Parenting is really a tough job. Generally parents tend to perform it from their perspective and assume that they have done the job with perfection. However most of the times it falls short of the child’s expectations or the required level of accomplishment. Mothering a child is still laborious as the clock starts well ahead of the fathering timelines.
In today’s world the lifestyles had made things more complicated, though on the other side the hospitals and the maternity counsellors always try to keep things manageable. It is said that there is no pain deeper and extreme than the pain of labour. The hospitals have given the option of a C-Section also for mothers, if they fear they can’t bear the labour pain. I have heard of such cases within my known circles too, where the women asked the doctor to go for the artificial delivery. But the fact is that a baby delivered naturally with the mother going through the process of labour pain develops a different kind of bonding between the two though some mothers may disagree to that.
And, what do the fathers do? Pay the bills and attend the office. Many financially lucky fathers don’t even have to pay the bills. Their wives are self sufficient to bear, deliver, fund and raise the child. The father remains ‘Third Umpire’ in such cases. I wonder what for God had sent those creatures on earth if being a father they cannot in any way assist the mothers?
With the increase in the purchasing power of people, the hospitals and doctors also have found ways and means to extract money from the patients. Gone are the days when the medical was a noble profession. The doctors and the politicians are the ones who invest a lot of money in getting their seat, the EMI of which has to be paid by the public till they are in the seat. If you have money, the chances of survival are more; compared to the poor if you are in the need of medical assistance.
Though conceiving, nurturing the baby inside the womb and delivering the baby is a natural phenomenon, the same is being treated as a medical case with expectant mother being referred as patient. The doctor advice you to start folic acid early, then you have the calcium and iron tablets throughout the pregnancy. If you have the vague eating habits or there is a history, there is a chance that your thyroid must be on higher side. So, you need to start your day by popping a pill early in the morning.
When my wife conceived our second child, she was just above thirty five. She had to pop up all these pills too and in addition she had the common gestational diabetes too. The fasting and postprandial (PP) sugar showed that and further it was seen with the Glucose tolerance test (GTT). The doctor advised HbA1C test also to confirm the same. So, the doctor put her directly on insulin from the second month onwards as the oral pills are not advisable for pregnant women. He also asked her to monitor the sugar levels two times in the morning a day, in the afternoon next day and in the night next to next day and continue it throughout the pregnancy. That is, two needle pricks a day.
She used to feel a lot hungry too but when she did that, the blood sugar levels rose up. The doctor then asked her to take the insulin 3 times a day and one while going to bed. That is 4 pricks per day. So it amounted to 6 pricks a day to be continued for almost two hundred days! All these just to ensure that the baby inside the womb is not affected due to the increase in the blood glucose levels of the mother.
Such condition of my wife had further encouraged the doctors to suggest the ultrasound scan within three months of the pregnancy as they said that they suspect abnormalities in the baby. As a concerned parents we followed their instructions without any arguments assuming that the words of God. The ultrasound confirmed that everything was fine but the nasal bone and few other parts were not clear as the scan was conducted a bit early. So the doctors suggest re-scan after three weeks. In such hospitals which claim to be the best in mother and baby care, each and every instrument they use for examination costs you something. The scans too are no cheaper but then who can dare argue with the doctors? We came for the scan again and there it confirmed everything is fine. The doctors though asked for the anomaly scan preferably at five months. I wondered if such a frequent scans were necessary or are we overdoing things. Are we bit over concerned parents? But then, history is full of various examples of such tenacious parents.
The doctors then further suggested ‘Double Marker’ test. They say, it is required for the mothers who conceive after thirty five years of age to help in identifying if the unborn child is likely to develop any sort of mental disorders or chromosomal imbalance such as Down’s syndrome (trisomy 21) and also for 18 and 13 (Patau and Edward syndrome). The two markers are the Free Beta HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin and PAPP-A (pregnancy-associated plasma protein A). It was told that high levels of HCG and Low level of PAPP-A is a clear sign of risk of mental disorders. Again we were a bit worried. Not because of the fact that the test costs more but about the outcome of the test as exemplified by the doctors. So, we had the blood sample given for the test. The doctors combine the results of the double marker tests with the ultrasound scan and conclude on the probability.
Our endocrinologist was bit better. He has given us the job of monitoring the sugar levels daily with personal Glucometer and asked us to report only one a month. Before coming to him we were supposed to get the laboratory report for the fasting, PP and HbA1C blood tests. He had already asked us to get the diet chart prepared from a Dietician who was monitoring my wife’s daily intake with the help of an App, where the details were fed by us daily at the end of the day. She also referred us to a yoga practitioner for getting tips on meditation and other stuff.
These were the milestones of our unique journey. The destination was getting a healthy baby. We enquired about the hospitals for delivery and we landed up with various packages offered by different hospitals. We wondered if we were really planning for a travel package trip. But that was the perception of the hospitals. The packages contained everything one can ask for in a star hotel. The suite, the attendants, the facilities, the ambience etc were offered with varying degree of levels as per the purchasing power of the expectant parents. Cleverly, the charges for one person get escalated to two, once the baby has arrived. They termed it as professionalism but we felt it was a sheer blackmail.
Now if I put in nutshell, the amount of ‘circus’ to be carried out by expectant parents in today’s world is bit too much. There is nothing natural about it now. I had really gone so compassionate about the way my wife had taken things. She tried to follow everything that doctors said. She was ready to accept and incorporate anything suggested by any doctor or elders. Sometimes I felt awkward and tried to convince her against the unwanted tests or their frequency suggested by doctors but she never compromised. And that is what we call mothering. It doesn’t go by logic and come by advice. Can you imagine a person:
- Being pricked four times a day for insulin throughout the pregnancy
- Being pricked two times daily to check the blood sugar levels throughout
- Popping a pill for thyroid every morning and also aspirin as a blood thinner throughout
- Daily intake of iron and calcium tablets throughout
- Four 3D/4D ultrasound scans
- Blood tests for fasting PP, HbA1C every month in the lab throughout
- The double marker test
- Monthly visit to the gynaecologist and the endocrinologist throughout
- Other procedures such as the urine culture, tetanus injection, etc. as suggested
Though my head automatically bowed down for as she never ever complained of any extra burden being imposed on her, I kept pondering if I could have coped up with all these medical tantrums imposed for nothing. The fathers in any case are more of theoretical kind by the way of their role, job as well as their responsibilities. They don’t have to undergo anything physically. However every medical procedure or advice comes with a money tag. And being a concerned father I was just wondering if my wife was delivering a baby naturally or are we purchasing a baby artificially?