A 45-year-old banker, Obiangeli Ike, who had her first child after 14 years of waiting, shares her experience with ARMSTRONG BAKAM
How did you meet your husband?
I am married to Paul Ike. I am from Umuonyiuka in Ufuma town, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State. I am a banker working in Bauchi State. I am 45 years old and I am a banker. The first time we met was in 2001 and we started a relationship that we didn’t even know would lead to marriage, but as fate would have it, we eventually got married in April 2008. And ever since then, God has been faithful and we’ve been together without any issue. It was when I went for a holiday to my elder brother’s house in Abuja that we met. That day, our church, St Mary’s Catholic Church, had a harvest thanksgiving service, and I told my brother that I wasn’t feeling fine and that I wanted to go back home. It was on my way home that he saw me and he and his friends were also going to that same bazaar at the church. That was our first time meeting each other.
After that meeting, he started calling me and I wondered why he was calling me. I was a shy person at that time. When I saw him coming towards me, I quickly crossed over to the other side of the road and he also followed me. We talked, and from there, we became friends, but it was a distant friendship because then, I was a student in Anambra State and he was based in Abuja.
Usually, when a couple gets married, it is always anticipated that after the first year, they will have a child, but you waited for 14 years before you were blessed with a child. Did you ever think you would experience such a delay?
No, I have never thought of it. After we got married on April 11, 2008, in the first three months, I missed my period and we began rejoicing that very soon, we would become parents, but before we knew it, I had a miscarriage. From that miscarriage, we kept trying for years but nothing happened. We went to the hospital and were told that we were okay and that nothing was wrong with us. We kept on believing in God, and after two years, I went to the hospital for a general check-up and I was told that I was developing fibroid. After that, we kept trying to see how I would conceive.
What worried you the most when you were told you had a fibroid?
There were stories of women who had fibroid but still got pregnant. Many also said that with fibroid, a woman can never conceive. A lot of things were said. In short, someone told me that I should not even try to undergo any operation because if I tried it, I would die. So, we kept believing in God and we kept doing what people said we should do. We went to different places like in the North, South-East and Lagos to get solutions, but to no avail. In 2013, I told him to let me undergo the operation if that’s what God wanted. I told myself that after that, we would continue with our lives because I didn’t want to be a problem to him (my husband).
What did he say?
He said even if I wanted to undergo the operation, I would not die because that was not our agreement before we got married. He told me that he didn’t marry me to have children but because he loved me. What he told me made me feel loved and appreciated but deep within me, I knew that I was losing something and all was not well.
What happened after that?
On that fateful day (of the operation for fibroid), somebody directed us to Kano State but before then, we went to a private hospital in Bauchi State; it was our family hospital. The doctor said they would carry out an operation and remove my womb completely. My husband was angry and questioned the doctor’s recommendation to remove the womb of a woman looking for children. The man (doctor) said that was the only solution. He even told us that I would have a 50-50 chance of survival after the operation. I don’t know the kind of faith my husband had, but for me, I was already going and I had made up my mind that if it was death, let it be. My husband was angry with the medical doctor and ignored him.
Along the line, a man came to me and referred me to a hospital in Kano State because he knew someone who had the same issue but had a successful operation. The man said the woman had four children after the operation. He asked me if I would be able to go and I told him I would go. When my husband came back from his business place, I told him what the man told me and we then drove to Kano State. The bad news from the hospital in Bauchi State weighed me down, but when we got to that hospital in Kano State, the doctor examined me and told me not to worry and that he would carry out a successful operation on me.
What did he say about your womb?
The doctor didn’t even mention anything about removing my womb. This brought back my peace. Before I went to Kano, I prayed and stopped taking all the things some people advised me to drink to make the fibroid shrink. l just decided to face the operation. They gave me a room in that (Kano) hospital and throughout that night, I couldn’t sleep because I kept praying and telling God that if it was His will, He should make the operation successful. The doctor told my husband to go to the market and buy some things. The operation was supposed to be done at 2pm, but when my husband left, as if the doctor just deceived him to go out, he (the doctor) came in at 10am and told the nurses to prepare me for the operation.
What was your reaction to the doctor’s instruction?
