Like Ailsa, I went to the health centre on Friday. Every week, at Koribondo, they hold an Antenatal Clinic and women from the surrounding villages walk into town to attend.
Luckily, I was able to get a lift in this morning and arrived early; just before 9am. The next woman to arrive told me that she’s also overdue: her belly is so much bigger than mine! Still, it was only at six months I really started to show.
It was a long wait at the health centre. The Maternal/Child Health (MCH) Aid doesn’t do the Health Talk until a good number of women have shown up – so, past 10 o’clock. Only after this do we then sign-in and get called for our check-ups.
I told the MCH Aid about my contractions though – how the pain comes for about an hour at a time before cooling off – and she said it sounds like the first stages of labour. So before the Talk she took me into the health centre’s only delivery room and checked my blood pressure, put a metal cone to my bump to listen for the baby’s heartbeat and, finally, did a vaginal examination. She said everything is fine and that I could deliver anytime.
But I know this is just the start: when I am in real labour, my legs feel all cold and its painful all around my pelvis.
… now, days later, and still no delivery!
People tell me that exercise will help, so on Saturday I did my usual three-mile-round walk to Koribondo market to buy what I need for cooking this week: salt, chillies, stock cubes, dried fish. My aunt and some of my brothers – eight of my 11 siblings live in my village – walked with me, and we caught up on family news and going-ons.
I had asked a girl from the village to come early and sell the palm oil I’ve made so, first off, I had to find her and get my money before I could buy anything. The market’s busy – perhaps because it’s the second-to-last one before Christmas – and I try to stay on the outskirts. My lappa (skirt/wrap of material) keeps falling from my waist because of my bump, even without trying to push through crowds!
On the way home, there was a woman sat at the front of her house holding a small, small baby. I asked if I could hold the little one in the hope it encourages mine to come soon.
The pain has been continuing to come and go all weekend, sometimes more severely than others. The exercise actually makes it worse – and it’s hot! But I wanted to go to church on Sunday morning, so I walked the mile-and-a-half track into Koribondo again. It was good to go: during the service everyone said prayers for me and the baby, which I’m really thankful for.
Sometimes, when I’m in the last stages of labour, I ask one of my brothers to go and buy me ginger ale as it makes my stomach hot and hurries things along. But I’m not at that stage yet!
As time goes on, and after what happened the last time I was overdue, I’m getting more and more worried for my baby.
Mamie is sharing her story with Amy Waddell in Sierra Leone
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