‘I thought I would die, but I delivered a healthy baby… Panic was unnecessary’

Five days earlier than her due date, Sukanya Gawda, contracted the coronavirus. “I was convinced that the virus would kill me… I had prepared my eldest daughter to look after the family if I did not return from hospital…,” she remembers. On May 12, the 32-year-old delivered a healthy boy, and named him ‘Jeevan’, the one who gave her new life.

All she now needs to do is promote her room on the Mumbai chawl and return to her native village in Mandya, Karnataka together with her husband Ravi and three kids. “When I got Covid, we were alone Mumbai, our family was in the village. Such experiences make you realise that struggling in a big city for a little more money is not worth it,” she says, including that she needs to coach her daughters “and perhaps one could become a doctor”. “I saw how hard nurses and doctors work, how they held my hand while I was in labour…”

Lack of knowledge and over-crowded maternity wards at authorities hospitals made the pandemic harder for 1000’s of pregnant ladies like Sukanya who didn’t have the means to get non-public care. As Mumbai witnessed a surge in circumstances, and the stigma across the illness grew, the Gawdas determined to not disclose Sukanya’s Covid-positive standing to residents of their slum within the western suburb of Marol.

In March, additionally missed her seventh month sonography in March as a result of lockdown.

In May, as per authorities norms all maternity houses have been asking for a Covid check of the mom earlier than delivering the kid. An asymptomatic Gawda examined optimistic on May 7. “The doctor in Rainbow Hospital said only Nair Hospital was delivering children of Covid-positive women. I came back home and cried, I thought I will die. I had seen plenty of news on TV which said that no medicine works on this virus and the family could not even see dead people in hospital,” she says.

“She kept saying leave me by the roadside and let me die here,” says her husband Ravi. On May 8, at 6 am, he took out his autorickshaw and drove your entire household to Nair Hospital in in his autorickshaw, 23 km away. At one barricade, the policemen stepped apart and let the household go Ravi informed them his spouse has Covid.

Apart from Sukanya, nobody within the household had any symptom and by no means bought examined.

When they reached Nair Hospital, docs informed us to go to the native maternity hospital in our Ward, says Ravi. “We then drove to Wadia Maternity Hospital (3 km away), but again we were turned away from the main gate. Next, we went to KEM hospital, but the maternity ward was overcrowded and there was no bed. The doctor at KEM hospital asked us to return to Nair Hospital. When we reached Nair Hospital, Sukanya started crying… They agreed to admit her after two hours,” says Ravi.

Soon, Sukanya bid farewell to her household, and known as her sister and uncle in Karnataka to take care of her two daughters if she doesn’t survive. However, as soon as she bought to the ward she was stunned to see Covid-positive pregnant ladies sitting casually, having conversations. “Nobody was gasping, nobody was dying. Two women even got discharged that day… One woman explained to me that most women had no symptoms and no visible effect on their pregnancies,” she remembers.

Since March, municipal company run Nair Hospital has admitted 1,200 Covid-positive pregnant ladies and delivered 767 infants freed from price. “There was no data on how the virus affects pregnant women with Covid. It was a new experience. Our challenge was to keep our staff and newborn babies safe,” says Dr Ganesh Shinde, head of the hospital’s gynaecology division.

Dr Niraj Mahajan, in-charge of Covid maternity at Nair Hospital says they made particular preparations for such pregnancies, from organising a completely different ward and operation theatre to creating positive every new child is breastfed by moms solely after they’ve masks on and have sanitised themselves. “Vertical transmission from mother to foetus was rare, and most babies were born Covid-free,” he says.

On May 12, Sukanya’s labour pains started, and she or he was wheeled in for a caesarean process. Nurses held her hand as a physician gave her anaesthesia. When she awakened within the afternoon a nurse informed her she had delivered a healthy boy. When she was handed over the kid for breastfeeding, she promptly sanitised her fingers. For the subsequent fortnight, she didn’t take off her masks.

When she returned house on May 22, she says she determined two issues: “We stopped all TV news channels, it was the main source of panic for us. The media should have shown some restraint in its reporting. I also didn’t go out of the house with the baby for four months. No outsider was allowed to enter our house, not even neighbours.”

As she prepares to step into the brand new 12 months, with a healthy household, Sukanya says the panic over the virus within the early days was pointless. “Ye samay kabhi kisi ko nahi dekhna chahiye (Nobody should witness what we did)… But we learnt what is important to us, family over money,” says Sukanya, as Jeevan performs within the arms of her elder daughter.


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