Dear Zara (4)

by Jennifer Nwanede

Despite the assurance from the doctor and Tobe, Zara still felt skeptical about the pregnancy. No day passed without her expecting the worst to happen and she was always happy every day she woke up still pregnant.

Days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months and by the sixth month, Zara started to think positively.  She began to shop for baby items and discuss possible baby names with Tobe. By the ninth month, Zara became completely relaxed and started practicing motherhood for she was sure God had finally answered her prayer for a miracle.

“You know I love you right?” Tobe asked Zara, as he kissed her.

“I love you more,” Zara replied, returning the kiss. She heaved a sigh of relief and rested her back on the pillow. Being pregnant was one hell of a job she thought as she smiled with contentment.

“A penny for your thought,” Tobe told her giving her a peck.

“I was just thinking that it would be nice if my darling husband could get me a big bowl of ice cream,” Zara replied, keeping her real thoughts to herself although she was actually craving for ice cream.

“Anything for you my darling,” Tobe replied, giving her another peck before heading to the kitchen.

Tobe was startled by a sudden loud cry; he quickly dropped the bowl of ice cream and rushed to the room. He saw Zara sprawled on the ground, looking lifeless. After all efforts to resuscitate her proved abortive, Tobe had to rush her to the hospital.

Zara woke up with a bang. She tried to sit upright, but was hit by splitting pain. She let out a silent hiss and laid back. She looked around, trying to familiarize herself with her surrounding as reality began to set in gradually. She had drifted off to sleep immediately Tobe had left to get the ice cream and then she had the dream and this time it felt so real. She had woken up to a sensation of someone trying to strangle her.

She struggled with the faceless being and eventually let out a loud cry and collapsed.  It was the same dream she always had before each of the miscarriages. She had been glad when it didn’t occur this time around and then all of a sudden, it resurfaced in the ninth month. She said a quick prayer for her baby and tried to soothe it but was startled when she encountered an almost flat tummy. The baby bump was still there, but the baby was obviously not.

As she tried to figure out what was going on, a kind-looking nurse walked into the room. She walked straight to Zara, took her hands and smiled at her. But despite the smile, Zara could see the sadness underlined. She braced herself for the worst as she patiently waited for the nurse to speak up.

“We are sorry madam, we tried our best but we lost her,” Nurse Tina finally told Zara as she held tightly to her hands as a form of consolation.

The words hit Zara like a tornado.

She let out a loud cry as she tried to get off the bed but was held back by the nurse.

“We lost her”, the words kept on re-echoing in Zara’s head as she let out another loud cry.

“What will I tell Tobe, my in-laws, my parents, what will I tell the world?” she asked the nurse as she continued to weep bitterly. “That after eight years of barrenness, miscarriages, the first time I manage to carry my pregnancy for nine months, I still lost the baby. I did everything right, I promise. I took my meds, I ate a lot of fruits, I did a lot of exercises, just as the doctor had instructed. I never missed any of my ante-natal classes, yet my baby still died,” she continued babbling to the nurse, holding tightly to her hands.

“It is not your fault that your baby died,” Nurse Tina told Zara, trying to comfort her as she struggled to hold back her own tears.

“I had great plans for us,” Zara told Nurse Tina. “I dreamt of how we would dress alike, go shopping together, visit the salon together. I prayed fervently for a girl, and the day the scan result revealed it was a girl I was over the moon with joy. Tobe wanted a girl too, we had great plans for her and yet she died. She didn’t even care about our feelings, she just left us.”

“But she was only a baby; she had no say in this. I am sure if she did, she would have loved very much to stay,” Nurse Tina told Zara.

“I know,” Zara replied wiping her tears with the back of her hands. “I am sorry for blaming her, I know it is not her fault but I wish she had fought a little harder.”

“I understand how you feel; everything will be fine I promise.” Nurse Tina told Zara.

Zara smiled, if only Nurse Tina knew what was going through her mind.

“Meanwhile, let me inform your husband that you are awake, he has been waiting at the lobby,” Nurse Tina told Zara, giving her a warm hug as she helped her lay back.

“You promised me that everything would be fine and that we would have a healthy baby,” Zara accused Tobe as soon as he stepped into the ward.

Tobe hugged Zara closely, trying his best to hold back his tears. He continued to rock her without saying a word, for fear that he might aggravate her pain. He prayed fervently to God for a final end to their misery as he laid Zara back on the bed, for she had dozed off while he rocked her.

Tobe glanced back a second time to be sure Zara was actually asleep before stepping out of the room. He needed space to clear his head and think things through. By now, he had a very strong feeling that something just wasn’t right. Something wasn’t damn right at all.

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