Justina: “Deal, Hajiya. I will do anything for my unborn child to have a secured future”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “Good, I will keep my side of the bargain, make sure you keep yours”.
Justina: “I will Hajiya, I promise”.
They cut the tip of their fore finger and smeared the blood with each other, signifying the blood covenant. they leave the restaurant and drive to Hajiya’s elder sister’s house in Maitama. MallamaFatima dressed in a handmade gown welcomed them and took them to the sitting room where she sent out her children who were playing in the sitting room so that she can have uninterrupted discussion with her sister.
Mallama Fatimah: “I didn’t know that you were coming here today, I was almost on my way out to see the tailor when you came in”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “My sister, I didn’t plan to come here o. But it is necessary that I come here. You are the only relation I have in this town. Even though you are my step sister, the bond between us is very close. Your mother and my mother although they married one man were best friends and the other wives of our father couldn’t cause asunder between them”.
Mallama Fatimah: “Kwaraikam, you are right”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “I am telling you all these because I want to confide in you”.
Mallama Fatimah: “Go ahead; you know that you can always trust me”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “I was on my way to the hospital this morning when I ran into this girl crying. She told me that her parents were killed by robbers who got her pregnant and that she was going to kill herself because she didn’t have any helper in the world. I had pity on her and bought food for her and after she told me her story, I left her there and went to the hospital. As Allah will have it, my doctor confirmed that I am some months pregnant. Can you believe that I didn’t know that I am pregnant? When my monthly flow seized for months, I thought it is the usual way it will stop and resume after some months. I didn’t know that Allah has blessed me with my own child. After the doctor gave me this good news, I came back to where I met this girl and as I stood there staring at her, something told me to reach out and help her with a place to stay”. Justina stared open mouthed at Hajiya who lied so perfectly to her step sister.
Mallama Fatima: “Alhamdullilahi! Allah be praised, my sister. He has heard our supplication for you to be blessed with the fruit of the womb”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “Thank you very much, my sister. This thing that I am telling you, I haven’t even told my husband”.
Mallama Fatimah: “Allah Sarki, I am sure that alhaji will be very happy to hear this. Go home and break the good news to him”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “That is what I am about to do but I need your help concerning this girl. You know that my husband will not allow me to bring strangers into our home because of his political position. This girl has nowhere to stay and I can’t take her home. I want you to help me accommodate her today, then I will call an agent that I know so that he will get her a one-bedroom apartment in Kubwa so that she can move in there”.
Mallama Fatimah: “No problem, wallahi. You know that I am a widow and it’s just me and my kids here. She can stay until you get a place for her”.
Eight days later, hajiya Hauwa with the help of an agent sets up a one-bedroom apartment in Byazhinfor Justina who moved in happily. A day before hajiyaHauwa travelled to London to hide there until Justina gives birth, she went to mallama Fatimah’s house and gave her some money for Justina’s medical bills and other unforeseen expenses. She also admonished her to help take care of Justina especially during her delivery.
Five months later, Justina woke up to a sharp pain on her waist. Quickly, she sat up and put on the bulb, the time was 2:45am and everywhere in the compound was as still as a graveyard. It was the second day of her expected date of delivery, what she often referred to as EDD and her heart flew to her mouth when it dawned on her that her baby may be on its way. She tried to get up to rush to the bedroom as she felt a sudden strong urge to urinate. As she got up, her sac busted and water-like fluid gushed out of her, a sign that she was in labour. As one sharp pain after another began to take its toll on her, she let out a loud shriek but she quickly closed her mouth for fear of those that may be outside at that hour. The pain on her waist continued to multiply and she felt like a sledge hammer was being used on her back. She thought of calling her neighbours for help but she didn’t have the numbers of any of them because she was always in her room as hajiyaHauwa ordered her. When the pain became unbearable, she picked up her phone and dialed Mallama Fatima’s number. It kept on ringing and Justina gave up hope thinking that she was too fast asleep to hear the phone ring. “Yes, how can I help you at this time of the night?”,Mallama’s sleepy voice at the end of the receiver reminded her of the pain she felt.
