Today’s Post is on Safe Abortion in Nigeria Written by Jane EFAGWU.
In Nigeria, a country famed for the alias of Giant Of Africa, the idea of safe abortion, no matter the surrounding circumstances, is as ironic as it is illegal.
Having an abortion is still seen as murder mostly due to the country’s heavy religious inclinations. This again is ironic seeing that the country also doubles as the infamous poverty capital of the world where the average citizen is said to be surviving on less than a dollar daily and therefore cannot afford to adequately provide for a child/children.
Recently, I was opportuned to speak with a young Nigerian lady who got pregnant for the first time and had a safe abortion with no complications in Nigeria. E shock you? You might not believe it but here’s what she said…
So what part of Nigeria were you in when you found out about your pregnancy?
I was in Abuja for the first time ever. I went to run some passport registrations and I needed a dude to be with, casually, for the time being. You know? Use that one to know the city and collect preeq (penis) small before heading home.
Lol. How did you meet him?
Another friend of mine introduced me to him. We had been chatting on social media before I left Lagos. So we had gotten a bit familiar. Let’s call him baby boy. He came to pick me up when I arrived since I didn’t know the city. That was how we met. He took me to my friend’s house that night and we spoke briefly in the car on our way there. I was too tired to talk.
That’s chill. How did you guys get it on?
We kept talking on the phone and we scheduled a date. Side Note: What they say about those guys in that city is true. They’re groupies. He showed up with his cousin the first time we met and he showed up with said cousin for the date. Yup! He brought his cousin along. Chile. Anyways, the three of us went out to eat and went to his house after.
So we started having sex that night. Then there was this night, I think that was the night he got me pregnant. He didn’t use a condom and he got really carried away because I was so wet and it was a quickie. That was when he nutted in me before he pulled out to drop the rest. He promised to buy pills since I didn’t know anywhere then he delayed bringing the pills. And that was how.
Wow! How did you find out?
I had missed my period by a few days when I started to get really really worried. I went to get a strip from a pharmacy I had newly discovered in the area. I ran the test and a faint second line appeared. I was perplexed. Are you there or not? I took a picture of the test and sent it to my other friend, M, who had a pregnancy scare earlier and had started her own safe abortion process. She said it was positive. I almost lost it.
Can you describe how you were feeling when you found out?
Omo! I was scared o. You mean small play that we played is what turned out like this. The relationship wasn’t even up to three weeks old foggosake. This wasn’t my first time having sex without a condom but this was my first time getting pregnant. I was crying in seconds. I even sent a video of my crying self to M who advised that I ran a blood test to confirm because strips could be iffy. I had also discovered a hospital in the estate I lived in so I went there to run a blood test.
Like how much did the hospital charge for the test?
A really pricey test. How did they break it to you?
I was attended to by a nurse who told me the price of the test, received my payment and drew my blood. I was told it’ll be ready in like 30 minutes so I waited. The nurse tried to play with me sha. The waiting process was really fucking with me. My anxiety was doing the most at this point. And the time had expired and still no result. So I asked her wassup and she said it was negative. I was about to rejoice then I asked if she was sure. She said I appeared to be in a hurry that I should give her a minute to check the blood in the lab again. That was how she said it was positive.
Na wa o.
She said the test was delayed to show and that the result was almost not seen until she decided to give it a second look. She also said this was because the pregnancy was probably a few days old. She saw my anxiety and quietly asked if I wanted to remove it and I said Yes. She told me she could do it and it’ll cost 40k.
40k is plenty o. Was it surgical?
Nope. She said she could guess that I was only a week pregnant so only drugs and drips would do it. There were a lot of drugs though.
Did you try to negotiate the price?
Yes, I did. We landed at 35k. I really just wanted it gone. She gave me an appointment and that was how we did it.
Did you tell baby boy?
Yeah I had told him earlier that I was going to the hospital to run a blood test because of what I had seen on the strip. I came back and called and gave him the gist. Baby boy seemed shocked and taken aback especially with how fast things went. Running two tests, waiting, finding out, booking an abortion appointment all in one afternoon. He was trying to process while I was scared shitless and thus, making fast moves. I wanted it gone! I told him how much the whole thing was going to cost and he sent funds.
Whoa. That was very smooth for the typical Nigerian man. How did the process itself go?
It was an evening appointment when the hospital’s main staff would’ve all gone home. I’d be the only patient because she had to monitor me properly and not divert attention. She was with me throughout. I came that evening by past 7.
We started around 8 and I left the hospital a little before midnight. She asked if I had done this before and I said I hadn’t. She asked because she wanted to know what my body could take. We started with pills that went under my tongue so they’d melt while I was receiving a drip.
