‘I did it for your good’ Mama said, tears running down her face
I would have gone to hold her shoulders and asked her to please stop breaking my point but at that very point, an outburst of emotion was just welcomed.
What did you do?
Mama should just please talk!
And louder please!
The Holy Spirit never mentioned anything like this in whatever way to me at all since about seventeen years that I had given birth that Jean wasn’t my son
How possible could that be?
“Bola, could you travel down memory lane to the time when you were pregnant? Can you remember at all?” Mama asked and I nodded in the affirmative
I sure remembered!
How would I forget something like that in a jiffy?
I spent about six months in the intensive care unit of the hospital because the pregnancy was not just easy at all.
I had waited long for about 7 years before eventually getting pregnant but immediately I got pregnant, severe life-threatening illnesses followed!
In most cases I was in a comma with different tubes attached to almost all parts of my body
Sometimes, I would actually wake up with a start until after a few minutes of excitement; I would relapse into unconsciousness again!
On one occasion, I woke up to see Seyi beside me holding my hands firmly, tears strolling down his face
“Bola, can you see me? Are you awake?” he asked excitedly as he saw me stir
I nodded slowly and he came close, held my face close and kissed me firmly
“What exactly is wrong with me?” I asked almost immediately
He rubbed my forehead with a weak smile etched on his face, tears still strolling down his face
“Mama refused to disclose it to me. She said that you would be fine” he said and I nodded
Mama had an international repute of being a standard Gynecologist and mid-wife
Despite being in her late 70s at that time, she was still allowed to practice since it was her hospital
“I miss you love! Please never should you relapse into unconsciousness. Mama complained that it is dangerous to the brain of the baby.” He said and I could only nod
He dug his hand in a big brown envelope and brought out a CT scan result
“My love, we would be having a baby girl!” he smiled happily, pecking me from my forehead to my tummy with care.
Seyi had always dreamt of having a baby girl as his first child. Since courtship, he had lamented that it was not to nice leaving amongst five boys with no girl while I lamented that I grew up amongst 7 girls and I needed a boy.
We had laughed over it then that we would see who the winner would be
“You have won?” I asked, smiling, the pain from inside held me tightly again and I pulled on Seyi’s arms in serious pains
“Bola, wait now. Bola, please…Oh Jesus! Doctor!” he called out loudly, shivering with fears
He didn’t want to just interfere in my case since the most experienced mama was involved. He had just always been a fearful doctor!
…and I didn’t know what happened afterwards
“Since you can remember, you can relate to the fact that the first scan said you would have a baby girl right?” Mama asked and I sat inside a cushion, my knees hitting each other
Seyi looked so worn out.
His mouth was just suspended as we both watched out where this was actually going to lead to.
“Mama, I asked you then when after the second trimester, you said that scan was reading something else but you said it was normal! That it does happen” Seyi burst out, tears rushing into his eyes.
Mama placed her hands on her head
“Yes it actually does happen. But it didn’t happen in your case. I lied” Mama blurted out and my bladder practically opened an di had to rush into the loo to ease myself before joining the duo
“Mama, you lied? How? I don’t understand Mama. Talk in clear terms please” Seyi said, his voice shaking vehemently and I could only nod like agama lizard in agreement with him
I was practically going crazy!- like virtually!
“Bola had cancer of the womb since the inception of the pregnancy” Mama broke the news and my eyes shone in utter shock!
“What!” my husband screamed as he slapped his laps in shock too
“Cancer?” I asked and started crying as if my death day had actually been declared
Mama wiped her face
“I actually did a biopsy and the laboratory helped to confirm that it was cancer. Yet the baby was growing- surprisingly! I found it weird but I knew it was just too dangerous for the baby. The constant coma and fatigue made my fear worse. That was why I placed her under close observation and I disallowed you from attending to her personally. I just didn’t want her to lose the pregnancy she struggled to get because there might not be hope for another” Mama continued and I could only pull at my skirt in desperation and despair.
“So, mama, what did you do? Did you actually perform an hysterectomy on Bola? Did you?” Seyi asked, his voice raised
Mama started sobbing
“I had to save her life. Keep her through the nine months itself was a risk but I just believed that I could manage it till then and it was so” Mama said and I still wasn’t getting it at all
What exactly was hyste-whatever it was they both said now?
“What’s the meaning of that?” I asked naively and Seyi looked into my face, his anger had gone. He was looking at me with pity
“Hysterectomy is the process of removing the womb and the tubes in a woman’s body” he explained and my eyes shone so brightly that I felt the heat deep in my skull
“So, I don’t actually have a womb? And I was trusting God that I would have another child? Oh God!” I started crying
Mama faced me, holding her wobbling knees with her feeble hands
“Bola, what could I have done? Exactly what my daughter? I needed to save the baby and save you too” she explained tearfully
“So, where is the baby? Who is Jean then?” Seyi asked, somewhat agitated
That was the exact point where I was going!
