1,826 Days of Love.

Dear Light,

Today, July 27, 2021, is 1,826 days since your dad and I have known/been together. (Fives years.)

I’ve told Star the story over and over again, but I think this will be the first time I’ll be giving you any stories about I and dad’s love life. I pray more than anything, you’ll join us at a time when our love is even stronger, but most importantly, you’ll learn most, if not all that you need to know about love from us. From your dad. I have no doubt he’ll be your template on how to live as a man, if you’re male. And also, the perfect example you’ll refer to when choosing a partner, if you’re female.

I never in a million years thought I’d end up with a man like your dad. It may sound like a broken record, but it is true.

For the most part, our relationship has worked. Our walk with each other has continued to grow.

Your dad has looked out for me more than I’ve looked out for myself. He loses sleep so I can sleep soundly. He could have zero Naira in his account so I could have Naira in mine. He prays for me more than I pray for myself.

He figuratively and even literally holds my hand through decisions that will make me a better person for not only myself but for you, Light.

We’re not perfect, we have our issues. Our (read that as “my”) communication needs help. We have areas that are grey, but God continues to shine light on those issues. We’re still growing. we’ve cried together. We’ve really cried, but God has given us so many reasons to smile and laughter together. he continues to do so. We’ll always be thankful.

I couldn’t have asked and prayed for another partner. Almost 2,000 days of fairytale.

Here’s to many more days, Beautiful Man.

Due Date: June 16.

Dear Star,

How’s heaven like?

Like I said before, I’m not sure you’d be in the choir because neither your father and I can sing. Perhaps you’re in heaven’s comedy club. I can only guess with the hopes that you got your father’s sense of humor and a little of my own dry humor or attempts at it.

Today, June 16, is your official due date. Here we are, you’re in Jesus’ arms tucked safely. Lucky Girl!



Since you came and left, I’ve had some times when I go into the what ifs, should haves and could haves, but in all, I thank God.
I have mostly good days, but then, some days aren’t so good. Guess what though, we still get strength from God to make it through each day. To God be the glory.

You must be a chilling babe, seriously. This world is cruel, God reserved you solely for him. I’m not jealous though. Praise him the more on our – mine and your dad’s – behalf. Keep chilling.

I’m pretty sure God is going to send your sibling to us pretty soon. Don’t hesitate to be a part of the panel that’ll select your sibling.
Here are some of things you could bring up in the panel: Ask God to send down a sibling who’ll love God no matter what and live for His glory. I’ve said this over and over again, neither your father and I can sing, so please, put in a word for a singer as a sibling. Daddy will love it. Seeing as you’re female, I secretly wish for a girl, but I feel that may be me wanting to replace you. You can’t be replaced, we’ll be happy with either a girl or a boy, we just would like the baby to be healthy and be a happy baby. Picture this: mommy and daddy laughing and smiling a lot because of your sibling? Wouldn’t that be fun? Hook us up. We’ll love a happy baby who is kind to others. The world could do with more kind people.

There’s so much I can write to you about, but I’d rather keep it short. Who knows, your dad may write a letter soon detailing his account of all that has happened. He’s not much of a writer, but it won’t hurt to try, right?

Keep chilling with Jesus, Star.

2021 Bride Price.

Dear Nigerian Husband,

I trust this letter meets you well.

Your family has been nothing but amazing, loving, accommodating and welcoming. Should I sneeze, there’ll be one or two of them waiting to ask if all is well. They don’t let me lift a finger when I visit. In my father’s house, they make me wash plates and do chores, your family members don’t put me through such torture.

They value me, and I value them.

With that said, anything you value, you’re willing to pay for. It’s been three years since you people came to my father’s compound telling my father and his kinsmen you’ve seen a beautiful flower you’ll like to transplant in your garden. What a lovely and small but quick meet that was.

You people did raise a fine gentleman! Not sure there’s any other as fine, upstanding and kind as he is. Thank you.

Thing is, you guys are due to come renew your interest in this flower, which if I can say myself, has bloomed beautifully in your garden but has also added to the beauty of it.

Your subscription is a lifetime one that’ll need regular top-ups.

On behalf of my father and his kinsmen, I’m here to remind you of said top-up, which was in the fine print/ unsaid but common knowledge of the agreement your kinsmen and mine entered into on December 3, 2018.

