Two weeks (to the day) after we arrived in West Africa, my niece was born.
I babysat the older niece during my sister’s labor and delivery. The moment that I got the phone call that the baby had arrived, we were dancing and twirling in the living room. “You can come and bring Talia up to the hospital,” the brother-in-law said. I grabbed a flashlight and locked the house and we walked hand in hand up the dusty street to the Baptist Missionary Hospital. Talia talked non-stop. “Are we donna do see da baby? Is da baby a boy or a dirl?”
Once we arrived at the hospital, I had trouble finding the correct room. We went to the wrong ward, then we found out that they had been moved to a private room away from the maternity ward. Finally, a nurse figured out who I was looking for and led me down a long corridor. “There,” she pointed to a doorway with double doors leading into the delivery room. I knocked, but there was no answer. Moments later, the doctor appeared and told me to sit and wait on a bench in the hallway. “They’ll bring the baby out momentarily.” I got my first glimpse of the bundled up new niece through the glass doors that led to the delivery room.
In that same hallway, I caught this moment of my brother-in-law introducing Talia to her new sister, Aviella Joy.
The remaining weeks that we had with my sister’s family revolved mostly around this little girl. Sleeping, eating, changing. Oh, and yawning. Because quite frankly, being a newborn is exhausting.
The neighbors raised eyebrows very un-approvingly at the sight of my putting Aviella in the fufu pounder for pictures. Just for an extra safety feature, my mom stood just out of sight of these pictures, arms extended- ready to be my extra set of hands in case something went wrong.
No one was harmed in the making of these pictures. In fact, Aviella slept soundly through the whole incident.