I needed a very strong explanation to believe this story at all!
Mama coughed so loudly that it shook her whole frail body and I was forced to move near her and hold her shoulders
I left her when she had got back to normalcy
“A young girl actually worked into my hospital and I realized that you were in the same trimester. She had her scan done and I could see her baby was doing fine in her. But she was so dejected and was planning on aborting the pregnancy because according to her, her pastor had impregnated her and he didn’t want to accept responsibility” she continued and I shook my head as Mama’s pace was just too slow for me
“And?” I asked so she could be faster
She looked into my face bleakly, her face forming into a pitiable curve
“I am sorry Bola…you…” she was saying when her grandson cut in
“Mama, continue” he said firmly and I pitied Mama at that instant.
I didn’t think she had ever had to be questioned like that all her life
“I begged her not to. I admitted her and started taking care of you both. I knew that since your daughter did not have a nice stay in the womb, a lot of damage would have been done to its internal organs and I was afraid that your only seed would be handicapped. So immediately the Bola’s labor started, I quickly induced the lady to labor too and I switched the babies” she explained and my head seemed empty at that point
“Jesus!” Seyi exclaimed as he banged the window panes so hard
“Unbelievable!” I exclaimed too, slapping my thighs to be sure that it was reality
“So, where is the lady?” Seyi asked and I nodded again
“I actually asked her for the pastor who impregnated her and she said it was an elder. I ensured she delivered the baby to the Pastor’s doorstep before I paid her to go far away”
“So, who is this pastor?” I asked so emphatically
The havoc these pastors are wrecking these days were actually becoming too unbearable for me
“It’s your elder. The one that pastors your church” Mama dropped the bomb and I slumped to the ground
The realization dawned on me so greatly!
“Wait mama. You mean the witch daughter of the Browns is my daughter? Our daughter?” Seyi asked, shining his face so forcefully as if he wanted to release about 5kg of faeces
“Her name is Mercy. I named her Mercy. We dropped the baby in a basket and set it at the entrance of his house. He had just got married at that time” She concluded her story and I really didn’t know exactly what to do
Should I shout and slap myself to reality?
Should I shake Mama and pinch her hard for not telling us this earlier?
Elder was Jean’s father and Mercy was my real child from the beginning, hah!
I started rolling on the ground and banging my head on the cold tiles
“Now baby, this is not the time to be sentimental. It’s time to take action. We have to save Jean’s life. Let’s approach the father right away” he said and I quickly sat up, wiping the tears in my eyes so I could see clearly
“Impossible! We are telling nobody the truth about this o…we can’t say this to anybody” I started
What would people say?
What great stir were we actually going to cause in the church is we actually go and say something like that?
“Let’s put our egos aside and save this precious boy’s life. He is still my son and I love him” he said
“This isn’t any ego thing Seyi! We can’t tell anybody about it. If we probably find a donor from anywhere on this planet earth, oh yes! But not Elder! Oh no!” I was saying when he went to the large trolley, picked his car key and stormed out of the room
“Yeh! I need to stop this guy o!” I cried to myself as I stood of from the floor where I had been
“I am sorry. I am so sorry” Mama kept on repeating and I simply nodded as I ran after Seyi
“Seyi, don’t do anything nasty. Put the children’s feelings to mind too. They wouldn’t like this kind of situation” I started
“The earlier they know, the better for them” he said as he opened the car door and entered into the car, banging the door.
I quickly opened the other side too and jumped in as he zoomed off with speed
“Seyi, drive moderately please. You are not as crushed as I am right now, are you?” I asked but the man I was talking to was just so focused on where he was going and wasn’t even going to pay attention to me
“Things done rashly out of anger often result into disaster. One needs to think more on issues before taking action Seyi. These ego and pride of yours sha! Once your mind is made up, not even the wife of your youth do you listen to. Oga o” I exclaimed and the car came to a sudden halt!
I was scared!
Was he going to hit me?
He had never done so to me since we got married until earlier that day and I was unsure if he was going to do the same again. The tip of my tongue clung to the roof of my mouth in fear
Then, he hugged the steering and started crying profusely
I was confused
“I am sorry Bola. I am sorry” he continued until I had to clear my throat so he could raise his head and confirm if it was my own Bola he was talking about but it was as he raised his head, stretched his hands towards me and held my hands in his
“Bola, I should never have disbelieved you. I always knew that you are the real definition of a virtuous woman. I should never have doubted your integrity. It wasn’t you that did it. It was mama! Mama sold my child out and now the child is bewitched and needs deliverance while someone else’s child is actually who we thought was ours.” He started lamenting and I looked on as tears ran down my face
It had just been a sudden turnaround in my family since the past five days!
