Do you ever go back to think about it? about how you lives would have taken on an entirely different cause altogether?
Many months after I still shudder at the sound of sharp suction, I still feel the pain and emptiness whenever my hands form a cradle by mistake.
You never get over a child lost…, not even the one you killed yourself. You’ll always wonder how it would have been if things were different, even for that one you never wanted.
The road to the quacks are always filled with potholes. Crowded streets filled with children playing, mad dogs yapping madly, maybe at spirits of dead babies. Jobless mother in pairs half hidden in between charcoal stained corridors gossiping. They always know the strange faces, they can tell from the look in your eyes, dark, determined and defiant. The hurried shuffle of feet, sometimes mother and child, willing to do away with the unwanted legacy of an illegal tango.
That evening it was just me, the sun was somewhere up in the sky, a thin layer of evening cloud spread across it. I walked the road, head bowed down trying to avoid being spotted.
Unsure of everything yet sure of just one thing, die if I would, I did not want this baby. The shame, hope cut short, you can say I only thought about myself.
The nurse was short and light skinned, fat robust mother of about 5 tiny children that played in the front yard. She led me to the back of the uncompleted bungalow. A shack hospital with posters of pregnant women, HIV and nutrition.
My head was fuzzy, I stopped for a second to think if I was doing the right thing. I could catch an infection, I could bleed to death, I could loose my womb. I eyed my nurse, trying to read experience and safety skills in her badly shaped tattooed eyebrows. This is a mistake, I thought, but I couldn’t just up and bolt out of there… you know
“Who direct you come”, she harshly demanded, eyeing me up and down to check if I was a spy.
Na Bisi, I hastily replied dropping the first random name that came into my head. We both nodded
“Na 5000 and you go pay before you start”
Arghh, na 4k she tell me o Ma, I screamed, peering into my bag to arrange the array of dirty naira notes
“Oya drop am here” she answers, a bit dissatisfied that she had failed to extort an extra one thousand naira from me
I dropped the money on the small wooden bench, which she picked up almost immediately and counted them with her surprisingly black hands.
Again she left the room, leaving me to my thoughts and the posters, returning with an almost empty bottle of disinfectant, a paint cup half filled with water and some instrument immersed inside.
In a quick mechanical motion, she dropped some disinfectant into the water, trying to sterilise her tools. I breath relief and thanked my God that at least HIV was out of it.
I peep into the bucket, to catch a glimpse of the instruments, they were not as scary as I had imagined, there was no sharp knife or razor, scissors or spear. Just a harmless looking plastic sucker with straw like mouth and a large stainless steel clamp with handle bars
The clamp came first. The icy coldness invading my privates, then she began to whine at it until it turned my vagina into a big hole, she asked me to hold one end of the clamp in a voice that suggested I better, if I wanted to stay alive.
The pain was a mild sensation, my body not used to such a massive stretching. The big plastic syring like stuff came next, she forcefully pierced it somewhere inside me and started to draw, the sounds was worse than the scraping pain mixed with relief that I felt.
While she worked, sucking for a few seconds and pushing the waste into the old paint cup. I laid down. One hand holding the clamp towards my navel, eyes wide open and I thought (of course about the father, I didn’t get here on my own,) I thought about how different my life would be in a few minutes. I planned for change.
In a few minutes it was over, out came the clamp from my freshly bruised vagina. The pain had just began. Mild to sharp cramps piercing from my lower abdomen to my heart as if the devil himself played a chord. I prayed it would not get any worse, I tried to stand up and look at the paint cup that held the baby waste, I wondered if i would see a face or just a mass of dark blood but the nurse, as if she was drunk or mad, walked out to dump the whole bucket in a half open sewer few meters from the room.
Tongue tied, I sighed. Well I thought to Myself, it was better I didn’t see anything. Blood is the stuff nightmares are made of and I didn’t want anything haunting me.
I picked up my clothes and hurriedly dressed up. “make you no take any cold something o, make you find hot pepper soup drink and dey drink hot water for one week.” Her crude voice sounded from the door post
“Even buy Beecham’s ampicillin make you dey drink 2 a day so that E go wash everything” she added while handing me a roll of tissue paper and pointing to my pant.
I quickly rolled a thick bunch and carefully lined my pant with this make shift pad. I was good to go.
I left the compound without a glance and took a different way home. Pepper soup, hot water. How was I to constantly drink that for a week without raising suspicion. As I walked and thought, I noticed a bar across the road. I rushed over to order a plate of hot turkey pepper soup and a small bottle of alomo bitters.
Problem solved for at least a day.
That night I laid on the bed, counting down minutes and stylishly waiting for when the pain would triple up.
We’ve heard stories of how girls bled to death and how their womb was mistakenly pulled out during a session. Maybe that was why she didn’t let me see the bucket, I would have noticed it, my womb white and floating in the pale of blood.
My mind tried to conjure up her face, the nurse, she looked like what you would assume a quack looked like, her fat bleached body and eyes barely opened, she looked drunk. I was afraid and anxious.
The next few days, the bleeding reduced along with the cramping. Lipton was my best friend, I had suddenly developed a liking for hot stuff. I drank it to make sure all would stay well.
The next month I saw my period as regular, I imagined I still had a womb and thanked my God. My problems were over.
But like i said before, you never get over a lost child, even the one you never wanted.
I see it’s face in the face of every baby I hold. Everytime I look in an innocent child’s eyes. I see it see me a murderer faking affection. If I hold a baby for more than a few seconds it’s strips open my shame with the loudest shrieks ever.
“Give me back to my mother that wanted me you baby killer…,
It could have been me you killed, you never know. Now you’re here acting like you love babies”. I try to hush their resounding cry’s. But they still holler. “Give me back, give back to my mother”
You say babies do not talk, but they speak the language of the conscience, their eyes drilling deep into your heart and stripping it of their false covering.
In shame I hand back the baby and say a prayer for the one I didn’t want.