“Like everyone I was careful, wearing masks and hand gloves. I stepped out only for prenatal checkups and not anywhere. I was very sincere in social distancing and mostly sanitised myself every single hour. The measures you have been asked to follow or the advice you adhere doesn’t end up so well in all cases, especially when you are pregnant. Being an athlete I thought I was always high on immune or stamina, but u know pregnancy completely changes ur system. I was tested positive when I was 34 weeks pregnant. Well, before getting the test done I had to go through all the prescribed symptoms of covid, which made me drain every single bit of energy I was saving for my delivery. It was a complete nightmare.
The first day I had horrendous back pain and body ache. I was believing it as a part of my labour since I had drilling back pain and tiredness during my first pregnancy. Followed by severe cough and mild running nose on the second day. That’s when the sense of paranoia started hitting me and I decided to quarantine myself away from my husband and son. With the help of digital binging and the most romantic k-dramas, I did not move away from my bed for the whole day but still ended up with abnormal tiredness. I was pretty sure I got hit by the virus. But at the same time, my mind was lingering around the thoughts around being fine and brushed it off as a normal cold. My heart was pounding hard to get back to my son and husband who were just a room away, waiting for me. I still couldn’t believe that I will be in the same house without seeing or playing with my son for four long days. We contacted our closest family friend, a Neurosurgeon and explained the symptoms. Dr Balamurugan Subramanian and Dr Lakshmipathy Ramesh gave us high hopes and positivity along with a WhatsApp contact of Anderson lab, a private laboratory.
We got greeted the next day morning by one of the sample collectors from the laboratory dressed up completely with PPEs and protective gears. The Neighbours, apartment maids and watchman took a step back looking at them, pre-deciding the circumstances. The milk packets of the neighbours were left unaddressed or ignored until the lab analyst left. One of the securities even left the job without informing us. Each and every one of us took the test and at least now I had a chance of looking at my son from a distance when the doors had to close.
24 hrs later, my husband and son alone were tested negative, leaving me back to the 400sqft room. But now without a choice for the next unimaginable 14 days right from the scratch. The symptoms now seem to have worsened. I had to cough every time holding the belly tight. Sometimes I had to cough very loud crouching inside the pillow worrying the water would break any moment. The movements of my limbs stopped listening to me. They were consistently unresponsive. Moving my hand from one position to another was a huge task. Changing sleep positions was something which I cannot even think off.
Meanwhile, my husband and son had to take over the kitchen and other household activities, which was equally heart wrenching. Their routine got flooded with daily chores which they have ever done in life. Cooking, cleaning vessels, feeding me, feeding Ayaan, sweeping mopping and the most important online classes had to completely fall on my husbands head.
My routine inside the room now had completely changed or got screwed up to be more precise. My nights were elongated, days got weak only thinking about the health of the baby inside me. Though Dr Karthika (actor Dhanush’s sister) advised the virus will not affect the baby travelling all way through the placenta, my fear of safe delivery had already become a question of doubt. Throughout the entire struggle, I never stopped talking to the baby inside. Even in the middle of the extensive coughing, I used to keep her happy and notice her movements. I never wanted the baby to suffer for no mistake of hers.
I exactly had 2 weeks for delivery and the same two long weeks to fight for the survival. The virus is tricky, it will make you drain mentally and physically and force you to give up. Many moments it made me cry for the loneliness I had to undergo. Prayers and positivity from the people around me alone gave me little hope and strength, from time to time. I felt I was recovering after a week.
I thought I was completely cured in 10 -12 days and had to check again since my 36th-week scan was due now. The scan centres had already mandated the covid negative result before even booking an appointment. The Anderson lab visited us again to make sure the milk packets are again left unattended for the additional hours.
The next 24 hrs I was relaxed since the symptoms had reduced and I walked out of the room once and even helped my husband since the kitchen was looking like a nazi gas chamber. But still, I could not stand for long or do the households for even 10 minutes. Got back to the room thinking the abnormal tiredness is probably the retrieval syndrome. I was wrong. The second test result came to be positive again. This is when I, my husband and my family almost lost it. Everybody around us including the doctors got literally worried having only a few days left for the due date. Calls from the government relief centres made me cry and cascade the worries to an unknown stranger. Trust me, I felt a lot better after doing that.
Thinking of another 14 days of quarantine life again got me into an unimaginable stress level. The maternity hospital I chose for delivery has not started accepting any covid positive cases yet. Though they were prepared for it, it was a hospital only for maternity. I was scared to call and ask them, thinking they will refuse me to enter the premises. My friends who were due for delivery with me already gave me a shocker saying the private hospitals were charging triple or even four times the cost for covid positive labour cases. Though the information was baseless we were still financially not ready to pay that much. Bu at the t same time, the day was very close and we had to decide the place in case of any emergency. We even checked with few government hospitals where they are accepting covid patients for labour.
