The doctor had mentioned that post-traumatic stress disorder would be a factor, but Arnav didn’t realise it would affect her like this. Since the stillbirth, Khushi barely interacted with him much less anyone else. She shielded herself from the outside world.
Just like the countless other times, he had tried speaking to her today, but he got the same response; silence.
He went to the poolside not in anger but because he felt helpless. Today, if their baby was alive, she would have celebrated her first birthday. Arnav’s trance was broken when he heard the cupboard door open in the bedroom. He walked closer to see what Khushi was doing.
She rummaged through the cupboard and found what she was looking for. Arnav gulped as he knew exactly what she was taking out. She sat down on the bed and took a deep breath. She passed her fingers along the words of the book titled, “Our Baby Book.” Arnav had bought that book for her when she told him she was pregnant. She had recorded everything in the book, from their first ultrasound to their first kick. She turned each page after studying its contents carefully.
The page Arnav was anticipating since she had opened the book had come, “Our Baby’s First Day.” Arnav closed his eyes remembering the events of that day.
Arnav was sitting in an uncomfortable hospital chair in his three piece suit. His leg continuously shook in anticipation while his eyes were fixed on the hospital clock. As Arnav got tired of sitting, he began to pace the length of the hospital corridor. This was when the doctor emerged.
Arnav moved towards the doctor. He stopped at an arm’s length away from the doctor and asked,“Doctor how is Khushi?”
The doctor took his glasses off and replied, “Mr Raizada, Khushi had a stillbirth.”
Arnav’s shoulders drooped and his face turned pale. “What? What do you mean?”
The doctor held Arnav’s shoulder, “We did everything we could have. I’m sorry”
Arnav held the doctor’s collar and pushed him against the wall, “You’re sorry? I’ll show you f@#*!^% sorry!”
Arnav’s grandmother Devyani grabbed him and yelled, “Stop it Chotte!”
Arnav stepped back and the doctor left. Arnav fisted his hands in anger, he turned and threw a hospital chair against the wall.
Devyani pulled her vulnerable grandson into a hug, “Chotte, go inside… Khushi needs you.”
Arnav came out of his thoughts and walked inside the room. He sat next to Khushi on the bed, she shifted slightly but her eyes were glued to the spot where their baby’s first photo was supposed to be.
Arnav had walked inside the hospital room and saw Khushi half sitting on the bed. Her eyes were looking into space while her hands roamed over her empty stomach. He sat down on the bed and she instantly hugged him. He caressed her back while she broke down.
In between her sobs she said, “Arnav our baby is gone… we lost her… just like that.”
Arnav kissed her forehead as tears streamed down his cheeks. Their bodies pressed tightly against each other as they found solace.
He watched Khushi; he could see how much she longed for the baby. After that fateful day, Khushi had begged Arnav to have another baby but he outright told her no. Arnav regretted what he had told her, but he didn’t want her to go through that emotional pain if something went wrong again.
For the first time in what seemed like ages to Arnav, Khushi turned to him and spoke; “I couldn’t save her”
Before Arnav could register what Khushi had said; she got off the bed and ran into the bathroom with the baby book. Arnav got up and walked to the bathroom; he opened the door and saw Khushi slouched down on the floor sobbing. He sat down next to her and hugged her tightly.
Arnav said, “Shh, it wasn’t your fault.”
Khushi hugged him back, “But, I”
Arnav whispered to her, “It wasn’t meant to be.”
Khushi looked up at him and said, “I can’t bear this pain anymore, I want it to stop.”
Arnav cupped her face; “I want the pain to stop too.”
He took a deep breath, he knew what he had to do. Arnav then said, “Khushi we should have another baby.”
Khushi looked into his eyes, “You want to…?!”
Arnav nodded, “Yeah!!”
Part 2 –
Khushi smiled through her tears, she hugged him tighter and buried her head into his neck.“Thaaank yoo u, I’m soo ha app y.” she said in a mumble, but it was audible enough for Arnav to hear. Arnav smiled, his wife was happy again.
He kissed her forehead and said, “Im happy too, baby!”