It was a rather emotional Mother’s Day for Priyanka Chopra and her husband Nick Jonas, as the new and first-time parents finally got to bring their daughter home and embrace her.
The couple took to their respective Instagram accounts to post pictures of their baby — her face obscured with a heart emoji — writing about the trying period in the hospital, which is now behind them.
Calling the last few months a “rollercoaster”, Chopra wrote in the caption: “After 100 plus days in the NICU, our little girl is finally home. Every family’s journey is unique and requires a certain level of faith, and while ours was a challenging few months, what becomes abundantly clear, in retrospect, is how precious and perfect every moment is.”
Thanking the doctors and nurses at Rady Children’s La Jolla and Cedar Sinai, Los Angeles, she wrote that the “next chapter begins now”, and that her baby is a “bad**s”. “Let’s get it MM! Mommy and Daddy love you,” she continued, while also thanking her singer husband for making her a mother.
The ‘MM’ most likely refers to her daughter’s initials; her name was unofficially revealed to be ‘Malti Marie Chopra Jonas’ last month.
MM’s father, too, shared the same picture on his Instagram, writing for his wife: “Babe, you inspire me in every way, and you are taking to this new role with such ease and steadiness. I am so grateful to be on this journey with you. You are already an incredible mother. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.”
Having your baby stay in the NICU can be a difficult and heartbreaking experience for parents. According to Dr TJ Antony, director and HOD, neonatology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, NICU, or Neonatal Intensive Care unit, is a place in a hospital that has the facilities to look after newborn babies who are “very sick” and need intensive care that is “monitoring and treatment”.
“The NICU admits babies who may have life-threatening problems. The majority of these babies are those who are born prematurely — before their expected date of delivery. Human pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. However, babies born between 37-40 weeks are considered term and can be cared for by their parents. Babies born earlier than this would require care in the NICU for some time. The duration depends on how premature they are. Babies born at less than 28 weeks of gestation would stay for a fairly long duration of time,” Dr Antony told indianexpress.com.
He added that babies are made to stay in the NICU, because besides being born early, they would also have a number of medical problems that would need investigations, monitoring and treatment, like immature lungs — for which they would need to have their breathing supported with the help of ventilators, or by other means.
“In addition to babies born prematurely, the NICU would also admit those born at any gestation with medical or surgical problems, like infection, congenital abnormalities, etc.”
Inside the NICU, the doctor said, babies are closely monitored: their heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and temperature, along with other parameters. “Senior doctors would be available to make quick decisions to ensure any change in the baby’s condition is picked up early and treated, if required.”
But, when is a baby fit to leave the NICU?
“Babies are fit to leave the NICU when they can be cared for by their parents. For most babies, it means that at the time of discharge they would be off breathing support, and on oral feeds, being fed by their parents. However, sometimes babies may need to be sent home on some breathing support, or other forms of support,” he concluded.