Kids, when you see the little, cute babies, don’t think it’s an easy, cute thing. Giving birth is not your mother. 🙂
It’s a whole 9 months of strife, of carrying an extra, 3 or 4 kgs, all day every day, not forgetting your own ballooning weight. Going to hospital for every simple illness, like an headache. It’s being ready always, like a Boy Scout, because you don’t know the day nor the hour, when the baby will want to pop.
Like us, we literally didn’t know the due date, because we had 4 different due dates, all spanning over a whole month. Every scan, every doctor, had a different due date.
So, on the 17th of May 2017, we just went for a routine check up at the hospital. I remember we: Mwaura, Ben and myself, were shooting a video commercial for Kilimall, and I told them to keep at it while I took Jeddy to hospital. I would be back in a short while.
Only that I didn’t. The next time they saw me two hours later, I was shopping for baby clothes in Biashara Street!
You are due today!
That’s what she said. The nurse.
“What?” That’s us, in shock.
“Yes. You’ve already opened up 3 inches. So, by tonight, you should be delivering.”
Whoa. That was so unexpected, it was shocking. I mean, how does a routine hospital visit turn out into a real maternity time?
She told me to leave Jeddy there and go get the needed stuff to welcome the baby. Of course we refused… told her since we hadn’t expected it, and there was no way I could buy baby stuff alone, we would assume we hadn’t come… leave and come back later. As if you can postpone childbirth.
Btw, did you know when it’s time for the baby to come, it has to come out… Whether you have its sahani or not.
The nurse agreed, told us to be back within 6 hours or earlier if she feels any sort of pain. She even told us to do some tabia mbaya in the meantime to make the passage smooth for the baby. (It was around 11:00 am – we came back 12 hours later. 🙂 )
And that’s how Mwaura and Ben found me in a baby shop on Biashara Street buying a baby bag, baby clothes, receiving blankets, mosquito net… and all those things that make people realize they are parents.
We then went home and sanitized the house, sanitized our hearts… And prayed. Prayed for safe delivery for both the mother and the baby.
Out of 1,000 women that leave the house to give birth in Kenya, 5 of them don’t return, and even if they return, 23 don’t return with their babies. Maternal and infant mortality rates in Kenya remain quite high.
So, we packed and left the house late in the evening. I even wore a kabuti because I wanted to be there to witness my baby coming to this world. I wanted to be the first to hold her, and lick her clean like cows do. And cut the cord. And start being an awww daddy.
But we were in for a rude shock. They wouldn’t let me spend the night in hospital! The hospital only has maternity wards and if you aren’t giving birth, you have no business being within the premises beyond 7:00 pm. And so, I tucked my tail inside my kabuti and called an Uber to take me home.
Jeddy says: I watched him leave and felt loneliness that I had ever felt before. I had never spent a night in hospital and this was scary. It felt like those Hospital horror movies. I cried.
In the morning, at 6:00 am, I was back at the hospital. Forget the fact that I am never a morning person, and 6:00 normally won’t find me awake. But now, with my new fatherhood status, I couldn’t afford to sleep. For my daughter. And I had to be there to see her. I didn’t even bother to call, I left in faith to hold my baby.
Only that it wasn’t to be. She hadn’t come yet. It had been a night of just waiting. Aisuru, she would be born in a few… Actually, I didn’t go far when visiting hours ended. I hung around talking to doctors, nurses, and the Watchman. Especially the watchman. I strike good conversations with watchmen. Till lunch-time visiting came along and I walked in smiling like a father. Only that I didn’t see my daughter. Just a wailing Jeddy. Her labour pains had been induced… And that’s real, sheer pain.
So I spent two hours rubbing her back, and helping her walk because she had to be walking around with all those drips… And dancing Kanungo.
By evening, I was mighty stressed. My brain was on overload, just didn’t know what to do… And I don’t get stressed easy. So much that I went into a local just next to the hospital and ordered beer. My all dependable crew – Kero, Dan and Ben met me drunk like a fish. And helped me drink more. So drunk we went into the hospital past visiting hours and bribed our way in.
Jeddy was still wailing in pain. So much that Kérò started crying too, and I sobered up, demanded to see the doctors for an educated prognosis.
They said all would be okay, prolonged labour is normal, even when induced. It’s only that the girl was a stubborn one. Keroh, a believer in money, gave the nurses some money and told them to keep a special eye on Jeddy. And for Chrissake, deliver her before morning.
And then we went back to the bar, drunk some more and went back home.
Not that we slept. At least I didn’t sleep. I kept trying to call Jeddy – naturally she wasn’t picking – and my stress levels were at the very peak. In my mind, all the wrong things were racing at me. I Googled Mother and Child Mortality rates in Kenya, the best hospitals for Caesarian Section, reviews of that particular hospital… and the worst that could happen during childbirth.
It was a grim night.
And then Jeddy called at 1:30ish am. Our daughter had been born successfully, a healthy 3+ kgs!
It was my turn to cry. And I cried myself to sleep.
The story continues. Maybe we should convince Jeddy to write her version of the story. Ama namna gani?