“15 minutes is the maximum time my baby, Sarthak can sleep in one go. Over these months, I have lost count how many times he wakes up every night. When he sleeps, the whirring sound he makes while breathing is so loud that it can be heard from a distance of 2 rooms away. It’s scary to see the way he struggles to breathe. Doctors have told us that before he turns 1 year, he has to undergo a heart surgery, else it will be impossible to save my only baby.” - Rajni, 9-month-old Sarthak’s mother.
They haven’t even enjoyed parenthood fully and they are already on the verge of losing their baby3 years after their marriage, when Rajni and Ashish welcomed their little bundle of joy, their happiness knew no bounds. Unfortunately, their happiness did not last even for a month. Fate had cruel plans for them.
Baby Sarthak’s sufferings started with a mere cough and cold. But soon his condition started worsening. When he cries, he would turn a little blue. He was struggling to breathe every day. Rajni knew something wasn’t right. They immediately took their baby to the doctors and the reports confirmed that little Sarthak has a severe heart defect. The 9-month-old has a hole in the heart due to which there isn’t a proper supply of oxygen to his blood. He needs a heart surgery as soon as possible to stay alive.
“Since my baby was just 1 month, he has hardly been at home. Every few days we have to take him to the hospital and let him stay there for a few days. It’s very painful for me to see him in this condition. If I put him in bed even for some time, he starts crying and struggles to breathe. I had so many dreams for my baby, I am scared that they will never come true. I am scared that I will lose him.”
During the 14-hour journey to the hospital, Rajni's fear of losing her baby escalatesRajni and Ashish stay in Himachal Pradesh. But they have to travel to Delhi whenever Sarthak’s condition worsens. Taking the little one on a bus or train for 14 hours is a struggle in itself. In addition, the overcrowded bus or train makes Sarthak even sicker. He cries so much that it becomes very difficult for the parents to put their baby at ease. Every time they travel with their baby to Delhi, Rajni is scared that something wrong might happen to her baby. But she can’t find a better way to get her son treated. They can’t afford to hire a private vehicle.
“My baby has just learnt his first words. Despite being in so much pain, he smiles most of the time and that lights up our world. Looking at him, I forget all the worries. But soon I am reminded that I might lose this smile, I might lose my baby forever. Ashish and I are trying very hard to give our baby a better life. But he needs the surgery soon and we can’t even afford it. I feel so helpless. I hope that no parent ever has to be in such a condition.”