The Unconditional Love
I was watching news with husband when the news about baby Adra Afieya came up. She has biliary atresia which is causing a liver failure and she is in need of a liver transplant.
I read Vivy's post regarding donation previously.
They need 1 million ringgit for the operation which will be performed in Singapore.
Hubby said he can't imagine this thing happening to us:(
I told him how when I was working in Hospital Selayang, we had few babies with this problem.
Hospital Selayang does Kasai operation for a baby with biliary atresia. It has a certain window period which means we need to detect the problem early.
I remember when I was working in pediatric department, there were developmentally delayed children, handicap children who were born with congenital problem which affected their development.
They lived in hospital without visitors or parents.
Nurses took care of them for years until they passed away.
Basically, they were abandoned in the hospital by the families.
Apparently some Chinese families believe that having a child with mental defect or with anomalies bring bad luck to the family.
I don't think all Chinese still practice this as I can't imagine my good friends acting this way.
Eventhough the children didn't get their parents' love, they were loved by the nurses and doctors.
Once I was on duty in the NICU and a newborn was borned and she had this syndrome which I couldn't recall as I am writting this entry. However, it was a congenital anomalies and she wouldn't survive long.
Her parents were informed before the baby was sent to NICU for care.
They never showed up.
The mother was discharged home and the poor baby was left in NICU with us.
She survived for a week amongst strangers.
She must have felt unlove and lonely. Poor baby. Just because she was not born normal, she was not wanted.
Apparently the parents told my specialist that they couldn't visit or acknowledge her for she will bring bad luck to their family.
So, I always tell my husband that Isabella is a lucky baby. She is loved.
Imagine those babies who were flushed in the toilets, left in the drain, in the cold outside the house, bitten by dogs. How could anyone do that to an innocent baby?
There was this boy. He was 4 months old. He was found by a policeman in the garbage bin and brought to our pediatric department.
He suffered from an infection and was given a course of antibiotic.
He was the cutest boy ever.
Fair silky skin with raven black straight hair. His hair was like a natural Mohawk.
What a handsome boy. Despite his unfortunate fate, he was a happy baby around us.
He looked at me with a pair od black eyes wiser than his age.
Smiling as if no care in the world.
I wonder who would give up this beautiful boy.
Since he had no caretaker, he couldn't be left alone in the cot. Therefore, his cot was placed in the middle of our working station, near the nurse's counter.
So that we were aware of his needs.
Everytime we finished our work, we would play with him.
Until now, I still remember that handsome face.
He was later adopted by my specialist's sister.
She has no child of her own.
One night I was oncall, peads standby in operation theatre.
A middle age lady was on the table for emergency Ceaser. The fetal's heart was weak.
The aneasth oncall was Dr Halina. She was pregnant with Bella at that time.
I was on standby to receive the newborn, with my MO.
The baby was born, without a cry and the obstetric and gynaecology MO handed the baby to us saying, 'Eh, baby ni ada tak kenala'.
We didn't suspect anything yet until I took her into my arms.
She had anomalies.
Her eyes were like fish. The nose was not formed and the mouth was connected to the left eye.
Her breathing was shallow.
I froze for a second.
Then, I reached a small facemask and applied over her mouth just to assist with her breathing.
My MO called my specialist straight away to inform about the newborn.
Specialist came and saw her but she said the baby has serious defect and couldn't survive long.
So, nothing should be done. We should help her feel at ease as possible.
He face were all defected but from neck to down, she looked like a normal baby.
Dr Halina wanted to see but as she was pregnant, the nurses advised her not to.
I held the oxygen mask on the baby's face. I had to be careful as the left eye was not at the eye's socket but at the mouth (below the nose). I would have hurt the eye with the mask.
Her face was all... I am at loss of word to describe this but seeing her panting for breath.. this innocent baby..
She was gasping for breath..it seems like her last breath.
Owh God, make her feel less pain as you take her away.
As a Muslim, I wouldn't question why this was happening to her?
I knew this was her fate.