Some pills were meant to be melted under my tongue and some were meant to be swallowed with warm water. I couldn’t count the number of pills but it was a high double-figure for one night.
About 3 different drips. The last drip made all my body go cold. The AC wasn’t on but all my hairs stood, I could feel something leaving my body. It purged me too. By this time, I had been moved to another ward that had an adjoining toilet so I could easily go. My stool smelled like drugs. I felt like shit but it was safe. Really safe and private.
Nope. None. No one walked in. No police. No sirens blowing. No extra staff. No one else knew. It was almost like it was just the nurse and I in the hospital. Everywhere was eerily quiet too because it was at night.
Where was baby boy?
He asked to follow me to the hospital for the procedure but I told him not to bother. He had an ugly habit of delaying or showing up late or worse, showing up with his cousin so I just told him not to bother because I couldn’t deal.
When the procedure was almost done and the freezing drip was doing its thing, the nurse said I’d soon start bleeding and I’ll soon be able to leave. She also said I should call my partner because I’d need someone to be there when the freeze started. I was texting him throughout so I told him to start coming.
Did he come through?
Yeah. He got there after the major freezing had died down a bit and I’d already started bleeding. I was asked to bring pads to the hospital so I wore them. I had processed her payment and she was already packing my take home drugs when he came. I was happy to see him actually because I felt really alone. My mind was all over the place.
I can only imagine. What was going through your mind then?
I was just thinking what if it’s one of those ‘destiny babies’ that always refuse to be aborted. I’d have finished this hellish procedure only to find out months later that I’m still pregnant and it can’t be aborted again and I’d have to have the baby and the baby will come out deformed because of how much I tried to destroy it…
Yeah. Let’s blame it on Nollywood and those bizarre abortion myths.
What were her instructions like?
She told me to avoid cold things as it could freeze up the bleeding and the blood needed to flow. She also said not to drink alcohol or smoke, to take fruits and take my medications.
Generally, how was life after the procedure?
When I came out of the hospital to enter baby boy’s car, the cold evening air entered my body plus the drip before and I screamed loudly. I was cold like that for hours. I didn’t have any appetite for the first 24 hours. When I went to the toilet, the whole place smelled of antibiotics. It was a really offensive smell.
The first few days of bleeding were heavy then it gradually reduced till it stopped. I was seeing really tiny eggs on my pads, the nurse said that was proof that it was done. I didn’t see my period the next month, it came the month after that. I also had really terrible constipation for the first month. I couldn’t shit properly without shedding tears. M said that was a side effect of D and C procedures which I didn’t do. It stopped soon enough though but it was crazy.
Oh my! How long did you bleed and take medications?
I finished medications in under a week and I finished bleeding after like 2 weeks.
What about the nurse? Did she keep in touch just in case?
Yeah. We spoke when I started seeing the tiny eggs. She also called me to remind me not to take any cold stuff because it could undo all what we did and cause severe complications. I called her when I was having constipations and she recommended taking fruits. We haven’t spoken since the bleeding stopped and my next period came.
How did you feel when you saw your first period after the abortion?
I was in a celebratory mood! Girl, I was happy. My body was quiet after the procedure. No discharges, period symptoms or even random vagina pulls. Just stillness. At that point, my mind was still replaying the destiny baby theory so the period allayed my fears.
Do you use condoms now?
I promised not to have sex without condoms anymore but as soon as I healed, I was back to my ways. Truth is, condoms dry me out and hurt me alot down there because I’m really tight. I count them as foreign objects.
My body is generally not comfortable with them. I’m still figuring it out. Also, raw sex is just sweeter. Shoot me. I might try IUDs but I heard those come with their own side effects too. Pills are the worst. They play ping pong with my hormones. No go area for me. Honestly, I’m tired of having a vagina sometimes.
We all are. It’s wild. Are you still with baby boy?
Nah, I’m not. I saw the whole thing as a bad luck situation plus I left town shortly after the abortion. Now that I think about it, I think he tried to make a baby mama out of me. I’ve heard about Nigerian men that try to pin pregnancies and marriages on women they really liked. Thinking about his delays and his sluggishness during the process kinda points to that but what do I know? He could’ve been shook too.
How would you rate the experience?
Are you kidding? Definitely will not recommend. Casual sex is risky and your partner might not have been that supportive either. Also, the guaranteed safety of the process wasn’t written on the hospital walls. This is still Nigeria and abortions rarely ever happen this smoothly and safely without complications. We still have such a long way to go in this country so please use condoms, IUDs or pills. I know I sound like a hypocrite but please take my advice.
*Names of persons in this story have been altered to protect their anonymity and privacy.