ESCAPE FROM THE BOTTOMLESS PIT – Episode 6

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Asalam’alykum everyone, I’m sorry for skipping last week’s update and also updating this week’s late. It was due to my exams so I had to concentrate on my studies but I’m now through and In’shaa’Allah I’m promising such won’t repeats itself. I pray Allah increase us in eeman!… Also about ‘how will I cope?’ We will still have to watch out! Alhamdulillah we are progressing…

Feeling an extreme heat, I rushed out of the bed. Everywhere is dark because the IBEDC has not been giving us electricity since a week now. Our generator has also been faulty since three days, even if it isn’t, there is no way it can still be working by this time, this should be midnight I guess, we have to take precautions.
Staggering around the dark room to find my phone, I don’t think I know exactly where I left it yesterday night. All I can remember was how I’ve slept on the floor to avoid sweltering; my room’s floor was replaced with the new ceramic tiles yesterday by my brother’s friend, Abu Hanifa, trying Lukman’s number maybe It could luckily go through. I don’t even remember sleeping on the bed, did someone transfer me?… I abruptly bump my new wardrobe on which I hit my head, I fall to sit,
“Ou…uch!” I exclaimed in pain.
The baby moved in my stomach while I feel an ache below my stomach towards the vagina. I count the months with my fingers,
“Subhanallah! I’m almost due, my scheduled delivery date remains exactly a week today.”
I find my phone and straighten my leg to relax my pelvis, recline, trying to support with my hand. But I feel unease, I straighten my back again but still don’t feel at ease. I switch on my phone flashlight as I stand and start pacing the room. I later sit on the bed but still don’t feel comfortable. I don’t want to wake Ummy, she has been so tired from her journey. This is how I’ve been feeling these days, I don’t usually get myself and the doctor said it’s normal as the delivery day is near. I check on the time, it is almost 4 a.m. If I should wake my brother, he will repeat the same words he always say,
“If Allah wakes you in the middle of the night and you are unable to return to sleep, then you should know you haven’t obey His command because He has waken you to worship Him not to stare up at the ceiling. Therefore, take your kettle and perform ablution, pray tahjud even if it is two rakats and supplicate to Him, then try to sleep after…”
Hot air flowing in, I’m feeling more uncomfortable. I firstly have to shower, then perform ablution and pray. I returned into my bed and supplicate,
“A’uudhu bikalimaati llahi tthaammati min gadobihi wa’iqaabihi, washarri ‘baadihi, wamin hamazaati sshayaatiini waAn yahduruun”

Meaning; “I take refuge in the perfect words of Allah from His anger and punishment, and from the evil of His servants and from the madness and appearance of devil”
If I don’t know any other dua, this dua upon experiencing fear, unrest and the like during sleep has been part of me ever since I lost my two siblings. Till a year after their death, I did dream of them and always woke up in fear. My brother and I had to keep it secret from Ummy because we didn’t want to worsen her condition. That was when brother Abdullah enquired this dua from his ustaaz and taught me. What used to dread me most was that, before they died, I’ve dreamt of their death. Being a little girl, life was so scary.
Lying on my right side, sleep finally find me.

A girl crying before me, she is the girl I saw in my dream last time. Am I dreaming again? This time, I must make sure I console her, so I’m determined. Reaching my hands out to her again, I find her difficult to reach. Trying even harder and at the very last minute, I finally reach her. I draw her closer and fondle her. She stops crying immediately. She releases herself from the hug and looks up at me, a broad smile appears on her face. I smile back at her,
“Why have you been crying? Are you afraid Ummuki will hurt you?…”
I keep asking her different questions but she keeps smiling and doesn’t answer me…
“Gba…gba…gba…gba!” hearing a bang on the door, “Asalam’alykum Mar’yam, asolat” my brother calls out.
“Already?” I slowly get up, feeling heavier than before.
I perform ablution and pray my fajr solat in my room. During my adhkars, I start dozing nodingly. I lay down and rest at the musalah till I unknowingly fall into a slumber and thence into a fast asleep.

