Obinna Nnanna’s joy knew no bounds last September 23 afternoon, when his wife, Ijeoma was delivered of triplets, two males and a female, after nine months of their marriage.
When he returned home that evening, he was already thinking and planning how to put together an elaborate bash, as his resources would permit him to welcome the babies and their mother home; moreso, when the bundle of joy was coming just nine months after they got married.
They were expected to stay some days at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Gbagada, since she delivered through caesarean section. However, the joy turned sour, as fate dealt a crushing blow on him, following the death of his wife about 3am the following day.
Obinna said it was the worst news he has ever received in his life, and thought his world had crumbled.
“She was delivered of the babies about 12pm on September 23. I stayed with them till 9pm, since the hospital management would not allow a visitor to stay with a patient over night, so I left. I was sleeping when my phone rang about 3am that I should come to the hospital immediately. I had to call my friends, one of them brought his car and we rushed to the hospital and by then, my wife was already dead. I asked what happened and nobody was able to tell me anything reasonable. Nobody could tell me what happened to her.
“All my neighbours visited her that day she delivered and she spoke with everybody and they promised to come the following day to see her, but the story changed”, Obinna said.
Narrating to Saturday Sun, the tragedy that is redefining his life, the widower said they got married on December 31, 2014 in Enugu.
“After our wedding, we stayed few days in the village and returned to Lagos to start life together.”
By the time their honeymoon was over, Ijeoma conceived. Obinna said she registered for antenatal care at a private hospital close to them, and by the time the pregnancy was going to the seventh month, she started developing high blood pressure (HBP) which necessitated her referral to Lagos State University Lagos (LASUTH), Gbagada Annex.
“We used the private hospital for seven months and it was discovered that she was having HBP. We were referred to General Hospital, Gbagada. She was on admission at LASUTH for one month until she was delivered of the babies. Her staying in the hospital for a month was at my instance. I wanted her to be there to have a good rest instead of being at home where she would engage and stress herself with domestic chores.
“After one month of bed rest, she delivered through caesarean section. She delivered on September 23 afternoon and died in the early hours of the following day. I wouldn’t know what happened; I can’t explain. I asked the nurses they said they don’t know, that it just happened all of a sudden.
“I was in the theatre with her; so we came out together to the ward. She wasn’t bleeding and the blood pressure was normal before she went for the surgery. There was no complication.
“Immediately she died, we took her corpse home and deposited it in the mortuary, and we are planning the funeral.
The babies spent two weeks in the hospital after their mother’s death, on the directive and account of the hospital management, in order to give them a close observation.”
Obinna is now playing dutifully the role of mother, except breastfeeding. With the help of good neighbours, he is nursing the babies in his room-and-parlour apartment at Alapere area of Lagos. He has learnt to change diapers, keep awake in the night and feeding them.
“Since the babies were brought home, I have been with them, and with the help of my neighbours, my friend’s wife and her mother, we have been taking good care of them. My uncle’s wife also came from Ilorin, Kwara State, to give a helping hand, but she has gone back.
“For now, none of my wife’s relations has been around; their major concern is with my wife. They are the ones causing the delay over her burial; they have gone to hospital to make enquiries over her death, may be they are not satisfied with the explanations. I have given them date for the burial but they are still delaying, may be they want to have their own date, and send to me later. We are Catholics, and are not supposed to delay burial. Before I travelled home, I met with her elder brother living here in Lagos, and he is the one causing the delay. My wife’s parents are dead.”
On how he is coping with the financial challenges involved, Obinna said, God is using everybody around – his colleagues in Idumota market, noting:“Everybody is contributing his or her own quota just to see that the kids live”.
On the issue of taking the babies to orphanage home for him to concentrate on his business, he said, he has received such unsolicited advice, but he is not giving it a consideration.
“Immediately my wife died, that was the initial suggestion by friends and some other people, but I turned the advice down. I said, I can’t do that. Why would I take them away? I want to be with them; where I would be seeing them every time. So, I don’t take the idea. They are two boys and a girl. The boy came first followed by the girl and then another boy. They have been given names: The first is Chibuike; the girl is Chinenyenwa and the boy is Chimezie. They are not going anywhere; they would remain with me.”
On how he would cope, considering that the people around him may have their own programmes, he said he would cope, as he has learnt to change diapers as well as feeding and bathing them. “Now, I keep awake all night. In the night, one or two or all them may be awake. Three of them hardly sleep at the same time in the night.”
To him, it is a great challenge, which he prays for grace to surmount, stressing: “I don’t want them to be taken away”.
On when he has time for rest, he said, “as you see me sitting now is because they are sleeping, that is my rest. Within a short time one of them may wake up.”
Obinna is from Amaigbo, Imo State, while his late wife, from Eziagho, Enugu State.