and support, to hold and fall upon.
I was now open to eat any food that was cooked. I happily tried eating whatever was cooked. I ate what she did, and I strolled as many times as she did. I most often did things myself to support her do the same, be it taking fruits (I had to eat half of the cut-fruits daily to make her eat the other half), milk, other dietary inclusions, daily strolls, and all petty things I could do to contribute to a healthy journey.
Driving through broken roads with minimum jerks had always been a challenging task for me. I made sure the dry fruits got soaked overnight in clean drinking water. I made sure she eats her favourite samosa (at intermission) whenever we went for a movie on the weekend. I made sure I don’t cheat on every single compromise she did. I made sure I never drank cold water, soft drinks or ice-creams that could make me vulnerable to severe cold or throat infections. I made sure to surprise my wife once in a while with McDonalds Chicken Burger at evening snacks.
When I look back at those nine months, I remember my wife jumping on the mattress when we bought a new one. She was in her fourth month of pregnancy. I remember her ordering a whole lot of junk foods (Rolls and Bhatures) from Swiggy without me being aware. I immediately reached home from the office to ensure she doesn’t have to eat all of that junk.
My Wife’s Support
I always have held the notion that if she can bear me, nothing else could be more challenging for her. She has always been very understanding and supportive. Yes, she made mistakes, but she never hesitated to correct it back. She would count among most active super-moms who exist today.
Most Difficult Phase
The most difficult part in this journey was undoubtedly when the labour pains began. It was 3 am on 5th August 2018 when I came to know of the pain, and I can recall the numbness I felt, doubting if my wife could bear that pain, and would I be able to see it happen to her.
The pain and screams still bring me goosebumps. I saw it happen to one of the most loved people in my life. The horror stories always haunted us, but I know how strong she had been throughout. The day she got labour, I tried my best consoling her, holding my emotions strongly, while she pulled my collars with all the pain she could hardly bear. Fortunately, the labour progressed quickly, and in just a matter of few hours, our cute little princess arrived, landing on her mom’s belly all soaked-up in amniotic fluid.
It has been a long journey, but it had all commitments we could offer to our unborn child. And yes, I will be forever indebted to my wife this life to gift me my super-precious daughter, AVNI, who arrived on 5th August 2018 at 12:30 pm.
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