Back in my dream again, the little girl extends her hands to me this time and I carry her. I feel a kind of attachment, a kind of affection, a kind of love, could she really be my daughter?
“You haven’t told me why you were crying”
She tries to speak but can’t, she try harder but can’t, it is as if words get stuck in her throat. I become worried,
“Talk to me dear…”

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“Mar’yam, Mar’yam” Ummy taps me on my lap.
I open my eyes, “what says the time Ummy? I haven’t cooked”
“Don’t worry, your brother has done that. He said not to disturb you because you looked tired. How are you doing?”
“I’m not fine Ummy, I haven’t been fine since last week and today seems worst.”
“That is the way it is for every pregnant woman, you are now also becoming a mother. You have to keep enduring, your time is almost due”
“But Ummy, doesn’t the time given by the hospital contradicts the actual time?”
“It does even in most cases but I don’t think yours will be before the given date, it should be after, if it isn’t on the day because non of my children comes before the scheduled day. I used to count the complete nine months even more than that.”
“But I’m having this same dream again, the one I told you I had at the hospital”
“Did you do what I taught you to usually do?…”
I interrupt, “I didn’t do it because I thought it was a good dream this time except the one I had now before you woke me”
“Joseph the dreamer, don’t tell me your bad dream. Do what I taught you to do now”
I spit at my left side and seek refuge from shaytan three times.
“I’m already on my way to shop. When you need money, you know where to take it. Also, I don’t take along my cellphone because the battery is flat completely. In case they bring light, help me to charge it”
“OK ma, there will be much sales today In’shaa’Allah biqudratillah” I pray as I watch her leave my room.
I get up and go into the kitchen. Here is yam and egg cooked by brother Abdullah. I check on my phone, it is 10a.m. The time has really gone fast. Brother Abdullah must have gone to work,
“Ohhhh! I want to thank him for yesterday. He has been so much a sweet brother” I stamp my feet on the ground.
I serve myself and recline on a couch in the sitting room, I eat to my content.
Dozing off again, a knock sounding at the door.
“Who is it again?” I frailly exclaim, feeling perturbed.
I sluggishly walk towards the door to ask who it is.
“It’s Lukman’s mother” she replies.
Thinking of which Lukman it is, I open the door. Alas! It really is Lukman’s mother standing before me. She is carrying a plastic bowl, probably coming from or heading to somewhere. I invite her in and offer to bring her a glass of water but she declines. I sit on a couch opposite to her and watch her as she is surveying our sitting room with her eyes. She asked if I’m the only one at home and I reply her that I am. I don’t know why she is here, I don’t know what to say to her so I keep quiet and watch her.
She finally clears her throat, “how have you been?”
“Alhamdulillah”
“Hope you aren’t upset that I’ve not been able to check up on you at all? It isn’t my fault, I’ve just been busy and I just got to know your place today. Even I was coming from somewhere and after I leave here, I still have places to stop by. I’m sorry I…”
I interrupt, “you don’t have to ma, I’m doing fine on my own”
“I’m happy to hear that, I think you supposed to be due this month if I’m not wrong in my calculation”
I’m surprised she is counting months for me, but does that mean she cares? I don’t think so because if she cares, she won’t let her son run away from his responsibility.
I nod in response.
“So, have you registered to an hospital for your delivery?”
“Yes ma, we have an hospital our family use.”
“Which hospital is that?”
“God saves hospital, along that makanju area”
“Ah!” She exclaims, “isn’t it a private hospital, won’t it be expensive?”
Why exclaim? “I don’t know but all I know is that our family use only that hospital”
“But can’t you come with me to our mission house, the midwives there are professional even than most doctors because at the hospital, they resort to operation when there is any complication but there, everyone I’ve known that delivered there are always safe”
“If I may ask ma, which mission house?”
“You know that big C.A.C on our street? It’s their mission house”
Confused, “but that is a church”
“Yes, it doesn’t matter! What matter most here is your safe delivery”
Now I’m totally confused, has Lukman’s mother converted to a Christian?
“I…I can’t ma, Ummy and my brother will never allow that plus I’m a Muslimah and I understand my religion. Going there is unislamic”
“OK ooo, if you say so but we are serving the same God as them. I don’t see anything wrong in going there even the girl you saw in my house delivered hers there and I do go there sometimes to pray”
“Subhanallah” I slightly shake my head, not wanting her to notice. Her Islam has become something else, no wonder his son is like that. I can’t believe I fell in love with her son. “I can’t ooo”
“I’m not forcing you… Hope you have bought your baby needs?”
“Yes ma, I bought it some months ago”
“Can I take a look?”
I’m happy to hear she wants to take a look. No other person has seen what I’ve bought for my baby except Abu Anifah. I’ve been urging Idayah to come and visit me since last time she came but she still hasn’t. I just need someone to commend my family’s effort. I lead her to my room and I can see “wow! This is lovely” written on her face as she enters. I open a part of my new wardrobe where I arranged all the baby’s clothes and other stuffs.
“Did your mother bought you all these?”
“Yes, and my brother”
“All these are of good qualities, they must be expensive.” She says, touching every item her hand is able to lay on, “they have really tried o. I was thinking of buying you some before but I don’t think I need to do that anymore”
I don’t believe what she just said, sounds to me like the words on the tongue.
“Has Lukman called you?” She asks
This question strikes me right on my heart, I’ve wanted to ask her such question but I was holding it in. I shake my head in denial, I don’t want to talk because if I do, I might say a wrong word.
“But I told him to call you when he called me yesterday. I don’t know what you were, to each other but at least you are carrying his baby. He shouldn’t ignore you just like that”
So he does contact her and she told Ummy last time that she didn’t know where he is. Now I clearly know I’ve been nothing to him than his used and dump toy! I hold back my tear that is about to roll down my cheek while I close the wardrobe and head out of my room, she follows me out. Now I want her out of my sight because I don’t want her to see my pain. Neither her nor her son worth to see me cry. What a cruel human beings!
She picks up her bowl, “don’t worry, I will make him call you. Maybe you can both sort things out. You are a good girl. I didn’t know you come from a noble home unlike that girl… Anyway, I will check up on you again tomorrow.”
Why again? “I won’t be home tomorrow, I will be at Ummy’s shop”
“Your mother already told me where her shop is, I will check up on you there”
I feel like behaving rudely to her but I caution myself, “you don’t have to ma”
I open the door and she leaves after insisting to check up on me. After she left, I sob quietly thinking of what could have become of me if Ummy should send me there to live with her. My life won’t have been the same. Ummy and my brother are really giving me chance to make amendment of my mistake and I will never dissapoint them In’shaa’Allah.

