Episode 31 (Last Episode).
The doctor came in quickly and discovered Biola’s blood pressure was high. The doctor worked to treat her high blood pressure first with the medication Procardia. Yet it remained high hours after she had given birth.
When Biola complained of pain in her body, my mom alerted the doctor again.
They asked me to wait outside because only one person could stay with her and the babies. The doctor said she needed to be given morphine and magnesium sulfate to further treat her blood pressure in hopes of bringing it down. As he was administering each of these drugs, the bill was increasing. Yet there was no positive effect. Her blood pressure dropped, and so did her temperature. She was given more magnesium sulfate.
Hours later, the doctor confirmed she was hypotensive because of her now low blood pressure. She became drowsy and lethargic. She wasn’t eliminating waste from her body through her urine, which is the only way to remove magnesium from the body.
At around 8 pm, Biola breastfed the babies before she was given Ativan, an anxiety medication. She was brought out and seated at a corner where she was given. She merely glanced briefly at me.
Throughout the night, Biola passed a large blood clot, her sodium levels were down, and her magnesium levels were up. She remained drowsy with no blood pressure and a low body temperature.
At around 4:20 am, one of the midwives gave her more magnesium sulfate. Her sodium level continued to drop. And the side effect of low sodium is brain swelling that results in brain death.
At 6: 15 am, the doctor broke the ugly news, “I’m sorry ma, we lost her,” he said after checking her out that morning. Mom had been by her side throughout the night without knowing she was long gone. I was outside when I overheard my mom’s voice.
“We did what?” mom screamed.
“We tried our best. We did what we could do. It’s so sad she died. I’m so sorry ma.” Said the doctor.
Words can’t explain how my whole body felt when he said this. I rushed in to meet Biola’s lifeless body on the bed. Sorrow overshadowed me. Tears flowed. I couldn’t breathe. I had to hold myself against the wall. And as I fell to the ground, there was nobody to pick me up. The one person who could have done that was my mom but she was yelling bitterly. My mom was crying uncontrollably as she stamped her feet on the ground and shed tears nonstop. I got more heartbroken seeing her in that state. I spent around 40 minutes beside Biola holding her hand while I cried and begged her to wake up. “God, I know we have done gloriously bad things but allow her to live,” I cried.
Her last words to me were, “Are they, boy and girl?” She was referring to the twins, and I replied in the positive. She then smiled. And my last word to her was, “Please stay strong.” But Biola never left the hospital alive. She never opened her eyes again!
“They killed Biola,” mom cried. Tears were rolling down her cheeks. I was dumbfounded. I wished someone could wake me up and tell me I had been dreaming. I felt my body shivering and it seemed my heart paused. My mom reached for her phone and called my father. He was speechless and confused when he got the news.
Why did God allow this to happen? I cried and cried till red eyes. My mom couldn’t console me because she was so weak. She had yelled and screamed at the midwives for being so careless in their duty. There was nothing she didn’t say to them out of annoyance. It was sad to believe that Biola didn’t make it after a safe delivery.
Biola’s brother, Gbenga came as soon as he was told. He couldn’t hold his tears when he saw Biola’s lifeless body. He embraced me as we both cried in each other’s arms.
Later that day, Biola’s body was deposited at the hospital’s mortuary after they reached an agreement with my mom. The doctor suggested we register the twins to the nearest motherless baby care which I rejected initially. But mom said that was the best for now till they get to a certain age, then we would come back for them. It had to be one of my worst moments in many years.
It was two days before I could face returning to Aunty Bose’s apartment. When we did, I opened the front door and burst into tears. Everything was still there, as we had left them. Everywhere I looked, there was Biola, her nightie, her clothes, her shoes, the baby wears. I could not bear to look.
My mom had to arrange all her possessions in a big bag. She was crying as she did. Aunty Bose was consoling her. I wished somebody would wake me up and tell me I had been dreaming. Damn! For days I was unable to eat and sleep— and I lost noticeable weight too.
At night, all I could think about was Biola. Sleep was impossible. Every night, I take two sleeping pills but still, I remain awake into the small hours, my heart racing and my mind revisiting scenes I wished I could forget.
The nights were bad, and the days were no better; each morning I take a couple of sleeping pills along with two antidepressants, trying to sleep the day away. When sleep refuses to descend, I pick up my books to read but nothing was assimilating. I was so scared my exams would be affected and it was fast approaching. I see Biola whenever I close my eyes. I see her smiling at me. I see her telling me not to worry, I see her telling me to take care of the babies. My mental health at this period was a total mess.
Life truly is unfair and it was hard to believe everything happens for a reason. Like, what reason did Biola die for? Why not allow her live and let the baby go? I found myself questioning God and I was beginning to doubt if truly He exists. Or maybe this turned out to be the punishment for all we have done? How about the innocent children? Do they deserve to be motherless? Does Biola deserve to die?
Somehow I was filled with guilt for sending Biola to a mission she couldn’t overcome. I remember she cried over the phone when she realized she was going to birth twins.
