TV Producer, Toyosi Etim-Effiongs Shares Emotional Testimony Titled My Ovaries

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In 2012 I had a ruptured ovarian cyst and underwent my first emergency surgery ever. I was scared. I felt palpably, the spirit of fear around me, taunting, prodding and tormenting me and as I was wheeled through the corridors of the old but sturdy hospital in V/I, I kept asking the nurse if I was going to die.

I’ll never forget the look of uncertainty on her face; she couldn’t look me in the eye and she wouldn’t give me a straight answer. I concluded that being chatty would reduce my chances of dying so when the surgery started, I talked and talked and talked until the surgeon asked the anesthesian to put me to sleep. I had clearly overdone it but even as I was told to count backwards from 10, I did all I could to stay awake.

Before the surgery, I had prayed against dreaming about hell, “LORD please I don’t want to dream about/visit/anything hell… PLEASE”. Stories of people who had been taken to hell and sent back to share their experiences had floated through my mind and I was certain, extremely certain that I didn’t want to be one of those people. No hell for me please. Anything but hell, thank you.

Ten, nine, eight, sen, si, f… deep sleep.

My will to stay awake had succumbed to science.

I could smell sulfur and an ominous tune was playing in the background; it sounded like a pipe organ, in fact I was sure it was a pipe organ because I had grown up listening to one every Sunday at church. I was in the middle of a river, standing on a small rock with other rocks ahead of me leading to the riverbank on the other side.

I skipped from rock to rock towards the other side as that seemed to be the only natural thing to do and in the strange and unusual manner of dreams, the other side became the middle of a large, parched field. The field was dry and brown and dusty with scattered clumps of dead grass that reminded me of an ill-maintained football field. Up ahead, I saw rainbow-colored spiral stairs with really bright, white light at the top and again it seemed like the natural direction to head in.

I walked towards it and up the stairs- the smell of sulfur and the sound of the organ both long gone by now. As I inched closer to the light at the top of the stairs, I suddenly felt resistance in front of me. I couldn’t go any further and then I felt a gentle shove that sent me spiraling back down the stairs.

I woke up on the operating table in the theatre at the same time that I hit the bottom of the rainbow-colored, spiral stairs in the dream and immediately broke into spontaneous praise. “JESUS is LORD!”, “GOD is real!” are two things I remember saying repeatedly before the gibberish started.

Don’t do drugs people, don’t do drugs because the next thing that happened was me pointing and laughing at the hospital staff saying they each had two heads. It must have been the morphine or some other drug but yes, everyone around me had 2 heads and I was pointing and laughing hysterically as they wheeled me out to the recovery room.

Suffice to say the surgery was a success, or so I thought…

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I could smell sulfur and an ominous tune was playing in the background; it sounded like a pipe organ, in fact I was sure it was a pipe organ because I had grown up listening to one every Sunday at church. I was in the middle of a river, standing on a small rock with other rocks ahead of me leading to the riverbank on the other side. I skipped from rock to rock towards the other side as that seemed to be the only natural thing to do and in the strange and unusual manner of dreams, the other side became the middle of a large, parched field.

The field was dry and brown and dusty with scattered clumps of dead grass that reminded me of an ill-maintained football field. Up ahead, I saw rainbow-colored spiral stairs with really bright, white light at the top and again it seemed like the natural direction to head in.

I walked towards it and up the stairs- the smell of sulfur and the sound of the organ both long gone by now. As I inched closer to the light at the top of the stairs, I suddenly felt resistance in front of me. I couldn’t go any further and then I felt a gentle shove that sent me spiraling back down the stairs.

I woke up on the operating table in the theatre at the same time that I hit the bottom of the rainbow-colored, spiral stairs in the dream and immediately broke into spontaneous praise. “JESUS is LORD!”, “GOD is real!” are two things I remember saying repeatedly before the gibberish started. Don’t do drugs people, don’t do drugs because the next thing that happened was me pointing and laughing at the hospital staff saying they each had two heads. It must have been the morphine or some other drug but yes, everyone around me had 2 heads and I was pointing and laughing hysterically as they wheeled me out to the recovery room.