The evening comes, around 6:00pm. No one has arrived. I pace around the house impatiently as I’m feeling uneasy. Thinking I should go to the hospital so I try Ummy’s and brother Abdullah’s number but both are switched off then I remember Ummy dropped her phone at home and brother Abdullah probably haven’t charged his phone. I sit on a bench outside our house anticipating my brother’s arrival since Ummy won’t be home early today because she has a lot to sell. People passing by our house greet and pray for me as they pass, it’s as if the baby will come today. Feeling a cramp below my stomach again, I return into the house. I try to sit on the couch but my back feel an unbearable pain so I sit on the floor, spreading my leg widely, I feel a bit comfortable. I pick my phone again and dial my brother’s number but still switched off.
“But Ummy said it isn’t time yet. Why all this pain I’m feeling?” I murmur.
Trying to lie down, I notice my cloth has become wet. I smell my cloth to check if it is urine but how could I urinate on my body without knowing. Then I notice another discharge of water from my womb.
“Yeeeeeeee! This is strange o, what is happening to me?” I cry aloud dreading in fear as I check my dress. “Who am I going to call now? And my brother has ordered me not to go out anymore starting from evening. What am I going to do?”
I remember Idayah, so I dial her number.
Before I could talk, she says “hello friend, I was even intending to call you but I was very busy with my baby here”
“Which baby…?”
She interrupts, “my new boyfriend of course!”
“But you said you aren’t over Abiodun yet and…”
“See my friend, the only way to get over a guy is to get under another one. I can’t kill myself, I’ve got my own life to live and enjoy”
I stay mute, not knowing what next to say to her. What a wrong analysis! Rewinding the quote in my head, I pity her. Last time she came here crying, she was like “I won’t date anymore, I just want to get married!” And now, she is back to her old self. Even though I still don’t understand why dating is haram in Islam, I still think there are some circumstances that should make someone give dating up for his or her own betterment.
I hang up the call, forgotten why I even called her… My back starts aching me again, now I remember I’m in pain, I’ve been distracted. My dress is soaked, I don’t understand what is happening but I’m convinced it’s time. I try to stand up from my sit but I feel heavy and ache all over my body. Who am I going to call? I try harder and stand on my feet, supporting my back with my hands as I dragg myself into my room to change my dress. While dressing, I hear someone opening the door.
“Alhamdulillah someone has finally arrived”
I put on a small dress and wear the long qimaar my brother bought me. Languidly, I manage reaching the sitting room. My brother storms out of his room and about to pass me by when I quickly hold him.
“I think I’m about to die!” I faintly say
The pain has become severe that I can feel a knife on my throat.
He quickly take hold of me and guide me to sit on a couch.
“Don’t you want to give me my money? You better come out” a voice yell from outside.
“Rest your back on this pillow, let me settle this bike man. I’m coming”
On the normal circumstances, I would go out and yell back at the bikman to defend my brother but in this situation I am, I can’t dare.
My brother returns panicking, he doesn’t know what to do. He keeps asking me the same question again and again,
“Sorry, where is it paining you?”

