I often ask my father how I look when I try a new dress on. And he always replies with what I find rather unusual, ‘You look very pretty. But for me, that 5 pound baby covered in blood will always be the most beautiful.’
This often puzzled me. It was a tad heavy for a fourteen-year-old to understand. As I grew older, I asked my dad what this meant, when he finally told me when I was in my twenties…
“It was raining heavily that night. Your mother, then in her ninth month of pregnancy, was having several contractions and was in severe pain. The hospital was nearby, but going there would’ve taken too long, so we tried to call the doctor to our home.
A doctor and two nurses had arrived after an hour-long drive, for what would’ve taken merely 15 minutes otherwise. The rain didn’t stop and neither did your mom’s wailing.
I held your mom in my arms and lay her on the bed. She was at her heaviest best, but I didn’t feel a thing when I lifted her. All I wanted was for you two to be safe. Your mother leaked unfamiliar moans out of her pores in pain. I held her hand but I still felt as helpless as ever.
“The baby’s crowning. I can see the head.” One of the doctors said after making your mother push several times. I held your mother and wiped the sweat on her forehead every few seconds. She was being brave, and despite the pain, she tried to push you out with all her might.
After that eventful hour, the doctor held you in her arm and your mother fell into an unconscious state. There, in the doctor’s hands, was this little thing with blood all over its body and scratches of hair on its head. I asked the doctor if it was a girl or a boy and with a gloomy expression on her face, she said, “she isn’t breathing.”
My face fell. I went numb. It was like my world had come crashing down on me.
“Please do something, doctor.” I yelled in exasperation. At that moment the only thing I could be relieved about was your mother not being conscious.
The doctor kept you on the study table and rubbed your back and feet. Everyone in the room felt helpless, and watching the colour of your little body change, a tear rolled down my eye.
An hour passed by, the doctor now told the nurse to bring in a vessel full of hot water to dip a towel to rub on your chest. As time went by, she felt more and more restless.
Your mother was conscious now. And after telling her what happened she began to wail incessantly.
The doctor wrapped you in a blanket and took you to another room. Three hours had passed. And the nurse put her hand on my shoulder and said, ‘please pray for a miracle to happen’.
The doctor kept you on a higher platform, and rubbed your chest continuously. We had almost given up hope.
In a desperate attempt the doctor dipped her rubber-glove covered hands in the warm water to clean it. While rubbing your chest with one hand, she pinched your tiny nose and after a brief look at the sky in what was the briefest prayer ever, she brought her mouth close to yours and breathed into it. She kept doing that for a few minutes, until a miracle happened. All of a sudden you gave a meek cough, and a viscous liquid came gushing out of your mouth.
That sight I can never forget- your mother’s smile amid her tears and the sound of you crying from the other room.
The doctor brought you in, smiling, and gave you to your mother saying, “I’ll let you hold her before the nurse cleans her up.”
I had never seen that expression on your mother’s face before that day, it was full of joy, relief and tiredness. She gave you to me after she cajoled you and you stopped crying.
I had held you for the first time that moment. I could never be more thankful to God for giving me what was in my arms. You were still covered in a slimy liquid, your eyes still closed and you were wrapped in a towel. I rocked you gently a few times and I saw calmness on your face. It was that instant that I realised that, to me that was the most beautiful sight ever. The life that ran through your veins, that calm expression on your face, that beautiful little nose and mouth through which I could feel a mild breath pass through; it was all so beautiful.
For me beauty was in the life that I could feel in you, one which had given me more joy than I could ever imagine; beauty was in the eyes of your mother which cried and smiled at the same time; beauty was in the miracle that I had just witnessed. And in my eyes you will always be the most beautiful when I held you in my arms and felt you breath.
From that day on, I found beauty in every smile, every laugh, and every movement of yours. Because you were my miracle baby and whenever I saw you I knew what real beauty meant to me.
What my father often told me was crystal clear to me now. I felt a little happy tear roll down my eye. My perception of ‘real beauty’ changed after my father narrated this story of the beauty in a miracle.