Sliced At Four Months

Syreeta Ekaba Akinyede
4 min readSep 18, 2023

A Baby and An Appendix

Photo by Khánh Trung Lê on Unsplash

It was September 25th 2014. I was about four months pregnant and feeling really awful. I had a tummy ache that just wouldn’t go away. It was irritating and uncomfortable. I chalked it down to something that I must have eaten, which was messing with my system — when you’re pregnant, these things are a given.

By evening, it was worse, in the sense that when I moved or walked, it hurt more; but not enough to pin me down. No. I was still going about my usual business — the kids, writing, cooking and all the regular jazz that goes with being a work-from-home mom.

Night came. It was time to sleep, but sleep just couldn’t make it to the deepest recesses of my being. I tossed and turned, looking for the best comfortable position, but I was unsuccessful.

Of course, I ran to Google — when in doubt, Google it out. I read about all the possible things that it could be. I felt a little nudge, but I ignored it. ‘Think positive.’ I consoled myself.

I can’t remember if I was able to get up to two hours of sleep, but morning came. I welcomed it with the pain — and by this time, it really hurt to move, and that was when I decided or knew what I was experiencing wasn’t one of those pregnancy moments. I had to see the doctor. I couldn’t even have breakfast — it turned out it was a good thing that I didn’t have any.

Before I left the house, I called up my one of my oldest and closest friends — a doctor herself. She asked the usual questions, but said, since she couldn’t see me physically, it would be best if I went to see the doctor. Amongst other things, she didn’t rule out the possibility of appendicitis.

I have a high tolerance for pain, so I’ve been told. My husband even jokes that I could get hit with a sledge hammer and still be like “say what?”.

So we set off to see the doc. Every pothole we encountered was a nightmare, which had me trying my best to hold my body as stiff as could be. The dear husband tried his best to maneuver — we literally crawled our way through the inner streets of Surulere before hitting the main roads.

Arrived at the hospital in one piece. Thankfully, it was also in Surulere — Good Tidings Hospital. Got to the doc — I had already told him how I was feeling over the phone. Saw him in his office and within a few minutes, my worst fears were confirmed. I had appendicitis and I was to be operated on immediately. I was dumbfounded and speechless. ‘Now?’ I asked in disbelief.

Told the husband the news, and asked for some clothes and other stuff that I needed. He left, and I was sent to be prepped for surgery. As I lay on the bed, while the nurses got me ready, I ran all the Google posts about appendicitis during pregnancy in my head. I encouraged myself with the fact that it was early — I was just four months gone. I was injected with a pain killer, so I was relatively relieved, and patiently waited for the doctor to arrive.

After I had been wheeled into the theater, and laid out on the op table, the doctor explained to me that they would put me to sleep and that the baby would be fine, so I need not worry. Just before the anaesthesia was injected into my system, I said a small prayer. Who knew…it could very well be my last. Yes, every time I have had to have an operation (and I’ve had a total of five, appendectomy included now), while I do trust that my life is in God’s hands, I also ponder if perhaps He will call me up that day.

Woke up about 45 minutes or an hour later, surgery done. Mummy fine, baby fine. Then it was time to deal with the post surgery pain. Aarrgh, how I hated it. Being put on drip, having to pass gas before starting normal meals…but I had no choice.

When the doctor came to see me, he asked if I was sure I hadn’t been experiencing any pain before that day. I replied that I hadn’t. Then he told me that I must really have a high threshold for pain, because my appendix was already perforated, and even people that were brought to the hospital in that condition, would usually be in so much pain, everyone would know something was wrong. Whereas, I was just silent through it all, pursing my lips together and holding myself.

Whenever I mention it to friends that I had an appendectomy while I was pregnant, I usually get a shocked reaction. Most find it hard to believe it is actually possible, much less that it can be done in Nigeria. Well, here I am, a living example.

To God be the glory!