IUGR, a term I never heard off until I hit the 32nd week of pregnancy. For all wondering what’s that, the term IUGR stands for Intrauterine growth restriction. In easy words, the baby in the womb is smaller and taking a longer amount to grow.
The day I heard of the term; I was numb. IUGR condition has no cure. My child in the womb was diagnosed with symmetrical IUGR condition. Meaning that the body is behind in growth proportionally. 20-25% of IUGR cases are considered symmetrical, so it is a little rarer.
Maternity healthcare and awareness as such are lacking in the country. And living in a small town where the term is left unexplained by the medical professional is rather haunting. Had they taken a couple of minutes to explain to me and my companion instead of suggesting to select a muhurat C-section date, the situation had been different. Unknown to me that was the first of the many battles to fight.
Next few days I was surrounded by audible murmurs how the mother, me, was responsible for the IUGR condition. I was walking in a minefield where I was subjected to unsolicited advice amplified ten times. Being the first case of IUGR in the known social circle I was the talk of aaj-kal-ke-bache, to unhealthy lifestyle, being vegetarian while pregnant, to even one who was unfit to carry a healthy womb. Imagine the pressure!
First thing first, it’s not a mother’s fault.
Refusing to bow down I searched for a doctor in the area for a second opinion. Honestly, I ran away from my doctor who forced me for C-section. Since none of my family and kin ever knew of IUGR I started my own extensive research with Google and medical journals. The search engines did take me to multiple pages. Some were informative but most scared me. Internet information can be misleading. Stillbirth, disabilities and long NICU period, these words were enough to drive me paranoid.
Fortunately, I found a doctor who calmed me down and put stop to my blind mice racing.
Penguin, my child was born full-term IUGR through vaginal delivery weighing 2 kilos 260 grams. He looked like a bag of bones with a large head. He was an active new-born and showed symptoms of a healthy child despite IUGR. We were discharged on the third day of birth. We were luckiest for that. Most IUGR babies are usually delivered earlier than their due date and spend days, even months, in NICU.
Visiting new-borns and shadowing new-mother with advice is not new. Penguin being small in size and skinny attracted more unwelcome enlightenment. It took me months to realize that people are not saying this because of his size. Rather we, every individual is socially conditioned to act so.
We are living in a society where labeling, comparison and blaming is common. Most evenings at the playground we were politely suggested tips to make my child chubby. People on call would ask if my child was hitting milestones. Many still express shocks upon how tiny he looks for his age.
In my three years of parenting, I developed immunity to such remarks or frowns. IUGR condition is not much known to people. There is a lack of awareness. As a mother to IUGR baby, I do understand the point. Meanwhile, parents raising IUGR babies would appreciate when others don’t tease the child-and-parent “Don’t your parents feed you”. We parents thrive better with little sensibility from family, friends, and strangers.
The tiny IUGR babies are the mightiest survivors. Penguin might take a few more months or even years to catch up with his counterparts by size. Nevertheless, he is doing fine in other developmental areas. He is undergoing a few medical treatments but we (including doctors) are unsure if it is directly related to his IUGR condition. As an optimist, we hope he would recover well in the coming time.
As a parent raising IUGR baby I would like to highlight a few things –
- It is not a mother’s fault if the foetus has an IUGR condition.
- If you know a worried parent please be supportive.
- In most cases, IUGR babies are delivered earlier than the due date.
- IUGR babies look tiny.
- Avoid staking catch-up growth for IUGR babies. A study suggests a fast-catch-up growth can be linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, etc.
- IUGR babies grow differently. Some catch-up sooner, few take time.
- Don’t compare the child. Although this should be a universal rule for all children.
- Every doctor is not the perfect one for you. Do research, have a meetup and then decide your doctor.
- Immune yourself to other’s comments.
- Google is not your BFF.
Look at the brighter side with your IUGR baby. You can easily switch to a minimalist lifestyle. Clothes would last way long period. Wink!
In the end of the day, I am grateful to have a beautiful loving child on my lap.
13 March is “IUGR Awareness day”, and I am so thankful to my dear friend Pragnya Mishra for writing this “IUGR Awareness post” for my blog.
About the Author
After years to corporate life Pragnya decided to find a purpose of life. Her search for purpose took a turn when she found another dimension of life in motherhood. She pens her parenting journey, thoughts about books and musings on her blog “Life with my Penguin”. She believes that every child needs ample free play, a room full of books and friendship with nature.
follow her at: blog www.lifewithmypenguin.com
This post is a part of #Guestpost series, if you are interested in writing a guest post for my blog. please drop me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me at Instagram @surbhiprapanna.