The Before

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When something monumental happens in your life you record all things against that event. For me life is now split into ‘before the baby’ and ‘after the baby’.

Before The Baby

So my friend had a serious quarrel with her husband over the call. Apparently, the man had been visiting with her sister an her mother in her sister’s house in a bid to settle the quarrel they had and she suspected her family was involved in making him send me away; so the quarrel was extended to them. The whole thing degenerated into a serious mud-slinging and name-calling phone call session that went so bad that she was advised by her father, the only neutral man in the situation to find me somewhere else to stay. She then made the arrangements and came home to let me know; I would be moving to the house of a mutual friend. She was just an acquaintance to me but apparently they were very close. That Sunday, with a lot of help from her- she drove me to the place I had kept my property and helped me take a bed and mattress, and drove me to the friend’s place- I moved.

I stayed in that house till May 17th, after which I left for my hometown. The incidents that led to my leaving that house and Lagos, strange as they may seem, are the issues that distinctly divide the ‘before the baby’ era from the ‘after’. And they still are very painful to talk about. As a matter of fact this will be the first time I will be saying anything about them since they occurred.

The area where this house was located was quite the posh neighbourhood, but as we entered the street the lady lived on I began to wonder. It was like the ghetto of the area with the attendant noise and dirt and chaos that you expect in such areas. In truth that wasn’t really a problem to me. It was just important that I had a place to stay in Lagos, for obvious reasons. I was immediately accepted into the house and treated quite well. I was happy and relaxed. I was introduced to the lady’s kids – a boy of 9 and a girl of almost 1- and the househelp-cum-nanny who lived in. She was a young girl of maybe 21-25 and a pivotal part of the story. There was also the driver-cum-major domo who stayed in the house on weekdays and left on weekends. The househelp immediately took to assisting me even washing my clothes and once, escorting me to my ante-natals. I had only praises for her and took to her like a sister. Life was fine, and my mum even came for a pre-visit before the main visit for my delivery. My greatest problem was getting enough money to perform my caesarean and to buy my baby clothes, and even my hostess helped me out by offering me 20000 naira and buying some few baby, hospital needs and giving me some old baby items. When push came to shove I finally went to register in a public hospital. Turns out that was the best decision I ever made because they had the expertise in dealing with my case even with the complications of HIV. (At this juncture I must commend Lagos Island Maternity, no anonymity is required here And thanks to a few of my nice new acquaintances I was registered and booked for surgery . Two weeks before the CS my mum came to stay with me, also at that time my hostess had been complaining to me that her househelp wanted to leave for her home and she was not sure she would come back. The week of my delivery, actually two days before,the pumping machine broke down. My hostess, without warning, moved herself and her kids away from the house, leaving us a heavily pregnant woman and an old lady who did not know her way around to fend for ourselves without water. My mother felt very offended and thought something had gone wrong in the relationship. I flatly disagreed with her and just saw it as an oversight on the part of the hostess. I even communicated my mother’s feelings to her and she apologised to me and asked me to do same to my mum. My mum was still disatisfied with the situation and called her brother over asking that we stay in his house, that I move in with him. He appeared to agree but never picked up his calls after then and never showed up to take me to the hospital for my surgery. We had to look for a taxi to convey us. All in all, due to donations from a former colleague, a friend and my hostess I was able to raise the money for my delivery at the Island Maternity. On Easter Sunday, I was admitted into the hospital for surgery the next morning. … this is such an emotional part of the story that I am finding it hard to talk about, but I will .

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