A life, imagined
February 26, 2013 in Uncategorized
The woman about to become a mother braces her heels on the chair next to the hospital bed, the white linen bunching up as she contorts slightly. The air is an even temperature in the ward, and the light is buzzing. A TV is silently flickering a soapie and the nurses are clipped, efficient.
The doctor comes in. He’s earnest. Not quite frowning, but not smiling. Taking in the details in a routine he does many times a day. Patient’s name. Chart. Signs of distress. The urgency with which he works isn’t because the baby is at risk, but rather because he has other rooms to visit, other patients waiting for his diagnoses.
The woman hisses through her teeth. Forgets about her bag with the impossibly small babygro inside; nappies folded and ready. She shifts again, bumping the wheeled tray and the glass with the condensation droplets quivers. Her knees are raised, now, and her body is exposed to the doorway, but it doesn’t matter. Her face is flushed, her hair damp with effort.
The doctor holds her hand, but he’s really taking her pulse, his wide thumb placed on the veins which bob up and down next to the identification bracelet.
In the rawest of places, the doctor checks the dilation, nods.
There’s some crying and moaning, and a confusion of white coats coming in and out of the room. Pain. White light. And a gentle gasp as the baby appears.
She’s perfect. A mixture of purple, blue, pink and then red. Her tangled hair is caught in wet swirls across her scalp. Tiny eyes are bulging but closed, then squinting. Deep black. Her tummy sinks in as she gasps for breath and then bleats out her first tears.
The mother blinks away tears and gapes at her baby girl. At the tiny perfection of it all. Those tiny half-moon nails, the skinny, wrinkled feet. She reaches out to her and strokes her cheek. Apricot skin.
A smile crosses the woman’s face for the first time. Anene, she whispers, Anene, jy’s te pragtig, my kind.
RIP, Anene Booysen. Feb, 2013. SD.