I told him that my husband wasn’t around and that he should wait, but he told me that there was no problem and that I would be okay. But I pleaded with him to give me a little time and I went in and prayed. I had this anointed water which I sprinkled on my stomach and poured into my mouth. A few moments later, I didn’t know what was happening around me after he gave me an injection. The operation lasted for up to five hours and from what they told me, the man (the doctor) said that God was with me during the operation because, during the operation, I sang praises without knowing. It was when I regained consciousness that I heard the nurses singing the songs they said I was singing during the operation and I was surprised. They told me that it was God at work.
After the operation, the doctor said Jesus saved me. My recovery didn’t take up to a month and the doctor told me that with the operation he did, fibroid would not grow in me again. When I came back, we continued trying to see if I would get pregnant. Every three months, I went to the hospital to check if there was a fibroid and was told that there was nothing, but I kept wondering why I didn’t get pregnant.
Did you go for another treatment?
We entered another phase of treatment. People started telling me many things and I became angry and disturbed. For two to three months, I did not see my menstruation and after visiting the hospital, they told me that there was nothing. This happened until God answered our prayer. When I was pregnant, I didn’t know how it happened because I stopped drinking and taking anything people told me to take. I told God that if He could not do it, nobody could do it. God performed the biggest miracle in our lives. I got pregnant.
How did you feel when you discovered that you were pregnant?
When I got pregnant, I was shocked and just burst into singing and thanking God and telling Him that I didn’t know how He did it, but that all I wanted was for Him to grant me safe delivery and I was excited. When I discovered that my body started changing, I felt that my life was complete. My husband was very happy and excited.
What forms of social pressure did you put up with before you became pregnant?
I was always the topic of discussion because even people that you didn’t know me initially knew me just because of my situation. People around me were fond of mocking me, laughing at me and some even told me directly that I did not have a child. I was always in tears whenever I got home after being mocked because of my childlessness. When people who were mocking me noticed that I was pregnant, they hailed me and tried to hug me, but I was always very careful and I just withdrew myself because no one knew what they came with.
Did pressure also come from your in-laws? Did they pester you?
Well, that one is something that cannot be avoided in a situation like that. They kept asking, but they never pestered or disturbed me about it. I know that even if they didn’t talk in my presence, they might have spoken to my husband about it. One good thing was that I never at any time felt rejected by God.
Friends told me to remarry, visit native doctor – Husband
A businessman and husband of a banker who delivered a baby after waiting for 14 years, Paul Ike, tells ARMSTRONG BAKAM how he managed the pressure that came with being childless
You were married for about 14 years without a child but eventually, God blessed you with a son. What was the experience like?
I am 49 years old and I am from Okebunoye village, Alor town, in Idemili, Anambra State. I am a businessman based in Bauchi State. You know that in life, whatever happens to us, we believe that’s the way God wants it and you cannot change it. God’s time is the best and if you say you want to do it the other way round, you’ll regret it at the end of the day.
Some men who went through a similar situation were advised to marry a second wife. Did you get such advice?
Of course, I got similar advice from some family members and friends. They told me to try another wife or go to a native doctor to get a child. I told them that I did not marry her to make babies; I married her because I love her. I told them we would be fine whether God blessed us with children or not. I was not so bothered about children because, in life, you are bound to see different kinds of temptations. So, it’s left for you to know how you’ll adjust yourself to it.
How did you feel when your wife broke the news to you that she was pregnant?
When she told me, I said God had never failed me. I knew a child would come; it was just a matter of time. Sometimes, our sins hinder our blessings. Since I was born, I have never asked God for something and he didn’t do it for me. However, I am not saying I am righteous; it has always been by His grace.
Why did you keep feeling that your child would come?
I knew the child would come but at the time God wanted it to come and since it wasn’t yet time, I couldn’t make it come earlier. I had to wait for that time.
What’s your advice to those in similar situations who have given up and lost hope of having children?
My advice to them is that they should have patience; it wouldn’t be late. Anytime it comes, just celebrate it. If you make one wrong move, you will regret it all the days of your life. So, just be patient. Love your wife and make her happy. Don’t make her feel she’s different from others. All these things they’re saying, menopause or whatever, they’re just names given by doctors. God’s name is the ultimate. With Him, women who are 50, 60 and 70 years old will give birth. With him, there’s nothing like menopause. Stay with your wife and believe in God. He will do it; it’s just a matter of time. My family told me many things but I told them I didn’t marry my wife for them. I told them to back off. Now, if I had listened to them and taken that wrong move, by now, I would be regretting it.