THE FIRST TIME WE… HAD A CHILD
“Push For Love”
The message had delivered over 20minutes ago and in all of that time, there was no word from Tonie. I was irritated. We had discussed this at length when we’d both gotten up this morning. I’d been having those annoying back pains and we’d agreed that at noon I would go to the hospital. This was our first baby; the fruit of our love and togetherness. We’d prepared for this day. We’d planned it to perfection. Now here I was, rotund, uncomfortable, sweaty because PHCN or whatever they were called had taken their blasted light… and dialing Tonie’s number to no avail.
“This is just the shit I hate!” I muttered as I punched out a new SMS.
“Leaving for the hospital in 10 minutes. Call me”
The second message delivered almost immediately. And then the sharp pain again. Gripping the table and gulping in oxygen, I couldn’t believe I was going through this alone.
“This was not the plan Tonie… This was not the fucking plan.” I grated out through clenched teeth, while waiting for the contraction to subside.
Panting and sweating profusely, the pain ebbed and left me with enough time to waddle down the corridor and pick up my baby-bag. Dragging it out of the house, I grabbed my house keys and purse along with me and locked the door. I had managed to walk up to the nearest junction when the pain hit for the third time that afternoon. Wincing in annoyance and gripping the baby-bag tight, I inhaled and exhaled, the pain blinding me and almost making me double-down and cry. But I held on, aware that I was out in the open, with no one by my side.
“Lord, where is Tonie? I don’t want to go through this alone, Lord.” I offered up a silent prayer as I felt the pain dying down.
Thankfully, I spotted a black cab heading my way and waved at it frantically. The driver screeched to a halt beside me and got down to help me stuff my bag in the booth of the cab while I maneuvered my way into the back seat. I had just put one leg in when I felt a very sharp pain. I couldn’t help the groan that accompanied the pain neither was I prepared for the “whush” and abrupt flow down my legs as my water broke. I couldn’t tell who was more mortified… Me or the cab man.
“Oh God” I moaned painfully…
“Heeeeey God!” The cab man yodeled in anger when he realized what had just happened.
“Madam, Wetin be dis na? Oooohhhh God!” His mood was making my situation worse.
At this point, I didn’t know if I was welcome in his cab or not and the contraction had hit again so I could barely focus on what he was saying or where I was. I was trying to get through this without screaming out in frustration or actually plucking the whiny cabbie’s eyes out.
I didn’t hear the horn; couldn’t see clearly and felt like I was being flogged on the waist with Thor’s hammer.
But I felt the arms, strong and sure, holding me, lifting my feet from the ground.
I heard the voice talking softly, soothing as it told me ‘Its alright love… You’ll be fine…”
I felt the blast of cool air from an airconditioner hit my face and somewhat tone down the heat within me.
“Where’s your hospital sweetheart?” The voice asked. He sounded suspiciously like Steve; her hot neighbor. But she couldn’t be sure. She couldn’t see clearly.
“Reddington… G.R.A.” I gasped.
As the car drove away, all I could think about was Tonie… And our beautiful baby boy…. And how it seemed I was going to go through this alone. As the pain died down, I grappled around, trying to find my handbag.
“I need my phone. I need to call Tonie…” I sounded desperate, even in my own ears. This was a huge Ante-natal Class fail.
“An expectant mother was supposed to be calm, so as not to shoot up her blood pressure,” I reminded myself.
The contractions were coming at quicker intervals now. The pains were blinding. I was perspiring from every orifice in my body and my heart was beating so fast, I feared I was going to have a coronary. We arrived the hospital and all I could hear were voices, ordering and asking questions. My eyes were shut tight as I battled yet another contraction. I was lifted on to a stretcher and hurriedly wheeled to the E.R. I opened my eyes a crack and could see the familiar ceilings of Reddington.
“Tonie… Where is Tonie? Someone get my cellphone and call Tonie…”
“Who is Tony?” A female voice answered.
“Tonie’s her partner. This is their first baby…” Replied Steve’s voice.
I was wheeled into the E.R. The pain had eased so I opened my eyes and saw that it was indeed Steve. His handsome face looked worried but he cracked open a smile when he realized my eyes were open.
“Steve… I need you to reach Tonie please. I can’t do this alone. I won’t do this alone…” I said with tears in my eyes.
“Sssshhhh sweetheart… Don’t agitate yourself. You’ll be fine. I already called and left a message.”
