When August was Born

It was a sunny Sunday evening. Amelia was moaning with labour pain. After 8 long years of wait, Amelia experienced magic.

After her marriage, Amelia lived in the busiest city. It seemed to be a “they happily lived ever after” life. Days and months rolled by. Amelia ‘s family longed for a child. The neighbourhood kept policing her only to query about the symptoms of morning sickness. Her husband, Ashok  blunted the ineludible questions. Amelia felt empty. She did not expect this. She dreamt like every other woman to have a child. She waited for one long year. She expected the monthly cycle to change its circardian. Nothing happened.

Another after another and 6 years rolled by. She never felt that this type of satanic revenge would be sworn upon her. Everyone surrounding her lost hope including her other half. She was carried away by the morning domestic chores, during which she lost herself in the spinning world of pregnancy dreams.

Once her sister in law from the already developed countries called her regarding the newly introduced artificial technology for having a child. Amelia now came back to really having a child through some means. Her prayers were heard, she thought. She wanted a child very badly now.  She spun stories about touching her pregnant belly and how she would cuddle her baby .

She showed her husband all the available details regarding the new treatment. “We will get mocked” said he. Her face turned pale. She cried all night. ”How worthless I am”, she thought. She received a call from her husband the next day. He told her to be ready when he comes home. That evening, Amelia gained hope again. Her husband was convinced and they went to the hospital. After the routine tests and counseling offered by the therapist, Amelia and her husband gained faith on having a child. They had now placed their first step towards the art of parenthood. During every session she waited confidently. The doctor explained that her female follicle fellows were not catching up with the male allies’ zeal. She gulped the extra large pills and fully loaded injections prescribed to her. Ashok was counseled on how to support her. Amelia underwent all types of radiological photo sessions to make sure all her body systems worked perfectly. She was too busy counting her fertile days even during her leisure time.  

Now she was foolproof that she was going to become a mother. Time decreases our patience. Time lasts longer as we wait. Time tests our faith. But patience was her weapon for now. Amelia read all the information about the different type of treatments to bring her problem an end. In a magazine article, she read about the people who were ready to donate their eggs and sperms just to make a woman pregnant. She wondered about all those awkward moments where someone could borrow even their body parts. The other day, a rare tv programme was about how to get a uterus repaired inorder to have a child. And how some women were ready to lend their uterus for someone else’s good cause. She started reviewing the anatomy of her uterus and how a double uterus would look like. She even thought someone would have two babies inside two uteruses. She stood in the balcony to see the daily bird carry twigs with its beaks. She had been noticing this since many days. She compared herself to the bird in preparing to have a child.

How precious is pregnancy to her? she asked herself. She had never introspected like this before. Why am I thinking like this ? asked  her instinct. Her grandmom had six children in a row with absolute annual attendance. Her mother, she annoyed, had exemplary pregnancies year after year. Why can’t I? Maybe, why would’nt I?.She corrected herself. Was it about the extraordinary capability of getting pregnant? Isn’t childbearing natural? She swam across the river of thoughts in her mind. Her heart sank every time when her acquaintances’ had bullied her. Her husband had no major role in this drama. He must be thinking hard about all this, she felt. But there was no sign of a word from him about becoming a parent.

Her interest now shifted towards parenting. How will I console my crying baby? How do I feed her? she thought that she should call her mother to be with her. ”Mother “ she repeated the word within herself. There was so much of loveliness and bliss in this word. How precious motherhood is. Her childhood memories flashed in front of her eyes. She remembered her mother’s compassion and the niche towards her, as she being the eldest daughter in her family. She always loved her young brother. He was three years younger to her. Amelia remembered how she used to play with him happily in the rainwater filled garden. They used to chase the mini size butterflies which where lavender coloured. Three coconut trees were planted in three corners of the garden to support the fencing. The green grass used to grow upto their knee level. Looking at the frogs of the damp season and their croaky voices to attract their mates was a great hobby for the kids. There was even the neem tree which used to shed small flowers and pods during the fall. The breeze from her garden was filled with fragrance of the pink roses. The  playful childhood world spinned the web of memories in her mind. The sound of the calling bell in the doorway distracted her. 

