My blood was pounding in my ears and my heart was thumping like African drums at one of those traditional ceremonies
in West Africa. It was so loud I could not even think and guess what; I was not even the one in trouble. Seeing her like that made me froze and I was so scared my feet even tingled underneath.
“Oh my God!”
I said out loud. This was not supposed to be happening. This was every single woman’s worst nightmare. To lose a child is the scariest thing ever and yes the child was yet to be born but that bond is already created. I don’t think that people fully understand what the bond between a mother and a child is when a person miscarries. They underestimate the fact that you love the baby from the moment it is conceived and you know it’s there. For the first time since I was told I was pregnant myself I touched my tummy in that way. I had ignored it because I did not what to think of it but now seeing this I realized something,
“This could be you!”
That little voice said out loud to me loudly in my head.
“Lungi do something!”
She said crying out in panic snapping me out of my state. I was panicking too. I don’t think I had ever seen so much blood on one person as I did now. It was so much and although I am not scared of blood right now I felt terrified of it.
“I am calling an ambulance right now!”
I told her as I frantically tried to dial. Tell you what, never bother with the 10111 one if you have a life or death emergency. It does not work. I called reception and asked for an ambulance. The lady who helped me, Belinda was her name immediately came upstairs to help me whilst we waited for the ambulance.
“I can’t lose the baby; I can’t lose my baby Lungi! Please help me; please help me I can’t lose my baby! It’s too soon!”
She cried to me and the way my heart broken hearing my beautiful carefree friend say that to me. It hurt so much this feeling of being powerless.
“Its ok I am here Miriam you will be fine, the baby will be fine, everything will be fine!”
I said to her in my attempt to comfort her.
“Where is that ambulance?”
I asked Belinda who went to the hotel phone.
“It’s like I am having the worst stomach cramps ever, like I am have had the worst case of food poisoning!”
Miriam was babbling, she was explaining to me what she was experiencing. That was what I had seen on TV when someone is like this you get them talking to make them not think about the pain but I don’t think this was helping. She was talking about pain like that which meant that she was really suffering.
“Listen to my voice Miriam. Focus on me, you are not going to lose the baby, you are just going into early labour that’s all and that’s fine the baby will survive don’t worry…”
I reassured her but she screamed at me,
“I don’t want to go into early labour! I don’t want to! I want a healthy mature baby!”
She told me. The bleeding was not stopping and if anything her screams made it clear that neither was the pain. Even though it was obvious enough what was going on I still had hope and so did she.
“Must I give you painkillers? I have Myprodol in my bag and other assortment of painkillers!”
I offered her in vein. She was in so much pain and I could not bear to see her like that!
“No lady don’t give her painkillers!”
Belinda warned me when she. Got back for the phone.
We literally both asked at the same time Miriam and me.
“My mother is a nurse, painkillers are a blood thinner and if she is losing blood like this the last thing she needs is that!”
She warned us. I did not know that. I thought of calling Ezile at that moment but changed my mind because Belinda went on to say,
“The ambulance is downstairs, the paramedics should be here and second from now!”
The good thing about being in the suburbs is that the hospitals are close by so the ambulance was there in no time.
“She is having a miscarriage!”
I told the paramedic as he rushed into the room.
“What’s her name?”
He asked me as Miriam could not speak for herself as she was crying in pain.
I told him. It was so amazing how this guy got to work. They wrapped her up and put her on the gurney.
“Do you have medical aid?”
He asked her.
“Are you serious? How could you even ask that at a time like this?”
I asked him as it sounded somewhat insensitive.
“Maam I am just doing my job. If we take her. To the private hospital here and she does not have a medical aid we will be forced to take her somewhere else therefore wasting time. We need to take her where they will help her immediately!”
He explained. Ok that made so much sense.
“I have it, it’s in my bag Lungi!”
She said. I was so grateful that she was on Discovery because there are very few hospitals if any that don’t recognize it. Put mildly in the world of Medical Aids if they were cars Discovery will be the Ferrari of them all. There is little they don’t cover.
“She is on Discovery!”
I told him.
He said to the driver. From the hotel it was literally two minutes away. Just like the hotel it was separated from the mall by just the road and in front of the garage.
“We could have walked here?”
I asked Belinda surprised that we had actually waited for an ambulance when the place was this close.
“Not with a sick person we could not!”
She told me. She had escorted me but had to go back to the hotel as she was working reception. I was grateful she had come though because she had been such a help.
“I will update you when I get back!”
I told her. Alone at the hospital I realized that I had blood on me. The nurses helped me clean up but I still needed a change of clothes.
“You can’t help her here it’s now on us, please go change at the very least!”
One of the nurses asked me. I found myself walking back to the hotel alone. I took the route the ambulance had taken and even though it was so late there were people still about. The Newscafe was open and when I walked past it I could see people pointing at me. The blood stains were obvious but no one dared approach me.