“It’s not Mama’s fault entirely. She was just touched as any mother would have felt” I tried to support Mama because I believed she couldn’t be blamed for what happened entirely. She wasn’t even born again at that point and you can expect anything from anybody who isn’t born again”
“Gosh! So you mean we would have to start contending with the witch and send our precious Jean to …but wait…Elder Brown couldn’t even be as bad as they are all painting him to be. He had been a very great source of blessing to me in my entire life that he wouldn’t do all these….i don’t seem to understand. What kind of machination of the enemy is this?” he lamented and I looked around in the car and luckily, Mercy’s bag was there.
I picked it up, unzipped and brought out the diary.
I unlocked it and gave it to him
“Read it!” I said as he collected it from me
“What’s this?” he asked and just placed my elder on the window and supported my chin with my palm.
“Crushed!” he read aloud – he must have seen the first page of the diary and when I realized he was engulfed in what he was reading, I used the opportunity to talk to God as way
“But why Holy Spirit? Why did you hide this salient truth from me? Why oh Lord?” I asked, deeply in my heart and I felt the sign
He was actually near
He was going to speak!
“There is time for everything!” that was the answer and I gasped
“Yes dearie. Jesus waited till Lazarus died before he actually stepped into the situation. You remember what he said? He said, Lazarus is dead and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe, but let us go to him” he explained to me and I was confused
“I don’t understand” I muttered
“If you can remember the story of the Shunnamite woman whose son died- after she had met Elisha to narrate her ordeal, the prophet said something. Do you know?”
“Oh, when Gehazi was trying to push her away from his master?” I asked to be sure
“Yes” the Holy Spirit replied me
“He said Gehazi should leave her alone because her soul was vexed in her and that the Lord had hid it from him and had not told him what had happened”
“Good! He was saying anything he knows or did was not by any of his own virtue or power but only from God who reveal to him only what and when he pleases”
“Wow! So it pleased the Lord that this was hid from us?”
“It is just for His glory and pleasure. He doesn’t do anything without any reason”
“Really! But the transplant and surgery and Mercy too…how do we go about that? How?” I was almost crying
“All will be well” it was so reassuring that I just smiled
“Really!” I exclaimed until the sniffing of my husband called me back to reality.
I looked towards his side and his eyes were soaked form serious weeping.
“I can’t believe this!” he exclaimed
“I couldn’t believe at first too” I replied, shaking my head
“Ah! This world is wicked o…that young girl has really suffered…Oh my God!”
“Yes, our daughter…” I corrected and looking up at me with his teary eyes, he nodded
“Yes, our daughter!” he agreed for the first time and we smiled together
“We really have a lot to do. Would you still be able to drive or should I take over?” I asked and just could nod
As he turned the ignition key, his phone rang and I checked the name
“Dr. James” I announced as my heart started racing uncontrollably.
“Huh?” my husband asked too, so afraid too
“Pick it” I said, giving the phone to him
“No, you pick it” he pushed it back at me and I picked the call with my shaky hands
“Hello, please I need your attention at the hospital now” he said
“I hope there is no….” I was saying when he dropped the call
My husband looked into my eyes expectantly
“What?” he asked
“That we should come to the hospital quickly” I replied turning the ignition as he sped off with full speed, I held my breath as I prayed that we would arrive our destination safely
We jumped into the intensive care unit where Jean was and we were so shocked!
“Jean!” we chorused almost together
We were both panting from ear to ear as we had ran breathlessly to the ward earlier.
“Mum!” he called out, giving a sick but enthralling smile
“Dad!” he called out too, his dimples, resurfacing on his face
“Oh my God!” I screamed as we ran towards him and held on to him in a very warm and peaceful embrace while Doctor James watched on, a deep smile on his face
“My baby!” I cried
“My son!” Seyi cried out as well as we tried to disengage from him
“What happened?” Seyi asked the doctor and he smiled
“Miracle!” he exclaimed
I looked up at him, not sure I heard him well
“He wouldn’t need the surgery again?” I asked almost excitedly
My husband looked at the doctor expectantly too
“Well, funny enough, after running some tests on him immediately after you left, I found out that his bone marrow still function normally. All leukemia is gone! In fact, all is well with him. No qualms at all” he said and I jumped up
“The Holy spirit said all is well! Wow!”
Could it just be a test?
Oh not a test…
A way of letting the secret that Mama had hidden for years to be revealed?
