Women generally are familiar with body heat, it’s in our genetic makeup- hormones and the like, I guess. And when we get pregnant that heat intensifies; it’s almost as if there’ll be an implosion.
I remember when I was pregnant, years back, I would bathe like four or five times daily and never bother to dry with towel; many times, I would sprinkle water on my bed before lying on it…that usually happened on days power supply failed and my generator couldn’t propel the fan to blow hard enough.
Minutes after my bath, I’d be pouring sweat from every pore and orifice right from my scalp down to…so, I stopped wearing undies many times *tongue out*, I would go solo…my bras often threatened to choke me, the one under nko? Wahala, so I saved myself some sweat; once I donned on my shimmy then my maternity gown, no one was any wiser, na go bi dat, people assumed my sloppy dressing was because the pregnancy was doing me one kind and indeed it was.
Now, it was on one of those very hot days, that I found myself attending ante-natal clinic at the general hospital and as usual, I was dressed just in my shimmy and one of my long and ugly maternity gowns.
But it turned out I wasn’t the only one suffering from the heat, there were several of us – legs astride, fanning between their legs. There was this particularly pretty woman who had a peculiar funk, (pregnancy also sharpens your sensory organs; you smell things from miles away)
I couldn’t place my finger on it; stale sweat and dirty pits? Unwashed undies? It was a combination of odours. I had to stop myself nosing for the pungent odour. I didn’t judge her quickly or harshly, I figured, perhaps being pregnant made her react badly to roll on, scented soap etc… I simply eeeeeased a wee bit off to avoid the full blast of her genuine odour. Maybe she’s the type that throws up at the smell of soap, so she’s decided not to wash…hummn.
My pregnancy was the irritating type, the type that makes you nauseous so you spit like a viper every two seconds and puke every time you ingest anything. I had a jar for my spittle and wasn’t keen on filling it too quickly, so I kept mum and observed with irritation for long hours while we waited for the doctors.
Once the doctors graced us with their presence, the process zipped fast – you hear your name called, rush into the waiting room where three or four doctors have their tables by the corners of the room, find the doctor who has your file, sit in front of him and say ‘fine’ to every question he fires at you. Get up after he scribbles something in your file; your next appointment is in two months…depending on your EDD (Expected Delivery date).
It’s a government hospital where one doctor attends to about 150 or more of us…in one room, which meant that if you had to strip, (if being the operative word back then) just in case there was something the doctor needed to see, it would be in the full view of some other 4 to five people, fellow patients and other doctors in the room; if you had questions, swallow it until you meet your private doctor.
My turn came, I went in with my foul smelling friend and two others. I located my doctor and was prepared with the usual, ‘fine’ to this, ‘fine’ to that. I knew I was just there to ‘mark register.’ Before then, except a woman had high BP or something really life threatening, doctors didn’t have much time to chit-chat.
But that day, a new Medical Director was around. The doctors were friendlier, they probed, they wanted to see our skin, our bellies, they wanted to hear our complaints…Unbelievable!
Thankfully, my foul smelling friend’s doctor asked her to climb the gurney first because he wanted to ‘observe’ her pregnancy.
She laid on the gurney but refused to remove her clothes!
Huh! I didn’t realise we would get to that point.
She stood her ground, or should I say, sat her ground…she was sitting on the gurney.
After much persuasion from other doctors and fellow sympathetic preggies, she still refused. I was glad she didn’t; not for her sake but for mine. My doctor was distracted, so was everyone around, particularly the medical personnel around.
The woman had committed an atrocity. She refused to heed a doctor’s command! And this was no blushing bride. But hers was the spectacle that saved my face that day.
I had no undies on. Imagine being asked to remove my clothes and gbam! I’ll be as naked as the day under the pile of ugly maternity gown, no bra, no paeint, except this flimsy shymie!
I began to sweat!
The nurses were foul mouthed, the doctors were kid doctors. Is this how I will disgrace all the people from my town?
While the commotion was raging, the doctors threatened to boycott her case should she ever be brought to the hospital for an emergency. That was the cue she needed.
Off came the smelly maternity gown, then we beheld the dirtiest, bra, underwear and panties in the history of woman kind!
No wonder! That smellllll!
I sweated some more, while everyone snickered at the smelly woman, I was more concerned about my own impending shame.
Thankfully and I would always be grateful to this woman, her odour sent all the doctors scampering …(these kid doctors!)
I took my cue, held my doctor down, told him I was as fit as a fiddle, got him to quickly scribble another appointment for me and I bolted with the rest. Of course not without stopping to thank the woman. She saved my life!
I vowed to never leave my house without my undies, lailai faabada!
Read more from Peju
My sister, let me tell you about my miracle – Peju Akande