On 17th June 2020, my wife Shivani was admitted to hospital in an emergency due to premature rupture of the membrane. She was 6 months pregnant. The water sac broke and the doctor said that in such a condition baby can’t survive much. If the water leaks continuously, which was actually happening, we need to get the delivery done on an immediate basis.
After a few tests, it was revealed that there was some infection in the blood and that was probably the reason of rupture of membrane. Before this day, we three, Me, Shivani and our 2.7 years old child Viraaj were a happy little family leading our life joyfully in anticipation of the arrival of a new kid in the family.
Everything was good. But suddenly this news that the baby is in danger gave shivers down our spine. The fear of losing a baby was unbearable for us. I consulted some other gynaecologists as well, and all of them gave the same answer. We had two choices – Get the delivery done immediately. Or if we wanted, keep the baby in the womb and wait for few more days or week so that it grows a little more up to 27 or 28 weeks, when chances of baby's survival are little better. But this was very risky as the water level in the sac was getting lower. For 2 days, we were in a great dilemma.
I consulted a pediatric surgeon. He said a baby of 25-26 weeks survives only 4 times out of 10. And even if he/she does, chances of deformity in the future are as high as 80%. That can be anything- under-developed brain, lungs, eyes, intestine… anything. Imagining our small little baby with such grave complications was painful beyond explanation. We never thought this would happen to us. Since the water was continuously getting discharged, we were left with no choice but to go with the second option.
With a heavy heart, I asked the doctor to get the delivery done. After 2 days, we took that decision, and the doctor gave the medicine for inducing pain for normal delivery. Imagine what would be going through Shivani’s heart and mind at that time. It was in these 2 days when I realized that women are way stronger than men. For the whole night. Shivani was crying saying “The baby is kicking me, she wants to live, she is talking to me, she is saying something…”
Just think about a mother whose baby is kicking her inside the womb repeatedly in the night, and she doesn’t even know whether baby will come out alive in the morning or not. I realized that women not only can withstand the extreme pain of delivering a baby but can also be mentally stronger than men. I told Shivani that night “We are fragile, you all are pure steel!”
My respect for women’s courage grew much much stronger that day. In the morning I could see and hear Shivani screaming with pain, I broke down watching her in so much agony. She was literally pleading me and the doctors to get the baby out quickly as she could not bear pain any longer. Nursing staff pushed me outside the room but I could still hear Shivani crying badly. After some time, I heard a very loud and painful scream from Shivani and she had delivered a baby girl.
Tears started flowing from my eyes incessantly and I asked the doctor whether the baby is alive or not. She was alive ! But as the doctor had earlier said, she was not fully grown up and her chances were weak. I went inside the room and saw my little baby. Shivani said to me with tears in her eyes “I told you, it will be a baby girl only. She will not be with us na? That's why God has given us a girl. Had it been a boy, all this would not have happened.”
Shivani wanted a girl badly. She wanted to raise a girl. In fact, at the time of Viraaj also, she yearned for a girl to come. And this time God fulfilled her wish, but like this… After I heard Shivani and saw our little daughter, I realized that the real pain and agony for us has just started. Seeing your baby alive and knowing that she would not survive much, it can’t be explained in words.
She was in NICU for some hours but when the situation became bad, Shivani asked to see her and wanted to say sorry to her once. I asked the doctor to give custody of my little baby and I brought her to Shivani. She was there, lying beside her, breathing heavily. Shivani saw her, touched her, caressed her tiny little fingers, her feet and forehead. She was just like Shivani. I brought her home. Shivani said that if she has to go, she would want her to go peacefully. Not in NICU of any hospital pricked with needles all over her body.
She was there with us for one night. All family members, though knowing the reality, were happy. Many believed that miracles do happen, and who knows this baby might survive, and with mother’s feed, she can be alright. There was a hope inside me and Shivani as well. We all kept looking at her, sometimes smiling sometimes crying for many hours. Shivani fed her few drops of milk and our hopes grew by the ticking clock. But in the morning at 8:30, she stopped moving her hands and lips. Her body became bluish and Shivani hugged her tight to the chest. We knew she had gone.
My baby fought for 22 hours before she gave up. Shivani said that she cried loudly before she stopped moving. All her little body could afford to do was that one last scream! Maybe she was screaming and saying “Please save me, I don’t want to go.” As a parent, this thought that I could not save her will haunt me forever. She finally succumbed to her pain with a scream when she could not take it anymore.
The world had stopped for us at that time. I felt betrayed. Betrayed by God for all my prayers went in vain. The test was just not getting over for me and Shivani. Now I had to take my little baby, my angel, away from her mother forever. When I was taking her to the cemetery to perform the final rites, I held her closely in my arms. Watched her face. She was beautiful. I could not control and cried and cried and cried. I saw her little fingers, touched her face, kissed her forehead several times and said sorry to my little angel. As I laid her in the ground, knowing that she will never come back, I looked upwards to the sky and asked God to please take care of her.
“I am leaving a part of myself and Shivani in your abode.” The pain of your small baby going away from you forever is unbearable. I came back home and said sorry to Shivani, for taking her baby away, for not be able to bring her back, for giving her all the pain, for all the things which I could have done right or controlled. I just said sorry! My daughter was born on 20th. She went away on 21st – Father’s Day. I am not sure what gift she gave me on this day, but my little daughter taught me an important lesson – Life goes on! She was a God’s child, who just came to bless us for some time. Mumma Papa love you, my angel! We Miss you.