“I have often wondered, how throughout history, women have continued to endure the pain of childbirth Evidently though, this is not a question to task the mind long”
It was almost a month since the delivery of her baby; it had been an especially difficult birth and she had lost a great quantity of blood. But night and day her features were aglow with joy, and her pain gone whenever she held her little one – whose lifeblood was one with hers.
Today while rocking him, he had begun to fret more than usual. Thinking nothing of it other than the onset of hunger, she had tried to feed him, cooing softly to calm him. He wouldn’t eat though, and then she noticed that he was burning up. The little blue singlet he had under his jumpers was quickly drenched with sweat. Clearly this was beyond abnormal, so she began to cry. Her tears of course unsettled the baby, so that he too began crying. Her baby’s tears squeezed her already breaking heart, she sobbed all the more.
Now sitting before the doctor, her gaze boring an invisible hole through him, as if in accusation – he held all the answers she did not want to hear. He shared them with her regardless, she listened to the point where she understood that her little one was very sick, then unable to bear the indifference in his voice anymore, she surrendered her thoughts to crippling worry for her perfect baby, who had been alright just hours ago, and now terribly ill.
“… needs urgent blood transfusion.” She caught the end of the doctor’s final sentence. And with it came hope. They were compatible – she and her child, and she would donate without a second thought. But she was still in recovery, the doctor protested, and donating blood would be potentially fatal. She said she already knew but he was adamant. “Absolutely not. Not on my watch!”
But it was not his decision to make; he could suggest strongly, what was or wasn’t medically advantageous, but ultimately, it was her call, and she had long made it. The doctor, fine gentleman of the cross that he was, still hedged, and it was all she could do to keep from screaming at him to drop all protocols and save her baby. She glanced over to the crib where he lay still, hooked up to a beeping machine that looked like it was feeding on his life force rather than vice versa. As she watched, his little chest rose and with visible struggle, fell shakily. Fresh wells of tears opened up in her heart.
She placed her open palm very lightly over his heart, and turned wounded eyes to the doctor. “For nine torturous months, I bore this tiny life, now slowly slipping away. I was torn up and bled out for him. To be denied the joy of completing what I have begun, will be to have brought my existence to naught”.
Against his better judgment, he gave in. Ethics be damned, he mused. He could no more deny this woman her wish, than sink a knife into her heart. He started the transfusion.
By A.C. Kanelechukwu
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