She clutched her belly and looked at the Doctor in shock. “It is not my portion in Jesus name!”
Her mother, who was standing beside her responded with a resounding Amen.
Dr Afolabi shook his head. “Mrs Akachi, you have to understand that with your previous history, allowing you go into labour is risky. We have to schedule a caesarean section in three days.”
Anita shook her fist at him. “Doctor you lie. I say you lie! My Bible says I will deliver like the women of Hebrew.” She squeezed her eyes shut, her head bobbing up and down. “God said it, I believe it and that settles it. I must deliver like the women of Hebrew.”
It was on the tip of Dr Afolabi’s tongue to tell her that technically, the women of Hebrew didn’t deliver without help. The Egyptian midwives were always at hand to help deliver them but because they had the fear of God, they didn’t kill the babies as they came and instead lied to Pharaoh that the women didn’t go through labor but gave birth before they arrived. Dr Afolabi wanted to tell her that countless women had died because they believed in a misconception, in a misinterpreted scripture. Instead of telling her that, he said, “We have to schedule the surgery in three days. Think about your previous history.”
When he left, she turned to her mother, “I don’t want to have a surgery. I cannot.” Her breath came in sharp blustery spurts. “This isn’t the covenant I had with God…I cannot.” She picked up her purse and thrust it at her mother. “Please call Pastor Ejike. I need him.”
“Why don’t you call your husband first?” she asked, rummaging through the purse for the phone.
Anita glared at her. “I need Pastor Ejike here. It’s prayers I need not a husband who will try to convince me to go against God’s word.” She sighed. Her husband was going to tell her to have the surgery. She should have married someone who was on the same faith-wavelength as she was. It was a good thing that he was onshore this time because he would have tried to make her have the surgery.
She sighed again. “I’m sorry I raised my voice at you.” Bursting into tears, she suddenly threw her arms around her mother. “Mummy I’m so scared. Oh… I can’t lose another baby. Oh mummy…” Her voice trailed away in a sob. “Oh God. I refuse to leave this hospital without my baby… God I cannot go through this without you.”
Her mother held her as she sobbed, murmuring encouragements and quoting the Bible to her. She was crying too. It hurt her to watch her daughter lose six children in eight years. She held her till she felt the sobs begin to subside. “Lemme call the Pastor for you.”
Anita hated the Doctors constant reference to her history. It filled her with revulsion. It was called history for a reason, it wasn’t meant to be thrown at your face every second. Her first pregnancy ended in a stillbirth after laboring for almost two days. After that, she had had five miscarriages all in her 4th month. Just when she was ready to give up, her aunt invited her to Pastor Ejike’s church. He was the one who told her that her landlord was an ogboni man. He was responsible for all her miscarriages. After a deliverance session, he told them to move out of that house. It took her about a month to convince her husband. A few months later, she realized she was pregnant again and to her greatest joy, she passed the dreaded 4th month. Pastor Ejike told her that God had told him that she would deliver safely this time. To her, he was the voice of God!
Her mother handed her the phone. “He’s on the line.”
Anita smiled her thanks, wiping the tears quickly with the sleeve of her blouse before collecting the phone. “Daddy, Good morning Sir.”
Her voice wavered and broke as she related her conversation with the Doctor and for the next few minutes, she closed her eyes and muttered Amen to his prophecies. When she hung up, she was beaming broadly. He had assured her that God said she wouldn’t have the surgery. Her enemies were trying to get her through the Doctor. He assured her that if she went in for the surgery, she wouldn’t come out alive. She was to stay in the church till labor started, there were qualified midwives who would help her deliver in the safety of the church, beyond the reach of the evil forces out for her life. She dialed her husband next, sighing with relief when his number didn’t go through after three tries.
Despite the Doctor’s advice, Anita left the hospital and moved into the church. Every morning for 5 days, she joined the 8 other pregnant women in their walk of faith; they walked around in circles praying, singing and clapping for 2 hours. She went into labor by mid-night of the 6th day and for two days, she screamed and gritted her teeth as the contractions shot through her. Just when her mother was about to give up and drive her to the hospital, the midwife screamed that she could see the baby’s head. In a few minutes, the baby was sliding into the mid-wife’s waiting arms and a shout of triumph went up in the church. While they were busy singing praises and jubilating, nobody noticed Anita’s eyes slowly roll back into her head as she drew her last breath…