Written by Alexandra
I’m sitting down quietly listening to my wife ramble on and on about the tiny pink shoes she got at the market today while shopping with my eldest sister. Clearly she couldn’t wait to have the baby put them on, our unborn child.
My wife, Omofolasade, is 32 weeks pregnant, and gone were the days of just a bump. She was never really sick except for the persistent malaria that turned out to be our first baby. It was as if the diagnosis brought on the healing. And since, ‘Omofolasade mi’ hasn’t stopped planning or imagining: how the baby would sound when he or she cries, the cute little faces s/he would make.
I remember her picking up a popular book for soon-to-be mothers and how she would bombard me with question after question. I also remember the numerous, unplanned ultrasounds I had to dutifully attend because she was worried she couldn’t perceive quickening at 18 weeks. Why didn’t I keep my mouth shut?!
Now that she is so round, I come home and watch her every move to her total discomfort. She could ask for the moon and I would die trying to get it for her. Gone was my hour glass babe, at least for now. I can’t seem to shrug off this feeling that I actually did this to her; and everyone appears to be rooting – except the scared me!
I also fear that my chatterbox wife is gone temporarily. Sade complains about how slowly I drive. She would make a sudden turn in her sleep and I would be on the alert. She is not near delivery but I cannot wait for all this to be over. The changes are rolling in at an alarming rate; medical training doesn’t prepare you for what it would feel like when it is your wife. Now I can understand the confused look the husbands of my patients always wear.
Sade had gone into the room and is back with the smallest shoes I have ever seen in my life. It couldn’t accommodate my two fingers. I couldn’t help but smile. A tiny someone that is totally mine is on the way.
It all started with vomiting and dyspepsia at about 1 a.m. that fateful day. I really needed to sleep as I had just finished a 48 hours call. I warned Sade the night before not to eat more than a wrap of moi moi. I’m all too used to the aftermath of such escapades in times past in her non-pregnant state – indigestion and excess gas, to mention a few. She was coming too close to tears so I gave in, she hadn’t eaten all day too. She’d ordered for moi moi and was waiting for me to return so we could eat it together. I however made sure I extracted a promise from her that this would be the last moi moi session before the baby comes.
After offering all the assistance I could, I cajoled her to take antacids. I sat on the bath while she tried to use the toilet for 30 mins, a grouchy me handed my wife over to mom and went to sleep on the couch.
Sade said she was better when I was woken an hour later and so we went to bed. A shrill cry woke me up 45 minutes later. As I looked at my wife, she explained that she’d been having back pain for two days, but that particular one felt different. ‘My stomach gets tight then the back pain hits’, she explained.
I got up, much more alert than ever. I checked my wristwatch, it was just past midnight. I held my wife close and massaged her back for as long as nature would allow me before slumber set in yet again. I was woken 45 minutes later with yet another cry. This time it was her chest. Instinctively I grabbed my stethoscope and listened to her chest, it was the weirdest thing I’ve done in a while – listen to my wife’s breath via an instrument! But then what I heard was reassuring. I also did some more examinations, and reassured Sade, or so I thought I did. I still got no sleep till 6 am, after I had watched her sleep for one full hour, I cuddled her and then closed my eyes… “Honey, wake up!”, “wake up!” It was Sade yet again. Now I really wished I could just carry this pregnancy! It was nine o’ clock. “I think we should go to the hospital” she said. I simply didn’t have the strength – physical or mental, to argue. I got up, put on my scrubs that I had worn for the call the previous day, and made for the door. I then remembered I had left my wife in the room!
To be continued…