Ever since I was confirmed as a Buddy more than a decade ago, I was assigned to quite a number of pregnancy cases. From married pregnant ladies, unwed teenage (or even adult) pregnancies, rape cases etc, I'm quite used to dealing with HIV+ pregnant females. Once I even had to go out in the wee hours of the morning to send an unwed pregnant HIV+ teenager to the hospital because she was about to deliver much earlier than anticipated. I've even met a young lady who never married but when her case was referred to me, she was already pregnant for the 7th time. And would you believe it, her mother until now only knows of one of the 7 pregnancies because this young lady gave all but one of her babies away. I've met a married couple who tried all sorts of DIY abortion methods because they thought the baby would sure be infected with HIV if born (but none of the methods worked and after much coaxing, they finally agreed to tell the doctor and eventually the wife gave birth to healthy boy).
I thought I had seen them all. Yet, I was caught off-guard when I went to visit Dahlia today. Dahlia, a single mother with 6 children, also has a teenage daughter, Adila, who was once raped and got pregnant. Both Dahlia and her daughter Adila decided to keep the child after Adila gave birth to a baby girl about 1 1/2 years ago. When I last went to visit Dahlia about a week before Raya, Dahlia only told me that she felt a bit stressed out because Adila had somehow become a bit rebellious of late. Dahlia blamed it on Adila's jealousy of her friends who aren't burdened with so many resposibilities.Today I figured out that Adila probably turned rebellious because of something else.
I was waiting to finish my Puasa 6 before going for my Raya visits. After visiting 2 families on Monday, I decided to visit Dahlia and the kids today. Yesterday I texted Dahlia to find out if she'd be home. When she said she had a hospital appointment in the morning, I asked if she expected to be home by 11 am. She felt it shouldn't be a problem. I promised I'd call her once I arrived in town.
When I called about 10.40 am, I called Dahlia to ask where she was. When she said she was still at the hospital, I told her I'd drop by the hospital first. She just said okay without telling me anything else, so I assumed she was at the ID clinic. Parked my car, went straight to the ID clinic to see if she was there. When I couldn't find her in front, I went to the back door to see if she was there. The staff nurse then came out and was surprised to see me. She thought I got my dates wrong and came for my clinic duty. The moment I told the staff nurse I was there to see Dahlia, her first reaction was, "Oh, akak dah tau ya?" "Tau apa?" I asked. "Dia dah beranak!" the nurse replied.
I totally did not expect that! Apparently I wasn't the only one who didn't know about Dahlia's pregnancy, even the doctors and nurses at the ID clinic weren't aware of her pregnancy as they were never told. They only knew after the nurse at the maternity ward called to inform them. During Dahlia's last appointment at the ID clinic (which was a week before Raya), they did query her if she was taking her medication on time etc because her CD4 dropped and her viral load increased, but she only told them how stressed she was with Adila's attitude. She never even hinted that she was pregnant. With her chubby figure, her pregnancy wasn't obvious. So no, none of us figured out she was pregnant. Not the doctors, not the nurses, and no, not I.
After a while, Dahlia finally texted me to ask if I was already at the hospital and where we should meet. I called to ask her where she was exactly and when she said she was at the new building, I told her I'd wait for her at the main lobby of that building. Again, she never mentioned about the baby or why she was there.
When she finally arrived at the main lobby to see me, she was alone. I told her to wait outside the lobby while I went to get my car. The moment she got into my car, the first thing I asked was, "Kenapa tak bagitau ID clinic?" She smiled sheepishly and said, "Saya takut kena marah, puan."
Sigh... she's afraid she'd get scolded? How long did she think she could keep the secret? I told her she'd better not miss her next appointment at the ID clinic just because she thinks the doctor might scold her. She just may get scolded, not because she got pregnant, but because she didn't inform them.
Anyway, Dahlia gave birth to a baby boy a week ago, in addition to her earlier children age ranging from 3 to 17 years. Which means she now has a son who is younger than her granddaughter who is now 1 1/2 years old.
I hope I won't have to deal with any more "surprise" babies...