What am I doing here?
I asked myself as Chika screamed and twisted my arm along with hers.
Seriously, I was just cooking instant noodles for her eight hours ago, how did we end up like this?

“Breathe in, breathe out,” I’d forgotten how many times I’d said that.
I wasn’t even sure if she could still hear me. Maybe the chant is for myself.
I tried not to look at the blood on the floor.
Or on the sheets.
Her legs.

“You’re doing fine, Chika,” the midwives said, but their eyes were just staring at the monitor.
Filling some digital forms on the computer.
For them, it’s just another day at work.

They were pushing again for the probe to be entered to the baby’s head.

Can’t we try a different CTG monitor instead?
How long do we have before she has to push?
Can’t we do an assessment now?

I tried to hold it off because Chika said no to the probe, when she was still herself.

They shrugged.
“Every woman is different, but monitoring the baby’s heartbeat during contraction is very important,” they repeated, like a robot reciting a page from their training manual.

Bullshit, you just want to collect data, because Chika chose not to use epidural and that’s a rare case for the hospital, I thought to myself.
You’re just treating her as a statistic.

Chika screamed again, this time her legs trembled.

I put my other hand on the CTG belt.
As they mentioned, the heartbeat was not showing up during contractions.
Another housewife walked in with the probe, I felt defeated.

They then told me they were also planning to insert a catheter into her bladder to drain the urine out.
Also, for the probe to work, the tens machine – Chika’s only pain management tool, had to be switched off.

“Chika,” I whimpered, “you need to try to go to the toilet, please.”

All I could do was to try and reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ that’s getting inside of my wife.

She nodded, and with all the wires connected to her to the oxytocin machine, the midwives helped her limp slowly towards the toilet.

Chika called for me to continue holding her hand and I did.

Another contraction came.
She screamed so hard, that at that moment, I knew life could no longer go back to how it used to be.

She couldn’t go, Chika groaned, there’s something there.

The midwife took a look, paused, and said ‘ because the baby’s head is in the way!’

“So we’re doing it here?” I asked.

“Yes, get the matt, quick,” she yelled to the junior midwife, and I ran to grab a pillow.

Chika knelt on the floor, head on the edge of the bathtub.

Breathe in, breathe out.

And then a small cry echoed through the toilet.

They put the baby in Chika’s arm.

My wife started wailing.

I could no longer hold my tears and the three of us, covered in blood, sweat and tears, in the toilet of a hospital, cried like we’d never cried before.

The strongest person in the world, is my wife.
She is my hero, my idol, my role model.