Two months later, Tuesday, 20th April 2010
Abhi enters the private room of the maternity ward and find's Nikki trying to step out of the bed. He moves forward to help her and his arms go around her waist. Her face lights up with excitement on seeing him.
"I am sure now you don't need any more assistance Mrs Modi," the matronly nurse tells her wryly, as she came out of the washroom. A tender smile appears on her face as she sees Nikki sitting at the edge of the bed eagerly looking into Abhi's face as he had his arms around her.
"Thank you Sr. Sheila," Abhi tells the nurse. "I'll take over now." As Nikki also mumbles her thanks, she could see the motherly nurse was completely captivated by his irresistible charming smile. After she left, Nikki tugs at Abhi, eagerness filled in her eyes.
"How is she? I am dying to see her, to hold her. I was just about to walk to the nursery "
"She is fine. All her tests are complete. She is being cleaned up, so I thought, we'll go together to bring her here now."
He could sense her eagerness to meet their daughter. Its been fifteen hours now since she had a brief glance of her daughter when she delivered her at 5.30 am this morning.
"Did you rest well?" he asks her.
Nikki nods her head
Looking down at her, he takes in her delicate frame in a front buttoned up, pink sundress style, knee length, full sleeved dress. The colour that had drained out from her face, post surgery, was now back in her cheeks, infact her face was glowing and her hair was neatly groomed.
"So you finally did take that shower. You smell so nice and fresh. As gorgeous as ever. Not as if you've had a surgery and delivered a baby this morning." She smiles at his compliment.
"And you know what?" Abhi continues. Nikki raises an eyebrow. "Our baby takes after you in the looks department. Absolutely gorgeous and divine like her mother." Fondly, he tweaks her nose. Nikki can see the pride and happiness in his face.
"You are looking every bit of a proud father yourself!" she tells him looking adoringly at him.
"And never forget this proud husband!" he tells her brushing her lips. He then breaks away and putting his hand inside his shirt says " I have something for you."
He pulls out a card. After she takes it from him, He wraps his arms around her once again and watches her face as she opens it.
Nikki is stupefied as she looks down at the picture of them, in the operating room, with their baby nestling on her chest. Her eyes were shut, her tiny mouth open and tongue slightly visible, while Abhi had one hand on Nikki's head and the other was protectively holding the baby against her. Tears of joy sting her eyes.
Below, in his curvaceous writing, Abhi had written,
"Thank you for being so wonderful,
For all the pains and discomfort you've gone through
Carrying our little bundle
and never once complaining
Thank you for delivering this gift of a baby girl, our daughter and making our life so complete and
above all thank you for, just being you!"
From a truly grateful and proud husband
& An equally proud father.
Feeling some kind of squeezing in her heart, Nikki chokes. Holding the card close to her chest, she clings on to it as the tears flow down her cheeks. "I love you Abhi!' she whispers emotionally, burying her head into his chest. Abhi too had tears in his eyes.
"Hey!" he whispers some moments later, wiping away her tears with his thumb. "Are you going to meet your daughter like this?" he teases. "Do you want her to scold me for making her mother cry?"
A happy sob breaks from Nikki as she playfully punches his cheek. Holding her hand, he gently leads her out.
As they walk the corridor of the maternity ward. Nikki goes back to the events of the morning. It was 4 am when Nikki woke Abhi up and told him of their daughter knocking her intention of coming out into the world. As the surgery she already had for the aneurysm, three months ago, made normal delivery very risky, they had already decided that it would be a ceasearan delivery.
She remembered being injected with the spinal block and in her semi-conscious state, she was aware of Abhi tenderly holding her hand right through. She could hear Abhi and Dr. Keerti conversing but now, couldn't remember what they were saying, yet she did remember Dr. Keerti's stern "Dr. Nikita, are you going to tell me how to do my job now?" and her own reply "I'm sorry Dr. Keerti" which meant she was issuing some orders to Dr. Keerti. She also heard Abhi's chortling and oblivious to her, there was amusement in Dr. Keerti's eyes.
Then she heard that sweetest sound her ears have ever heard, her daughter's cry heralding her arrival. An ecstatic Abhi gently pressing her hand while everyone were congratulating them for the birth of their girl. Abhi then left her hand and told her he was clamping and severing the cord. He then held the baby up for Nikki to see. There was haziness in front of her eyes and she could only see Abhi's amused smile and the outline of her daughter waving her fists and kicking her legs. She was aware of the nurses bringing a bassinet to him, where the baby was towelled and wrapped in a pink blanket.
