It was a Sunday afternoon in a semi-urban part of Lagos, Nigeria. The day was bright and the sun shone with the ferocity of one angered by a jilt. The intensity of the rays roused Olaide from her sleep and she cursed under her breath. Her bump, now very visible over the months, was the focal point of her tiny frame, and she hated it. Her stomach now bore the famous pregnancy trademark; a straight line, running underneath the belly-button to her pubic bone. Linea Nigra, Dr. Emeka had answered, when she inquired the medical term for it.
Initially, when she and Jide had discovered they were pregnant, they had considered an abortion, as the financial challenges that came with an additional mouth to feed were not lost on them. Jide, as at then, was on the third month of his six-month probationary period and she was in-between jobs. He knew how she felt about their situation so they had talked to Dr. Emeka about the possibility of an abortion in order to make an informed decision. Still, something felt odd and forced, like they were not being forthright with each other. It wasn’t until she saw him stare lovingly and offer to babysit for the Ndukas, their next door neighbor that she understood what the situation was. So, she cancelled the appointment they had made and informed Jide.
Now, though the afternoon was bright, she felt a sense of foreboding around her. She had kept up with her ante-natal and the baby was not expected around this time, not for another two weeks at least. But there was certain unease. Her Husband was out with his buddies and was not expected home for another two hours. She did not mind that he was out, being indoors was her thing, yet this afternoon felt different. Getting up to go downstairs for a cup of water, she spied her reflection in the mirror and paused to stare at herself. She looked extremely tired and frail but consoled herself with the thought that the baby would be here soon. Their mothers would be here by then, so she was sure to have adequate rest. One more hurdle to cross and all would be right in the world again. Or so, she thought.
She had almost gotten to the foot of the stairs when she missed her step and almost lost her balance. Steadying herself, she finally made it to the kitchen, opened the fridge and poured a glass of water and made her way to the couch. That was when she felt it. Droplets of blood were trickling down to her feet. Placing a call to Jide, then to Dr. Emeka, she quickly explained the situation. During the wait, she kept slipping in and out of consciousness, that when Jide saw her, he thought she was dead.
The last words she said before giving up the ghost were “save my baby, don’t let her die with me”. 6:00pm, Baby Ayomide was born.
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