A dad's story of welcoming a Preemie Baby

A dad's story of welcoming a Preemie Baby

By Abir Das

It was a rainy day; the monsoon was in full swing in Gurgaon. We were making our way to the hospital through the water-clogged roads of our smart city - Gurgaon. I remember joking with my wife, Divya, that she is the one person in the car yet to get surgery on her belly. Our mothers sitting at the back had a good laugh about it. But there it was, the end game, Divya and I had been navigating through this difficult pregnancy for so long time and finally it was time for the baby to come. 

The next morning was D-Day. Divya was taken inside the OT and the rest of us stayed at the visitor’s lounge in anticipation of what was yet to come. It was probably the longest 30 minutes that I have ever spent in my life. My brain has already simulated over a million scenarios of what was to come next. Finally, I see two nurses and a doctor coming out with a baby tray with an enormous set up of equipment tied to it. The Doctor asked who's the father of “Baby of Divya”. I signaled it was I. She then asked me to join her for a briefing in the NICU. 

There I saw my baby for the first time. God! I never realized that a human could be so small and tiny. He could literally fit in the palm of my hand. I was afraid if I touched him, I would break something. I could barely see his face though, the oxygen tube had covered a lot of his face. I could map out the exact shape of his lungs when he exhaled. The Doctor gave me a rundown of the vitals and the equipment. Everything is okay for now, she mentioned, but the next 72 hours are critical, anything can happen!

Thus began my journey to fatherhood, thrown at the very deep end. What went on for the next two months was a roller coaster ride. The ups and downs, the good news and the bad news, through it all, we waited eagerly for when we could bring our baby home. We learnt countless medical jargon, saw a lot of wires and tubes, and prayed to probably all the Gods! We felt that every breath of a preemie baby was a miracle. It gets brutal in your workspace and social circle as well. People would congratulate you on being a parent and you don’t know how to react. 

If you are a parent of a preemie baby and reading this, let’s get a bit technical. A baby’s weight is a function of the organs that he/she has. A preemie baby essentially means that those organs may not be fully developed and hence they need support to function properly and the lower weight. It can vary across different babies, some may require support to breathe, some for kidney function, some for digestion, and so on. As a parent, you have only two tools to deal with this; Hope and Patience. So be positive and things will get better. 

My baby is almost 9 months old now and he is doing well. As for parents, once you bring your baby home; that will probably be the simplest phase of parenting. We just have to worry about his health and growth now. A few years down the line, it gets complicated; you will start to wonder if they are learning the right things, then whether you are setting the right examples for them; and then you would think if you can be a good friend to them. So, it’s important to cherish the present and enjoy those little moments. Remember, today is the day that your baby will be the tiniest he/she will ever be. 

Well, when you have so much going on; you would want the other things to fall into its place. Thanks to Bhaakur, they had a wide collection of preemie baby clothing that we couldn’t find anywhere in the market. Those clothes were so good, that the nurses in the hospital recommended them to other parents. I hope you try out some of their stuff. Happy parenting!


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