Growing up as a kid, I knew there was something unusual about my birth because of what almost everyone often told me. Mom would sometimes uncover her belly to show me the mark that operation left her, and tell me how I almost ‘killed’ her through my birth. She normally did that whenever I was being rebellious at home, and I was deeply pained anytime she did that. So I had to always try to put on my best of behaviors so as to avoid any further taunts of that sort from mom.
I never really understood all what that meant at the time, and how possible it was even to get to the extent of me, almost killing my mom. But I believed I was very innocent by that accusation and always found means to brush it aside. Anytime I tried to find answers to this mind striking issue, what I was told was almost always the same: “Instead of coming with your head, you rather came with your leg!” Really? How? So that’s how this whole issue came about?
“I came with my leg, and thus mom had to be operated on. That’s why she has that mark on her belly and always taunts me with it anytime I’m being stubborn.” So this was my conclusion about the whole issue.
But it was after so many years that I got to understand what ‘coming with your leg’ really meant. We were taught ‘reproduction’ and how sometimes childbirth can get complicated in one of our General Science lessons in school. And readily, I knew my case was definitely one of those complications our teacher talked about. But I still wanted to know the details of how mine happened, and my mom was the obvious source for this story.
So that storytelling day finally arrived: the eve of my 25th birthday. I cheekily asked my mom if she remembered my birthday, and unsurprisingly, she had no idea. I sat close to her in her bedroom, where I asked her to tell me how my ‘coming with your leg’ thing all happened, and I could see my dear seventy-year-old mom grumbling with words by what I had asked her. She had to do a twenty-five-year-old throwback, and that was no easy thing for her to do. So yes, it was now my turn to ‘taunt her some’.
But moments later, my late dad (may his soul rest in peace) joined us in the room. And there was immediately a sigh of relief from my mom, who quickly pointed to my dad and said in her affluent Fante: “Bisa wo papa!” So I turned to my dad, sat directly opposite to him, and he didn’t disappoint my ears as he told me all that I had wanted to know. It was an emotional session that left me emotionally drained, and according to him, this was how it all happened some years ago:
Mom started experiencing pains from labour one late Sunday afternoon after church. She was taken to a nearby maternity clinic the following day as the pains exacerbated. But it was almost evening on that Monday, and there were no signs of a baby coming. So on the advice of the midwife in charge, mom was transferred to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital that evening.
But it was same the following day at KATH; still, no imminent sign of any incoming baby. So in the evening of that Tuesday around 7pm, one of the midwives at post did a little inspection on mom and suggested she’s taken to the theatre for an imminent surgery. She had been in labour for two days and still, no baby! That was very unusual, and thus became a worry to the health personnel at post that evening.
Soon, everything was set and ready for the surgery, and mom’s tenth born was to be delivered through a Caesarian section; her first time throughout her ten child deliveries. In less than an hour, everything was done and cries of a new born baby were all over the place.
Mom had a very big belly during this pregnancy, but the baby was the smallest in terms of size compared to her other children soon after their deliveries. Doctors said there was excessive fluid in the womb, and were utterly amazed as to how the baby could have survived nine months in there.
There was a complication after the surgery though. Mom bled profusely after the surgery, and there was nothing they did that could stop the bleeding. So now all she needed was to be placed on a blood transfusion, and it was very urgent. But sadly, there was not a single pint of blood in the blood bank at the time.
Dad had been around all that while, and was instructed by the doctors to get blood donors as soon as he could so that they could perform a second surgery. It was past midnight, and where was he possibly going to get these donors? Time was running out, and mom was dying. Dad dashed out of the hospital, not knowing where he was headed to. He finally found his way back home and was in the company of four people on his return to the hospital. They donated some blood, and mom was placed on a blood transfusion soon after.
The second surgery was underway. Meanwhile, dad found a hiding place just beneath the surgical room where he prayed. He prayed and sung songs of praises, and was so much absorbed in the spirit that he hardly heard or saw anything happening around him. But upon a gentle tap on his shoulder, he was back to his senses; and it was one of the nurses on duty. The second surgery was done, and the doctors needed to see him. Mom had not stopped bleeding, and needed this drug which they believed would help cease the bleeding. It was past 1am, but dad needed to get this drug for them by any possible means.
Dad was on the move again, and headed to the dispensary of the Polyclinic at KATH. He was branded by the person in charge of the dispensary, who was readying for home as the luckiest person in the world because there was only one blister of that drug left. He paid for it, and hurriedly left with the drug to the surgical ward. The drug was administered to mom, and the bleeding finally ceased moments later. Mom was taken to a special ward afterwards, and there she lied unconscious in her bed awaiting her fate. The doctors had done their part, and told dad as they left, that there was hope of her surviving if they returned the following morning to find her alive.
It was 6am, on Wednesday morning, and the doctors had already arrived to check on mom. They were astounded to see mom already conscious in her bed upon their arrival. They greeted her, “Auntie Jane, praise the Lord”. And they were more amazed with the manner and strength with which she responded, “Hallelujah”.
This was their second ‘testing case’ as they termed it, and it was successful; their first was not successful. This was now the ‘talk in town’ as many had feared the worst. Most people who heard something about this case wanted to see this mother and baby, who had survived this case and had their story being talked about all over.
After the surgery, mom was supposed to be on admission for at least twenty-eight days under strict supervision. But she only spent six of those days on admission as she had quickly recovered within that short while, and was deemed fit to be discharged.
Today, the natural author of this story and the one who completes our triangle is no more, but his legacies will forever linger. Mom and I will forever be indebted to him; he saved our lives!
In memory of my late father, Elder George Sey.