Lucie posted something on a social media network that just spelt sympathy. She asked us to imagine her situation which she explained in detail and I did, and really felt for her. I decided to reach out to her.
She was 46 years last year. At around this age, almost every woman is ready for the hot flashes,night sweats, moodiness etc.
Nonetheless, it is not so for Lucie Choki. Here is her story.
I was excited when I started suffering the symptoms. I did a lot of research and all sites informed me that I was indeed going through menopause. I did not know what to make of it. I was just excited.
However, my weight gain(one of the symptoms) became alarming. I also became extremely fatigued. I called my gynaecologist for an appointment so she would give me a pill or injection to ease the symptoms.
I saw her the following day and explained my illness. Dr. Claire was keen but a smile curved on her face when I was done talking. She wrote something on her prescription note and asked me to go to the lab. Various tests were performed on me and I was to see Dr. Claire again after a few minutes.
She smiled when I entered her office and extended her hand to me.
“Congratulations, you are 3 months pregnant.”
I was shook. I sat on the chair with a thud and she winced.
“Don’t hurt the baby Lucie!”She said holding my shoulder.
“I want an abortion.” I announced.
“I need you to go and think about what you are saying Lucie. I understand you already have four kids but all babies are blessings including the one you are carrying. There are so many patients who come to my office with infertility problems. Besides ,I do not do abortions. “
I walked out still stupefied. My son was waiting for me at the parking. We were supposed to buy some vitenges for his in-laws to be. One look at me and he knew something was wrong.
“Mum, are you alright? What did the doctor say?”
“No,I am ok. Just some side effects from the injection. Can we buy these vitenges tomorrow my dear?”
“Of course mum,you clearly need to rest. I also need to go check up on Sue. Havent seen the whole day. ”
Sue was his fiancee. She was also expectant. They decided to have a wedding quickly before it showed. Her parents were staunch in religion who believed in sex after marriage. But the couple had lived together for some time without Sue’s parents’ knowledge. When they conceived,they thought they had no choice but to have a wedding to avoid ‘drama’ from her parents.
I watched him ,25 years of age,my first friut of the womb. I had had him at 21 in 1973. Little Henry made Joe and I so happy. We too had a wedding while I was pregnant much to the disapproval of many.
He manoeuvred through the busy traffic of Nairobi. I wondered how he would receive the news. I flinched at the realization that his baby and his sibling would be of same age.
Henry had always been the most level-headed. There were his twin brothers. They were 19. They were cheeky and would probably make many jokes on my pregnancy.
But then,there was Angel,15. Spoilt by daddy and pampered by mummy. She was our last born,the only girl. I bet the tantrums she would show at finding her last born seat dethroned would last a lifetime.
Then there was the big problem. Joe. We were now seperated for two months. I had caught him cheating with a colleague. In spite of his pleas for me to forgive him,I had felt so betrayed that I could not stand to look at him. Thus, he left.
“Mum,wake up. We have arrived at home. ”
I wanted to tell him I had not been sleeping,just lost in thoughts but he would probably have probed me to tell me what was filling my mind.
We said our goodbyes with Henry and I went to the kitchen to make a cup of chocolate and eat some biscuits. Recently, I had always craved biscuits. How could I not know? After three pregnancies.
As I sat down to digest the shocking news Angel came in. She had been with her father the whole weekend. She was still angry at me for not forgiving her father. I figured she was a child still so I gave her time to rant at me.
“I met Henry on the way out. He tells me you are unwell.” She said concerned.
“You could say that.” My heart was now racing. I was afraid of this 15 year old girl. How would she take the news.
“Mum? Are you ok? You are all sweaty! And your eyes are teary,mum!”
She was frantic. She picked her phone and speed dialled a number.
“Dad!You better come. Mum is getting worse!” I could not stop her.
She then took me to bed ,tucked me in and kissed my forehead. I pretended to fall asleep but as soon as she closed the door behind her,I woke up and ran to the door,locking it. Then tiptoed to my computer to do some research.
All the traditional methods on abortion that I found looked dangerous. I loved myself too much to insert knitting needles through my coochie. Or, mix jik and harpic and drink,really? Noo! I sighed,deep down I knew I could not even go through it,even a safe abortion. I had to be strong. I went back to the door and unlocked it,then went to my bed.
