Thank you for being here! Well, it’s the Sallah break and I realised that I could give you a little something to commemorate it. So here’s the beginning of a THREE PART series. Hope you enjoy it!
P.S: This is an entirely FREE story.
Miriam placed one hand on her abdomen and wondered again why her contractions weren’t coming faster. The doctor had told her earlier that morning during her antenatal clinic that she had already started dilating, it was too risky for her to go back home.
“We wouldn’t want you to give birth in traffic.” She had joked.
And now, eight hours later, labour hadn’t progressed as much as she had hoped. Her phone rang, it was her husband, Hakeem.
“How far? Any progress?”
“Nothing yet o. it looks like this baby is waiting for you to come.”
He laughed. “Don’t worry I’m almost there. I’m about to board.”
“Ah! Finally! Just get here on time please.”
“But what is the doctor saying?”
“She said that I might be induced tomorrow if nothing happens, but I …”
“Sweetheart, I have to go. I’ll call you as soon as I land.”
“Alright, have a safe flight.” She replied, stuffing down her fears. She would save them for later.
As she placed her phone back on the bedside drawer the door opened and a nurse came in with two women; one pregnant and the other elderly.
“Mrs Abdul, I have brought you a companion.” The nurse said cheerfully and led the women to the other bed in the room.
“Good evening.” The elderly woman said to Miriam.
“Good evening ma.”
The nurse settled the younger woman on the bed. “I’ll be back soon with your hospital kit. Just relax ehn? You have a lot to do!” she finished laughingly and walked out of the room.
“Thank God I called you!” Miriam heard the older woman say to the pregnant woman who lay stiffly on the bed. “You’re too stubborn for your own good, you would just have given birth in your house.”
The nurse came back in bustling with energy. “How are my beautiful women? Mrs Abdul, is that baby of yours kicking very well?”
Miriam sighed. “I don’t think so o! I think it’s sleeping.”
The nurse laughed. “Don’t worry, it will soon be over. Madam!” she said to the other woman. “Relax o! See how you’re lying down as if you want to run away!” she laughed good-naturedly. “Relax your body, we will take good care of you here.”
The woman rose slowly to take the hospital kit that the nurse was stretching out to her.
“Please change into that. Take everything off…”
“Everything…” the woman said hesitantly.
“Yes, including your panties.” She laughed at the woman’s horrified look. “Nobody is looking at your body here o! Relax! You will not even be conscious of your body when the time comes. Don’t worry, Uncle’s property is safe ehn?”
Labisi smiled tightly.
“Don’t mind her nurse, I don’t know what she’s covering.” The elderly woman said with slight irritation.
“So, please change into that and relax. The doctor will come and check on you in the next four hours. But if you need anything please press that buzzer beside your bed and I or one of my other colleagues will be here. You’re in good hands alright?” the nurse finished with a warm smile.
Labisi nodded and smiled genuinely.
“Mrs Abdul, fine woman!” the nurse teased as she walked towards the door.
“Nurse Titi, go jo!” Miriam laughed bashfully.
“Oya change your clothes.” The elderly woman said as soon as the nurses was out. “We don’t know when the baby will come.”
Miriam looked away as the woman went into the bathroom. She didn’t want to be the subject of the elderly woman’s attention.
“You young women are just funny.” The old woman began and Miriam sighed inwardly. “I called her and asked how she was doing and she just said “fine”. But my mind told me that something was not well so I went to my son’s house and she was there watching television. It was after pressing her for more information that she told me that she saw her water in the middle of the night.”
“Saw her water?” Miriam couldn’t help but ask.
“Yes now,” the old woman said touching her stomach. “You know the water in here…”
“Oh! Her water had broken?”
“That’s how you young people say it. So that’s how I rushed her here! You young people, sometimes when we older people are talking, you think we’re just overdoing it. She didn’t know that it’s a sign of labour.”
Miriam smiled politely as Labisi came out of the bathroom and lay on the bed self-consciously. There was an awkward silence in the room and the elderly woman shifted uncomfortably in her seat.
“My dear,” she eventually said to Miriam. “Is this television working?”
“Yes ma.” she said reaching for the TV remote on her bedside drawer.
“Please put it on, let me watch Africa Magic.”
Two hours later the door opened and an attractive man came into the room. Labisi smiled in relief, her husband was here.
“Hey sweetie.” He held her.
“Thank God you’re here.” she whispered into his ears.
“How are you?”
“I’m fine…” her eyes wandered towards her mother-in-law who was sleeping soundly on the chair she had been sitting on.
“Mummy…” the man said, shaking her gently.
“Ah, Wale, you’re here.”
“Yes ma. Thank you for bringing her here.”
She sat up and nodded. “Let’s just thank God that I’m a sensitive woman. In fact, I don’t know what would have happened if I decided not to follow my mind.” she stretched her arms and moaned.
Wale took one look at his wife and saw that she was angry. “Mummy, maybe you should go home and rest. Let me take over from here…”
“No, no, no. You’ve been at work all day. Let me stay with her, I’ll call you…”
Wale laughed. “Mummy, you know I can’t just leave her…”
“But you’re not leaving her. I’m with her, or am I not important?”
“Mummy! I didn’t mean it like that now. I meant that I want to be here with her. You know this is my first child…”
“Look Wale, there’s nothing you can do for her. Go home and rest. If you stay here, you might make her lazy…”
“Mummy,” he laughed awkwardly. “I can’t leave her here o. I won’t even be able to sleep. Even if all I do is hold her hand, I want to stay with her.”
“You want to hold her hand, why? Do you think that your father held my hand when I was giving birth to you and your siblings?”
Wale laughed uncomfortably again, wondering how he could convince his mother.
The elderly woman got up slowly. “I’m going to =-ease myself.”
As soon as she was gone, Labisi turned on her husband.
“Don’t you dare leave me alone with her! Do you hear me? You’re not going anywhere.”
Miriam pretended not to hear the conversation and focused her thoughts instead on her husband who she was earnestly expecting.
The elderly woman retuned into the room. “Wale, I’m hungry. Get me something to eat please.”
“Mummy… why don’t you just go home and rest? I’m sure Daddy will be expecting you.”
The elderly woman stared at her son awkwardly and was about to speak when the door opened. It was Hakeem, Miriam’s husband.
“Good evening.” He greeted.
“Good evening.” They all chorused.
“Sweetheart!” He held his wife in his arms. “How are you?”
“Still the same, and I’m getting tired!”
“What is the doctor saying?”
Just then, the door opened and a nurse and another hospital staff came in. “Good evening. I’m nurse Eki, I’m with the new shift. I need to check your blood pressure.”
As the nurse took the women’s vital signs, Labisi kept stealing glances at Hakeem. The man looked very familiar.