I called because your story about the woman who lost her only child is almost exactly like what happened to my own sister. When I read it, I became teary because something similar also happened to me.
My youngest sister was married for more than 7 years before she became pregnant. As you know, a woman with no child in our part of the world is subjected to all kinds of treatment from people that surround her and if she is unlucky, by her in-laws especially. Thankfully, my sister’s in-laws were the best. They didn’t put pressure on her; they would suggest hospitals, pastors and places but they never pressured my sister even if she didn’t go to the places they suggested. I told her God really loved her.
My sister, Abigail, was a strong Christian; she gave her life to Christ when she was in the university and unlike the rest of us; kept her self; you know what I mean; she was a virgin until the day she got married; this may also explain why her husband and his family didn’t give her hassles.
A few months after her marriage, one of our other sister told me Abby was down with malaria; I just concluded it was pregnancy so I went to visit her; I asked her if she had taken in yet; Abby told me they wanted to wait a few years to enjoy their marriage before having children; she said that was the agreement she and her husband made when they were courting. So it really was a case of malaria.
It was a year after her marriage that she now decided that waiting two years was too long; she wanted her own child; she told me herself. She stopped the pills and let herself go but nothing happened for more than seven months. That was when she began to panic.
Then she began to go from hospital to hospital; would do tests and several tests and follow strict medication regimen many times. The years passed by; of course, in between; there were several visits to churches and pastors and going up the mountains and fasting and prayers…
That is often the plight of the woman looking for a child; we did that for the next 6 years; many times with my sister in tears and anguish over one procedure or another but no baby came.
Then she became sick, at first, she thought it was another case of malaria attack; so she was treating it; you know we often self medicate, especially when the symptoms look like malaria-feverish conditions, bitter mouth, joint pains etc.
She was treating herself for malaria but after several days, when her symptoms did not improve, she decided to go to the hospital for a test, she told me she suspected it was typhoid or something. Doctor told her to go do a pregnancy test but even before then, he told her she was exhibiting symptoms of pregnancy.
My sister told me she just laughed at the doctor; she told me she joked with the doctor, calling him a ‘baby doctor’ who didn’t know the difference between malaria and pregnancy.
Test results confirmed her pregnant! She was already 6weeks gone!
We were all ecstatic; my sister treated the pregnancy like it was some holy child she was going to birth. she was all so spiritual about it like, well, maybe because she didn’t get pregnant when she was undergoing tests and stuff, so she kind of attributed it to a holy conception, not like Jesus but you know, she went about as if the rest of us had never conceived and had children and even at that, I perfectly understood her position.
Anyway, I insisted she attended ante natal at the general hospital, but she said her church members were praying and that I shouldn’t worry my self. She also complained about the long process of registration, the nasty nurses, the crowd of patients etc, I told her, yes private hospitals are good but in case of emergencies, best be registered in a government hospital where they would take proper care of you.
She argued but I insisted and she was registered there.
Now, during one of her antenatal visits to the general hospital, she told me a doctor had warned her not to try to give birth the natural means because she had a small pelvis. The doctor told her her baby would be birthed via CS. I think it may be something that runs in our family because I also had the same issue; I had my three children through CS, that is Cesarean section and all my kids are doing great today. So when Abby said her doctor told her she must prepare to deliver through C-section towards her EDD-that is expected date of delivery, I didn’t see anything wrong with that and I told her so.
But Abby had other ideas; she said she would ‘faith it’.
I said, ‘Faith what?’
She said she would ‘Deliver like the Hebrew women of old!’
I remember laughing at her when she said it, I said, ‘But you are not a Hebrew woman, you are a Nigerian, what business do you have with the Hebrews?’
I didn’t know my sister meant every word, she insisted on not going back to the hospital… big mistake!
A day before her EDD, she went into labour and instead of going to the general hospital like I advised, she went to the other hospital, the private hospital owned by a so called church member where they use more of prayers than medicine to deliver babies.
She was in labour for two days; two good days! I offered to take her to the general hospital for delivery through CS but she refused to go; she and her husband were praying; ‘faithing’ it and confessing nonsense!
Isn’t this foolishness? Is there a difference between children born via CS and those born through natural means, especially in these days of IVF? Is it written on their foreheads that one is born via CS and another via natural means?
By the second day, the baby was said to have become distressed and died in her womb. Her stupid husband began to cry and curse the devil; I told him he killed his own child.
They then sedated her to evacuate the still born; when my sister was told her baby had died, she lost the will to live. She lost a lot of blood, refused to eat, drips were administered, she would rip them off! She said she couldn’t go on without her child.
Even though we tired to encourage her, speak, pray for her… she died, my sister died. She just slept and didn’t wake up at the hospital.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)