On the list of things I love, music is among the top maybe the top 5 items. Like the Steel Pulse – Life without music I can’t go, for me, I can’t cope. I’m here at my home office desk enjoying a hot cup of Kericho Gold (pure Kenyan tea), listening to a Daughtry album as I write this.
2020 caught had its ups and downs, mostly downs. One of the ups was Duduke by SIMI.
On the verge of 2021, my favorite persona was having suspicions of something developing inside her. At first, we thought it was just late periods and nothing much. In January after waiting for another month, her suspicions were confirmed. Now 1+1 was 3.
First came the unforgiving morning sickness, it was brutal. Come to think of it why do they call it morning sickness? She barfed spontaneously even late at night. Then came the peculiar foods and cravings. She and I don’t see eye to eye on a few dishes. For instance, she doesn’t take chilly and omena at all. She complains of the smell, she’d say they are looking at her, Uh! Such a Diva.
Suddenly she was not only comfortable but she was craving for them. That is how I confirmed that the ‘thing‘ growing inside her was indeed a product of my own. The crazy cravings! It was like bungee jumping.
They started with water. Yes, water! You’d think water is just a lame drink to quench your thirst? No, the water in our house had a ‘taste‘ that made it find itself unfit to hydrate new life, poor water! That meant buying water, which I discovered is being sold in ATMs. Yes! Water ATMs. That was an insight. Then came the fruits, most of the foods had not made ‘the list’.
Fruit salad was the in thing, her movements were far and few in between, delegating the fruits gathering to yours truly. Now, this was quite a production. There was the melon vendor who did not have bananas with ‘class‘, and the banana guy who did not have the ‘ordered‘ green avocados and the oranges mama was way on the other side of the street. With time I got it down to a science. I knew what every vendor sold, when and how big, good or sweet. Then came raw tomatoes. She’d wake up at midnight and early morning to have the leftover tomatoes. I would bring her some hot chili bones soup, fruit juice, and mala.
I even thought I could outsmart her. I would get more tomatoes than we need to accommodate her and stock them in the fridge. Smart move right?! Wrong… she’ll not take anything available.
Four months later and four months of Duduke on repeat.
“First let me say to you
I can not wait to see you
You are the treasure I’ve been waiting for
Do you know do you know
How much I really need you
I dey pray for the day when I can finally kiss you
You know say everyday I dey pray for you oh
In my heart oh there is a permanent place for you“
For me it was exactly that, I was longing to see her. I couldn’t wait to hold her, she was the treasure I was waiting for. So we were scheduled for our first clinic, so we went for an ultrasound with some inexperienced sonographer, Diana was her name, she was just special. That is when I saw her for the first time, a fully developed fetus with little arms on her head and little legs crisscrossed. I wanted to get that sonogram but she said- get this. “It is unethical!” Does she even know the meaning of ethics? I mean who trained her?
Five months later, after five months of Duduke, spicy omena delicacy and chilly bone soup the pregnancy was full term. I took my paternity leave from work. Normally we’d get fourteen working days but I had cumulated enough days to go for a year. [No, I’m kidding…] I had accumulated a handful though. My supervisor gave me twenty-one days leave plus the fourteen days. I had solid close to two months of home time.
On the 6th of September 2021, it was a Monday. She was due any time now, so we were prepared with some baby stuff. On the 9th we went to the hospital, we did another Ultrasound by a nice dude, he was my namesake, and he knew what he was doing. The scan conclusion was; single viable IUP in cephalic presentation at 41 weeks 1 day gestational age with a loose nuchal cord, in lay man’s terms the baby needed to get out ASAP. C-section was inevitable at this juncture, it was the only option. She had little to no mobility at this point.
She was admitted and was assigned a bed in the maternity wing. A well-fed nurse and a proper African mama took her to an examination room to check her blood pressure and whatnot in preparation for the emergency procedure.
She needed a few supplies, I dashed to the nearest supermarket for them. Some flip-flops, a basin, and toiletries.
She was scared, poor thing, she even told me her ‘last‘ words, “If anything happens call my mummy“.
I assured her, “nothing will happen you’ll be fine“… just to look and sound strong for her deep down I worried sick I wanted to call my mummy. What if something goes wrong? I didn’t want to even think about it.
It’s now been almost an hour, I’m not sure. I’m sitting outside on a bench lost in my thoughts outside the OR, and at 13:25 hours I heard a baby crying inside. “Oh my God! She’s here!” I panicked, felt hungry, and my glucose levels went down. It was official, I am a Dad.
I hadn’t had any meal I think from the previous night. I went to a cafeteria that was nearby and asked for Fanta, to boost my sugar levels. I took a minute at the cafeteria which had no other clients, to reflect.
I was eager to see them, I went back in and they were out of the theater and into the post-surgery ward. That was the first time I held her, my daughter she was all white and didn’t want to open her eyes. Fear and Panic engulfed me, the fear of the responsibility of protecting her from this world, such an innocent soul, panic, questioning my ability to provide that security and deal with boys. Urgh! I need to explore more and map out some spots for hiding sons-of-biscuits. I also need an armory no weapon too big or too small. We named her after my mum. Joy – her name, Pauline Mwihaki – my mum and my second name her surname.
Everyone wanted photos of her, I still have them in my gallery, it feels like yesterday. We were discharged three days and a hefty bill later and went home.
Kids don’t come with a user manual or directions of use, we were doing everything right but still questioning ourselves. Is she hungry? Is she full? They also don’t come with a measuring gauge for that. Her mum’s milk was not substantial, we had to supplement it with Nan. How is her body temperature? At least a thermometer can measure that. It’s a good thing I had extra days, I spent quality time with them.
Many sleepless nights later, cocomelon and baby shark-a do-do do-doo on repeat, an episode of sleep deprivation baby is growing. She is now speaking a few words, “mum-mum” is the only one we can understand, the rest, “wugi-wugi, woo, eiii, atatata“… only she knows what she’s saying.
It’s been quite a journey, she also has a thing for music. She would be playing on her own and then I’d play music and she come sit on my lap to listen. She even tries to dance I hope she can dance because… [Story for another day]
She’s ambitious, she tries something severally, she’ll fall and she’ll try it again. She’s adventurous, she climbs over anything and everything. We even had to create a little jungle gym for her. She’s now making steps on her own without holding onto something. She’s curious, she wants to go to the kitchen and touch everything, a worry I constantly have. Her appetite is on another level. She’s a happy child just like her name, she’s cute and I’m not just saying it because kids are. She is.
Today marks her 365 days, she’s made a full cycle around the sun.
“Happy birthday mum-mum, you light up my world. May your smile never fade. – Love Dad.“
To mama bear, “Thank you for the gift of fatherhood. Words can’t express my gratitude.“
Parenting is a job we sign up for life, It comes with its headaches, we don’t get off days, we don’t get breaks but so far it’s been amazing.
Dads with daughters kindly recommend some of the weapons in your armory in the comment section. Help a newbie dad out.