For years, my partner and I had been trying to conceive with no luck. I was approaching my 40s and it seemed hopeless with every year that passed. Then, one day, I started getting funny symptoms. I didn’t think that it could be a pregnancy since we had almost lost hope. However, the symptoms worsened and I decided to take a pregnancy test. I was pregnant and I couldn’t wait to share the news with my partner. Finally, we could be a family.
He was ecstatic as well. As I said, we had been trying to get pregnant for the longest time. We waited for three months to tell anyone since I had read that the first months are usually risky and miscarriages are common, especially for an older woman like me. After three months, I wanted to shout it from the rooftop.
“We’re expecting a baby,” I told my family.
“Congratulations, my daughter.”
Even though everything was going well, I still didn’t want to do anything that would put my pregnancy at risk. I reduced my physical activities and during the last months, I stopped going to work. My partner was very helpful and supportive. He took up all the bills and hired a house manager to help me with the chores. We really didn’t want anything to stop us from being parents.
We went for one last clinical visit before booking a delivery date. Everything looked fine and the doctor assured us that we didn’t need to go to the theatre even though I thought it was necessary.
“Don’t worry, I have had many women your age deliver normally and safely.” He said, trying to comfort me.
I was prepared for any type of birth so I decided to go with the doctor’s recommendation.
On Sunday, I started to get really painful cramps and later on, my water broke. We followed the doctor’s instructions and went to the hospital when the contractions got more regular and more painful. We were checked in promptly and the nurse kept coming to check on me.
For more than 24 hours, nothing happened. I was in excruciating pain yet the nurses kept telling me that I wasn’t ready. I must have been in labour for more than two days when finally, our baby decided to come out.
The birthing process was another story. He struggled to come out and the doctors worried that the long delay would cause a brain injury. I did my best to push him out despite the exhaustion and pain I was feeling.
“One last push.” The nurse said and I pushed with all my strength.
There was a moment of silence then I heard my baby crying. That was the happiest day of my life. However, I could hear the doctor and nurses chatting in whispers.
“Can I hold him?” I asked.
“One minute, please.”
After cleaning him, they handed him to me and I laid eyes on my baby for the first time. He was the most beautiful boy I had ever seen. I had tried not to cry but I couldn’t hold the tears anymore. My partner also shed a few tears.
The doctor left and the nurses started to explain what we should do.
“After breastfeeding him, the doctor will come in to do a few tests on him.”
“Tests? Is anything wrong?”
“No, just relax.”
I didn’t think anything was wrong. He looked perfectly fine. However, the doctor came with bad news the following day.
“Your pregnancy and birth were complicated. Being at a certain age, many things can go wrong. You did well to carry the pregnancy to term but your baby lacked oxygen for a long time and we suspect that he may have brain damage.”
“What? Did I not ask you if I need to have a c-section?”
“This isn’t about that. He may have had damage in the womb as well. We don’t know for sure.”
“What does this mean?”
“He may have some disabilities like slurred speech or epilepsy.”
The more he talked, the more emotional I got. I finally had the family I had waited so long to have and I can’t even enjoy it for a day. My partner was quietly listening to the doctor but I couldn’t hear anymore.
“Can I have a moment with my family?” I asked.
We went home two days after giving birth and everything seemed normal. The doctor also told us that he could show little to no symptoms of brain damage and we kept praying that that was the case.
“He’ll be fine. He’s a fighter like us.” My partner comforted me.
A few months afterwards, my baby started having seizures. I knew exactly why but I still didn’t want to believe it. It was scary at first and both of us were confused about what we should do.
We took him to the hospital and the doctor gave him medication and showed us what to do when he got the seizures. They continued to happen regularly and each time, it broke my heart to see my son in that state.
My partner couldn’t handle the demands of raising a child with disabilities so he left us. At that point, our relationship was strained and I thought it was the best thing since he was taking out his frustrations on me. My mother stepped in to help take care of my son and as the years went by, the seizures reduced significantly. However, he still had to take his medication and stick to a strict diet to ensure that he didn’t get seizures.
Today, he has blossomed into a fine young man with immense talent. He’s one of the brightest students in his school and he is a social butterfly. Since he abandoned his family, I’ve never heard from my son’s father. I still make an effort to keep him updated on his son’s progress through his family but he has never responded. Maybe one day, he’ll remember that he has another family.
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