She was crying when she entered the room.
‘Oh my God!’ she screamed, quickly carrying her into her arms.
‘Why why why?’ she sang. ‘Mommy only went to bring your food and you started to cry.’
She pinched her cheek and nuzzled her. ‘My baby,’ she called her. ‘Now you have to eat.’ She held the feeding bottle to her mouth. The warm milk continued to pour away.
She dropped the bottle on the table. ‘You won’t eat, why?’
‘Why why why?’ She nuzzled her again.
She saw her smiling and started to smile too. ‘My Miracle,’ she called her.
She rubbed her nose and started to chortle as her.
‘Maama!’ she heard her call, her first word ever. ‘Maama!’
‘Oh baby!’ She hugged her tight. ‘My baby, my miracle, you said something.’
The joy soaked her through.
She was all she’s got. All that she was living for.
She was more than an adequate reward for the great pain she went through that night.
She hadn’t come easily. She pushed for many hours.
‘There is nothing else to be done, Madam,’ the doctor told her. It was 4a.m in the morning and she had entered the labour room at around 10p.m the previous night.
‘You must go through a caesarean,’ the doctor said. ‘The earlier the better.’
He had been with her all night with his many nurses, all in their blue uniforms and white nurse hats.
At a time, when the doctor got so sweaty and walked out to get some air, they gathered round her and started to pray.
They sang too, clapped, but nothing happened.
The baby wouldn’t still come.
‘You must listen to me, Madam, if you want your child alive!’ the doctor said to her again.
Right then, she flung the back of her hand to his face. ‘Who are you to say that to me?’ she asked him. ‘Who are you to threaten a child of God?’
The slim man nodded, slowly. She seemed surprised he didn’t say another word and just walked quietly away.
‘Honey, please,’ her husband said to her. He was a plump man with large eyes. ‘Listen to them, please. We can lose the baby, but not you. God will surely give us another.’
‘Get out!’ she yelled at him.
Her husband’s mouth burst open in surprise.
‘Get up and leave now!’ she repeated.
The man was slow.
‘Mr. Noel Okoro, I said you should get up and leave!’
‘Honey, please,’ the man said.
‘Now!’ she yelled.
‘Please, sir, go,’ the nurse standing nearby said. ‘More stress is the last thing she needs now.’
The door closed behind her husband and she knew it was time.
It was now time to prove them all wrong. It was time for her miracle to come.
She asked them to call in the doctor.
She gathered all the energy that was left in her and built a strong wall of faith.
And with that she pushed her baby through.
Even the doctor said, ‘This is indeed a miracle’, smiling his surprise as he handed the tiny, blood-soaked baby to a nurse. She was screaming.
As young as she was, her voice seemed to reverberate on the walls.
When they gave her back to her, now cleaned and fresh-smelling, she touched her nose and said to her, ‘You this naughty girl, see what you made mommy go through. See what you made mommy go through.’
She named her Miracle, for that was what she is. Her miracle.
She grew in love and flourished in her attention. Her husband grew jealous, but she didn’t care. Her Miracle must come first.
Her beauty became the envy of all. Everything about her was cute.
One afternoon, she twisted her soft curly hair into loose plaits. Her mother saw it and screamed at her.
But the baby was smiling, revealing two tiny, white teeth stranded on a pink gum. She told her mother that she liked it.
But her mother still untied all the loose braids she made and combed the child’s hair up.
A knock came on the door now. She held her baby tighter.
The knock persisted.
‘Go away!’ she yelled. ‘Leave us alone.’
The door burst open and her husband came in, followed by her mother.
‘Look at her,’ her husband said. ‘She’s been holding that doll for days. She even calls it her name and pretends to breastfeed it.’
‘Hey!’ my mother cried, slapping her thigh.
She watched them, wishing she had the power to make them disappear. They said things that distressed her, things she did not understand.
They called her baby a doll and talked about a wreckage she did not know about.
That day was very vague, she remembered nothing of it. But all the stories she heard after did not make sense. Not a single one of them.
How could they say she lost her when she was still there with her, alive and well and smiling. Showing her pink gums and two white teeth.
And what big crash are they talking about? Which accident?
Now her mother walked up to her and grabbed her baby.
She appeared shocked at first. She couldn’t believe her mother would handle her child so roughly.
Her precious granddaughter.
‘Give me that!’ her mother said. ‘Give it to me!’
She held on tight. She wasn’t going to let go.
‘You are not the only woman to have lost a child!’ her mother was saying. ‘Look at me! Did I not lose two? Two! Did I not survive? Did I run mad? Therefore you must not. You must come back to your senses!’
Of course, nothing her mother said made any sense to her. She was an old woman and her brain might as well have gone bad.
Finally, her mother jerked the furry teddy away from her.
‘Mama, no!’ she screamed. ‘Give me my baby!’ She fell to the floor and started to roll. ‘Give me my baby! My Miracle.’
Her husband came close and held me. ‘Honey, it’s okay,’ he said to her. ‘It was an accident. Could have happened to anybody.’
‘My baby!’ she continued to cry. ‘Give me my baby! I want my baby!’