My pregnancy was comfortable, yet eventful. I don’t remember feeling pregnant at anytime, except that I had grown a few sizes too big. Quite a few people commented on how effortlessly I continued to work. However, I did have a hitch in the beginning when lack of knowledge got the tiny little life inside me all bothered. Early morning discomfort had me lying in the hospital for 2 days with strict instructions from the OB-Gyn. I was not supposed to do anything apart from putting my feet up and ordering for first class service. My husband obliged.
We were expecting our bundle of joy to show up around the end of March or April (2008). Likewise, we were all prepared – till the last ultra-sound test told us that things may be otherwise. My doctor prepared us for emergencies that he predicted had a high possibility of occurring. Parents and in-laws returned after warning me to take things easy. I more or less stopped going to the University. My whole day was spent resting, cooking, watching runs and re-runs of the popular TV series ‘Friends’, and playing with my puppy. I knew I had a boisterous baby on the way with the amount of soccer he played inside me.
After a pretty relaxing day on a certain weekend, we decided to go for a short walk before retiring for the day. The walk was a trifle bit uncomfortable, with the kicking more pronounced than ever before. It was 1 o’clock when I started to feel something irregular. I wasn’t absolutely sure, so I waited to confirm. When I was fairly certain I woke my husband up. We rushed to the hospital.
A call before-hand to alert the hospital had them waiting at the gate with a wheelchair. I was immediately deposited at the emergency room, which was not a pleasant experience. There was one guy with a broken leg and another woman screaming something between gasps. It was pretty unnerving when I myself had no clue what was happening to me. All through the pregnancy I had been quite scared about the final act. I had hoped it would be like the way they show in the movies where half the time the woman has no clue what happened to her till they bring a wailing bonny baby to her bed side and all is hunky-dory.
To top it all my husband had disappeared. There were no signs of the doctor. There were a bevy of people who popped in and out to ask me what seemed to be my problem. Luckily they all knew why I was occupying one of the beds. Soon, I was wheeled to a private room with an extra bed and a sofa where my husband was comfortably lounging. I was informed the doctor had given instructions and would arrive in an hour or so depending on the situation. I had no idea that today was D-day, the very day we had all been waiting for – me scared and my husband expectant, like all daddy’s, whose only job at that time is to be happy.
I wondered if they would let me go home once they had done their tests and I kept badgering my husband to ask. My husband didn’t so much as open his mouth. All he wanted to do was dive into the extra bed and go back to sleep. They asked me loads of questions, did a physical test, and then attached a monitor to my tummy to keep a tab on the little one’s heartbeat. It was all normal. They started the saline and asked me to get some sleep. My husband was already snoring.
All efforts to shut my eyes were in vain for they popped open right back only to have them glued to the monitor. 92 – 102 – 86 – 92… it was more or less the same pattern for a while. I felt myself nodding off when my eyes fell one last time on the monitor… 24 – 36 – 20 – 0 – 0 -10 …. I yelled to my husband to call the doctor. They all came running. Checked. Re-checked. Some of them ran out while others came back running. While all this was happening (for 15 minutes or so) they refused to tell me if my baby was alright. When I was ready to scream my doctor walked in. He checked all the reports and informed my husband we were in for an emergency operation as the baby was going into foetal distress. These were all medical mambo-jumbo for me, but enough to hit the panic button.
I am not exactly a religious person. But crisis makes you turn to God. SoÂ did I. I apologized for all the time I failed to pray to him and promised I would do so henceforth, just be with me this time. Please make sure nothing goes wrong with the little one. Please don’t let him suffer.
All this while the people dressed in white were bustling about doing their job. My husband was busy on the phone. I had been injected with a sedative which made me extremely drowsy – but I was scared to fall asleep. I was wheeled into the OT which looked pretty forbidding. No one in their right mind would want to walk in there just for fun. Someone came and said I would have to take the diamond nose pin off.Â While at other times I I’m very particular about my possessions, for once I didn’t care.
The anaesthetist introduced himself and informed that even though this was going to be a cesarean birth I couldn’t have normal anesthesia as it would affect my baby. He informed further that it would be a local anesthesia through the spine. I didn’t have much faith on locals after experiences with my dentist, but I was in no position to bargain. They tied up my arms and feet against the bed and turned me around to administer the dosage for anesthesia. I felt a sharp pain and something burning down my limbs. Everything became numb as soon as the burning reached my toes. I started shivering and complained about the air-con only to be informed this was an effect of the drug administered. I lay there shivering against the steel, feeling the scalpel cut through my flesh with only a single thoughtÂ occupying my mind – “Please God let everything be alright”. The anesthetist kept his word and kept warning me in advance about the next step along with a “will hurt” and “won’t hurt”. I have never felt greater pain in my life than when the doctors were pushing the baby out. I just knew I had to get it over with. I know I screamed my lungs off as no amount of teeth clenching helped, and prayed for strength to see me through this. Suddenly, my reverie broke with feeble wails. I forgot the pain and started crying. Relief, gratitude, happiness all washing over me at the same time. The doctor smiled and held up a baby covered in blood and mucus and said “Its a boy.” I cried some more.
The anesthetist informed I could opt for a sedative now and sleep through the rest of the ordeal or see my baby when they clean him and bring him over. I thought, I have been through the worst in full consciousness, then why sleep through the better part. I opted for the latter. They sewed me up and the doctor informed me how there was not a single drop of fluid left in the amniotic sac and it was damned lucky that IÂ had decided to run down to the hospital. My newborn son supposedly swallowed some of that water and they were pumping it out of him. This was to cause a lot of heartache and tension later, but that’s all history now. They brought me my baby. Even though I felt half dead and was retching, I still managed to give the sleeping angel a tiny kiss. His skin felt like velvet. They carried him away and wheeled me to the ICU for a couple of hours of observation.
I thought the excitement was over and could now sleep for a while. I had no clue what was in store for the rest of the day. My husband popped in to say how much the baby looked like me and what our dear ones around the world had to say. I slept only after midnight after being awake for 24hrs. The next few days was a flurry of activities and a lot of tension what with my baby being born premature and that too having gulped down mouthfuls of the amniotic fluid.
When I think back to that night, I don’t remember the fear, pain or uncertainty. All I remember is the happiness I felt on seeing my son for the first time. It was an experience worth all the pain I endured.