Mistreatment and abuse in childbirth

Dedication: To all the ministry of health and all the organizations supporting women's health

My experience with child birth consists of mistreatment, abuse, physiological torture and poor suturing. I remember my labour pain started very early in the morning at around 5am, I had my usual walks and then had a bath. I started parking all the things I needed for the hospital and then had my breakfast at around 10am. We left home for the hospital at around 2pm and on reaching I call my gynecologist and he told me to check in. I was excited that I was going to finally have my baby not knowing what was in store for me. After all the clearances I was taken to the labour ward, later my gynecologist came in to check on me and track my progress, he assured me that every thing was fine and introduced me to midwife who was to take me on, he assured me that she was a good one however she was a bit rude in the beginning but later came around. I remember telling the midwife and the student nurses that were around to call my mom and they first refused but when I threatened to walk there my self they eventually called her, I called my mom because I wanted her to talk to the doctor about a c-section and we agreed, my mom then talked to the midwife who never responded so my mom left the room to look for a doctor. When my labour pain intensified, my gynecologist came back and told the midwife to deliver me. I remember I was lying on that flat bed so I asked her to raise the bed in a siting position a bit but my request was ignored, my right to a birth position of my choice was violeted, the midwife asked me to push but it was very hard because I had no support, she told me to push very hard because the baby was gona get tired which I did but still failed, I heard her make a cut to create way for the baby but still failed, she cut again but again the baby didn’t come out, she made another cut and asked me to push so I had to find all the strength because we had been doing this for a long time, I then decided to hold my legs for support because I felt this would help me gather my energy but the moment she saw me holding my legs she gave me that terrible eye and told, ” gwe nyabo bigyeyo mangu totusumbuwa, I apologized to her and then pushed my baby till he was out. I was given my baby and later he was taken away for cleaning and dressing since the labour ward I was in did not have a suitable area where the babies are dressed, a nurse told me that. I was cleaned too and the midwife told me she was gonna give me and injection to soothe the pain because she had to make a few stitches. She gave me the injection at around 7:55 and she started suturing, she was abit good during this time, and made sure to handle me with proper care but sadly a colleague came in. The midwife who was working on me said to her colleague that she is late and a body guy who normally takes her home was gona leave her yet she had a lot of paper work to do so she asked that person that had come in to complete the suturing. Which I opposed and even offered to give her a ride to her home when she was done but it fell on deaf ears, the new nurse started suturing me with a lot of energy and anger, she kept on telling me to keep quiet and she would pull the sutures very hard that I would feel my skin being pulled up, it was very painful and the lady was so mean, every time I would move my body in response to the pain she would quarrel. She even told me that every time I move my body she would pull much harder, I kept on pleading with her but she was rude. At some point I moved my leg and some very little blood spilled on to her cover ( the plastic gowns they put on) and she shouted at me saying ( Kati Laba onsize nomusayi) and I apologized but with tears in my eyes because of the pain. Suturing took too long that I even lost count when I reached 12 times, I was just looking at the clock, it was now coming to 9:00pm. The midwife told me that the sutures were finished so she had to go and get others, she left me for around 5 -7 minutes and later came back to continue but this time the pain was worse than before she left, I cried in pain and she shouted at me saying silika, totulekanila. I was now fed up of her insults so I asked her her name which she told me and I asked her if she had ever given birth and she said no, I then told her that that’s why she couldn’t understand the kind of pain I was in. I couldn’t wait to get out of that room but it took some time. At exactly 9:30 she was finished and I sat on the bed, she left me in the room for a while, like around 10minutes eventually my mom came in the room and helped me get up, we walked from the labour ward and on the way to my prepared bed we met with her chatting with the first midwife that worked on me, when she saw me she said, ” ehh ovudeyo? Mbade nkuletela kagali so I just gave her a fake smile and walked away. As we were in the room waiting for my baby, a nurse passed by to give me the medicine, it was a lot so we asked her why the medicine was a lot and she told me that I my sutured are was a bit big and therefore required all that medicine. The following day at around lunch time, I was discharged without any check up. On reaching home, I realized that I had no control over my bowels at all but when I asked around I was told that the control will eventually come back so I was patient. I went back after 1 week and took the medicine as prescribed but my perineal wasn’t improving not even the control over my bowels and I was very bothered so I went back to the hospital and that’s when I got a chance to meet the doctor that signed my discharge form when I had given birth, he told me that after I heal and donor like how my perineal was looking like, they would perform a ” refashion ” surgery on my perineal which I did not understand. He prescribed more medicine and told me I will be ok but still after a month I had no change, this went on for some time. I was forced to go to clinics and there, I was told that I suffered a 3rd degree tear and needed to go to a bigger hospital, I went to bimbo hospital where I met a gynecologist who informed me that my tear was too big and the sutures were done poorly therefore I had to get a repair, by this time I was 4 months past delivery so he prescribed drugs which I took, after hearing this, I went to see the gynecologist in mengo who who I showed the bombo report, he also prescribed other drugs in order to heal properly and get my repair done. At 6months past delivery, my repair was done by Dr Mubangizi Louis at bombo hospital and in two weeks I saw the results.

This didn’t just happen to me but women all over the world are still being told to shut up, get on with it and be grateful they are safe and have a baby, regardless of any pain or abuse they suffer in the labour ward or in the operating theatre. Many suffer as a result with postpartum depression and panic attacks. And then they don’t talk about it which I think is wrong.

I lost my job, and so many other things that I can’t have back.

Photo credit: Image courtesy of the storyteller.

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Nankya Sharon R

I am a strong and courageous woman who believes in God. I am an activist who fights for women's rights. I am focus and results oriented.