(This is a work of fiction based on some real stories. Through this piece, I wish to highlight the positive attitude of the parents in the face of adversity, during a most important facet of their life)
It was a precious pregnancy for Karthik and Sharanya. Having conceived after nine years of marriage and several fertility treatments, Sharanya and Karthik had been ecstatic. Theirs was going to the first baby in the entire family, among several of their siblings and cousins who were married since a couple of years. Some of them had not yet attained success in their fertility procedures while some were waiting for it to click normally. Karthik and Sharanya hoped that their success would provide an impetus to all the other couples to boost their efforts at it.
Throughout her pregnancy, Sharanya had taken every possible care to ensure the well-being of her unborn. Both had wanted a girl. Besides diligently following all the advice given by her doctors, she kept surfing as many websites as she could find, so as not to miss out on any necessary care. They had already begun to weave several dreams around their baby and plan a lot of things. Everything felt wonderful as they eagerly looked forward to the arrival of their little one…their first and probably their only child.
In the third trimester, Sharanya was declared as polyhydramnios i.e. her amniotic fluid began rising to abnormal proportions. Doctor suggested another foetal scan, but which showed no concerns. Also, the baby’s heart beats were good and foetal movements were regular. But Sharanya had begun to get a gut feeling that something was seriously wrong, though she could not fathom what might it be. Doctor’s couldn’t find out and her internet research, this time, gave no plausible answers. So, she had no choice but to stay firm and take things as they would come. After all, they had very much wanted this baby.
While Karthik remained resilient about the reports, he was a bit concerned. But he refrained from making any comment, as he did not want to disturb sharanya in her current state of health. They discussed the matter with both set of parents who were also, now slightly worried, and it was finally decided that Sharanya’s parents would immediately arrive to stay with them for some time, to provide her moral and physical support.
On the designated day and at the appointed time, an elective C-section was carried out by her Gynaecologists, Dr. Mr. and Mrs. Shah. Though Sharanya was conscious, her abdomen was numbed, and each word spoken around, was audible to her. Her eyes were blind-folded, and she could feel her belly being shaken out heavily, though she never felt any pain. She remained resolutely calm, for obviously movements were bound to be discerned, when a baby, so huge, was being pulled out, from such a small organ as her uterus. How could she not feel any impact?
“A baby girl” they announced, and a shrill cry followed, like the ones she had seen of other deliveries, during her visits for pre-natal check-up, but then the cry immediately turned into a whimper, she wondered hard why. The baby was swiftly rushed into another room.
A lot of hustle-bustle and quiet whispers transpired, for what seemed to be moments of eternity. She could sense some grave concern being discussed over and over but hesitated to ask since she was not sure if the truth would be revealed to her. She remained lying on the surgical bed, staying as composed as possible, patiently waiting for the doctors to give her a reality-update, and silently letting them do their job of cleaning her up. Anyway, there was nothing much that she could do at this moment. Then the husband was called in and explained something, to which he nodded alright and left.
After a while, when things seemed slightly settled, they opened the blindfold from her eyes and Dr. Mrs. Shah who seemed to be sewing her up, smiling enquired as to how she was doing. She was completely fine. What was wrong with her, she thought, except for the slight fuzziness caused by the medications. They were the surgeons whom she could blindly trust upon with cutting up her body any number of times but what about the baby? It was what she wanted to hear about. Finally, she slowly endeavoured to ask.
‘I’m fine Doctor. How’s the baby?’
“She’s fine”, Mrs. Shah replied with a calm smile “but looks like there’s some small problem”.
By then Dr. Shah also came into the room after attending to the baby. They were a middle-aged couple and very experienced professionals.
“How are you Sharanya?” Dr. Shah enquired.
“I’m fine Doctor.’, she replied. “I would however like to see the baby.”
Dr. Shah was very understanding, “Yes certainly, but just wait a little, they are still cleaning her up.”, he replied.
Sharanya attempted to understand a little more “May I know what’s wrong with her Doctor? I was hearing a lot of things but could not quite comprehend. Is there anything wrong with her foot?”, she calmly asked.
“Left foot”, he corrected. “The baby’s left ankle is slightly twisted towards the right. It’s a bone deformity. It’s called club-foot. Remember your fluid was increasing and we did all possible scans to detect the issue, but it never appeared in any of them.”
….To be continued in Part II….Link to – Part II