A doctor came out of the operating theatre and a nurse walked over to him, said a few words and pointed at me. The doctor walked towards me and held out his hand as he smiled at me.
“Congratulations,” he said. “I’m the consultant on your wife’s case. She has been delivered of a bouncing baby boy.”
I returned his smile and shook his hand. A surge of warmth, relief and happiness went through me. I hadn’t realized how tense I’d been, waiting for news for more than two hours, fielding phone calls and messages from concerned family and friends.
When my wife called me around 10.00am that her water had broken and she had started feeling the early signs of labour, I thought I would have more time to prepare, leave the office and get to the hospital on time. I’d heard from many of my friends who had gone through similar situations that the first baby is usually not in a hurry. I told her to get a taxi to the hospital and keep me posted, and I will join her as soon as I could.
But three hours later, I got another call from my sister-in-law, telling me that something had gone wrong with the labour, and my wife was being rushed into emergency surgery.
I had left the office immediately, and driven like a mad man to the hospital. Somewhere in my brain, it registered that I might be receiving speeding tickets in the mail soon.
“Thank you doctor.” I said. “How is my wife? How’s the baby?”
He started walking towards the entrance to the Intensive Care Unit. I followed him through the brightly-lit corridors, with brilliant white walls.
“The baby is fine. He’s quite healthy, and his heartbeat is almost back to normal now. We will monitor him for twenty-four hours, and hopefully we shouldn’t have any serious issues with him.”
“Oh that’s great, thank God… when can I see them?” I was saying.
“However, your wife has been through a lot.” The doctor continued speaking. “She lost a lot of blood and she to be given an emergency transfusion.” He paused in the middle of the corridor, took off his glasses and frowned at me. “I think it’s best if you don’t have any more children.”
I stopped short. “Why? What happened? Is she okay?”
“You know she had a difficult pregnancy?”
“And now a complicated birthing process. As this is her third c-section, I will advise you to stop having children now.”
I was confused. I didn’t understand what he was saying.
“What are you talking about doctor?” I asked. “What third c-section?”
He continued walking, faster, this time. I almost had to run to keep up with him.
“Your wife had two previous incisions. This is her third incision and third stitching, so …”
I interrupted him.
“But doctor, that’s impossible.” I said. “How can she have three c-sections? This is our first child!”
This article was originally published in 2016 at Brittlepaper.