“The Ultrasound is not clear,” the doctor told her without any expression on his face. “We will have to do a physical examination.”
“Is my child safe, doctor?” she asked with a trembling voice.
Her abdominal cramps were increasing every minute.
“Don’t worry, everything will be fine. Just sign here, and here.”
She had no intent to read the long terms & conditions; she did as the doctor asked.
“Call your husband inside. We need his signature, too,” the doctor asked.
“He is not with me, doctor. He is at Srinagar front,” she replied.
“Someone else who can take the responsibility?” the doctor asked again.
Responsibility! What responsibility? What was the doctor up to? Is the baby alright? Questions, more questions cut through her mind. She felt she would faint there in the doctor’s cabin itself.
“So you are alone…. No problem, we will go ahead with the examination. You just need to sign here, and here.”
She signed with the wet, quivering hands.
“Sister!” shouted the doctor. “Take the patient to the inspection room.”
Patient! Me? I only had a mild bleeding….. My baby is fine…. No, the doctor must have called me a patient out of habit…
The doctor’s voice, the smell of the hospital, the nurse holding her by the arms, everything came to her so abruptly that she could think of nothing. She wanted to talk to someone. Perhaps she could call her husband, Major Vipul. But she didn’t know where he was; it had been a week since she heard of him. She was sitting by the dinning table when the phone rang. “How are you? How’s my little Lieutenant?” Major Vipul had asked. Before she could answer or ask him thousand questions running through her mind, the line had gone dead.
She opened her eyes. Someone was standing over her head.
Where was she? Why everything appeared upside down? She wanted to get up but could not lift her head. Her legs were tied wide open to both the ends of the bed.
“Who are you? What have you done to me? You have done something to my baby, too, I can feel it!” she yelled.
The nurse who was standing above her head walked towards her feet.
“Relax madam. You will be fine. Don’t worry. It happens.”
“Where is my baby? I want my baby, do you understand? I want my baby!” this time she was louder.
The nurse ran outside and returned with the doctor.
“What’s the matter? Hey, hey, hey…calm down. I say calm down. Listen, listen, listen…” and the doctor slapped her on the right cheek. She was silent. Tears trickled down her cheeks like water from a faucet.
“I beg you, doctor. Tell me. Where is my baby,” she pleaded.
“It was dead inside…. We had to remove it….. You had a missed abortion!” the doctor replied, still with no expression on his face.
“I want to see it. I want my baby. Please…”
“It had disintegrated. There was nothing left, just clots of blood…..,” and the doctor left the room.
She wanted to shriek out loud. But her voice got choked in her throat. She pushed hard and lifted her head, fell back on to the bed, and was asleep…….