“But for his broken neck and some cracked ribs, he is fine!” he said and I hugged my baby once again
“Mum, where is Mercy?” he asked all of a sudden and I paused
“Mercy?” Seyi asked, looking into his face, intently
“Yes. She was been operated on the last time I was here. Where is she? Did she survive it? Tell me!” he just bombarded us with the questions that I just had to say something
“She should be fine already. The surgery was successful” I said and he smiled broadly, obviously relieved
“Can I see her please?” he asked and I shook my head
“You have several fractures Jean. You possibly can’t move now.” Seyi said and he frowned
“But I want to see her. She is my best friend”
“Oh yes I know son. Let’s go and check her first and then we would get back to you. Okay?” I asked and he nodded.
“Congrats” Dr. James said as we went towards him at the door. He hugged his friend and shook my hands happily
“I am so happy for you my people” he said and we couldn’t but just blush
Just then, there was a knock at the door
“Who is there?” Seyi asked, almost angrily
“There is an issue sir. You need to come out” someone said from outside and we opened the door.
The nurse was sweating profusely
“I just saw your car and knew that you are around. Doctor, we have a serious case” she said, breathing so heavily and I was shocked
“How is Mercy? The girl in the female ward?” I quickly asked
She nodded wearily
“It’s her parents o” she said and started running towards the lobby
We followed right behind her and the sight was gruesome!
“Mrs Brown!” my husband and I screamed as we arrived at the lobby
Mrs Brown had actually attacked her husband with a very sharp knife, cutting deeply into his arms.
He was busy screaming ‘Help!’
“Security, what are you doing? How could you be watching when this kind of a thing is happening? For what reason have you been employed? So all you could do was stand by and watch, ehn?” My husband fumed and shouted at the four security men who had actually left the gate for sightseeing inside
It was so annoying that they would behave like that when the reputation of the hospital would be at stake
“Where is everyone? Why would you allow this people in here?” he asked on angrily.
I had to pacifyingly pat his back before he calmed down eventually
Mrs Brown had fallen to the ground, the knife still in her hands
“Doctor!” She cried out while her husband just sat like a mauled cow, holding his bloodily battered arms and wriggling in pain
“Mrs. Brown, what is the meaning of all these?” I asked and she smiled, tears running down her face
“I have brought him here for a test. It is either he does the test like this, in my presence and let me know what my fate is, or I kill myself right here in front of everybody!” She cried and my husband looked me in the eyes
I smiled a bit
“Yes o mummy. That was how some ladies from the opposite neighborhood came around to the house today, saying that they had been infected on the HIV from Baba Mercy. I said it was not possible. He actually denied knowing the ladies but you would know when your husband is lying nah! I begged him to lets come here and get tested but he refused. I pestered him till he started beating me, planning to take life out of me. I was left with no option than to hold a knife too and that was why I was able to drag him here”
“Really! But he is an elder!” My husband said, obviously teasing him
“I don’t care. He should just get tested and not put my future at stake” she cried further
“Get the Procedure ready and get both of them tested right away.” My husband ordered the nurse and they wheeled the necessary materials into the lobby in a few minutes
“I don’t want to do any test. I am not doing any test at all” He said and started running out of the lobby
His wife brought the knife close to her neck
“Stop him or I kill myself. Better stop him now” she cried in a very loud voice
“Just leave him since he doesn’t want to do it. Just give us the knife so we could get the sample of his blood from it” A nurse said and Mrs. Brown calmed down a little as she surrendered the knife
As we awaited the result which I believed would determine the HIV status of my beautiful Mercy too, Mrs. Brown couldn’t just be calm.
She kept on hitting her knee against the other and slapping her thigh
“My life is ruined” she cried aloud and even my heart started to race
“Make it negative oh Lord! Please have mercy” I prayed silently as my husband gave me a knowing look and pressed my hand gently
“The result is ready sir” a nurse said after a while
We all looked up in expectation as we expected an answer.
Just then, my husband’s phone rang aloud and it was grandma
“What’s the result abeg?” Mrs. Brown asked on, so anxious to know the outcome
“Hello Oga, this is Joe sir”
“Ok Joe. Is anything the matter?”
“I saw Granny on the staircase o- she has died oo” he said and my husband and I screamed so loudly
“Dead?” we asked together.
“Impossible!” I cried as I paced up and down for the umpteenth time before my husband pulled me and led me towards the exit
“Nurses, do the needful. We would get the result soon. Organize an ambulance and let it meet us at home immediately too” Seyi ordered as we jumped out of the lobby
Mama must have followed me immediately I followed Seyi!
She must have!
Oh my God!
Now, an HIV issue had come up again and I wondered what the result was.
Whatever the result was would define Mercy’s life afterwards o
This is really crushing!
“Tell your nurses to tell me the result o” Mrs Brown shouted after us even as we drove away
“Come back at night” My husband shouted back at her as he sped up
…closely followed behind by a fully loaded ambulance!