In His Time...

7:30pm. I clenched my jaw, gulping in air and letting it out in quick succession as i rode the wave of pain that coursed through my entire body, all the while hanging on to and squeezing the lifeblood out of Dennis’ right hand. O.M.G!!!! Nothing prepares you for the pain that comes with labor contractions. N.O.T.H.I.N.G! Nobody can ever describe what it feels like. It is beyond description! And for the past thirty minutes, the contractions have been hitting me every three minutes with a vengeance. My doctor, in his “wisdom”, figured I needed The Devil’s Cocktail a.k.a Oxytocin Injection to speed things along. I was seeing flashes of blinding white light!

After i was wheeled into the Labor Room with Dennis by my side, the attending doctor stuck his hand inside of me, all the way to my stomach, juggled my intestines a few times [i swear] and nodded to the Labor Room nurse. It was time...i was fully dilated!
“It is time, Princess,” I whispered to my bump. “Try and make a quick appearance, ok? Mummy really really needs the respite. See you in a bit!”

Let me just say it now: there is no dignity in childbirth. None whatsoever! I screamed [woooo-saaaah did not work, biko!], cried, poo-poo’ed, sang praises, cursed Adam and Eve, wee-wee’d on myself, called on God, vomited, begged for my mummy, cussed out Dennis, the nurses and the doctor before Princess made an appearance. And then, I dozed off! The deed was done. I conquered.

I woke up to a bright sunny morning. The universe clearly understood and agreed with my mood this morning. I smiled! I have a brand new baby, my very own princess child. My world was complete. I turned away from the window and towards the cot holding my precious. I hadn’t seen much of her the previous night but from the little i saw, i birthed a winner: ten fingers, ten toes, head full of hair, pointed noise, dimples on either side of her face, pink lips. Perfection as far as i know. I couldn’t wait to hold her in my arms, to let her suckle and nourish at my breast.

I swung my legs gingerly off the bed to the floor and pushed myself off the bed, holding unto the bedpost for balance. I was still sore from last night’s marathon and didn’t want to aggravate my “issues”. As i stood, I noticed two things at once: one, the baby was not in her cot and two, Dennis was in the room but he was on the phone, talking in whispers and backing me. This was one of the reasons why i married him; he is considerate to a fault. I smiled again and called his name.

His reaction to my calling his name was hella confusing. First, he jerked as though someone just stuck a knife at his back. Then, he seemed to recover and ended his call abruptly. Then, he smiled at me and held out his arms. I limp-walked into his arms and he hugged me tight. I love this man! Weird thing though, it seemed like it was just his lips smiling. His eyes were dull....and sad. Maybe he was just tired, i reasoned. It had been one heck of a journey bringing this baby into the world. Speaking of baby, i asked Dennis if he had seen her this morning and he nodded yes. The nurses took her to feed her since your milk hasn’t come yet, he said. I told him i wanted to see her. He said to hold on…the nurses wanted to check up on me first before they brought my Xarah and then he left the room to get the nurses. Xarah! My daughter! My heart swelled with pride. I am someone’s mother!

I lay back down and waited until Dennis came back with the nurses. One checked my vitals while the other sorta hung around, holding a syringe. Done with the vitals, the first nurse took the syringe from her 2nd and administered the injection to me. Routine, she said. They turned and left. They never once looked me in the eye. Come to think of it, they didn’t even say Congratulations. Strange folks, these people. I turned to Dennis to ask whether he was able to reach my mother....and drifted off to sleep.

I woke up to a really quiet room. Quiet but crowded. My mum was sitting by my bedside with my mother-in-law and my eldest sister. Dennis was standing at the door, head bent, in a subdued convo with his father. As soon as they noticed I was awake, they all came alive, chattering at once. I smiled. I was smiling a lot today.

“Have y’all seen my Princess Xarah?” I crowed.

And the room goes quiet again. Nobody made eye contact. I turned to Dennis.
“Where is Xarah?” I asked

He said nothing. Instead his eyes implored me to be strong. I forgot i was sore and clambered down from the bed and made a beeline for Dennis.

“Where is my daughter?! I want to see my daughter. Mummy,” I turned back towards my mother who was by now standing by her seat. “Mummy,” I whispered time almost pleadingly, “Where is my daughter? Why is nobody talking to me???!” I looked towards my sister; she was crying!

What is going on?! I faced Dennis yet again and knew within my heart of hearts that something had gone terribly wrong somewhere. His eyes shone bright with unshed tears. I pushed him out of the way, peeled open the door and half-walked-half-ran all the way to the nursery. No baby. I tore into the nurses’ bay and shrieked, Where is my baby?!!!!!!

I felt two pair of hands hold me and made to drag me towards the room. I felt my mother hug me so tight my bones ached. I heard her whisper, “God knows best”. I felt cold air wash all over me. I heard a piercing wail [almost like the sound of an animal in anguish] from around me. I took me a moment to realize the scream was emanating from me!

I screamed, and cursed, and shouted, and pleaded, and cried. I clutched my chest. It aches.  My heart was breaking into tiny pieces and i had no idea how to stop it. I broke away from the hands holding me hostage and started searching door to door for my Xarah. This has got to be a joke….a huge joke. Of course it was a joke. Someone hid my baby is one of these rooms. I had just barged into the 2nd  room in search of my daughter when i felt the pinprick on my arm....and i passed out cold, to the sound of Dennis crying.

Today, i buried my daughter.

I made sure she wore the prettiest sleepsuit in her wardrobe. Made sure her head was covered so she doesn’t catch a cold. I insisted they pierce her ears so she could wear my fav pair of gold stop-earrings. They didn’t think it was necessary but i also insisted she wore her diaper.

Today, i buried the first fruit of my womb.

I give her back to God. I am physically, emotionally, spiritually weak. I am tired. I’ve stopped attacking God. Each time I ask Him why, a voice whispers: In His time, He makes all things beautiful!

The hollow feel in my tummy acknowledges the fact that i carried a child to term and birthed it. The heaviness in my heart........ *sigh* You think that true love is the only thing that could crush your heart, the thing that could light up your day...or destroy it. Then, You Become A Mother!

This piece is fiction from the first to the very last word but it was inspired by, and as such i dedicate it to, my new friend Olachi who lost her 4th-borne at birth a few weeks ago. And to every woman that had lost a child at birth. He makes all things His time!