EXCLUSIVE: Vandana Sajnani Khattar on her premature baby: Nothing had formed. He did not look like a human
Embracing motherhood is one of the most fulfilling experiences in any women’s life. Vandana Sajnani Khattar always dreamt of having her own child but her journey to embrace motherhood has been full of trials and tribulations. In 2019, the actress welcomed her first child with her husband Rajesh Khattar after 11 years of marriage. The couple was blessed with a child after 3 miscarriages, 3 IVFs, 3 IUIs & 3 surrogacy failures. And it was nothing short of a miracle when Vandana tried IVF for one last time and she succeeded.
Speaking about her last attempt, the actress shared, “I tried one last IVF and I was successful. I didn’t know how to react. Then I got the news that it was twins. So I was like ‘Twins and now? Matlab ek sath Jackpot mil gaya’. Then a new journey started. My doctor said ‘Your uterus lining is very weak. As you are carrying two babies you cannot risk it. We have to tie up your uterus and put you on the bed with your legs up tied in the air.’ And I wasn’t even allowed to move at all not even to go washroom. I said ‘I’m ready for it’.”
Vandana was later asked to shift to another hospital as her doctor had an emergency in her family. Reluctantly, in order to save her children, the actress shifted to another hospital that had a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) system as she might have a premature delivery.
“So I was again on the bed with my legs up in another hospital. This was my fifth month. The hospital was fine but the doctor ruined it for me completely. I don’t want to name her. So she gave me some kind of medication and injection. I started bleeding. I immediately called my gynaecologist and I said ‘I am bleeding’. She wondered how that can happen. And then we checked they said one Baby is no more. I said, ‘Now what?”
Then my doctor said, “Hold on. You can because there are two different sacs you can continue this pregnancy. Do not get carried away and do not terminate it for any reason. Just carry on. The next day I had a cesarean. I was shown my baby for like two seconds. He was very small and he was kept in NICU. In my mind I told my baby, ‘Your mother is a fighter you also better be one’. I couldn’t even hold or touch him. And when you are talking of 700gms baby, nothing had formed. He did not look like a human if I say so. Bahut hi ajeeb sa mujhe laga. Maine kaha yeh kya hai? But at that point, I wasn’t even allowed to touch.”
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She further added, “Later I went down and saw my baby for the first time. We named him Vanraj (acronym of Vandana and Rajesh). At that point, you don’t know how to react because I didn’t know postpartum depression would hit me. I didn’t recognise it. I was like ‘Why does he look like this? Why is he kept like this? I had no clue. I have never been a mother. I had never seen a premature baby. I had no idea. I had never been to an ICU. As soon as he came back from the hospital, we discovered he had a hernia and the doctors said the baby needs to be immediately operated on for that. My baby was so small. He was just like a month old. So imagine he had to go through the proper operation with anaesthesia and all of that. Doctors told me ‘Kabhi kabhi parents dono side kar lete hain. But luckily aapke bachche ka ek hi side hai toh ek hi operation hoga’. After a lot of discussion we went ahead with the operation. And as soon as he came home after two days we had a check-up and they said the second side also needs to be operated. Then we had to do another operation. I started getting very paranoid. One doctor said ‘Woh dekh nahi sakta who sunn nahi sakta’. Some kind of bizarre statement very renowned paediatrician of the city said that you need to get these number of tests done to check out what is wrong. I took my baby and I started making him go through hundreds of tests and MRIs. So this small little child has gone through MRI machine. And there was actually nothing wrong with my child. He was absolutely fine. It was just that he was a premature baby. By the grace of God, he is well. “
Later Vandana suffered postpartum depression. Sharing about how she collapsed during the last lockdown, the actress said, “So all this rubbish got me crazy and I started hallucinating at some point. All those fears got into me because of the doctors and I collapsed. It was during the last lockdown I collapsed. My mother and mother-in-law took care of my baby. And Rajesh again took me to the hospital. So again I was on a hospital bed dealing with postpartum depression because at that point I refused to take medication. I would lock myself into a room in dark and think ‘why me? what’s happening?’ I love my baby but I just felt that there’s something wrong. Later I came back home, I was taken to a psychiatrist and I agreed to their medication because I wanted to recover. I wanted my child to have a normal childhood with a normal stable mother.”