Saturday, January 31, 2015

The overwhelming moment

The fascinating aspect of life is probably the first moment of life.  That instant of birth is probably the perfect example of intersection of science and Godliness.  There is something miraculous about the whole thing.  It's certainly inexplicable.

He was supposed to have arrived four days ago.  At the beginning, we waited with expectation, which slowly transformed to patience and boredom.  We wanted him the very next instant.  Anyway, after all the anticipation and drama, he arrived the next day, with a splash and a wail.  To call that moment the most overwhelming moment of my life would be a gross understatement.

With as much information of pregnancy classes loaded into our heads as possible, we were thrown into the complex world of parenting.  Theory and practice are two different beasts.  I had found that out in my Engineering days and the real world scenario was no different.  So, on the first evening, at the hospital, my wife and I were gaping at him with a feeling of awe and fright.

The first night, all alone, with the little one, we had our self doubts.  The duty nurse walked in.  "Guys, do you want to place him in the nursery?"

My wife and I looked at each other.  We had discussed this scenario a million times before.  We were sure of what we had to do.  Yet, we were confused.

"OK", I said.  "No", my wife said.

"We'll see how things go tonight", my wife said.

Obviously, you will have no doubts as to whose decision prevailed.

So, ten minutes into that decision, everything went well as planned.

He was fed, his diaper had been changed and we thought that we were covered for the next three hours at least.  And then, out of the blue, he let out a cry.  It was not a quiet sob.  It was a piercing wail that could bring the entire ward down.

We looked at each other as though babies were just expected to be quiet.  It's very easy when sitting in a class as to what to do.

"What do I do now?", I asked my wife.

"What did we learn during the birthing classes? Let's just follow the instructions", my wife replied.

"What instructions", I wondered. I mean, I went blank.  All that I could hear was a high decibel wail piercing through my ears.  I was totally nonplussed to react.  Like I said earlier, theory and practice are totally different.

"Let me hand him over to you.  It'll be good for him to get skin to skin contact", I said.  I had to say something meaningful.

Nothing helped.  The cries did not subside.

"OK, OK.  Call the nurse.  Press the red button", I said confidently.  Calling the nurse was probably the only thing I was confident about.  That should have been the last option.  But for me, I thought that we had already reached the last option.

The nurse walked in.  She had such a confident demeanor as though she knew exactly what she was doing.  She held him for a few seconds.  She asked us a couple of questions about his feeding and diaper change.  We answered, rather less confidently.  At that point, we were not confident about anything.  If somebody had asked us what one plus one was, we might have hesitated to answer two.  Such was our state; so unsure of anything.

The nurse was smart enough to understand.  She smiled at us and said, "It's probably the diaper."

She quickly undid his diaper, and lo and behold, he had a wet diaper.  We heaved a sigh of relief.

My wife and I quickly said the same thing "Please take him to the nursery." We'll catch up as much sleep as possible at least as long as we are in the hospital.