The Hand of God – Have you witnessed it? Have you ever been close to death? My responses above depict pain and sadness and something sinister. However, that day I also witnessed the Hand of God.
I had delivered my baby at 11:40 in the morning. All seemed normal – the babies first cry, the glimpse of a wailing, beautiful, healthy, 8lb baby. I was happy but felt uneasy. The nursing officers and a few under trainees were discussing Sachin Tendulkar's innings, the previous night. I told the senior nurse that something wasn't right. I wasn't feeling too good. She responded that it was normal since I had just had the baby, such weakness is understandable, but I was growing numb, my lips were cold and I was having severe palpitations. I knew something was not right.
A few minutes after our conversation a doctor walked into the labour room. He stood some distance from me – he was probably on routine rounds, he signed the register and was on his way out, probably for lunch. Deliveries at these hospitals are handled by nurses the docs come in only during an emergency. I watched him walk towards the labour room door, as I kept saying my silent prayers – when he suddenly halted, retraced his steps, coming towards me and asked the nurse, "why is she so pale?" The nurse had left my side and was walking towards him, responded, "Sir, she just delivered." He strode past her and checked on me – and shouted, "She's haemorrhaging." The nurse had made an incision, which she hadn't sutured, and I was losing blood - I had already lost a lot of blood by then. I was beginning to feel the life draining out of me.
I remember the doctor saying to me "ma'am this will hurt", as he cut through the sutures and adjoining flesh, without administering local anaesthesia, to reach the spot that was haemorrhaging. He worked with an urgency that conveyed the seriousness of my condition.
I must have slipped into unconsciousness because when I came to, I was surrounded by many doctors. I could hear voices saying, she's sinking; blood pressure dropping, pulse dropping, we're losing her…5 ml…and jabs as they injected life-saving drugs into me. I had various things being administered to me, intravenously - blood was one.
In my mind, I was thinking I cannot be dying. I have to fight this, survive, for my children and husband. I tried staying awake, taking note of everything that was happening around me. I looked at a doctor and told him he resembled my brother – and I heard someone say, she's hallucinating. I knew I was not. With so many doctors surrounding me and the flurry of activity, I was certain that something was seriously wrong. I prayed for my recovery and felt calm within. Not once did I panic.
Meanwhile, I was oblivious to how the world had turned topsy-turvy for my husband outside. The nurses had missed performing a routine procedure on our baby, of clearing the respiratory tract of the amniotic fluids. The same had entered her lungs and she was in a critical state. The baby had been ignored because of what they had done to me.
My husband was not receiving answers to what was wrong with me. I had been in the labour room for many hours now, longer than usual.
I heard the bell clanging, the same way my husband would ring the bell when he got home from work. I heard banging on the labour room door and then I heard my husband's voice. He was angry, I could hear him shouting. Suddenly, the senior most doctor said to let him in. My husband with our 4-year-old in tow came to me, in the labour room. He asked how I was. No one would tell me what was wrong. I can't recall him leaving my side, but suddenly, there were only doctors around me. I must have fainted again.
The bell rang again and once again my husband and daughter were allowed in. This time there were senior nursing staffs around as well. I asked my husband for some Coke, the nurses gawked, the doctor said to give me what I want. I had two Thums Up bottles, on the labour table.
The next time I came to my senses I was in another room – the annexe to the labour room. Now there were familiar faces around me. The hospital had made two separate signals to my husband's unit, mentioning my baby's and my condition. And friends had dropped in to be with my husband.
There was divine intervention in what happened that day. Each time I regained consciousness I'd begin praying. Had that doctor not retraced his steps, to examine me physically, I would probably not have survived. The nurse was trying to amend the botch up that she had done on me, but she wasn't being successful, and it cost us our baby.
We didn't pursue the matter because the medical negligence was not wilful. The hospital took some action against the nursing officer. It was only around 2:00 the next morning, when I insisted on seeing my baby, was I told she had left us.
I don't wish the trauma that I've been through on anyone. I couldn't mourn my child's loss because I had to be strong for my daughter and husband.
I also had to share these parallel events which took place that day, because not everything that happened to us was evil.
I have had many near death experiences that it is almost unbelievable. From head-on collisions with a truck and two buses, in separate incidents, on the National Highway to walking into a locked house filled with gas caused by an LPG leak, to heavy asbestos sheets falling on our bed, from a height and missing us by seconds, to waking up to a scorpion on the wall, inches away from where I lay. I know someone steps in and saves me/us each time – and I know it is the Hand of God.
"A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak" - Michael Garrett Marino