Hey, it’s story time again. This time, our stories are around the umbilicus and even below the belt. These are real life experiences embellished in Technicolour for your perverted pleasure. Even then, there will be gems of knowledge for the discerning reader. For those, please do not keep the information to yourself! Share and share widely: to encourage discussion and sensible decision-making in the future.
Let me just reiterate our previous article on carrying children unrestrained in cars. You remember I told you how bad it is and the dangers to the child in an accident. Yet, many parents still have children loose in cars on our streets, even when some of the parents have their own seat belts firmly applied! Oh, well, for some people, it’s in one ear and out the other without resonating in the middle!
A lovely pregnant lady came to the hospital for delivery. Her husband was away at work and was not readily available. This educated and seemingly sensible woman had had two previous babies delivered by caesarean section and the doctors advised a third operation. She refused. This time, she was going to deliver naturally. Indeed, her pastor told her so. No one could reason with her, as she was adamant she knew best.
Oh well! You know doctors cannot force you to do anything against your will. So, she was counselled and left alone. Hours later, after much stress and tiredness, she was so exhausted she could not even speak! By this time as well, the baby’s heartbeat was becoming faint and the situation desperate. Husband was still nowhere to be found. What do you do? The doctors finally had to operate on her against her wish: to save both lives. Unfortunately, by the time this was done, she had ruptured her uterus and the baby was dead. The bleeding was so massive her uterus had to be removed to save her life.
Immediately I saw her, I knew something was wrong. She looked old and tired for her age: ravaged by time, worry, suffering and disease. But, the biggest issue was the smell of stale urine that hit me as she sat down to talk. I nearly suffered a convulsion from the sickening smell which carried across like a tornado. Oh my God, it was overpowering and more, when she undressed: un-wrapping the rags she used as a pad to stem the tide of relentless urine dripping from her private part. As a doctor, you cope but never get used to the worst of smells. This was the worst ever and deserves an ignominious award.
Her story: She was to give birth in a hospital many years ago. The baby was big and so she was scheduled to have an operation. However, she asked her pastor for his opinion and prayers. The pastor said, ‘No way.’ She was not to have any operation and will have a normal delivery in the church; after all, God can do anything.
So, off she went to the church for her deliverance and she did deliver without an operation. After three days of hard labour, she had a macerated and quite dead baby. If only that was the end of the problem! Unknown to her and the crazy pastor, this was when her real trouble started. The head of the baby had damaged her, causing a big hole between her urethra (the tube we pee from) and the vagina. She no longer needed to urinate, as she just leaked urine from her privates. Everyone (except her closest family) including her dim-witted pastor abandoned her.
Just to say that this same problem happens to many child brides: young girls ‘sold’ off into marriage and teenage pregnancy by their parents! Now, close your eyes and imagine urine seeping out of your body all day long. Can you smell it?
What is the lesson?
Let me go straight to the point. The presence of a trained person to conduct the delivery of a baby is vital. It takes skills to know if a woman can “push,” when to push and when to stop pushing. It is also important to know when the woman has pushed enough. If push comes to shove, an operation can be performed, in time, before the threat to the life of the baby and mother.
Secondly, Nigerians are too religious and many have turned religion into big business. Thus, we have thousands of ‘religious shops’ in the country. The unholy reliance on ‘business pastors’ without conscience has been the downfall of many people. Should a pastor or an imam interfere in your health care? Make decisions for you? And in the case of our topic of discussion, should you deliver in a church? True, many have done it successfully, but would you? Can you afford to take the risk? Do you want a dead baby?
Many Nigerian pastors are contributing to the high maternal mortality rate in the country. It is time for this contribution to stop! Pastors should stop playing God! And for you, a word is enough for the wise.
NB: The story was partly written by Dr. Ifeanyi Nwanji, a medical doctor in Benin, Edo State.
Next week: Why you should not put anything smaller than an elbow in your ear.