We informed the mother regarding her baby. Gave her a choice. It was okay if she wished not to see her baby.
Doctor:Puan, minta maaf, anak puan tak sempurna. Dia dilahirkan cacat. Dia tak mungkin dapat diselamatkan.
Mother: (Quiet, stunt) Doctor, baby saya teruk ke?
Her lips quivering holding to her emotion.
I couldn't imagine her emotional turmoil.
Doctor: Puan nak tengok ke? Dia masih bernafas tetapi pernafasannya lemah. Dia tak mungkin bertahan lama.
mother:Saya nak pegang dia. Boleh saya tgk.
I was so shocked that she would see her baby. After seeing how some parents react to this, I have loss faith in people.
I was also worried that seeing the baby would tear her heart apart.
I would not have judged her harshly if she chose not to. To keep a good memory of her baby.
Nevertheless, I showed her.
She held her in her motherly arms, quiet, tears running down her cheeks.
Slowly, she looked up, at me,'Doktor, kenapa dia jadi macam ni?Salah saya ke doktor?'
At that moment, I just felt like kneeling on the operation room's floor hearing her guilty question.
No maam, it is not your fault, not anyone's fault. Please don't blame yourself.
Mothers tend to blame themselves.
It was time to discuss with her husband.
We informed the husband about the baby.
He was calm, really calm.
He seemed like a religious man with small beard, wearing 'ketayap', in his late 40's.
He took one look at his baby, did not even twitch a muscle in his eyes, took her from my arms.
And said,'Anak abah'.
He kissed the little forehead.
Hugged her close to his body as tears of acceptance tickled down his cheeks.
All I could see was his unconditional love to this baby regardless her look and condition.
'Abah sayang baby'.
He started reciting 'azan' and 'iqamah'.
He turned to me,'Doctor, boleh saya bawa kakak2 dia dan abang2 dia masuk tgk anak saya sebelum dia pergi?'.
I nodded. I was too young. I wasn't even married yet. If the situation happens after I have my baby, I don't think I could be that calm. At that time, I felt disturbed, sad, touched.
Now as I was relating the story to my husband, I couldn't stop the tears in my eyes.
Now, I could really understand the heaviness of their feelings.
5 children entered. The father said,'Ini adik awak, sayang adik. Cium adik ye. Adik sakit'.
The children stepped in one by one, each one kissed the baby's forehead.
The look never repulsed them.
They didn't turn their head away at the first glance.
They were told to wait outside.
Finally, it was time.
Her breathing was irregular, shallow. She was still in her father's arms.
I know she has felt the love from her parents and family. She took one final breath and stopped.
The father kissed again on the forehead.
He rested his left cheek on the baby.
Whispered something in her ears.
Gave the baby to me.
I know, as hard as this was to him, he has accepted Allah's test on him.
I wrapped the baby in the green cloth, placed her in a cot.
The nurse would send her to the labour room now.
Once again, the father said grimly,'Doktor, tolong cover anak saya baik-baik demi maruah dia nanti'.
I nodded my head.
My heart felt very heavy.
This experience humbles me.
Imagine when you are ready to accept a newcomer, a beautiful baby and you were told that your baby didn't form well, had anomalies and wouldn't survive long.
That news would bring any parents to their knee with anguish, heartbroken.
To survive that, it has taken a lot of faith and courage.
It made me wonder how anyone could give birth to a normal baby and throw it away.
A parent's love is so unconditional, as sincere as the purest water, as warmth and tender as the sun light touching the earth at dawn..
We wish for a lot of thing, for a healthy baby and sometimes things just happen. And when it happens, how we handle it is what defines us as parents.
As I am writing this, I looked down to where Isabella is snuggling right close to me. As if she is trying to catch my warmth. Her chest rise. She sighed her cute little sound. My knuckles ran smoothly over her left cheek. Her upper lip twisted into a smile. Even in her sleep, she felt our love. Sigh* My baby, you have changed my life.
Lets snuggle more.