I often catch this reality TV show on TLC, I didn’t know I was pregnant or something like that.
It sounds silly, abi, to be pregnant and have no clue. When you get pregnant, you know your body has been invaded. But I have heard stories, real-life human stories that have left me speechless and sleepless for days. Yes, I mean, I go to church and hear stories of amazing recoveries, provisions and all that, it seems to me that’s the place such stories can be told. Tell it outside and people will interrogate it, postulate and suggest theories as to why it just can’t be possible.
When I was 20, I came to believe that I would be labelled barren later on in life and I had a strong reason to believe that. I had undergone surgery, to remove one damaged fallopian tube and as if that wasn’t enough, the doctor told me the other tube was scarred. One fallopian tube meant my chances of having kids later on in life had been halved add that to a scarred fallopian tube, this meant the other half had been halved. So in essence, I had just about 25% chance of having kids. The news didn’t bother me and I wasn’t even being brave here. I was 20 and loved kids but I figured, last last as they say, I’ll adopt kids. Isn’t that the next logical thing to do? Of course, I would spoil my nephews and nieces silly but I’ll also like to have one or two I would love to call mine. Who cares if the kids didn’t come from my body anyway?
But this isn’t my story for today. The story I want to tell is about my friend, we first met in secondary school. I will not name her, I’m not sure she would like that but I’ve called this woman friend for more than 30 years and in all of those years, I never truly knew who she was. I mean, she always had a cheer about her, always boisterous and ready for fun and yet, she hid a secret even I didn’t know about.
We would meet at gatherings, tease one another, reminisce and catch up on years we hadn’t been in touch. I often saw her on Facebook with her husband travelling the world and I remember posting comments teasing her about these “me and my husband” thingy, telling her she was asking to get pregnant.
“How would you manage a child after 40?” I once asked? Silly me, as if today’s women don’t have kids after 40.
However, what I didn’t know, what she never revealed, what had hurt her for years was that, while the rest of us were giddy over our children’s antics, my friend had never held a baby of her own before, she never had a child, not even once, she never had kids to call her mummy!
This isn’t to say being mummy is the sum total of a woman’s life, nah! This is saying, I would have been more sensitive if I had known.
I later learned about the number of injections she had to bear, the number of tests and counter tests, that raised her hopes and dashed them asunder. She told me of the pain she endured being poked constantly by obstetricians, gynaecologists with all kinds of metal instruments. She shed a tear or two recalling several ridiculous suggestions from ‘well-meaning” friends and family, the ‘advice’ that ranged from the simple to the outrightly mundane; the blames, the ridicule she had to endure over the years.
I didn’t know.
But before she recounted her story, before I knew what she had gone through, something happened. My friend dropped out of circulation, we would call her for our regular gathering and she’d have one excuse or another to not show up.
“She’s pregnant and it’s her first!” another friend eventually whispered to me when I complained that I wouldn’t invite this friend of mine again as she had repeatedly turned me down.
Oti, o! But I was thrilled for my friend. Wao! First pregnancy and in her mid-forties!
Months after the good news, I heard my friend had given birth to a baby boy. I and a couple other friends decided to visit.
Now, before our visit, in my excitement for my friend, I had told a few others about her good news. I got asked ridiculous questions like- “Did you see her pregnant?”
“Are you sure she didn’t buy the baby?”
Why couldn’t they just be happy for her now that she finally had a child? Anyway, we went to see my friend and behold she had the marks of afterbirth written all over her from her puffy face to her huge breasts rich with colostrum and a belly huge like she was still pregnant.
“This one will take a while to go down,” I remember pointing to her huge belly.
“Yes, I’ve been sitting on a basin of hot water and my mother massages my belly with hot towels, it’s really painful,” she told us.
“Arrgh! They still do that? No!”
No hot towels, no sitting on hot water! If the belly will be big, let it be big, haba!
My friend had a lot to say, a truly amazing story. That was when she told us of what she had endured over the years. “I told God I wanted twin boys,” she said wistfully.
“Be glad you have a son,” I remembered saying, “this little lad is more than three boys!”
Two weeks after our visit, my friend called. “Ore, I have another baby. I now have twin boys. My second baby came 15 days after the first!”
It didn’t make sense.
The same way it didn’t make sense to me when I got pregnant years back, especially after being told by doctor after doctor that I couldn’t have babies. I got pregnant without any form of medical aid nor did I consult with any trado-medical specialists, although a legion was suggested to me.
I didn’t also go to any mountain to pray neither did I fast 40 days and nights. It was just God and I’m not ashamed to acknowledge Him.
(Is this to belittle miracles that come with support from medical aid, hell no!)
“You’ll be having a son, go buy him a ball!” I remember being told by the lab attendant when I went for a scan. At that time, I was being treated for what my doctor thought was malaria as pregnancy had been ruled out for me. Then my uncle, who happened to be a medical doctor advised I go do a scan.
“Scan? Isn’t that for pregnant women?” I asked
“Are you a virgin?” He returned.
“Haba uncle, ok, I’ll go do the scan.”
“You are six weeks gone.” The attendant said as he gazed at the grainy black and white screen.
It doesn’t make sense! I collapsed. There was my miracle!
As for my friend, it turned out she was indeed pregnant with twins even though several scan results showed a singleton, not twins. After the first birth, she experienced painful cramps that everyone around her thought was congealed blood breaking off after birth, you know, the bleeding, the torn vagina, and all that women go through? No one thought to take her to the hospital until she couldn’t bear the pain again. She asked to be taken back to the clinic and there she gave birth to another child, 15 days after the first one!
She got her twin boys after all and we had to go visit again to be sure we heard her right and sure enough, there they were, the infant boys, one pink fresh from the womb, the other turning brown from being a few days older and of course, bigger.
Now, ain’t that some miracle!