Monthly Archives: October 2010

The After

Standard

Mmmhmm. So where was I?

The next morning at about 6am I began to feel slight pains, slight contractions. I did not mind because I knew I was going into surgery and they wouldn’t be a bother. I got up and had a bath and even had a chat with one of my ward mates.The nurse came to shave me a little while later telling me I would soon be prepped for surgery. At about 7.30 am the contractions became stronger and the nurse gave me an injection to stop them, all the while complaining that the doctors should have been there since. Funny enough, the drug that was meant to halt the contractions and its effects had the opposite effect. The pain escalated like mad!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I never had surgery. It was Easter Monday and the consultants were not in any hurry to go to work; and without the consultants only emergencies went to the theatre. At about 12 noon my water broke and I had to be transferred to the labour ward. There I laboured until about 3.14pm when my very vocal baby came out. I will talk about the process of delivery and attendant issues later but for now let me just say that labour pains are over-rated. I still consider my delivery a miracle from God; what are the chances of your giving birth naturally on the day of your scheduled CS? And without complications, even with all the diagnosis?

(As I write, I remember all that my dear mother went through during this period. Sitting on the kerb from morning till evening when she was finally allowed to see me and the baby, briefly. When they said the baby was out, her question was ‘what of my own?’ I remember this because right now I am having issues with her and those issues pale in comparison to what she went through for me at the hospital and afterwards.)

So I was discharged the next day, sore- I had to be stitched as I suffered some tears, bleeding and exhausted. I never felt the ecstasy that new mothers feel. I just felt tired and very curious about this little person I was carrying home. When we got home, there was relative peace for 3 days as the owner of the house was still away with her kids. On the 4th day, early in the morning I was asleep with the baby in the living room when they came in. The first sign of problems, for me, came when the househelp, who I thought I was close to, came in carrying a carton, when I greeted her she said’ congratulations ma’ and walked away, without even looking at the baby. Anyway, they settled in and had stayed about 2 days before the real trouble started.

In the room that we stayed in we had little in terms of furniture, actually the only furniture was the bed, I had to borrow the stool from the living room to place the baby food and bottles on, just so it wasn’t on the ground. Now, throughout that morning the househelp and a few relations of my hostess had been in the kitchen doing this, that and the other. Up till 11 am my mum could not find space to even boil water to make tea for me. She was very upset about this as I had just given birth a few days ago and she felt i really needed nutrition. Also she was hungry. In the midst of this, the househelp sent the hostesses son to collect the stool but I explained to him that I was using it. Then a few hours later she sent him again, so I told him to tell her to come and see what I was doing with it so she could understand. She sent him back to me saying she was busy. Bear in mind that she was in the kitchen which is directly opposite the room. And to add insult to injury I heard her shout at the boy’ go and bring the stool for me!’ I was really upset about this and the breakfast thing that after one more complaint from my mum I just went into the kitchen and started doing what I wanted without caring who was using what. I also went to the living room and told my hostess- who I’ll call L from now- that I would like to talk to her later. She followed me immediately and as I was trying to explain to her that her househelp was giving my mum issues, I began crying. Her response shocked me though. She related the whole incident from the side of the househelp, and asked what the problem was. Then she began saying that she had been hearing things and she did not want to act on it. My mum then came out of the room and called us in and L began saying that I had been having issues with her househelp, and thehousehelp had been complaining. That I snapped at her ! She said she believed because sometimes when she, herself, was speaking to me I would switch off. (Pray tell what is my offence there?) She said that her househelp was going to leave because of me but she had to tell her to stay. And that was the beginning of the wahala.

My mum never believed that this girl made up these stories. She kept asking me why I allowed her come when I was having problems with the people I was staying with. She said that explained why they packed away before I gave birth. She said they were only waiting for me to give birth before they showed me how they felt Well, if there was a problem with them I was just hearing about it, we never parted on a bad note and we were still in communication while they were away. Anyway, that day became the turning point in that househelp’s behaviour. From then on, when her madam was away, she did everything to make our lives miserable; she deliberately would make a lot of noise in the kitchen as we tried to sleep late at night, my mum would wash clothes and hang them on the clothes rail on the balcony, she would take them off and send the boy to give them back to my mum that she wanted to sit there. She would stay in the living room and hide the remote control so we could not watch TV, the last straw was when she would send the boy to tell a guest of ours to go out of the room that she wants to lock the door. After she had done this thrice, my mum went up to her one evening and asked her why she was doing that, that we could lock the door ourselves when the girl was leaving. She shouted at my mum, saying ‘I want to lock my door!’

L, on her own part, also began to act weird. At some point she told me she needed to move and if I was interested in taking over her house she would give it to me for the price of her rent (35ok). I had just been paid 250k for a job so I was ready to search for 100k to complete it and finally settle into a plae of my own, no matter how bad it was. So I agreed. Imagine my surprise then, when she sent me a message a few days later saying she would accept 500k as payment for the place. I had no idea why she wanted 500 for a place she paid 350 for but I could barely afford 350. So I told her that I did not have that and that I was still trying to raise the 350 but that if she had to give it to someone else I would understand. She said she might have to do that as she did not want to stress me too much. Only for her to come home in the evening and act very cold to me and my mum! My mum demanded too see the text messages between us to be sure that I did not say anything rude. When she was satisfied that this was coming from nowhere she made us decide on a date when we were leaving Lagos for Benin. We decided on leaving after my first post-natal check up and after my baby’s HIV test. The date was May 16th. I then apologised to L in a text message if I had offended her, and asked that she be patient with me till the 17th when I would stop stretching her resources. During this time, I tried to contact the friend who brought me to that house, she claimed to have been very busy and several times promised to come but never made it. After a while, she stopped answering my calls.

In between all this, I had found time to go to the HIV centre in LUTH , and done my tests and that of my baby. Suffice it to say that so far-and forever by God’s grace- she’s been HIV negative. So after my appointments I found myself on the way to my parents’. I’ve been here now for about 5 months and it’s not been so bad. MY baby is thriving and loved by everyone.EVERYONE. The atmosphere is calmer than in Lagos.

I’m tired. I’ve been typing for ages. When I come back, I’ll talk about the reaction of my baby’s father to the announcement of her birth and other issues.

Joie