The Hannaniyas’ quest for a child (1)
LOOKING for a child has been a most harrowing challenge for a great number of men and women. The Bible has the agonising story of a woman regarded as mental because of her continuous wailing as she sought a child.
God, at last, took pity on Hannah and gave her a child after the intervention of Prophet Eli. That was how she became the mother of Samuel, an epic giant in the history of the Jews.
Henry the VIII of England, in his search for a male heir, had beheaded six Queens yet he died without a son and was succeeded by Queen Elizabeth the 1st. Henry VIII succeeded in changing the history of Europe with his quest for a male heir when six of his marriages simultaneously failed to produce his most desired son as an heir.
In the end, Henry VIII took England out of the Roman Catholic Church and established the Anglican Church in what became known as the English Reformation.
Single professional women have had no bar to their adoption of children. They may have done so in cases where childbirths have been difficult; when however, adoption has occurred, sometimes successful pregnancies ensued. So far there has been no stigma involved in adopted children; if there is; the evidence is small, although I can imagine needling comments of the kind of women that Mama Gee portrays in Nollywood.
In some societies, women marry younger girls for their husbands for all sorts of reasons. Our upper and middle class women almost invariably have children, who in every other way except legally, had been adopted.
It is not always a happy experience but then which marriage is always happy experience? There is the occasional friction when the woman dies without a will because her relatives may make claims or fight to take all the material possessions of the dead, thereby cutting the adopted child or children out of their lawful inheritance.
My mother, on the other hand, had several adopted children, who remain my siblings till date. Dr. Gladys Duruyani and Dr. Ishmael Hannaniya were married for 20 years and just like any other couple, they tried to have children.
However, unlike others, it took them several years to conceive and despite the challenge with conception and their expectations, all the pregnancies unfortunately ended in miscarriages.
This was a very grieving deal for them because the babies would grow to about five or six months in the womb and then a miscarriage would occur and some of these miscarriages were for multiple babies.
The enlightened couple utilized their globe-trotting exposure to seek medical solution overseas, all to no avail. Eventually as time progressed, Duruyani became ill and was diagnosed severally with various kinds of ailments.
She developed a type of cough the doctors could not understand and on the film some dark spots were seen in her chest region and lungs. Being devoted Christian, they sought medical solution to all the challenge yet committed them all to the Lord as they expected some miracle.
Eventually the Lord took this strange ailment away from her. Their challenge was numerous, and one day, while they dined at a Chinese restaurant in Abuja, Duruyani began to bleed.
She knew what was happening. Her husband, who is a microbiologist, a specialist neuro-physician, also rushed her to three different hospitals. Unfortunately, in each hospital, the senior doctors had all gone home.
After the third stop, he rushed her to the National Teaching Hospital where he found out again that all the senior doctors had also closed for the day.
At this point of desperation, he had to take the bull by the horn, choosing to go against the ethics of his profession that advise against a man performing such a major surgery on his spouse. He had a vague idea of what to do, besides there were some junior doctors around.
With the few junior doctors on duty, they quickly set up the theatre and began the surgery to take out the blood clot that was about to snuff life out of his beloved wife until an experienced doctor who came around the hospital for an entirely different reason heard of the situation and ran to take over the surgery already in progression.
On another day, she felt ill and in the cause of seeking a medical solution in South Africa, they were told that the blood result was bad news. The South African doctors gave the verdict; they were shaken and took the challenge once more to the Lord in prayers.
They said, “it was a rare form of blood disease.” The couple were shocked and torn apart for a while but braced up, rejecting the doctor’s report and holding unto the Lord’s report.
They sought medical solution in the UK afterwards and the doctors became puzzled and asked “who said she had a blood disease, a rare form of blood cancer? To the glory of God, the results of the latter test showed there was no trace of the cancer.
Did a miracle take place? They rejoiced and praised the Lord. Soon after this great news, they got a call from the South African doctors stating that there was a mix-up with her tests.
They investigated further and confirmed that she did not have any form of cancer in her system. Having gone through so much and having wailed on the Lord in the secret place of the Lord, they remained sober and thankful for once more sparing her life from the clutch of death.
After a while, they tried to have children again but it was to no avail as the series of miscarriages continued. Eventually they figured that since her womb could not keep the pregnancies, they would consider the option of surrogacy.
Their Harley Street doctor who is one of the first doctors in the world to successfully deliver in-vitro (IVF) babies had been very sympathetic to their cause and after series of the failed IVF had suggested surrogacy to them.
They began the necessary procedures and as eggs could be stored for years, they decided to store the excess eggs while they sought for a surrogate mother to carry their child.
Unfortunately, the surrogacy laws in Britain were so strict that it would have been impossible to find a mother to carry the child. The doctor who was natively Greek suggested that they find a surrogate in Greece.
They quickly embraced the idea but it was soon forgotten because there was a serious problem with the transportation of the eggs out of the region. When that failed, they tried to transport the eggs to Nigeria but the results were the same as that of Greece. It seemed like they would never be able to have their own children so they opted for adoption.
They adopted a little boy now six years old and they later adopted a girl who is now aged four. Duruyani’s body had gone through so much strain over these years and age was not on her side as she was classified as High Risk Pregnancy (if she took in).
On two occasions she had been diagnosed with a strange form of cancer, and later lymphoma, she had suffered a hemorrhage, suffered from a strange cough which left dark patches on her lungs, she had suffered emotional, physical and psychological trauma at the travails she had gone through amongst other health challenges too numerous to mention. She had also been on total bed rest all through these series of pregnancies that resulted in miscarriages.
Yet from all these, the Good Lord delivered her from the cold hands of death. Her husband, Hannaniya, who is a rare Igbira man from Kogi State and a distinguished gentleman remained a most loving husband to her, an Igbomina from Kwara State and kept all their travails away from family and friends. • To be continued tomorrow. • Ambassador (Dr.) Patrick Dele Cole, OFR is a Consultant to The Guardian Editorial Board.