The noise of the car as it screeched and parked inside the compound woke me up, I looked at the time, it was twenty five minutes past eleven. I had dozed off on the sofa while waiting for other family members to arrive. I had to stay home with Henry and John,everyone couldn’t go to the hospital. That was seven years ago.
Mum came in, together with other family members looking like someone had flogged them and commanded them to tell no one, tiredness was written over their faces and the usual scent of mum’s perfume had been replaced with a familiar scent of perspiration.
‘Ekaale ma’, I greeted. Bawo ni ara aunty Alaba? I said,asking after the health of my aunty who had been in labour for two days now.
'WO, ko tii bimo oo(she hasn’t been delivered of a child yet),the doctor said she has passed her EDD and is getting tired.
10 year old me just nodded,obviously not getting what she was saying. odaaro ma,I finally yawned.
About 6pm the next day, we all went to visit Aunty Alaba. We got to the hospital, a well known and prominent government hospital in Lagos state and saw a nurse sitting at the reception. Mum gave her details about the person we came to visit and her smile froze.
Aunty Alaba had still not given birth and everyone was growing weary so mum’s permission was asked to inject her with pitocin, a drug that according to the nurse, would induce labour and make her give birth fast.
Mum agreed and we went back home after dropping the food she wasn’t going to eat.
Eniola! My mom screamed in a characteristic Nigerian mom’s voice as she woke me up very early the next day. ’ Toju a won aburo e,won ni kin wa so hospital(take good care of your younger ones,I am needed at the hospital)’.
Mom got to the hospital only to be told to pay some money to withdraw the bodies. Mum, a cop wouldn’t take that simple answer and demanded an explanation.
Mum told us after aunty Alaba was injected with pitocin, very late in the evening, electricity went off and so, the nurses in charge, two of them, switched on their lamps. None was ready to spend a non refundable cash on fuel. they then saw that as a good time to start up a gist session, abandoning my Aunt who went into labour shortly. While in labour, she fell off the slim hospital bed and hit her head on the tiled floor together with taiwo’s head too as she was about coming out. Kenny died in the womb too.
I remembered Henry asking his dad where his mum was only to be told by him,in a teary voice that she had gone to buy clothes for him. Sunday evening, mum told me to make Eba for everyone, the sight of Eba made me remember Aunty Alaba, just 2 weeks ago,after tasting my watery Eba, promising to teach me how to make it well when she is delivered of the baby.
Thanks to the Nigerian hospital,she never got to fulfil her promise.