Forty year old Mitali glanced at the empty crib. Her womb lurched, her heart seemed to be ripped from her chest. She and Satish, her husband had tried in vain, to have a child. Finally after 10 long years she conceived. Being an older woman and it being her first pregnancy, the journey had been far from smooth. There were special injections to be taken and lots of ‘unwanted’ tests were run.
Finally the day arrived and Mitali’s water broke. There was an inordinate delay by the hospital administration.
Eventually she was wheeled into the Operation Theatre. Her baby girl was still born. Mitali’s world came crashing down. Her much awaited darling was already an angel in Heaven. The baby girl had succumbed due to *meconium aspiration. Mitali screamed out loud for hours on end. The family was ready to press charges against the hospital administration. Mitali felt it was futile, as nothing would bring her baby back.
She was advised to spend the night at the hospital. However the continuous wailing of an infant from the next room added to her frustration. She finally asked the attending nurse as to why the infant was inconsolable. The answer she received was that the infant’s mother had to undergo an emergency operation. The infant boy was refusing any top feed. Mitali glanced at her own hospital gown, wet with the milk that was meant for her own baby. She knew what she had to do!
An hour later the baby boy was sated and Mitali was at peace. She may have lost her baby, but she surely possessed the basic maternal instinct. Perhaps she could try again or she might consider adoption, which she had been dead against till now!
*Meconium aspiration: during delivery if the foetus is stressed, it passes a stool while in the womb. This stool mixes with the amniotic fluid. If ingested by the foetus it sometimes proves to be fatal.