Friday, September 21, 2012

A night in SCBU

Dear Arjun and Anirudh,

It took really long time for me to write this letter. I started writing this almost a month back, but you never gave me enough time to finish this. The journey so far has been quite interesting. It wasn't an easy ride, but that wasn't any surprise for me. It wasn't just because of you two either. You mom and granny was also there with you :) Anyways, that isn't the topic for this letter, I have few things to share before that.

Soon after your birth, you were taken to SCBU, special care baby unit. Anirudh was even struggling to breath sometimes. So we were told that you will be kept there till you are ready to go home. I have mentioned this earlier as well, so don't want to bore you by repeating the same thing again and again. Sure your mother will do that for me! I just wanted to tell you about one particular night at SCBU which was little different compared to others.

As usual I visited you guys at 10:30PM for providing the night supply of milk. It was Friday night, so there was a new nurse for the weekend. An old lady in her sixties, may be even seventy. She was working part time for the weekend nights. I don't remember her name now. These english names and the way they pronounce it is so difficult that I don't remember most of their names. Even otherwise, I was never good at remembering names.

I was slightly late for Arjun's feed that night, so she had already changed his nappy and fed him. I did the same for Anirudh and waited till you both are settled. Till that day you both used to sleep immediately. I thought it might be a matter of few minutes. Anirudh slept within 5 minutes. But Arjun was finding it hard. I just stood besides him and started watching him. It was quite unusual for me. I haven't seen him crying earlier for anything other than food. But this time it didn't look like he was asking for food. He looked as if he was in some kind of pain. I was very confident about the nurses in SCBU. After all they must have seen thousands of babies like you, so this situation is nothing new for them. The old nurse watched Arjun for five minutes and told me to just leave as babies generally do this sometimes. The trick is to ignore that and they would sleep on their own after some time. If we show any interest and start holding them, it becomes a routine and they will demand the same from then onwards. It wasn't a satisfying answer, but I didn't know anything about babies. So, I just stayed there, hoping he will settle as she told.

Half an hour passed. He tried sleeping for some time, but couldn't. So started crying again after 5 minutes. The old lady wasn't paying much attention. I wasn't sure whether to ask her for more milk or not. I was sure she wouldn't take it in a good way. So, I just continued to stand by him watching him crying. Another 15 minutes passed. There was no sign of Arjun settling down, neither did he stopped crying. I was getting impatient, I knew he was feeling something bad, but didn't know what he wanted. Still I didn't have the courage to ask the old lady. But that wasn't required. She had seen enough people to understand what I was telling silently. She got extremely irritated by my presence besides the crying baby. Though I didn't open my mouth, she heard it loudly asking me to do something. Her face turned red, she jumped out of her chair, got a bottle of milk and slammed it on the table. It took some time for me to realize that she really got offended by my mere presence there. 'I have seen thousands of babies in my career. I know exactly what I am doing here. We have our own ways of looking after babies. It makes us feel very bad if you think we are not doing our duty properly'. She started accusing me directly. I had to look for words to defend myself. 'I didn't ask you for anything, let alone blaming you for not doing your job. I know very well that you have faced thousands of situations like this. So, definitely you know very well what you are doing. But, this is a new experience for me. I had never looked after any infants, I wanted to see how they behave and settle down. It would be a good learning for me as well when they come home.' I kept on convincing her that I never meant she wasn't taking good care of the babies. I don't think she got convinced, but she started feeding Arjun to calm him down. He took just 10ml and then stopped sucking. It made him quiet for a while, but he restarted his crying saga again. She asked me to leave indirectly. But I was determined to stay there till he stops crying. I knew she wouldn't be happy about me monitoring him in-front of her. I was getting angry as well that she wasn't able to understand my concern. But I made my best to control my feelings. I kept on telling her that my intention is to learn things from her. I started praising her experience in childcare and told how valuable her suggestions and hands on experience would be for me. Slowly she came down to her normal level. She started consoling him and started changing his nappy again suspecting something.  For her surprise she noticed that he had nappy rash, so immediately got the nappy rash cream and applied it smoothly. In next 5 minutes Arjun stopped crying completely and slept peacefully. I thanked her again for her great work and headed back home at 1:00AM in the morning for my dinner.

Today I am very much used to see you both crying relentlessly for hours together. So, sometimes it looks so silly of me to be so bothered on that day. But if I think further, it was a good lesson for both of us on that day. I could have hit back, complaining  against the old lady on that day. But I resorted to resolve that peacefully. The old lady soon realized that she hasn't given enough attention to Arjun. Her years of experience didn't come to rescue when he was having pain for close to two hours. It took quite some time for her to realize that most of the times babies do cry for some reason. She really felt ashamed for overlooking things and took good care of them afterwards. She became very friendly as well later and taught me a lot of good things. She also gave me some feeding bottles and teats to use at home. I could have lost my temper when she started blaming me. That would have given me a temporary comfort by soothing my ego. But it wouldn't have fetched me anything good, probably it would have harmed more as I would always have doubts over her commitment to my babies. Sometimes it makes sense to bend, after all there is always two sides to the story. I wouldn't know what that poor lady was going through which made her so angry that day!

1 comment:

Ksom said...

Well written :) Keep it up