Being new to bringing little people into the world, Chip and I thought it prudent to go early to the general vicinity of Kijabe Medical Centre, where we planned for our first child to be born. Having no past history in this sort of thing, our doctor had advised that perhaps coming 2 weeks early would be wise, especially as the drive from home to the hospital took nearly 3 hours. Fortunately, the hospital is nestled in a community which also includes Rift Valley Academy (with which we would become much more intimately familiar with in future years) several homes (several of which are frequently vacant when families go on home assignments or family holidays) as well as the Kijabe Motel. Therefore, we would have no trouble finding a place to stay for those 2 weeks. As it happened, those 2 weeks would stretch out into 5. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

We were fortunate to be offered a nice home to house-sit for the duration of our stay in Kijabe. We considered ourselves blessed indeed. In addition to the 2 of us, my mother had come from the U.S., to be with her eldest daughter at a time when daughters generally want mother around most. Bless her heart, my mother had never travelled overseas before, let alone by herself. But like the trooper she is, she came, armed with gifts and a ‘can do’ attitude. She loved the country, the animals and the warmly hospitable people, who contrary to most western cultures, highly honour seniors. Finally, the day for our sojourn arrived…

The 2 weeks’ wait was pleasant as there were plenty of people to visit and sites to see. Kijabe is a beautiful part of Kenya with beautiful hills, the dramatic Great Rift Valley, and breath-taking escarpments on either side of the Rift. Mom was having a great time. But as the due date drew near, I became quite restless, eager for the arrival of…whomever (no sonograms in those days, but I probably would have preferred to be surprised anyway). The day came and went. A week came and went. Now it was nearing 2 weeks. By now I had gone beyond restless to concerned. Our doctor was planning to leave soon with his family for a vacation. (What?! You mean doctors are allowed to do this?!) The doctor’s scheduled trip was nearly upon us and I was in his office. Still no progress, so he gave me a ‘prescription’ – go for a nice buffet lunch into the town of Naivasha and take the roughest, bumpiest route possible and let’s see what happens. Well, at least I’d get a really nice meal out of it. So, off we went…bump, bump, bump!

Nothing…except a really runny tummy. That’s when I discovered I am sensitive to shellfish and shouldn’t eat too much of it. However, in my ignorance, I made a pig of myself because it was all so good! That evening and all the next day I regretted my piggish behaviour. I was miserable and no closer to giving birth. Finally, the doctor was also getting concerned. Now it was Friday and he was scheduled to leave on Monday. So, he told me to come in, get admitted and they’d put me on the drip to induce labour. Ah, now surely, we’ll make some progress!

Nope, not to be! I walked into the hospital carrying my cute little bag with just a few items I would need for my short stay, but my stay was shorter than I had anticipated. They put me on the drip and things seemed to be progressing nicely. Yes, at last! But then while reading some banal magazine, I realized something…these contractions were actually getting milder and further apart! I was hoping that was just my eagerness deceiving me, but nope, the doctor confirmed it. So, I was discharged and walked out of the hospital with my cute little bag, with the unused items and no bundle of joy. I was so embarrassed (don’t ask me why, I couldn’t tell you). The doctor had told me to give it 24 hours and return on Sunday if nothing happened.

Sunday, there I was returning to the hospital with the aforementioned cute bag, untouched and more worried than ever (my doctor was scheduled to leave for his holiday the next day). I questioned him “If you tried inducing before without success, how do you know it will work this time?” “Oh, we have ways of making them come!” was his only reply, with a Mona Lisa style smile on his face. I somehow didn’t find that so convincing nor reassuring, but hey, this baby had to come. He’d been in there quite long enough!

This time around things continued to progress properly and before we knew it, 3 ½ hours later, we were holding our first-born son. As I gazed at Joshua, with awe and wonder that I had just brought a tiny human life into this world, after we were not supposed to be able to have children, one thought kept going through my head over and over “I’m in love! Now I have 2 wonderful guys in my life. I’m in love!”

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Ian Kimathi · December 3, 2019 at 9:29 pm

I love this… Such a nice story. I almost forgot I was reading a blog rather than a book. I wish it was longer.

    Chari Kingsbury · January 18, 2021 at 8:10 am

    Hi Ian! Actually, this is in preparation for a book. I intend to one day, when I properly retire, to put all these blogs together into a book, Lord willing.

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