While Dr. Keerti proceeded with stiching her up, Abhi tenderly placed their baby on Nikki's chest saying "feel her for few secs," while he protectively held the baby in one hand and , the other was gently caressing Nikki's head . The baby nestling on her chest, the feel of her soft cheeks against her skin, sent indescribable sensations into her whole body. There was a couple of flashes and before she knew it, he pulled the baby away. Seeing the tears flowing from the corner of her eye, he gently wipes it off with his finger. Nikki now realizes those flashes were their picture being taken which Abhi put in the card.
Abhi smiles as he lost count on the amount of trips he did to the nursery since his daughter was born. In the morning, post-surgery after settling Nikki in the recovery room, he went along with Dr. Keerti to the nursery to check on his baby. They were surprised to see the baby hooked on to a suction tube and vital monitoring machines. He was told by the attending pediatrician Dr. Manish, that since they had problems removing the fluids from the baby's lungs with the normal suction bulb, they have to use tubes to suck out rest of the fluids.
They also decided to do the Xray of the chest, just as a precaution and check for pneumonia. Also since they needed to run a few extra tests, especially to ascertain that the aneurysm surgery hadn't caused any harm to the baby's organs, the baby needed to be kept in the special care section of the nursery for atleast a day's observation.
Abhi was glad Nikki was sleeping with the effects of anaesthesia and also since she complained of a headache, she was given additional medicines. She was atleast spared to see the unpleasant sight of the fluids from the baby's lungs. being sucked out , with the help of the tubes.
Yet, he knew it was all temprorarily. His first interaction with his daughter in the operating room, told him she was going to be absolutely fine.
His mother, mother in law, Amrita, Rohit, Sonam, Simran, Sid Rahul, Muskaan, Anjali, Atul, were all, around ever since Nikki was in surgery. Along with them, he had hordes of other eager and impatient faces wanting to see the baby throughout the day.
He was only too happy to escort them in ones or twos to the special care nursery and use the opportunity to watch his daughter over and over again. It was as if he had some kind of renewed energy and enthusiasm. While only he could go inside the nursery, the others watched her through the glass. His chest swelled with pride as they gushed at her, telling him how beautiful she was.
The tests for pneumonia came away negative and he heaved a sigh of relief. The fluids from the lungs were completely sucked out and so the tubes were also removed from her.
As Abhi took her in his arms, he found himself being gripped with deep unfathomable feelings. She felt so tiny in his big arms that he was pricked with the urge to protect her. She kept staring at him. Her eyes were dark and piercing like Nikki's and for a brief moment Abhi's heart leapt to his throat as he was reminded of Nikki when she would stare deeply at him and touch his soul.
"Hey Sweetheart, welcome to this world and into our lives! How much we waited for you, waited for this moment!" he tells her with a smile, his eyes have now turned moist. The baby moves her head at the sound of his voice as if she recognized it from all the talking he did to her whilst she was inside her mother's womb. She blinks her eyes and pushes her tongue out as if she wanted to say something.
"It feels so good to hold you in my arms." He tells her in a low heavy voice, gently touching her cheek and was rewarded with a cute toothless smile sending a rapturous tremble into the pit of his stomach. He missed Nikki so much as he was deeply consumed with the need to share these moments with her. How he wished she was there to hold their daughter in her arms, but, then, the baby still needed monitoring.
As and when she would wake up from her sleep, Abhi kept Nikki informed about their daughter's progress.
Rahul, Muskaan, Atul, Anjali and Sid, being on duty at Sanjeevani would drop in and check on Nikki and then pay a visit to the nursery. They were highly excited and so was the whole of Sanjeevani.
With his every few minutes, visits to the nursery, touching, talking and cooing to her, whenever she was awake, Abhi managed to familarise himself to his daughter. She seemed to have recognized he was a very important person in her life and started looking forward to his visits. At one time, when he entered the nursery, he was checking with the nurse about her reports, before going to her crib. Hearing his voice, his daughter didn't seem to like the idea he wasn't speaking to her and to someone else, instead.
"Waah Waah!" she was wailing her protests loud and clear, sending shivers down his spine while bringing giggles from both the nurses standing next to him. After he rushed to her side, took her in his arms, cooed and caressed her cheeks, she quietened down. However, she still looked a bit displeased with him. Abhi couldn't help chuckle. She brought fresh to his mind, the picture of a sulking Nikki whenever he dared, not to pay attention to her.
