“I want to see my baby! My
She now focused on the four gray walls that surrounded her. She gathered her thick, black hair to one side and let it drop. Through the thin, flannel gown, she felt the rough patches of her belly where monitors had been placed in her own hour of need.
Three days ago, she was strong enough to walk with her mother’s assistance to the Special Care Baby Unit, and peered into the incubator to see Noora, a tiny wrinkled form connected to tangled tubes and wires. Wafts of antiseptic nauseated her; and the trembling hum of the strange machines weakened her knees.
Ayesha took charge, “Bas. Enough.” She led her away. From that day on, her fears ate at her. Would Noora live? She must! But what if she didn’t? What would Hamed say?
She prayed that he would treat her with respect and they would soon find love. But more importantly, that she would bear him many children. After all, becoming a mother was every woman’s duty. To be a mother was to be a queen.
“Mama, why don’t they give me news about my baby? Tell Zafar to find the consultant,”
Ayesha rose, and issued a command and Zafar left the room.
Soon, the curtain parted and a nurse’s face poked through. “The consultant is here,”
After the traditional greetings, the doctor directed his comments to Zafar, as was customary.
“That’s true. What is the news?”
The doctor cleared his throat.
“Ma’ash’allah!” May God protect baby Noora, Ayesha invoked, to prevent The Evil Eye.
The consultant spoke. “
The nurses nodded. The consultant, a thin man with glasses, looked away.
After the consultant left,
Ayesha ran to tend to her daughter, “Call Hamed,” she urged her son. “May Allah grant us mercy.”
“Oh Mama, I caused The Evil Eye to fall on my baby. I was too happy. Who would be jealous enough to inflict this tragedy upon us? Fatheyya? Aziza? Nadia? How could this happen? Allah!”
Her mother shook her, “You mustn’t ever question Allah! Do you hear? This is God’s Will.”
“Ay… my life lies in Hamed’s hands…” She began to groan and yank at her thick tresses until some hair came out by their roots.
The silence unnerved her after the commotion earlier. To fill it, Ayesha listed the positives. “Hamed loves
Ayesha was dozing when the hospital door swung open and Hamed stepped inside. “How is my wife? Thank you for seeing to her.” He dismissed his mother-in-law with a curt nod. Ayesha left at once.
Hamed sat down on the bed. “Wake up,
He lifted her face toward him, “Look at me,” he commanded. “It’s true then?”
She nodded, her face crumpling.
His eyes fell upon the raw spots where she had yanked out her hair. “What is this? What happened to your beautiful hair?” He knew then, the extent of her grief. “Never mind. I’m here now,” he whispered as he kissed her wet eyelids.
“Our baby is gone. I failed you.”
He didn’t respond, so she braved her question, “Hamed, will … you … divorce me?”
He paused, as if thinking it over. “Don’t be silly. You are my wife. Get well. We will try again next month, and the one after that. However long it takes. We will have another. Insha’allah,” God willing.
Together they embraced.