Good thing, we are kind and simple people and because of your kindness and benevolence towards me, the top up this year won’t be too high.

Three cows, of which you guys have herds and herds of, will do for now. So kind of us.

I look forward to receiving this modest payment in the shortest possible time.

Miyetti!

Poetry and Light.

Not sure how I got about the name Star, but I referred to my daughter as Star long before she was conceived and eventually born.

Like a star twinkles and is often gone in a flash Star came and was gone in a flash but yet subtly impactful. I hate going through what if’s in my mind, so I won’t ponder much on if my decision to call her Star caused her to live up to the name – gone in a flash.

I love poetry, it has been a part of me for a while. I’ve had a serious poetry draught. I’m ready for poetry to return especially since I’m emotionally clogged at the moment.

I want poetry to return so much so, I think I’ll like to start letters to Poetry like I did with Star.

I’m ready to have poetry back but nothing will make me happier than having baby Poetry or maybe Light – I’m in need of a lot of light and clarity at the moment – or both start his/her/their journey here.

1 Horse Power Air-conditioner.

Dear God,

It’s been a little over two months since I birthed Star and she’s gone on to be with you. As much as I’d have loved it if we got to experience her a bit, I know for sure you’re happy having her among your angels.

God, this letter is about air-conditioner. I know, what’s the relationship between Star and AC. Let me explain.

Before Star was born, the Nigerian Husband began making plans of what he’ll like to have in place by the time she arrives. Air-conditioner in our bedroom was one. Needless to say, as much as I’ll love to have one installed for the bedroom – Lagos is hot – I’d have loved it more if his dream of having his child comfortable came to reality.

This was a couple of weeks before Star briefly graced us with her presence.

See, God, often, women are the focus of attention when a couple lose a child. There are support groups, people even go out of their way to tell husbands to take care of the women, be there for them and all that. Now, that’s great, women need support, but, Lord, men, unfortunately, are often forgotten.

I was in labour for more than 48 hours. Through those painfully long hours, the Nigerian Husband was supportive. If there was a way to transfer that physical pain, I’m sure he’d have carried the pain. The helplessness he felt was palpable especially in the final few hours of labour.

He’s one strong guy and I’m so sorry he’s had to deal with the loss of his child. I saw him sob before I got into active labour. Immediately I pushed out your angel, he didn’t care what anyone thought of him at that time, he was strong enough to acknowledge his emotions and vulnerability, he sobbed and sobbed.

Dancing In The Waves by Bethel Music played in the background when I was being delivered of the placenta. That song will forever be a reminder of our loss, but importantly, it will remind us of how wonderful God is even through our pain. On the flip side, in the earlier days of losing Star, the Nigerian Husband cried in the car each time that song came on.

Father, really, I wish there was more open support for fathers who’ve lost their babies. They suffer just as much as the mothers.

All said, I’m ready for the Nigerian Husband to start dreaming of things he’ll want to have in place for the child we know you’ve blessed us with. I want him to think about having his 1 horse power air conditioner in the bedroom again. I’ll love to see him show me baby videos on Instagram again.

God, in faith, I thank you for restoring that dream but above all, please continue to heal his heart.

Vou.

Navigating Life After Miscarriage.

No one ever plans or foresees themselves having a miscarriage and for sure, no one can ever fully tell you how it feels to have one. You’ll read of how people feel and how they lived life after the fact, yet that doesn’t do it.

Here’s my own account of how the past few weeks have been.

When I pushed Star out, I didn’t cry immediately, I spent time praising God and even consoling my husband and niece who were with me in the room. Not a single tear was shed by me. I was empty, yet didn’t fully grasp what had happened and what that would really mean going forward.

Like most traumatic events that’ve happen to me in the past, I can really say I had a delayed response to the loss.

After the nurses cleaned me up, I continued playing my worship songs, started having regular conversations with those around and still was in an emotional state to eat my dinner that had been waiting since the peak of labour.

One nurse was worried. She kept coming to my room asking if I was okay. She was worried I was going crazy. Which mother won’t be crying after such a loss, she thought. At that time, I really was fine, I had no tears to offload, I was blank. I told her I was fine and she didn’t need to worry.

I went to sleep and slept as comfortable as the IV needles in my hand could allow.

The emotions only came in the morning when I went to have a shower.

