When he smiled for the first time

My elder sister was in a critical condition when she was expecting her second baby. The delivery had to happen via C-section and it was decided that it would take place on July 16th, 2019.

My mother and I went to the hospital and after about 15 to twenty minutes, my jiju (brother-in-law) asked us to come near the lift. Since the operation took place on the second floor, which had a restricted entry, I thought we were allowed to go now. But that was not the case. When we reached there, we saw a little baby in front of us wrapped in the hospital’s green blanket, with tiny little eyes half-open he was looking at us. When I asked jiju, I came to know that he was a baby boy. Yes, my second nephew had arrived. While he was taken to NICU to be kept under observation as a part of the procedure, we waited to meet my sister.

After a few hours, I went to the second floor to be present as a family member from didi’s side in case of requirement while jiju went to have his lunch after staying and waiting for long. Suddenly I received a call from jiju that I need to go inside as they were calling for a family member.

As directed, after wearing covers on my shoes and putting the head cap, I was directed towards the ICU. When I entered, I realised that the first patient was my sister. She was shivering profusely. Unlike the first time, when I was terrified to see her like this and had run to a nurse asking for help, this time I was calm and knew that it was normal and was due to the decreasing effect of anaesthesia. It’s a human tendency to be scared of situations which we are ignorant about. But once we know, everything seems to be normal.

I had a little chat with her, the first thing she asked was “Does he have hair on his head?” and I knew she is doing fine. I came out, waited for jiju and went back to the fifth floor where our room was. Jiju and I again went to the NICU to have a look at the baby when he finally said, “Oh my God! One more boy!”.

He so wished for a daughter. But that is the irony of life, you mostly get what you don’t wish for and of course for better. After two hours, both mother and son were shifted to the room. The doctor had asked to take a blood sugar test of the baby every time before he was fed. The nurse would come, prick on his little feet and check the sugar while he would cry and the colour of his feet changed to maroon.

The parents were in pain each time to see this happen but knew it was for his well-being. The sugar level seemed to fluctuate and he was transferred to NICU for that night. Even though he had been there with us for about 5 hours, I missed him so much and couldn’t stop myself from seeing his little bed and clothes again and again.

Next morning, he came back and again his blood sugar was checked twice before each feed. His blood sugar level seemed fine so we were allowed to keep him with us. I kept feeding him with formula milk as my sister wasn’t in a condition to cater to his needs.

Next day when he was weighed again, there was weight loss much more than what a child usually loses after birth. When the doctor came to check, he was able to feed him only three spoons that too after much struggle. He stroked his finger on the child’s feet, tickled behind his ear but he simply ignored and refused to wake up.

At last, all he managed to say to jiju was, “You have a stubborn boy. It is important for him to have milk but he doesn’t seem to be interested.” However, after feeding him formula milk several times with the help of a bowl and spoon, I had realised that patience was the key. It took about an hour for him to have his one feed.

Didi was a little well by now and seeing the condition of the little boy, she had also started feeding him whenever she could. On the third day, he seemed to be a little better. While I was carrying him, he was looking at me so I started talking to him and he smiled for the first time as if he understood what I was saying. Although he would smile and cry in his sleep but this was something else. I knew the bond has formed, which is going to last forever. On the next day, they were discharged, the doctor was happy. This little boy demands patience and coincidently, he has been named “Dhairya.”

By Isha Jain
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