Anita Dedhi, 38, feared she would never be able to hold her daughter, who was born prematurely at 24 weeks in a Bhayander nursing home. It was only a few days ago when Dedhia held her daughter in her arms at Surya Child Care Hospital, Santacruz, where she was admitted for the past three months.
Doctors said she is one of the youngest babies to have been treated at the hospital, which specialises in neonatal care. “She weighed just 630 gram and was brought to the hospital with a respiratory distress syndrome. She was put on ventilator support,” said Dr Nandkisore Kabra, director, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the hospital.
Most doctors had told the family that the baby may not survive as she had a fungal infection at birth, transmitted from her mother. “The child developed various complications during the course of treatment. She developed jaundice and even had a minor bleeding in the brain,” said Dr Kabra, adding that such children may have retinopathy of prematurity, which can affect the eyesight. “We did a laser surgery to save her eyes and she will be able to see normally.”
For the couple, the past few months were challenging as they had to see their daughter only through glass panes. “I would come to the hospital every day to see her. She now weighs 2.2 kg and we will take her to the church when she is discharged,” said Dedhi, who has had two miscarriages before. “We have not named her yet because we want to take her to the church first, where we had prayed for her.”
Doctors said preterm birth remains a serious, common, and costly health problem. “Although survival has increased for infants born preterm, the delivery rate has not declined,” said Dr Kabra.
According to Dr Bhupendra Awasthi, neonatologist at the hospital, strengthening of NICU facilities across the city can help save many such babies.