I am lying on a narrow table wearing a skimpy hospital gown. I have a tube fitted into my bladder and that makes me uncomfortable. On one hand I am being given drips, on the other is a tube – I am not sure of its purpose.
I am surrounded by four gynaecologists, a couple of anaesthetists and surgeons. A male surgeon asks me to lie on my side. I hold my tummy and roll on my side carefully. I turn slowly and assume the fetal position they have asked me to be in.
I feel my tummy hanging out of the table. The male surgeons hold me but I don’t feel any shame – shame is the last thing on my mind. A doctor comes and removes the flaps of my gown and marks three dots on my spine. With a pen, I suppose.
The anaesthetist tells me he is going to give me injections. It might hurt but don’t move, he says. He gives me 3 shots on my spine. It hurts a bit and then they ask me to lie on my back. I see them fit something to a monitor so that they can see my heart rate. I have an oxygen mask on.
Slowly, it starts getting hazy. I can no longer feel my legs or hips. They ask me if I can and I mumble a no. A small screen is placed just below my chest. The surgeons put on their masks.
A lady doctor is standing behind me holding my shoulders. She tries to make some small talk. I see the youngest surgeon in the group take a pair of knives. I look away. I can’t feel the pain but I know they are opening me up.
All of them are chattering happily. This is something they do daily, no big deal for them. I hear my gynaec say, “Now where’s the baby….ah there!”
She takes out a tiny, screaming baby covered in slimy white. “Namaste” she says to you. I have never seen the grim doctor happier than this. She holds you up for me to see and I manage a small smile. “What baby is it?” I ask though I already know.
A boy, they answer. I smile and look at the clock on the wall. It’s 11.58 AM. This is the moment. The moment that I have fallen in love. I want to keep gazing at you but they have already taken you away.
And now I am being closed up. The screen is taken away and I am all stitched up. The male surgeons with the help of two hospital staff lift me and place me on a bed. And then I am wheeled out of the O.T. to be kept in observation. On the way both my moms come to see me. Their eyes are wet.
In the observation room I feel like I have slept for an eternity after which I feel a range of things. First the anaesthesia wears off and the pain of the incision sets in. Next my body starts shivering badly – an effect of the medication, the nurse tells me. And then there is great difficulty in simply turning over.
After a while a nurse brings me my bundle of joy - you. All covered up in a white towel. She asks me if I saw you properly in the O.T. No, I say and she holds you up. A sweet little face with eyes closed, a button of a nose, and darling mouth. Scarce hair. A beautiful baldy. I fall in love again. She puts you on my breast and you feed hungrily.
They bring you in 2-3 times for feeds. And then finally they shift me to the room. Here begins our journey – together as a family.
Your father is by my side all the time. While we are asleep, while we are awake. He helps me to the bathroom for 2 days as I am in pain. He bathes me, feeds me, helps me change my blood stained napkins. He holds us close, close to his heart. As your father sees to my needs with loving care, I hope you become that kind of man to your wife.
I did not write the harrowing details of my c-section to make you squeamish or to prove I went through a lot. It is just to tell you how much every woman goes through to nurture a life. Respect women because they deserve as much respect as any man. Respect everyone – man, woman, child, animal. For we are all equal. We are all one. We complement each other.
PS: This is an excerpt from my diary that I keep for my son. I will give it to him when he is old enough to understand.
Also, a very happy Mother's Day to every mother - whether you pushed the baby out or had him/her taken out, it doesn't matter. What matters is what follows - the beautiful journey of motherhood. Huge shout-out to all our mothers, for setting the bar really, really high for us. We are supermoms if we can be half as good as they have been!