Wearing a pad wasn’t something I thought I’d be doing for months to come. But there I was, staring at jumbo pads the hospital had initially provided. The “baby” bump was still there but there was no baby.

As Forever by Bethel Music played, the tears came rolling down, I lost it totally when the thoughts of my daughter laying alone in some strange cemetery hit me.

I’ve cried so many times since then.

But no one ever prepares you for the feeling you’ll have when you get home without a baby. As we approached the Estate, I cried and cried some more when we entered the compound. I wasn’t bringing home Star in a car seat. I left home a few days prior with her safe in me, but there I was returning without her and my heart feeling as empty as ever. I sat in the car for a while crying before I could muster the courage to get inside the house.

No one ever tells you you’ll cry randomly at night.

No one ever prepares you for the feeling of guilt that’ll hit you. The what if’s, could I haves, if onlys, come knocking hard.

Depending on how far along you were, your breasts may have started preparing for the baby. I was just at the six months mark, so my breasts were getting engaged already. A day after returning home, my breasts started leaking. It broke the remaining pieces of my heart. I felt wasteful and guilty. “She should have been here taking all this milk.”

There’s no manual to read on how to manage your feelings when you meet friends who are pregnant. You’re happy for them quite alright, however, your emotions could betray you.

Yes, things may/could get better with time but not a day will pass by without reminders of the little angel you’ve lost. You just learn to live with a hole in your heart.

I want to/need to get back to venting my feeling again. Since we lost Star, I’ve gotten better at opening up to the Nigerian Husband. Apart from God, we’ve leaned on each other, cried before each other and joked more too.

I’ll need an entire post to share how supportive the Nigerian Husband has been while grieving himself. I can’t say this enough, God created the best guy ever and handed him to me as a husband.

For posterity, I need to get back to penning down my feelings now so I’ll have more reasons to give thanks and glory to God in the future.

Vou.

Heaven Gained An Angel.

Dear God,

I can’t in all honesty say I was super excited when on October 11, 2020 I got to know the Nigerian Husband and I were going to be parents. My emotions were all over the place. I was afraid, I was happy, I was thankful, I felt adequate and inadequate about parenthood all at the same time.

As days turned to weeks and my emotions got to settle down, I began to adjust to the impending reality of being a mother.

This was Star’s pillow. She rested on this while she grew in my uterus. Sleep time was made comfortable each time this pillow cradled my growing uterus.

Truly God, as challenging as much of the journey was, I enjoyed some of it and I’m very grateful you granted me the opportunity to have hosted one of heaven’s precious angels. The Nigerian Husband too got to feel the kicks, he got to carry the pregnancy in his mind too. It was beautiful to see him grow into it, to hear the plans he had for the baby. (By the way, please continue to imprint on his mind the idea of having air conditioning in his room. And may the funds be available for us to have that in place. Thank you.)

God, we’re really grateful.

February 19 – 21, 2021, taught me two things: everything should be done for God’s glory and secondly, we can do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING out of our strength.

As the contractions got heavier, I drew strength from God. There was no way I could have done what I did out of my own human strength. It had to have been God.

As I pushed out one of your angels, God, I’m sure I used your strength. (By the way, thank you for the opportunity to have experienced labor. As a result of the myomectomy I had in August, I was advised to opt for a Caesarean section rather than labor whenever birth time came. Thank you for allowing me and my uterus make it out of labor alive.)

All must be for your glory. As painful as it was to know our little bundle of joy wasn’t going to grow up with us, I prayed that the experience would bring glory to your name, that the experience would make someone get to know you, that someone would get to know that indeed, through all things and seasons we must give thanks. And by the way, shame on the devil, he thought this was a curve ball to cause us to derail us from worshiping God. Na lie, we go still praise our God. We cannot bite the hand that feeds us.

Dear God, I’m human, please forgive me at times when I may get emotional like I did when I had my first shower and a few other times between then and when we came home.

The thought of knowing the physical body of our little long neck-long legs-head full of hair little girl lays in a cemetery alone in a strange land breaks my heart and makes me cry. But God, I know she’s right there in your host of angels.

Father, whenever you see her, please give her extra hugs and kisses. By the way, I’m sure she’ll make a good member of heaven’s humor/goofy angels club. She sure must have gotten that from her father.

