Bharathi shares her story of losing her son Karna to severe Meconium Aspiration Syndrome after he spent 8 days fighting for his life in the NICU. After he passed they decided to name him Karna “the son who sacrificed his life for his mother”.
I confirmed my pregnancy in Dec 2019. I had just lost my mom a month prior in Nov 2019, so thought this pregnancy was a blessing, to keep myself happy.
My husband was working in Singapore and was supposed to travel back in April for my older daughter’s birthday. But the first wave of covid hit us so badly that his travel plans were up in the air.
In the meantime I was enjoying my pregnancy with my older daughter. She was my everything. She would always check on my health and wellbeing and would speak with the baby every day and say “don’t disturb Amma”.
My due date was 22nd July 2020 but due to Covid our routine check ups were affected.
On June 23rd my husband took a repatriation flight and reached Chennai. Just as his 14 days quarantine was over our nightmare started.
On July 7th 2020 I was feeling very uncomfortable all day so I called the hospital to inform them. I mentioned that my covid test was scheduled on July 10th and didn’t have covid results as yet. They asked me to come into the hospital in any case to get checked.
The moment I reached they took me to the labour ward and to my shock said that I’m already in labour and was 2cm dilated.
They found that my baby’s NST was fluctuating, so they told my husband that I was in an emergency condition. I am an HBsAg positive patient, so the hospital shared my reports with my other hospital for admission purposes for delivery.
They then started marketing all the different delivery packages to me, all the while not allowing me to interact with my husband. I insisted on coming out and speaking with my husband and we immediately called our doctor to explain the situation. We then took the decision to go to Apollo cradle hospital. All the while I was very active, I walked by myself to the 2nd floor and got admitted. Immediately the operation procedure started.
And at exactly 7.15 AM my baby was born, but I didn’t hear his cry.
I began to panic and started asking the doctors what happened to my baby. Soon after the pediatrician came running into the operation theatre and said they needed to keep the baby for observation for 6 hours. When I enquired about the gender he said it is a boy baby and that he was a small baby and then immediately left the theatre. I then started feeling very cold and started shivering, the nurse just held me as I cried.
My husband was outside doing the admission formalities and didn’t know that our baby was born. He then heard a baby’s sounds and immediately went towards our baby. The doctors told him that the baby’s oxygen levels were low and that he had severe Meconium Aspiration Syndrome and needed to be admitted in the NICU. My husband was clueless about what was happening.
Meanwhile, I was waiting to see my husband and the moment I saw him I started crying. I kept asking about my son but he was blank, he didn’t utter a single word.
I started asking for my son all the time but since he was in NICU even my husband was not able to see him. Finally, on Thursday morning I was able to see him for the first time and the moment he saw me he had tears in his eyes.
The doctors didn’t think he would live for more than 6 hours but my son made it!
After seeing him I came to my room & slept for 2 hours. Until then I hadn’t even slept for a second, for 24 hours after my c-section delivery, this is what a mother’s mind is capable of.
And so our journey started, of visiting him in the NICU & praying for his health. The doctors were constantly worried about him getting an infection.
He was such a sweet baby, whenever I used to see him he used to feel my presence and would open his eyes. He would listen to my words. When I said baby sleep Amma is here, he would close his eyes. Even though he was on a lot of medication he would move his legs & hands. He was a tall baby like my husband, with my grandfather’s complexion & my hair.
It was like a dream came true for us. But destiny had other plans.
On July 15th the doctors gave him a blood transfusion and after that when I saw him he was unresponsive. I cried and kept asking what was happening to my baby. I was not able to see him in so much pain and just wished that I could die along with him.
But my husband asked me what he and our 6-year-old daughter would do if I went along with my son. He then told me what I can do is to love my daughter the same way that I loved my son.
There was a constant struggle within me and I kept weeping. Until that day I was so hopeful that he would be alright but on July 15th I lost all hope. So my husband brought me home and asked me to stay with my daughter. He was struggling to manage between me and my son. He went back to the hospital and came back home saying he is responding and is better now.
But my mother’s instinct was saying something is wrong.
That night at around 12 midnight my husband got a call from the Hospital. I answered but they did not say anything to me and just asked my husband to visit the hospital. I was begging to go along, but he asked me to stay at home and to come in the morning.
But that fateful night an 8-day old baby had a cardiac arrest and we lost him on 16th July 2020.
What an unbelievably cruel twist of fate.
I wanted to meet him. Due to covid only 10 members went to the hospital. My husband wasn’t ready to bring him home as he felt it would affect my elder daughter, this baby was a dream of hers. She was desperately waiting for a sibling to share her life with. So I agreed with his decision and only we went to the hospital.
The first time I carried him was when he lost his life. We did not even have a chance to get him clothes, the hospital staff had wrapped him in some cloth.
We finished everything in the nearby hospital and came home, empty-handed and broken-hearted.