Dickens Okoth walked into Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi, expecting to hold his bundle of joy, only for him to stumble into a rude shock.
His wife Sheila Adhiambo was not pregnant, after all.
In a drama that has all the hallmarks of a Greek tragedy, Adhiambo, 26, had faked a pregnancy in a desperate bid to hold onto her man.
It all started last year when Okoth and Adhiambo met and started a relationship. They met frequently as they mulled life as wife and husband.
But as is normal with many relationships, the two started having disagreements, which threatened to end their love affair.
Apparently ruing the thought of losing her man, Adhiambo decided to acquire “insurance” against the looming separation.
Towards the end of last year, she disclosed to Okoth that she was pregnant and swiftly moved into his house.
“I was prepared and had made arrangements to ensure the baby had everything it needed,” he said, as he struggled to come to terms with the unfolding events.
For almost nine months, the couple lived together as husband and wife while Okoth contemplated his imminent change of status to a new father.
But Adhiambo’s mind was preoccupied with a scheme that would ensure her “pregnancy” bubble remained intact.
She had encountered a desperate 24-year-old woman, who had been disowned by a boyfriend who had impregnated her. Adhiambo struck a deal to adopt the child upon delivery.
Adhiambo agreed to take care of the expectant woman, Phoebe Achieng’, until she delivered.
The agreement involved Adhiambo taking her to a pre-natal clinic where Achieng’ registered her details using Adhiambo’s Identity Card and other details.
Surprisingly, Okoth did not suspect anything and as the date of birth drew closer, he grew increasingly excited and started saving for the big day.
“She kept me updated whenever she went for pre-natal visits,” said Okoth. “Everything seemed in order.”
As a good husband, Okoth regularly gave his wife money for a taxi “for her comfort and that of the unborn baby”.
Okoth also ensured the wife had enough money for her needs and to take care of any pregnancy complication.
Narrating the ordeal to People Daily yesterday, Okoth revealed how he had made arrangements for the grand arrival of the newborn, ensuring the infant would have all essential supplies.
Okoth narrated how Adhiambo had woken up at night on several occasions “over pregnancy complications. She also suffered from morning sickness”.
Come last Sunday and Adhiambo went to Pumwani Maternity Hospital and promptly informed her husband she had gone into labour.
On Tuesday, she informed him she had given birth to a baby boy.
The excited “father” rushed to the hospital.
Upon arrival at Pumwani, Okoth was directed to Ward 4. It was here that his world came tumbling down.
He was shocked to find that the woman who was admitted there, though she had the same names as his wife, was not Adhiambo.
Alarmed, he asked hospital management to counter-check their records.
In an apparent well-choreographed scheme, the records showed Okoth was the child’s father.
The records also bore Okoth’s and his wife’s cellphone numbers.
However, it was later established that the woman who had given birth was Achieng’, who was paid to surrender her child immediately after giving birth.
Pumwani Hospital officials had noted that the photo on the ID Achieng’ had used to register did not match her face.
Okoth arrived at the hospital armed with nappies, shawls, towels and clothes. He was speechless.
“I am yet to come to terms with whatever happened. But if that is the extent to which a woman can go to sustain a marriage, then the world is coming an end,” Okoth said yesterday.
Hospital authorities said Adhiambo had arrived at the hospital pretending to be in severe pain.
She was admitted to Ward 4 and tried to release Achieng’ and take over the infant.
It was at this point that the hospital management alerted police who arrested her.
She was taken to Shauri Moyo Police Station.
Achieng’ was left at the hospital under police watch.Police sources said Adhiambo told them getting a child was the only way of sustaining her relationship with Okoth.
Meanwhile, Achieng’ told police that she would have loved to keep her child but decided to “donate” him since she had no means of raising him.
“The father of the child disappeared soon after learning I was pregnant. I don’t have any means and every time I tried to call him, he did not pick my calls,” she said.
Nairobi County Commander Philip Ndolo said police were investigating a possible “conspiracy to commit a felony”.
He said the woman would be arraigned once investigations were complete.
Okoth and at least three employees of Pumwani have recorded statements with the police.
“It is one of those shocking cases that leaves one numb. This woman must be very creative,” Ndolo told People Daily on telephone.
Pumwani Hospital administrator Geoffrey Mosiria said once they detected the mismatch in the ID photo and Achieng’s face, they alerted security at the facility.
“We want to thank Governor Mike Sonko because security at the hospital has been beefed up and child theft no longer happens,” he said.
Last week, police in Webuye, Bungoma county, arrested a 22-year-old Ugandan woman who faked a pregnancy in a bid to steal a baby at the Lugulu Mission Hospital.
The suspect, identified as Josephine Nafula, who is married to a Kenyan man living in Kamukuywa, was brought to the hospital on Monday night by her mother-in-law after allegedly complaining of labour pains.
Hospital administrator Jackson Fukwo told journalist that the suspect who attempted to steal a child had been transferred from Makhonge dispensary where she was admitted at the maternity wing where she spent the night.
He added that while admitted at the maternity wing, she resisted being examined, raising the alarm among doctors.
Upon close examination, she was found to have stashed rags on her belly to fake the pregnancy.
“Upon further interrogation, she confessed that she had had four miscarriages in past marriages,” said Fukwo.
A pregnancy test conducted on her turned out negative.