"You're my little sweetheart... come here baby,
let me keep you warm.
Hey you...no! Don't push my sweetie pie.
How rosy your cheeks are, you pretty little pumpkin.."
I was playing with the newborn babes lying on the incubator.
"Enna daddy feelings ah", the nurse mocked.
It was one of those less daunting days in the labour rooms of JIPMER while I worked there as a Final Year MBBS student. Strangely, the patient load was less and I had a little time for chit chat with the nurses and to play with the newbon babies.
I walked around the labour room observing the mothers in pain. It was a common sight to see them wailing and weeping with pain. I would always offer my presnece and a word of comfort whenever I could, but most often, I would be too busy and there would practically no time to breathe.
There was one particular lady who impressed me. Mrs. N, I cleary remember her name, though I don't wish to post it here. She was a fair, beautiful woman about 26 years of age. She was well educated. The strange thing about her was that she did not wail nor weep in pain. She did not shout, she did not cry nor did she breakdown in tears. I initially thought that her labour was progressing at a slower pace. I took a keen interest in her and I visited her many times and she noticed that. I would take her readings but I didn't speak with her. She would smile at me and be grateful for what I do. As her labour progressed, I could see she winced with pain at times but she kept herself in control. She would look around the place and see mothers moaning with pain everwhere, yet she kept her composure.
To me, she was a sign of strength. I knew the pain she was going through yet she reamined strong and that inspired me a lot. She had every reason to breakdown with pain and cry. But she had a charming and plesant smile on her face that showed grit and determination.
She had progressed into the final stages of labour and she started having stronger contractions and much pain. She couldn't stand it anymore. Finally she let herself cry. She wept silently. I went near her. She looked at me as if she'd expected me. "I'd tried my best, I don't think I can take it any longer", these were the exact words she spoke.
"You've remained too strong for too long" I said. "It's OK. It does pain. It's really OK. In a few mins you've be holding a beautiful baby and all this pain won't matter" I reassured her.
While she was wheeled out of the labour room, she was holding a beautiful baby boy in her hands and she had a broad smile on her face. She truned back to tell me "Thank you Doctor". I waved and smiled.
In her, I saw the grit and determination to stay strong and the threshold of human strength.