Bringing new life into this world, especially as a first-time mother is an unparalleled experience. On one hand, there is a huge emotional, mental, and physical investment starting at the time of conception and on the other hand, there are countless moments of pure joy and excitement after achieving each developmental milestone. Such is the story of Nida Faysal Keshwani, first-time mother to her precious baby boy, Izhaan.
“I found out earlier in my pregnancy that I have fibroids. Although, it was not a serious concern and only required regular monitoring, my doctor, Dr. Khalida Khanum prepared me for abdominal pain that may require urgent medical care”, recalled Nida.
Fibroids are non-cancerous growths of the uterus that usually appear during child-bearing years. In some cases, these growths may cause severe abdominal pain.
Nida kept her chin up and remained hopeful for a smooth pregnancy. Although, there were few episodes of abdominal pain, none posed any risks to her or to the baby. If this was not enough, Nida then developed Placenta previa, a condition in which the baby’s placenta partially or totally covers the mother’s cervix. It can cause severe bleeding during the delivery of the baby if the placenta does not show enough movement for the cervical opening to be free.
“I was told by Dr. Khalida that I can have a normal delivery only if the placenta shows a movement of at least 2 cm by the thirty-eighth week of my pregnancy. So, I waited and prayed.”
Nature had more surprises for Nida, not only did her placenta show little movement, but also the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. Dr. Khalida’s team had to resort to a C-section, and prepared Nida accordingly. At this point, she, and her spouse, Faysal, wished and hoped for a smooth procedure and a healthy baby, whose gender was kept a surprise from them upon their wishes.
“Eventually, after much anxiety and a physically exhausting procedure, I delivered a healthy baby boy. I remember getting to see my baby for the first time as the nurse carried him to me. It was beyond emotional. She asked me to try and feed him. I was still getting stitched up, and so, I could not move freely. Therefore, Izhaan could also not latch on properly”, Nida narrated while remembering the first instance of trying to breast-feed her child.
After her discharge from recovery, Nida tried breast feeding Izhaan multiple times, but to no gain. The nursing staff offered help, yet there were moments when she struggled. The baby needed to be fed every two hours. But Nida did not give up.
As a trained Early Childhood Educator, she understood the importance of children’s development. “I have learnt through my trainings the importance of breast feeding for the health and wellbeing of both, mother and child. Alongside natural and necessary nutrients for the baby, skin-to-skin contact also enhances a mother’s bond with her child.”
The doctors initially suspected that her breast milk was not being sufficiently produced for the baby. She was advised by one of the paediatricians to move to formula milk, as Izhaan’s weight had dropped from 3.1 kg to 2.8 kg within a week. Nida recalls having sleepless nights, as she had always dreamt of having a wholesome motherhood experience, one that included the beautiful process of breastfeeding her child.
She was then recommended by her family to research on and visit a lactation consultant.
“I did not even know that we have such kind of consultation in Pakistan. I did my research and came across the Lactation Clinic at AKUH. It was a blessing that changed everything”, remarked Nida with a cheerful chuckle. “Zohra Kurji and her associates were so patient with me; they did not rush explaining the right techniques to help my baby latch on as I breast fed him.”
Nida could not be more relieved and happier. She explained how only a mother could understand the stress if she is not able to breast-feed her child. The lactation consultant clinic showed her a whole new meaning of motherhood. She was provided knowledge that no other expert besides a lactation consultant could provide. For example, the influence of breast massage on the flow of milk, the production of fore milk that is not as concentrated in nutrients as the hind milk and identifying the levels of hydration of the baby with the number of diapers changed. The results: within two weeks, Izhaan’s weight increased by 500 grams. Today, Nida has overcome all her challenges of breast feeding and successfully manages her child during the process. What was once thought to be an issue of breast milk insufficiency was an issue of baby’s latching on.
Nida requests all the mothers, especially first-time mothers to not feel ashamed of seeking help with breast feeding. It is a beautiful journey that every mother must experience. The role of spouses is also critical in supporting their wives through these challenging times. Having their help can be a huge mental and emotion stress reliever.