“Honey! Mama Henry! “It was Joe. No sooner had I turned to look at him than a strong urge to throw up overwhelmed me. I ran to the bathroom and retched all I had taken during the day.
He was seated on the bed. I wanted to go and give him a strong hug but the air around him was nauseating. I took a seat far from him.He rose and took off his jacket,taking it out of the room. He came back and hugged me from behind and the nausea was not there.
“Oh my God Lue, honey!” He looked elated.
“What?” I quizzed
“How far are you?” I stared at him.
“How do you know?”
“Remember Angel’s pregnancy. You could not stand my cologne. Everytime I came close to you,you would run to the bathroom.”
I found myself in his arms,crying on his chest as he patted my back and kissed my hair. After I had done enough crying,I spilled my fears to him.
“I don’t know what to say to the kids. How will I tell Henry that his baby might have an agemate as an uncle or aunty? My friends, they will laugh at me! I have even forgotten how to take care of babies. Henry, the era of nappies is gone,will I know how to use diapers?”
“Shhh! There is this feeling of dèja vu. Remember in 1973 when we realised you were pregnant and you were in your third year in university? Didn’t we manage through the storms?” He was holding both sides of my cheeks now,tears dripping through his eyes,mirroring mine.
“We will make it sweatheart. This child will bring us so much joy in our old age. I promise you, we will sail though this one once more.” We embraced for so long ,laughing and crying at the same time. He pulled away and went for his phone. Then asked all our kids to come over that evening. He had something urgent to tell them.
Angel was in the house already. Henry came thirty minutes later with his fiancee. The twins came an hour later. I had made dinner for them. The usual small talk was absent at the dinner table. We were all lost in thought as we ate. The twins would ocassionally whisper to each other. Angel finally broke the silence.
“Ok,can somebody please tell us, what the hell is going on?”
“Mum is sick!”Said Lee,the first twin.
“Cancer!”The other,Leo added. They were making wild guesses.
“What? “It was Henry, Sue and Angel.
“That’s not true. I do not have cancer. God forbid. ” I said.
“So then,what is wrong?” Angel anxiously asked obviously on behalf of many. I looked at Joe helplessly.
He cleared his throat and wore that serious look.
“Its good news, then good news. ” He was now holding my hand.
“First, we will no longer be seperated. I am back to your mother. ” They smiled but were still eager for the other good news. Somehow,they knew this was the bombshell.
“Aren’t you happy that your parents are back together?”He was buying time.
“Dad,you said you have good news and good news,we want celebrate at once.”Henry said impatiently as Lee whispered something to Leo who nodded in agreement.
“Your mum and I…” Pin drop silence, “will have another child.” Then silence. The look on their faces could be compared to those that had seen a ghost.
Angel rose up and left angrily. Sue, left too apologetically. Henry buried his face with his hands. The twins grinned and bumped their fists together.
“Just don’t expect us to help you soothe the colic!” Said Lee.
“Or change the diapers!” Added Leo as they both left the table.
“Henry dear,” I called out to a visibly shaken man.
“I cant talk right now. Have a good night guys.”He said and left. It was just Joe and I in the table.
“Well,that went well. Let’s give them time. Such news is hard to digest. ” Joe said as we went to bed to ponder on the next move.
The six months left, moved slowly with each one coming to terms slowly at their time. Angel took the longest time,not until the baby was born. They were all there as I was wheeled off to the theatre. I had no energy to push,too old I guess. When I heard her first cry,I was overcome with emotion.
They were so excited to see her. Angel was over the moon. She owned her sister. She would only let someone hold her for a few seconds then she ask her back much to the fury of her siblings.
“What’s her name ?”asked a heavily pregnant Sue. She was due in two weeks.
“Love. Her name is Love. It was her that united me with my love.”Joe said smiling at me.
“Aaawww…That’s a sweet name. Hallo Love.” Said Angel.
I drifted off to sleep with joy in my heart. Everything had come out perfect. The hard part was over. Love would grow surrounded by love. She is a bonus gift from God for not just Joe and I but all of us.