I don’t know which of the three of us, Padmaja, Mamli and I, was waiting for the new baby with the most anticipation. Mamli wanted her baby brother very badly. And had been preparing for the arrival for some time. Padmaja & I knew that it was a boy and not a girl as we had thought earlier. She overheard the Doctor instructing two juniors during her last ultrasound and came to me asking about testes 🙂
Mamli was very excited ever since we learned that Padmaja was pregnant. She was a lonely child till Bablu was born and to her the little baby to come was not just a sibling but release from the acute loneliness that was her lot from the time she returned from school till Padmaja returned from work. Her favorite play during the months of Padmaja’s pregnancy was with Mollu, her little brother.
Mamli with Mollu, her little make believe brother:
Bablu was expected to arrive in early late March or April 2004. My parents came over to stay for a few weeks and help. We had not told them that the baby was a boy. My mother badly wanted a boy since we already had a daughter. Baba was okay either way I think though I am not sure. I have never asked and don’t think I ever will.
Bablu was born at 12.30 pm on March 21, 2004 by caesarian section. Mamli had been a natural birth but that was in the SAIL Hospital at Rourkela while Bablu was born in Apollo Hospital Hyderabad, with Dr. Priyamvada Reddy as the obstetrician and gynecologist. She is perhaps the worst doctor I have met. An amazon of a woman, she was extremely reluctant to speak with her patients and their husbands. At least that’s what happened with us. At times she was discourteous bordering on downright rude.
Padmaja complained of some pain in the morning of March 21, a Sunday. I called the hospital and spoke to Dr. Reddy. She told me to bring Padmaja in for a check up. After a preemptory check up this doctor who had been examining Padmaja for more than 6 months turned to me and claimed that the baby was in dire danger and an immediate caesarian section was required to save it. “Choose. Do you wish to wait?” she said to me. And immediately turned around and told the attending nurse to “prepare the patient for caesarian section”.
Of course a caesarian sections costs about 6 times a natural delivery and takes a negligible amount of time in comparison. The fool doctor would be home enjoying her rice and pickle within the hour, two at most. And how come she suddenly discovered that there was a problem? Either she is such a big fool that she thinks she can get away with this without anybody the wiser or she knows exactly what she is doing and is arrogant enough not to give a damn.
Anyway, Dr. Krishna Swarup Reddy, Mamli’s Pediatrician, and the then Head Neonatology, Apollo Hospital, was present at the birth on our request. He is the best doctor I have ever met. I just don’t have words to describe the man and the doctor. He has now left Apollo Hospitals and runs Pacific Hospital at Jubilee Hills.
I realized that my son was to be born that day when I signed the forms and they wheeled Padmaja away. I called home and told my father the news. My mother was already at the hospital with me. I asked her to wait near the operating theater and went downstairs to wait for my father and Mamli. They arrived in about 20 mins and I realized that the hospital had a policy of not allowing small children into the in patient areas. Unless the is the patient of course. My uncle, Dr. Bharatendu Swain, who was with the Plastic Surgery department of Apollo was a big help. He had the hospital people open the lounge in the ground floor for my dad and Mamli. After seeing them safely installed I rushed home to pick up some essentials for the hospital stay that would be required. Luckily Padmaja was fully covered as a SAIL employee and the entire admission process was smooth. All I had to do was display her SAIL medical card and sign the documents prepared by Apollo.
I returned to Apollo about half an hour later to find my mother running around the lobby looking very lost. She of course did not know that Mamli and my father were in the lounge and that I had gone home. She saw me and came running to hug me. “It is a boy!” she said. It seems Dr. Krishna Swarup had shown her the baby and seeing her confusion shown her the proper appendage of the little baby to satisfy her that it was indeed a boy.
I took her to the lounge and rushed upstairs to the post operative recovery room. Before I was allowed to see Padmaja I managed to go see my second child. The photograph above of me holding the baby was taken by Dr. Krishna Swarup Reddy. Then I went to see Padmaja who was just coming out of the anesthesia. Told her the news and held her hand till the nurse on duty kicked my butt out of there.
Padmaja was transferred to her room later in the afternoon. She still hadn’t seen Bablu. I had taken my father and Mamli back home. Mamli was in tears. She wanted to see her little brother.
I spoke to Ms. Helga, the Administrator of Apollo Hospital and she permitted me to bring in Mamli for half an hour that evening. Mamli & Padmaja both saw Bablu for the first time that evening. My father had already seen him before I took them home that afternoon.
They kept Bablu in the Neonatology center that night and brought him to Padmaja the next morning.
Mamli was ready to welcome her little brother home.
Anand our driver took us home in our Maruti 800.
Mamli was ecstatic and wanted to hold her little brother…
Padmaja’s parents visited a short time later.
And Mamli finally had her little brother to play with…
And poor Mollu was completely forgotten.