There was a new ambience as I moved around the house tidying things up.
Change was coming. Finishing up little projects here and there, baby proofing the house. I was dealing with mixed emotions.
Wura was days away from putting to bed and I was nervously awaiting what would be the next chapter of my life. Her cousin Suki, had moved in with us to help around the house with me gone at work.
Home wasn’t the safest place at the time.
So many nights after work, I would go straight to Sayid’s and hang out.
Beers, sports and hours of FIFA. Knowing Wura was about to put to bed made me even more nervous. I had told her that Bimbo was also pregnant. Honestly, I think the only reason she wasn’t too angry about it, was the fact that she was also pregnant.
But I know it hurt her.
To think that there would be a competing child in my life as we raised ours was probably hard to take.
The slow grind towards repairing our young but challenged marriage was evident. We were working hard to reconnect and in many ways, naive or otherwise, we both secretly felt like the baby would bring us back together.
I ran out of screws for the baby gate that was supposed to close off the kitchen. Without informing anyone, I grabbed my keys and headed out the door.
I sat in the car and began to back out of the driveway. As I turned to look forward, I noticed Suki in front of the car motioning to me. I stopped the car and opened the door. That was when I heard her saying,
“I think cousin Wura is in labor!”
I left the car door open as I ran back into the house.
Our lives were about to change.
“You better fucking stand there!”
She yelled as she gripped my hand and her eyes bulged from it’s sockets.
My heart was racing and I could feel sweat dripping down my forehead.
Wura was so strong. She kept pushing as the doctor asked her to. There was a new level of respect I had for her and all women that day as my wife challenged the forces of nature to bring my child to the world. Seconds felt like minutes, minutes felt like hours and each hour felt like eternity.
I had read in one of the baby books that active labor lasts between 3-5 hours but we had been in there for almost 7 and nothing. Nothing but Wura fighting hard to push through. I stood by her side, holding her hands tightly. I just wanted her and the baby to be okay.
With each passing minute, I got more worried. Something was wrong. Was this punishment from God for the things I had done? Was this the representation of the sins of the father being visited on the son?
I was scared.
And I couldn’t begin to imagine what Wura was going through. As I was saying comforting words to her, the doctor called me aside and said they were going to do a scan to see whats going on. I agreed and they stopped the active effort to force the baby out. A drip was lined into her arm and a few seconds later, she was fast asleep.
That was the most sleep she would get for the coming months.
About an hour had passed as they wheeled Wura back into her room.
The doctor called me to the side and said,
“Sir, we have two complications. The baby is not breathing anymore.
We have no heartbeat. And her walls are too badly damaged to hold the baby… I mean force it out. So we need to operate and get that baby out.”
I was stunned but he could understand the confusion across my face. I gathered myself and said,
“Will she still be able to have kids?”
He nodded and replied,
“I believe so, but for now, we need this baby out. I’m sorry”
I nodded as he walked back into the room, a few nurses went in. Minutes later they rolled her into the OR. I couldn’t even watch. My entire body was washed with guilt and regret. This all felt like my fault. There was so much self hate within me. Sitting in the waiting room, I couldn’t contain myself.
I wanted to cry. I wanted to leave. I wanted to be woken up from this scary and exhausting dream. But such is life and the clock ticked on as the hours rolled.
I heard the doctor come up and call my name.
“We were able to remove the baby. You can see her if you want. And your wife is doing fine. She’s in recovery. You can be with her. She’s asleep right now”
I shook the doctors hand and thanked him as I walked towards Wura’s room.
There were tears in my eyes and my heart was bleeding. I stopped in front of the room and took a deep breath. Slowly opening the door, I noticed that Wura was still asleep. Quietly, tiptoed and sat in the chair at the foot of the bed. I stared at her peaceful face as she slept. She looked like a badly beaten winner. If only she knew what sadness awaited her as she would wake.
My heart just wanted to say “I’m sorry” for everything.
My mind flashed back to the night of our wedding when we conceived this baby that was then taken from us. I thought of the night before the wedding. Playing back every step, so much regret filled me. Then I became so angry at myself. I couldn’t take it.
As I sat there condemning myself, my phone began to vibrate loudly.
I scrabbled and muted it.
It was Sayid.