“Ah you back so soon?”
Belinda asked me when I entered.
“Yeah, had to come and change!”
I told her. It was not the only thing I needed to do, there were others of course. I needed to call Bongani but I realized that I did not have his number. Miriam had left her phone in all that panic but when I went for it the phone was password protected meaning that I could not get in. The next option was to call her mother but because of the lateness of the hour her phone was off. My last option needed me to buy airtime,
I said wearily.
“Wow this is a surprise!”
He said cheerfully.
I said to him.
He said. He was still up and from the background noise he was still watching TV.
“Sorry to call you so late!”
“Its ok, is everything ok?”
He asked me.
“No its not. Please I need Bongani’s number it’s an emergency. I am in Durban with Miriam and something has happened. It’s an extreme emergency!”
I told him. I wanted to scream at this guy for the way he had disappeared but now was not the time.
He said. I could hear him press the buttons on his phone as he looked for his friend’s number.
“Here it is…”
He said as he gave it to me. I quickly wrote it down.
I said and I think he was about to say something because I heard something as I cut him off. He had judged me badly the last time I saw him so there was no way I was giving him a chance again.
I dialled Bongani. His phone rang all the way to way to voicemail.
I dialled again.
“Pick up! Pick up!”
I pleaded tapping my foot on the floor.
A groggy voice said.
I said as soon as he said that.
“Yes who is this?”
He asked. I realized that he did not have my number either but why would he have saved it in any case.
I told him.
“Yes Lungile, I tried calling Miriam earlier on where is she?”
He asked me.
“Something has happened Bongani…”
“What do you mean something has happened? Where is she? Is she ok?”
He asked. His tone was different now and he was fully awake. I could even hear him sit up as he said that.
“I just took Miriam to hospital!”
I told him.
“Is she having the baby now? It’s too early that will be a miscarriage!”
He said concerned.
“No its worse! She is having a miscarriage! I think you should come!”
I advised him immediately. It was pointless beating around the bush; he had to be here with his wife.
“God Lord no! What happened?”
He asked me. I was not going to tell him that she went partying with her baby daddy now was I.
“That’s not important? She is very sick and she needs you!”
I told him.
“You are scaring me Lungi you really are. I am coming!”
He said to me and there was no doubt that indeed I had scared him because his voice totally said it. How else do you deliver bad news though? I hated it and I hated being me right now! I had come to the hotel to change and we did not even have clothes to put on. I called Belinda again and told her my predicament.
“I can only offer you one of the hotel t-shirts.”
She told me and I guess that had to do. I was wearing pants in any case. The t-shirt was lime in colour written Aha Group. I look like dessert but I did not really care. I walked back to the hospital feeling a bit more refreshed. It was a warm Durban night so I did not need a jacket thank heavens. When I got to the hospital they made me wait at reception as they were not sure which side Miriam had been taken as she might have needed surgery. An hour later the nurse who had helped me came down.
“Do you have any news for me?”
I asked her. She had actually come down to look for my details on the forms we had filled in.
“Let me get the doctor for you!”
The nurse said to me. Why was she not looking me in the eye though? Had something happened? My heart was beating so fast.
“You are the one that come with Miriam right?”
The doctor asked me the obvious question. His face was glum and it betrayed so much.
“Yes Dr. I am the one! Please how is she and how is the baby?”
I asked him.
“Your sister lost a lot of blood. I am afraid it’s not good news!”
He said as he sat me down.
I said in my head.
Don’t say it!
Don’t you dare say it?
The tears on my face!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
As far as praises go there are times I tell myself that you probably are the best writer I have ever read. You consistency and ability to hold our attention is second to none. Well done Mr. Maphoto for what you have achieved here.
My story: I was dating the same guy for 4 years. He was really good to me and we had a beautiful relationship. Six months ago he was killed in a car accident coming from work. I was 6 months pregnant at the time and we had already started lobola negotiations. A date had been set and the parents communicated to. He came from a very wealthy family and has one sibling who is gay and a problem child. Regardless when we were dating his parents were always suspicious of my intentions as wealthy people are often paranoid. The mother did not like me and never hid that fact. When he passed away the family turned around and apologized to me. They wanted to compensate for their lost child with mine. I don’t mind the love they have for my son but the problem is they are obsessed with my son so much so that if I have to go anywhere with him they freak out. They have so many rules on what I can do with my child and it’s scary. Rich people don’t listen to anyone and my parents have tried to intervene but they will not stop. I am scared of them to the point where I want to cut off all ties with them until they learn to act right but I would not even know where to start. I still live in our apartment, the one his parents bought for him. My parents have said I can move back home but my fear is what will this do for my son and his paternal grandparents relationship? I don’t want a spoilt child no matter what; I have seen how these kids are. My parents are strict and disciplined whereas my in laws spoil and pamper.
What can I do in this situation?