By Olaleye Abiola
Ada tenderly patted her bump for reassurance for the umpteenth time.
"Let the poor guy rest, darling", Dave her husband said as his eyes caught the gesture.
They were on their way to the clinic as Ada could not sleep all night with complaints of body ache and general restlessness; she was only 37weeks along. Dave had to call the office to reschedule all appointments so he could accompany his wife to the hospital.
A little over 4 years ago, they met during the 'camp fire night' at Owerri.They belonged to different platoons but fate in the person of Tope, Ada's mischievous platoon leader had thrown them together. She would later find out Tope was Ada's buddy from Lautech.
"Hello angel, can I join you?" She had just taken part in her Platoon's amateurish attempt to inject a bit of nollywood into the activities of the night and was trying to catch her breath after the rigorous dancing exercise.
Not that he needed permission anyway as he dropped on the log beside her before she could open her mouth to decline as she was in no mood for his or any guy's antics for that matter. He wasted no time in chatting her up and putting her at ease, she soon cracked up under his adept skills showing he was not a novice in the game.
A year later, he came to Lagos to take up an appointment with one of the leading ICT companies at Ikeja. He reestablished contact with her and a couple of visits and dates later, they were totally hooked onto each other.
Fast forwarded to the present.
Dave took a break from humming to the Lionel Richie music wafting from the CD player and took a moment to gaze at his wife swiftly, tenderly patting her huge tummy with his left hand while keeping the right one on the steering wheel.
They had only been married for two years.
In that brief moment memories of their memorable honeymoon in Accra flashed across his mind.
"I took the best decision of my life, I have been blessed immensely", he mused to himself.
So lost was he in his reverie that he did not hear Ada shout "watch out" a split moment before the damfo rammed into their car from the left side.
Sounds of screeching and screaming blended with the pungent odour of clutches and tyres grazing the tarmac.
"Jeez, what just happened here?" Instantly, bystanders waiting some moments back to board vehicles to their various destinations were already gathered round the two vehicles in the usual Lagos fashion.
"Ada, you're okay? "
"Please talk to me, angel...angel..."
Ada was numb with shock, holding to her tummy and side, blood trickled from a small cut on her temple where bits of the side mirror the 'damfo' shattered had hit.
The damfo driver who was at fault was forgotten in an instant, thoughts of how to get her to the nearest hospital was uppermost in his mind.
"Madam, you dey okay so?"
"Oga, make we help you carry iyabeji?"
"Please get out of here..gerrout..move this junk out of my way, need to get to the hospital fast"
"Oga, sorry o"
"These damfo drivers always drive too dangerously"
A couple of minutes later, they were on Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, straight into the Eko hospital he drove.
Thank goodness the hospital was on his HMO list.
Ada still wasn't talking. As Dave carried her, holding her close - sniffing the scent of the hair cream she hurriedly applied to her hair earlier in the morning - on the short walk to the OPD, he felt moistness on his palms, spreading steadily across their bodies' contact area.
As he gently transferred her to the wheel chair with the aid of a nurse, he saw her trouser had turned crimson.
Her 'water' or amniotic sac had broken!
By now, Ann was moaning gently.
"Dave, my tummy...my back..my legs"
Her cut tended to, she was swiftly transferred to the maternity ward; a quick check by the hippy doctor they met some minutes earlier established labour has started in earnest.
"Thank goodness, I heeded the instinct to throw in the baby's bag in the booth"
The long but short wait began. Nothing else mattered than the deep agonizing shards of pain, starting from the base of Ada's tummy, to her spines spreading through every nerve.
"Angel, breath through it please, you can do it...together, we can do it...think..very soon our boy would be in our arms...we are together in this...I'm here for you baby" Dave babbled on trying to mask his fear, reassuring himself more than Ada, he's a man after all.
Through the pacing, screaming when the waves of pain peaked & scratching, he stood firm, holding her trembling body.
"I can't bear this anymore, epi..epidu...epidural..." she screamed in pain.
"The Doctor said you are just 4cm dilated, let me get the matron to check again...hold on darling, be back in a jiffy"
An eternity later, he practically dragged the matron in.
She had to bear the pain..again..she could not even decide which was more painful -the waves of contraction or the matron invading her private domain, again trying to check how far dilated she was.
Thankfully, the burly matron decided she was ready to be moved to the delivery room.
"Remember to breath deeply, conserve your energy for the real action"..from the matron.
"Now push only when I instruct you to"
"Not good enough, now, ready, with all your strenght, push hard like your life depends on it"
"Angel, you can do it..yes..you can"
"yes, yes, yes, there is the head, yes, push the shoulders out...
Out popped the baby.
A wave of calmness and accomplishment pervaded Ada's whole being, like a wave of fresh, cool air after hours in the scorching sun.
'Thank you Lord..my baby.."
"Now, the afterbirth, madam...your baby is being cleaned up and will be handed to you in a moment"
More pushing and heaving, the placenta came out.
"Your baby, madam, congratulations"
"Dave..Dave...come see our baby boy, isnt he the most beautiful baby in the world? And what in the world are you doing in that green gown?"
Dave collapsed beside her out of exhaustion and blissful relief.
Labels: Short story, writing