I got up, glanced at Wura and headed out of the room quietly.mI stepped into the hallway.
“Hows it going bro? Has she delivered?”
I looked up at the white fluorescent ceiling lights, fighting back tears and sighed as I said
“We lost the baby”
I could tell that he was shocked.
“…I’m sorry bro”
“It’s okay bro. So whats up?” I replied.
“Bimbo just delivered. Twin boys”
I covered my mouth with my hand as I began to cry.
Oh Lord why?!
I couldn’t believe it.
I thanked Sayid as I hung up,
Planting my face into the wall, I wanted to scream! This was just unfair.
I slowly peeled off the wall and headed back into the room. I tried to sneak in, tip toeing as I made my way in. As I closed the door behind me, I turned around and there she was awake. She looked at me with concern and said,
“Where is my baby?”
Those few seconds felt like an eternity. She shifted on her back, squinting in pain as she repeated,
“Where is my baby?”
I never got a chance to respond.
Tears began streaming down her face as she turned her back towards me and faced the wall. I just stood there as she sobbed for a few seconds. Then I walked towards her. As I was about to touch her, without turning, she screamed,
She had never been that way with me. I felt it in my spine. Turning around, I couldn’t get out of the room fast enough. I just kept walking till I got to my car. As I sat down, I grabbed the steering wheel and I just screamed!
I must have screamed for five minutes straight at the top of my lungs.
Tears streaming down my face, my head throbbing, heaving and sighing, I turned to my left and noticed a lady with her mouth ajar just staring at me.
That was my life in a snapshot.
It was the crazy movie everyone was watching.
The days were normal. Tepid at best.
Our home was empty.
Our love was on the rocks.
And the bond between us was slowly waning.
A trying year had gone by with Wura and I repeatedly trying to save our marriage. Nothing seemed to work. Prayers were hard. Many nights, Wura would wake up at night and head into the living room to pray. Her prayers reminded me of the story of Sarah in the bible. She cried and begged God with everything she had.
One night, I came out of the room at about 3am. There she was on the floor of the living room, with a gospel soundtrack playing quietly in the background and two bibles opened in front of her. She was sweating and crying as she prayed.
“Father, please remember me.
….Let people not ask me where my God is”
I joined her on the floor and we prayed for about two hours before we fell asleep. We didn’t just go the religious route. There was actual practical work done. We started seeing a marriage counselor and Wura was seeing an individual therapist, as we both managed the loss that rocked our marriage.
One afternoon, I finished at work early and picked up Wura. We picked up a frozen tub of stew from her sister’s house as she said she wasn’t in the mood to cook. I tried not to inquire about her therapy session.
Traffic in Lagos was it’s usual hell but we finally made it home.
Pulling into the driveway, Wura grabbed her stuff and the food and headed into the house. I grabbed my suitcase and my laptop bag and headed inside the house. I grabbed the remote control off it’s stand on the wall and tuned the air conditioning on. My plan was to change and take a quick shower before dinner.
As I made my way to the bathroom, I heard the doorbell ring. I heard Wura’s footsteps as she walked to the door. The door opened but I didn’t hear any sounds. For a few seconds, it was quiet. I was standing in the hallway when I said
“Babe, who is it?”
She didn’t answer.
I didn’t panic but I wasn’t sure why she wasn’t answering. So I quickly opened the bathroom door and grabbed my robe, I threw it on to cover my nakedness as i walked to the door. Turning the corner, I saw Wura, her back to me, she was just standing there.
As I got up close to her, I said
“Wura, who is there?”
She slowly moved out of the way and there it was.
Standing right in front of my door, were my two sons. With their big bold eyes, they looked up at me and behind them was Bimbo’s brother. Behind him, were a couple of packed bags.
I knew what was happening. Wura knew what was happening.
I stepped out of the house and shook his hand, he looked at me and said
“I’m sorry bro. All she told me was get them to their father”
I nodded and welcomed the boys in.
Wura walked straight into the room and began to cry.
The boys sat on the couch and curiously scanned the room.
I briefly left the living room to check on Wura. As I opened the door, she was sitting, sobbing with her head in her hands. She turned, looked at me said,
“They are not staying here”
The glare from behind her tears said it all.
There was not a single ounce of doubt in her mind.
She meant it.