Women and health


I knew the time had come when I had my first contraction. Never in my life had I experienced such pain that intense. I remember calling the names of my relatives to the third generation, pacing the entire length of the sitting room, clenching and unclenching my hands, closing my eyes tightly and gritting my teeth. It passed after what seemed like an eternity. My next contraction found me in the hospital on the examination couch. I remember shouting obscenities in my mother tongue. I caught a glimpse of amusement on the face of the male nurse who was putting on gloves, ready to examine me.

He was kind enough to let the contraction pass before finally doing the vaginal examination. I was not a good patient I must confess. First off, I had climbed onto the examination table with my panties on! That didn’t sit well with my nurse who gave me a little pep talk. Apparently, there are some things you must lose when you walk into maternity and one of them is your undergarments. The second thing is shame. Yeah, once you walk into the maternity walk, you hang your ability/tendency to be ashamed on the maternity door and get in.

The vaginal examination was a little worse than your worst nightmare. Nobody had warned me that a reasonably fat gentleman would thrust two fingers inside my vagina then try stretch them and then look at my face and tell me that I am “only four centimeters dilated, and that my pelvis is adequate”. I had four more vaginal examinations before my son came out. And I remember each one of them. I remember fighting with the nurses but giving in in the end.

In between contractions, I remember counting from one to one thousand, counting the number of boxes in the ceiling board, listening to music from my phone, playing phone games and listening to other women wail and collectively curse the male gender for putting them in the family way. One woman vowed to remove her uterus. Another vowed to join the convent after having this one child. A teenager promised the gods to go back to school and chew the books like she was supposed to do. I remember one woman swearing to become a secondary virgin and remain thus till death. I on the other hand cursed my husband silently. All this time he was pacing in the hospital parking lot, dead worried about me. He sent me thousands of texts telling me the way after all it was just me he wanted and no child would ever come between us (I am not sure if this holds to date).

I had my son after what felt like hours and hours. he wasn’t easy that boy. I remember pushing and pushing, with some nurse standing at the foot of the bed urging me to keep pushing. And I pushed. Pushed all the stool from my rectum, then pushed out a three kilograms male who announced his arrival on earth with a shrill cry. Thirty minutes later, I was holding the boy on my hands, my husband was hovering around with a big chicky grin, and I couldn’t help but think to myself that it was all worth it, that I could go through all the pain if in the end I would hold a little version of me on my hand!

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