The spittle and vomit became intense, I began emaciating; each medical report from the doctor after every anti-natal session became a poison to my soul. At only 24weeks pregnant, complications had forced me to undergo an emergency caesarean, as advised by the family doctor, in order to deliver our long awaited jewel.
Still groggy from surgery, Teekay held my hand as we braced ourselves for the latest news. We already knew the baby was perilously premature, a boy that my husband had prophesied he would be. He was 12inches long and weighed only 1.9kg. Still, the doctor’s soft words dropped like bombs. “I don’t think he’s going to make it,” he said, as kindly as he could. “There is only a 10-percent chance he will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chances he does make it, his future could be a very cruel one.”
With rapt attention, we listened as the doctor described the devastating problems the baby would likely face if he survived. I sobbed uncontrollably; Teekay was dumbfounded. “The baby would never walk; he would never talk; he would probably be blind, he would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation; and on and on” the doctor emphasized.
“No! No!” was all I could mumble amidst tears.
Through the dark hours of morning, our baby held on to life by the thinnest thread. I slipped in and out of drugged sleep, growing more determined that our tiny son would survive and live to be happy-healthy young boy. But for Teekay, he was fully awake and listening to additional dire details of our son’s chances of ever leaving the hospital alive, much less healthy, knew he must confront me with the inevitable.
Teekay walked in and said we needed to talk about making funeral arrangements. I felt so bad for him because he was about to bury the son who would have been his heir. He tried to include me but I wouldn’t listen, I refused to be consoled either and sobbing became the food to my soul, day and night. I said, “No that is not going to happen. No way! I don’t care what the doctor say anymore. My son is not going to die! One day, he’ll be just fine and he’ll go home with us.”
As if willed to live by my determination, our tiny son clung to life hour after hour, with the help of every medical machine and marvel his miniature body could endure; but as these days passed, a new agony set in for Teekay and I because our son’s underdeveloped nervous system was essentially “raw”. The lightest kiss or caress only intensified his discomfort- so we couldn’t even cradle our tiny baby boy against our chest to offer the strength of our love. All we could do, as the boy struggled alone beneath the ultra-violet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to our precious little boy.
There was a moment he suddenly grew stronger, but as weeks went by, he did slowly gain a gram of weight here and another gram of weight there.
At last, when our son turned two months old, we were able to hold him in our arms for the first time. And two months later- though doctor continued to gently but grimly warn that his chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero. “I know my God is a mindful creator who wouldn’t forget his own” I thought aloud. Hence, my continued prayers were fervent and wall-breaking.
Just as I had predicted, my son went home with us from the hospital. Crowds knock at our door daily; people troop in and out of our house wanting to see what wonder we brought home. Families and friends felicitated with us without prior knowledge of what we had and were passing through. Our baby continued to grow as we always move him in and out of the hospital all through the years.
Today, after five years of intensive care, our son Bemmy became a petite but feisty young boy with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. He showed no sign, whatsoever, of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, he was everything a little boy could be and more but that happy ending was far from the end of his story.
One blistering afternoon in rainy season, Bemmy was sitting on my lap, as always, was chattering non-stop with me and several other adults sitting nearby when he suddenly fell silent. Hugging him across my chest, he asked “do you smell that?” smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, I replied, “Yes, it smells like rain.”
Bemmy closed his eyes and asked again, “do you smell that?” once again, I replied, “yes I think we’re about to get wet, it smells like rain.” Still caught in the moment, Bemmy shook his head, patted his small shoulder with his small hand and loudly announced, “No, it smells like him.” Everyone around were caught unaware by his audible vocals. The Did-you-hear-him look was on everyone’s face as Bemmy continued “it smells like God when you lay your head on his chest” I was clothed with fear, tremor ran through my spine, my stomach was churning; Bemmy’s words frightened the life out of me as I began shaking like a leaf.
Hot tears blurred my eyes as my once happy mood hopped down while I watched Bemmy breathed his last.