The last silver ball in place on my beautifully decorated birthday cake, I glanced at the clock and gasped “11.30 pm! Gosh! I’d better call it a day” Keeping the cake in the fridge, I waddled slowly to my bedroom. The whole day I had been feeling extremely heavy and wondered if my baby had turned, head down in my womb. “But it can’t be, there’s still two months to go.” I reassured myself.
Two hours later, I awoke to pains that felt just like the contractions. Jumping out of bed, I walked up and down, checking for its recurrence. By 3 pm, I was sure so I woke up my drowsy husband and we rushed to the hospital. When Dr. Justin arrived, he confirmed the fact but was perturbed since it was too early and the hospital did not have a ICU facility for “premmies”.
“You have two choices: either got to GMC for your delivery or go to a private clinic in Mapusa which has this facility. However, I strongly recommend GMC as the cost in a private clinic will be phenomenal and I know you can’t afford it.” he added.
So we decided to go to GMC. Now I must be frank; the stories I had heard of GMC were not good and so I started praying hard as my husband drove us down to Bambolim. When we arrived, I was wheeled up to the labour room and a young doctor in his late 20s took up my case. He seemed unfriendly and reprimanded me for my high-risk pregnancy, the number of children I already had, and that a sonography hadn’t been done lately. When he offered tubal ligation as a solution to future problems, I was ready to kick him in the rear. Gritting my teeth between contractions, I bore his insolence with resignation as I was completely at his mercy. Sonography over, (yes, I was sent to do a sonography) I returned to the labour waiting room, where five other patients in different stages of their pregnancies were awaiting their time of torture. For the first time in my life, I birthed my baby boy alongside two other women.
It was a horrfying experience; the intern who delivered my baby was so young, I could have been her mother. One intern did the delivery while a second one did the sutures. There must have not been any communication between the two because local anaesthesia was forgotten. Believe me, I have never called out to God so desperately and screamed so awfully as I did when the needle went on and on at its work. The sutures done, I then had a five-hour wait sitting on my stitches till the hospital could find a ward bed for me.
My experiences in the ward were no better, only there was no physical pain. Just isolation and arrogance. I had no one to stay with me except my husband and he had to be outside most of the time so we communicated via mobile. The ayahs were rude, the nurses were busy with endless paperwork, so were the interns who frequented the ward. I had been told that it would be long time before I could take my son and go home. (He was just 1.3 kgs at birth and would need the ventilator, they said.) I resigned myself to my fate. Meanwhile, I sent messages to all my friends and relatives to storm heaven for a miracle. And it happened!
The next day, my preemie son went into shock. His BP dipped low and there was no ventilator free to put him on. So the doctor in charge, again a young girl in her early 20s, told me they were going to shift him to a private clinic in Miramar. She also said I could get myself discharged in order to be closer to him. Yippee! I called my husband immediately and all paperwork in place, we exited out of the hell-hole and back to sanity.
Now my son is stable, I am at home with my family and all is well! It takes a learning experience like I went through to realize there is a different world out there, a world that is indifferent to the pain and suffering of others.
I must admit, though, that there were some silver linings to the dark clouds in the sweetness of a nurse called Maryrose in the labour room, and the rallying around of the neo-natal staff when I started weeping on hearing that my son was in shock. The cherry on top of the cake was undoubtedly, a sweet young lady doctor in the NNICU who fought with a senior nurse in order that I be allowed to enter to see my baby without the usual protocol of a hospital gown, simply because there was none that fitted my size-14 figure. May God bless these angels sent by him to comfort me in my hours of agony.
Now I await the day I can finally hold my little boy in my arms and bring him home, to love him and tell him how a gracious God turned the tables on a hellish experience and brought us both to peaceful pastures of Paradise.