It was a quiet night. A night where most would have lay comfortably on their own beds and be in deep slumber. A night where dreams became reality.
But not for her. She was the opposite of what a quiet night would have been, and the notion of comfort never once crossed her mind. She was caught in a nightmare, a living nightmare.
As she walked unsteadily into the hospital, her hand tightly grasped onto her husband’s arms, she continued praying. She never lest expect all her mental preparations in the last year to have come to waste. She knew it was going to be tough, but never had she thought it would have been this arduous. The taxi ride to the hospital was a crucifying exchange of panic, flashbacks, prayers, more panic, more flashbacks and more prayers.
She remembered having to apprehend her conception, the joy and surprise his husband had when she released the news, her mother-in-law’s sacrifice to wake up early to brew a bitter yet supposedly-nutritious concoction of oriental herbs and medicines for her … …
She remembered enthusiastically scrolling through tons of blog shops for that adorable, petite and blue-striped overalls upon hearing the news of his gender. She recalled her sudden unusual penchant for late-night supper and her husband’s assent to drive from one eatery to another diner. She was queen.
Then the thought of her water bag breaking slipped in between her mind. She shuddered at the thought of the immense amount of research on the possible fallacies, potential pitfalls and risks throughout the delivery. The sudden revelation that she was all the more even more vulnerable suffocated her. Her mind went blank. She could do nothing, nothing but pray.
Beads of perspiration trickled down her forehead as he looked up at her only support, hoping to find hope and solace. But she found none. Instead, what she saw was his forehead creasing, his frowns deepening, his teeth clenched as he looked around frantically for help. In the midst of all that, he shouted at the empty reception, his echo resonating down the hallway. In that moment, she knew he was in as much worry as her. She wanted to laugh, laugh at his anxiety, his panic. She never knew the man she was with had such a side to him, after all he was always stubborn and always confident. But her voice failed her. She could not laugh.
In instances like this, time seemed to have slowed down. Seconds seemed like minutes and minutes seemed like hours. Everything seemed to flow by at a glacial pace. There was a sharp shout from the back. And more voices replied, this time louder and more urgent. Next came a hurried shuffling of rubber pumps and the cluttering of wheels.
She looked behind her and rejoiced. There behind her were nurses, one was pushing a wheelchair, another holding a clipboard, and another speaking into the walkie-talkie. Help came.
Then it hit.
The first wave of spasm came, erupting from her lower abdomen. She winced. She felt as if she was getting punched. Her vision blurred, her legs gave way and fell forward. As if by instinct, her husband managed to break her fall and scooped her up. She managed a weak smile as she was placed onto the wheelchair.
But the pain was relentless. It never stopped nor did it subside. The second wave hit, this time with greater impact and in increasing frequency. Then the third came. Followed by the fourth. The fifth. As the sixth pang of spasm erupts, her tolerance broke and her muffled cry became a scream.
She no longer recall how she ended up lying on the delivery bed, nor does she remember having her skirt taken off, as well as having the obgyn in the room. She was pale, drenched in her own perspiration, and doing a lot of cussings. She was in pain.
“Breathe. You gotta breathe. Push when you exhale.”
Are you crazy? How am I supposed to breathe in this pain?
“Just like the movies. Now, followed me. Breathe in. Then push.”
What? The movies? What the FUCK?
“Do it Diane. Here take my hand.”
NO FUCKING WAY, FRED.
“DIANE YOU GOT TO DO IT FOR HIM!”
And she remembered. The joy who entered her life. The one she has been literally living together with for the past eight months. The random kicks and nudges in the middle of her work, in the midst of her meal times, in the wee hours of the night. Yes, it was him. He was the little monster. Or rather, he was her little monster, who somehow owned every inch of defiance she possessed.
Taking a deep breath, and interlocking her fingers onto her husband’s palm, she pushed. She let out a cry as waves of spasm erupts, while the contractions intensify, her grip onto her husband’s hand tighten turning their knuckles white. She wanted it to stop. But she knew she could not. She had her resolve, and it needed to be seen through. Taking another deep inhalation, she readied herself.
Pain is the epitome living. Pain signifies life’s struggles at its finest. Pain empowers.
She was unaware of how long she has been in the room. Her throat has already become dry, and her voice hoarse. Her seat stained with her perspiration. Her energy nearly depleted. The pain was still there. It never subsided.
“One more time. Follow my lead.”
She obeyed. Breathing in and summoning the remaining ounce of strength, she pushed. The agonizing sensation came, and she felt as if she was being ripped apart, her world crushing down. She squinted at her husband. Only to realise that he biting his lips, his forehead creasing into numerous folds, gaze focused on the ogyn, who had his hand underneath the blue cloth that had covered her view.
There was a profound silence. A silence where breaths were held. A silence filled with anticipation. An anticipation for the final liberalisation.
There was a gasp. Followed by a cheer. Then came a pant of relief. She knew what happened albeit the tremendous pain. Her little monster came.
Within the arms of the ogyn lays a small creature, whose bodied was stained in a putrid mixture of blood and amniotic fluid, his eyes closed, his thumb stuck in his mouth. He was quiet, but not for long, the doctor spanked him. And his eyes open. Breaking the silence, he wailed.
The boy cried. She cried. Her husband cried. They cried.
She held onto the newborn and said, “Happy Birthday, Demetrius.”