We went into labour fully expecting to get Xander out through normal means. Throughout the 30-hour ordeal, we went from induced normal delivery plan, to assisted delivery, to C-section. The one thing that’s consistent about the way me and my wife do things – be it cable TV channels to buffet lines, and even now in labour – is that we have to try EVERYTHING. And so we managed to do it again this time, even if it was not intended.
But both our hearts dropped when we heard the doctor say the C-word ever so solemnly in the middle of the night. The look of disappointment mixed in with fear washed over my wife’s face, and for me, the thought of a C-section after all the effort we put through trying to keep the delivery normal sent my mind reeling into a tailspin. They prepped my wife for the surgery, and I was ushered out of the room hastily as my wife signed the consent form for the procedure.
The doctor did, however, tell me I could go into the operating theatre to watch. It wasn’t so much of giving permission though, as it was insistence. It seemed after being by my wife’s side the entire time, this is more of an entitlement than a privilege. But it was an entitlement I sort of wished could be handled a bit more subtly.
They got me into a surgical space suit, but I was too tall and broke the zipper, so they had to tape up the front of my suit. Then they brought me into the theatre, and I saw the surgical assistant and our gynae, ready to start, together with the anesthetist over my wife’s head, and my wife – awake.
My God, she was awake.
During the surgery, I realised she was awake by choice, because she kept refusing the anesthetist during the surgery whenever he offered to put her under (he asked her about 4-5 times). SHe wanted to make sure the baby came out all right, and wanted to be conscious when the baby made his first cry. I cannot go into detail about how excruciating the whole process went, but I will say this for all fathers who are likely to go through the same thing as I did; no amount of love will be enough to express how much you feel for your wife after seeing the sacrifices she will go through to bring a life you both created into the world.
After it was all done, I went back to the ward with my son, and after seeing him wheeled into the nursery, the only thought I had in my mind was whether my wife was all right. 45 minutes later, my wife was wheeled into the ward. As she was moved into her bed and I was allowed back into her room, I sat odwn next to her, held her hand, and cried.
It marked the end of an ordeal, and the beginning of a new story.