*This is a podcast transcript - Regular Moms | Regular Birthing Stories*
Hina : We have a very special guest with us on show today. She is Suchi, a quintessential metro mum. She is a mother to a six year old. She's a very accomplished professional. And today she is with us on the show. And I'm very excited to hold this interview. Welcome to the show, Suchi!
Suchi : Thank you very much. I’m very excited too.
Hina : Great. We'll get down right to it. In today's show we will be talking about your labor and birthing experience and our viewers can know what it is like. You have a daughter, right?
Suchi : Yes, I have a six year old daughter.
Hina : That's wonderful. So tell us about your pregnancy. How was that like?
Suchi : My pregnancy was good, I would say, apart from a few hiccups. Essentially when the doctor brought up a concern, which was having a low place center due to which I was advised rest post the first five months.
I was very, very sure that I should follow whatever the doctor says. And I did that. And yes, I had a C-section, and that went pretty well.
Hina : Tell us a bit more about the low placenta. What exactly is it and how does it happen? Is there something that women can do to not get a low placenta pregnancy?
Suchi : Sure. So having a low-lying placenta means that the baby is attached towards the lower part, and that could result essentially in a C-section, because having a normal vaginal delivery would be quite risky for the mother as well as the baby, simply because it would end up with a lot of blood loss. This is what the doctor explained to me. What can one do to avoid it? I'm not quite sure anything can be done to avoid it, but the reason for this situation, as explained by my doctor, was that essentially it happens to women if they have undergone any sort of surgery earlier. But that was not in my case.
However, I did face this situation, so I would say it's pretty random and there's nothing really one can do to avoid it. But yes, if there is a situation like this, I would advise to follow whatever the doctor says. Right.
Hina : You took some time off and then did you rest? Was it bed rest? What did you do?
Suchi : Yes, I made sure that I was rested adequately during the daytime. I tried not to work a lot while sitting. And also, travel is supposed to be minimal that time. So I informed in my office that I'm going through this situation and travel would not be possible. And mind you, this was pre-pandemic era where we were going to office for five days a week, and that would mean that I would have to travel a lot, be in the car, and face all the bumpy roads and the potholes, which was extremely difficult at that time. So I stayed home and made sure that I was rested.
Hina : So leading up to your delivery, at which week did you start experiencing labor pains? Or how do you differentiate the pains between normal animal and labor?
Suchi : Labor pain? Well, at 37 and a half weeks, I experienced pain in my abdomen towards the evening. And, well, it's quite common, I would say, in your final trimester, because the head of the baby moves downwards, and that makes one feel quite heavy all the time. So, there is a certain amount of pain that you experience in the final weeks, but labor pain would be more intense, and it is somewhat similar to period pain. And I started experiencing that, and I informed my family, my immediate family who were with me. I tried to rest it out for some time. When it did not stop, we went to the hospital.
Hina : Okay so you reached the hospital. Who was there to receive you? By the way, what time did you go to the hospital? Because that matters too right? Was your doctor available? What was the paperwork like? Did they admit you, test you?
Suchi : So this was close to midnight, so the doctor was not available, my doctor. There were nurses who were on night duty who did a quick check up, essentially, to check if the baby is doing fine, the heart rate is fine. Turned out that it has increased a little bit, but it was something that was not to be so bothered about at that point of time.
And so the on-duty doctor was called, and she spoke to my doctor and informed that I'll have to stay admitted in the hospital till morning, and they would be monitoring me throughout the night, which they did.
And the next morning is when my doctor arrived and told me that it would be advisable to get a C section down the same day.
Hina : I think, in a sense, you did know while leading up to your big day that somewhere you would be getting a Csection. Right. So how did you prepare yourself mentally for it? And then once you got to know that, yes, this is a C section, what went through your head?
Suchi : I took multiple opinions of different doctors. There were a couple of them who said that they would be trying a normal delivery, but anything could happen at the end. And I should be prepared mentally for a C section as well because of the low lying place center. Yes. There was a 70, 80% chance that I would end up having a C section.
Somewhere you're right. I was mentally prepared for this major surgery. Yes. I mean, we took the decision to go for it simply because we trusted our doctor. And that's the right thing to do, I believe, you know, one should trust the doctor and go ahead with whatever he or she advises at that crucial time.
Hina : Leading up to the C section, could you walk us through how you are prepared prepared for it at the hospital and how long did it take, primarily?
Suchi : Around 6:30 AM I was told that the doctor would be visiting me and advising about what she would like to do next. And when the doctor came to visit me, she told me straight off that we cannot risk anything here and we need to ensure that the baby comes out safe. You are safe. So, let's go ahead with the operation.
The operation took place around 10:00 a.m. I had a good two and a half hours leading up to the operation time. And what it essentially meant was there was a queue per-se for C section deliveries that day. Somehow a lot of babies decided to come into the world on that particular day. And it's not surprising because my daughter happens to be a people's person, so I think she's got a lot of friends.
There's actually a very interesting story about my daughter's birth. I happened to visit a mall about a year after her birth, and I came across a mother who was actually someone who had delivered a baby exactly the day and at the same hospital as my daughter. We were extremely happy and surprised with this meeting. And that's something etched in my memory because it's quite unique to find somebody else whom you did not know from before, who was there while you're back exactly at the same juncture as yourself.
