BREAKING THE SPELL When a phone rings, you answer. When I answered a call from my sister on that Saturday afternoon, I did so jovially. She hadn’t called in a while. Was it because she was seven months pregnant? I pondered. I was happy that she had finally broken the silence. My gaiety did not last. ‘’I am in hospital.’’ She said. ‘’What? Why?’’ I asked. ‘’I woke up at 5am this morning with a throbbing headache. I rose to leave my bed and two large clots fell from between my legs.’’ She was talking amidst spasms. ‘’I was rushed to hospital. On arrival, the doc said my blood pressure was high and when they checked for my baby’s heartbeat, it was weak.’’

‘’The doctors have set me on forced labour. They say the child will be born premature but fine.’’ A glint of hope. I said a soft ‘’Ok’’.

A doctor friend confirmed my fears- the seven month foetus may die.

I slept with a heavy heart and early Sunday morning I set off for the hospital, six hours away. She was in pain, but managed a weak smile- I was the last person she expected to see.

All our lives, we have cared for one another but physical closeness is something we shy away from. How far could I stay when she needed me right there...massaging her back...mumbling words of encouragement? Her pain became my pain. In all these, now that I recount, we never held hands.

After 24 hours of excruciating pain, the doctors confirmed it-the baby was no more. They couldn’t tell her and they opted to operate on her. She smiled. She was finally going to have her baby.

The nurse brought back a bundle wrapped in green-lifeless. A bundle of pain.

When she came to, she asked for me. ‘’Have you seen my baby?’’. ‘’The nurses say the baby is in the nursery ‘’, was all I could say.

Someone had to tell her the truth. I was waiting for the head doctor by the hospital entrance when he walked in the following day. ‘’Speak to my sister’’, I beseeched.

I waited one minute...two minutes...then I walked back to the recovery room. She broke into tears. She was too frail to wail. ‘’Did you know all along that my baby had died?’’ She asked. I couldn’t hold it. I held her hand. I asked God for strength. God could carry this burden. It was too heavy for us to bear. We were inconsolable. We buried baby Emmanuel at a cemetery. My sister was too weak to attend. I took photos. That’s all she has left, and a deep wound that only time can heal.

As I left her bedside, I held her hand, kissed her goodbye and she smiled.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to My Story: Holding Hands.

Comment on this Post


Being there for someone that you truly care for usually means that you inherit some of the pain that they are feeling. What a horrible feeling to have but your sister truly was blessed to have you. Without inheriting some of her pain she would have carried it all by herself, which would have made her much weaker than she already was. Giving her that much strength shows you in the light of not being only a sister but a friend and a source of hope. She lost her baby, the worst and most tragic loss anyone could suffer, but she gained a new meaning of what a sister and friend is. She is truly blessed to have you in her life and you must feel the same way about her in your life. Though a deeply sad story, you have brought beauty and a sense of understanding and love to this tragic event.

Carripence, I appreciate your insightful view of this article. I did not know what impact it would have or how others would see it. I really appreciate your views. This article was therapeutic for me. As i wrote, i felt stone after stone of anguish fall off my shoulders and i was relieved thereafter. My sister and i have become closer because of what we experienced and even though we are far apart now, she knows i share her pain and i am most privileged to have her as a sister. Thank you.

I feel so sad for the loss of your friend and for other women who lose their babies at birth. To wait 9 months in anticipation, imagining your sweet baby, eating proper foods for its strength and growth, preparing your home with the baby's needs... and then enduring the pain of labor, to leave the hospital empty handed without the life you grew inside you for so long. Devastating.

But it's through friendship and love that your friend can recover and bear the moments of life without her new baby. Sometimes the truth is the most difficult thing to say, but hearing those words from you I'm sure meant a lot to her.

Thank you for sharing this story.

In friendship, Jade