Neither her father and I can sing, so I’m not so sure she’ll make the choir, but may she praise you nonetheless.

I never got to hold her in my arms, but I held her in me for a little under six months. Here are some of the things she liked while I had the opportunity to host her; she loved olives, she was into spicy foods at the beginning, but soon hated it. She also enjoyed gote her grandmother made when we visited Jos. She craved quesadillas – too bad I never got to make it for her, but I’m sure the quesadillas in heaven are the bomb.

Dear God, it’s going to be a long road ahead, but we’ll continue to count on you to make this road easier to ply.

Thank you for this opportunity. We’re really thankful for family and friends you’ve placed in our lives. The outpour of love has been incredible.

“Star” Ahmed Usman – February 21, 2021.

Quesadilla Made Me Do It.

Star,

You’re 21 weeks and some days today. Your kicks are becoming more apparent. Finding comfortable sleeping positions is a more of a challenge.

In the first trimester, I didn’t have much cravings apart from that one time I made your cousin Racheal and aunty Successa walk with me all over Omole Estate in search of Pringles.

I thought that would be the extent of weird things I’d do as a result of pregnancy hormones. Child, I was wrong.

This was hours before my village people caught up with me.

See, a few days ago, maybe a week or more even, I began craving pizza followed by olives and now it’s quesadilla. Your amazing father who was away for a wedding quickly sent some funds for me to go splash on pizza.

The craving for quesadilla, however, has continued. It peaked today in the most embarrassing way you could ever think of. We went visiting Big Uncle Ugo and Big Aunty Nsini and being so nice, they kept bombarding me with questions of what I’ll like to eat and options too. Cake? No. Rice? No. Garri? No. Pizza, chicken? No. I only wanted quesadilla. The more options I was presented with, the intense the want for quesadilla got.

I was overwhelmed and before I could take all in, I started crying. Like, serious sob tears flowing like rain kinda sob.

Star, everyone there gathered around me consoling me as though I had just lost everything I’ve ever held dear. They were so gracious to blame my breakdown to pregnancy hormones.

I couldn’t believe myself. I couldn’t believe me too will be among women who had crazy unexplained food episodes.

Pregnancy is weird or should I say my village people were out to get me today and they got me real good.

Before we left, I had a few slices of pizza as pieces of chicken wings. By the time we left, the craving for quesadilla had almost died down. I think it’s all the cheese making me go crazy.

I pray for better experiences to come.

Keep growing well and strong,

Love, mom.

Long Neck, Long Legs.

Disclaimer: Another unpublished post.

Dear Star,

You’re officially 18 weeks in my womb today. So much has happened since we found out you’re joining us: serious nausea, I’ve only thrown up once though. I went to Jos for Christmas to see your grandparents, cousins, aunties and uncles. Everyone was fine.

At 18 weeks, apparently, your ears are developed and your likely to start hearing my voice and movements in my body. Sounds exciting but I’m a bit nervous. I don’t know what I’ll be talking to you about yet. What if someone sees me talking to you, sure they’ll think I’m mad or something. Star, I hope this comes easy for two of us.

Your father wakes up almost each time I turn a sleep position. “Are you okay?” He always asks. I think this means his fatherly instincts are kicking in. He touches he morning and I suspect he’s praying when he does that. And randomly during the day, he interacts with you. Are you able to discern his touch yet?

During a visit to the doctors here in Lagos, we tried to see if you’re a boy or a girl! you pranksters, you wouldn’t move a bit so we’ll see what you are. Your dad thinks you’re a boy – and even calls you Hercules – and so do most aunties and uncles. Only myself, your cousin Racheal and cousin Arhyel think you’re a girl. Honestly, I don’t mind what you are, I just want you healthy.

Will you show us if you’re a boy or a girl during the next ultrasound? Well love to know.

Turned out, She was a girl.

“It’s For The Baby.”

Disclaimer: Another old unpublished post.

Dear Star,
It’s been a few weeks since we found out you’re going to be joining us soon.

We’re just over the first trimester. Tomorrow, we’re set to visit the doctor. Hopefully at this visit, we will get to see that you’ve grown bigger – maybe some hands, legs, I don’t know.

I’m just happy to be finally getting my energy back. The first few weeks weren’t so nice; I was constantly tired, my sense of smell was off the charts, I didn’t eat well and my cravings were all over the place. But things are getting better.

