No one knows the pain of childlessness like a woman who has struggled through the high grass to have a child of her own. Emma knew that pain only too well. She was a nurse married to a businessman. They were married for three years. Like you would expect, impudent kith and kin started their uncalled-for remarks.
“We have waited enough!! Three years?” One would ask.
” What are you two waiting for, a bell?” A more disrespectful one would jest. But there were worse people who would suggest that if Peter did not know how to make a baby, there were people willing to gladly help him do his duty. Peter and Emma would smile embarassingly. Then they would drive home in quietude.
“I think we need to talk about this now. The pressure is too much.” Emma was silent. She knew it would be a long journey home as Peter ranted and raved. Her heart was in agony. Far too many times, she had listened to ridicule and cried night after night praying fervently for a child. She had gone to see a gynaecologist secretly and had even visited traditional medicinemen. So she listened as Peter raised his voice gesticulating in annoyance.
“It seems you don’t want to give me a child? Huh? Aren’t you embarrassed when my own uncle suggests to sleep with you to give us a baby? Huh? Jeez! What kind of life is this! ” He said and banged the door of his car leaving her in a cold, dark vehicle. Her tears started to flow freely. This was becoming the norm in their house.
Emma started to think about her colleague’s suggestion.
“Emma, our job gives us access to so many babies. Do what I am telling you. That is the only solution my dear.” Said Janet. She had initially seen the idea as ridiculous but now, seated in the car alone, unhappy and desperate, she finally bought the idea. She got out of the car and went to the house. Peter had locked her out. She went back to the car to spend her night there.
When she woke up, she was freezing and broken. Peter had unlocked the door so she went to prepare herself to work. He was nowhere in sight. She knew he had gone to work.
It was Emma and Janet’s turn to accompany the doctor in his rounds.
“Note this patient, I will tell you something about her.” Janet whispered to Emma as the doctor talked to the young patient. Emma listened as she complained to the doctor of back pains.
” So sorry Whitney, the nurses here have heard you. They will come after a few minutes to administer a drug to you.” The doctor said as he moved to the next patient. When the rounds were completed, the two nurses moved to a private room.
” She is the one I was telling you about. She is a month pregnant . Fifteen years old. Her mother wants us to abort that child. So I was thinking, we will refuse to abort her, instead we will convince her to keep the baby then when she gives birth, we shall tell her that she gave birth to a stillborn. Then you will have your baby. “Janet said.
Emma was up for it. She was beyond desperate.
” So, I should start pretending to be pregnant like right now!” Emma whispered eagerly. They laughed at their great plan as they left the room ready to commence on an eight month journey. That evening, Emma picked a used patient’s pregnancy test kit, put it in her bag and went home with it. She deliberately left it on the table for Peter to see. It was positive.
Peter was euphoric. A miracle indeed! He lifted her joyously and danced in joy. He started to notice the pregnancy symptoms. She was always moody. She did not want to be touched. She did not want any form of intimacy. After one month, she kindly asked her husband for permission to leave and stay with her mother in the village. She could not stand this town life. It made her immensely nauseous. He said yes for the sake of the baby.
Emma told her mother her pregnancy demanded long hours of bed rest. So for the next seven months, she spent indoors. She did not mind losing her salary for just a few months. Janet had ordered a fake pregnancy belly from Amazon for her.
Then the long awaited call came.
“The girl is on labour, come.” Janet said. Emma threw her already packed bag in the car and drove fast to the hospital. Her mother was shocked at the sudden unexplained departure. Emma was disguised in a black turban and sunglasses. The young girl was in a private ward. But all did not go as planned.
The young girl suspected a sinister plan. Only two nurses attended to her. One was heavily pregnant and had no uniform and they were too anxious to see her give birth. She did not think her mother would have paid for a private ward for her. The last time she was here when she was only a month pregnant, there were many nurses attending to her. When Janet came to check on her the umpteenth time, she said,
“I want to be moved to the main ward.I want to give birth at the main ward, please.” Janet was surprised. She hesitated but quickly regained her composure.
