The man rubbed his head again in anguish, then rubbed his aching eyes, before resuming his pacing. Back and forth he paced in the waiting corridor, ignoring the pitying glances that passersby sent his way. Everytime a doctor approached he looked at their faces intently, dreading bad news.
They had already lost one baby. This unexpected one had been a God - given miracle, and now it seemed it was only a teaser.
He smiled as he remembered his wife's facial expression when the doctor had told her that her illness was another baby, not malaria. But that was four months ago. Now he had had to rush her to the emergency room because she had fainted.
He had stepped down to the car to pick something, only to return and find her on the floor.
"Hello sir," the approaching doctor asked. "Are you the husband of the woman in the theatre right now?"
"Yes, Yes," he said in a rush. "I am. What happened?"
"We are sorry about the.." the doctor began, but had to pause when the man began to cry.
"Wait sir!" The doctor exclaimed. "She still alive!"
The man looked up instantly. "She is alive?" he asked, trying to believe the words that came out of his ears.
"Yes she is sir," the doctor repeated. "I just came to tell you that you have to sign some papers. She has to be operated. I want to explain the situation to you sir, but you have to calm down and listen carefully."
"Am listening" the man replied as he walked with the doctor towards the theatre.
"Ok. We have to operate to remove the baby. I understand that the approximate duration of the pregnancy is just over six months right?"
"We are not really sure." The man responded.
"Then it might not be developed enough to survive." The doctor said."We are on a race to save your wife's life. That is what we hope to achieve. We will try our best but saving your wife's life is the goal. Do you understand?"
"Yes I do."the man replied. "Please save her."
Three hours later the man was called into the theatre.
"Your wife is fine now sir." The doctor assured him. "She will be resting now."
"Thank God!" the man sobbed again.
"And that is your baby" the doctor added. "Its a girl, and she's alive and kicking."
The man glanced in the direction the doctor was pointing to, and saw a nurse motioning for him to come closer. He peered at the tiny form in her arms, all bloody and wriggling the tiniest arms and legs he had ever seen.
"She's barely seven months old." the doctor said.
"Baby" moaned the wife.
They all glanced at the bed, the nurse hurrying to her side to show her the child.
She stared at it for a few minutes, then turned to her husband and asked,
"Are her toes complete?"
He nodded in response.
"And her fingers?" He nodded again.
"Thank God" she muttered before falling asleep again.
At 1.6kg, not longer than an Africola bottle, Ajibike was born, on the 23rd of September.