Suffice to say the surgery was a success, or so I thought…

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Seven years later in Ontario I was once again on an operating table; this time for a semi-emergency C-Section to get our baby out because my blood pressure had spiked and my midwives had handed me over to an OB/GYN.

I’m #TeamMidwives by the way, especially in developed countries… actually only in developed countries… and now I’m feeling bad for the developing countries but yes in developed countries, I’ll choose midwives over a GP especially if they’re anything like the team I had the last time which I think is how all midwives in those parts are trained to be. They’re less… clinical. My team were like my big sisters, visits were warm and friendly, they were very attentive and seemed genuinely interested in me. I didn’t feel like just another patient, I felt seen and heard. They even paid home visits as part of their routine and then checked on me every week for six weeks post childbirth! Yeah, I loved and still love my midwives!

Their policy however says that once a pregnancy is no longer progressing smoothly, the person has to be handed over to an OB/GYN. This is because midwives are trained to be specialists in natural, uncomplicated births which is what I really thought I was going to have.

In fact I had started off planning a home birth- you know, soft music in the background, lights turned down, a birth tub perhaps, taking deep breaths and going through the process in a very zen manner; ALAS, it’s wheel chair that rolled me through the very brightly-lit hospital corridors into yet another operating theatre.

1 Thess 5:18a.

I was thankful and quite calm and very awake during the surgery and then I asked what in hindsight is the funniest and silliest- but also a probable- question any new mum can ask, “Am I leaving with her when I’m going?” referring to the newborn that was about to make her way into the world.

I don’t know why I asked that but I did and it was all laughs until my Asian OB/GYN peeked behind the surgical screen and said to me, “I only see one ovary. You removed an ovary?”

I’ve told a few friends that I know- for a fact- that my life would have been different if I knew I had just one ovary. How incomplete I would have felt. How I’d have probably relocated to Redemption Camp until I got the ovary back. I certainly wouldn’t have lived my happy-go-lucky, traveling-on-a-whim life and I most certainly would have jeopardized any chances of being in a relationship.

“Hey, how are you doing? My name is Brian, what’s your name?”
“Hey, I have one ovary.” 😐

That, to me is how I figured most conversations would have gone, that’s if Brian even saw me. Where would Brian have seen me? I say I would have become a worker at Redemption Camp (ORI OKE) waiting for my miracle if I knew in 2012 that I had one ovary!!! “Thankfully”, I didn’t know, so my jet-set youth went unencumbered. I guess “Ignorance being bliss” worked in my favour.

When Dr Wu asked me about it on the operating table, I stared at him blankly for a few seconds not understanding what he was saying and then light began to filter into my mind slowly. Did this mean they took out an ovary in Lagos without telling me? Wait, I’ve been living with one ovary? So wait, I was able to conceive with one ovary? No intervention, no waiting period? Was this even possible?..

My thoughts were interrupted by Oreofe’s cry. I had co-created with GOD. I had birthed life. My daughter, a child from my body, from my womb was here and she was crying. Nothing else mattered.

I didn’t see Dr Wu until days later when I went to have my stitches checked. I had been busy tending to the new born but the question he asked had popped in my mind from time to time. If I had any doubt about the question or perhaps thought I had imagined it, the final report cleared that doubt. After writing about the incision and centimeters and all the other required medical details, clearly written in black and white was something like-

“Left Fallopian tube and ovary intact, right tube and ovary not found”.

To be honest, there are some things you see that make you question if they have another meaning. Not Found. What did Not Found mean? As in, they didn’t find it or it was found… not. In that moment, I truly wondered what Not Found meant but I didn’t have to wonder for long. During our chat, he broke it down concisely- Not Found meant Not Found. They didn’t see it. It wasn’t there. Simple.

He was surprised that I hadn’t been told after the Lagos surgery and he didn’t need me to tell him I was surprised as well. My deep Yoruba sighs were more than sufficient- Hmmm… Hmmm… It took a lot of self-will not to blurt out, “O ga o” and “Aiye ma nika” but yeah. That, my friends, is how I found out about my singular ovarian situation.

One of my first ports of call when I got back to Lagos was the hospital. The surgeon who had carried out the operation wasn’t around but there was a senior specialist there who I had seen post-surgery and who still recognized me.

I’ll keep this short.

