Standing outside the delivery room, I hear the muffled, but unmistakeable cry of a newborn. My heart starts to pound. Surely, it must be…. there’s nobody else in there except T and the hospital staff. An eternity passes. The reason for my agonizing wait is because the Greek public health health deems anyone, apart from the mother and hospital staff, unworthy of witnessing the birth. I feel disenfranchised and it’s tormenting me. I can hear him but I can’t see him. Is he OK? Is she alright?
A quarter of an hour goes by then the doors swing open. Two doctors present a tightly wrapped parcel for my inspection. Shades of pink, blue and olive skin. Matted thick black hair. A face wrinkled and twisted from the traumatic transition from womb to ward. He is beautiful. He is healthy. He is perfect. My whole body feels light. As my gift is ushered back into the sterilized ward, tears overwhelm the moment. I fight the urge to blub even more and turn to γιαγιά (grandmother). We embrace and let the joy flow through us both.
Minutes later the double doors open again. Petrakos, the hulking obstetrician who has overseen ‘our’ pregnancy, grabs me by the shoulders and places his cheek next to mine. “In Greece, we kiss” he gently murmurs before disappearing down the corridor. A new chapter begins.
Words of the day
- κλαίω – Ι cry – (clay-o)
- μωρό – baby – (mor-o)
- συγκινητικό – emotional – (si-kin-i-ti-ko)
- γέννηση – birth – (yen-ee-see)
- λουλούδια -flowers – (loo-loo-thee-a)