By Seun Olatunde
Elizabeth hails from Osi in Ondo State, Nigeria. She had her primary and secondary education from same community before proceeding to learn hairdressing.
Her lack of exposure to modern society contributed to her present ordeal but the deed had already been done.
At 21, she had completed her study of hairdressing and got married to Kayode, her boyfriend since class 2.
The duo dated a while and along the line she got pregnant while in class five (that’s SS2 now). They quickly resolved to terminate the pregnancy and with the help of some of their friends, were able to locate a Doctor who did the abortion. It was successful, so it seemed then.
After the termination of pregnancy, they both went into a covenant never to leave each other (blood covenant in the traditional way).
Elizabeth completed her training and Kayode had also gotten a job with a company that just came to town. They felt comfortable enough and decided it was time to settle down.
Both parents were glad their long term friendship had turned into a proper union and the wedding was celebrated in a big way.
It didn’t take long for Elizabeth to get pregnant after marriage and she was grateful to God for that. Suddenly things started taking an unexpected turn.
She had the baby 8 months into the pregnancy, a month premature. Mother and child were transferred to the state hospital where her baby was placed in an incubator, he was so small.
After a month, they were discharged from the state hospital but the baby was still below 3kg.
She nursed and nurtured him and thank God he was growing but not as much as children of his age. He fell ill often and they were regulars at the hospital, always there for one ailment or the other.
When the baby eventually clocked 2, he fell ill again, this time around, stronger than it used to be. By this time Elizabeth was pregnant again.
She was referred to a specialist hospital where the baby was diagnosed of the sickle cell anaemia.
Husband and wife queried the Doctor to understand perfectly what he was trying to say. He explained everything to them in details.
The question was asked of what could be done to save the child and what to do to avoid future recurrence. The Doctor’s suggestion was scary as well as offensive to the parents. ‘There is a medical center in Lagos State where the baby in your womb can be tested’, the Doctor explained. ‘They’d carry out the test to determine the genotype of your foetus, if the baby is discovered to be carrying the sickle Cell gene, you can terminate the pregnancy right away’. Doctor concluded.
Both husband and wife were shocked as well as confused at the details of the pains their child is going through as a sickle cell patient. All of these simply because she and Kayode did not know their genotypes before getting married.
The matter was taken to the parents who vehemently kicked against an abortion saying ‘A ko mo omo to maa se’ meaning ‘You never can tell which of your children will be there for you’.
They proceeded to the medical centre in Lagos where the couple was told to pay a total sum of 120,000 Naira for the test. If eventually the test is done and the foetus was discovered to be suffering from the anaemia, Doctor’s advice is for them to terminate the pregnancy.
“Are we still going to terminate the pregnancy after spending so much money?” is the question they’re both asking.
Meanwhile, the possibility of separation between the couple is slim cause of the oath they both swore to never leave each other, the blood covenant.
Please know your status before getting intimate.