The head popped and the rest was surreal. It was my baby of course. I saw her lying beside me in a cot. Then I remembered that the mid wife pulled her out in the midst of my poo. Daniel was too cowardly to stay in the labour room so he did not experience the miracle of childbirth. Now he stayed beside the baby’s cot and smiled at me sheepishly. She was light in complexion and she made funny faces at me. Then I asked him.
‘What does she weigh?’
‘A he, he is a boy. We have a baby boy.’ He said.
Hot tears rolled down my cheeks and I knew it was my hormones and not me doing it.
Are you crying because you wanted a girl ? He asked. I could sense the incredulity in his voice.
I sniffed, I refused to admit it to myself, that I would have preferred a girl child as my first, but to piss my mother-in-law for imposing a sex on us I liked the fact that I had a baby boy. But now it was too late, she would be pissed quite alright and I am heartbroken. All the secret pink clothes I had bought. The dolls and the toy china wares were useless for now and would remain in the storeroom until such a time that I have a girl. There was a particular pink lovely dress with a pair of matching shoes that I would have loved to use for her dedication at the church. At that moment I wished I could shrink back to a baby and wear the dress myself.
I stared at my body, my tummy was still big and a nurse walked in at that moment.
‘Why is my tummy still big? Is there another baby in there? I asked.
She smiled at me. ‘Is this your first time?’ She asked.
‘Yes.’ I whispered.
‘It will go down with time, I am here to take the baby for more tests.’ She said.
I turned sideways and pulled myself out of the bed, I wanted to use the toilet. Then I noticed the trail of blood on the bed. It was all coming from me. I called out to the Nurse. She was startled, the baby almost slipped off her hands. Daniel supported the baby, he was so scared of dropping the baby that he supported himself with the rails of the bed.
‘What is it?’ She asked.
‘There is blood everywhere.’ I said.
‘It is normal.’ She said.
She was disgusted and she said that much. I watched her as her eyebrows moved up and down in sync with her lips as she talked.
I smiled and she asked if I found it funny that my baby would have been dropped on the head because of my false alarm. I kept a straight face and walked to the toilet. Daniel tried calming her down. He was always that way, the calm in the midst of storm. He loved peace and worked towards it. I noticed my tummy was very black and I cried again.
Then the naming ceremony happened so fast, it was one week after the birth, I walked through it like a ghost. Putting up a plastic smile when I had to and looking blank when no one was bothering me with congratulatory messages. Yes! I know, I was supposed to be happy with the birth of the child but I had sunk into depression. The lack of sleep made it worse, my eyes were always swollen.
My mother-in-law couldn’t stay for long, she spent 2 days and went back to hers, she said something about taking care of her husband. I was indifferent about it, you know she always loved the glitz and glamour that came with the naming ceremony party. My Aunty was meant to come assist with the baby but this was after Daniel’s trip. My mom stayed away, our relationship was strained and she wouldn’t visit. I did not mind, I could do without her constant look of disapproval and disappointment.
Today is the 2nd week of the birth of our Son-Greg Fafunwa. And I had prevailed on Daniel to search for greener pastures by leaving the shores of the country. He was as industrious as the Igbos. Perhaps, that’s because he was partly Igbo. His father was Igbo, but he did not know much about him. His step father was whom he lived with and grew up with, he was not very educated because of his rough childhood, moving from house to house until his mom finally settled with Fafunwa.
I waved at him as he walked out of the vicinity, I felt free with his departure even though he left only a month’s allowance for me. I was alone and expected my Aunty the next day.
One hour later and I heard a constant knock on the door, maybe Daniel had changed his mind, I thought as I opened the door.
I was shocked beyond words, my mouth was agape as I stared at my mother and 3 little children.