"She has now identified you well Dr. Modi!" one of the nurses tells him. "Yeah, now don't think you will get away easily if you ignore her," the other nurse agrees. "You'll have to give her your attention first" Abhi grins along with them. The nursing staff were completely enamoured, everytime they saw their boss, the dashing Dr. Abhimanyu Modi holding his new born baby girl in his hands. The smitten look on his face when he looked down at her, charmed them to pulp.
And, every time Abhi ogled at his daughter, he discovered something new in her looks or gestures or movements, bringing a warm smile on his face and profound happiness in his heart.
By 6 pm, Nikki was feeling much better. The pain was much bearable and she rested well. She told her mother and mother in law to leave since they spent almost 12 hrs in the hospital and she was now feeling fine. Abhi too agreed with her. He also declined Rachna's and Kavita's offer of staying with Nikki for the night, as he didn't want to be away from his wife and daughter, even for a moment.
When he went to drop the mothers to the car, Nikki decided, now that she was no more hooked to the recovery machines, she should take a shower to make herself feel fresh and good and ready for her daughter.
Needless to say, on his way back to the room, Abhi made another stop at the nursery where Dr. Manish, told him every tests of the baby were clear and she is absolutely hale and hearty. They could take her to the room now. Abhi looks down at his daughter in her crib.
"Dr. Modi, she just pooped," the nurse tells him. "We'll change her and then bring her to the room."
"No," he tells the nurse. "Her mother and I will come to get her."
He then smiles at his daughter whose eyes were not leaving his face. "Hey Sweetheart! I'll be back soon and with your mother, this time! She is waiting to meet you. You be ready and we'll be here soon!" He caresses her cheek and his daughter blinks at him.
As they pass the glassed nursery, they see almost a dozen babies lying in their cribs. Most of them were asleep, while some were howling, some trying to focus their tiny eyes around as if taking stock of their new surroundings.
"Aww, so chweet!" Nikki gushes looking at Abhi who smiles back at her .
As the hospital was gearing up for the night, everyone had retired to their rooms and there was silence on the floor as compared to the earlier part of the evening, where there were hordes of people around, staff, patients, visitors moving about. The general section now had 3 nurses while there was one nurse on the special care side.
There was a wood and glass partition which divided the general section and the special care section of the nursery. The nurses greet them as they pass by.
When they reach the special care section, Nikki notices there were three babies lying in their crib. The attending night nurse smiles at them and then with an approving nod from Abhi crosses over to the general section of the nursery, giving them the privacy to look at their baby.
It was the centre crib and the baby lying facing her, that caught Nikki's attention. She stood still looking through the glass at the pink crib, with a pink blanket draped over it. She didn't even have to read the placard on it which read Drs. Modi, to know it was their baby.
Mesmerised, she gapes at her daughter. Engulfed by emotions, she runs her fingertips on the glass. Her eyes begins to well up with tears. Feeling Abhi's understanding arms tenderly encircling her waist, she looks up at him. She was unable to say anything as there was prickling in her throat. She can see there were tears in his eyes too. This was the first proper look she had of her baby, her heart was pounding with joy.
"Abhi, our baby," she finally chokes. "Our daughter!" her dark eyes were glowing with tears and happiness.
Abhi expresses his understanding, by squeezing her even more tightly in his arms. Cheeks pressed against each other, they stare at their little girl, overwhelmed, as she stares at them, opening and shutting her eyes, her mouth forming a O as she kept pushing her tiny tongue out, but, only the tip of it could be seen.
"Didn't I tell you she is divine," he whispers proudly in her ear. "Since morning she has been having this effect on me," he tells her.
Nikki lifts her hand and moving it backwards tenderly pats his face, while her eyes were still fixed on her daughter.
"Come on, aren't you going to take her in your arms?" he prods.
"I just want to watch her for few more minutes. I just want to cherish this first proper look of hers in my heart and on my mind." She tells him, tears glistening in her eyes.
Abhi smilingly nods his head. His hand gently roams over Nikki's belly. A sense of disappointment grips him as he feels the shrinkage of her stomach. "You know what ? I am going to miss feeling this cute bulge that was here, but I am so glad to have her out. I am sure she too must be so happy and relieved to be out from there,"
"Well I don't think she was doing too bad inside," she replies poutily. Abhi smiles.
"Really? with all the antics of her mother?" he teases.
Nikki's eyes widen in shock. Turning around in his encircled arms, she glares at him.
