We didn’t think it would happen so soon. The signs of labour had been absent up to the day before, and it didn’t seem that events would unfold naturally. So, although surprising, that Wednesday evening’s contractions seemed to be just the beginning of what might be a long, drawn-out process. I speak here of the night our daughter was born – two weeks ago, on an amazing night.
Because of complications, we thought the birth would be a planned procedure – booked for the following night. Little did we know that our little bundle of joy (and wind ;) ) was on her way. And she would not wait for the scheduled date.
Rushing to the hospital felt weird, but not too dramatic. Labour can take many hours, and sometimes even a few days – so I thought we were in for a long wait. We planned what we wanted to do in the labour room. We’d packed our bags, prepared everything we needed, and took everything with. On arrival, after the initial consult, it seemed we’d be there the whole night: the stage of labour my wife was in was one that usually takes at least a further 6 hours until she’d get to the major events.
But a visit from the doctor told us otherwise. The baby was not in position for natural birth, and trying to go that route could be dangerous – so we had to take the route that seems so common today: caesarean section. The speed at which everything happened from that point seemed unreal: the doctor’s consultation, news that we had to go with the caesar, and minutes later, we were in theatre.
I still can’t describe the way I felt. It was like a different reality. The kind you experience when you have those moments of clarity: like when you feel the reality of death (another person’s death), or when you experience the true fragility of human life via an accident or a life-threatening crime.
I can’t imagine the pain my wife had to go through, and I dared not look at what was going on – opting instead to try to be as supportive as I could; and hopefully lessening the anxiety.
Before the birth, when we toured the hospital to see the rooms and learn how things were done, I was terrified for my wife. I mean, if you think the dentist is bad, birth is just so much scarier. Maybe it’s just me magnifying the feeling – because I cannot stand pain; and I’d never be able to go through what a woman has to go through when she gives birth. When I had to get a minor boil removed in my teenage years, I wanted to be put to sleep because I didn’t want to feel the pain. I can’t imagine how I’d handle any type of surgery if I ever had to have an operation.
Anyway, as the doctors did their thing, I tried – with my wife – harder than I’ve ever tried, to be of comfort to someone, and take their mind off the experience they were facing. And when our little girl popped out, disgusting as all the fluids and gunk was, it was a huge relief, and a moment of joy that I hope we’ll always remember.
The entity that was just a tiny bean 8 months before (on the ultrasound), was now out in the world, and in the arms of my wife and I. It was awesome to finally meet her; and beautiful to see her little fingers and face. Alhamdullilah, we thank Allah for granting us a healthy baby and not testing us with physical deformations or retardations.
A few months back, I wrote about the anticipation of fatherhood. I wondered whether the spirit of sacrifice would come naturally to me. Now, these first 2 weeks have proven that – so far – it did come. I’ve never been so busy for a prolonged period, running around getting so many things done and not thinking much of myself. I’ve never experienced the consistent lack of sleep on this level – yet still been able to cope in the day (most of the time), and hopefully help enough when I was needed at night.
And I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy.
We’ve got a long road ahead now, and raising a child is probably going to be the most challenging thing my wife and I have ever faced. But we’re grateful to have this opportunity, and we hope that – despite all our faults and shortcomings – our little one will grow up to be a woman of amazing character and righteousness, and a source of goodness not only for us, but for this world as well.