I shared what happened with him, he pulled up my file, stared at the screen for a little while and then casually and rather dismissively said, “I think you should just thank GOD that you’ve been able to have a baby”.

I was weak. All the fight that I had walked into the hospital with disappeared once I heard that. I got up in a semi-zombie-like state, got into my car and went straight home and that was it. That was it.

Iyanu means Wonder in Yoruba but it’s one of those words that when literally translated comes off more colourful; you can *see* it in your mind. I may be wrong- I don’t think I am- but this is how I’ve broken Iyanu down:

Iya – The wide opening of
Enu – The mouth

Or in colloquial terms – the dropping of the jaw.

It is this dropping of the jaw that was triggered last August, over a year after I got the exposé of a medical report.

Goes without saying that 2020 was not the year to be waltzing in and out of hospitals. This is why when I started to feel a throbbing pain in my tummy, I was very quick to “speak to it”. I reminded it that JESUS was wounded for my transgressions, bruised for my iniquities, the chastisement of my peace was laid upon HIM and BY HIS STRIPES I WAS HEALED! There was also the reminder that “If the Spirit of HIM that raised up JESUS from the dead dwelt in me, HE that raised up CHRIST from the dead shall also QUICKEN MY MORTAL BODY…”

Several minutes later, my mortal body did not quicken, in fact the sudden and foreign pain intensified and soon enough, we were hospital-bound.

I don’t understand how five minutes after walking into the hospital, the pain all but disappeared! I didn’t get it! How? Then I began to suspect that I was probably there for something else, but what? Was I there to speak to someone? Pray with someone?… Why was I in the waiting room of a hospital in the middle of a pandemic?

“The right side of my tummy was hurting earlier but it’s fine now”, I said to the young, single doctor while trying to “pick things up in the spirit”.

Was he ok?

Was I supposed to pray with him?

Prophesy perhaps…

I decided to ask him if he was in a relationship, hoping he won’t stonewall me which thankfully, he didn’t. He actually lit up and told me his preference would be a nice, Catholic, Ibo girl. I didn’t have that spec 😄 in my portfolio but I had a nice, non-Catholic, Ibo girl who I introduced to him later.

That, however was not really why I was there. Nothing prepared me for it…

Just to confirm that everything was okay, despite my emphasis that I wasn’t in pain, Single, Catholic doctor ordered a pelvic scan.

I went into the lab where the gooey ultrasound gel was squeezed unto my tummy. The technician, a woman who I’ll put in her mid-30s stared at the screen while I looked away, busying myself with other thoughts because I was convinced that nothing was wrong with me.

What I didn’t know was how right everything was.

“Everything looks good”, she said. “Your ovaries are fine, tubes are fine…”

“My WHAT?”, I asked IN SHOCK

She repeated herself, “Your ovaries are fine…”

“MY WHAT?!!” I asked again, my eyes wide in disbelief. I was almost shaking.

At this point, she looked uncomfortable and she didn’t respond. Instead, she looked confusingly at Mr Effiong, non-verbally pleading for an explanation.

“I’m sorry”, I said. “Please can you just say what you said again?”

Her voice dropped, almost to a whisper and then she repeated herself, “Your ovaries are fine.”

I stared at her for a split second and then I started LAUGHING!!!! I LAUGHED & LAUGHED & LAUGHED!

“My ovaries?! As in TWO ovaries. Daniel, she said ovaries!” I couldn’t stop laughing.

We eventually had to explain what was so funny to her. By this time I was on my phone searching, “Do ovaries grow back?” because this was… incredulous.

She checked again and sure enough, there they were. The pair of them. Ovaries 1 & 2.


This is my testimony & I hope it encourages someone. What is clear through all of this is that GOD can do the impossible, in fact I believe HE specializes in just that.

Also, quite frankly, I now believe that GOD does not need our ovaries to give us our babies. Nature and science do, but GOD doesn’t.

I wasn’t actively praying for a replacement. It wasn’t even a thought. If HE did it before with one, HE could certainly do it again because as I love to say, my GOD is not a one-hit wonder.

I believe this creative miracle happened as a blessing not just for me but for every other person beyond my circle who this will resonate with and be a blessing to.

You will carry your babies, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” 

The End✨
—-

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