by LIONEL LEE CHIA PU

It was that time of the year. After a long tenuous wait of 9 months, my wife finally went into labour, ready to bring out an angel into this world. I received the call from the hospital while on my way to work. Frazzled, I soon started to contemplate to myself: Am I ready to become a father? However, I calmed myself, knowing that it was my choice, my very own to have a child. I then sucked in deep breaths of air, and with mixed emotions, soon stepped on the accelerator, hopefully able to beat the morning traffic to the hospital.

With my heart pounding wildly, I burst through the hospital’s front door. The near silence of the main lobby was in stark contrast to the busy main road with cars lumbering down it just outside the hospital. It temporarily stunned me. The few people shuffling around at the main lobby, the quiet humming of the central air conditioning system did not reflect what was going on in one of the delivery room. As I regained my composure, I quickly made my way up to the maternity ward. With the familiar surroundings greeting me at every corner, along with the scent of sanitisers permeating the air, I was in euphoria. It wasn’t long before I approached a nurse and inquired about my wife. She soon directed me to a waiting area, assuring me that everything would be fine. Oh God! How I wish I can do the same for myself.

In the waiting area, time seemed to move so slowly. Every passing moment seemed like an agony to me. Apparently, I was the only one there. A lonely father-to-be. As I shuffled impatiently there, I wondered to myself, “Am I mentally strong to have a child?” Countless questions flooded my mind, as I shuddered at the thought of becoming a father. “Is this what every father-to-be goes through? A conflict of emotions?” For that, the answer is blowing in the wind. I then thought of all the moments with my beloved wife. About the girl of my dreams. She was the one that completes me, that gives me more meaning to life. She revealed all her aspirations, secrets once kept hidden in the far corners of her heart to me. To break her heart would be my last doing in this life. Hence, I summoned my courage and calmed my jingling nerves.

Then, I heard screams, short yet piercing, coming from the maternity ward. Oh God! How I wished I could be in there, standing next to her, whispering words of encouragement in her cars, urging her to give her all. Instead, I was standing outside. Powerless and helplessness engulfed me, tearing me apart inside. It is a crucial fact that a woman in labour will have to endured much pain and agony. What about the guy waiting outside? It was so taxing spiritually and mentally on the guy too.

At that moment, a nurse, young and sweet in her early twenties approached me. She broke the news to me that my wife had successfully gave birth to a baby boy. Elation and gratefulness flooded inside me. I am a father. Quickly, with brisk footsteps, I entered the operating theatre. The smile on my wife’s face with her hands cuddling a little, pinkish yet bloodied ‘angel’ was the first sight that greeted me. Words couldn’t describe what feelings and emotions that were coursing though my whole body. As my trembling hands hold my own flesh and blood, safely tucked in the warm blanket, I experienced the moment in my life. Looking at the bundle of joy, knowing that there is nothing more of importance in life, I finally felt complete.

The moment may be short, but its sweetness will always be in my mouth, forever lingering there. As I embraced the new responsibility in my life, I promised I will always cherish and savour the moment, with a hope in my heart that I will be able to relive the moment again and again in a timeless loop, never letting go.

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