His reassurance calmed me somewhat and I lay back on the bed to breath and prepare myself for the next bout of pain. Steve was shooed out of the E.R. So I could be examined, shaved and prepped for childbirth. Still, there was no sign of my lover. Bout after bout of contractions hit me. Over and over again, I groaned and grabbed the side of the bed as I fought the pains valiantly. The doctor showed up and examined me.
“She’s almost fully dilated… Wheel her to the Maternity Ward” Doctor Fakunle ordered the nurse.
I was wheeled out of the E.R and moved to the Maternity Ward. There, I was hooked on to intravenous fluids and some kind of electronic fetal monitor. The contractions were closer now and my pain had tripled. For some weird reason, Steve had been allowed into the ward to calm me down. Through the haze of my pain, I briefly wondered if the nurses thought he was my partner. I grimaced at the thought. It was supposed to be a smile but apparently when a sarcastic smile is mixed with intense pain, a grimace was all I could express. Doctor Fakunle had appeared again. Not minding that Steve was present, he examined me… Poking his hand into my vagina like it were a glove.
“Alright… She’s fully dilated. We are ready. Lara, will your husband be staying for the birth of your baby?”
“He is not my husband! My husband isn’t here yet. Where the fuck is Tonie???” I screeched.
The pain was unbearable. It seemed like an invisible cretin was trying to rip my spinal cord in two. I was sweating furiously and my vagina was on fire. I was trying so hard to fight back the screams but I was failing. I couldn’t help it. I felt like I was going to pee and poop myself all at once. My legs were hooked up to the stirrups; the full lights were on, causing intense heat. Doctor Fakunle took his position at the foot of the bed staring clinically at my wide open, cleanly shave vagina.
“She’s crowning…” Doctor Fakunle announced. “Ok Lara… We’re ready for you. Hope you are ready for us?
“No! I am not gonna push this baby until I see Tonie right here with me.” I yelled out angrily.
“Calm down and take deep breaths… You need to push. We can already see the baby’s head.” Doctor Fakunle tried to cajole me.
“I said no! Fuck you!!! The baby stays in till I see Tonie. We’re in this together.”
Then to ensure that they understood the full import of my words, I glared at the doctor with bloodshot eyes and turned my head slowly, like the girl in exorcist, giving every nurse present and Steve a look of pure rage.
“Lara…” Doctor Fakunle’s voice held a tone of warning…
“Doctor…!!!” I replied defiantly as I felt the pressure of the baby’s head pushing out of my vagina.
The baby was determined to find it’s way out even without my help. I screamed aloud in pain while the nurses helped apply pressure on my belly to aid the baby. Then the door opened and in walks Tonie… Tall, proud and absolutely breathtaking. A nurse from outside ran into the maternity ward, looking angry.
“Doctor, this woman defied me and barged in…”
“Tonie! Oh my love… Thank God you’re here.” I said through my relieved bawl.
“Ssssshhh… It’s ok darling… I’m here. I’ll explain what happened later. How are you?” She asked me.
“I’m fine… Except that my vagina is about to explode…. The baby is coming. Our baby is coming… We’re gonna be parents.” I couldn’t help the tears of joy and pain as Tonie held my hand and squeezed it reassuringly.
“Lara… You’re gonna distress the baby if you don’t push now.” Doctor Fakunle said.
Taking in a deep breath, I squeezed Tonie’s hand, looked into her eyes and saw all the love I could ever need in there, then pushed.
I felt the pain tear at me…
Felt hands pushing my legs apart to stop me from clenching it closed.
I heard the doctor order me to push again.
I did as I was told.
I pushed for myself.
I pushed for Tonie.
I pushed for our baby.
I pushed for love.
At last, I heard the tiny whimper as my baby made its entrance into the world. My partner wiped my sweaty brows and leaned to kiss my dry lips.
“I love you” she said.
I smiled weakly at her and smiled more broadly as our baby screamed out in righteous indignation after a well placed smack on his buttocks. He was placed in my arms, all bloody and warm and all the love I felt rose up and clogged my throat. He was so beautiful… so perfect and so chubby. Tonie and I were proud parents to this amazing miracle in my hand and I couldn’t be more grateful. I cried as he was taken away from me to be cleaned. I cried even more when Tonie and Steve were asked to leave the room so I could be stitched and cleaned up. As the anesthetic began to lull me to sleep, I somewhat prepared myself for the prejudice, judgment, hypocrisy and back talk that would welcome me when I awake. I could handle all of that. I’d done it a million times over. Tonie and I were prepared for it. We were not going to let it dampen the beauty that was the birth of our first child.
We were a family and we were going to fight to keep us… Anthonia, Omolara and Baby… together.
The First Time…We special is proudly sponsored by SureGifts.com.ng
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