Padmini aunty has been waiting and ringing the bell for a long time. “What are you doing Amelia? I had been waiting so long” she said. She sat in the foam filled couch and transferred her bodily parts comfortably into the rear end of the couch.” which doctor are you seeing?” she asked. “Have some coffee”. said Amelia. The froth over the coffee mug matched the distant weird looking clouds in the sky. “Dr. Neela, a famous infertility specialist” replied Amelia. “Hmm” said the foam filled Padmini aunty with frothy mustache above her lips. “How much costly is it?” she asked. “Its meager” replied Amelia. “My niece is also suffering from this problem. I want to take her” said Padmini. “She is very good. Her team is also good” she  said. “Ohh” sighed the aunty. “Ok, I‘m leaving. Give me the doctor details. bye” and she left.

Amelia noted the details of the hospitals and gave it to her the next day. She had confirmed that Padmini aunty was talking about Reena , who had infertility due to thyroid problems. Reena was living in Bangalore. She had met Reena once in Padmini aunty’s sons marriage. The windchimes chirped again due to the winds outside. She stood at her balcony in third floor and peeped down. The sounds of the street seemed lovely to her. The rolling green buses seemed to look like pencil boxes painted with grey toppings.

She noted her appointment dates and treatment details in a diary. Her next appointment was due next month. 3 months was over. The doctor has given her enough information regarding having a child through artificial means. Now it was their chance to decide. She thought that she should have consulted the doctor earlier. It was all normal she thought. It was all natural also. She never heard of anyone going for artificial means of having a child. All of them waited. So I also waited” she said to herself.

After consecutive laproscopies, her fallopian tubes were cleared off. Now she was perfectly ready for pregnancy. Everytime the expectation would increase in her. She tried to maintain the neutrality in her thoughts to avoid the clash between her mind and body. The counselor talked about how to maintain a calm mind and to avoid negativities. She even taught some mental exercises. Amelia listened very carefully. She followed every step very sincerely as she craved for a child. The doctor had explained that the fertilization or the togetherness of the egg and the sperm can be done inside the woman’s body or even outside. There were even some complex procedures like in vitro development of a baby. How does all this happen?they wondered. 

One long year has passed away after they underwent artificial insemination procedures also, Amelia was not pregnant. So the last option was the lab or the famous test tube method. There was only one hospital her city doing this. Amelia and her husband talked to the counselor. They decided to affirm.

Amelia talked to her body and mind. She breathed deeply and remained serene nowadays. The month before she had retrieved her eggs and saved them in the lab for the invitro thing. With her better half’s contribution, the making of fertilization would be done in nutrition rich culture tubes in the lab. Her children grew from the embryos in that hospital lab. She prayed ardently for success this time. One fine day, the doctor telephoned her that her embryo children were ready to come to her.

It was a cold December night and the chill wind blocked her ears. Her eyes were full of dreams and her heart filled with bliss. She was ready for tomrrow’s big day. After two month of intense monitoring, three of her embryos were ready to be transferred into her womb. She  imagined of baby hands touching her. She heard a distant mewing of newborn in her heart. What type was it? she enquired herself. Was it a boy or a girl? Be it boy. Be it girl. Its a baby. “IT’S A BABY” SHOUTED HER MIND. Amelia and her husband were prepared to get admitted in the hospital. It was a two day ritual. Amelia fasted the previous night dinner and had taken all her medicines as scheduled. In the morning she was shifted to the operation theater. Amelia’s husband stood eagerly in the waiting hall. After 7 years of hardships and mocks, now came the day for gratification. 

Ashok was an ambitious IT guy. He was transferred to Mumbai from his Delhi office. After a year of marriage, the regular expectations of a married man stirred within him . “What was the problem” he used to think. Actually  who had the problem? Was the toughest question. To ask or not to ask? His friends and acquaintances had given him lot of tips and tricks. But nothing worked. He even stopped talking to few people after their insults. Infertllity was never a woman only problem, he realized. But he never opened his feelings to her .he accepted her as she had accepted him. 

