Archive | February, 2013

My Baby, Our Baby

8 Feb

This truly happened, though the characters have been altered for anonymity. Enjoy

‘Goodbye darling, have a nice day at work’ I said, reached for his neck and pulled him closer to brush my lips against his. It is amazing that even after four years of marriage, the slightest touch of his lips against mine sets my whole being on fire. He moaned softly and slightly tilted my head to deepen the kiss. It took all of my self-discipline to step back. I hated leaving him hanging but if we continued this way, we were going to end up in bed yet again and in my present condition, the doctor had given strict instructions.

I was in my last trimester and we were really excited because he (I was so sure it would be a He, though Ade wants a girl) was our first. This wasn’t my first pregnancy but this is the first time it got this far so we were extremely careful. I lost the previous two in their first trimester and like Ade always said ‘Omoyele you were so busy, you hardly took care of yourself not to talk of taking care of the unborn baby.’ He had made me promise to take a long overdue leave of absence from my fashion store immediately I conceive again which I eagerly did.
‘No heavy lifting darling, just rest okay?’ he said as he slid his well manicured hands into the jacket I held out for him. ‘You must take good care of my baby’ he added, placing his hand over my belly, caressing it.
‘Alright alright sir, can you please go now?’ I replied, gently pushing him towards the door.
‘Bye darling, I love you’ he called out
‘I love you more’ I replied and shut the door behind me.
It is our tradition to always tell each other those words whenever we were leaving the house, we endeavored to always say it, even if we were not talking which is very rare.
‘Ouch’ I called out, rubbing the spot where the baby just kicked. He’d been really energetic these past few days.
‘You know mummy loves you so much’ I said to him as I cleared the dishes off the dining table into the kitchen sink. ‘You need to stop hurting mummy that way ok? It hurts but in a good way though’ I added smiling.
I wondered if he could see me smiling.

I opened the windows in the living room for some fresh air, I disliked the after-smell of the air conditioner though Ade who had a stronger sense of smell had never complained. I never noticed it had an after-smell until I got pregnant though; my senses are very alert to any unusual smell, taste or touch these days. I settled into the long chair, carefully assuming a sitting position that would be most convenient for the baby and I.

‘Vivian, please get me a glass of water and a plate of cookies from the freezer’ I called out and reached for my half open “Measuring Time” by Helon Habila. I still haven’t developed a knack for reading African writers but I had promised Ade that I would finish this one. After my snack, I read a few more pages then started feeling drowsy. I carefully marked the page and placed it on the stool beside me then laid back.

I woke up to serious pain building from my back to the sole of my feet. I tried to move but it felt like a thousand daggers had been placed on the couch. I called out to Vivian but what came out was more of a whisper. I reached around for my phone and dialed Ade’s number
‘Hello Mrs Akinniyi, miss me already’ he answered cheerfully
‘I-I can’t move’ I stuttered
‘I’ll be right there just stay put okay?’ he replied, barely audible, I could hear the tension in his voice.
‘Alright darling but please be careful’ I answered amidst sobs.
The contractions were not so far apart now. I struggled to assume a sitting position and started breathing in and out on my own, trying to calm myself down. I was in this state when Seyi, Ade’s younger brother walked in.
‘Yele, what’s going on? Vivian, get the baby things quickly’ he called out, taking charge.
‘Can you walk?’ He asked as he helped me to my feet, then without waiting for a response lifted me off my feet and carried me to his car.

We made it to the hospital in record time, though it felt like forever, we must have struck a pitiful sight, myself and my husband’s brother struggling to calm me down while concentrating on the road. Thankfully the nurses were waiting at the entrance, a very anxious Ade pacing back and forth as we drove up to them. By this time, I could barely breathe, the contractions were so close to each other; it felt like the baby would drop anytime.

The nurses were on hand to get me out of the car onto the stretcher. I was wheeled straight to the emergency ward, holding on to Ade’s hand like my life depended on it.
‘It’s alright baby, you’ll be fine just hold on’ he kept on repeating.
‘You’re beginning to sound like a broken record’ I teased amidst the pains
I was transferred onto a bed and strapped in.
‘Will she be going in for induced labor or..?
‘No drugs please’ I interrupted

The sterile room, the smell of the medication, the continuous movement of the nurses and ward attendants, all got to me. I started feeling drowsy but was jerked awake by another bout of contractions.
‘Where on earth is the doctor?’ I heard my husband say to one of the nurses. From the tone of his voice, hell would soon be raised in this hospital.
‘He’ll b-b-b-be here soon’ she stammered and scurried off.
I was left in the room unattended for almost an hour while my husband paced frantically back and forth.
‘Baby, are you strong enough? We’re leaving this place’ he said, removing the straps.
Miraculously, the pain had subsided considerably, though I had a feeling that it was a bad sign I didn’t give any thought to it. I slipped on my flip flops and I was half carried to the car, Ade on one side Seyi on the other.
‘Where are you going, what are you doing?’ one of the elderly nurses shrieked ‘Have you forgotten she’s a pregnant woman?’
Ade ignored her.

I was gently placed in the car and we were off to our family hospital, Ade crooning into my ears while Seyi drove. The private hospital was quite a distance to our house which was why I wasn’t taken there originally. As we approached the entrance to the hospital, a cold realization hit me, neither have I not felt any pain for the past hour, the baby had also stopped kicking.
Ade had called ahead so the nurses were waiting for us too and the doctor was right beside them, looking very worried.
‘When was your last contraction?’ he asked as soon as I got out of the car
‘Over an hour ago’
‘Any pains since then? Nausea?’ he quizzed while I was wheeled into a private ward
‘None, I feel almost fine’ I replied.
He prodded and listened in several areas of my stomach then he told the nurse to pass an I.V into me. By this time, I was already feeling drowsy once again. I slept

***

I woke up.
My throat felt really parched, my face felt funny and I felt unusually empty, I tried to turn my head but felt a sharp pain both in my head and in my stomach.
My stomach… the baby…
‘Yele are you alright? How do you feel?’ Ade’s voice broke in.
He looked like hell, his eyes were puffed, flared nostrils.
I cleared my throat, ‘I’m fine, but can I get some water?’
He reached for the baby bag and brought out a plastic water bottle with a straw attached to its head and placed it in my mouth. The water felt so refreshing and I almost drained the bottle.
‘What happened? Where is the baby?’ I asked as I placed my hand on my stomach, looking around for any sign of a cot. On seeing none, I began to panic. ‘What happened to our baby Ade? Answer me?’
‘Take it easy Yele, everything will be alright’ he replied
‘What do you mean? Where’s my baby?’ I pressed
Before Ade could answer, the doctor came in.
‘Doctor what happened? How’s the baby?’ I shot at him
He looked at Ade, who gave him a nod then answered ‘I’m very sorry ma’am, the baby was already dead before you got here…’
‘What?’
‘You went into premature labor but as you were not properly managed at the previous hospital you went to, the baby must have suffocated which was why you weren’t having any contractions…’
His voice was drowned out by a loud single tone in my head, I just stared at his lips while he droned on and on. A single tear rolled out of my eye, I looked at Ade and his head was held in his hands. There was no explanation; the incompetence and carelessness of a Government hospital had cost us our baby, my baby.

…..This is not to say our Hospitals can’t get better, but I hope the right people read this and make a change….

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