I was born to fight this battle and my daughter taught me to win it. I knew I am a strong WOMAN but on 18th December, 2015, when I was about to get discharged with my 3-days-old daughter I was told by my paediatrician that the green vomit of my daughter is not good and they need to keep her back. While she was taken away for ultra-sonography, CT scan and finally admitted to the NICU I broke down and I knew my strength will be tried and tested once again.
My daughter was diagnosed with a congenital intestine issue, medically known as malrotation of the gut and the only solution was a surgery. And from then until the 29th of Dec my husband, my parents and I spent hours outside the NICU hoping for the day when she will not spit out anymore green fluid. This also meant that I couldn't breastfeed from the 18th and my breasts were engorged. Doctors gave me medicines and asked me to express milk, not get stressed, eat well, sleep well but nothing worked and I could express at the max 10 ml a day. I was really worried as to how will I provide her breastmilk once she is taken out of Intravenous support as I didn't want doctors to give her formula. I would sit in the NICU and express but it was never sufficient. Seeing my daughter attached to various machines broke me every time I walked into the NICU.
Then there was a day when the doctors told me that we need to give her more milk and I just thought is there a Breast Milk bank anywhere? First thing that came to my mind was my network, my yoga group and my yoga teacher Rolly mam. The moment I made that call and she told me not to worry, I knew something will work. She helped me connect to a few moms and Ritu was the only angel in my life who was so forthcoming to share with me her breastmilk. I request all the women in this room to break their glass ceilings and not have any inhibitions and not be always worried about societal perceptions but be bold to bring about a change in one’s own life and in the society.
I still remember the long ride from Hiranandani hospital to Ritu’s house and there she was with a big hug at the door. I can’t thank you enough Ritu, but thank you for sharing as that day your 80 ml breastmilk was the best medicine for my daughter. We have exchanged empty milk bottles vs filled up bottles in the midst of traffic just because we both believed breastmilk is the best for a child during the initial days. This gave me motivation to express and soon I could express 100ml in a day. I just hope one day we have breast milk banks readily available just like blood banks. Believe me, there is always a road not taken and that's the road that's tougher but also greener.
Read: Ritu’s (donor of breast milk to the author’s daughter) version of the story here.
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