While a woman dying at birth might be news in developed countries because it rarely happens, here in Nigeria it happens often and it’s just so scary for other women who are pregnant. When my pregnancy was 29 weeks old, my close friend Tinuke went into labour and died. It was certainly a mistake by the medical team, and I was traumatized, I saw her two days before she went to labour, thinking about how someone can leave this world just like that while giving birth shook me to the core, I became scared and dreaded my delivery.
When my husband noticed the change in me, he became scared for me too, he promptly called his mother who didn’t make matters any better.
“This is my first grandchild and if anything happens to that pregnancy, I swear to God Lola you are leaving my son’s house that day” She threatened angrily on phone.
Maybe she was hoping her threat would snap me out of the ocean of sadness that I’m buried in, instead I became even more scared, I can’t help feeling the way I’m feeling, what if I don’t die but my child is born dead or something.
My thinking was in a total state of darkness and I had no one to talk to, if only I could talk to Tinuke (she had a child already) about this, remembering that she’s gone, I burst into tears again. My husband who didn’t hear what his mom told me on phone heard my cry from where he was and rushed into the room
“Stop doing this to yourself, in fact, that’s it!” He immediately called our pastor’s wife, it wasn’t just the emotional issue that was scaring him, but I was getting lean by the day and he was scared I might lose the baby.
I tried helping myself to stop thinking about it, but every time I touch my belly all I see is Tinuke waddling around in her maternity gown as we talked and laughed until she peed her pants,
“Oops! I just peed my pant” she said and we laughed even harder, then she’s gone, just like an extinguished lantern”
How can I trust these doctors with my life, how do I know if they are competent or not? These are the questions that kept going on in my mind. During the meeting with our pastor’s wife, she advised me and when she saw me staring into space, she called my husband aside and told him I have to go into therapy.
“Her delivery date is near, and she can’t go into labour in this state of mind”
I heard her saying to my husband. After we left her, my husband, worried to death went online in search of positive birth stories, found titles of different books and bought them all for me.
And they were my saving grace, one of them was “supernatural delivery”, a book that I read from page to page and digested everything, by the time I was done with these books, my thinking had changed. I realised that no two birth stories are exactly the same, that my friend died at childbirth doesn’t mean the same will happen to me.
Learning how to have a natural childbirth also gave me confidence and when I fell into labour during the 38th week of my pregnancy, I did with confidence believing God to grant me safe delivery and short labour.
I laboured for 5 hours, after which my sweet Bunny came home to mama, head full of black curly hair, balled fist squealing, wriggling and already rooting for breast. And I wept.