“That is alright, but I have to talk to the head nurse first. Give me a few minutes.” When Janet told Emma of the patient’s request, she became hysterical.
“No! I am not losing that baby! That baby is mine! I cannot wait all these months and then go home empty handed. Peter will leave me .” She said, pacing up and down. Then a wicked insane idea struck her. She picked a scalpel and a bottle of liquid from the medicine box and ran to the private room. Janet followed her.
Emma started to inject the sedative-hypnotic drug to the confused patient who realised what was going on when the drug had already started its effects. Janet was dumbstruck but when Emma took out the scalpel from her pocket, she ran to stop her friend but Emma was ready. She stabbed Janet with a generous amount of the liquid she had injected the girl with, causing Janet to fall down. She would be unconscious for quite some time.
Emma slit the young girl’s stomach deeply until she saw two tiny legs. The baby was in breech position. She pulled the baby out fast and took a hospital sheet that was lying around which she wrapped round the beautiful baby girl. She went out of the room and came back with a carton box in which she carefully placed the baby. She walked out confidently smiling at the passers-by. When she eventually put the baby in her car, she started humming happily as she ignited the automobile.
She picked her phone that had fallen on the car floor despite the fact that she was driving in a neck-break speed. She missed hitting a child that had stood by the roadside. That was a hair’s breadth escape from death for the child, but Emma did not notice. She called her husband.
“Where are you daddy? We are parents now. Come and see me breastfeed our child.” Emma said.
Peter thought that strange. She was supposed to call him to accompany her to hospital when labour came knocking. He was happy anyway, maybe the child had come before its due date.
“Really? Where are you now?” He asked elated.
“I am driving to the house.” Peter was more confused. How would she be driving yet she claimed to have just given birth? Throughout her pregnancy, she had suffered complications. She used to call him while at her mother’s house to complain of haemorrhoids, nausea and even preeclampsia. How now did she seem so alive? As he tried to make sense of what was going on, another call came through. It was the police.
“No!No!No!” Peter cried when he heard what Emma had done.
“Could you have any knowledge of where she is at the moment?” The policeman asked.
“Yes! She is actually on her way here, to our house. She just called me!” The police hang up quickly and deployed persons to go and wait for her at her house.
Emma was now singing joyfully. She did not see the police cars waiting near her home. She was surprised that Peter had already called his friends for a celebration. She took the bloody baby out of the carton box and held it cautiously. She grinned to a bewildered Peter and carefully gave the baby to Peter to have a look at it. She did not see that the baby had already died.
“Isn’t our baby such a cutie?” She asked as Peter threw confused glances at the rest. They too were baffled at Emma’s odd behaviour. She still had worn the fake pregnancy belly. Peter invited his wife to the house who was now singing loudly and clapping her hands. He asked her to sit down so he would bring a cup of tea. Peter had already handed the dead baby to the police.
“My baby?Where is my baby?” Emma was frantic but Peter was quick. He took a doll that his niece had left in the house, wrapped it quickly in a scarf and gave it to Emma who quietened down and begun to sing a lullaby to her child. The police and Peter did not need to be told that Emma had become mentally unstable.
“Sweetheart, let us go and buy the child some clothes. ” Emma’s face lit up at Peter’s suggestion.
“Are we going to leave the baby with the nanny?” She asked.
“No, carry the child. You will need to breastfeed it.” He calmy answered as the policeman looked on waiting to whisk her to a mental institution. She did not notice Peter had been left. She was busy hushing her child.
Peter sunk to his chair and buried his head in his hands. He stared at the floor as he tried to come to terms with what was happening. He took a pillow and hugged it tightly letting all his tears out.
He knew he had played a part in pushing his wife to insanity. She so badly wanted to give him a child. She had succumbed to the pressure of a society that was not comfortable with a childless woman . She had been pushed by relatives and friends who did not mind their own business. He cried for his wife,the infertility that had pushed her to be a murderer and lunatic. He cried at himself for not telling his wife the truth, that he himself was the problem. He was sterile.