The surgery completed through 3 hours and went on upto noon. Finally the nurse called him. The doctor explained that the empryo placement was successful and Amelia was a mother now. AMELIA WAS A MOTHER NOW!!!!! His head spun. He felt dizzy. His palms became chill and his face started sweating. Finally they found a purpose to live. He was allowed to visit Amelia in the post operative ward. She had regained consciousness from the anesthetic effect. Tears rolled in both their eyes when they met each other. This was the happiest moment in their lives” they thought. They held hands as a sign of happy pregnancy.

The doctor had prescribed the medicines and explained the need for rest after discharge. Ashok  had already arranged an elderly “maaji” at home to take care of the household chores. Amelia’s mother also would arrive in a month. He had a friend’s car to travel from hospital to home. On reaching home, the elderly maaji welcomed the couple with sweets. Ashok had kept Amelia’s room ready and arranged all items easily accessible to her. They both had physically and mentally prepared for parenthood. 

The  next few months was heaven at home for Amelia. She was taken care well off by her mother and the maaji .padmini aunty and other neighbours visited frequently to advise her on various things. Love filled in the air. She heard baby footsteps in her heart. They visited the doctor every month for her regular followup on growth of the baby. One night she felt a rub in her tummy. The abnormal sensation continued even the next day and she immediately consulted the doctor. The doctor described that it was the first movement or the kick made by the child in the abdomen. Amelia was awe struck. She touched her tummy and talked to her unseen beauty inside the womb. For the next few months her pregnancy signs had grown well only for the others to see. Her serendipitous findings created more expectations. Her clothes became unfit and she had bulged foot. Now and then it was happy shopping. The doctor had informed them to meet the next week to discuss regarding the details of delivery.

Amelia’s paradigm now shifted from unending bliss to fear filled nightmares. She had always thought of being pregnant and never about delivering a baby. How could that happen? She had heard that bit was very painful The doctor explained that there were two ways to deliver her baby, either naturally or through a surgery if she develops any problems. Again Amelia’s prayers started, now with different goals. She consulted many women regarding delivery process. Some told that it was very painful and some opposed. She even telephoned her distant relatives in the overseas countries to enquire about the c- section surgeries. All she received was bemused mixture of information which she couldn’t correlate at all. This time she left all hope with her prayers and got ready for her big day.

The otherday, Amelia and maaji had packed up all things needed for delivery. Her mother had also brought an old dresses. It was centimental to wear the elder ones’ to the new born child.” said maaji and they all laughed together. Now the baby stated rolling inside her abdomen and frequently made random kicks. Her breasts had become full by now and was ready to feed a baby. It was midnight and she woke up from deep sleep with pain in her tummy. She waited for the dawn to rise. But the pain was increasing in intensity and she could feel that the time has come. She woke Ashok and others. Maaji and Amelia’s mother packed up her things. The time was 4.30 in the morning. Ashok rode her to the hospital and they admitted her.

She changed into her patient gown and was ready for the race. The duty doctor had informed the consultant and made arrangements for her delivery. Amelia had mixed emotions along with her pain. She was in the labour ward with two other women who were sitting calmly and waiting for their turn. She was started with the intravenous drip. The nurses and doctors dicussed about the patients and handed over to the morning shift staffs. Finally her doctor came and asked her to keep pushing when pain comes. She realized that nobody had told her about this extensive during a childbirth. After all kinds of treatments, Amelia realized that now it was the turning point in her life towards success or failure.

She could feel the pain aggravating more. She did not feel hunger or thirst. But only pain. as time ran the track, she felt the hardness to push. The doctor immediately shifted her to the delivery table and the process gained speed now. A parade of doctors now and then discussed something, mentioning her name. From dawn to dusk, she thought. She  just wanted to run away when she remembered about this pain. Bring the scissors!!shouted the doctor. With one hard push, August was born. A beautiful transition of a massive effort came to life. Amelia remembered about Padmini aunty and wanted to tell “it worked”. The soft and spongy newcomer was welcomed by the whole crowd. It was Amelia, Ashok and August hereafter. They lived happily everafter this time.
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Ashwini Balaji

Ashwini is a nurse by profession and is a wanderer in the writing arena. She was inspired through her free will and so she pens down her deeply pented emotions.
Ashwini Balaji

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