M – y – s – t – e – r – y !
By SUNDAY ANI (firstname.lastname@example.org)
On December 6, 2012, 59-year-old Mrs. Oloruntoyin Adeola Alabi repeated the biblical Sarah’s feat when she gave birth to a healthy baby girl five years after reaching menopause. This educationist and proprietress of Praise Children’s School, Okota, Lagos proved science wrong and reinforced the belief that with God nothing is impossible. She laughed, just like Sarah did when the prophets told her she would conceive and bear a son. In Mrs Alabi’s case, the forebear didn’t tell the exact sex of the baby as Sarah was told.
Alabi, a native of Owu Local Government Area of Ogun State, got married on December 19, 1981, to 62-year-old Pastor Samuel Olasukanmi Alabi from Ibadan Southeast Local Government Area of Oyo State. When Sunday Sun visited the couple’s residence at Okota, Lagos, Mrs Alabi whose joy as she narrated her marital journey turned into misty eyes, said the 31-year-old inter-state marriage had passed through rough times, including three miscarriages in 1982, 1983 and 1984 before the tortuous journey of childlessness.
Narrating her ordeal, she said: “I am 59 years and four months old now; I’ll be 60 years by August 2013. I got married on December 19, 1981; that is 31 years ago. It was that I had problem conceiving, because immediately we got wedded, I got pregnant but I had miscarriages. In April 1982, I had the first miscarriage, it was a girl. In 1983, I had another miscarriage, this time it was a set of twins. In 1984, I lost another pregnancy. After that, pregnancy ceased and that was the beginning of my agony.”
Extended family pressures
Though she could not conceive again after three consecutive miscarriages, she said her in-laws were understanding and co-operative, but her own immediate family members were the ones that gave her sleepless nights. She said her family members wanted her to opt out of the marriage as they felt she might not be compatible with her husband, but as a devout member of the Deeper Life Bible Church, she turned down their offer. When she refused to divorce her husband, her people said she try a herbalist, who they believed could help her get pregnant, but she held on to her faith.
She said: “I remember my maternal uncle telling me that maybe it was not the will of God that we should marry, and advised me to end the marriage and look for where I could get pregnant and have a baby. But, as a member of the Deeper Life Bible Church, I told them whatever God has joined together, nobody should put asunder. They made several suggestions, but we turned all of them down because they were against our faith as Christians. It was in the same 1984 that they left us to our faith after they had reminded me that my husband could get married even at the age of 100 and still bear children, but as for me, I have a limited time. In 1994, exactly 10 years after their last visit, they came back again and told me that since my God had still not given me children, I should go with them to an herbalist so that I could have children, but I still rejected the idea. I told them that God would do it and even if He didn’t, there was no cause for alarm, because your children cannot take you to heaven. If you have 10 children and you die, nobody will bury you with any of them; just be good to others so that when you die without a child, there would be people to bury you. So, it was my family that worried us. As for my husband’s family, they were only praying for us. They believed the God we serve would surely answer us.”
Medical trip abroad
According Mrs Alabi, when all efforts to get pregnant after visits to several hospitals failed and her people were still pressuring her to find solution to her problem, her husband’s younger brother, who lives in the United States of America, invited them over for further medical check.
Speaking on their trip to America, she said: “When the pressure from my people became unbearable, my husband’s younger brother who lives in America took us there for assistance. According to the young man, stress in Nigeria was responsible for our problem. He made provision for my husband and I to be together for four months doing what husband and wife do to produce children, but when nothing happened after four months, he decided to take us to hospital. We went to one of the best hospitals in California, and at the end of the day doctors said the drug I was using in Nigeria, Clomate, had damaged all the eggs in my system. I used Clomate for more than 10 years just to conceive as prescribed by my doctor in Nigeria; although my doctor prescribed it only once, but I kept using it each time I saw my menses, hoping I could achieve pregnancy with it. The American doctors said I was old and that there was no live egg in my system again. I was 46 years then.”
So, with the verdict of the American doctors, they came back to Nigeria and consigned their fate to God. However, in 2007, at the age of 52, God blessed the Alabi family with a baby girl, Ayomide, but then, the 52-year-old educationist was still menstruating.
