Anita Gurung, from Chitwan, Nepal, went into labour when she was seven months pregnant with twins. Her mother-in-law noticed that she had severe stomach pains and rushed her to hospital with her husband. They had not yet made any preparations for the babies, not expecting delivery to be so early.
Anita was worried and questioned whether the babies would survive. She had previously had a miscarriage, and feared a repetition of that loss. “At that time I was very worried and frightened for the babies: would they be fine or not?”
She gave birth to twin boys in October 2020. Baby Abhishek weighed 1250 grams while baby Koresh weighed only 950 grams at birth. Both were taken to the NICU at Bharatpur Hospital.
Anita felt well taken care of by the health-care providers. “They took good care of me and my babies. They wrapped my babies in clothes, washed and cleaned up all the blood, and put me into bed. I felt very good.”
Five days after birth, Anita and Abhishek were transferred to the Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) Unit while Koresh remained in the NICU because he had developed pneumonia a few days after birth and required oxygen. With guidance and help from the nurses, Anita was eventually able to provide KMC and breastfeed both babies. “They told me to keep the baby next to my skin, on my chest, for some hours during the day, and I saw my first baby grow rapidly.”
Anita and her sons Abhishek and Koresh
For Anita, the KMC unit was important for both her own hospital experience and the care she was able to provide to her babies. While in hospital she could see them frequently, and was guided on how to express breast milk. She was also taught about the importance of skin-to-skin contact between preterm babies and their parents. Anita says KMC helped both her babies to gain weight. By the time she and the babies were discharged two months after their birth, they weighed 1800 grams and 1700 grams respectively.
“I was told that if I kept my babies warm they would gain weight. One of the nurses visited frequently, and she cared for me and my baby a lot.”
Besides health care and attention, Anita also received clothes and blankets for her babies from hospital staff and her friends. “I was taken very good care of during my stay. Health workers used to come and see me and take care of my babies. They helped when I was not feeling well, and they played with the babies and helped me to produce and feed milk to my babies.”