I watch him as he goes in and out, up and down. I want to laugh but due to my pain, I can’t. I manage to tell him to call his friend. He quickly bring out his phone, tapping the screen continuously but nothing shows. Then he remember his phone is off…
“Wait, let me check Iya Ibukun at home” he hurries out.
I don’t like the idea of involving Iya Ibunkun but I don’t have the choice right now. A car boom in front of our house, I don’t know who it can be but I think I will be saved. My brother and Abu Hanifah rush in to help me into the car. The car is new, I want to ask Abu Hanifa if it is his, I want to ask him how he knows we need his assistant but I can’t. It’s like the pain tie my throat. The pain becomes unbearable that I start groaning. Ummy told me some pregnant women shout, swear, lament and curse when they are experiencing labour pain, instead of doing that she has told me to be brave, groan and make series of dua in this state because it is one of the state when prayer is answered most. Then I remember my last dream, I don’t know exactly what it meant but it seems to be bad dream. I start praying for my baby, for Ummy, for brother Abdullah, for Abu Hanifa and for Idayah; these people are the only ones adding to my oxygen.
We arrive at the hospital, I’m rushed into the labour room on a stretcher. I close my eyes and groan softly. I can hear Doctor Zubair hollering at my brother outside.
“You should have brought her early. Where even have your mother been? And you know her situation, she is already weak!… Anyway, I will try my own possible best. You should start praying now”
Doctor Zubair enters and asks me to open my eyes.
“You know what we will do now, Mar’yam? You have to be brave, for the sake of this baby and yours. When I ask you to push, you should use all your energy and please don’t be weak. I pray Allah see us through”
I nod.
Albeit I feel like I don’t have the energy, I think I can do it!
My thighs are separated and hanged by the two nurses in the room. The word ‘push’ from Doctor Zubair is like a trigger to my energy. I start pouring all my energy into the push that I start feeling ache in my head. I push, push and push, expecting the baby to come out but she doesn’t. I start feeling extremely tired, I tell the Doctor I can’t push anymore. He asks me to rest while one of the nurse is ordered to give me an injection.
My memory starts rewinding back to the day I created this problem with Lukman. It was like I knew this would happen, despite my shyly nature, I gathered courage and bought a protection rubber at a pharmacy store, told the lady that someone sent me because I didn’t want to be seen as a wayward girl. But Lukman refused to use it and I had to concur. I remember how ecstatic he was that day after we had the sex and he gave me the drug to use. Where is he now when I’m bearing the pain alone? I feel like cursing him at this moment but I remember I’m about to bear his child.
“Ya Allah! Help me!” I cry aloud
Doctor Zubair pets me and asks me to push again. I find it difficult to respond as before. I continue to push until I can’t anymore. My body becoming more infirm. my heart beating slower. Cool breezes blowing in, I feel like I want to sleep. I start shutting my eyes…

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Ummu Abdillah

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