Coming back to 400sqft room. 20 days done already and 14 days more has newly added up to the list. I was not in a position to read books, no more binge-watching nor the Korean dramas did help. The WhatsApp video calls with husband and son between rooms had to reduce. I had to sit, just sit all day doing nothing. Just nothing. I even stopped talking to the baby, noticing very minimal movements. I couldn’t handle the loneliness anymore. Sitting idle and not knowing what will happen the next minute was the biggest challenge I ever faced in my life. The mental stress and the agony I went through could not be expressed by words and I wish no pregnant women would face such hell ever.
10 days later my husband arranged for the third test without even intimating me. I was already getting into an anxiety attack every time I got to know that there is a covid test next day. We remember this time the lab attendants called my husband and enquired my situation out of personal interest. I still couldn’t believe the entire lab prayed for me that particular day.
I and my husband and the entire family got emotionally drained and pushed to the edge of the situation. All we knew was, If the result turns out to be Covid Positive, the entire situation is going to be tipsy turvy, else we will run immediately to the nearby hospital and pull the baby out.
We gave the test and sat there, sliding on the walls right behind us just like all the 32 days. We did not, could not sleep that night. Tiredness covering my eyes, shoulders made me go numb. I wanted to go for a nap but the brain wasn’t allowing. I know I was sinking down. I want to sleep but I couldn’t. It was a moment of abnormal silence.
The next morning I could hear a faded noise of my doors being opened at a distance. The sound which I did not hear for the last whole month was clearly audible very next to me. I could feel someone touching my hands and caressing it. The touch which I missed for a long time. I refused to open my eyes, clinging it tight. I felt a peck on my forehead. I held the hands next to me and hugged my husband so tight. He whispered into my ears “…. it’s negative”.
We booked an appointment with my gynac Dr Deepa Thyagarajamoorthy ( Sai Women’s Clinic ) the very next day and even got a date fixed for the C- Section. Though she suggested we go for normal delivery, I had lost all my energy both mentally and physically and forced her for a C.
The small conversations I had with my friends, support from my parents, in-laws, home medicine and prayers from extended families, unstoppable love, video calls and care from my husband and son only made it possible for me to deliver the bundle of joy. 32 days of struggle was worth the wait. We delivered a baby girl on the 24th of July 2020 and agreed to name her Aanya Suryaa. The name was my husband’s choice and actually, I was not adamant and kind of ready to say ok for anything he would ask for. That’s the least I could give back in return for being with me throughout this tough time.
Whatever I mentioned above could vary or differ from situation to situation or from a person to person. But my consistent request for all the pregnant women out there is to not to take this lightly. Being a pregnant woman you or the baby does not deserve to undergo any of these pixelated protocols or the horrible loneliness. Avoid stepping out, unless it is very important or a weekly checkup. Be very careful when you visit hospitals. Wear a proper N95 or surgical mask and hand gloves. Keep away from the crowds. Do a lot of breathing exercises and keep ur lungs fit. Avoid ice creams, sweets or chocolates. Drink lots of hot water, steaming every alternate day will keep you fine and dandy.
I am indebted for life for all the doctors I had mentioned here. In addition, I thank Dr Mythili Madhusudhan, Dr Magesh Pathy my brother from another mother, Sehlvi Daamu anna our godfather and Shree Varma (Shree Varma Ayurveda) my emotional support for the consistent followups, medicines and prayers. My sincere thanks to the staffs, nurses and doctors from motherhood hospitals for conducting a safe delivery and postnatal care. They charged only their normal price.
But whatever said, leaving things aside, I missed my early morning cuddles, surprise snuggles, an extravagant baby shower surrounded by friends, a romantic babymoon with my man, a cute photoshoot, mouth-watering exotic foods, and finally labour holding the hands of my husband. I missed everything just for the reason. A reason to survive the next minute to deliver my baby girl in a healthy way.
The situation what I went through could have been handled well by others. But as a pregnant woman, I feel we don’t deserve this. This is a horrible virus. So, just Stay Home and Stay Safe.”
#CoronaVirus #Survivor #CovidWarriors #StayHomStaySafe #Family #Support #Hope #IndiaFightCorona #CoronaVirusPandemic #Life #pregnancy #Motherslove #Survival #Strength #Health #Madras #HumansofMadras