There are a few women I have been privileged to meet whose lives inspire me especially on my own journey. Today, I want to share a very abridged version of Nneka’s story. She is a fantastic woman, strong from inside out; a very rare reflection of ‘Triumphing over Adversity’. I will be sharing her story in two parts seeing it is quite lengthy.
Nneka was born and bred in the eastern part of Nigeria in the 70’s and all her life, wanted to be a diplomat. In particular, she aspired to be the first African female Secretary – General of the United nations. Thankfully, she was the daughter of a Political Science academic and plotted her career path to ensure she ended up as an International Relations specialist in Conflict Negotiation. She had it all mapped out to the schools and requisite skills required to achieve same. Thankful for the focus, she swiftly went about accomplishing all those objectives; graduated with excellent grades in Political Science from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, and moved on to Abuja where she worked at the National Assembly and The ECOWAS Parliament, hoping to hone her skills before leaving for her graduate program. Talk about a smooth ride? Yes, that was what her life felt like.
Some changes in her body system over time left her with a diagnosis of symptomatic fibroids. Wasn’t fibroid associated with older women? She was a young, unmarried girl in her mid-twenties reaching for the stars and this?
Unwilling to accept the surgical option, she, along with her family, initially decided to let it be, manage the associated symptoms, and just get on with life. This they did but within a year of discovery it was obvious something needed to be done and fast. The fibroid had grown so big that her stomach was physically extended and the complications associated with the positioning of the fibroid which was right on top of the bladder at the cavity of the uterus could no longer be ignored, and the pain was just out of this world.
In November 2004, she had to have surgery with post operative complications; this caused pain which persisted well into the coming months till she left to Europe for her graduate program. Another diagnosis revealed the need for another surgery, and on the 18th of May 2005, there was another surgery after which the doctors informed her that, as a result of all the damage to the reproductive organs, she would be unable to conceive naturally and would need assisted reproductive techniques.
So there she was in a foreign land, trying to get a graduate degree, yet saddled with such life altering news while still in her 20’s.
Subsequent investigations revealed that her tubes were blocked. This was a 20 something year old woman who had her heart sold out to God. Blocked tubes kwa?
At this stage she got on her knees and did what she had always done in times of distress – call on her God. Her entire family rose up in solidarity to call on God and besiege Him on her behalf. Shortly after her arrival in Europe, she met a fellow Nigerian legally resident and on work assignment from home, and they became fast friends. He was one of the friends that supported her throughout that period. About a year later, that man, Nnamdi, asked her to marry him. She was convinced he was nuts and wondered who in their right minds will, with open eye, ‘buy wahala’? But he remained sure of his decision and reasons, and after weeks of prayer, consultations with a lot of people including the fertility doctors, they were ‘convinced’ that with the ‘help’ of science and by the grace of God, they would be able to have kids through InVitro Fertilization. She didn’t think it would be fair to drag him into marriage if he wanted kids and she couldn’t have kids naturally.
So Nneka and Nnamdi began preliminary qualification tests for IVF and worked out a schedule for commencement of the hormonal injections she needed to start taking. But God was determined to have the final word in that matter. The day she was supposed to start with the injections, it was discovered quite by accident that she was pregnant!! They were all stumped; no one had seen that one coming. IT WAS A TOTAL MIRACLE, no man-made science involved at all. God had proved Himself as the Master physician and confused the specialists. Thinking it had to be an ectopic pregnancy, they had them wait a couple more weeks till it was advanced enough to ascertain the location and to the glory of God, the fetus was smack in the uterus.
Her shocked fertility specialists released her into the care of a regular Ob-gyn, who monitored her ever so closely because she still had recurring fibroids growing alongside the fetus. She had the most uncomplicated gestation duration really, despite the fibroids and 38 weeks after, Chukwuebuka Tobechukwu Obiagwu was born via C-section, hale and hearty. Nneka returned to Nigeria triumphant with a graduate degree in International conflict analysis, husband, and baby in tow. It was a long way from where she had started from years earlier. She was indeed a beneficiary of God’s extravagant grace and was content and ready to get back into the swing of things, follow up on her career advancement, and love her miracle baby and husband to death.
God was indeed faithful and continues to be!
To be continued…
Images: Courtesy Google Images