RAYMOND Nyamayedenga and his wife Prudence expected their “twin” babies to be born towards the end of the year.
A recent foetal ultrasound scan had confirmed the presence of two foetuses in Prudence’s womb and delivery was expected around mid-December.
But the babies had other plans.
On Sunday October 10, almost two months before expected date of the delivery, the babies announced their arrival in a unexpected fashion.
That afternoon, in the searing Goromonzi heat, 37-year-old Prudence started having mild lower abdominal and back pains.
She thought the pain was a result of doing a lot of household chores. She decided to take a rest.
But just as she began taking her break, the pain took a sharp turn for the worse. She immediately alerted Raymond, who fortunately was around, having taken a few days from work.
He quickly rushed to find transport to ferry his wife to the clinic.
Unbeknown to the couple, Prudence was already in labour.
Suddenly, she began feeling weak.
She knew the time had come.
Using the little energy she still had left, she rushed outside and grabbed a blanket from a nearby laundry line and prepared her bed in preparation for the delivery of her babies.
Within a few minutes, she had delivered her first child.
“I got back just as she delivered the first one,” narrated Raymond.
“I felt a chill down my spine and got numb for a moment.”
Where childbirth is concerned, most fathers-to-be are only prepared for providing emotional support to their partners during what will likely be an excruciating experience.
Very few are, however, prepared to act as the actual midwife.
But in this case, Raymond got more than what most fathers-to-be would have bargained for.
Faced with the daunting task, he courageously bit the bullet to save the mother and his children.
“Something told me to act fast and be there for her, so I took the baby, cut the umbilical cord and wrapped her up,” he added.
“Minutes later, the second baby came and I had to receive it, cut the cord and wrap him up.”
Much to the couple’s surprise, Prudence was not done.
A third baby as on its way.
“Soon, a third baby and tiniest one, who is a girl, was delivered.”
After a two-hour-long ordeal, babies Tania at 2,7kg, Trevor weighing 2,4kg and Tamia at 1,8kg had been delivered safely.
Raymond quickly cleaned his wife and the babies before proceeding to the nearest clinic.
Staff at the clinic confirmed that the mother and her babies were all fine before they were admitted for routine overnight observation.
The following morning, Raymond took his family back home before proceeding to Borrowdale, Harare, where he was employed as a gardener.
Ordinarily, one would think that this would be the time Raymond needed his job the most.
But he had travelled only to quit his job, pack up his belongings and return to his rural home.
“I have to be there for my wife; she is still to fully recover, so I had to sacrifice to help her take care of the family,” he said.
“We already have two primary schoolgoing children and two others who need to be taken care of in addition to the triplets, so I would not let her do all that alone.”
Raymond earned US$40 a month from his job as a gardener.
Recounting his experience, he said: “I did not know that women go through such a gruelling experience in labour.
“Since that day, I appreciate my wife more.
“That experience helped me realise how strong and precious women are and to see the value in them.”
He still has vivid memories of Prudence’s loud groaning and screaming from severe labour pains, an experience he said has transformed him into a “new” man.
Inside the couple’s incomplete three-roomed home in Magadzo Village, Goromonzi, a large black pot perched on flaring fire stands filled with boiling water.
A cursory glance around the house tells the story of a household surviving from hand-to-mouth.
“Things are still tough. We had not prepared enough because we thought there was still time, and worse still, we did not expect three babies at once,” said Prudence.
“I cannot breastfeed them all at once, so I need supplementary milk, but it is too expensive and we cannot afford it.”
In spite of their hardships, the Nyamayedenga’s remain cheerful and joyful of their triple dose of blessings.