I was woken up by the contractions and before I could take another breath the membranes bursted and water gushed out from my body as though from an open tap. I made to control it thinking it was urine and it took a second or so before it dawned on me that the baby was coming. The clock on the wall showed 2:34am. I hit my husband who was snoring away on the other side of the bed.
“Yes, yes, yes?” he woke up startled.
“The BA….by” I managed to utter before another wave of contraction hit me. I was surprised at how quickly the next one came.
He jumped out of the bed and grabbed the keys to the motor cycle. “Let’s go.”
I choked back on the laughter rising in my throat. He had only a pair of briefs on. “Please put on something and awww…..”
“What is happening?”
I could not answer. A strong urge to bear down came on me and as the contractions came I could not control myself. “ whoo whoo whoo….”
“Temi talk to me.”
“The baby, baby ….Ahhhhhhhhhhhh” I parted my laps and bore down.
“Stop! stop let us get to the hospital.”
“ahhhhhhhhhhh……….” I felt something slip out. “The baby is out,” I told him but the announcement was unnecessary because a cry filled the room.
I made to sit up but the horrified look on my husband’s face as he turned his gaze to where the baby was stopped me. “What is wrong?”
He continued to stare, so I sat up and between my legs lay a small figure with no legs, appendages like paddles were at the place the legs were supposed to be. The ears were absent and there was no dividing septum between the nostrils. I went still wondering what had gone wrong.
Another wave of contraction hit me and I felt the urge to bear down again. I lay back and started pushing with all my strength
“What are you doing?” my husband cried broken out of his shock by my actions.
A second cry filled the room.
I sat up and another baby lay between my thighs half on top of the first one.
“What is going on?”
I was confused too. Things like this didn’t happen now. I had done a scan and nobody had told me anything about twins or a malformed baby. All I had been told was that I had a co-existing fibroid.
“Get a piece of thread. We need to tie the cord.” I was calm now going through the motions of what I’d learnt from stories about home deliveries away from medical help.
I carefully tied both cords glad the placentas were out. I cleaned myself and asked for fresh clothes so we could go to the hospital.
I picked up the second twin and wrapped him carefully in a piece of Ankara.
Nobody knew we were expecting twins. Not even the doctors. The thought to smother her came to me and I lifted my eyes to my husband. I saw the same thought in his eyes before he quickly lowered them in shame. We could not afford a sick baby. Our joint income was about twenty five thousand naira a month. I sat on the bed and looked at her for a long time.
Then she opened her eyes and smiled. I knew she couldn’t see me but it felt like a smile specially for me. I carefully wrapped her up in another piece of Ankara, nestled her to my bossom and asked my husband to pick up our son.
We took them both to the hospital.