Having had Ayomide, Mrs Alabi looked forward to having more children before the cessation of her menstrual flow, but that did not happen. In 2007, two years after God blessed her with Ayomide, she reached menopause, thus signalling the end of her child-bearing age, according to scientific postulations. Although she had wished for more children, she decided to console herself with Ayomide. So, in January, when a woman prophesied that she would conceive and bear a child this year, she did not believe the woman.
Speaking about the prophecy, she said: “I am a member of Deeper Life Bible Church and every January we have a covenant prayer with our General Superintendent (GS) Pastor Kumuyi. It is a one-month programme and when I came back one day from the programme, a woman, whose children attend my school, greeted me and said God had given her a message for me. I offered her a seat and listened to the message. She said she was praying when God told her in a vision to go to ‘Mama Praise’ and tell her that He would visit her with a baby this year, 2012. I just laughed and said okay; but she said I should not laugh because it was a message from God. She started raining curses upon herself if the message was not from God, but I intervened and stopped her. She is a member of another church. Immediately, she left, I went to my pastor to narrate what the woman had told me. That was because I didn’t believe what she told me. If I believed her, I wouldn’t have gone to tell my pastor again. But my pastor said well; let’s believe because there is nothing God cannot do. I still didn’t believe. As we were praying during the second Sunday of that January programme with our GS, I went into prayer mood. I was praying with my assistant pastor who has about nine children and as the prayer went on I held on to the woman and was saying, ‘God, this month should not pass me by. Let what you have said come to pass.’
Knowledge of pregnancy
When asked how she knew she was pregnant, she said she went to hospital when her body was aching. She didn’t go to hospital for pregnancy test because she didn’t suspect anything; she had only gone to know why she was feeling pain all over her body:
“When I began to feel pains all over my body, I went for a medical check. After examining me, they asked if I wanted to be the biblical Sarah of today; I didn’t believe what they were saying. They told me I was five months pregnant.”
Life after medical check up
When she came back from hospital with the result, she said: “I was only eating. I stopped going to church because the distance is far and I was having pains. I was attending the church in my house. I stopped working completely. I needed adequate rest and I was eating lots of vegetables and fruits. I discovered that I consumed more food than before. So, when the pregnancy finally showed, I was filled with joy; I had the joy of the Lord, but I sent for many pastors to pray for me because I still did not believe a baby was inside me. Could it be a disease? I was confused.
“When it was time for delivery, the baby only took about 10 minutes and it was through the normal virginal delivery. Her name is Oluwatobi Ayomikun Victoria.”
On her husband’s reaction when she told him of the prophecy, Mr Alabi said: “I just said, let the will of God be done, because there is nothing God cannot do, especially with the gift of our daughter who has been a great blessing to us. It’s like she was prophesying when she said, “mummy give me a sister.” We tried to tell her to ask for a brother, but she kept saying sister and that statement touched me because I didn’t want her to be alone. She is now seven. Today, God has answered her prayer and she now has a sister. To me, our God is so good; a God that can bring life out of death. So, it’s like God is bringing life out of death and that’s what really gives me joy.”
Like Mrs Alabi, who said her Christian belief never gave her cause to fear that her husband could take a second wife, Mr Alabi also said: “There was nothing like taking a second wife because of my background. I got married in Deeper Life Bible Church. We have been taught that marriage is for life and we believe that. We understand each other.
My ordeal – Mr Alabi
Although, it is all joy today as the family of Alabi now has two lovely daughters and everybody seems to have forgotten the journey so far, Mr Alabi is not in a haste to forget what his family passed through in the last 31 years. Remembering the past and relating it with the present, he said: “I want to add that the journey was not all that easy. After series of miscarriages, the pregnancy ceased. The last miscarriage was so serious, because it was about five months old and it was an ectopic pregnancy, (a pregnancy located outside the inner lining of the uterus). She was operated on and one of the fallopian tubes was cut off. She almost died. So, she has only one fallopian tube now. Since then, we have visited several hospitals, in and outside Nigeria.”
More children wanted if…
Although, his wife no longer sees her menstrial flow and he knows very well that even the birth of Victoria was a miracle, Mr Alabi wouldn’t mind more children if it’s the will of God. “I have no option; whatever God does is my wish. Let the will of God be done.”
In the same vein, Mrs Alabi would happily welcome more children if God so wishes even as she said it is not easy to care for new born at old age. She said: “Yes, I will be happy to have more children if God allows it.”