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Baby Samourai made-in-India – 5. Landing at the hospital

Finally, one evening, five days after term, at midnight sharp, I shook my favorite Indian who was asleep: the contractions seemed to have started! Two hours later, he making our midwife taste his juices while I writhed in pain...

At 2:45 AM, while people were blasting disco music in the street (don’t ask, it's Mumbai), we finally set for the hospital where we were received by a perspicacious nurse “you are pregnant? And what are you here for?”


At 3:00, an employee of the hospital tied me to a wheelchair – I did think of protesting, for the form, and the absurdity of the situation, and because I had the right (after all I was pregnant and about to give birth, they could have entertained a little whim), and go on foot, or at least not strapped. India, land of contrasts and contradictions, is a country where everything is true, and the opposite too... Thus, if most Indians live in the greatest contempt for the rules (driving, waiting in lines, etc.), some of them whose job boils down to a few simple and repetitive tasks would rather lose an arm than disobeying their instructions. I gave in and left the ground floor properly harnessed on my chair.


At 3:05, we were in the room.

At 3:07, I had removed the battery from the clock whose ticking irritated me.

At 3:10, I watched, utterly bemused, the intern measuring the duration of my contractions with eyes riveted to the clock. It took her a good minute to realize that the hands were not moving! I will give her the excuse of the undue hour...


At 3:18, my wheelchair friend started to remove my beautiful pink-orange nail polish. So much for the mani-pedi! There again I thought of protesting. But then I remembered the recent comment from my mother about her own surgery: nail polish is forbidden because the medical staff can ‘see’ the blood pressure from the nail color.


I spent the next two hours on the exercise ball that my midwife had managed to smuggle, writhing in pain at the whim of contractions. I was managing pretty well until my Gynec arrived. Still in a joyful mood, I wanted to tell her the joke the radiologist had told me the same morning: “If you manage to get this big baby (1) out naturally, I will come to shake hands with you at the hospital”. Except that I completely missed my effect: a contraction shook me violently in the middle of my sentence and I had to finish it in tears. I understood that the Gynec believed I had taken the radiologist seriously when she told me when leaving “come on, let’s prove this idiot wrong!” Incidentally I learned later that this little jokester of radiologist was a recidivist: he had shocked my friend with this same comment, and with her Yugoslav sense of humor, she refused to go back to his lab!


(1) The average birth weight of a French baby is estimated at 3.6 kilos – which I was unaware of – which is 900 grams above the average Indian (3.5 vs 2.7 kgs, source:; )


(To be continued...)

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