The beautiful life I had imagined with Biola and the twins was taken away. I could barely do anything because I had post-traumatic stress disorder. Life felt miserable. I couldn’t deal with the emotional stress that I faced. I had suicidal thoughts. I thought of ending it all.
Queen’s hospital admitted that Biola died of a ruptured womb that triggered cardiac arrest and major organ failure, received unacceptable standards of care, and admitted liability. Two midwives were suspended pending inquiries. But if only it would bring back my Biola. She was gone and not any of these things would bring her back.
They say time is the best healer, but I think it’s the worst healer. Every day I miss Biola: I missed the moment we shared. It was hard to let go. It was hard to move on. Her birthday came, I missed her. My belief in God went low. I don’t ever want to believe anything since He couldn’t spare Biola’s life despite all the time my father prayed. Was I really the worst sinner or was Biola? I have seen bad people do really bad things, but still, they had children and prospered. Why does this have to have happened to Biola and I? Our babies had to feed on another woman’s breast or perhaps on ordinary milk! I know it sounds horrible but I just feel so angry. I wanted to move on but it seemed like mission impossible.
A week later, I went back to school. My mom returned to Ondo while Biola’s body was lying in state. Daniel and Danielle were in the care of Dorcas Adunola O. Motherless Babies’ home. Yes, they were named the exact name Biola had suggested.
My grief cruelly took away my ability to concentrate on books, movies, or even any little conversation with my roommates.
In my solitary confinement, I went on her Facebook account, went through her timeline, and read random comments from her in the comment section. I re-read our WhatsApp conversation and old texts. I tried to find notebook with her handwriting, hoping maybe she left a note for me somewhere. I just needed one piece of her but Biola was gone and gone forever.
Life seemed like I was permanently wearing sunglasses, never the same brightness it was before. Everything I had wanted in life lost the brightness. My big dreams suddenly seem like stupid ideas. But my friends and coursemates seemed to be experts in saying, “you’ll be okay after about a week or two.”
After the exam, I tried to push through and be okay. I really did. But grief would slip out of me and I would find myself hysterically crying in the middle of the night.
When I got back to Ondo, I still felt like I should be okay, at least for my siblings and my parents. I didn’t want them to feel I was falling apart and would unlikely achieve my dreams. So I held a lot of my sadness inside. Each time I remember Daniel and Danielle, I find myself grieving all over again. How long would they stay there before getting to know who their father is?
Two Months later, her funeral was held in her father’s hometown— a rural area in Ibadan. Biola was a Catholic, and it was supposed her body stays in the mortuary until funeral arrangements were met.
Family, relatives, friends, and acquaintances visited and mourned with us and Biola’s family. All our family traveled from Ondo to Ibadan for the funeral rites. The funeral was so surreal. I was emotionally guarded. It was the first funeral I had ever cried in front of people that weren’t my parents or sisters. It was liberating, in a way.
The funeral itself went…well? Maybe that’s not the right word to use. Lots of people showed up—so many people came and the house got filled. Biola’s coursemates were also in their number, all the way from Lagos, Kemi inclusive.
One thing the funeral reminded me of was the first time I met Biola which was during her late brother’s (Aunty Bose’s husband) funeral.
Fast forwarding, I got back to the University of Ibadan months later for a new session. (200L) I was still petrified of waking up in the morning and forgetting that Biola was no more and having to remember all over again. So I got in the habit of saying in my head every morning as soon as I woke up, “Biola is dead.” It might seem weird but it was really helpful at the time.
Meanwhile, from time to time, I visited Dorcas Adunola O. Motherless Babies Home. My mom too was always there to drop off provisions and clothes.
It’s been a year and months since I lost Biola. When I say the word, “I lost Biola,” they don’t seem right, because a lost shoe can be found again. This isn’t just a missing shoe. This is a huge hole in my heart that will never go away.
As of the time of writing this story, I’m currently a graduate of the University of Ibadan. Well, I didn’t make the first class as I had wanted, but the second class upper isn’t a bad one.
You’d want to ask about Seun? Well, Seun wasn’t the type of friend I wanted, so it was easier to get rid of her contact when it became obvious she only wanted what she would gain from me and nothing more.
Daniel and Danielle have left the motherless babies home to Ondo. My mom had been doing great to take care of them while I’m out here hustling to better my life and equally contribute to their upbringing. You know the story of a typical Naija graduate, it’s a thing of “So Help Me God”
I’m equally thankful to AFAS Press for shaping my writing life. Aside from being a graduate, writing is also a side hustle that has made a difference in my life.
I’m also hopeful that someday, I’d find someone who would be as good as Biola and help me feel complete. Until then, I want to stay focused and get my life together.
Biola’s demise really taught me enough, and one of them is, “In life, anything is possible. I mean anything is damn possible.”
So, every day of my life, I hope for the best but always expect the worst.
This is the end of my story. I remain Femi, the pastor’s son.
_ The End_
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