"Excuse me! what antics eh? Atleast she didn't have to deal with a moody father, Dr. Moody." She leans forward and screams the name aloud in his ear. Abhi shuts his eyes tightly while his jaw and the muscles in his cheek contort as he grimaces.
"Ha Ha ! You think so! Ms. Impulsive. Ask her! She'll tell you the truth!"
"You never complained of any antics, when you got what you craved for! Instead you were greedy for more!" she snaps indignantly at him. Then realizing her blurting, she colours. Abhi grins.
After having been driven to erotic insanity by her lovely seduction, he recalls telling her "can I get more and more of this?" She was lying partially over him, her head on his chest as his upper body was resting against the propped up pillows.
She lifts her head up and looks into his face. "Greedy Dr Modi?" she drawls as her fingers lazily scribble all over his chest.
"You were amazing!" he tells her making her blush. "Please, please, just one dose a day, I am not asking for much am I?" He blinks his eyes and makes puppy faces.
Nikki couldn't help but laugh at his persistence. "You are getting too spoilt Dr. Modi!" she tells him teasingly, as she places her lips on his.
Oblivious to them, their little daughter, now seemed to have recognized her father's facial outline, after all, he spent almost the entire day with her. She kept blinking her eyes and tiny wrinkles appear on her pink forehead as she focuses on the hazy activity in front of her eyes.
"I am sure you are going to spoil her rotten!" Nikki tells Abhi, bringing him out his beautiful reverie.
"Yes I will!" he tells her vehemently
"Don't forget you have me to deal with. I won't let you do it!"
"Whats new about it! You have to oppose everything I do!" he sighs deeply. Then, suddenly his eyes light up with mischief, "but there is something I am sure you won't stop me from doing."
"And what is it ?" she opens her mouth to ask. Before she knew it, SMAACK! his lips clamp down on hers. As Nikki puts her hands around his neck, he moves his lips urgently over hers.
"Hmmmmm" she mumbles ecstatically, "This is welcome anytime!"
"I know," Abhi mumbles in between and then continues to kiss her.
By now their daughter was agitated and restless with the clueless activity in front of her eyes. She only sensed some deep connection to the twosome across, but they seemed to be lost in their own world, bringing a frown on her face. Finally as if she couldn't handle anymore of their ignoring of her, she angrily kicks off the blanket draped over her and squeals as loud as she could manage, making them both jump out of their skin.
They see their daughter's face has turned red and she was wailing away, bringing not only her parents, but also, the nurses and Dr. Manish rushing to her side.
As Nikki gently picks her up. Abhi grins. "The fluids seem to have been perfectly flushed out from her lungs," he remarks making the pediatrician and nurse smile.
"Yes, her strong cry certainly confirms that," the pediatrician nods his head.
The baby stares mesmerizingly at her mother. "My Baby!" Nikki gushes as a deep maternal love sweeps over her. "Welcome to our life!" As she tenderly kisses the baby's forehead, Abhi smiles recalling he saying the same to her. He had been waiting for this moment and was now completely overwhelmed watching her cradle their daughter in her arms and talking to her.
"It was so wonderful having you inside me and its even more wonderful holding you in my arms." Nikki continues looking at her daughter in awe. The little baby blinked her eyes as if saying "Thank you Mom," and a small smile appears at the corner of her lips. Tears of joy glitter in Nikki's eyes. Besides Abhi, Dr. Manish and the nurses too were deeply moved by their little interaction.
"Right now she is ready for her feed," Dr. Manish tells them. He proceeds to explain to them the medications administered to their daughter.
The little baby was definitely not happy with him for grabbing her parents' attention. Even if she didn't yet know the word parents, she did know of their connection to her and who was this person intruding? How dare her! Once again she begins to cry loudly shaking Dr. Manish out of his wits.
"You should take her to the room at once," he instructs as he still tries to get back his breath "now she won't wait even for a moment"
Abhi takes her from Nikki, since carrying the baby to the room would only put a strain on her. Nikki was amused to see how tiny their daughter looked in his big hand. He was also having a tough time calming his hungry daughter who decided to display her healthy set of lungs with her non-stop bawling bringing amused smiles from the nurses who passed them by.
In the room Sr. Sheila assisted Nikki on to the bed while another nurse wheeled the pink crib into the room. It was only after Abhi put their daughter in Nikki's arms and her demand was met with, there was pin drop silence in the room, as well as, the whole floor bringing a sigh of relief on everyone's face.
Phew !" Abhi exhales in relief.