I’ve always heard pregnant women say things like “it’s for the baby,” and things along those line.
Yesterday, I used my first pregnancy pass.

We were at a retreat and lunch was taking so long to come by. At some point, it was decided that children can go ahead and be served and parents with children could take their children outside to get lunch.
Guess who followed? Yes, Star, you’re right! Mama went there.
Thankfully, an aunty who knows of your journey was there to tell the servers that indeed, I’m a parent with a child, they just can’t see the child at the moment.

I got our serving of jollof, sat on one side and devoured the entire plate. I come clean mouth comot.

It’s for the baby and I look forward to using more of my pregnant woman passes.

Salad.

Disclaimer: This is an old story I never published. The ending could be good or bad depending on however you wish to see it.

Dear Star,
It’s October 12 today and it’s Aunty Kangyang’s birthday. Yesterday, October 11, was an eventful day for Nigeria – after several days of protests by the nation’s youth, the Inspector General of Police announced that SARS, a notorious police unit, has been disbanded but that doesn’t really deal with the issues we’re protesting.

Star, I hope by the time you’re grown, and if you’re in Nigeria, SARS won’t be an issue anymore. My generation hopes it can give you a Nigeria to be proud of.

I digress.

Star, your father travelled to Kaduna last week to handle grandma’s business. While he was gone I slept very little at night and tried to catch up during the day. I had body aches and abdominal cramps.
Apparently it was all for a reason. Yesterday, a few hours before your father was to return, I had a hunch to take a pregnancy test. I really just needed to take it for my sanity. “I mean, I’m not pregnant or anything, it’s just my mind playing games on me,” I thought.
Earlier in the week I had taken a rapid pregnancy test and it read negative. The test yesterday was just to calm my mind.
I peed, dipped the stick and instead of walking away to continue cooking my jollof rice, I sat there staring at the stick. It really wasn’t going to turn into two lines. Single line was the norm. But all of a sudden yesterday, there was a faint second line.
Nope, definitely had to be my mind. That was a phantom line.

I managed to get my self together and also managed to stop my legs from giving way while I finished the jollof rice and grilled turkey. I immediately headed out to the pharmacy in the estate to get a more advanced test kit.
They were out of advanced test kits.
I resolved to going to the hospital in the estate to get a blood test.

After almost 45 minutes, it turns out that, indeed, Star, you’ve started your physical journey to us – your dad and me.

It took so much out of me to not text your dad or call him to tell him the news.
When he came home, as he settled down, we spoke about friends who were pregnant and some who had given birth. Little did he know he was about to hear of his impending fatherhood.
Earlier while I made jollof, I also made salad all while thinking of ways to tell your father the news. As I plated our salad, I remembered we have a tiny bowl that almost matches our salad bowls. I quickly plated yours too.
So as your dad and I sat for dinner, yours was also there, but underneath your bowl was the blood test result.

Your father was happy.
It’s not totally set in for us, but I’m sure as time goes by, the reality of your coming will set in.
I hope you enjoy your salad bowl.

Why I Write.

This is sort of a big disclaimer.

I started this blog mostly as a way of documenting my experiences then as a single journalist living far away from home in paradise, I mean, Virgin Islands. I wanted to an outlet to let out my crazy, A place I can someday look at at read about what life was like in previously years. I get to do that now and laugh at some of the things I’ve written.

This photo was taken during a trip to Guyana- South America. I was quite the baby girl then. I mean, I’m still a baby girl.

Secondly, I tried humor as a way of making me laugh first. As a result, many have come to laugh as well. The world needs more reasons to laugh. If my ramblings are one of such reasons, glory to God.

However, it then metamorphosed into documenting the journey of meeting my husband and then to letters to my unborn children, most recently to Star.

When I write about feel-food things, I invite you to feel good along with me. When I write about the not so happy moments, I see it as therapy on myself and if that inspires someone to see life differently, it’s a plus. But my not-so-good stories are never meant to beg for sympathy. Instead, they’re meant to show the different seasons of life- the sad and the happy moments.

I’ve had some experiences I haven’t shared on the blog. And I’ll post them all, of course for record keeping sake and then for my unborn children to read more about what my life was like before then.

Enjoy, laugh and cry if you must and I pray life’s happy moments outweighs the down moments for you.

Vou.