“Sarita, sarita……….You are going to be OK!” I hear faint voices and think perhaps I am NOT going to be OK after all. (This is what happens in movies too, I guess when someone is going to die, the doctor says “You are going to be Ok”).
With darkness gathering around me, I think back as what I have been through in the past couple of hours (days or perhaps months or years!)
With the start of my puberty, my parents were fanatic to get me married (I simply couldn’t understand the reason back then!) The first DECENT boy they came across was to be my future husband. He lived in the village which was not even connected with a road! Till that time I could only wonder as how life would be for me?
It was one morning that I woke up feeling very sick and weak! Soon after I started vomiting (But the most idiotic thing was that everyone around me starting congratulating me, Is that how we deal with a patient here, I was to still find out!) The truth dawned on me soon after and I became the would-be Mother! But the fact was to be kept a secret for some time (Though I heard my mother-in-law whispering the secret to the lady next door, who is the known radio of the village!) The days were nothing different for me even after (Except for the sick mornings, flushes, pains and headaches!)
That morning I was putting out the clothes to dry, when a lady walked up to me. She introduced herself as ASHA, a volunteer health worker of the village and asked if there was a woman pregnant in the house? (So the radio had worked as I expected!)
Next day, I was taken by ASHA to meet a “lady in white” who was known as ANM in the health system. She gave me a shot of TT (Tetanus Toxoid) and 100 pills to eat. These small red looking pills were to increase my blood, as I was told that I looked pale. (Let the mother-in-law stop sucking some, everything would be alright!) I was also told by her to eat right and start saving for my delivery. She also told me that if I delivered in a Government hospital, I would obtain Rs1400 after my delivery.
From that day onwards I started saving for my baby! I used to pick up coins and put them in a saving box (I got one from the Kumhar’s (Potter) wife who gave me one as a gift!) I could feel him beginning to grow within me! He seemed to take away all the nutrition from me, since most days I would feel like about to faint. (If you are wondering how I can say that the baby would be “HE”, so it is what my mother-in-law constantly tells me).
Unexpectedly the pain started one late evening for me. My husband had just been back from work and I was serving him food. The vessel fell on the ground, with a loud noise!
I handed over the money I had saved to my husband and a vehicle was arranged to get to the nearby Government hospital immediately. (The news of getting money after delivery was enough to persuade my mother-in-law for an institutional delivery, otherwise as she says “All of my children are healthy and born at HOME”).
I cannot exactly call THAT a Hospital! There was none around except a sleepy lady who cursed me for having labour pains at this hour! As soon as I was shifted on the cold steel table I started shivering badly (I felt it to be more than shivers, as though my whole body was being shaken under a spell) I was told that my blood pressure was far too high and none could handle it there. The moment the lady saw this, she asked my husband to take me to a HIGHER hospital some 40 kms away for an operation! An ambulance was arranged to take me away (Not without asking to pay for it!) It was very difficult to think to go that far by someone as poor as us. So we landed in a private clinic behind the Hospital instead for a caesarean section (To cut me open!). The nurse at this clinic took my blood from the finger and shook her head. She told my husband that I had far “too less blood” and they did not have any facility to “transfer blood” during operation. For the second time in a night, I was let down by a hospital!
Now, here I am fighting between life and death in an ambulance! (We had to finally call it to take me to that far off hospital) I don’t know whether I would survive to reach the hospital or not? I guess even after reaching there, would I come under the knife of a doctor? (or would there be any doctor at this hour for that matter?) But I guess my story (If it is heard by those dumb sitting at the top) would make them think as what might just save me? If a life is wasted for their thinking process to initiate then let it be so!