"Welcome to Fatherhood, Dr. Modi," the elderly Sr. Sheila tells him with a teasing smile bringing forth giggles from Nikki and the other nurse
"Thank you!" Abhi replies wiping the sweat from his brow.
After the nurses leave the room, Abhi draws the chair closer to Nikki's bed and watches both of them intensely.
"Poor thing she was so hungry," Nikki tells him, still unable to tear her eyes away from her daughter and Abhi couldn't get his eyes away from them both. He pulls out the camera from the side table and clicks a few pictures of them.
Whilst having her feed, the baby seemed to have decided to check out her mother properly and kept staring at her face for a long time, with few blinks in between.
Watching her, Abhi smiles tenderly. He rises from the chair and bending over them, he gently caresses his baby's back and plants a kiss on it. Nikki smiles realizing he was sure going to be completely putty in his daughter's hands.
"Can't get your eyes off your mother can you?" he asks his daughter, whose ears and other senses are now on alert as she recognizes his voice and touch. "I have the same problem all the time." There is a rise of colour on Nikki's cheeks seeing the naughtiness on his face.
The baby shifts her gaze to her father and stares at him, a flicker in her cheek displaying her happiness to see him.
She then keeps shifting her gaze from one parent to the other, as they, heads touching, watch her intently Observing her eye movements, Abhi and Nikki are filled with happiness. Looking at each other, they exchange a warm smile.
Sighing deeply, Abhi says, "Gosh, I am sure to be pulpy all the time with two gorgeous ladies in my arms"
"But, looks like she has inherited the temper and stubborn demanding streak from you," Nikki replies puckering her nose at him.
"Waaah!" the baby starts crying loudly, startling Nikki till she gently rocks her back to her feed. A triumphant Abhi was guffawing loudly. Nikki looks disbelivingly at her daughter and then at her husband.
"Good God! Looks like father and daughter have already started ganging up against me! Now I am sure I am going to be ignored," she pouts
Bringing his face closer to his, Abhi smiles naughtily.
"How do you expect me to ignore you when you keep getting sexier and beautiful day by day. I find it so difficult to resist you, Mama Ni-ki-ta," Nikki blushes.
"You are nothing less, Papa Modi." she tells him. "Now that you are a father of a girl, you have to stop looking so sexy and attractive." Abhi chuckles.
"When you stop, so will I!" he winks, kissing her lips.
He then notices his daughter tiny hand on Nikki's chest. Once again he plants a kiss, this time on the back of her hand. He just can't seem to get enough of her!
"Hmmm, I love her baby smell." He tells Nikki, his nostrils draw in as he inhales the pleasing smell.
"Same here," Nikki agrees. "She smells so nice!"
As Abhi plays with his daughter's fingers, he stares in awe at their tininess.
"Such tiny fingers, I feel like a giant in front of her," he grins as he confides to Nikki who bursts out into giggles. "I've seen so many babies in my life, but actually holding one of your own, is a unique experience altogether. I am so afraid to even close my fingers on her tightly! I worry I may crush her by mistake." There was a mixture of wonderment and anxiety on his face.
"I know that, I can see that !" Nikki confirms with a chuckle.
"As Sr. Sheila already told you, Welcome to Fatherhood! A New World to discover for us!" Abhi smiles at her and nuzzles his nose against hers.
Whilst he was engrossed in his wife, finding his little finger in between her palm, his daughter grabs on to it tightly making him abruptly turn towards her. There is a tightening in his chest as his heart prickles with joy, while Nikki keeps staring at their fingers in astonishment and tenderness.
PRECAP TO PART 42
An hour later as Nikki came out of the washroom, she was stunned to see Abhi in the room, standing almost near the doorway.
Amusement on her face, she stares at him as he stood looking mischievously at her, his eyebrows dancing. With a knowing smile, she shakes her head and walks towards him. Reaching him, she runs her finger seductively all over his face. He kept shaking his head and his eyeballs kept moving from one corner to another as if he was gesturing something with his eyes.
"What is it Dr. Abhimanyu Modi? You miss me so much?" she teases looking lovingly into his face as he towered over her. His face was flushed with embarrassment and he continued shaking his head and gesturing with his eyes.
Grabbing him by the collar, Nikki pulls his head down towards her. Abhi gulps nervously. "N......Nikki....." he strutters. Before he could complete, Nikki butts in "Or you missed this?" she presses her lips against his.
NOTE: Hey Guys, I am sorry to disappoint all those who wished for a BOY for AN Honestly I too had planned for a boy for them, which some members did know of, but they ended up having girl instead....So please no jhootis