Justina: “Mallama, the baby…”
Mallama Fatimah: “Yes, what about the baby? Have you given birth?”
Justina: “No, the baby is coming. I need you to come here quickly”.
Mallama Fatimah: “Oh, you mean you are in labour? That is nice, that your pregnancy appears long overdue to me. When did it start?”.
Justina: “About 40 minutes ago”, she said suppressing the urge to scream.
Mallama Fatimah: “Listen, what you are experiencing is just the early signs of labour. You need to put yourself together and endure it else you will just waste your energy before the real contraction starts. I will come and take you to the hospital tomorrow morning, it is not safe for me to drive from Maitama to Kubwa at this time of the night”.
Justina: “Mallama, but I have seen water and…” the receiver went off. She tried to call back the number but it was switched off. Justina continued to suffer excruciating pain all through the night and she couldn’t go to the private hospital in Phase IV from where she stays at Byhazin all alone that that. The next morning, mallama came rushing in and seeing Justina’s feeble condition, she rushed her to the hospital in her car.
“Push! Push!Puuuushhhhh!”, the doctor attending to her in the labour room said, cleaning the sweat on his brow with his white handkerchief.
Justina: “Ummmmn! Ummmmmmmmmhnnnn!”, she pushed with all her might. “Ah! I am tired, doctor. I can’t do this anymore”, she said amid tears.
Doctor: “Madam, you need to put in more effort okay? You will be fine. Remember that I have to attend to other patients and the earlier you cooperate with me, the better”.
Justina: “Let me rest, doctor. I don’t have any strength left in me”.
Doctor: “If you insist, madam”, he stepped outside the labour room leaving Justina in the care of other qualified nurses.
Nurse 1: “Madam, you no go open your leg push well well? You think say na only you we go attend to for this hospital? See all the pregnant women wey you come here before them don born, na only you dey here dey give us tough time”.
Nurse 2: “You dey mind her, my sister. See as she just dey shout like Christmas goat since wey she enter this hospital. Na now you get mouth to shout, why you no shout when your husband dey do you? I sure say na you go dey even ginger am to go faster, deeper and harder. You fit open leg chop man banana, open the same leg now make baby commot, you no fit. Mtcheww”.
Nurse 1: “No mind her, my sister. When she dey do the thing, we no disturb her. Now she come here come dey disturb us. In fact, I dey go rest, when you ready to push, call us”, they hissed and walked away.
After examining Justina again, the doctor called Mallama to his office.
Doctor: “Madam, your patient went through crude labour before you brought her here. As it is, she has lost her strength and cannot push anymore. If we do not operate her, she may end up losing her life or the baby’s or even both. Where is her husband, he needs to authorize us to carry out a Caesarian section on her immediately. Wasting a minute before this is dangerous”.
Mallama Fatimah: “Doctor, she told my sister who found her in the street that she was raped, the person who got her pregnant is an armed robber. Please, let me call my sister who is like a mother to her and tell her about this”.
Doctor: “Please do and be fast about it. The papers are here, any of her family members can sign”.
Mallama called hajiya Hauwa in London and after narrating everything to her, she became furious and insisted that Justina must not be operated upon. She asked to speak with Justina and Mallama took the phone to her.
Hajiya Hauwa: “Hello, can you hear me, Justina. Make sure the phone is not on speaker. Listen to me, you must do all you can to have that child normally. I don’t want you to be operated upon. That will not be good for the plans that we have made”.
Justina: “But hajiya, I have been in labour for more than eight hours, I am too weak to push”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “No buts. Ensure that you give birth to the child the natural way or this deal is cancelled!” she dropped the phone leaving Justina confused.
Question: Should Justina accept to be operated upon? Why doesn’t Hajiya want her to have a caesarean section?
To be continued…
Remember all Inside Arewa stories shared here are inspired by true life events.
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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