A MIRACLE THAT ATTRACTED EMPATHY
The crowd of worshippers fell silent as Sis. Ijeoma Eze walked to the testifier’s stage, slowed by her frequent tendency to cuddle the baby whom she had had some three months ago.
Sis. Eze gripped the microphone and began testifying. “I want to appreciate God for the new baby added to my family,” she stuttered nervously in English, her second language. “I have had several deliveries but none was as seamless as this current one; This current delivery was different in an important and miraculous way.”
The church hall whooped with the cheers and razzmatazz of jubilating congregation, who gave a loud ovation to the testimony.
The testifier had come, along with her family and some relatives, friends and well-wishers, to the State Headquarters of The Lord’s Chosen Church in Dutse with a singular intention: To dedicate her baby to the Lord just as Christ Jesus was under the priesthood of Simon. Joy Chimamanda, her baby, is three-months-old and there couldn’t be any better timing.
Her manner was steady and reassuring. “What seemed impossible with man has been smoothly performed by God”, she would continue, making only a vague allusion to the matter at hand before detailing her story.
About a year ago, the doctor had advised Sis. Eze not to conceive again as a means of survival. Her two previous deliveries were punctuated with endless hemorrhages. “The condition was so much bad so that my blood would have to be scooped into a bucket,” she said, adding that the situation has caused a great deal of pain on her. “Apart from the emotional pains associated with seeing myself in the pool of blood, the blood loss often come with aches and general body weakness.”
Experts worry this sharpening gulf, if attenuated, could complicate efforts to preserve the life of the mother and baby. They called for an outright stoppage in procreation, therefore. As an alternative, the doctor advised that the couple observe a minimum of five-year ‘reproduction holiday’ after which the could continue bearing children. The couple accepted the counsel, but an unexpected would happen later.
Many months after that, says Sis. Eze, it became obvious that pregnancy has set in again amid missed menstrual cycle, as well as growing cases of dizziness, headaches, fatigue, nausea and mood swings. At this point, she became nervous. She had chronic fear for the future; and to terminate the pregnancy was not an option.
She, then, decided not to attend antenatal cares so as to hide from the hospital workers who are already aware of her serial complications during child delivery. She vividly recalls a time, during her previous pregnancy, when she wiretapped the nurses discussing her condition in a rather ridiculous manner. “I was like: if these health personnel could mouth my situation in that manner, what would be the case should they notice that I am pregnant against their counsel?” She pointed out.
As the pregnancy grew by each passing day, she could not hid it anymore– not from the physicians and nurses who also live in her neighborhood– and tongues began to wag.
Critics had accused the couple of carelessness and under-seriousness in handling issues as sacrosanct as life and death while others have hauled them up for reneging in the doctors report. Worse still, the fears and uncertainty which she had had in previous deliveries continued unabated, potentially complicating her woes.
On a dry afternoon in the spring of 2018, Sis. Ijeoma Eze was relaxing at home. When house chores called and reverberated through her home, she decided to dash out her front door to take up the domestic responsibility, only to be choked by an abdominal pain, which came along with a pre-menstrual feeling and cramps. She also experienced painful contractions and tightenings. How hard she tried to remedy the conditions, it persisted still.
She was not surprised by these feelings. In her thirty-ninth week of pregnancy, these characteristics should not be unexpected.
She took a deep breath as she scanned the ceiling. A sulfuric odor penetrated her senses. She told herself to shake off the terror of parturition, to mute the cacophony of fear, the dread of falling back on the mercy of doctors and nurses who had not only warned her against taking in but had even made the situation ridiculous. Then, armed with a Chosen apron, she took the next available transport to the hospital. Her objective is clear: to deliver a baby!
And so she thrust herself into the rubble, at the epicenter of unpredictable eventuality, risking her life for the perfect will of God– the kind that would not resonate with the health workers as wisdom.
Eventually, she came out victorious. With the prayers of the State Pastor whom she had invited over, and the supplications of the brethren in the background, the cry of the baby crescendoed.
Sis. Eze sensed happiness across the Theatre. Soon, was the deafening cry of baby Joy. She peacefully accepted she might be meeting her end. Miraculously, she opened her eyes to realize she was more or less unscathed. This left the hospital staffers to green in utter amazement.
They, then, acknowledged that the benevolent arms of Jehovah shielded her from the impending death, undoubtedly keeping her hale and hearty, and her baby: kicking. They utilized that avenue to extend invitation to the Chosen brethren requesting that they also pray for other patients.
Sis. Eze felt a thrill of a heroin when she left the hospital complex with her new born headed to her home; after being made a subject of caricature, she was later celebrated.
Growing up, baby Joy was brimming with energy and vigour. Her life took on a happy outlook, and she became a darling of her family and strangers alike.
Throughout the months she lived, her parents never had any reason to worry about the threats of illness.
They did later.
“Some weeks ago, I took Joy to the hospital to be immunized,” Sis. Eze said. “The exercise went seamlessly with injection given to her. Few days later, I observed a swelling at the injection site. It all started like a boil but kept on growing by every passing day.”
The swelling was not alone. It came with pains and acne. Though the baby could not speak out her plight, her inconsolable moaning and wailing tells it all. “Could it be that the immunization was wrongly carried out?” Sis. Eze would often ask rhetorically. “No, not at all. After all, I have always contracted the services of a particular nurse throughout the times I immunized my children,” she said, while consoling herself.
The doctor prescribed antibiotics, and the mechanical way of massaging the affected left lap with ice block; and that they did with no palpable healing. Instead, the condition kept worsening. After exhausting several medical options, it dawned on the parents that remedy could only be gotten via spiritual means.
Once again, they reached out to the State Pastor, who prayed and gave a three-day (or thereabout) ultimatum for the baby to regain her health. Expectedly, the baby received her healing even before the expiration of the ultimatum.
Baby Joy has now gone back to her cheerful mood, without any form of swelling on the lap, no pains, no acne, no nothing.
Submitted by Chosen Online Media correspondence Jigawa State