Adigun looked at the baby girl cradled in his arms. She was sleeping peacefully oblivious to what her entrance into the world had brought upon him. A tear slipped down his cheeks and he quickly wiped it with the back of his palm. At 21, he should not be seen crying like a baby. He was meant to take charge. But the turn of events in his life the past three months was too much for him to handle emotionally.
The baby girl whined as she turned her head towards his body aiming to suckle. He looked up at the nurse standing by his side. She gave a sad smile and walked towards the baby bag on the table. Her hands worked deftly pouring and mixing the contents of the bag. She strolled towards Adigun and stretched her hands to receive the baby but Adigun held tightly to the little tot.
The nurse handed over the bottle to him and helped put a pillow behind his back and another under the baby to raise her to a comfortable height for her feed. Adigun smiled his thanks and proceeded to feed the baby.
As she suckled, different thoughts ran through his mind. How was he going to take care of the baby? He was only a student in his final year in the Secondary school and up till a few hours ago depended solely on his mother for support. Did the arrival of the baby girl mean an end to his schooling? He was preparing to write his final exams in a few weeks. How was he going to read with a new born baby in his care? He had no one to go to for financial support; how was he going to feed and take care of her?
Aduke had been both happy and surprised when the doctor confirmed she was pregnant. She had already given up on child-bearing. After having Adigun 21 years ago, she and Ajagbe had tried in futility to have more kids. Each time she took in, she miscarried. She wondered why; as Adigun’s conception and birth had been an easy ride.
After six miscarriages over a period of ten years, she decided to heed Ajagbe’s advice to give up on trying. It had been difficult to accept. She wanted another child. She longed to have a daughter. But Ajagbe constantly reminded her that God had given them a son and it was enough reason to be grateful.
Ajagbe had been overwhelmed with joy when Aduke told him she was pregnant. He pampered her silly and made her feel like a first-time mother. Even Adigun had shared in the joy of having a baby sister. The few friends he told had teased him that he was not having a baby sister but a daughter; as he was old enough to father the new baby.
Three months ago, Ajagbe had gone to his farm as usual. He had tilled from morning till night and harvested a few tomatoes that he intended to blend with his grinding stone for the day’s supper. He flagged down an okada and was about crossing the road to board it. All of a sudden, another speeding okada emerged from the bend. The rider saw Ajagbe too late. The impact of the collision flung Ajagbe across the road with tomatoes littered all over.
The pain had been too much for Aduke to bear. She struggled with her pregnancy in the last trimester. The doctor at the primary health care centre had admonished her to get enough sleep as her blood pressure had risen. But Aduke stayed up many nights crying and willing Ajagbe to come back home.
She had fallen into labour last night and Adigun had rushed her in the dead of the night to the health care centre. Hours later, the doctor informed Adigun that his mother would have to be induced as labour was no longer progressing. He looked at the doctor with tears in his eyes. He had no idea what the doctor meant. All he wanted was a safe delivery for his mother.
Aduke put to bed in the early hours of the day after a difficult delivery. She smiled as she looked at her daughter. The daughter she had waited so many years for. She took a deep breath and she was gone.
Adigun looked at his baby sister. She had fallen asleep again and had released her mouth from the teat of the feeding bottle. Drops of milk dripped out of the sides of her little mouth. Adigun wiped it carefully with his tee-shirt. The nurse was back and this time, Adigun handed over the little tot. He watched as the nurse took her away.
What did the future hold for them? The journey ahead was definitely going to be a long one.
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