There are moments in life that change you forever. There are phases in life that come and engulf you entirely and make you a different one. These moments are so hard to capture; they slip away like water on any oily surface. They are like lightening - momentary but leave behind everlasting memories! Words can mere tell you what happened – but to feel and understand what actually happened you need to be there – see, hear, smell and touch everything to ‘know’ what happened. Here is the inside story, in words…
All this while, I was growing up. I have my father, whom I look up to whenever I found myself at bay. I have my mother who has been ever caring and attentive to my smallest wants and needs. I have a caring wife too, who even tells me when to eat, what to wear and where to invest! I do not have to be on my own, take responsibility and make decisions all by myself. But these twenty minutes that I am going to talk about now, have made certain huge variations in my life, hereafter.
It was the first day of the year, 2013 when I and my wife had to go to the hospital in the very dawn, in our own Nano. The doctor had summoned us that time, for the most precious thing that happened to us, since we got married. My wife was to deliver our first child!
We were waiting outside the OT, dressed in OT dresses and waiting for the doctor to come and start the operation. There was another couple who went into the OT next to us and came out with a baby boy. That must have been a great feeling, we thought, of holding the new baby close to you. We were waiting.
A few minutes after taking her inside, they called me in too. “Are you the husband of Maitri Majumder?” the nurse came out of OT and asked. I knew that I was about to be addressed in a different way as I would have a new feather in my cap soon. I nodded and she signaled me to get into the OT.
I was little surprised as the father of the earlier newborn, went a long time after the mother was taken in; and I heard the first cry of that baby within seconds of the father getting inside! Were they letting me in by mistake? Anyways, I went in – not the first time in an OT, but first time ever for such special occasion. I looked around – theatre lights, nurses, doctors, instruments and the non-stop monitors’ beeps made me feel little obnoxious, but I stood there in the middle of all that and waited by her head, as she laid down on the bed, half conscious, looking around.
After another few minutes, that moment came, when the doctor pulled out the baby and showed it to me. I heard the first cry, as he came out of his mother’s womb. He was hanging from the doctor’s hands, when the doctor told me, “See, your baby.” I was almost numb. I just nodded in affirmation and stood there motionless. “You have a boy, congratulations,” the anesthetist told me from behind, giving a super jerk to my shoulders – as if I was under the influence of his anesthetics.
I don’t remember if I thanked him then. I remember going near my wife and giving her the news. It seemed she heard it already and she smiled, “yes.” There were tears running from her eyes and reaching her ears. She was eager to see him.
The newborn was detached from the mother as the dressing of her wound started and he was moved to a table in the corner of the room, where there was another doctor and two nurses, who were to ‘clean’ him up. I was not able to move – standing at the same position as earlier – indecisive, whether to be there with the mother or go to the corner of the room to take a look at the child.
The pediatrician, who was handling the baby, pulled me out of the vacillation and almost commanded me to go and stand near the baby. He started asking me all sorts of ‘unnecessary’ and ‘redundant’ questions – like where are we from, how is the weather there in Assam (I wonder, if people would ever realize that every person from the North-East India is not a resident journalist of Assam), where do we stay in Bangalore and everything else that would be utterly superfluous that time. I know now, why he was acting that weird – to relax me and bring me back to reality – slowly and in his own peculiar way.
He ‘cleaned’ the baby, took his measurements and did those initial tests and vaccinations. Then came the time, when I had to cut the umbilical cord that hung out of the newborn’s naval. I and my wife had already decided that I will be the one who would do it and not the doctor. The gynecologist had already cut the major part of it while detaching the baby from the mother. But it was this ‘rest of it’ that needed to be severed. The doctor holding the baby asked, “Are you going to remove the ‘rest of it?’” pointing to the umbilical cord. I nodded in avowal. He put two strong clips in two places on the cord and gave me a pair of scissors, pointed me to the middle of the clips and told me, “Cut it right here. Don’t worry, he will not feel it.” I cut the cord and it gave me the feeling of cutting thick end of a cloth with a blunt pair of scissors. I had to press a couple of times before the cord was cut into two. I was coming back to my senses.
The pediatrician then made me take a couple of pictures too! I totally forgot that I had arranged for taking pictures until he told me to do so. The nurse carried the newborn and showed him to his mother. I captured those moments too. She was all awake, aware and asked questions about the baby, using some medical jargons which were very common to everyone in the room except me, the ignorant and illiterate one. She asked the doctors so many things even while lying on the bed and the doctors were also answering her queries. Only once both the parties were in agreement, she felt little relaxed.
The baby was all wrapped up and now ready to be taken out of the OT. The nurse who wrapped him up was about to give him to me. I was scared – again! I requested her to take him to the ward, as I followed her. She put him in the small cradle they had in the ward. They shifted the mother within half an hour’s time too.
The twenty odd minutes that I passed in that OT, had made me see many a things that I was afraid of watching all my life – blood, knives, needles and everything else that were there in that room. It was like a real movie that I was part of, in that operation theatre. I can remember each scene of it as if it has happened just minutes ago. And I am sure of remembering this for a long time to come.
And ever since we took him in our lap for the first time, the new journey began! We were parents now – and me? A Father!