The hospital adventure was finally over. No more sleeping on the back-breaking uncomfortable couch, bathing in a cubicle-sized bathroom and getting ready for office from a suitcase. Mother and child were officially ready to leave for home. The newest member of the family was about to get the first ride in her brand new car seat!
But before we left, there were a couple of important things we had to address:
- Insurance – Take all the relevant documents from the hospital if you are going for an insurance/medi-claim. As an employed worker, companies have a pregnancy cover, which you can avail of. So ensure you leave with all the bills and documents and ensure that everything is on your wife’s name (the patient)
- Birth Certificate – This is most vital! In Mumbai, the hospital facilitates the birth certificate form. Now there are two ways of doing this; first, after mutually agreeing on the name fill the form without any delay. And the hospital submits it at the local area municipal ward office. Second option, the hospital will submit the form without the child’s name and you may choose to add it at a later date at the same municipal ward office. The certificate takes 40 days to get processed. You need to check online and see if the certificate is ready. Once it is, you can take as many printouts and get it attested.
Important note – Apparently, you can’t go to any municipal ward to get the certificate attested, you have to go to the same one the hospital submitted the form.
The baby was nicely ensconced in her car seat, all wrapped up in a swaddle. At first we had our reservations about using the car seat for a 3-day old. We did struggle initially, we took our time, but somehow we managed to buckle her in. She slept throughout the entire journey, which was a good one-hour drive. Needless to say my wife was sitting there the whole time holding on to her.
This is it, this is going to be my second job, I am officially going to be a chauffer to my wife and daughter.
Now traditionally pregnant women (at least in India) go back to their own house, the mother’s house. Sometimes a month or so before delivery and then stay on for at least 40 days post pregnancy or in some cases directly after delivering the baby. Sabiha chose to stay at our house, one due to logistical reasons, as her family lived in Kuwait, and two, because we wanted to do this together, I wanted to be there at every step of the way, I didn’t want to miss out on anything.
We got phenomenal support from both sets of parents and the family. And let me tell you something, it is only getting stronger.
Sabiha went through this nesting phase just before her delivery, we got the room done to fit the crib, which was big enough to hold a walrus. Storage! Lots of storage – chest of drawers, overhead cabinets, storeroom on the terrace, under the bed, in the closet, bathroom; any free space we could think of, we made it. Both of us became like raging moms who are perennially in search of that extra storage space in the house.
She had marked out all the drawers and cabinets, knew what went where. She even showed it to me… repeatedly. It worked! When we got home we were ready for any kind of situation:
“Baby made poop!” BOOM Diapers, first drawer on the left
“Baby opens mouth to yawn!” BOOM Vitamins and calcium top left cabinet, first shelf!
“Baby scratching face and head!” BOOM mittens second drawer on the right
Yeah we knew our shit… and the baby’s too.
The baby needs to acclimatize to the home, and do everything you can to make her feel comfortable. Room temperature is very important, the baby needs to feel warm, cozy and secure, hence wrapping her is very important. I have noticed with a lot of kids that they love getting swaddled but my daughter hated it. She loves to flail and flap her hands everywhere – “Oooh what are these? they can move!” SPLAT… on the face… “WAAAAH”. But whatever the struggle, swaddle the child, it becomes easier to feed her and put her to sleep, if they are industrious enough, they will find a way to get those hands out for some air.
If you are used to sleeping in an air conditioned room, make sure that it doesn’t go below 25-26 degrees Celsius. The nurses told us that if the temperature drops the baby will start sneezing and that’s not very nice.
A common mistake amongst new parents, they sound-proof the room to such an extent that the blood can be heard coursing through the veins. Kids in the initial few weeks can sleep through the noise and vibrations of a jack-hammer. Apparently their senses haven’t kicked in yet in full throttle. So if the child get’s used to pin drop silence sleep from the start, when she gets older, the slightest sound will stir her awake. Let the child get used to the daily routine sounds (grinder/mixer, traffic, crows, family members chatting, etc) or white noise as doctors like to call it. These are the sounds the baby needs to learn to absorb.
Limit visitors, initially, to a bare minimum, remember the family needs to settle down and it’s not just the parents but other members as well. It’s not often you get a new permanent family member lounging in your house.
The initial weeks are going to be tough but ensure the baby, and the mother get plenty of rest. She is going to get very tired feeding the child at least every two or three hours. So yes, I am sure you have heard this before but when the baby sleeps, the mother must sleep as well! And fathers start getting used to night duty, carrying the baby around, making sure they burp and fart to their heart’s content, the night is going to become your best friend!