A Heart like Home

Prologue

The shadow moved restlessly where it stood. It watched the door across the street like a hawk watching for a lost and abandoned chick. The door still opened and closed too much for its liking. The shadow needed relative quiet and scarcity of movement to carry out its mission.

The door opened yet again and voices carried over the wind. “Good night, Mama D. I hope your shift won’t be as difficult as mine. Watch out for the patient on bed 6 though. That one is touch and go.”

“No problem.” The one referred to as Mama D replied. “I’ll go read her case files now. She will be fine, eventually.”

“I really hope so. She’s been through so much. Her husband is a rock for standing by her despite it all.”

“That is what marriage should be. For better or for worse. We only pray it’s more of better and less of worse.”

“Yes, you are right. Speaking of marriage, how is your daughter? Hope marriage is treating her well?”

“Yes, my dear. She’s expecting her baby very soon. I am planning to go to her place when she delivers. That’ll be the first time I’ll be seeing her since she got married.”

“Yes, I believe you said she lives in the East with her husband? That must be tough. I hope her pregnancy wasn’t a difficult one?”

“Not as difficult as that. I only regret that I couldn’t see her more often to help. It is well.” Mama D sighed deeply.

“It is all for the best. As long as she’s happy in her marriage, then you have a lot to be thankful for.”

“Yes o, my sister. You are very right. I must go in now.”

“Okay. Good night. I pray you have a lovely shift.”

“Thank you, my dear.”

The door opened and closed once again and Mama D went back in. The other party she was speaking to crossed the road and came within striking distance of the shadow. The shadow shrank back into the corner and prayed the bundle it carried not stir. The shadow relaxed fractionally as the woman moved away, entered her car and drove off.

The shadow’s eyes once more trained on the door across the street. The movements had reduced drastically and it watched for a few minutes more to be absolutely sure. After five minutes of watching and nothing happened, the shadow moved cautiously out of the darkness and approached the light.

Anyone observing would see it was a young woman carrying a bundle in her arms. She approached the door carefully, ready to bolt at any sign of life. Nothing moved or stirred.  She got to the door, opened it and carefully laid the bundle in her arms just inside the door. She closed the door, banged on it loudly, and ran back to the safety of the darkness. She merged with the shadows once more, became one of them, and watched as events unfolded.

Mrs. Damija fondly called Mama D by her colleagues was seated at her desk reading the case files of the patients in her care for that night. She always enjoyed night duties because then she could spend as much time treating and caring for her patients without constant interruptions from concerned family and friends.

Although, there are visiting hours that family and friends are supposedly restricted to, but in a University Hospital, such rules were not followed strictly or particularly adhered to. Students come in to see their friends whenever convenient and convenience to them means when they can squeeze time out in between lectures to visit. For the University staff, they simply come and go as they please.

This is why Mama D prefers nightly duties despite the fact that most of her fellow nurses would do everything in their power to avoid one. That, and the one week she gets to enjoy off work after the one week of night ends.

Tonight though, her mind was a bit troubled. The patient she had been speaking about with her colleague earlier occupied her mind.

Morire Babalola had had several miscarriages before she finally got pregnant with this last baby. The husband and wife were overjoyed when it was confirmed that she was pregnant and they did all they could to keep the baby including undergoing a procedure called cervical cerclage which involves stitching shut the cervix to prevent it from opening early and causing preterm labor and delivery.

The procedure was a pretty simple one albeit very uncomfortable for the woman who has to undergo it. It has all the risks of a normal surgery which includes infection. Normally, a cerclage is performed using a general or regional anesthesia because it is done through the vagina. In Morire’s case, she had opted for a general anesthesia; she didn’t want to feel or know anything. A speculum, an instrument with paddles shaped like a spoon had been inserted into Morire’s vagina to spread the vaginal walls apart for the surgery. Then, stitches were placed around the outside of the cervix to keep it closed.

It was one of the most uncomfortable experiences of her life but she had borne it like a champ because the end result will bring a lot of joy to her home. Alas, it turned out a lot different than she had hoped.

Now, here she is once more prostrate on a hospital bed, fighting for her life, while her womb was being flushed of all traces of the baby she had wanted so much. What happened? One of the many risks that can result from a vaginal cerclage, preterm premature rupture of membranes, which means her water broke when the pregnancy was just six months. She had been rushed to hospital, the baby couldn’t be saved so the battle had been to save Morire herself.

 

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