Hina : Such a special moment. So the C section,who was with you during the operation? Because generally you have spouse, parents, someone there with you. Could you tell us about that?
Suchi : My family was there. My husband was there with me, but, of course, this was a surgery, so I was taken in alone. And once the baby came out, the doctor did allow him to take a quick look at the baby, and, you know, that was great. That's a good memory for him as well, that he was given the opportunity to see her, be the first family member to see her.
But we always see in the movies that we have our spouse standing next to us, so that essentially, well, doesn't really happen and definitely doesn't happen in a Csection. Having him look at the child was a big deal for us, so that was special. And my other family members were waiting outside to welcome the baby.
Hina : That's wonderful! Very special time in your life. And during the Csection, what is it like? Do they operate on you for a very long time, and then the baby comes out or vice versa?
And what goes on in your head? Are you conscious or not?
Suchi : I'll begin with that conscious part. That's very crucial. So I was completely aware of what was happening, but minus the pain. The entire process took about 40 to 45 minutes. But when we started, I remember my doctor told me, Suchi, are you ready to meet your baby? And I was like, yes, doctor. How much time will it take? And she said, Just two to three minutes and be ready. Your baby will be here.
That was very surprising because I thought it'll take more time. But it was exactly what happened. I mean, two to three minutes into the operation, and the baby was out. Of course, the stitching up and cleaning up the baby takes time. So overall, I would say 40 to 45 minutes.
Hina : I think you mentioned a very correct word at the beginning of our discussion, and that is C section is a major surgery. So once you came out of it, out of the Operation theater, how long what were the next steps like days that followed, the weeks that followed. How long did it take for you to get back to your own self?
Suchi : That's a very good question. And I would say for a long time I did not realize that I had actually gone through something as major as a Csection. And what essentially happens is you're used to doing things, you're used to walking at a certain pace, anything, cooking, dancing, standing for a while. But all of this went for a toss because I had to suddenly be careful with my movements. Walking was very tough.
Forget walking fast. I do remember that approximately a week after the delivery is when I could walk properly. But the entire recovery period, I would say was at least three months. And post which you can start walking light workout and maybe even join a Zumba class. Of course not do a lot of intensive exercises, but I would say wait for at least three months for your body to heal.
And overall, if you ask me did I feel like how I was earlier, that probably took about one whole year.
Hina : Wow. Moms are a super heroes. Just a couple of more things, right? Because motherhood changes you entirely. And I know for a fact that your career is outstanding. It is even beyond what very accomplished people are able to do. You have done achieved way more than that. If we could just touch base upon that a little bit, specially with you. I want to talk about that. What kind of challenges did you face post birth? How did you overcome that? And how did you go on to become this incredibly successful career woman that you are right now?
Suchi : Thank you very much. First of all, I think you know when this happens to you, right, it is a major life changing event, having a baby, and you're not really ever mentally prepared for the kind of changes you will have in your life or the changes you would feel, right?
Career is, of course, a very important aspect, and I do know that many women prefer to sort of stop working after having a baby, which I think, by the way, is quite sad. And the reason I say that is because it takes away a lot of your individual individuality from you.
In my case, I made a tough decision to take a break. Simply because my employer was not ready to extend my three month maternity leave. Yes. At that point of time, it was three months, shortly after which it was made to be six months. But I missed that, unfortunately. And, you know, I had to take the tough call of taking a break to take care of my baby. I wouldn't advise anybody to do that. If you are career oriented, which you should be, you should keep in mind that the baby eventually grows right. And you would always want to be a role model for your child. So keep that in mind while making your decisions.
I know that it's very important to be around the baby, especially in the initial weeks, months, years, I would say, but get as much help as possible. And if it's something you can manage, I would advise that manage the entire childcare without a carrier break. Six months is a good time. I think I should say I'm thankful for this change of policy. And it's great because three months was too less so. Yes. My advice to all mom-to-bes, would be to be mindful of the fact that eventually the baby grows right. And at that point of time, it's very difficult to reverse your decision.
It took a lot of time for me to actually get back to the workforce. And it was not easy. There was a lot of resistance. I mean, I got calls because I had worked for a long period, close to a decade before actually taking a break. But the moment the person, the recruitment team, came to know about my break, they were just not ready to move ahead. This is the reality. It is the sad truth.
There are several programs run by several organizations to bring back mothers, to make them join the workforce again. And I really appreciate that. I think these initiatives are very required to make sure we don't lose a major fraction of our workforce.
Hina : I have two thoughts around that one. I think nowadays, post pandemic, with a hybrid model, it's become easier for women to continue their career while not missing out too much on their child's formative years. So that, coupled with government policy, plus companies giving six months paid and unpaid leave, I think India specially has a very good maternity policy by the government as well as most of the organizations. So now is a very good time to embrace motherhood and to not let go of your individuality. I think your point regarding working for your own self is extremely, extremely good and I think very important for women.
Suchi : Absolutely. I completely agree.
Hina : Great. That's wonderful. Suchi, thank you so much for letting us know, making us a part of your journey, telling us about it, your story, and we're very happy to have you on the show.
Suchi : Thank you very much, Hina, for having me.