Al had a minor throat surgery on the 21st. While her sister and I waited outside the surgery room in the morning, two women were taken in for delivery. Their families were outside, fretting, nervous, expectant. One of them had a little girl expecting a younger sibling, another one was a large family with a really tall and strong looking would-be-father. Suddenly, some of the staff came near the door and asked for the first woman's husband. He cautiously went near the door. And then, I saw a hand stretch out from the other side of the door, shaking this guy's hand, and a voice congratulating him, and telling him words like 'healthy' and '2.75 kgs'. My eyes were fixed on this new dad's face now, and a smile was plastered on my face. He was smiling wide too, and then he walked towards his family and picked up his little girl as he shared the news. I was still grappling with the enormity of the moment, when the voice from inside called out for the family again, and then, a tiny being on a trolley was brought out. It was the pinkest and tiniest baby I had ever seen, and I realized, with a lump in my throat, that I happened to have a glimpse of him at the same moment as his father and his family. Everyone around was almost in giggles. Some women from the other family had also surrounded the baby. I kept myself from congratulating the father, not wanting to violate his immensely personal moment. He kept clicking pictures till the baby was carried away from his sight in the lift, to be taken to the care room.
The restlessness in the other family was evident now. This tall man was most probably expecting his first child and was surrounded by lots of family members, including, I guess, his and his wife's parents. I heard him telling an elderly man of the family, probably his father, that there was nothing to worry and that these were seasoned doctors. By the sight of him though, it looked more like self assurance to me. This time, he was called from the other door, and he went alone to get the news as his family had just drifted away to the door through which the first baby was brought out. He just received the news and stood there, with no expression on his face. My heartbeat stopped with suspense. His family had surrounded him now and were begging him to say something. He finally uttered, "Baby.." and started to weep. There was a very brief but very chilly silence, and then his mom/mom-in-law rubbed his shoulder and said, "It's ok..". He now said, "Boy"...."Baby boy!", still in tears. My heart started to beat again, and there were smiles on every face in the family, accompanied by tears in the case of the women. He was congratulated, slapped gently for almost giving everyone a heart attack, and then, calls were made and news was spread. After a few seconds, everyone was smiling, and on calls, but he sat there in silence, that tall heap of a man, dealing with the magnitude of the feeling, and wiping his tears. I wiped a tear or two too, I guess.
Soon, another trolley was brought out carrying a weight of 3.8 kgs and large round eyes. The father looked like he was scared to go too close. He just stood there, smiling a serene smile till this baby was taken away too.
I wondered a long while at my extraordinary luck, and at the fact that I will figure as a side character in a very important chapter of these people's lives. And then, I read a friend's post and realized it was solstice, the longest day of the year. It had to have something special about it, didn't it?
Well, I started pacing to and fro after the second baby was taken away too, because Al's surgery, which was supposed to take 45 mins, had already taken an hour and fifteen minutes. Finally, the doctor came out and informed us that it was over and she was fine, and that she was to be kept in the observation room for an hour and a half and then sent to the room directly. She is fine now, and enjoying the prescription of icecream and milk shakes at regular intervals.